Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Woody's Weekend Brisket Adventure

You remember Woody. Woody was my college buddy, former roommate and BGE comrade. He's also the guy who taught me about Mountain Dew-brined turkey He and I got to trading texts on Friday. The forecast for the lovely fall weekend was calling for 100% chance of Eggin' in his back yard. We were discussing what to cook. He was so excited about the outcome that he offered to post the following entry here. When I heard how it all came out I grew sad that we only talk about Egging and don't have opportunities to, you know, hang out--and like eat his stuff, too. Sounds awesome. Way to go, Woody.

It is with gratitude and a watering mouth that I present Woody's weekend brisket adventure.

Meat Prep
Had two pieces of brisket:
·         one 7.5 lb flat (from BJs.  Majority of the point was removed by butcher before packing)
·         one 3.3 lb flat (from Lowes Foods meat cooler vacuum packed)
·         I didn’t trim any fat from either cut.  Other than the fat cap, they were fairly lean.

For 7.5 lb flat
Took out of plastic wrapper and rinsed in cool water.
Patted dry with paper towel.
Slathered it with decent layer of Mister Mustard Hot Mustard.
Covered heavily with this homemade dry rub recipe I found on web ( ):
Traditional Texas Brisket Rub
NOTE: This recipe is for a 5-6 lb./2.3-2.7 kg beef brisket.
Mix together thoroughly the following:
·         2 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
·         1 Tbsp kosher salt or sea salt
·         1 Tbsp chili powder
·         1 tsp garlic powder
·         1 tsp onion powder
·         1 tsp dried parsley
·         1 tsp oregano
·         1 tsp sugar

Wrapped tightly in saran wrap and put in fridge overnight.  Took out of fridge, unwrapped and set on counter for 45 min before putting over heat.  Added more rub just prior to putting on BGE.

For 3.3 lb flat
Took out of plastic wrapper and rinsed in cool water.
Patted dry with paper towel.
Slathered it up with Koop’s Horseradish Mustard (was AWESOME!)
Covered it heavily with store bought McCormick’s Grill Mates Steak Rub
Wrapped tightly in saran wrap and put in fridge overnight.  Took out of fridge, unwrapped and set on counter for 45 min before putting over heat.  Added more rub just prior to putting on BGE.

EGG Prep
Cleaned out BGE, filled with fresh lump and added some pecan and hickory wood chunks scattered throughout
Used plate setter and placed an aluminum drip pan on it with an inch or so of water in the bottom.
Brought BGE up to 250F.

Was a dry, cool, breezy day.  The wind kept my temp dancing at times.  I would say the temp was more in the 260F range the majority of the time.

For lack of space reasons…I started with the larger piece of brisket.  Placed on grate fat cap down.  Took about 6 or so hours to get the meat to plateau temp of 165F.  Then double wrapped the meat in foil and placed back on BGE to finish.  The larger piece had finally shrunk enough where I was able to fit the smaller brisket on at same time.

Moved main temp probe to the smaller brisket and periodically checked the foil wrapped meat with Thermapen.  Pulled larger brisket when internal temp hit 200F and the Thermapen pushed into the meat with ease.  It took another 2 hours or so to push temp up.  Kept it in the foil and wrapped it in two towels and placed in microwave to rest for a three hours.

Followed same protocol with small brisket (took about 4 hours total) but was only able to let it rest for an hour before carving.  Slice the meat across the grain.

Marnie says it was the best low and slow meat I have cooked on the Egg.
The larger brisket had great flavor.  The meat fell apart very easily which made slicing tough.  Probably over cooked it a bit, but the meat was very moist and could chop it easily. 
The smaller brisket had a perfect smoke ring.  It sliced much better.  The horseradish mustard gave it some awesome flavor.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dark and Stormy

It was a dark and stormy afternoon on Cape Cod. We were thirsty.

I put this recipe up on Facebook and a friend critiqued the small amount of rum. Please feel free to use ratios that appeal to your taste and habits.

Dark and Stormy:

1 shot of dark rum in a glass with ice and juice from a lime wedge.
Top off with ginger beer.


Batten down the hatches.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sweet and Crunchy Grilled Salmon

 Steven Raichlen sends out an email news letter, "Up in Smoke." This recipe caught my eye and I clipped it to Evernote for those weekends when I know I want to get on the grill, but I don't know what to cook. This happened to be one of those weekends.

By the way, since first tasting NoDa Brewing's CAVU blonde ale, it's been my go-to beer this spring and summer. It's light and crisp, but still got a nice flavor to it. CAVU is an aviation term meaning "Ceiling and Visibility Unlimited." The brewery describes it as their summer seasonal. I hope it becomes part of their regular stable of excellent beers. Besides, their tall boy cans are cool.

Back to the salmon. First, the recipe as found in the "Up in Smoke" newsletter:

Sweet and Crunchy Grilled Salmon
Brock Hale, of Baltimore, MDT

This incredibly simple treatment for salmon creates a show-stopping flavor for a readily available fish. It is a delicious contrast between the sweet and crunchy crust and the meaty texture of the fish. Top it with a store-bought mango salsa for an easy main dish, or use it with the recipe below for an entrée-sized salad.

The flavor when the salmon is paired with the salad is a particularly winning combination.
Grilled Salmon
4 4-6 oz. salmon fillets, skin removed
Cinnamon-Sugar coating mixture (3 parts sugar to 1 part cinnamon, by volume)
1. Preheat grill to medium-high and oil grate.
2. Place salmon fillets directly on the grill, and coat the top liberally with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Close lid and grill for 4 to 6 minutes. Sugar will melt and coating will adhere to the fish.
3. Flip the fillets, taking care not to break them apart. Coat the second side with the cinnamon-sugar, close lid, and grill another 4 to 6 minutes.
4. Remove from grill. Serve as a stand-alone main dish or with the salad recipe below.
Sweet and Spicy Salmon Salad with Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette
Serves 4
1 recipe grilled salmon (above)
2 romaine lettuce hearts, chopped
2 large ripe mangoes, diced
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1/2 large red onion, diced
1 fresh jalapeño pepper, seeds removed, finely diced (optional)
Sesame-Ginger Vinaigrette Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dark sesame oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
1 inch grated ginger root (about 4 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend to mix.
2. Divide lettuce between 4 plates and top each with an equal portion of mango, tomato, onion, and jalapeno. Add salmon hot off the grill, and dress salad and fish with the sesame-ginger vinaigrette.
3. Serve with a chilled wine with citrus notes (Montes 2003 Sauvignon Blanc or Kris 2004 Pinot Grigio are good examples) to balance the sweet and spicy flavors of the salad.

I like sugar. But I also believe a little goes a long way. As I was putting all this sugar/cinnamon mixture on the salmon it just felt like I was doing something wrong. I was generous, but still held back much of what the recipe called for. 
Also, as a rule, I don't remove the skin from salmon. If you start by grilling skin-side down, the skin separates on its own. In fact, you can see it above to the upper right in the photo. It's much easier than taking it off when the fish is raw. I seasoned it again with the sugar/cinnamon mix after flipping.
Finished fish. Served it up on top of the salad with some corn and fresh bread.

We used store-bought ginger sesame dressing and I forgot to put the tomatoes on until after I was done taking pictures and started stuffing all this into my face. It was really quite tasty. Very fresh, colorful and healthy. Would we do it again? Certainly. Here's the thing though: The salmon didn't come out very crunchy. I think I was supposed to use more sugar. But I can't believe that it would help the overall flavor of the salad. Next time I might simply use good, old salt & pepper on the salmon rather than all that sugar. Overall, fun and tasty. It was a hit around the dinner table.