Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Boxing Day Standing Rib Roast

We decided to do a standing rib roast for Christmas this year. Our plans are slightly constrained because we're heading into Chicago on Boxing Day to celebrate with our kids and we need to accommodate our grandson's sleep schedule. We also need to respect our daughter-in-law's need for rest and privacy as she is going to deliver our next grandchild any day now, so we have a 3 hour window this afternoon. Our plan is to arrive about 2:30-3:00 and stay until about 6:00. Most, if not all food is being prepared off site and I plan to finish the roast just in time to rest so it is ready to carve upon our arrival. I could probably hold it a little longer if needed but that seems unlikely as the meat did not hit the grill until almost 10:00

Weather is chilly at about 16°F and might hit 20° before the cook is complete. Wind is very light reported at about 3 mph and skies are cloudy. A few flakes of snow are falling.

The meat has been dry aged for a week now. Here it is fresh from the market.

Five days later it had darkened considerably. It darkened a little more in the next three days before the cook.

I rubbed this morning with cracked pepper and coriander and Kosher salt before I set up the cooker. I've placed a foil pan under the roast to capture any drippings. Here it is shortly after going on.

The cook is being done on the 18 WSM. I want to cook at about 225° and the smoker provides the tightest temperature control. Fire is using Royal Oak briquettes with a few chunks of oak and some hickory and mesquite for smoke flavor. When the meat hit a target temperature of about 120° I plan to move it to a hot 22" kettle for a reverse sear. The kettle was fired with a chimney of lump and held indirect using a firebrick standing on edge. Following the cook, the meat would be wrapped in foil and held in a preheated cooler for transport to our kids place where we were going to eat Christmas dinner. That would give it an extended rest.

timetemp comment
Close up the cooker with all vents wide open. Foiled the water pan and have a foil pan on the lower grate to capture any juices.
Cooker temps about 180° and climbing so I'll close two bottom vents and leave the last about half open.
Meat probe laying on top grate at 201° and cooker temp reading 208° and these seem to be stable. Might have to open a bottom vent a bit.
Meat on! IT initially reading 41°F. I guess I could have gotten up earlier and let it come closer to room temperature.
9:4441°/212°/195° (meat/grate/lid)
10:0754°/252°/Need to close one of the bottom vents as temp is slowly climbing past where I want it.
12:18111°/193°/210°Stirred the coals a bit. 
12:47120°/194°/194°Closed the cooker up while I got the kettle fired up with some Royal Oak lump.
Transfer to 400° kettle to sear.

The meat had a uniform rare appearance and tasted great! It might have had an over smoked flavor, but that was only a problem in the end pieces. It produced a lot of au jus while resting and unfortunately some of it escaped the foil and was in the bottom of the cooler. There was enough in the foil to serve with the beef. Before carving, I cut off the bones (4 ribs) and saved them for later. I did those for a couple hours the next day in the kettle. Those ribs were great!

No plated pix but here is the roast ready to come off the smoker. The top part pulled back a little away from the rib ends when I seared at high temperature.

What to do differently next time. I might go with a little less smoking wood.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Couple more stuffed faties

I had a roll of breakfast sausage in the fridge and needed to use it or freeze it. I decided it smarter to use it. :D And besides, we have finished the fatty I made a little while ago. I also had this package of ground beef in the refrigerator that I wanted to deal with. I decided to mix it with the sausage and wrap it around a roll of chorizo sausage with some sharp cheddar.

Weather was warm today with temps warm at about 39°F. Sky was cloudy and wind was light at just under 10 mph.

I started mixing the ground beef and breakfast sausage. There was enough for two fatties.

It spreads out on was paper pretty easily with a wood spatula moistened with warm water.

And then spread out some cheese and get the chorizo ready to roll.

This time I twisted the ends of the wax paper to see if that would seal them up.

These also roll out nicely with a second piece of wax paper and a rolling pin.

Both fatties went into the freezer to firm up a little while I prepared the bacon weave.

And ready to put on the fire. (Should have had a little more bacon.)

I cooked again on the 14 WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain). I fired it with some Royal Oak lump and a few pieces of hickory. Water pan was dry and foiled. I started with two bottom vents open and cut that back to one part way through the cook. I measured cooker and meat temperature using a Maverick ET-732. When the meat hit 155° internal temperature I cranked the heat up by removing the water pan and opening all bottom vents. I also stirred the charcoal a bit to knock the ash free. When the meat hit 170° I took it off to rest and put some zucchini on to grill.

timetemp comment
3:55°Close up the cooker and wait for the fire to settle. Two bottom vents wide open.
4:05245°/???°/???° (lid/meat/grate)Meat on!
4:40280°/115°/295°Went to one bottom vent open. I would like to go a little slower and allow more fat to render off.
5:20290°/158°/280°Pulled the foiled water pan out, stirred the coals and opened all vents to get some heat to see if I can crisp the bacon.
5:45335°/171°/363° Meat off and zucchini to go on.

These fatties are great! The spicy core blends with the wrapper and the cheese just adds another shade. I wish the bacon wrap would crisp but it tastes good nevertheless. Add some hickory smoke flavor to that and it is just fantastic!

What to do differently next time: Twisting the ends seem to have sealed the cheese in pretty well. the bacon still didn't crisp. Maybe next time fire up a separate kettle really hot to see if that does it. Maybe put the fatty on the bottom rack to get it closer to the coals.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

That's a Wrap!

Flush with the win at the BBQ-Brethren "Spin to Win" throwdown, I'm preparing another entry. The current theme is "That's a Wrap!" I've done plenty of naked fatties - had some for dinner just last night - but I'm going to do something a little special for this one. I've seen some with the bulk sausage wrapped around another sausage and then the whole thing wrapped in a bacon weave. I'm starting with hot Italian sausage, some sharp cheddar and savory sage bulk sausage. I'll finish it off with a wrapping of bacon weave.

Weather is COLD with temperature at 17°F and wind a little over 10 mph.

Ingredients are listed above. I stuck the sausage and bacon in the freezer to harden them a little for easier handling. I then rolled the sausage out on a piece of parchment paper (ran out of wax paper) and then peeled the casing off the Italian sausage and set them approximately in the middle. I sliced some sharp cheddar and spread it on either side of the Italian sausage. Then I rolled the assembly up in parchment paper and stuck it back in the freezer to harden a little more. While that was going on, I separated my bacon and wove it on a piece of parchment. When that was done, I got the sausage assembly out of the freezer and rolled it up in the weave. That went back in the freezer while I got the fire started.

Components ready to roll

Everything goes better with bacon!

Bacon weave was built on parchment to facilitate assembly

Ends are loose - not sure what to do with them.

The cook will happen on the 14 WSM as it seems an ideal size. If it finishes before the fire goes out, I'll smoke some mixed nuts as well. I plan to see how hot the 14 will get by firing with a good supply of lump and leaving all vents wide open. I mixed a few pieces of hickory in with the lump to provide some additional smoke. As I type this (nearly an hour onto the cook) it seems that the cooker is not going to get too hot. It's been holding about 250°.

timetemp comment
12:50 PM
Closed up the cooker with lit coals. All vents open to see what it does. Got bacon I want to crisp.
12:58255°Meat on!
1:26250°Not as hot as I expected. But the bacon is cooking. Might need to finish in a kettle that I can get a little hotter. Added three Italian sausages. Might as well smoke them while I have the smoker running.
1:58250°Italian sausages look good and progress is evident on the fatty. I'll check Internal temperatures in 15 minutes.
2:25260°Sausages temp at 200° and fatty at 160°. Pulled the sausages and removed the foiled bowl to see if I could get some more heat on the fatty to crisp the bacon.
2:33290°We be crisping! Carefully turned the fatty over.
2:35290°And off

Now to prep the nuts.
2:55290°Nuts on
3:15210°Stirred and opened a second bottom vent.
3:35245°Stirred some more.
4:07265°Stirred probably one last time.
4:30235°Nuts off. Surprisingly the ones in the bottom rack were more done.

Just fits on a 14 WSM

Half hour in - added some sausages.

Ready to come off

Looking good - the sausages should have come off sooner though.

What to do differently next time: First I need to get the sausages off before they hit 200°. Next I'd want to get the fatty on high heat to crisp the bacon before it hits 160°. Lastly, I'd want to do something with the ends to keep the cheese in the fatty.  I could either trim the inner sausages so I can close the ends (or roll the bulk sausage out a little more. Perhaps tie some butcher string around the end. With regard to the nuts, it would be useful to swap trays from top to bottom grate for more even smoking.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Pepper Stout Beef and Turkey

Beef and Bell Peppers

Beef chuck roasts were on sale ($3.69/lb) so I picked up two for a little more than four pounds total. They're steaks about 2" thick rather than one big chunk-O-beef. Bell peppers were on sale as well so I picked up two meaty ones and some jalapeƱos. Already have some stout and garlic. Once again I'm following the Wolfe Pit recipe.

But wait! There's more! I'm also going to cook a 20 lb turkey provided by Alice Hanes for First Friday. I plan to do it on the rotisserie (hoping to learn from previous results.) I will time it to finish about the time we are ready to head out and then carve at the party. (Scroll past the PSB entry to find this one.)

Weather is chilly at 16°F with light clouds and wind light reported at 10 mph. We may not get any warmer through the day.

Beef was rubbed liberally with cracked black pepper and Kosher salt. The remaining flavors will go on in the Dutch oven.

This is being cooked on the 14" WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain.) This cooker seems to work best with lump charcoal so I used the remainder of a bag of Cowboy Lump and topped it up with some Royal Oak lump. I mixed in a few small chunks mesquite and hickory for flavor and made sure the wood and charcoal was fairly tightly packed for a better burn. I', starting with the three bottom vents about half open and will adjust as necessary. An ideal cooker temperature would be 275°-325°F. Temperature is measured using the ET-73 with the meat probe in the upper piece of meat and the cooker probe kind of wedged into the upper grate.

timetemp comment
10:00 AM°Beef on!
10:14215°/226°/73° (lid/grate/meat)
Still heating up.
10:52215°/226°/126°Seems low but the meat is moving so no changes will be made.
11:24285°/284°/142°Temperature came up w/out intervention.
12:19250°/262°/156°Opened the door and stirred the coals.
1:19225°/279°/163°Time to pot up with the pepper and stout. Unusual lid thermometer reading.
1:40210°/259°Time to open the bottom vents, stir the coals and let 'er rip!
2:47205°/261°Need to bring in and finish in the oven.
5:00350° (Oven temperature)Uncovered beef - it is starting to fall apart.
6:00350° Covered, left in oven and oven turned off.

Results: Flavor great! It could have been cooked a wee bit more as the chunks took a little encouragement to break up. Flavor balance and heat were perfect.

What to do differently next time. Nothing, really.

Another rotisserie turkey!

(Same weather as above.)

The bird is injected so I'm not brining. I will rub with oil and stuff with fresh herbs and onion, orange, garlic and celery. I'll probably make some gravy too.

I'll set the rotisserie on my Performer and cook with lump charcoal. I'll probably go with apple an cherry for smoking wood though I'm thinking of adding a little mesquite and hickory as well. Temperature is via lid thermometer and a probe poked tenuously through the slot for the spit rod.

timetemp comment
2:20 PM
Bird on! Bottom vent about half open and top full. Temp is climbing fast! But that's supposed to be good for starting the bird so I'll let it ride.
2:45421°/280° (remote/lid)
3:30293°/170°Threw more lump, apple and cherry on the fire. Bird looking good!
4:20300°+-/170°No more remote reading. It was winding up around the spit. Good thing I checked it before it ran out of cable! I need a better way to do that, probably using a hole in the ring. I had the cooker open so I could put a thermometer in the thigh so I can measure meat temperature.
Coals almost gone and temp is dripping. Thigh probes at 165 and thigh at 157. Time to prepare to hold the bird. Threw a few more coals on.
Bird off and in the pre-warmed cooler.

Results: Turkey came out barely done. I suppose this is a good thing. The leg joints were just starting to loosen. The result was moist meat. And the stitching job held and contents of the body cavity remained in place. 

What to do differently next time: I need to work on the flavor profile. I have to plan some sort of further seasoning either under the skin or on it.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are celebrating with family and they have procured a 28 lb bird that is home raised. We're not sure about the breed but the shape looks a little different from the run of the mill store bought birds so it might be a heritage breed.

Weather is calm at 25°F with a light cloud cover. Wind is reported at about 12 mph but we're surrounded by trees and things at ground level are calm. Perfect weather for a cook!

This bird was not injected so we brined it for about 20 hours using:

  • 2 C pickling salt
  • 1 C sugar
  • 6 C apple juice
  • 2 C orange juice
  • 1 C lemon juice
  • 1 C lime juice
  • Sufficient water to bring volume up to 2 gallons.

After brining, the bird was rinsed about 15 minutes and spitted. With the spit in place I stuffed the cavities with:
  • 2 limes
  • one orange
  • 2 onions 
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • sprigs of thyme, sage and rosemary (all fresh from the garden.)
This time I took some little metal skewers and trussed up the openings so the fruit doesn't fall out as the bird rotates. I was also able to achieve fairly good balance so if the bird doesn't shift on the spit, we should get good rotation. Before putting the bird on, I spread the outside with oil. (Ordinary cooking oil - canola.)

Spitted and trussed and ready to spin!
I brought along my older Platinum (22.5 Weber kettle) on which to cook. This is fitted with my home made rotisserie ring. We're firing with Cowboy Lump and using chunks of cherry and apple for some smoke flavor. I'll be aiming for a little less than 300°F lid thermometer temperature as the last bird finished pretty fast.

Turkey on and cooker closed up.
I need to do a better job trussing these birds up. By an hour in, the leg end was loose and rolling on the spit and the stuff from the cavity was mostly in the drip pan.

About an hour into the cook.
timetemp comment
Lit lump dumped in the bowl on either side of a double drip pan and cooker closed up.
11:45350°Bird on! 
11:55300°Closed bottom just a bit more. No desire to rush this one. (Started cook with bottom vent about half open.)
12:38220°/282° (lid/spit)Added ET-732 probe to spit rod opening for second opinion temperature measurement. The lid therm is reading low!
2:50220°/282°While out running, temperature started dropping so son put more charcoal in and cleared the vents of ash. Temp seems back up. Probed meat and got about 155°, breast and thigh. Skin on back and legs is splitting so I brushed the bird with more canola oil.
4:40???/300°180° breast and a little less thigh so it's off and resting.
(lid/spit) => Weber lid thermometer and Maverick ET-732 probe stuck in by the spit rod opening.

Turkey was tasty but dry. The information I saw that suggested I take it to 185° was bogus. Also this bird had no fat. None evident in the usual places and none in the drip pan.

What to do differently next time: Don't go to 180°! If I have one that's devoid of fat, I need to baste more and/or put some butter under the skin. An injection of butter might be good too.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Turkey Trial

For Turkey Day I'll be cooking a 28 pound bird. A little later for First Friday I'll be doing a 20 lb bird. I'm thinking of using my rotisserie for this so I will run a trial today using the cheapest frozen 12 pound bird I could pick up. (Jenny-O, $0.79/lb) I'll do it on the Performer using left over lump and some apple and cherry for smoking wood.

We're running 39°F under sunny skies with winds brisk at about 15 mph.

With the turkey ready I started fire building about 2:30 PM. That's piling the left over mostly lump into the chimney and getting it lit. I also split up some chunks of apple and cherry for smoking wood.

This smoke is being done on the Performer using the Rotisserie ring. The bird has been stuffed with sliced orange, onion, garlic and fresh rosemary, thyme and sage. Part way through the cook I moved the covered Silver A upwind of the Performer to afford some block from the wind. Didn't seem to make much difference.

timetemp comment
2:55 PM
Dumped lit lump out on either side of a drip pan and dropped a couple chunks of apple and cherry on the coals.
Rotisserie ring in place and spitted turkey rotating. Counter weight does not quite offset the eccentricity but helps I suppose.
3:22300° (lid)Temp seems to have settled here for now.
3:45305°Took pix and bird has lots of color! And the stuffing is falling out of it. :-/
4:20250°Probed 155° by thighs and 135° in breast. Was the breast still a little frozen when I started? Also added more lump and smoking wood.
4:50300°Breast probed 156° and thigh about 160°. Huh?
5:10300°Breast probing 167° and thigh at 166° - Done! Off and resting.
Cooker temps measured using the lid thermometer.

Bird about 45 minutes in.
Almost ready to take off the grill.
Partly carved
Turkey was very good! Skin was crisp and smoke flavor good. White meat ... was not dry. It's never going to be as moist as the dark meat which was very moist on this bird. Some of the stuff in the body cavity came out but the bird still tasted good.

What to do differently next time: I need to truss up the body cavity better so stuff doesn't fall out. Maybe leave an orange cut in half and run the spit through it to plug the opening. Maybe I could back off on the heat after the first half hour or so. It must have been pretty hot to finish a 12 pound turkey in 2:10.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Do you want to smoke?

This is another departure from my typical record of a cook. It is for the benefit of friends who want to have a go at smoking but aren't ready to plunk down hundreds of dollars for a Weber Smokey Mountain. Weber kettles are very versatile charcoal cookers and with proper technique can make terrific BBQ. My suggestion is to watch for a decent used kettle. The bowl and lid are porcelain coated and unless beat up badly, will last for decades. Grates and the One Touch system parts are wear items and can be had at your local Ace Hardware of Amazon for a modest price. Or go crazy and get a a 22" OTG (One Touch Gold) for about $150. (I do recommend sticking with the 22" kettle vs. the smaller 18" size.) Whereas Weber kettles are often available used, the Smokey Mountain is almost as rare as hens teeth on the used market.

Here is an article that the proprietor of The Weber Kettle Club wrote to compile various methods to smoke on a Weber: 8 Easy Options to Smoke on a Weber Kettle. Techniques I have personally used include the charcoal basket and my recent favorite, the snake:

Photo credit: cookingmama at Weber Kettle Club
I used a double snake the first time I made pepper stout beef to get a higher temperature and it worked very well.

This got me 375°F+ and worked well for the first and second stages of cooking the beef.

Want to smoke? Do it!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Hanging spares for fishing

My dear fishing buddy asked for something from the smoker. Already got pulled pork and pepper stout beef but it is hard to beat ribs so I thawed a cryovac pack of three racks of spares. I'll have two cookers going since I did nuts in the mini earlier and have followed that with thick slices of butternut squash.

Weather conditions have deteriorated since I started this morning. It's raining. Not hard but more than a drizzle. The little cooker is holding its own against the rain and hopefully so will the big cooker. Temperature is still mild at 61°F and wind just a bit over 10 mph.

This is a lazy cook. I just cracked open a bottle of Slap Yo' Daddy rub and sprinkled that on the ribs. I didn't even pull the membrane off rationalizing that it was best to keep on for hanging ribs. I did hang the ribs from the end with the biggest bones (front of the pig? I should swap one around to put the thicker end close to the fire. I'll do that now.

This was done on the 18 WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) with no grates or water bowl. Instead I used the rack I made from 3/8 rebar. The fire was made using Cowboy lump with hickory, apple and some black walnut for smoking wood. Fire was started using the Minion method and the cooker closed soon after the hot coals were dumped on the fire lay.

Ribs hanging in the 18.5 WSM
The quantity of smoke in the picture probably results from meat juices and rain dripping on the coals compounded by very high humidity.

timetemp comment
1:35 PM
Fire on the coals and close up smoker. Temperature is coming up quickly (empty smoker...) so I went to one bottom vent open.
Meat on!
2:00181°/180°(remote/lid)Opened one more bottom vent (two open now.)
2:15264°/230°Opened the cooker to flip one rack thin end up.
5:10280°/260°Rain stopped - Ribs look done! Closing down smoker and getting ribs off in a minute.
Ribs off and resting!

Ribs were good. The first thing I tried was one that hung front end (thick end) up. The lower end was predictably dry - kind of like jerky - though it still tasted good. The other end seemed like it was verging on being dry though it was not actually dry. I wonder if spares made this way would be a good candidate for wrapping before they finish. They also seem a tad bit oversmoked.

Off the smoker and ready to rest!

I think that I'll either go back to doing spares on the grate with water in the pan or perhaps try wrapping them before they are done. When hung, I'll hang the skinny end up.

Soup to nuts

No soup today, but the saying has me thinking... I wonder how butternut squash soup would taste if the butternut was smoked first.

Today is nuts. This is the first recipe in Weber Smoke (I think - can't find my copy right now.) Mix:
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil (I used peanut oil this time.)
Toss this with 2C salted mixed nuts and put in a foil pan to put on the smoker. Smoke until done, typically about 20 minutes or so depending on level of smoke desired and the temperature of the smoker.

Mixed nuts smoking on the 14.5 WSM.

Before the cook was complete, I decided to smoke a butternut squash. I peeled and seeded it and cut it into thick slices - about 1". After the nuts were done, I put the squash on and it remained on until smoker temperature began to drop off, about 2 1/2 hours. It was still pretty firm but was done enough to freeze. We had one slice for dinner and I plan to freeze the rest to be used for other recipes (such as soup.)

After the nuts were finished the squash went on to pick up some smoky flavor.

Weather is kind of crappy today with a light drizzle. We might have gotten as much as 3" of rain over night. Maybe more. Temperature is mild at 61°F. Wind is moderate at about 10 mph.

Today I'm doing a double recipe using two foil pans in the 14.5 WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain.) I'm firing with Cowboy lump and have stuck a few small pieces of hickory, apple, black walnut and mesquite in there. Once the mini-chimney was lit I dumped it over the rest and assembled the smoker with one bottom vent of three open. Water pan is w/out water and foiled. In about ten minutes the temperature was approaching 200°F and I put the nuts on.

timetemp comment
9:32195° (lid)Nuts on!
9:52215°Opened up to stir the nuts. Getting of to a slow start but no problem.
10:23260°Coming along nicely - could come off in a couple minutes. Make another batch? Yes!
10:35275°Nuts off!

Nuts on! (second batch) This was about 50% more - 6 C of mixed nuts.
Added more smoking wood and stirred the coals.
11:21260°Time to stir again.
Time to stir again.
12:30255°Nuts off. Rain has picked up a little but seems not to be affecting the smoker too much.

Squash on! OK, I changed my mind and as long as the smoker is still going, I'll do some smoked butternut squash.
2:15230°Raining - not drizzling. No surprise that temperature is holding. Squash looks like it is coming along too.
2:49175°Opened two bottom vents (all three now open) to see if I can get one more kick. maybe the fuel is all burned out.
3:00180°Squash off - stirred what remains of the coal and smoking wood to see if there is any more heat to be gained.
4:19175°Last gasp of heat is done.

Nuts are good! Only thing to do differently with those would be to divide them more evenly (instead of 1/3, 2/3 at a time.) The squash took on a smoky flavor and while not particularly tasty, I will defer final judgement until it is used in some other recipe.

Overall the performance of the small WSM seems to be good when burning lump. It holds a steady temperature for an extended time with little to no fiddling.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

UDR maiden Voyage

Having painted the outside of my rotisserie ring yesterday I an eager to put it to use. The ring is made from a 55 gallon drum, hence the UDR (Ugly Drum Rotisserie) moniker. Perdue Oven Stuffers were on sale for $.99/lb so I picked two up as they are near ideal for rotisserie cooking. They are about 7 lb each (and only have 3% retained water, whatever that is. At least I think they are not injected.)

Winter must be fast approaching with temperatures in early afternoon at 42°F and wind moderate at a little over 10 mph. The sky is mostly cloudy (with a few patches of blue peeing through.)

I plan to use a Roadside Chicken recipe. I mostly went with this one from Epicurious and some additions from Rick Bayless I went a little light on vinegar and squeezed two limes into a double batch of the marinade. I also added a couple tablespoons of ancho powder and a half teaspoon of cayenne. I managed to get the two 7 lb birds into gallon ziploc bags and poured the marinade on them about 2:00 PM. They came out about two hours later to be spitted and trussed prior to going on the rotisserie.

The cook was done on my SS Performer using lump charcoal. (This was mostly Cowboy lump with a little of the Sam's stuff mixed in. No more Sam's. It doesn't burn well.) I threw a couple chunks of mesquite on the coals when the birds went on.

Two birds on the spit.
Closed up and cooking.

Birds nearly done.

timetemp comment
4:20 PM425°Meat on! Closed bottom and top vents to about half.
5:21250Opened top vent full, add some more lump
6:25300One indicator popped, the other not. Probed by thigh and got 161, 165.
6:45300Meat done already!
Add caption
Temperature is via the lid thermometer which may read a little low in this configuration.

Results were good. Temps were right where I wanted them. Near the end I added some more lump but that's not really a problem. For lower temps I would either have to limit fuel additions or provide better sealing. Maybe just closing the bottom vent would do as temperature dropped quite a bit when I closed up the cooker with ring in place. It did not put the fire out so I removed the ring to do that.

Next time I will bias the food more toward the tip of the spit. I had clearance problems getting it into the ring with food closer to the handle. The other thing I need to do is get some foil wrapped spuds on the charcoal or perhaps some other foil pouch veggies. I could even put the grate on the cooker and grill some veggies on it though access would be a little difficult.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Double Your Pleasure!

Two new cookers alongside my Performer (for lighting charcoal and providing a work surface.)

I have recently added two new Weber cookers to the stable. One, the 14.5" Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM), I used for the previous cook. The other, a brand new 26.75 One Touch Gold (OTG) I traded for my '85 flat top 26.75 OTS is being used for the first time. I cast about for what I could do first on the 26 and decided that rather than do something spectacularly big, I would just make a lot of food, taking advantage of the real estate. I recently saw a variation of Hasselback potatoes done in a cast iron pan and selected that for one vegetable. Last night on Primal Grill, Raichlen roasted Brussels sprouts in a cast iron pan over charcoal. When we spotted Brussels sprouts at Sam's, grabbing them was a no brainer. I might grill some yellow squash too. The vegetables will accompany a couple ribeyes and some shrimp that will go on the grill when the veggies are nearly done.

Veggies on the 26.75 kettle.

While at Sam's, I pointed to some chuck roast and mentioned that that's what I use to make Pepper Stout Beef. SWMBO made me get that as well, reminding me that she still needs to eat while I'm out of town on an upcoming fishing trip. I will smoke the chuck roast (two 2" thick pieces) on the little WSM while I prepare dinner on the kettle.

Two chuckies on the little WSM
Add caption

We finally made it to 60°F under somewhat cloudy skies and with winds light at about 10 mph.

The potatoes are sliced about 1/4" thick (somewhat tapered to fit better in a circle) and stood on edge around the edge of a #7 Griswold frying pan. Every few slices, I inserted a slice of red or yellow onion. Before adding a liberal amount of EVOO, I garnished with some garlic and fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme. The sprouts went into the lid of my CI Dutch oven. The recipe called for chunks of bacon which I didn't have so I used 1/4-1/2" chunks of ham and some lard rendered from smoked pork butt fat.

As noted, the cooks are being done on the two new cookers. The OTG is fired with two chimneys of Cowboy lump and the WSM with Cowboy lump with chunks of mesquite and oak. the 26 was operated with about 1/4 open on the bottom vent and wide open top. The 14 WSM was started with two of three bottom vents open.

You can stack chimneys.

Mini-chimney on the 14.5 WSM lighting lump, oak and mesquite.
You can gently warm a couple ribeyes for a reverse sear on the WSM.

Ribeyes and shrimp in the barbie!

Dinner is finished and the WSM is still cruising along at 265°F

Chuckie at 165°F and ready to put on the bed of veggies.

Chuckie (for Pepper Stout Beef) on the bed of onions, peppers ...

And closed up for the next part of the cook.

Kettle with veggies and later ribeye and shrimp.
timetemp comment
3:40°Veggies on!
5:35425Steaks moved from WSM to preheated CI grate on the kettle.
5:40 450Shrimp on.

WSM with chuck roast.
timetemp comment
Meat on!
5:20265°Stack steaks on the chuck in the WSM.
5:40265°Steaks at 95, moved to hot kettle.
6:16265°Chuck at 157
Meat at 161/165, put in the DO with the veggies.
8:50245°Opened the third bottom vent and stirred the coals a bit. There are still a few pieces of charcoal left. I could throw a few more pieces from the 26 into the smoker.
9:10245°Added some charcoal from the 26.
10:05???Opened the Dutch oven and found the chuck probe tender. Shredded it and left it uncovered to reduce liquid a little.
Still had some liquid in it but I took it off the cooker and brought it in.

Steak and shrimp was awesome as were the spuds and sprouts. Weber Kettles Rock!

Everything cooked on the 26 kettle save the green beans.

After a somewhat disappointing first cook on the 14.5 WSM, the second one went w/out a hitch. It seems to run much better on Cowboy lump than RO briquettes. I added some fuel near the end though I'm not sure it was needed. For four hours it cruised along at 265° with two bottom vents open.

Ready to shred.

Ready to serve in all of its warm brown goodness!

Once again I don't really see any problems to solve. At best there might be opportunities for improvement.