Thursday, August 26, 2010

brisket: 3rd time's the charm?

We're coming up on a year since I got into all of this.  It started with a brisket. Most stuff that I've put in my mouth that comes out of the Egg is highly satisfactory.  With the brisket I still simply can't tell if I'm doing it right, or if it's supposed to be a little dry and a little chewy.  Here goes the 3rd attempt.

Millionaire Brisket with Coffee Mop Sauce:
(recipe from Steven Raichlen's BBQ USA)

  • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 1/4 cup sweet paprika

  • 2 tablespoons pure chili powder

  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • Mop Sauce:

  • 1 cup beer

  • 1 cup apple cider

  • 1 cup cider vinegar

  • 1 cup coffee

  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, (recommended: Tabasco sauce)

  • 2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • The brisket was on at 7 a.m. along with some mesquite chunks.  By noon it was time for some refreshment.  Labon showed up with some big beers and when I saw them I could hardly believe my eyes.  He had grabbed two half-liter bottles of Wurzburger Hofbrau Hefe-Weiss.  What he didn't realize is that Wurzburg was the city in Germany where I studied for a while when I was in college.  Score.  What a swig down memory lane.

    The bacon was getting hard to resist.

    Wit about an hour left to go, it was all looking pretty good.  Those aren't baked beans down beneath.  That's the drip pan and its roiling goo.

    Out of nowhere we got one of those summer downpours.  I used a sheet of foil to try to protect my remote thermometer from getting soaked.  It worked.  Whew!

    Finally, after about 8.5 hours the internal temp was up to 195f.  I gotta say.  Awesome flavor, nice smoke taste.  But dang if it wasn't a little dry and a little chewy.  What am I doing wrong?  My co-worker from Texas assures me that even when you do it right, it can wind up being a little dry and chewy.  And that's part of my frustration.  I don't know exactly what good brisket is supposed to taste like. 

     I've had it in restaurants where it's all tender where you cut it with a fork, but that's almost like they take the slices after they cook it and stick 'em in a crock pot with barbecue sauce.  Surely that can't be the way you're supposed to do it.  Any help?

    Sunday, August 15, 2010

    Car Wash Mike: A Tribute

    On July 4th, the world lost a rib master.  "Car Wash Mike" McKernan won awards for his ribs.  But his generous spirit was what impressed me.  I knew his technique before I encountered Mike.  But once I started asking questions about rib prep on I was stunned to find that Mike himself would patiently field questions from me and other newbies.  The takeaway I got from Mike is that the ribs that you like are the best you'll prepare.  Don't try to cook them to please a judge or other crowds.
    It was only this week that I realized Mike had passed.  I was catching up on Dave's awesome blog: My Carnivorous Habits when I saw he'd done ribs in memory of Mike.  What?!  I had sort of taken a hiatus from the online community while I was doing some traveling during July, so this all went right under my radar.  Of course when I went back to the Egghead Forum I saw the outpouring of support. 

    Saturday Labon and I did a 2 rack salute to Mike.  As his technique suggests, we gave the ribs a light coating of yellow mustard.  We then rubbed 'em with a Kansas City style rub I picked up at the Carolina Eggfest.

    Mike believed that cold ribs took on smoke better, so while the Egg settled in around 200f, the ribs chilled in the freezer wrapped in foil.  For the smoke I was using some gorgeous apple wood chunks my dad gave me.  They soaked in water for a couple of hours Saturday morning prior to getting started.

    The ribs went on right at noon.  We poured a little out for Mike as the ribs went on and his beer sat on the table throughout the cook.  After 5 hours we took the ribs off to get the temp up to 275f and slapped on Stubb's spicy barbecue sauce before putting them on for the finish.

    We left these going a little longer than usual--nearly 6 hours by the time they came off.  That meant they were a little less juicy than some that we've done lately, but I honestly like the texture better this way I think.  They were not yet fall off the bone, but they were getting close.  They were mighty tasty.  I think Mike would have enjoyed them.

    Thank you, Mike.

    Sunday, August 8, 2010

    Bone In Pork Chops

    The T Rex method is becoming my favorite way to do thick cuts of chops or steak.  By the way, you can see in that picture that I've been doing enough searing that I had to get a Rutland gasket after frying that which my Egg came with.  The Rutland gasket is rated for temps over 700f so I went for it.

    So the T Rex.  It's so simple.  You get the Egg roaring somewhere north of 600f.  After coating the chops in coarse cracked pepper and salt you drop them on the hot grate.  I go about 30 seconds before rotating the chops about 90 degrees.  That gives the cross-hatched sear marks.  After another 30 seconds I flip them. On the other side I go 30 seconds, rotate.  Then 30 seconds before taking them back inside to rest.

    You bring the Egg back down to around 400f which takes about 20 minutes.  Once it's cooled down you bring the chops back out to cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until you get an internal temp of about 140f.  Take them off and rest them for about 5 minutes and you're done. 

    This method really gives you tasty crust on the outside and nice tender juice on the inside.  I'm a fan.  These chops went down with one of my favorite beers: Sweetwater 420, brewed down in Georgia.  Mmm.

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Cast Iron Rehab: Denouement

    Alright so maybe I'll have more electrifying series than Cast Iron Rehab month here at Grillknuckles.  But you deserve resolution.  So here it goes.  I got the last of the most stubborn stuff off using a wire brush on the end of a drill.
    You know.  At the end of the day, this thing was danged purdy.

    I put the pan in the oven at 200f with some Crisco rubbed on it.  About every 20 minutes for an hour I took it out and kept rubbing in Crisco.  Apparently it's now officially seasoned.

    Truth be known I think it's getting the most use for frying up hot dogs for the kids.  But this pan was born to fry bacon, baby.  Have you ever seen a happier pan?

    Here's one thing I struggle with.  Crud is left all over the surface after I cook just about anything.
    I scour all that off using just hot water and then rub it down with some olive oil or vegetable oil when I'm done.  Am I doing this right?  After one recent cook I scrubbed it so well that I checked back later and it was oxidizing (this was before I started the oil rub down).  Am I supposed to leave the crud on there?

    I'm told the best steak you'll ever cook is the steak that you sear using rendered duck fat in your cast iron pan.  Haven't tried it yet.  Anyone else ever cooked with duck fat?

    Monday, August 2, 2010

    Eggtoberfest 2010

    Registration opened today for Eggtoberfest 2010 outside of Atlanta!  This year the cost of a demo Egg includes 2 tickets to the fest.  My next door neighbor has a conflict that weekend, but he's hired me and Labon as his mules to get his Demo Egg back across the GA and SC state lines. 

    In other words since we were heading down there anyway, we'll haul his Egg back and enjoy his 2 tickets that come with it.  It's the mythical win-win.  Besides, now my neighbor and I will be able to compare notes and ribs, etc.  We're going to need a gate in that fence we keep climbing over.

    Who else is going?

    So nobody likes a blog post without a photo.  So here are some ribs I made for my mother in law.  They were good.  I'm loving Stubb's sauce on ribs these days.

    And here's a shot of my son, who taught me the real way to eat fresh strawberries.  If you worry about where the juice winds up, then you fail to enjoy the berry.

    See y'all at Eggtoberfest?