Monday, October 27, 2008

What's on the Grill #98

Sliced Brisket

Brisket! Bob, much like Zoë, likes his meat well pink. Sacrilege to me, and most other healthy meat eaters, but quite normal to a lot of English. Something about funny cows or something...

Anyway, Brisket is one of those things Bob loves. So while on our buy-all-the-meat-you-can-carry trip to Sam's Club, we also picked up a brisket. One of the first things Bob noticed was that our "brisket" looked a lot different than his "brisket". We have already made plans to revisit his butcher store on the Isle of ferret out the differences. Back to matters at hand...

I have blogged about this brisket before. It is a Cooks Illustrated recipe that my friend Dustin passed on to me. Even though CI does a great job in laying out the process, I made a few changes.

Texas Brisket
Adapted, tweaked, and taken from Cooks Illustrated

5-6 pound beef brisket, flat cut

2/3 cup table salt

1/2 cup sugar

1. Cut a crosshatch spaced 1 inch a part in the fat cap. Be sure not to cut into the meat.

2. Brine the brisket: dissolve the salt and sugar into 4 quarts cold water. Submerge the brisket and let sit in the fridge for 2 hours.

3. While the brisket is brining, soak your wood chips, or chunks, for at least an hour. I choose apple wood.

4. Prep your grill. I used the kettle and followed the same minion technique I always use for low and slow. You can find it here.


2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons ground black pepper

5. This is my favorite part. Remove the brisket from the brine and pat dry. OK, not that part, this part: Mix together your rub ingredients and then "rub" the "rub" all over the brisket. Be sure to get the rub in between the cuts you made on the fat cap.

6. Your coal is to cook the brisket at 250 degrees for approximately 8 hours. With your grill pre-heated and ready, throw a few handful of wood chips on the hot coals. Close the lid. Once the chips start to smoke you are ready to place the brisket.

7. Oil the grate with a folded up paper towel and your tongs. Place the brisket over the drip pan with the thickest side towards the coals and close the hood.

Operation Brisket I

8. If you are using a traditional Weber grate with hinged sides, it doesn't matter how you place your brisket on the grate because you will have heat on both sides. If you are using a modified grate like I am, start with the thickest side towards the heat. At 4 hours rotate the brisket so that the thickest part is away from the heat. This will help to promote even cooking.

Operation Brisket II

8. Remember, on the kettle you will control your heat by use of the vents. I tend to leave the bottom vent half closed and then use only the top vent for any temperature adjusting.

9. About 1 1/2 hours in I will throw on a few more handfuls of wood chips. After that, no more. I will only open the hood once more to turn the brisket and then one last time when it is done. This is where a grill thermometer is really helpful in monitoring the briskets process.

Operation Brisket II

10. The brisket is done when the internal temp reaches 195 degrees. I had to yank mine off at 190 because I was pressed for time. That will happen.

11. Allow the brisket to rest 30 minutes. Mine sat 10. Once again, I was pressed for time. Cut the brisket across the grain into long thing slices. Also, steal some pieces of bark before you walk inside to serve your work. You will be glad you did.

Fat, wonderful fat...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What's on the Grill #97

Herb Encrusted Rotisserie Baby Back Ribs and Ribs with Sweet Irish Red Sauce! I am in luck. Bob loves ribs. This afternoon, we swung by Sam's and picked up a rib cryo pack. Two racks for tonight, and one in the near future for me!

A few months ago I entered Mario Batali's grilling video contest. Unfortunately, I did not place. I think my video was the victim of not enough "cheese" and a recipe with less than 30 ingredients! Regardless, I was quite happy with the recipe I came up with: Herb Encrusted Rotisserie Back Back Ribs.

Since we felt like a little bit of variety tonight, we decided to grill a traditional rubbed rack as well.

After both racks were removed the cryo pack and rinsed off, I removed the membrane. To me, this is an incredibly important step and it is incredibly easy to do. With your ribs meat side down and bone side up, take a small knife and insert it under the membrane and on top of a bone. Lift slightly upward.

Starting the membrane pullAnd away it goes

Once you can get a good finger hold, take a paper towel to grasp the membrane and pull it off off the rib.

Herb Encrusted Baby Back Ribs

1 Rack of Baby Back Ribs
Salt & fresh cracked Pepper
2 Tbsp fresh Basil chopped
2 Tbsp fresh Marjoram chopped
2 Tbsp fresh Thyme chopped
2 Tbsp fresh Oregano chopped
2 Tbsp Flat Leaf Parsley
1/3 Cup Basil & Garlic Infused Olive Oil

(NOTE: Today I only used flat leaf parsley and oregano. To make up the difference, I added some sage too. It was all I had on hand!)

1. Remove your ribs from the refrigerator and allow to stand at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.

2. Remove the membrane: Take your rack of baby back ribs and turn them over so that the meat faces down and the bones face up. Slide a knife over a bone and under the membrane approximately half an inch, then lift up to separate the membrane from the bone. You should life the membrane enough to give you a finger hold. Once the membrane is partially lifted away, use a paper towel for grip and pull all of the membrane from the backside of the ribs.

Herb Encrusted Rack on the Roto

3. Preheat your grill to approximately 250 degrees and prepare for indirect cooking by lighting only the outside gas burners. If using charcoal, prepare coals to only one side of the kettle.

4. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the rack of ribs.

5. Mix together the chopped Basil, Marjoram, Thyme, Oregano, and Parsley. Once mixed, generously sprinkle the herbs over both sides of the rack of ribs. Press the herbs into the meat with your fingertips.

4. Thread the rack of ribs on to your rotisserie spit. When you are done, your ribs should form a long “s” on the spit. Secure each end with rotisserie tines.

5. With the grill pre-heated, prepare your rotisserie and place the spit on the grill. It might be a good idea to use a drip pan to catch any fat that falls of the ribs.

6. Turn your rotisserie motor on and close the hood! No peaking! Your ribs should spin and grill for 3 hours.

7. Approximately 30 minutes before completion, baste the ribs once with basil and garlic infused olive oil.

8. You know the ribs are done when the meat has pulled away from the end of the bone by approximately half an inch.

Herb Encrusted Ribs Ready to Eat

For the rubbed ribs, I used some left over bonedust seasoning from last week. For the sauce, I made a variation of a sauce from Ted Reader's book.

Rubbed Rack on the Kettle

Sweet Irish Red Sauce

Adapted from Ted Reader's King of the Q's Blue Plate BBQ

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Irish Red Beer (Any Irish Red style beer will do. Michelob & Sam Adams are two.)
2 tsp Bonedust Seasoning

Just mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. I brush the sauce on the ribs during the last 20 minutes of cooking.

Both racks of ribs turned out spot on. Bob and I finished them off easily...too easily in fact. I can still feel it in my stomach, and I can definitely still smell it on my fingers! Ahhh, the sign of a good meal.

Rubbed Rack Ready to Eat

In the spirit of continuing Bob's grilling tour de force, tomorrow we are going to grill brisket. Stay tuned.

What's on the Grill? Fire!

Zoë's Dad, Bob, is in town from England for a two week visit.  We are thrilled to have him around.  Unfortunately, Zoë's Mum couldn't make it, so she is coming over in December. 

From England with Love

Bob, being the hell of a guy he is, smuggled some beer for me across the pond.  I am trying to make them last as long as possible. 

As I have blogged about before, Bob is a fellow griller and probably one of the few Weber Performer owners on the Isle of Wight.  I know when he is over, we will have our fill of meat!

Granted, his generosity made me rethink my hanging of the Declaration of Independence in the guestroom.  Oh well, you can't argue with history!


To start off slow, we decided to revisit the ultimate planked salmon from last week.  Since the weather has sucked and it rained most of the day, I decided to use the 650 instead of firing up the kettle.  Well needless to say, I veered away from the grill a little too long and when I returned I found this:

When Plankn' Catches Fire

Now to be completely honest, I first ran back inside to get my camera before removing the salmon and extinguishing the flames.  I mean you just can't let a picture like that go!

Fortunately, the salmon turned out just fine, if not just a tad dry.  I know we will do it again, but next time without the fireworks.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What's on the Grill #96

Ultimate Planked Salmon! Actually, this is more like super ultimate planked salmon. I pulled the recipe from Ted Reader's King of the Q's Blue Plate BBQ. I have made planked salmon many times before, but never quite like this. Let me first start with the back story.

Crusted Plank Salmon

I love to look through cookbooks, especially when I am hungry. Ideas for the grill pop off the page and into my head. I love it. It should come as no surprise that I also love good pictures in a cookbook. In fact, they are often a prerequisite. I picked up Reader's book last summer when I was on vacation. Mostly, because a few of the pictures really caught my eye. Although this is not a "picture a page" book, it is close.

Reader has a ton of amazing recipes. The problem is they are not necessarily simple. By "not simple" I do not mean technically difficult, I mean there is often a lot of prep time because many recipes require a lot of ingredients. To compound this issue more, a lot of times the recipe requires a rub or sauce elsewhere in the book that is another 10 ingredient tango. On a weeknight, I simply do not have the time. I often find myself grilling when I "don't have the time". Thus, my predicament.

This book is a must for the adventurous sole. For the "I only have a few hours to crank out a grilled dinner with what I have on hand", you may have to look elsewhere.

My book explanation perhaps explains why I call this super ultimate planked salmon. For a typical planked salmon, I will either marinade a salmon filet, or brush on a sauce. For ultimate planked salmon, I used a maple plank (he recommends cedar...I happened to be out of cedar) and topped the salmon with a mixture of: Reader's Bonedust Seasoning (2 tbsp), fresh dill (1/2 cup), shallots (4, diced), garlic (2 cloves, minced), green onions (2, chopped), lemon zest (1 tsp) and olive oil (1 tbsp).

Soak your plank in water for a hour. Mix together your ingredients and smear across the top of your salmon filet. With the salmon on the plank (make sure it is a skinless filet so that the woody plank taste makes it into the meat) place the plank over a direct high heat for approximately 12-15 minutes.

One word: Wow! We almost always have left over salmon, which I love since it means I can make salmon cakes. There was nothing left of the ultimate planked salmon....except for the plank of course.

I almost forgot. Dessert was Zoë's parchment wrapped apples. It is based on a recipe from one of the Weber books, but she will not tell me what else she does. All I know is that when you add some ice cream it makes a memorable dessert.

Parchment Apples

Monday, October 13, 2008

What's on the Grill #95

Rotisserie Chicken with lime, thyme & ginger and Grilled Feta Eggplant Rolls!  There is nothing easier to grill than a rotisserie chicken.  Even though I have a rotisserie ring for the kettles, it took the purchase of the 650 to start using the rotisserie heavily.  Since then, I have dipped back to the kettle for variety...but for ease and success, the 650 is where it is at.  Yes, picking up a ready done and mass produced roto bird at Kroger, Sam's, or Meijer (heaven forbid) is easy, but where is the fun?

Roto Bird 

After rinsing the bird well, inside and out, I typically play thespian chicken before beginning the actual cooking part.  Although, I try not to do that when Zoë is around because for her it is bad enough I have my hand stuck into the cavity of a lifeless bird.  It is a whole other thing to start giving it voices and body movements like it's Jacky Chan.

If I am going roto, I tend not to put any rub under the skin.  The rotisserie action does such a good job, the under rub skin is overkill in my book.  Instead, what I do is add some citrus and herb to the cavity.  Tonight, it was Lime and Thyme.  A handful of thyme, and a lime cut in half.  (Did I mention they cavity ingredients also have to rhyme?)  Before trussing the chicken, I oil her down and rub the skin with some additional chopped thyme, salt, pepper and grated ginger.  I then stick her on the spit.

The grill is prepped for indirect grilling with the two outside burners on medium.  I also fire up the Infrared Rotisserie burner and add a drip pan.  Typically, I shoot for 350 on the hood thermometer, but with the rotisserie burner activated, the temp is usually much higher to start out.

With the grill pre-heated, I place the spit on the grill and let it spin.  I only run the IR burner for the first 15-20 minutes, or until the skin gets that nice crisp brown color.  After I have arrived at that point, I shut it down and let the grill sink back to 350.

The bird will spin for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees.

Grilled Eggplant with Feta

For a side, I recommend Grilled Feta Eggplant Rolls.  The eggplant actually came from our garden.  As of right now, it is not only the first eggplant, but the only eggplant our garden is likely to produce. 

For prep, cut the eggplant in approximately 1/4-1/2 inch slices, lengthwise.  Salt both sides well.  Grill the eggplant slices over medium heat, approximately 2-3 minutes a side.  Once done, place a little bit of feta towards one end of the slice and roll.  I used toothpicks to keep them from unraveling.  The rolls go great with a balsamic vinaigrette drizzled (or in my case...dumped) over the top.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

What's on the Grill #94

Black Pepper-Ancho-Crusted Beef Filets with Hot & Sweet Mint Glaze with Maple-Glazed Grilled Sweet Potatoes and Sauteed Garlic & Ginger Kale! Tonight's dinner was all Zoë's idea with recipes provided by The Flay. I could not have picked anything better, that is for sure.

Black Peper-Ancho-Crusted Beef Filets with Hot & Sweet Mint Sauce

Oddly enough, Zoë is not a big meat eater and doesn't like anything remotely spicy. This of course summed up the entire meal and I for one am not complaining.

I have a love-hate relationship with filet. There is no denying their lovely butter like consistency, but left on their own, I often find them lacking. A sauce is a must.

Both recipes are culled from Boy Gets Grill (p. 200 and p. 86, respectively). I have come to really appreciate The Flay's constant balance of heat and sweet. The Glaze for the filets included Dijon mustard, honey, prepared horseradish, and mint. I just really enjoy the sweetness of the honey with the bite of the horseradish.

The Flay calls for only one side of the filet to be rubbed. I know I have heard of a reason for this before, but I can't remember why. Usually I would rub both sides, but since The Flay is in the driver's seat...I'll do it his way.

Since I am a medium rare guy and Zoë is a well done, it-has-best-not-be-living-or-have-shown-any-sign-of-life girl, I butterflied hers...and treated it with extra special care before dropping it on the 700 degree grate. No pain there.

Sweet potatoes are a grilling must and the heat - sweet balance continued here with the use of maple syrup and what else? Ancho chili powder! The potatoes are parboiled and then cut into quarters, longwise. Once on the grill, the glaze is brushed on regularly. (A bit too regularly in my case...the grill needed some major cleaning today!)

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes

I love Kale and first gained exposure to it while making a modified colcannon last year. For a quick and easy side of greens, take a bunch of Kale, rinse it well, and remove the stalks from the leaves. Coarsely chop the leaves. Dice two gloves of garlic and grate approximately 2 tablespoons of ginger. Heat your wok. Add oil to the wok and toss in the garlic and ginger. Once the garlic and ginger starts to brown, toss in the Kale. Stir fry until the leaves have turned bright green and wilted (Maybe ten minutes? I honestly have never timed it out!)


Parting thoughts? Zoë thought the potatoes were too spicy. I didn't think they were spicy enough. Also, I needed a bigger filet. I hate when that happens. My friend Matt, who loves filets, always buys a third. I should have followed his lead!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Ribeye Friday

One of my favorite things to do on a Friday evening is grill a ribeye...a thick ribeye, preferably bone-in. This marvelous marbled piece of meat has always been my favorite cut. Some prefer the lean filet, others like a firm strip. I like this fat infused beast.
We try to get the grocery shopping out of the way on Fridays, so my assault on the butcher counter is timely. Usually, by the time we get home, I do not have time to plan out a long grilled event. A quickly grilled steak, with an appropriate side of grilled vegetables always fits the bill.
Grilling in the Dark
On another front, what is great about the fall, is also a slight negative. The lack of evening daylight. Now is the time of year where my grill photographs take on the eery color of flood lights. Gone is that great summer time sun. Fortunately, the weather has never stopped Ribeye Friday....
Steak On!
Thunderstorm = Smart Time to Grill
My Ribeye Fridays are easy:
1. Salt, Pepper & a Third (Either garlic, ancho chili powder, or paprika)
2. Good beer
Cover both sides with generous amounts of the rub. Preheat your grill to hot as you can get it. I prefer to oil my grates, versus oiling the, oil your grates.
When the grill is good and hot, slap down your ribeye. You must slap it down. Give it 2 minutes and then rotate it 180 90 degrees (Apparently my lack of basic Geometry is lacking...). After 2 more minutes, flip it over. Grill marks on side one have been achieved. After 3 minutes give it another 180 90 degree turn and then after an additional 3-4 minutes you should be looking at medium rare.
Drink your beer and enjoy Ribeye Friday!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

What's on the Grill #93

Grilled Stuffed Peppers!  I really had to force myself to end the first sentence with an exclamation mark.  They were good and I really enjoy them, but something still seems to be missing.  I have been experimenting with this recipe since spring.  Though I think tonight's missed the mark a little because I did not have any chorizo...or cheese.  You have to have cheese!


Typically, I plan on about 8 medium size peppers and 2 pounds of meat.  This round included ground beef and ground pork.  For the rice, I steamed 1 cup (uncooked) of brown basmati.  Since I was short on chorizo, I added a few tablespoons of chipotle puree.  I could really add chipotle to anything and like the end result. 


I saute diced onion and garlic and then brown the meat.  I use the side burner because these are grilled stuffed peppers gang! With the meat browned, I add in the cooked rice (the first few times I made this I tried to cook the rice in the meat...that did not work at all), about a cup of tomato sauce, chipotle puree, oregano, salt and pepper.  I let it simmer for about 10 minutes.


I pre-heated the grill to indirect medium (just the outside burners on) and stuffed the hollowed out peppers with the stuffing.  Once the peppers are stuffed, I placed them in the middle of the grill and lowered the hood.  I give them around 30 minutes.

I need to have this again, soon.  I also need to take better notes so I can remember what I did last time.  I am still bad about that!