Monday, April 28, 2008

Dawgs and BGE Advice

Sorry, OG, didn't see your post below before I made one about venison. Had I seen it I would have included it in that post.


G-Day was good. We were in Athens for all the festivities. Thirty minutes before kickoff we found ourselves at a table in the bar at Bissetts eating oysters and gumbo, the hot bartender was bringing my Abita Turbodogs at perfect intervals, and there were two TV's over the bar. Outside it was cold and raining. G-day was going to be televised. The executive decision was made to keep our 10 dollars of G-day tickets in our pockets and continue eating bivalves and drinking hoppy beer as I switched to Sweetwater 420.

We looked goodand we're loaded for bear. This season we could easily win it all. However, that takes some luck and good bounces of the ball to go along with the skill and talent on the field. We've got the skill and talent but with the hellacious schedule we have we'll need more than our fair share of favorable bounces and good luck. What is nice is we are receiving a lot of favorable preseason attention from the national press. Knowshon is being mentioned for the Heisman and Stafford is poised for a breakout season with hopes to overtake Superman . . I mean Tebow . . as the best QB in the conference.

Going to be one hell of a season, one we've waited a long time for. Already got reservations for the ASU game in Tempe, a house on the beach for GA/Fla, and a hotel in Auburn. Home games are another issue I'm working on for accomodations but regardless of where we sleeep I'll be at most home games. 126 days till kickoff.

Big Green Egg

Congrats on your egg. Best prices around on the egg are in Dalton but they're high on eggcessories. Can't recommend enough what I posted earlier on this forum about perusing the Naked Whiz website as well as the Egg Head Forum . They're invaluable resources.

I've got three "go to" recipes for dinner parties of 4-12 people.

1. Standing Rib Roast - one rib for every 2 people. Rub in EVOO, coat with seaonsings of your choice. I use salt, pepper, fresh garlic, rosemary, thyme. I sear it on all sides at about 650-750 for about 2 minutes each side directly over the flames. I then remove it from the egg and bring the temp down to about 300-350 and slow cook it till I have an internal of about 125 at most. Takes about 15 minutes per pound to get to this target. It will raise a good 4-5 degrees during the 10-15 minutes you should let it rest. This gives a good medium rare to medium which most folks can tolerate. Last one I did for me and the wife I removed at 118 degrees internal and it was more to my rare liking. For au jus I simply buy the beef stock that comes in the red wax boxes and reduce it down by 75%.

2. Whole beef tenderloin - buy a whole one from Sam's/costco and "butcher" it yourself cleaning all silver skin and the "rib" meat off of it. Prepare it the same way as described above or with any seasoning of your choosing. I cook exactly the same as above but it takes MUCH less time to hit the 125 or less internal. Lots of variations with this and mad max (naked whiz website guru) has a great recipe with stuffing the tenderloin with lobster tails and other such stuff.

With both of the above recipes you should time taking it off the BGE for when most folks have arrived but aren't yet done with their first cocktail. You'll get oohs and ahhs when you bring it in from the egg. During the rest period for the meat have everyone get seated with all side dishes on their plate. Carve the meat at the table or beside the table and individually serve. Makes you look like you worked harder than you really did.

Also, with both recipes I'll put a small handful of hickory chips in early in the cook to get a little smoke flavor. Careful not to use too much as the smoke will overwhelm the natural goodness of such premium cuts imo.

Finally, here's my all time favorite recipe on the egg. It's not fancy, it's not prestigious, and it shouldn't be served at a fancy dinner party. However it's my best tasting dish, one I do the best, and I have people requesting all the time for me to make them some.

3. Pulled Pork Shoulder - get a big ole chunk of dead pig. I prefer whole shoulders but in a pinch I'll use the "Boston Butt" which is just the back side of the shoulder. Rub the shoulder in mustard and then heavily coat in your favorite dry rub. I use Dr. BBQ's (Ray Lampe) standard dry rub . I do this the day before but it's not necessary.

Load up the BGE with as much lump as you can get in up to the level of the firebox. Add in a good healthy portion of pre-soaked hickory chips throughout the charcoal with the largest portion up top so the meat will get a good bit of smoke early and form a good smoke ring. Once the meat reaches 125 or so it'll quit absorbing smoke.

This cook needs to be indirect so put in your plate setter upside down. On top of your place setter put a disposable aluminum lasagna pan and fill with apple cider vinegar and apple juice in equal portions. Add your grate on top and you're ready to go. Of course you should light your fire BEFORE these steps as they'll cover up your charcoal. You want you BGE to cruise along at about 225-250 dome temp for this cook. You can maintain that by keeping the bottom and top air vents very slightly open once you've achieved desired temps. Another GREAT tool is the BBQ Guru. It comes with a thermostat controlled fan that hooks into your bottom vent and through temp probes in the dome and the meat and controls air flow to maintain the proper temp. The use of the guru has privided me with many a good nights sleep instead of waking up every hour or two to check the temps on the egg and make adjustments.

It'll take 1.5-2 hours per pound to get to your desired temp of 195. Don't fret when you reach somewhere around 170 degrees and it stays there for hours. This is the "plateau phase" and during this time all energy is utilized to break down connective tissue instead of heating the meat. It's not until all the connective tissue is broken down that your meat is tender and the temp will start to rise. A former Tech guy like OG can produce us some temp phase graph or something to explain it all but just understand that it's gonna sit at this temp for HOURS.

After pulling the meat off when it's at 195 the bones should slide right out. I prefer to pull the meat slightly to break it up and then I give it a nice light "chop" with a couple of heavy meat cleavers to give something that isn't totally pulled nor totally chopped. I prefer to serve with a traditional North Carolina vinegar based sauce I make at home or you can have some inferior tomato or God forgive a mustard based sauce as well.

If you have to prep ahead of time and serve later it's not a problem as I pull/chop mine, place in the fridge or a cooler with ice to cool rapidly, and later reheat in an oven or chafing dishes with a little bit of coke in the pan to add some moisture.

Expect a 50% yield of pre-cooked weight and about a 1/3-1/2 pound of pork needed per person.


JW said...

Nice post. May I make one suggestion with regards to au jus or any pre-fabricated sauce that you are going to be reducing...get rid of the damn beef broth/stock. For my taste even the big red waxy box produces a slightly chemically taste and doesn't have alot of beef flavor anyways. Assuming you don't have homemade beef or veal stock, try this: buy Swanson's organic chicken broth that comes in the quart box. Combine equal parts chicken broth and red wine, reduce down by about 50%. After reducing about about a teaspoon or two of Williams Sonoma veal demi-glace and if that's not rich enough slowing wisk in a couple knobs of'll thank me for this! The demi is expensive, but keeps for months in the fridge and probably will contribute to atleast 15 meals. JW

MCG DAWG said...

Good idea JW. I tried making homemade au jus a couple of times using root veggies, old beef bones, left over portions of beef portions, etc. It was a lot of work and I was very displeased with the result.

I've got a chest freezer only half full. You think this au jus of yours would hold up to freezing, i.e. make it way ahead of time in bulk, store in smaller amounts in the freezer, and use as needed?

JW said...

Really no need in freezing the stuff. It would be harder to control a sauce like this made on a large scale. This could be made as a pan sauce to speed things up even more. As I usually pan-sear my steaks in my trusty All-Clad stainless steel 14 inch skillet, I usually make the sauce while the meat is resting. Just set the meat aside, add a minced shallot and a splash of oil to the pan and cook about 1 minute. Next add the liquid over high heat scraping the bottom to get all the tasty bits into your sauce. This should reduce down sufficiently in less than 5 minutes and can be poured onto your meat as you bring to the table.

og said...

The Bourdain recommendation is that when you make stock, you can freeze it, particularly demiglace, which you can freeze in ice trays and drop one into a sauce. The stock keeps fine in freezer bags, I haven't tried the demiglace ice cube trick, but I can't imagine why it wouldn't work.

og said...

What configuration do you recommend for the draft controller? What size fan, etc.? Tell me that you have the wireless one, dude.
Also, do you have any good BBQ sauce recipes? I mean, Memorial day is coming up.