Monday, May 1, 2017

Smoked Pulled Beef & Prosciutto Stuffed Peppers

Inspiration by Mr Smoker Pete and his recent post on the “Lets Talk BBQ Forum”.

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I served this treat with some BBQ Pit Beans and some Pasta Salad.

I did this cook a little different and it was still a great treat.

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Ok, I used some smoked and pulled beef I had on hand and then added some Prosciutto for the meat. I also par-boiled the pepper halves before I stuffed them. I stuffed the peppers with the meat, some diced red onions, cream cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, and some sharp Cheddar cheese. I also used my favorite rub on the pepper halves.  

Came out great and I will do this one again.

Weber Kettle and some Sandwich Treats

Quite often, I get tired of all the high temp grilling and want something with a little more smoke flavor so I just lower the temps and stretch the cook out a little longer to get some additional flavor for my sandwiches. 

Used the Weber charcoal baskets and Stubb’s briquets with hickory chunks for smoke. Most of the cook was done on the backside of a pair of Grill Grates. 

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My cook consisted of the following:

Four 1/3 pound 70/30 burger pattties
Five Johnsonville Hot Italian sausage
Six Vienna Brand Chicage type Jumbo Beef Franks 
Block of Jalapeno Spam
And some caramelized veggies

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My Gen 2 performer doing it’s thing. Meat was cooked at about 250-275 degrees measured on the cooking surface and took a few minutes less than an hour not including the veggies. 

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Caramelized veggies consisted of onions, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and sliced jalapeno peppers.

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Results of the cook.

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Hot Italian sausage sandwich with some of the caramelized veggies, tomatoes, and mustard and a Jalapeno Spam Slider with caramelized veggies, lettuce, tomato, and mustard.

The cook came out great and sure made a nice lunch.

Pizza Braid on the Cobb Grill

A nice treat...

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Fairly easy to make and is just something different from a standard pizza. 

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I made it about 15" long so I had to cut it in half and bake it in two bakes in the Cobb.

I made this first one with just sauce, cheese, and pepperoni but I will load up my next one with some sausage, onions, bell peppers and mushrooms.

Information on this bake can be found on the Pillsbury Web Site:

First Taste of the Season (Wild Mushrooms)

Guess what I am having for Supper this evening? My good neighbor came over and saved the day for us with this great gift of some early black sponge wild mushrooms!

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We decided to have the mushrooms for breakfast this morning and this is how we fixed them.

We cut them in half first and then they were soaked in salt water overnight in the fridge. Washed them off this morning and then into a milk and egg wash, then breaded in some cornmeal, a little flour, and salt and pepper. Then they were fried in a cast iron skillet in about 1/2" of lard for the grease. 

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Just out of the skillet.

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Served with some cheesy eggs, a piece of sausage, and a half of a toasted bun. 

Probably need an oil change before the end of the day but they sure were good!

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Good neighbor surprised us again with another batch of mushrooms and this time they were mostly the yellow sponge mushrooms.

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It really doesn’t get any better than this...

Corned & Pastramied Beef Brisket Flat on the Davy Crockett

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How about a Reuben sandwich? Take a couple of slices of fresh rye bread, and add a generous amount of corned and pastramied brisket flat slices, slap on about 4 slices of baby Swiss cheese, add a layer of homemade kraut, a big dollop of Thousand Island dressing, and just fry it up in a skillet,  and my friend, it’s about as good as it gets!

We use a lot of this meat and make it several times a year but always do it from scratch (corn our own beef) until this week. I decided to try it with corned beef brisket flats  purchased from our local Kroger store. 

Purchased four of the corned beef flats that weighed around 3.40 pounds each at a price of $2.98 a pound from Kroger. My total was 13.51 pounds. 

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First step was to de-brine them to get some of the salt out of the meat as we didn’t plan to cook this meat with a big pot of veggies or add the meat to a pot of cabbage where the salt would be needed. I soaked two of them at a time in the fridge for about 9 hours changing the water about 3 times to remove some of the salt. 

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I made up my pastrami rub with the following spices. My recipe is for 6-7 pounds of meat. 

9 TBL Black peppercorns (coursely cracked)
3 TBL Coriander seed (coursely cracked)
3 TBL Turbinado sugar 
1 tsp Granulated garlic
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

I dried the meat after the de-brining process and added a heavy amount of rub to each piece and put the meat into freezer bags and then into the fridge for an overnight stay. 

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The meat ready for the cooker.

Brought the Davy Crockett pellet cooker around to my cooking patio and fired it up and set it to a good smoking temperature of 165 degrees which will produce additional smoke for the first couple of hours. Later, I moved it up to 280 degrees to finish the cook. 

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Got an early start and had the meat on the cooker before daylight. 

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I just removed them from the cooker as they reached a finish temperature of 185 internal degrees and of course, they didn’t all come off at the same time. The cook took about  7-1/2 hours total.

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You know, for a quicker method for this treat, this worked out nicely. While not quite as good as starting from scratch in my opinion, it is still very good. Sure be better if a fellow could purchase larger corned beef flats to start with. 

Challah Bread on the Cobb Grill

I did this bake yesterday on my Cobb Grill using the larger charcoal basket, dome extension, standard cooking grid, roast rack, 8-1/2” stone hearth, and about 22-23 charcoal briquets. Has been a difficult task to get this little cooker to bake at some of the lower baking temperatures in the 350 400 degree range and baking times of 30-50 minutes. I am getting real close to this goal.

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Just about done on the Cobb Grill. I made the loaf just slightly too large for my grill for the best results.

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Cooling down before I cut it for serving.

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Looked pretty good.

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I got the bottom and the top to both come out perfect this time as you can see in this picture.

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My fire at the start of the cook.

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This is a very rich bread and is braided but it is kinda difficult to see it in the picture. I needed a loaf that was very short and wide for the “little” space you have to deal with in the cooker. Would have been much prettier if I could have made it about twice as long when I formed it. I did the dough in my bread machine on the dough only cycle. 

Sure was good with a big slab of butter on it....

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Hasty-Bake Ranger Mini Review and 1st Cook

I have finely got around to setting up my new Hasty Bake Ranger 380SS to suit me and then doing my first cook on it.

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I have it sitting on one of my service carts to make it much easier to use.

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Built a Stainless Steel second cooking grate for the cooker. 

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I also found a nice cover to fit this setup.

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Next step was to cut a firebrick in half and then adding one whole firebrick to make my divider in the firebox for my fuse burns which is the method I use for my longer cooks in my Hasty-Bake cookers. 

I figured my first cook could probably take up to 5-6 hours so I loaded the charcoal pan about 80% full of the Stubb’s charcoal and added a few hickory chunks for smoke.

My first cook was to be a Slab of Ribs cooked over a half pan of BBQ  Pit Beans so the drippings would go into the pan to give the beans some additional flavor, and a pan of Au Gratin Potatoes. Wife made up a Wilted Baby Spinach Salad to go with this meal. 

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Made up the pan of Au Gratin potatoes the evening before the cook and then did the same for my BBQ Pit Beans and put both into the fridge. 

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Started my fuse burn the next morning just before daylight and it took about 45 minutes to get the cooker warmed up and on temperature for my cook.

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While the cooker was coming up to temp, I prepped the ribs and then cut the slab into two pieces so they would fit over my pan of beans. At this time, I also added my brown sugar to the top of my bean pan. When the ribs reached the sweat stage, I started my cook. 

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The fire in the charcoal pan just before I loaded the cooker...cooker temp was at 180 degrees and climbing slowly. 

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This is about an hour into the cook and after I got the cooker vents adjusted for a nice steady burn.

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The first item done were the potatoes.

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Ribs were wrapped with some goodies about 2-3/4 hour into the cook.

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The beans were the next item to get done and I hadn’t stirred in all the drippings and smoke skum when this picture was taken. 

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The ribs were unwrapped and then glazed and this is my results for this treat. 

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Ribs cut for serving. 

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Wife’s Wilted Baby Spinach Salad to be served with this meal. 

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Everything came out great and it sure was a wonderful lunch.

And for the Hasty-Bakers that are following my progress with this new Ranger and my method with the fuse burn to operate it, here is some additional information.

This cook took about 4-1/2 hours which is quicker than I expected and only used the first row or half of the loaded charcoal. This would calculate out to about 8-9 hours total cooking time with my 80% full load of charcoal if I would have needed it. And I think with a full load of charcoal, a fellow could get up to 10-11 hours total cooking time with this method. 

Cooker control was about what I expected and about the same as it is with my larger Hasty-Bakes. My planned cooking range for this cook was about 220-275 degrees measured on the surface of the cooking grid and I had both the intake and exhaust vents all the way open at the start of the cook. I shut the intake vent down to about half open about 1-1/2 hours into the cook. After the 2-1/2 hour mark, I closed the intake vent all the way. The last vent setting I had to make was to close the exhaust vent down to about half open and this just locked in the temperature to where I wanted it and I think it would have run for several more hours if I would have needed it. It’s almost a “set and forget” method of cooking on this smaller Hasty Bake Ranger (tailgater size) cooker. 

The food was great, the cooker operation was great, and I am very satisfied with my new cooker. 

Update: There is not as much room between the firebox and the ash pan so I had to cut down my normal 4" clearance to 2" between the firebox and the ash pan for this fuse burn. Worked fine at this distance.