This latest adventure in live fire cooking came about rather innocently. I needed a way to get a bigger fire out of this (double-sided) fireplace.
The grate was too low to keep larger stacks of logs from rolling out so I set upon building a cage to hold the logs in (see above). It’s made from steel and bolts I picked up at a local hardware store and measures 36″ wide x 18″ deep x 18″ tall. Continue reading
It was a perfect Spring morning for a fire; low 30’s, a sleet/snow mix, and wind. A good day to keep warm, read a book, then cook!
Once I got this rip-snortin’ blaze goin’, I made my way to the kitchen to round up some stuff. Continue reading
It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes I can be inspired by something I’ve seen on the Internet. At this point, I don’t even remember what that inspiration was, but it was there once, I swear it.
I’m a huge fan of the ultra-beefy taste of chuck. It’s what meat is meant to be. However, it can be a little chewy unless it’s cooked for long periods of time…like days.
Funny how this works, but sous-vide is just the ticket! A full 48 hours at 130°F did the trick. Continue reading
Most glorious spousal unit and I were walking the aisles of our local Amish Market seeking turkey. Sadly, all the gobblers had flown the coop and there wouldn’t be any returning until Tuesday. We found duck. And goose. And turkey parts: breasts, legs, thighs, and necks. Forgive me, but I wanted an assembled bird.
Okay, well mostly assembled. This one is missing a lot of what it was hatched with.
When I was hunting the fridge looking to bag something for lunch, this just jumped out in front of me:
Well, it wasn’t that exactly, it was a 3oz piece of sous vide NY Strip that most glorious spousal unit set aside for me. She’s thoughtful that way.
What to do, what to do?
I’d initially thought about a grilled cheese sandwich. Why not add some NY Strip strips?
And so it came to pass that most glorious spousal unit actually asked for a sous vide steak. We’re making some progress!
She’s a meat and potatoes sort, so I asked her how she wanted the taters.
“Mashed. With cheese.” says she.
“Hmmm. Well, that’s different. What kind of cheese?” I asked stupidly.
“Cream cheese and Cheez Whiz®.”
Whatever. If that’s the price I pay to get her to buy into sous vide rather than just indulging my experiments, so be it.
The steaks are on the left. Italian sausage in two-packs, then an 8 lb pork shoulder. In all, fourteen pounds of flesh.
She just rolls her eyes realizing this monster sous vide rig will now be on the counter (again) for days.
Most glorious mum-in-law flies in — not on her broom — about once a year. Her favorite food on the planet is pork ribs. In fact, her favorite meat is pork. Ya just gotta love an Iowa farm girl.
Clockwise, from the top, St Louis cut spare ribs, shoulder (butt), and rack.
The ribs (20 hours @ 134°F), shoulder (48 hours @ 140°F), and rack (10 hours @ 134°F) were all sous vide well in advance, ice bathed, then stored in the fridge awaiting their smoke-filled finish. This is one of the greatest things about sous vide: once fully pasteurized, and as long as the bag isn’t opened, you can safely keep it in your fridge for several weeks.
Each piece of meat was liberally salted in advance of the water bath. That’s it. Nothing fancy here. I simply wanted to see what salt alone would do.
Always being interested in the science of cooking, I did some research on the smoking bit too. The result of that was a few simple things 1) charcoal for heat, 2) wood for smoke (I used dry oak chunks), 3) wait for blue smoke (the nearly invisible kind), 4) meat goes in cold and wet. Pretty simple stuff. For those interested in a shitload of details, go here.
Science works. Check out that smoke ring! Believe it or not, the ribs were in the smoker for only 40 minutes. I pulled them out of the fridge, out of the bag, left a bunch of gelatinous goo on the surface, and put them in the smoker. No added rubs, spices, or fussery. Continue reading
I like pork butts. I cannot lie. I like ’em round, and big, and once I throw them in my rig…
Well, I guess you’ll have to read on to find out what happens.
Yeah, I know, it looks like a pan-seared pork chop. It is indeed pork, but it is actually a slice off of this 48 hour (140°F) eight pound bit of porcine plumpness:
A couple of margaritas ago, I pulled some brats out their four hour 140°F sous vide water bath. They were ugly.
I fired up my modified Weber Kettle®…the one I used for the St. Louis cut ribs I talked about a few weeks ago and got things a-smokin with some hunks of red oak. Continue reading
It seems like the summer of 2015 has zipped by in a flash. Where does the time go? I moved to Maryland just a few weeks ago, didn’t I? In nine days, it will be three years.
I thought I’d celebrate Summer’s end in high style.
I’ve become a huge fan of St. Louis cut ribs for various reasons, but that’s another post. Actually, it’s a previous post. I don’t recall the link, so just search for it. Continue reading