Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's on the Grill: Live on Living Dayton

If you happen to live in the greater Dayton area and were watching WDTN's noon show, Living Dayton, this past Friday, you just might have caught a certain bald guy grilling up some Memorial Weekend appetizers.

Grilling on Living Dayton

Yeah, the title is no joke.  I did a three minute live segment about planking.  After finding my 26 inch Weber strapped down in the bed of our truck, my friend and co-worker Dave texted me, "Have Weber, Will Travel."  He couldn't have been more right.

Have Weber, Will Travel

I have no problem talking into a camera lens, as I know the magic of editing can even make me look sophisticated.  Live TV is something completely different and for my friends who do it day in and day out, my hat is off to you.  It's not easy.  

Doing the Prep

Thankfully, my segment went off without any major hitches.  Nothing burned down, I didn't say anything too stupid, and I think I was able to pass on some good information.

Dropping the Plank

Without any further adieu, here is the spot.  

 

Want the recipes?  Look here for Goat Cheese Stuffed Pepperdews and here for a variation of the Portabellas.

My thanks to everyone at Living Dayton for having me on and to Holly for "documenting" the event!

Monday, May 27, 2013

What's on the Grill #273: Coffee Rubbed Tri-Tip w/Rum Injection

Here's a revelation for you, out of all the grilling I've done, this is only the second tri-tip to hit my grill.  In fact, the first one wasn't even mine, as Drew brought it to a Brew Day and I just cooked it for him.  So, I suppose this recipe is essentially my "first."  Sorta.

Although tri-tip is a popular and inexpensive cut of meat for grilling, I've had little experience with it because I almost never see it at the store.  You can imagine how pleased I was when I stumbled onto one at Kroger.  Without thought or plan, I threw it in my cart and took it home.

As legend has it, tri-tip is sort of a California "invention."  While predominately ground into hamburger, it was eventually cut into steaks and then eventually used as a roast.  Today it's a favorite of backyard grillers and pit-masters.

Tri-Tip

The tri-tip comes from the bottom sirloin.  Think rear of the cow, almost to the top of the hind leg.  It's a triangular muscle, which explains the origin of its name: triangle = tri-tip.  It is also very, very tasty.

Tri-tip is a fairy lean piece of meat, so it's important not to overcook it.  A marinade, or in my case, an injection, helps.

Coffee Rubbed Tri-Tip with Rum Injection

Coffee Rubbed Tri-Tip w/Rum Injection
From Another Pint Please

1 Tri-Tip beef roast

Rub

1 T red peppercorns
1 T black peppercorns
1 T granulated garlic
1 T coffee
1 t corriander seed
1 t kosher salt

2 oz rum

Although I'm calling for whole spices, ground will certainly work.  The only difference is I like to grind my own.

Spice Grind

Remove the meat from the fridge about 30 minutes before grilling.

Prep the grill for a 2 zone direct/indirect medium heat fire.

Using about 2 ounces of rum, inject the meat in multiple places.

Injection

Once injected, cover the meat with the combined rub ingredients.

Rub

Work the rub in over the entire surface.  The entire surface, that means the sides too…no skimping!

Rubbed Meat

With the meat rubbed, it's time to hit the grill.

Grilling Time

Like with any roast, sear both sides over direct heat for a few minutes each, or until a nice crust forms.

Tri-Tip Down

Once both sides are seared, move the roast to indirect heat and continue cooking until you get an internal temperature of about 130 F.

Use the "down time" during the indirect part of the cook to grill some vegetables.

Oil in the Basket

Probably one of the easiest sides in the word is a mix basket of vegetables.  Slice up whatever you like, onions, broccoli, peppers, zucchini, peppers, carrots…the works.  Season, oil, and grill over direct medium heat stirring occasionally.  Twenty minutes or so and you have a "grilled" side dish.

Veg Basket

When the meat reaches temperature, remove it from the grill, and allow it to rest about 10-15 minutes.

The Rest

Once rested, start the craving.

Sliced Tri-Tip

The right cook temp and a proper rest should result in a perfect medium rare.

Ready to Serve

Which, with the lean nature of the meat, is really a necessity.  Overcooked meat tends to be chewy.  I want something that's going to melt in my mouth and not be a battle to swallow.

My final take on my "first" tri-tip? I loved it.

Coffee Rubbed Tri-Tip with Rum Injection

The texture of the tri-tip is different.  Although lean, the meat is not dense and has a really nice mouthfeel.  I also like the strong hit of coffee in my rub, and the distant rum flavor from the injection was a real treat.

Now that I know I can easily find tri-tip at the grocery, I can guarantee we will have future run-ins again.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The orchard may be angry, but the drinkers are happy

The growth of cider sales in the US has been exponential and the leader of the pack continues to be Angry Orchard.  Not wanting to rest on the laurels of their success, Angry Orchard has pushed the cider envelope again and just this month launched The Cider House Collection.  

Strawman & Iceman

Both ciders pack a higher ABV and are packed in 750ml corked bottles. Angry Orchard Strawman is based on old European farmhouse techniques.

Flute of Cider

Iceman is inspired by traditional Quebec ciders, where the apples are frozen prior to fermentation to release richer flavors.

Removing the Cage

While both Strawman and Iceman stem from the same Italian heirloom apples and are both fermented on wood, they are two very different drinks.

Strawman

These full-bodied ciders are a great substitute for wine and were fun to experiment with when we recently had friends over for dinner.  Oddly enough, the ciders also drew a gender difference.

Cider with dinner

I tend to gravitate away from sweeter drinks, but Gary and I favored the sweeter Iceman, while ZoĆ« and Terri favored the more crisp & subtle Strawman.  If I had to wager those results before we tried them, I would have lost big time.  The lesson here, like with anything else, is to not judge a bottle by its label.

Cider has a lot of complexity and although some if its flavors are similar to beer, it's still quite different.  With the Cider House Collection, I've got another excuse to "think" while I drink.  I've got some exploring to do.

Empty Cider

 Note: Angry Orchard provided me with the two bottles and as you can see from above, I'm out and need to go buy more.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

For many, Memorial Day in the US marks the beginning of grilling season.  For those of us in the midwest who grill all year, it signifies no longer having to grill with a coat and hat on.  It's a very special holiday.

Whether you grill for only a few months out of the year, or all twelve, spring means getting your grill in tip top shape for a summer of abuse.  Before you plan your Memorial Day meal, make sure your grill is ready for the "weight".

Now with the grill spring clean out of the way, the only left is to figure the menu.
Purists may gravitate towards burgers...

Siracha Burgers

and hot dogs.

The Tie

I get excited about ribs...

Glazed Ribs

and pulled pork.

Pulled Pork Platter

Needless to say, sometimes I will go all out with brisket...

Sliced Brisket

or up a notch with a steak.

Sliced

For even more ideas, check out the Pinterest board started by John from Grilling 24x7.  He's pulled in a great group of grill bloggers who have posted some fabulous creations.

At the end of the day, and no matter the meal, don't forget the real reason for the holiday.

Tomb of the Unknowns

Happy Memorial Day everyone.  Grill on!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Relatively Wordless Wednesday

The hot weather meant one thing last night: burgers.

Burger on Greens

But, not just any burger.  Oh no, these were pork/beef burgers with roquefort cheese, grilled portabella, grilled pepper, and…a fried egg.

Burger on Greens with Mushroom & Pepper

Killer.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What's on the Grill #272: Pulled Pork on the Kettle

One of my favorite things about the Weber kettle is its versatility.  Direct or indirect, the meal possibilities are endless.  

By far one of the more pivotal moments in my Weber upbringing was my first Boston Butt Roast.  (Why the strikethrough?  See here.)  Growing up, grilling was synomous with steaks, burgers, and badly burnt chicken.  True BBQ cooking was completely foreign.

By the mid nineties, the mystery was gone and I was slowly indoctrinated into low and slow.  I've never looked back.

Lately, Sundays have been BBQ days.  With all of the work it takes getting the house in shape for spring, dinner tends to be overlooked as the chores and tasks pile up.  However, by starting dinner before breakfast, I have the comfort of knowing dinner is on target and as an added benefit, I can take in its smells all day long.

If you have never smoked pork or brisket on a kettle, I urge you to give it a shot.  I've covered it before on these pages and a few years ago, posted a step by step tutorial to Instructables.  Amazingly enough, it's been viewed over 75,000 times and in so doing, hopefully helped some people step up their grilling game.

Even though I've been down this road before, I always like to tweak the process.  Here are some added tips:

While wood chips are nice, I prefer chunks.

Lighting the Chimney

Yeah, soaked wood chips work great, but I prefer the staying power of chunks.  They tend to burn, burn, burn.  Plus, there is something more primal about using actual pieces of wood versus machined chips.

Grind your spices

Purists suggest the shelf life of ground spices is only a few months.  I don't know about you, but I've got spices in the cupboard that remember doing the Macarena.  

In order to reduce my spice hoarding, I've taken to grinding whole spices.

Spice Grind

Using a coffee grinder dedicated to spices, I can mix and match the exact amount of what I need.  Even if I add in some pre-ground spice, I'm ensured a great consistency of the freshest spice mix possible.

Use mustard to help bind your rub to the meat.

Boston Butt

By slathering good old yellow ballpark mustard all over the pork, the rub has something to stick to, meaning more rub on the meat and less on the counter.

Mustard Slather

There is no flavor impact from the mustard, it's really just yellow "glue".

Rubbed Pork

Check for "doneness" with the bone pull

There is nothing more beautiful and drool inducing than a cooked pork shoulder.

Smoked Boston Butt

Even though it may look "cooked" over the course of the last few hours on the grill, the best way to ensure doneness is with a thermometer.  Don't take it off the grill before it has an internal temperature of 190 F.  

Don't have a  thermometer? In that case, find the bone and wiggle.  

Wiggle the Bone

If you can cleanly pull the bone from the meat, your can count on your pork being perfectly done.

It's done!

Mark the bottom vents

Air flow is the key to regulating temperature on the kettle.  Unless you want to hang out on your knees trying to figure out what position the ash catcher's vents are in, I suggest pre-marking them.

Vent Marks

C for Closed, H for Half, O for Open.  No dirty knees and no guessing.

Pulled pork is a delicious treat that can last for several days.

Pile o' Pork

I'm almost always guaranteed leftovers, which is great, because not only is pork great right off the plate, there are so many other things you can do with it.  Stuffed Peppers or pizza anyone?

Next time you have a long day of work planned, be prepared to start dinner before you crack your morning eggs.  Use these tips, fire up the kettle, and be prepared for a lot of awesome pork.

How do you use your kettle for BBQ?  Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

American Craft Beer Week

Leave it to me to post about an entire week of craft beer when the week is almost over.   May 13 - 19, 2013 is American Craft Beer Week.  Started in 2006, ACBW focuses on highlighting the importance of small and independent craft brewers.

American Craft Beer Week

There are lots of beer weeks and events across the United States, but ACBW is self described as the mother of them all.  Untappd even has a badge to recognize the celebration which, of course, I effortlessly unlocked.

Locally, it means two things.   First, the release of Great Lakes Brewing Company's Lake Erie Monster, one of my favorite Imperial IPAs: earthy, malty, spicy…delicious.  

Lake Erie Monster

Second, the annual Big Brews and Blues craft beer event at the Historic Carillon Park in Dayton, Ohio.  Scheduled for this Friday night from 5-9, Big Brews and Blues is a fundraiser for Diabetes Dayton.  They have some great big beers on tap.  Add in the entertainment and food and you have the makings of a great night.

Although the week is almost out, grab a craft beer and ready a toast.  If you are attending Big Brews and Blues this weekend, I hope to see you there.  Cheers!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

What's on the Grill #271: Planked Beef Ribs

I've long had a fascination with planking and no, I don't mean the stupid Internet meme.  There is something basic and primal about cooking food not just over wood, but on wood.  It's indirect cooking with the direct added benefit of smoke.  Best yet, it is dead easy and open to limitless possibilities.

Now when it comes to the actual wood planks, I have a confession to make.  I'm cheap.  I'm so cheap, I've gambled and bought cedar boards and cut them to size.  The cedar was untreated and that third eye you see above my right ear is only an illusion.  I'm fine, really.

I flat out refuse to buy two small ten inch cedar planks for six dollars, which is why I resorted to making my own.  Yes, my own do work, but I really can't be 100% sure the are totally food safe.  Besides the whole "will they kill me?" thing, the planks I'm making are fairly low grade cedar.  Thankfully, I've found something much better: Outdoor Gourmet.

Started in 1995, Outdoor Gourmet is the original cedar plank producer.  Based in Sandpoint, Idaho, they are in the heart of the pacific northwest and the center of red cedar country.  Outdoor Gourmet also produces some of the finest planks I've ever used…and I've used a lot.

Having since expanded from only cedar, but to hickory, alder, cherry, red oak, and maple, Outdoor Gourmet also carries the largest plank I've seen.  They are 6x12 and they are big enough for something I have in the fridge: beef ribs

Planked Beef Ribs by Outdoor Gourmet

I've planked a lot of things, but never ribs and to me, they seem like a great combination.

Planked Beef Ribs
by AnotherPintPlease

Rack of Beef Ribs

Rub 

1 T freshly ground pepper
1 T kosher salt
1 t granulated garlic
1/2 t ground cayenne powder

Plank - I went with hickory

Good quality BBQ sauce

The first step is to soak the plank.  Figure on at least an hour.  Part of the cook will be directly over the coals, so unless you want to ready the garden hose for a dinner killing flare up, make sure the plank is nice and wet.

Beef ribs are rich in flavor compared to their pork counterparts and also carry a whole lot less meat.  As such, I go with a more minimalist rub and plan on a shorter cook time.

Prepare the grill for a two zone, direct/indirect, low heat fire (About 225-250F).  Again, part of the cook is directly over the coals and part is indirect.

Hickory Plank

Remove the ribs from the refrigerator about 45 minutes before grilling.  Remove the membrane.  Place a knife between the bone and the membrane to separate the two.  Then, grab the loose membrane end with a paper towel and pull the rest away.

Pull the Membrane

Generously season with rub.

Rubbed Beef Ribs

Place the ribs on the plank and place the planked ribs on the grill, directly over the coals.

Instead of adding chips to the fire, I'm adding the plank.  

Planked Direct

Cook for the first 30 minutes over direct heat.  This should be enough time for the plank to start to smolder and smoke the ribs.  However, be sure to keep an eye on it.  I've had more than one planking accident in my time.

With the plank lightly smoking, move it over to the indirect side of the grill and continue to cook.

Planked Indirect

Continue to cook for another 90 minutes.  Be sure to keep the lid down.

Planked Beef Ribs

We are looking for a total cook time of about 21/2 hours.  Figure 30 minutes directly over coals, 90 minutes indirect, and the remaining 30 minutes back over the coals while applying BBQ sauce.  

Sauced

I love layering the flavors of smoke and sauce.  

Planked Beef Ribs

With the meat pulled back from the bone and the sauce applied, it's time to eat.  A word of caution, be careful not to overcook the ribs.  As I mentioned before, there is not a ton of meat, so it is very easy to overcook them and have no meat at all.  Sad trombone...

Sauced & Smoked

The ribs turned out great.  As for the hickory plank, it worked perfectly.  In fact, it was so robust, even with the smoldering, I think I will get another use out of it.  

I think part of the joy of eating beef ribs is wielding around their massive bones.  It's dinner and a workout all in one.

Note: Outdoor Gourmet provided me with a wide selection of planks.  I will be playing with them for posts to come.