Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cook, Grill, and Bake/Char-Broil CB 500X

This is a mixed cook, grill, and bake in this fine little cooker and the meat used in this cook are two nice pork steaks cut about 1/2" thick, two rib-eyes cut about 1-1/2" thick, three burgers at 1/3 pound each, and I also added some no knead bread which I decided to bake in my small Dutch oven. Here is a teaser from this cook.

As you can see, these rib-eyes look great!

I started this cook by setting up the cooker for a low and slow type of cook for the pork steaks. I loaded the right side of the cooker with some Stubb's charcoal. I then added a couple of Weber fire cubes. I placed a half size drip pan on the left side to catch the drippings and to also add a little moisture to the cook. Added about a cup of water to the drip pan to keep the drippings from burning. Placed my cooking grid over the drip pan and I was ready to load the pork steaks. I fired off the cooker and brought it up to about 230 degrees and loaded the pork steaks which had been rubbed with my low carb rub.

I added a couple of chunks of hickory wood to the fire and let the cooker do it's thing.

Was a pretty nice day with the temperature around 40 degrees which was melting all our ice and snow.

I smoked the pork steaks about two hours and glazed them and removed them from the cooker. I then added the second cooking grid right over the fire as I planned to cook the burgers and steak both direct and indirect. I also opened up the front service door on the cooker to bring up the temperature for the grilling.

I seared my 1/3 pound burgers over the fire on the right side of the cooker and then placed them on the indirect (left) side for a few more minutes to get them done.

I sprinkled some garlic salt and fresh cracked black pepper on my steaks. I then placed them on the direct side and over the hot coals in the cooker for a sear. Seared both sides and then placed them on the indirect side to cook them to about medium rare.

I added a few more pieces of charcoal and loaded up my no-knead bread in my small Dutch oven. Opened up the service door on the front of the cooker all the way as I wanted the cooker to run hot as possible with what I had left of the charcoal. Would have been nice to have started with a fresh load of charcoal as the bread is better baked above 450 degrees but we came out pretty good with the temp around 350- 375 degrees as my charcoal was about used up. Took a little longer but the bread was just as good.

Now, for the money shots!

I added a small cuke and onion salad in vinegar, and some tomato slices and a piece of lettuce, and then cut me a slice of the bread and spread on some real butter, and plated up my steak.


The old fatman got that steak cooked just your heart out!

I think I am gonna like this cooker.....

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Chicken / Auto Temp Control / CB- 500X

I'll start with a few small modifications that I have made to this slick little tailgate cooker to improve the overall use.

The cooker comes with holes for a rotisserie in the hood and I plug these with a couple of balls of tin foil.

This hole in the lower right side of the cooker is for a gas burner and again, I plug it with some tin foil.

With the above mods, this little cooker will run the indirect low and slow temps for hours and I use the service door to run the higher temps used for baking pizza and bread. Works great!

Now, to set the cooker up with a Pitmaster IQ 110 Auto-Temp Control.

I removed the tin foil plug from the lower right side gas burner hole so I could mount the standard manifold from the auto control. For the unit to work correctly, the blower must be below the charcoal grate level. There are three mounting holes for the gas burner and I drilled out the top one with the next drill size so it would fit the toggle bolt on the manifold.

The Pitmaster IQ 110 is one slick control if all you want is cooker control. It doesn't have any probes for the meat that goes on your cookers. It is also about half price as compared to the other units on the market. The unit in the picture with this standard manifold will fit WSM's, Weber Kettles, my two classic Char-Broils, and with another adapter will also fit both my ceramic cookers and my Backwoods cookers. I believe it could be adapted to most all charcoal cookers. Not shown in the picture is the 110 volt power adapter which also comes with the control.

I used the toggle bolt to mount the manifold to the Char-Broil 500X. I then setup the cooker for an indirect cook by loading up the right hand side with a full load of Stubb's Brickettes charcoal.

I placed two Weber fire cubes in charcoal and lit them off. I placed a half pan on the left side for the drippings and added about a cup of water to keep them from burning. If you look close, you can see the probe connected to the back of the cooking grid. This probe controls the cooker temperature.

I hooked up the Pitmaster and decided to use my 12 volt Jump-Starter to run the unit. I used a Radio Shack 12 volt adapter cord to power it up. It was cold with a light snow and I didn't want to fool around with running 110 out to the cooker so this hookup worked fine.

After my starter cubes went out, I set my Pitmaster control to about 245 degrees and started it to bring the cooker up to cooking temp. I then opened up the left side exhaust vent in the hood so I could pull all the smoke and heat across my meat during the cook.

While the cooker was coming up to temperature, I prepped my four pound fryer by cutting out the backbone and then breaking the breastbone so the chicken would lay flat on the cooker. Some folks would call this spatchcocking but I prefer the word "butterfly." I then sprinkled on my low carb rub and it was ready for the cooker.

I placed the chicken on the cooker and added a few chunks of smoke wood.

This picture shows the chicken about halfway thru the cook.

The chicken just off the cooker.

Me and Mommy split this treat as she made chicken salad with her half and I made pulled chicken with my half.

I toasted up a piece of low carb bread, added some pulled chicken, then sprinkled a little of my low carb bbq sauce over it. Added some salad stuff and cheese and made a great low carb (6 grams) meal out of it.

The Pitmaster IQ 110 temperature control is a fine product and very low cost compared to other units on the market.