Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stubborn Pork Butts

So this ended up being a strange cook in that it took forever. The largest butt (7.5 lbs) took 26 hours to cook. For the record that was 3 loads of coal filled to the top of the fire box. Now when it was ready it just fell to pieces as I was trying to get it off of my Big Green Egg.

Back in October I had great success using Elder Ward's recipe for NC pulled pork.
So if it ain't broke . . . I like that recipe because it gives you a rub, a sauce, a road map for the cook (including detailed instructions on how to load your coal for a long cook). Furthermore, the slaw recipe listed there is tasty and the hush puppies are incredible.

The smaller butts were smokier, dryer and tougher than the big guy. The takeaway here is that I think it's good to do the larger cuts if you're going to make the effort. The photo above is from one of the smaller butts. You can see that it's a little stringy. But I liked the natural light that came in through the kitchen on this shot.

Below is the good stuff. I daresay that it was worth the 26 hr wait.

Since We've no place to go





So the winter weather kept us from making our way up to Washington DC for the wedding of Gray's roommate from when he lived in Seattle. It did NOT keep us from putting on some pork butts to keep things merry and bright. We can't wait to tear it up tomorrow. Should be good eatin'.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pork Spare Ribs

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Got up early on Sunday morning to get these things on for lunch during the Panthers game.


This was about 8 1/2 lbs of ribs from Costco.


The rub was simply 1 lb brown sugar with 1 cup of salt.


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One hour later


We let these things go for about 6 hours at 225.


About an hour before they came off we slapped on some Sweet Baby Ray's Vidalia Onion sauce.


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Shortly after that we started picking little bits here and there.


It was time to eat.


In other news, the NFL still considers it a win


--even if you just outscore Tampa Bay. We'll take it!


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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Crazy Gravy


Mmm. Gravy.

Turkey




The turkey came out very nicely. We bought frozen birds last Sunday and they thawed all week in the fridge. They were still a little crunchy on Friday, but were ready to go come Saturday. Heather put the 11 pounder in the oven and Labon and I took on the 14 lb turkey.




The biggest learning experience here was that you can't fill your Egg with the shakes at the bottom of the bag and hope to sustain a long burn. As I filled the fire box I thought we were in for trouble. The temps did ok for a while, but with no space between the coals, the airflow was a real problem. The Egg needed a fan right at the bottom vent all day just to keep the coals going. They finally crapped out after about 4 hours only and we had to dump in fresh coals from a chimney starter.

All-in the bird was done after 5 hours and change. It came out very moist and tasty with all the herbs and seasonings. I have to say my personal favorite from all of this was the gravy recipe. I'm not much of a gravy fan, but will want to have this on the table in the future without question.

Juicy goodness.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Turkey Lurkin'

Saturday brings another opportunity to get familiar with the Egg. Labon and Bill will help get a whole turkey cooked using another recipe from nakedwhiz.com. This time we're doing Mad Max's Turkey and Gravy. More to come.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

EGGTOBERFEST 2009


Eggtoberfest 2009 was Saturday, October 17. What is Eggtobergest you ask? It's a celebration of the Big Green Egg held in Tucker, GA, home of the Big Green Egg. Besides all the great food we sampled, the best part is the fact that they sell the Eggs after the festival. You can get a Big Green Egg that's been used only once for a fraction of the price of a new getup. The weather was darn near foul with temps in the 40s and periods of heavy rain. It didn't hold us back though. We ate like kings. Pictured above Heather, Labon and Katie flash our impromptu hand signal for Eggtoberfest.



Everything was very tasty. Labon's favorite was the bacon-wrapped pearl onions, "pearl bites." Yum. So the deal is that you either pay admission or you volunteer to cook something (we simply paid to get in). There were probably 150 Eggs fired up with everything from loaves of bread to shrimp and grits to wings to pizza. All hail the versatility of the Big Green Egg! (below you can see a pizza)


Here's the view as we arrived. The event is held at Big Green Egg HQ in Tucker.

Pork tenderloin with all sorts of goodies on it.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Like Big Butts: the first pork shoulder

This was the first major project on my Big Green Egg. After the trick or treaters had come and gone, Labon came over to help me set this up. We followed this recipe pretty much to the letter. We put the shoulder on at 10pm and stabilized the dome temp at 195 degrees.

It rained like mad during the night, so I slept rather poorly with dreams of flooded eggs and wet coals. In the morning I went out to check the dome temp. You can imagine how excited I was to find it was pegged at 195 still. After church it fell off a little bit and I had to rearrange the coals a little to make sure the air was still flowing through the firebox. After some poking and prodding the temps rose again.Around 4pm on Sunday the temps fell again and wouldn't come back up. This was just as Labon and Katie were coming back over for dinner so we loaded up fresh coals right as Labon got there. I had started them on my Weber kettle grill using a chimney. We dumped the fresh coals in and got the temps back up pronto.
By 8 pm (i.e. 22 hours later) the internal temp had gotten to where we wanted it (190) and it was time for dinner. I just used two forks and pulled the meat apart and squirted vinegar sauce down in the meat as I pulled. It fell apart into very tender morsels. We had slaw and hush puppies using the recipe referenced above. I was too hungry and excited to take pictures once we got it off the Egg. But I have to say this was some of the best 'Q I've ever eaten. Can't wait to do this again.


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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Spatchcock Chicken





Eggtoberfest photos are coming shortly. Meanwhile here's some photos of your correspondent's first Big Green Egg cook. I selected the Spatchcock Chicken recipe found at nakedwhiz.com. The only variation is the use of a plate setter to raise the grate and give indirect heat. And I used a little foil on the plate setter so it wouldn't get saturated with chicken drippins. That offered up a satisfying sizzle.

The finished product wound up being very tender and juicy. There was a definitive smoke flavor that was good, but slightly overpowering. Whether that was a problem with the coals or a product of indirect cooking, further projects will determine.

The challenge was lighting the Egg for the first time and trying to hold a consistent temperature. Thanks to all the support and help from Eggheadforum.com it all went rather smoothly. The photos below show the settings on the Egg used to reach and maintain 350 degrees.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Grill Knuckles World Debut


We tried our first brisket on Saturday. After reviewing a few potential recipes we selected the Millionaire Brisket with coffee and beer mop sauce. Labon began by curing the meat in the rub Friday night. The weather could not have been any nicer for the project. With the temps pushing 80 it felt just a little bit hot in the sun.






The idea here was to cook the brisket as slowly as possible on indirect heat. Every hour we would mop the meat on each side using the beer and coffee sauce. A covering of bacon kept the meat from drying out. Mmm bacon.








Katie prepared some stuffed jalapenos as appetizers--just in case our mouths weren't already watering.


Total cook time was around 6 hours. It ended up being very tender and flavorful. We served it with a little bbq sauce and some grilled french fries.