Monday, May 26, 2008

The weather is beautiful, what to do?

Why cook of course!

Fired up the grill Saturday for lunch and pretty much kept it going until 12:00 today (Monday, Memorial Day).

For starters, or for lunch actually, I did something a little different, for me at least and grilled some great big Portabello mushrooms. Soaked them in a beef broth, olive oil and maple syrup marinade for about 20-30 minutes, then grilled them slowly for another 20-30 minutes. Plopped on a bun with some caramelized onions and goat cheese and they were quite good! (thanks again to Gowan for the recipe and idea)

After the Dome cooled down I cleaned out the ash and filled it up with a fresh load of Wicked Good Charcoal, Weekend Warrior and wood chunks for an overnight brisket cook.

I've cooked brisket "flats" before but this was the first time I got a whole "Packer cut." This is the flat muscle along with the "point" muscle. I had the butcher separate them and trim the fat to a uniform 1/8 inch.

I put the flat on the main grill and the point on the upper grill. Got 'em started around 8:00PM and took them off around 1:30 on Sunday afternoon. I wrapped the flat in foil and towels and put it in a cooler for a couple hours but I cubed the point(which wasn't easy as it was trying to fall apart!), gave it another liberal dose of Rub and put it back on the Dome in an aluminum pan for another two hours to make "burnt ends."

When the burnt ends were done, I called SpecialEd Sister #7 and said "I have some Cow Candy, fresh off the grill!" When she said "Cow candy, what the...?" I just said "come over, you'll like it! She did, and so did SpecialEd Sister's #2,#5 and several of their kids.

Once again, I cleaned out the ash (not much ash when using WGC) and built a fresh, full load in the pit. This time, three bone-in pork shoulders about 7-8lbs apiece.

Two on the bottom, one on the top, fired up around 6:30 let go overnight.

One shoulder was done at 8:00 this morning but the other two didn't come off until Noon. (each shoulder has it's own personality and agenda!)

Sent some home with my BIL, as a token of appreciation of hard work, sold some to a secret admirer (no kidding) and the rest is calling my name!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cedar and Birch "Planked" Salmon

I finally got around to trying some grilling planks from Lexington Outdoors of Maine. I've had them for awhile but the stars and planets never aligned themselves quite right until this evening.

It's been raining here almost non-stop since about when... December? Well at least for the past couple days straight and the past month most of the time, and definitely on the weekends!

I picked up three six-ounce fillets of Atlantic Salmon from Chile? (I thought Chile was on the Pacific coast? I guess when it's farm raised it can be from anywhere.)

I didn't have any Dizzy Pig Raging River so I used a lemon and pepper rub by Red Monkey that someone gave me.

I rubbed it in fairly heavy and let it rest for about 30 minutes at room temperature while I fired up the Dome. Then I put three oval planks in a pan of water to soak. I have a sampler pack of two each so I used two cedar and one birch.

When the Dome was stabilized at close to 400 degrees I put the planks on a raised grid for a few minutes until they started to smoke a bit. Then I put the salmon on and shut the lid.

Ten minutes later I opened the lid and slathered some maple butter on the fillets. (That's the butter and maple melting in that little dish on the grill.) After 15 minutes I gave them a bit more maple butter glaze.

After a total of twenty minutes I took them off and let them rest.

In retrospect, I probably should have skipped the rub as this was my first time trying the planks and they give a subtle smoky flavor to the fish whereas the lemon-pepper rub can be overpowering in large amounts. Very strong. Either way the salmon turned out great and I can't wait to try more grilling planks.

Give yourself a treat and visit Lexington Outdoors of Maine. Father's day is coming up so why not drop a hint?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lazy afternoon...

I am so jealous!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Let the ribbing begin!

Believe it or not, with all the BBQ'ing I've done, I've never cooked ribs. Heck for all intents and purposes, I've never eaten ribs. Something to do with a chilhood hangup on eating sloppy food with my fingers.

Well since my smoker is quickly coming up on a year old, and I've got pulled pork, pork tenderloins, spatchcocked chicken and burgers, beans and even meatloaf down pat and my brisket is pretty fair, I figured it was time. No self-respecting pit master can look at his reflection in his shiny cooker lid for too long if he/she hasn't worked on perfecting ribs.

I did a variation of the standard 3-1-1 method that worked out to be more like 3-1.5-1, (Thanks again to Gowan of the GrillDome Forum and a BBQ competition near you)where the ribs are cooked indirect at a grill temperature of 235 degrees. After three hours I wrapped them in foil and in lieu of cider or apple jucie which I did not have, I poured a little of my wife's beloved Diet Coke in the foil (and the drip pan). After an hour and a half in foil, I put the ribs back on unwrapped for another hour to firm up.

I did these ribs "dry" using Cookshack's Rib Rub, only putting sauce on at the table. I rubbed them down last night and put them in the fridge. Fired up the gril this morning and had the ribs on by 10:15. I used a Weber Rib Rack similar to the one pictured, so I could fit four racks at one time. They came off just before 4:00.

Not perfected by a longshot, but not bad either. Especially for a first time. My two boys, even ate them!