Sous Vide/Big Green Egg Choice-Grade Brisket and Anasazi Beans

Posted by johngl

Not being one who’s easily satisfied, I’m always looking for new and different ways of doing things. Sometimes they even turn out to be better ways of doing things. I may be onto something here.

The brisket below spent roughly 48 hours in a 135°F sous vide hot tub and then another seven hours smoking away in my extra large Big Green Egg at 200°F.

Holy crap, dude!

48 hour sous vide and 7 hour smoked brisket

I get a lot of whining: This takes too long! I don’t have that kind of time! I don’t have a $1500 Big Green Egg and an immersion circulator!

Okay, so you may have me on the latter though my “immersion circulator” cost me less than $200 and you can use a $90 Weber Kettle and do the same kind of thing. Time-wise, I literally spent less than an hour “tending” the meat. This included rinsing, trimming, seasoning, bagging, unbagging, firing up the egg, and moving the meat out to the smoker. That hour was spread over three days.

Stop whining already. I’ve done the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is give it a whirl.

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Study in Sous Vide Top Sirloin: Sirloin “Tips” over Duck Egg Noodles with Bordelaise Sauce

Posted by johngl

Last week, I presented a wonderfully dismembered hunk of Prime Grade top sirloin that I’d immersed in my sous vide rig for about four hours. That little piece in the middle was just perfect for this dish:

Sous Vide Sirloin "Tips" over Duck Egg Noodles with Bordelaise Sauce

This was really a quick and easy dish, but before we get too far into the meatier portions, let’s talk about how to make those duck egg noodles.

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Study in Sous Vide Top Sirloin: Pan Seared “Tournedos”?

Posted by johngl

Right off the bat, I’ll probably irritate a few folks when using the word tournedos when talking about a top sirloin steak; normally, that term would be used by high-end restaurants to describe a supremely expensive super-tender center cut of beef tenderloin. I suppose I could have called them Filet of Top Sirloin to avoid conflict but, in the end, I decided to throw caution to the wind; they looked like tournedos to me.

Top Sirloin "Tournedos"

These are actually prime grade top sirloin, cut from the muscle tissue directly underneath the top sirloin “cap” (the cap, or coulotte, being that bent-to-a-C-shaped tasty cut of meat — Picanha — oftentimes seen skewered by a sword).

Picanha
I so need one (or more) of these sword thingys!

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Grilled T-Bone, Gnocchi “tots”, and (un)truRoots Bean Trio

Posted by johngl

I’ve been good lately. I mean dietwise good (let’s not get too crazy). I’ve dropped over 30 lbs from my all-time high of 238 by getting a lot more exercise and generally eating smaller portions. It was time for a reward dinner. So, last night, I ate a 30 ounce T-bone, bone and all, all by myself. OK, so I didn’t actually eat the bone, but certainly gnawed on the thing.

Grilled red meat, legumes, and Gnocchi "tots"

It’s a little difficult to believe that I used to eat that kind of volume on a regular basis. People told me, Dude, you’re six and a half feet tall, you can carry that extra weight. Maybe so, but I have to say that I certainly feel a lot better down here in the 207 range. My goal is to get under 200. And, in case you’re thinking that’s too thin, there was a time when me and my (racing) bicycle together weighed in under 200. I was a rail-thin 165 in those days, eating 6000 calories a day.

Enough about me. Let’s get on with the food!

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Big Green Egg: St. Louis Cut BBQ’d Ribs

Posted by johngl

One of my secret “guilty” pleasures is reading through my annual compendiums (1993-2011) of Cook’s Illustrated magazines put out by the good folks at America’s Test Kitchen. What attracts me to these folks’ publications is the total lack of advertizing. And, more importantly, these folks actually cook! They test things ad nauseum and while I’ve found them (absolutely) wrong on occasion (e.g. when to salt beef), they eventually see the error in their ways and aren’t afraid to admit it. In the nearly 20 years I’ve been reading these things — and I do read them cover to cover — I’ve grown to trust them. So, when the same folks started Cook’s Country a couple of years ago, I bit. In my 2011 compendium of Cook’s Country, in the June/July issue, I found, in the Cooking Class section, the rather bold statement: How to Barbecue Ribs. Well, firstly, I totally disagree with the way they spelled barbeque. It isn’t abbreviated BBC, it’s BBQ. But who am I to nitpick?

Secondly, that’s a pretty bold statement: How to Cook Ribs. I like bold and direct statements, so I decided I’d give it a whirl.

St. Louis Cut Barbeque Ribs

These are St. Louis Cut Spareribs. I’d never used them as I lean in favor of baby backs. Yes, these SLCs were even recommended in the article. I actually managed to follow their first instruction.

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Pork Tinga on Homemade Flour Tortillas

Posted by johngl

The other morning, I found myself standing in front of the open fridge wondering what the hell to make for dinner. In and amongst the food clutter — there is no shortage of things to eat in there — I noticed a pound of sous vide pork sirloin — part of my “ham making” experiments — still sealed in the bag. I also noticed some spicy Italian sausage links I’d cooked up the night before (for Italian sausage subs) and some as yet unused pizza dough. Wandering over to the pantry, I spied a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and several large cans of whole plum tomatoes. There was an avocado on the counter that was pushing the envelope of ripeness.

Pork Tinga

And so evolved this recipe for Pork Tinga.

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Swedish Meatballs over Duck Egg Noodles

Posted by johngl

Inspired by a trip to IKEA, a company founded in 1943 by a then 17 year old Swede named Ingvar Kamprad, I was (strongly) encouraged by most glorious spousal unit to make some “Swedish Meatballs.” She wanted them over duck egg noodles rather than the traditional boiled potatoes, and, since I had no desire to argue the point, I gave it a whirl.

I was sure I’d tried Swedish Meatballs at one party or another, but, as it turned out, what the host called those meatballs had little to do with Sweden and more to do with Italy. Since I’d never made them before, I was swimming in unknown waters.

Swedish Meatballs over Duck Egg Noodles

It turned out to be a nice swim.

Let’s get those duck egg noodles out of the way first…

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Beef: Sous Vide Top Sirloin

Posted by johngl

I’ll admit it: when I began this adventure, I didn’t know a whole lot about sirloin. I never paid much attention to it since my favorite cuts of beef were ribeye and porterhouse steaks, in that order. These “favorite” steaks come from primal cuts located mid-cow.  Sirloins hail from an area behind the short loin (where porterhouses call home) and in front of the “round” portion at the back end of the cow.

This is a representation of a cow!

Notice that tenderloin strip (white) whose big end (sometimes called the “head”) rests between two hunks of sirloin. The Top Sirloin (light green) rests directly beneath the “head” end of the tenderloin primal.

Below is seven and a half pounds of prime grade top sirloin. It cost me less than $5/lb, so I had no problem doing some experiments with it. It’s not easy to find a prime grade of anything at that price. My first run at it was a nine hour sous vide at 132°F.

Top Sirloin sous vide

I just love that edge to edge color that sous vide cooking brings.

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Steak Frites

Posted by johngl

I can’t tell you how often I find myself staring into an open refrigerator, hand on top of the right side door, moving stuff around with my left, just to see what we have in there. Usually, there is some really good food in there, leftover from some fresh-made dinner we had a few days prior.

Sometimes, in those not-so-rare-as-they-should-be moments where I’m lacking inspiration, I will ask most glorious spousal unit what she wants for dinner. She rarely answers me directly — on many things, not just food questions — which tends to annoy my hyper-direct nature. For instance, the answer to my query: What would you like for dinner? was “We should use those potatoes leftover from the pork roast for something.”

I swear, she could run for office. Well, okay, she could run for office as long as I was locked away somewhere.

Anyway…

Steak Frites

Yep, those pommes frites are those leftover potatoes and they came out pretty darned tasty.

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