Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tasty BBQ side dish

Apologies for the picture...
I'm not sure why I don't make these things more often.  They are easy, delicious, and could be somewhat nutritious.  What I'm talking about are fritters!  Fritters can contain anything to the hearts desire and can literally be made in less than 30 minutes, idea to table.  Tonight, last night at home for awhile...sister-in-law in town...I smoked a few chickens on the BGE, roasted some vegetables, and made some corn fritters.  All I can say is that there is plenty of chicken and veggies left, but all 10 fritters have been devoured.

Using a ratio (sorry, I can't help myself).  A fritter is simply pancake batter minus the fat.  The ratio is 2:2:1 (flour:liquid:egg).  A 1 egg batter will bind about a cup of garnish.  In this case fresh corn kernals.  A large egg weighs 2 ounces, so I used about 2 oz AP flour and 2 oz cornmeal (~1/2 cup minus a tablespoon of each), a tsp of baking powder, a tsp salt, a tsp chili powder, and about 1/2 cup milk, and the egg.  I stirred all together gently and then pan fried in about 1/8 inch depth of oil by the tablespoonful until done.  To prevent sogginess, transfer to a baking rack over paper towels while finishing subsequent batches.

These are terrific!  Try some next time you barbeque and let me know how many are left over.


Monday, May 25, 2009

The Wonders of Stock

After making veal stock using the French Laundry method, tying up my range for 48 hours and not sleeping for 2 1/2 days, I have determined that simpler methods and more reasonable quantities are in order for stock to me a routine part of my already hectic life. With that said, Jennifer volunteered me to make soup for the "Shepard's Table Soup Kitchen" at our church which is basically a bible study where old heads drop in and eat soup every Tuesday for lunch. The priest who presides over this affair has Celiac sprue, which for laymen is gluten-intolerance meaning that if he eats wheat based products, he breaks out in a horrific rash. Thus my task was to make soup for about 30 people, gluten-free, which should not be a problem if you thicken with corn starch and avoid wheat-based noodles...

I figured for 30 people, I would need about 10 ounces per person, so I reasoned that I would need about to make about 3 gallons of stock to be safe = 384 ounces and end up with around 2 1/2 gallons of soup.

For the stock, this may shock you, but I used a Ratio! (3:2 water:bone) = 384 oz water (3 gallon) & 256 oz bone (~15 lbs). I only had about 2 lbs of bones in my fridge, so I added another 10 lbs of chicken wings and 3 lbs of turkey necks hacked all to hell. I dropped the bones 2 pots, added the water, brought to a simmer skimming, skimming, skimming...then I transferred to 180 degree oven and didn't touch for 3 hours.

After 3 hours, I skimmed again and added the mirepoix and sachet d'espices and returned to the oven for another hour.

After that I removed from the oven, strained 3 times into one pot and moved to the sink to cool in an ice bath.

The following day, I prepped the soup.  I first simmered about a dozen bone in chicken breasts in my stock for 30 minutes.  Whilst this was happening, I chopped my mirepoix/garnish for the actual soup.  Once the chicken was done, I removed and shredded the meat with a fork.  I then strained the stock 2 more times, reserving 6 cups for dinner...

The following day, I left instructions and several glad containers on my kitchen counter for Belinda and later than night, the stock pot returned empty with a note from Rev Andy who was happy to have homemade chicken soup & to be rash free :)

This brings me back to my dinner.  I was giddy and nearly intoxicated by the chickeny goodness, so I decided to make a consomme.    Here's my mise...

The "raft" is then pureed...

Then stirred into the stock...

Then the "raft" floats to the top in one disgusting clump resembling something you would find in an elementary school hallway after too many Jungle Juices covered with that janitor saw dust stuff...

See what I mean...yuck!

But in the end, a miracle happens!  Look you can read the date on this nickel at the bottom of the pot!  (or you could if I'd taken the picture with something other than my phone)

The end result is a crystal clear chicken soup/consomme...I love cooking!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Caught In A Trap, Can't Walk Out

I’ve been a bit overly sensitive to restaurant music lately. It’s not always obvious what’s playing either. I go to a little Irish pub around the corner from my house in Augusta, and unless the place is dead, you have no idea what’s playing. The Washington Post “Going Out Guide” lists the “Sound Check” in decibels of a restaurant that it’s editors have reviewed. For instance, the three star restaurant Cashion’s Eat Place received 77 decibels (Must speak with raised voice). I imagine it’s a little less noisy than the Irish Pub, but I doubt you can hear the music playing there either.

This ridiculous fixation I have started on a Tuesday nite in late April in New Orleans. I was there to give a three-day training session as part of my job. JW had just left after a long weekend of Jazz Fest. Since JW didn’t have any parting recommendations for dinner (breakfast is a different story – but I’ll leave it to JW to tell you about the Boudin sausage at Stanley), me and 4 co-workers were searching for some decent food in the French Quarter. We decided upon a brew pub – Crescent City Brewhouse. Well, the guys decided. The girls definitely would not have picked this place on their own.

On the pedestrian route to the CCB, we passed by a number of alluring restaurants, most of which I can’t recall the name. One of them had nice white table cloths, a pricey menu, and ambiance to go with it. I heard no music. Once we reached the CCB and sat down, we noticed the reasonable prices on the menu, which was (in my opinion) kinda like the menu at TGI Friday’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll eat at a chain restaurant on occasion, but it’s usually due to lack of local choices or being too hungry to care. I’m a firm believer in eating local. The food is usually much better, and you meet some interesting locals.

Anyway, while I read through the Friday’s-esque menu, I noticed a familiar tune playing near the open-air entrance. It was “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)” by Antonio Carlos Jobim. One of my all-time favorite artists. After the song finished, another Jobim song was playing - Desifinado. It piqued my interest, so I looked toward the front (we were seated near the back – about 75 feet from the door), and I realized that it was a live trio playing in a small corner by the bar. I was amazed and surprised. I’m not sure if it was simply a part of being in NOLA, or being in NOLA during Jazz Fest. Regardless, it was a treat. It did not, however, pair up with the menu very well. I recall commenting as we left that the jazz trio should have been down the street at the white tablecloth restaurant, not at the ribs and beer Friday’s wanna-be I was leaving.

Fast forward to May 18th. I arrived in the DC area for yet another meeting. I sauntered down the street about a half mile from my hotel and found a few local ethnic restaurants tucked in behind some corporate buildings. I picked “A Taste of the World”, which was adjacent to a Vietnamese restaurant, a Chinese restaurant, and an Ethiopian restaurant. All looked equally inviting, but I felt I could get a month’s worth of affirmative action eating knocked out in one visit, so I picked the most ethnically diverse restaurant in a sea of diversely ethnic restaurants.

After I sat down (which was 15 minutes before closing time – 9pm), I heard the first familiar tune. It was Astrud Gilberto singing “How Insensitive”. That was followed in order by Doris Day singing “A Guy is a Guy”, Elvis singing “Suspicious Minds”, a voice like that of Barbra Streisand or Jane Monheit singing “Peel Me A Grape”, and a Nat King Cole song that I couldn’t place.

All this while ordering from, and quickly receiving food from, a menu that varied from Pad Thai noodles, Mole, Maharani Dal, and Jerk Chicken, to the fish dish I ordered – Agra Dulce Pineapple Fish. It was described as a Spanish and Chinese mix of vegetables with pineapple and fried fish served with rice. It was a permanently printed $14 special. In reality, it was “number 6 on the Thai side with fish, medium spicy”. At least that’s the way I would have ordered it at Thai Jong in Augusta.

The dish was very good. It just wasn’t Spanish at all. I may pretend to know a lot of things, but I actually do know something about Spanish food. I’ve been experimenting with Paella for 10 years. The Agra Dulce dish had nothing Spanish in it. It had red peppers, which tend to be roasted Pimientos in Spanish dishes, but were un-roasted red bells in this dish. If I remember correctly, Agra Dulce is Spanish for Bitter Sweet. There was a lot of sweet, and no bitter in this dish. Again, it was an excellent Thai dish, but that’s not how it was described. I don’t think the music counted either. Gilberto is from Brazil, where the food and the dialect is a mix of Portuguese and Spanish. Elvis may have looked a little Chinese in the later years, but that was just because the weight he gained made his eyes squinty.

It also made me question whether I would go back there and order the Mole. I’ve had Mole at the Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, UT, and it’s supposed to be one of the best places in the US. A Taste of the World might be a Mole let-down in comparison. I do not, however, recall what music was playing at the Red Iguana.

I say all this to make the following point: How much thought goes into the music choices at a restaurant? It really can make or break a meal. I’m sure the Hard Rock CafĂ© doesn’t have a hard time picking the playlist everyday. They can probably just set the Sirius radio to channel 15 and be done. Other restaurants should put a little more thought into it. When I eat lunch at Bombay Central in Augusta, I get a pure selection of Indian music. I suffered through the bad atmosphere and Friday’s-esque fare at the CCB because of the live jazz trio. I was less disappointed with my pseudo-Spanish dish at “A Taste of the World” because I liked the imaginary 45s being spun in the kitchen. And some of the fondest memories I have of the best Chinese restaurant in the South (by far) are of hearing Dean Martin singing “Standing on the Corner” at China Garden in Augusta.


Hot chicken in Nashville: Prince's Hot Chicken Shack

This may be little known, but Nashville is known for hot chicken. I have to admit, I had no idea what hot chicken is, until this afternoon. This is not buffalo chicken, it's dry and pan fried in a cast iron pan, like Southern fried chicken is frequently done. Prince's has apparently been around since around WWII, the origin of the hot chicken being a punishment to a little philandering. Backfire, because it turned out to be a big hit, his buddies loved it, and a star was born.
It's a little out of the way, to those of us who live on the southside, but it's worth the trip and the wait.

The wait comes from the fact that everything is made to order, nothing is premade. You want some chicken, you step up and order, they make it right there, and you take it home. It's served on white bread with pickles, the bread sops up the grease, and is pretty tasty itself. I ordered hot, and I don't many people that could have eaten it without a trip to the emergency room.
As far as technique goes, I'm not 100% sure how it's done. My guess would be a well-seasoned cast-iron pan and a paste rub or brine that is heavy on the paprika and cayenne. I don't think there are too many ingredients in the flavoring, but it really does penetrate the meat pretty well. The hotter you order it, the more stuff they put on it. They do run out of chicken which makes me think that they keep them in a brine of some sort allowing it soak up the spices in.
Unfortunately, I had to work during the 3rd Annual Hot Chicken festival here in Nashville on July the 4th. Maybe I can catch it next year!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Pizza toppings and the concept of the "double oven"

Continuously on the quest for the perfect pizza, I experiment with several combinations. The dough is one thing that took me quite a while to sort out, and since I'm not an apprentice at a world class pizzeria in Italy or NYC, it's really trial and error to get it right. In adhering to the formula put forth in a previous post, and to stick with the ratio concept, the breakdown for my dough by bakers' percentage is as follows:

Flour (all-purpose): 100%
Spring water: 60%
Poolish (50/50): 10%
Salt: 2.5%

In keeping with Ruhlman's ratios, 5:3 flour to water, salt to taste and a leavening agent.
Each 13" pie is about 300g, so for example if your total is 500g of flour, you can make about 3 pies since your total mass is about 900g. It makes sense. Finally.
For the leavening agent, I use the sourdough starter that JW got me from King Arthur that I keep in a small, sealed flour bin on my kitchen counter. It's fed with a 50/50 mixture of spring water and AP flour. If there aren't any bubbles in it, it's dead and needs to be refed. I don't use any instant dried yeast or cake, and I don't know what the advantage might be other than potentially faster rise time. Again it all varies according to temperature, but an easy estimate is 3-4 hours. You can refrigerate it at any point and bring it out when you're ready to use.
The techniques are autolysis (start with 75% of the flour) for 20 minutes, followed by wet-kneading for about 10 minutes gradually adding the remaining flour, mostly at the end of kneading. It's all in the stand mixer with the dough hook.

The cooking method is a raised grid with a 13" stone at max temperature. Since the heat source is from below, it's hard to get a char on top of the pizza like you would in a brick oven. Or is there? Grilled pizza is always going to be more cooked on the bottom than on top, just because that's where the fire is. So, why not run the broiler in your oven, take the pizza off the grill just before you think it's done and stick it under the broiler for a few seconds to get that brick oven char? In fact, why not do that for all of your pies, and then broil them as you're ready to serve? Timing is always an issue with grilled pizza, because you're making them one at a time. This way, you can "premake" the pizzas, and then "finish" them. Just an idea....

The pizzas last night were:

  1. Margherita (of course!)
  2. Grilled pork chop, sauteed mushrooms and garlic, balsamic vinaigrette, fresh rosemary, and Gruyere
  3. Chorizo, roasted tomato, roasted garlic, thyme, and mozzarella (see picture)
This is only to illustrate the point that you can put whatever you want on your pizza. Clear out the fridge if you like, sort of like making soup or stock. However, if you can make a good Margherita pizza, the rest is just up to your imagination.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Book review: The Ominvore's Dilemma

Consider the whole point of this book: what do you want for dinner? Depending on your store, you have almost everything in the world to choose from. Some of it has a low price in the store, but may have a high cost to society, the earth, and potentially our health. Although this is mostly related to meat and how it's born, raised, and eventually slaughtered, it could be anything. The Chinese pine nuts are an example of this. Think of the fuel it takes to transport that from China (along with just about everything that's for sale at WalMart, Target, Sams, the mall, you name it) or wherever its origin. There's an eventual price to be paid for it, and although I'm not saying we have to change everything, we have to at least be cognizant of it.
The concepts of the CAFO (concentrated animal farm operation) and the dominance that corn and its multiple byproducts have over the American agricultural industry are important ones, and have been going on relatively unnoticed by the general public for decades. But there may be bigger issues at stake here, including public health and immigration as brought out by Linklater's Fast Food Nation. Not to mention antibiotic resistance of common human pathogens like resistant staph infections.
The easiest question to ask but one of the most difficult to answer is this: Do you know where your meat comes from? Likely not, as you're limited to what the best deal Harris Teeter, Kroger, Schnuck's, Publix, Sam's, Costco, etc. can get. And the cheapest, high-yield production of meat is by CAFO with an artificial diet of corn products (that cows have to be forced to eat to their detriment and ours) . What about salmon, then, can't I just eat that and get my omega 3's and vitamin E back? Unfortunately, it may not be that simple. The diet change in the beef, fish and poultry products that we love alters the fat composition.
OK fine, so I'm buying all organic milk. That's better right? Maybe, maybe not. The definition of organic, and free-range, and pasture-raised, and wild varies with the industry and what the government forces them to do.
What's the difference between free-range and regular CAFO? An open door and a small patch of grass that the animals may have access to but don't necessarily ever traverse. I mean, is that really different or better? Maybe but not as much as we'd like to think.
I think we've been our own worst enemies here, as we are so far under the thumb of big agribusiness, that we're stuck with a lot of the status quo. I'm no expert on any of this, and like anyone, I have to process the information and decide for myself if it's real or not. It does, however, make sense to know that my chickens, pork, beef, lamb, eggs, etc. are pasture-raised by a farmer from Kentucky or Tennessee whom I've met, talked to, and who welcome visitation to their respective farms to see how things are done. It's not always feasible, because we all suffer from the Omnivore's Dilemma: we have access to just about anything you can imagine, and a lot of it we can get overnight.
Consider this: the world's largest pork producer is Smithfield foods. Do you think this is not an influential company? Just ask Paula Deen. The current flu epidemic is thought to have originated from one of their CAFOs in La Gloria, Mexico in the state of Veracruz. What was previously reported as the swine flu by the World Health Organization is now being called H1N1 influenza. Why? Because people started banning pork imports, the Egyptians started killing ALL of their country's pigs, and pork sales were going down. One of the first American officials to refer to this was none other than President Obama, back in April before the WHO officially changed the name.

My opinion is that there's almost certainly a not-so-friendly truth behind what we're being sold. Reading this book has forced me to think far differently about how I intend to feed myself and my family. I highly recommend it, and even if it doesn't have the answers, it is thought-provoking and worth a look. For all we know, this could be the subject of the next American revolution.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

OG is driving me nuts...

This is driving me crazy.  I can see where a long bone (marrow bone) or a spongy bone (like a shoulder bone) would heat quicker due to lower density and higher water content.  I can also understand that a lower thermal conductivity means less heat is transferred to surrounding tissue, however, for the life of me I cannot understand why meat that is directly touching hot bone is often...raw...  I emailed Harold McGee (I have no shame).  I will post a follow-up if I get an answer.  If no response I will next look to AB, then to Ruhlman, then to some of the engineers that I know at Tech (last resort).

This is Ruhlman's response.  He kicked over to Bob del Grosso.  If you don't know this guy check him out on google.  He has an awesome blog.  The second email seems to support OG's heat sink theory-pretty cool I think!

From: "Robert del Grosso"
Date: May 8, 2009 5:49:35 AM EDT
To: "'Michael Ruhlman'"
Subject: RE: Troubling question re: thermal conductivity
Bones that are exposed at the tips of say a chicken leg heat more rapidly than muscle but bone that is surrounded by meat will not heat faster than the surrounding meat because it is buried within the meat. In other words it is insulated.  
If you are talking about a rib roast the situation is a bit different. The bone still heats faster than the meat, but because the meat to bone ratio is so high (There is a hell of a lot of meat) the bone loses heat to the meat at a tremendous rate and so stays relatively cool.  

From: Robert delGrosso
Date: May 8, 2009 7:59:32 AM EDT
To: Michael Ruhlman ,
Subject: bones and heat
I just remembered that another reason why meat next to the bone is more likely to be rare is that even though the bone heats faster than meat  it also cools faster. And if the bone is cut at one end (as in a rib roast) it will act like a chimney and take the heat up and away even faster. b 
When you come to a fork in the road, it's time to eat.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Like Cinco de Mayo was going to pass and you weren't going to have a post from the only Mexican on here!

You have to start by understanding that Cinco de Mayo has nothing to do with Mexican Independence in the sense that we know it. It's not like the fourth of July with fireworks and nationwide patriotism. It is mostly celebrated in the state of Puebla in eastern/central Mexico, and represents the victory of the Mexican army over the French in 1862 in the battle of Puebla. More than anything it was the last time a foreign army attempted to invade the country. Otherwise, it's just an American holiday between Easter and Memorial Day where you drink Corona with lime wedges at La Vallarta or whatever other Mexican restaurant is out there that has Speedy #5 with beans on the menu. In fairness, anything that increases the awareness of Mexicans is fine with me, as if you needed that (just take a look around!). So, pour some tequila or some Bohemia (my favorite Mexican beer, no lime required) and check it out.

Pollo con crema a la Francesa con salsa habanero a la Mexicana

If you're going to eat Mexican food on Cinco de Mayo, I think it's appropriate to eat something that has Poblano peppers. Poblanos are originally be from the Mexican state of Puebla, so there you go. They're the ones that look like flat, dark bell peppers at your local supermarket a.k.a. "grid." How better to cook them then charred on the grill, peeled, and cut into strips (rajas) and served with a creamy sauce.

Pollo con crema (for you, Amber Perry) I have had mostly in this country but is a dish eaten in Mexico, not only with chicken, but also with fish.

4 chicken thighs seasoned with salt, pepper, or your favorite grill rub
Bechamel (hence the Francesa), Mexican crema, or heavy whipping cream about 2-3 cups
Two poblano peppers, blackened, peeled, cut into strips or rajas
1/3 of an onion
2 cloves of garlic

The other purpose of the post is to illustrate the versatility of one of the mother sauces, Bechamel. It's not particularly Mexican to use butter for something, but there's no reason you can't do it.

3 tbsp AP flour
2 tbsp of butter in pieces
2 cups of boiling milk with 1/4 tbsp of salt (medium pinch) (Bechamel) or stock (Veloute', can use any white stock, preferably fish)

Melt the butter over lower heat, and add the flour whisking as you go until you have a nice blond roux. Hmm, this looks familiar all of a sudden, and it should, as this can also be the basis of Gumbo and other Creole/Cajun delicacies. Cook this a couple of minutes, whisking the keep it smooth. Timing is key here, and ideally you may want to prepare this as your meat is resting.

This sauce can be augemented, ideally with some acid like lemon or lime juice and it adds a nice kick to it. Remember that the ratio here is 1 part flour: 1 part fat (either butter or oil). Add hot liquid to create a nice thick sauce consistency. From this, you augment the base sauce, in our case with onions, garlic, lime juice, and roasted Poblano peppers.

Back to the rest of the show. Grill the chickens, indirect heat until well cooked through, pull them off to rest.

In the meantime, sautee your onions and garlic. Add the cream sauce, rajas, and a little water, stir to get your emulsion going, then add the chicken and keep it warm until serving.

If you add your jus from the chicken, and let it sit a little while, the flavors will really come together.

For the salsa, it's just like a previous post, but now that tomatoes are slowly reappearing at the market, just to recap:

3 medium whole tomatoes diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 habanero, seeded and chopped
2 fresh garlic cloves
1/3 of an onion diced
Juice from 1 lime
salt to taste
small handful of cilantro, minced

Add all but the cilantro to the blender, pulse to combine. The fresh tomatoes will give it a little froth. Add the cilantro after you pull it out of the blender or food processor. This salsa isn't going to win any beauty contests, but when you taste you'll be glad you subbed the fresh tomato for the canned. Finally remember that anything "a la Mexicana" is going to have onion, tomato and chile.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rosemary and garlic grilled leg of lamb, sauteed greens and thermodynamics for the home cook

This is a little belated, and the picture didn't work out so well. But, man, it was something else, and I can't wait to try it again. I guess I'm something of a novelty seeker, and although it's great, I get a little weary of only cooking steak and chicken on the grill. I figured it was Easter, might as well try some lamb.
When I went to Whole Foods, I was looking for boneless leg of lamb. Silly me, they were sold out. I had a choice between previously frozen leg of lamb from New Zealand, or probably previously frozen leg of lamb from a farm in Kentucky, right up the road. Which one was cheaper? You might be surprised to know that the lamb that required a ton more fuel to transport to my "grid" was cheaper. So, Kentucky bone-in lamb leg it was.


Crushed garlic, olive oil, fresh rosemary from the garden, and salt and pepper. Overnight.

Grill temperature: HTH (hotter than hell, more on that later)

Seared the outside, and then set it up on the upper deck with a drip pan to create an indirect effect. The finishing temperature was 126F, and I pulled it off to rest for about 20-30 minutes. With a piece like this, the longer it rests the better.

What does resting do?
I've frequently wondered about this, and what the big deal was. I've ignored it in the past, and didn't think anything about it. According to Cookwise by Shirley Corriher, the outer layer of muscle fiber contract, and that at least partially "squeezes" the liquid to the cooler center of the meat.

You're left with dry outside, wet inside. If you slice you meat too soon, you'll lose a lot of the juices, and the result will be dry. But, if you let the meat rest appropriately, the juice redistributes back throughout the whole cut and is much juicier. Remember osmosis? Fluid moves from an area of high solute concentration to an area of lower concentration. It also moves along pressure gradients. Entropy strikes again.

For my lamb leg, I let it rest almost 30 minutes, and the result was exquisite. The longer the better. Also, serve the juice that runs out as your au jus on the meat at the table; you won't be sorry.

Cooking on the bone
The more I think about it, it really does make more sense to cook meat on the bone. In French cuisine, stock is the basis of many dishes and meat flavors. What is one of the main ingredients in stock? You guessed it: bones. The younger and more cartilaginous, the better. Refer back to JW's post about veal stock based on Ruhlman and Keller's logic of white veal stock being a major contributor to haute cuisine. Veal bones will always make a better stock than beef bones because of their bone/cartilage ratio. Second, there is typically a lot of connective tissue and fat surrounding bone (how the muscles attach to it) which has a basting effect as well as being just plain good, as we know with pork shoulder and other braised/"slow and low". Finally, the bone-in cut also allows for various temperatures of the meat. This can be a challenge with certain cuts (pork and chicken), but with red meats, this is more desirable, and it allows you to taste a range of temperature in the meat. Why is the meat closest to the bone the least cooked, yet the bones are hotter? In other words, when you check the temperature of the meat, if you touch the bones, they will give a falsely elevated reading. Why, then, if the bones are hot, would the meat around the bones not be at a higher temperature as opposed to a lower one? Good question...

Normally, when you cook your meat (boneless) this is how it's going to look. Heat attacks it from the outside via conduction, convection, and radiation and transfers to the coldest area, the middle, thus satisfying the second law of thermodynamics (bear with me). The slower you bring it up to final temperature, the more consistently cooked the entire piece will be. Since the majority of the BBQ cuts we make has a final finishing temperature is around 190-200F, 225-250F is the preferred temperature for cooking it. We can get it to temperature with higher heat, but the outside will be overcooked, and the collagen structure of the meat will not have had time to break down, resulting in something you don't want to eat. Some meats are better suited for slow and low or braising, and some are better on HHH (a nursing term I learned in residency used to describe enemas: high, hot, and helluva lot).

Why do streams always seem cooler than the air temperature would suggest? A phenomenon we can call "heat sink."

Bone-in meat seems to represent muscle with a fluid/flow system within it (the bone). This also has some application in the medical field, if you're familiar with radio frequency ablation of tumors. A probe that generates a bunch of heat basically cooks a tumor, killing it. If you do it close to a big blood vessel, you can't generate as much heat because the continuous current sucks the heat away, acting like a heat sink.
Bones anatomically and physiologically speaking have similar properties to blood vessels, in that they can be used to give fluids and medications. They basically would act like a stream in the middle of a hot field. The part I have yet to prove is that the center of the bones is cooler than the surrounding meat, thus preferentially transferring the heat from the bones centripetally as opposed to the contiguous meat. It may just be that there is "flow" of heat and fluid (gas or liquid) through the center of the bone, and even if the center is hotter, there is a steady fluid flow acting like a convection current that pulls that heat away down the gradient. I guess I have all summer to experiment. I also welcome any better description. I'm doubt JW has gotten any sleep since I posited the question to him.

Back to the menu. The lamb was cooked, rested, looked great and was really juicy. The greens were organic mustard greens that I cut into two inch strips, blanched, drained, and dried. I sauteed some pieces of Spanish chorizo and added the greens back to it for a minute or two. Pancetta, bacon, pork belly, anything fatty would have worked fine. The result was a wonderful main course and blurry picture. Really, though, I can't recommend more highly experimenting with different, maybe unfamiliar cuts. The result could be something really great. I'd feel like I was missing out on something if all I ate was BS (boneless, skinless) chicken breast and hamburgers.