Archive for the ‘Equipment’ Category

Another BGE cook

July 14, 2007

     Still breaking in the Big Green Egg here.  This thing amazes me.  Once at temp, it stays there.  If I open the lid and temps fall, it recovers faster than anything I’ve cooked on.  The ceramic holds the heat extreamly well.  On to the meat!

I rubbed a 10lb packer brisket with Grub Rub(a favorite of mine).  I loaded the firebox to the brim with B&B lump charcoal with hickory chunks mixed in.  I lit a couple of firestarters and brought the egg temp up to 250*.   This cook was offset, which is when a plate setter is deflecting the heat to the outer edges of the cooker.  I let the egg heat for about 30 minutes before I loaded the brisket on at 11:00PM.  I woke up at 3:00AM to check on it, and temps were holding, so I went back to bed.  I started checking brisket temps at 7:00AM.  I pulled it when it reached 195 degrees in the flat at 8:30AM. 

     I shut down the vents to extinguish the coals.  The egg takes a couple of hours to cool down since the ceramic holds heat so well.  When the 10 hour burn was done, I still had about 60-75% of the coals left unburned.

     Here’s the finished product.

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And the point chopped for sandwiches.

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New Big Green Egg

June 13, 2007

     It’s been a while, but I’m back!  I’ve just added a new cooker to my arsenal.  I actually traded in my original Kamado on a new large Big Green Egg.  And I’m eggcited about it!  I’ve already done a couple of cooks.  This thing can smoke low and slow, or can sear a steak at 750 degrees.  I’ve done 2 cooks (about 15hrs worth), and only used about 6lbs of lump charcoal and a couple of handfuls of wood chunks.  Without further ado, here’s some pics of the egg and some food that has already come off the grates.

Here’s the BGE on it’s nest.

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Here’s the first slab of baby backs off the grate.  Some of the best ribs I’ve smoked.

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And a couple of trimmed spares, andouille links and smoked beans.

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I bought another grill!

December 11, 2006

     And I got punched for my trouble!  My wife threatened me the last time I brought home another cooking device.  So, last night I told her I brought home a baby Weber Smokey Joe. she told me about the “punch.”  I said fine and turned around.  I think she bruised my right butt cheek!

     Well, it was worth it.  I picked up the hardly used grill from a local guy that posted it on Craigslist.  Check it out for your area, it’s nation wide.  I was able to get it for $10.  They usually run about $30 or so.  This will be my travel grill and when I just want to grill for 1 or 2.  So this brings my tally to the Weber Smokey Joe, a Weber Platinum Performer charcoal grill, an original Kamado grill/smoker, and a small older Red Weber gasser and the 20×42 dual door Klose smoker.  I can’t wait to find the next one(Don’t tell my wife, my other butt cheek may not be able to take it).

Knife Care

December 5, 2006

     Knives are very important tools in your arsenal.  They need to be treated with care.  Below is a few tips that everyone can use to get the most out of their cutlery.  You don’t have to have “high end” knives.  You can do very well with almost any non serrated knives if you take care of them.  Although, better quality knives are usually easier to sharpen, and hold their edge longer.  To prolong the edge on a sharp blade, always use a cutting board. 

Cleaning:   Never put knives in the dishwasher.  The heat can cause the rivets to expand and contract causing the handles to loosen.  Never leave a knife in the sink.  Wash with a sponge with the blade away from you.  Dry with a towel on a counter and fold over the flat blade, and slowly slide the knife with gentle pressure on top of the towel.  Wash, dry and properly store knives when done.

Storage:  Knives should be stored one of three ways.  A knife block, a wall mounted magnetic strip, or a knife bag are the preferred devices.  These will keep the blades protected from banging around in a drawer, and keep your hands safe.  More people are switching to the magnetic strip mounts for access-ability.  They can be found at most retailers. 

Sharpening:  Keep knives sharp.  Under normal use knives need to be sharpened once or twice a year.  Please do not buy the $10 hand sharpeners.  They just grind the edge off you blade.  Professional sharpening is available and recommended.  I have mine sharpened about twice a year by a professional, about $4 per knife average.  After each use, run the blade on a steel.  A steel is a surfaced rod used to align and sharpen the edge of a knife.  I run mine about 3 times on each side of the blade.  This keeps the knives ready and sharp for the next use.

Handles:  If your knives have wood handles, they need to be oiled.  I use the same bottle of mineral oil that I oil my cutting boards with.  I put some oil on a folded paper towel and apply liberally.  After I oil the last knife, I wipe off excess oil starting with the first knife oiled.  I oil mine about every 3 months or so.  If they seem a little dry, I give them an oiling.

Vacuum sealers

November 19, 2006

     I’ve been using a vacuum sealer for years now.  Many people put off getting one for different reasons.  Some say that they don’t have enough leftovers, or they can just use zipper bags.  Have you ever thrown leftovers or a steak in a zipper bag and into the freezer?  Even if used in a week, many times the food will be covered in ice crystals. 

     I talked my wife into a vacuum sealer a few years ago.  I’ve never looked back on the purchase.  I’m certain that it’s paid for itself over and over on protecting my food.  We freeze any type of leftover that we can with it.  I have even frozen soups in containers and then into the vacuum sealer bag.  Since the beginning, no food has been lost to freezer burn.

     The freezer life of food is also extended due to the absence of air.  I’ve successfully stored uncooked meats for 18 months.  Rather it be wild game, rib-eye steaks or ground beef, the results have been the same for me.  With a small family, we still by in bulk for the savings, and I seal into smaller quantities.

     I store all of my leftover BBQ in the vacuum bags.  When I don’t have time to cook, I grab a portion sized bag from the freezer and it goes into a pot of boiling water.  Within minutes, it’s defrosted and heated through.  It is able to retain the same quality as it was the day it came off the smoker, unlike overcooking done by a microwave.

     So, if you think it might not be worth the initial investment, think is it worth it if you keep loosing food to freezer burn or spoilage…

Pics to be added later.  Keep checking back.

Throw out the Lighter Fluid!

November 8, 2006

     Days of soaking charcoal in lighter fluid and throwing on a match, creating a mushroomed fireball, is over.  Get rid of the lighter fluid and get a charcoal chimney starter.  A charcoal chimney is a metal cylinder with a handle.  Inside there is a grate a few inches from the bottom.

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(CharBroil on left, Weber on right) 

You load plain charcoal into the top compartment,  then place crumpled up newspaper in the bottom below the grate.  Place on a safe surface, such as the charcoal grate of your grill and light the newspaper.  Some outdoor cooks even light theirs with a turkey fryer, which is faster and cleaner than using newspaper.  I prefer using the latter of the two methods.  Lighting the coals in a chimney will be able to savor your food without that nasty lighter fluid taste and smell.  There are a few brands out there to choose from.  The most recommended by far is the Weber chimney(www.weber.com).  With its craftsmanship and load size, it’s worth ordering on-line if you can’t find one local.  I started with a CharBroil chimney, and soon realized its short comings.  When the handle came apart with a lit load on the way to the firebox, I decided to upgrade.  I watched for the chimney to go on sale on www.amazon.com.  When it did I talked 3 coworkers into ordering one also(this made the purchase qualify for free shipping).  This made a total price under $10 for each one.  Using the Weber chimney for a year now, I would pay double for a replacement if I had to.

Themometer cleaning and testing today..

November 2, 2006

I removed the thermometer off my Klose pit today.  I scraped the excess buildup off the probe and cleaned it with soap and water.  While cleaning, I started a pot of water boiling to test the accuracy.  Using a pair of tongs, I held the probe in the boiling water.  At sea level, boiling water’s temp is 212 degrees.  My thermometer was dead on. 

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