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.