Thursday, May 30, 2013

Beef Ribs (and some veggies.)

Pulled a four bone rack of beef ribs from the freezer. Just over 2 lb. Not an excess of meat on them, but should be good enough for dinner. They'll go on the mini-WSM for a nominal four hours.

Weather is warm and windy. Temperature is reported at 82°F and wind is about 20 mph and gusty. The sky is mostly cloudy. We may get some rain/thunderstorms before the cook is done.

Beef will be simple with salt (coarse sea salt) and coarse ground black pepper. I drizzled a little canola oil on the upper surface of the beef as well to promote moistness.

Cook is on the mini-WSM using mostly left over charcoal from previous cooks. A couple chunks of mesquite were added for smoke. I may throw some apple, oak and mesquite chips in later. With the smoker closed up, the top vent is full open (as always) and the two bottom vents are open about 1/4" each. I'd like to see temps around 275-300°F. On the 18 kettle, I've started some lump and plan to roast some red peppers. When they're done, I'll put some foiled spuds on the coals. Eventually I'll roast some broccoli and green onions as well.

A few new coals and the potatoes go right on them.

When the meat came off the mini-WSM, I dumped the remaining coals in the kettle to replenish that fire for grilling vegetables.

timetemp comment
2:25 PM
Ribs on!
2:49 243°
I'd like to see a little more heat so I opened the second bottom vent a little.
3:01248°Light rain starting and I can hear the rumble of distant thunder.
3:08246°Raining harder now. :( Hopefully will pass by momentarily.
3:20 244°Sun is out and smoker temp is recovering - Yay! Foil wrapped spuds on the kettle in the coals.
3:51264°Sun is back out, thunder in the distance and it is hot and muggy!
4:10264°Threw some oak chips on the fire. Spuds may be done. Need to squeeze them with some oven mitts to see.
4:22240°Temperature inexplicably dropping following application of oak chips so I stirred the fire a bit. Spuds off the coals and onto the safe zone.
5:21261Meat off. OK, done in three hours.

grate => ET-732 cooker probe sticking in the grommet in the mid-section.

This picture is about half way through the cook.

And the closest I came to a plated picture.

The beef was good - these are probably the best beef ribs I've made and the difference was cooking them a little longer. That renders off more of the fat. Though these had little meat on them, the meat was tender and juicy. The food cooked on the other cooker came out well too. Most of the peppers were reserved for making a spread but I put a little in the salad. Potatoes, broccoli and onions were good. The onions are actually a little stringy but flavor is mild and sweet. I guess we get more fiber from them. ;)

There is nothing I need to do differently next time. I could have used a second Smokey Joe instead of the 18" kettle, but I'm not sure I have a cast iron grate that will fit a Smokey Joe.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Four Boston Butts

Need some pulled pork for the ChiTech tech fair tomorrow and some more to take to Kamp Koegel over the Memorial Day holiday. We also plan to serve pulled pork when the kids visit tomorrow. I purchased two twin packs from Sam's Club that were just over 13 lb each.

(The labels have older labels undrneath. Last week butts were $1.28 at Sams. Grrr...)

Weather at the start of the smoke is 67°F with light clouds and no wind - ideal conditions! We expect to hit mid 70s and there might be some scattered showers (though none on the radar yet.) We peaked at 74° at about 1:00 and now we're at 67°. It did eventually drizzle for the last hour or two of the cook.

I prepared a rub similar to the one I used for this cook with the addition of Ancho powder and some salt and sugar and some mustard seed. Something else I did differently was to not make a slurry with the rub and oil. I just put it on dry. It seems like the rub went a little farther as a result.
  • 2 Tbsp black Pepper (whole)
  • 2 Tbsp Rosemary (dry, whole)
  • 1 Tbsp Coriander (whole)
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 2 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika.
  • 1 Tbsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp powdered onion
  • 2 Tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Tbsp powdered garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
One butt will get Slap Yo' Daddy original meat rub as a comparison. (I scored 'X' marks in the fat on this one to identify it.)

I'm also doing a Jimmy Dean Sage Sausage fatty. Half of it got some Big Poppa Happy Ending Finishing Rub.

Here are the butts rubbed and ready to go. They probably sat there about 2 hours while I prepared the cooker and the fire settled.

My initial plan was to smoke on the 18" WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) but after looking at the size of the butts and the 18" grate, I decided to use the 22" WSM. It is fired with Royal Oak briquettes and for smoking wood I'm using hickory, apple, box elder and one chunk of black walnut. I'm going with a foiled water pan to see how that goes. After starting the fire I closed up the cooker which seemed to be producing a lot of smoke. I let it run for about 40 minutes before putting the meat on. Temperatures are being measured using using both ET-732 and ET-73.

timetemp comment
9:10 AM
Smoker closed up. Closed bottom vents to one about 1/2 open.
Lid at 200 and smoke shooting out of the lid vent and every other crack. Need to let the fire settle a little before proceeding. 
Meat on! (Grate was about 260°)
10:0557°/230°/116°/235° (pork/grate/fatty/lid)Off to a good start.
10:3370°/246°/165°/I think I need to probe the fatty with a hand held probe. It may be done! No. Repositioned to get a better reading - 132°.
11:1193°/261°/166°/255°Fatty off and resting. (And a little carved from the end is delicious!) At this point the meat probe from the ET-73 is left on the top grate to provide a second cooker temperature measurement.
12:22133°/280°/280°/265°Cruising along, doing fine, having a fatty sandwich for lunch!
1:37167°/253°/253°/240°Knocked the coals about a bit. Threw in a couple small pieces of hickory and apple.
3:10 181°/241°/243°/235°Time to throw on some more briquettes.
5:19192°/253°/251°/230°Bone wiggle says top butts are done. They're coming off and butts on bottom racks will be checked. Two butts on the bottom need a little more time. Bottom butt is presently probing at 181°. Light rain starting.
6:22187°/284°/***/220°Light rain continues. I wiggled the bones on the remaining two and I think they need a little more time.
6:58189°/228°/***/210°Need to stir the coals. Coals nearly gone - threw a few more in. Butts nearly done.
7:37190°/293°/***/*** Last two butts off and resting.

(pork/grate/fatty/lid) => pork and grate are on the ET-732 and the fatty is on the ET-73. The grate temperature is measured at the bottom grate.

The fatty came off after about an hour and twenty minutes and was delicious! I sliced a little and made a sandwich for lunch. This was a nice little treat while I waited for the smoke to proceed.

The two butts on the top rack were done first.

They came off at 5:20 PM. As is typical when I lift them, some of the meat stuck to the grate and provided some small pieces to taste. :D Very good! I think it was some with the S-Y-D rub. It seemed a little salty. Here are the first two to come off the cooker.

And all four done and ready to rest.

The butts were very tasty. I'm not sure I could tell much difference between the two rubs except that mine had a hint of black pepper whereas the Slap Yo' Daddy was a little salty. These flavors are only noticeable when tasting the bark. In the final mix I doubt they will make anything more than a very subtle difference.

I could probably have left the butts on a little longer. This is the first time I tried to determine doneness using the 'wiggle the bone' technique. The butts were still a little firm. Not making an oil based slurry for the rub did not seem to make any difference.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Country Ribs and Ground Turkey

Cindy wanted to get a pork shoulder to make Carne de Puerco. She couldn't find a shoulder (not knowing it was also called a pork butt) and got country ribs instead. Not to worry... country ribs are just a butt sliced into 2" thick slabs. There is actually a benefit for smoking since there is more exposed area so there will be more smoky flavor. (I should mention that while Carne de Puerco is traditionally made by boiling the pork in a pot with the seasonings, I'll start it in the smoker and then we'll finish it in the traditional method.) The other thing to cook is ground turkey to be used for some  Moroccan White Bean Turkey.

Weather is gorgeous with full sun, temperature already at 70° and wind light at 3-5 mph.

I rubbed the pork with Slap Yo' Daddy original meat rub to which I added some ground Ancho and a little ground Chipotle for a Mexican slant. To the turkey I added garlic cloves and a the spices that substitute for the PC Moroccan rub.

This is going to smoke in the mini-WSM. The turkey is in a medium Dutch oven (with no cover) on the bottom rack and the pork on the top. I'm using Royal Oak bisquettes with a mix of smoking wood including hickory, cherry and maple chunks with some Jack Daniels oak chips and mesquite chips. The water pan is still foiled from my last cook (smoking a ham last Thursday.) This is using the Smokey Joe Gold and I have a single bottom vent cracked open to keep temps low. Temperature is measured using the Maverick ET-732 with the long curved cooker probe stuck between the Dutch oven and the side of the cooker.

timetemp comment
10:09 AM°Meat on!
10:24189°Cooker temperature is pretty much where I want it.
10:56187°Going to open the cooker so I can stir the turkey.
11:16234°Following the last opening, I opened the vent a bit. 
11:40252°time to stir turkey again.
12:52277°time to take the pork off.

Turkey was very tasty.

The pork was a little heavily spiced and a little chewy. That was by design because I expected to use it in another recipe but we wound up having some for dinner. It was a little hot but still good.

The only thing I would like to do differently is put food to be smoked in a shallower cast iron pan (which I do not have.) Perhaps I should get a 12" fry pan and cut the handle off. :D