Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Brisket Pizza

So with all my cooking and experimenting lately, we've had a lot of extra meat getting vacuum sealed and tossed in the freezer. Solution presented itself when I purchased an Italian cookbook for my wife called Extra Virgin... she decided she wanted some pizza but BBQ too... as, a, result we had Brisket Pizza.

Learned I need to get a couple pizza stones for my pit but we improvised...

Almond flour pizza dough ... proofed for 3 hours and then hand tossed and stretch thin. Rubbed the bottom down with EVO.

Applied homemade tomato sauce (tomatoes from our garden), fresh shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, purple onions, garlic, olives, and smoked brisket. We wanted to add some basil but we were out.

Next time we're going to add some mushrooms and some avocado.

Heated the pit to 450ish ... pizza cooked for 25 to 30 minutes.

As always, thank you again for taking the time to check out my posts.

Surgery for the 4th

So as it turns out the pain in my back that I have been experiencing for that past several months was my gallbladder ... good news is the pain is now gone, bad news is that they took the gallbladder out on the 3rd of July. Bad because I had already committed to doing some briskets for my buddy's family reunion ... somewhere between 25 and 30 people.

I cowboy'd up and enlisted the aid of mentioned buddy. I supervised and he did the manual labor. There were moments where I had to step in and make some fixes to the trim or the making of the sauces/rubs. But over all, he did pretty good.

This was the fun ... I have yellow socks that match the pillow so my wife said I just need some blue overalls and I can be a Minion for Halloween.

Got home that evening and my buddy came over and did the prep work - opened the cryo, rinsed the meat, did some trimming, and then a simple injection ... (1/4 Worcestershire and 3/4 beef broth). Rested them in the fridge, covered, over night. 3:45am I got my 14 year old nephew, who is staying with me, to pause his Xbox game (he staid up all night) to pull the brisket out of the fridge and set on the counter for me. I am not allowed to lift more than 10 to 15 lbs.

Got them uncovered, drained, then wiped down with L&P Worcestershire (gluten free) and rub.
At this point, I paused to take some of my wonderful pain meds... then returned to reality.

By this time, the pit was sitting around 225 (I used my Traeger along with a Pellet Tube Smoker for added smoke), again got my nephew to help load the meat. I also use a small water pan that had to be filled up several times throughout the cook.
At 2 hours in I mop the briskets with my injection mix, plus 2 tbsp of my rub.
Closed it back up and then at 4 and 1/2 hours, pulled the meat for wrapping.

 I love that I am now getting a consistent color every time ... whether it be on the Traeger or my stick burner... these are the two briskets getting my mob and butter treatment for wrapping.  I don't wrap much any more but since I was not as active at watching the meat due to the surgery, I decided to wrap this cook.
Turned the temp up on the pit to around 275... took another 3+ hours to bring the briskets to an internal temp of 198.

When they probed 198, I brought them in, unwrapped them, drained the yummy juice off and saved it for use later. I let the briskets rest unwrapped for about 15 minutes, then I wrapped them in two layers of heavy foil and then put them in an Ice Chest wrapped in towels, where they would rest for 2 to 3 hours.

I am again loving the color ...

As they sliced and chopped the brisket at my buddies house, I unfortunately do not have any more photos. HOWEVER, my wife surprised me and while I was resting she made Filipino BBQ Pork on a Stick, and made fresh juice (strawberries, apples, and carrots). Gotta love my wife!!!

 As always, thanks for reading my posts ... I enjoy sharing, as I am sure y'all can tell.

Apple Wood Huli Huli & Inject Corn

OK so having never made Huli Huli before and after seeing the Wolfe Pits video on it, decided I was going to give it a try. Was very happy with the way it turned out.

Brined the chicken for about 4 hours (while we were at church), came back took it out of the brine, dried it with paper towels, then let sit in the fridge for about 30 minutes while I brought the pit up to 350. Also made the Huli Huli sauce (didn't have light soy sauce so I used a little less than what his recipe called for and I actually added a little bit of honey to the mix just cause).

Rubbed the chicken and then had it on the pit for 45 minutes, flipping the chicken every 5 minutes. At 45 minutes I added the Huli Huli sauce, cooked for 10 minutes, flipped, Huli Huli'd the other side, cooked 10 more minutes, removed from heat, rested for 20 minutes, and served. Pulled chicken when it hit 170 internal.

For the corn I melted some butter, clarified it, added in some sea salt and granulated garlic. After that I loaded up my injector and injected the liquid goodness from each end of the unhusked cob under the husk but not into the corn itself. The corn spent about 40 minutes on the grill. Pulled it off, cut off the end, squeezed and the corn came right out. Brushed it lightly with a little more of the liquid goodness, sliced up some chicken, and sliced up some pineapple. Great dinner. Will be making it again. Maybe a smidge less cayenne and little less salt next time, but definitely on my go to list.

Chicken was spicy sweet and super moist. Corn crunchy and fresh. Was a good cook.

Huli Huli Chicken Brine
    1 Cup - Kosher Salt
    1/2 Cup - White Sugar
    2-3 - Bay Leaves
    2 tsp - Granulated Garlic
    6 Cups - Ice
    4 Cups - Cold Water
    1 Cup - Hot Water
    5 to 6 pound - Whole Chicken (split in half) see video.
    - Combine hot water, bay leaves, kosher salt, sugar, and garlic - mix until combined and disolved.  Add cold water, ice, and chicken.  Make sure chicken is completely covered by brine, the refridgerate for 4 to 12 hours, or over night.

Dry Rub

    2 TBS - Granulated Garlic
    2 TBS - Kosher Salt
    1 TBS - Paprika
    2 TSP - Cayenne
    1 TBS - Granulated Onion
    1 TBS - Black Pepper
    1 TSP - Cumin
    - Mix all ingredients

Huli Huli Sauce
    1 Cup - Pineapple Juice
    1/2 Cup - Ketchup (cory syrup free is what we use)
    1/2 Cup - Lite Soy Sauce (tried with dark and with lite - GET THE LITE!)
    3 TBS - Apple Cider Vinegar
    1/2 Cup - Light Brown Sugar
    1 TBS - Fresh Minced Garlic
    - Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan over medium heat, bring to slight boil, reduce heat, and simmer for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Dialing in my Brisket

So I'm cooking for my buddy's daughter's baby shower this coming weekend, so I thought what a perfect excuse to smoke some BBQ this weekend. At least that's what I told the wife ...

Been wanting to try out a couple final tweaks I put in my BBQ Journal from my last brisket cook and I have to say I am VERY happy! And better yet - my wife loved it and hasn't stopped raving, which means its Good.

Started off with a $1.97 Brisket from Kroger - not the best one but definitely a decent cut. I bought 5 briskets (the butcher let me sort through the 4 cases they had - and at $1.97lb my wife was OK with me stocking up - remember Happy Wife = Happy Life)

Got it thawed out, out of the cryovac bag...

Did some trimming - fat cap to about 1/4", cut the deckle out so the brisket was more uniformed flat. Trimmed a little from the sides... according to the scale, I trimmed about 1/2lb of stuff off.

Then I rubbed it down with a 1 part beef broth and 3 part Worcestershire Sauce. I like the flavor and hit helps the rub stick.

I don't go super thick on my rub, but this time I went heavier than I did last time. Pretty simple rub: Kosher Salt, Fresh group pepper corn medley, granulated onion power, granulated garlic, paprika, ground habanero (just a smidge), and a little turbinado sugar... I apply the rub and let it sit for about 30 minutes before putting it on the pit.

I fire up the pit, my go to is Pecan - I love it. Brought the temp up to @225ish. This is the Pellet Pooper (I have an R&O offset that is my main goto). I've never enjoyed the lack of smoke that the Traeger seems to be hit and miss on so the notes I made to try this cook ... bring it to temp (@225) then dial it down to the "Smoke" setting and put the brisket on for 45 minutes.  Used a large water pan with about 1/2 gallon of water in it and filled it up again half way through the cook.

This is about 50 minutes after the brisket went on ... I flipped the temp back up to @225 and let it roll.

This at 5 hours in, I flipped it from Fat Cap down to Fat Cap up... another experiment. Traeger has the heat coming up from below and a couple times when I had the cap up, the brisket  dried out... so this cook did the debated flip technique.

Before Flip:

This is around 8.5 hours in ... Fat Cap Up

When the meat probed 198 internal on the point I pulled it from the pit, let it rest for 10 minutes on the cutting board, then wrapped it in two layers of heavy foil, wrapped in two beach towels, and put in the chest for 4 hours to rest.

Sliced up nice and juicy... didn't crumble, passed the pull test nicely ... just a slight tug before coming apart. Very Very happy. Smoke flavor was exactly where I wanted it and the pink smoke ring was solid. 

Didn't do burnt ends this time, ended up doing slightly thicker cuts for sandwiches ;) so good.

Was very happy ... and was not dry at all. The bark was nam nam nammy candy good. Very happy and really happy that I got the smoke flavor (almost, not exactly) that my offset produces.

Let me know what y'all think. (Next I'm tackling my Pork Shoulder - taking it back to the basics and moving forward again).

Stuffed Smoked Pork Tender Loin

Had a good friend over for dinner last night, a buddy I hadn't seen in way to long. I'd say next to my dad, this dude is probably the reason I got into BBQ so much. Figured I'd make something I'd not done before on the pit ... have done them in an oven but never on a smoker. Smoked and Stuff Pork Loin.

Laid it out length wise on the cutting board and then sliced it open and flat.

 The filling: basil from the garden, fresh chopped garlic, extra virgin olive oil, minced sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, little sea salt. Also put in some Jalapeno and cheddar sausage (its what I had)...

Rolled/tied it up and dropped it on the pit @275 for about 2 and 1/2 hours ... until it reached 145-150 internal temp. Sprinkled the top with my pork rub.

Brought it in and let it rest for about 15 minutes before slicing it up.

Good solid moisture. Great flavor. Served with fresh corn on the cob and a tomato/cucumber/onion salad. Dinner started at 6:30pm .. I don't think we called it a night til almost 11pm... 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lechon Pork Belly

Having a Filipina wife, we do a lot of hybrid cooking ... yesterday was Lechon Pork Belly ... started it off on the smoker to get a little smoke flavor then moved to the oven ... required a higher temp to cook.

Flavor Rub / Stuffing:
5 gloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup fresh chopped oregano
3 chopped red onions
4 lemon grass stocks split and sliced
1 lemon zested
All the juice from the zested lemon
3 tbsp sea salt
4 tbsp crushed pepper corn medley

Mixed all ingredients together and set to the side to get busy with themselves.

Turned my attention to the pork, trimmed it up. Got it fresh from the butcher that day, he left some of the loin meat on and there were some rib bones left that had to go.

After getting it all trimmed up, I flipped the Belly meat side down, and took my knife and began puncturing the skin ... hoping to keep it from shrinking up to bad. (I need to get a bladed tenderizer - as I didn't get enough holes in the skin). Flipped it back over, rubbed the meat down with the flavor mix, then rolled it up, and tied it. It sat in the fridge over night to allow the spices to blend and for the skin to dry.

The Skin I rubbed down with Kosher Salt to help dry the skin.

Next day, it hit the smoker at 10am for approximately an hour, then was moved into the overn at 375 for 5 hours. At hour five, the temp was bumped up to 425 and it staid in there until we had a crispiness (cracklin) on the skin that we liked.

Pulled it and let it rest for around 45 minutes. Went to cut it and found out that NONE of my knives would work well. As a result my wife OK'd me shopping for a new knife capable of cutting cracking pork skin. (YES, I am open to suggestions).  You can see that it shrunk up a little ... that happens when you don't perforate the skin enough ...

We served the Lechon Pork Belly with fresh cooked Edamame with Sea Salt. And Sweet Potatoes (w/onion, garlic, cinnamon, sea salt, and fresh ground pepper corn for seasoning). My wife had it with rice, as I have cut out the rice (working on weight loss :P) this is my wife's plate.

Turned out awesome!