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. 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Spicy Hot Meat Loaf / Cobb Grill

This cook was done on my little Cobb Premier Grill.

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Sure made a fine lunch. 

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The ingredients were as follows:

About 1-1/2 lbs of hamburger
About 1 pound of my homemade hot and spicy Italian sausage
Diced onions
Diced bell peppers
Diced smoked red peppers
Salt & Pepper along with some SGH rub
Chili Sauce
French’s Crispy Dried Jalapeno Peppers for the filler

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Made a pretty picture.... just before I mixed it all up for the pan.

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Used the handle end of a wooden spoon to put several indentations in the top of the loaf to help hold more of the chili sauce. 

I applied peanut oil to my potatoes and then sprinkled on some sea salt and butcher cut black pepper and I was ready to put it all on the grill. 

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Has some misting rain and a temp of about 35 degrees for the start of my cook.

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The cook about done on the Cobb Grill.

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Sliced the loaf into about 1/2” thick slices for sandwiches. 

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Put a nice thick slice of my meat loaf on a sesame seed bun, added lettuce, tomato, and some horsey sauce. Wife did the potatoes with some cheese and sour cream with some chopped green onions. 

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Was one great sandwich...will do this cook again.

Stuffed Dill Pickles / Cobb Grill

This appetizer cook / bake was done on my Cobb Grill. Idea from a recipe I saw on the web. 

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Dish as ready for serving.

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About 10-12 Baby Dill Pickles
1 block of cream cheese
1-1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar
1 clove of garlic
1 slice of pre-cooked bacon for each piece
Rub of your choice

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I used a mellon baller to scoop out the centers of the halved pickles. Mixed all the ingredients except the rub in a bowl. Stuffed them and sprinkled on some rub and then wrapped them in bacon and used a toothpick to hold the bacon on each piece.

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I baked them for about 35 minutes and this picture is just before they came off of the cooker.

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These things are great!!

Lasagna Loaf / Cobb Grill

This bake was done on my Cobb Grill using Wicked Good all hardwood briquets. 

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About 1 lb of my homemade Italian sausage
12 oz marinara sauce
15 oz ricotta cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
8 slices of mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 oz pepperoni
2 eggs
About 8 oz lasagna noodles

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Ready to go on the Cobb.

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A cool morning at about 30F degrees. Used a charcoal chimney to start this cook. 

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Needed a baking temperature of about 350-400 degrees so I used the larger charcoal basket and about 20 briquets for this bake.  

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Just about ready to come off of the grill.

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As cut for serving.

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I dribbled on some more sauce and served this treat with a slice of garlic toast and some mixed fruit. Turned out that the second piece of lasagna was a little too much for this old fellow. Was a great lunch...

Slow 'N Sear / Competition Steak Cooking

I did this cook today in my Weber Gen 2 Performer Kettle in another one of those middle of the Winter warm and wonderful Spring like days. I think it’s our third day at about 70 degrees. 

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Trimmed up a couple of steaks that weighed about one pound each and were about 1-1/8” thick and applied two different competition rubs. The top steak has a rub with dill seed in it and is my wife’s favorite and the bottom steak is my favorite and has a little heat in it. Both are very good rubs for competition steaks. 

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I moved the Slow ‘N Sear as far to the middle of the cooker as it would go and then foiled each side of the unit to force all the intake air up thru the center of the accessory for maximum air flow and heat. I filled a Weber chimney full of all Kingsford Professional  all hardwood charcoal briquets for this cook and lit if off for this cook. I would rather use all lump but I think that SCA and Kingsford will team up again this year and offer the additional “double your contest purse” if you win and I sure can’t pass on this great offer. 

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My tools for this cook. I decided to try two different methods of cooking the steak in the Weber Kettle to see which one might be the best for the setups I had on hand. 

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I did the first steak on my standard size Grill Grates after a 15 minute warm up (to 625 degrees) and this took a total of 10 minutes to get it seared up and looking good. 

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After the first steak was done, I setup the kettle with my cast iron steak grid setup and let it warm up for about 20-25 minutes to my cooking temp of about 500 degrees and this steak took about a minute less to get to my pulling temp of about 136-138 degrees for that perfect finish temp of medium that the SCA rules call for. 

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You know...I think both of them looked great and would be competitive in a contest. 

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Both steaks in the presentation box and ready for turn-in. 

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The results of the cook looked about right on the doneness of warm and pink in the center (medium) and my sear marks on both steaks came out well. For ease of cooking, I thought the steak on the cast iron grid was the easiest to cook. I also found out that I could have used much less fuel (maybe 2/3rd chimney of charcoal) for this type of cook. 

I sure feel that a fellow could do quite well with either of these setups and method for cooking a competitive steak in a SCA contest with the Weber Kettle and the Slow ‘N Sear accessory.