Monday, July 25, 2011

Sausage Fatties

As soon as I mentioned to MBH that I wanted to make some fatties she told me that we are going to change the name or I was not going to be cooking these things.  So I abided and we soon began calling them sausage rolls (I will refer to them as fatties here since she has nothing to hold over my head anymore).  A fatty is essentially stuffed breakfast sausage rolled into a log.  I decided I was going to do 4 of these bad boys for our guests' brunch after our wedding celebration. I gathered the necessary ingredients and recruited MBH to give me a hand prepping the fatties.  I started them on Wednesday so that they would have time to firm up before I cooked them Friday morning.



Prep:
I used the publix brand mild sausage since it was on sale.  I emptied a "tube" of sausage into a freezer bag and flattened it until it filled the bag completely.


I got mild sausage since it was on sale. I want to try hot next time I make these.
I next cut down the side of the bag and folded one half of the bag away exposing the sausage.  I stuffed two of them with sharp cheddar cheese, onions, and red and green peppers.  I stuffed the other two with sauteed spinach and feta cheese.

I added the cheese first and then added the onions and peppers.

MBH sauteed the onions and green and red peppers.

While I was working on the first two rolls, MBH prepped the sauteed spinach and onions. 
I added feta to the second two rolls with the spinach and onions.

After getting the stuffings prepared, I used the edges of the bag to roll the sausage carefully.  As I rolled I tucked in the edges so that the sausage resembled a log.  During this process it is important not to over stuff the sausage.  I noticed that the sausage was very thin and fragile toward the outside edges and over stuffing would make this process of rolling very difficult.

Two of the fatties rolled.
While I was rolling the fatties, I tasked MBH with preparing the bacon weave for the outside of the sausage fatties.  I mainly wanted to add this because I have always wanted to add a sausage weave to something but in the end it actually helped hold the raw fatties together better.

What is more American than a bacon weave?!?!

I wrapped the rolls in the weave and then wrapped them in foil.  Make sure you use some olive oil on the tin foil or you will see some sticking of the sausage.  I stored the rolls in the fridge until it was time to cook them.



Cooking:
I cooked the fatties indirect at 250º directly on the grate resting on the platesetter feet up.  I used a drip pan to collect the drippings.  I cooked the fatties for about 3 hours until the internal temperature of the sausage reached 170º.  I used some Jack Daniels barrel chips for some smoke on these bad boys.

After being in the fridge overnight, the fatties really firmed up making them easier to deal with.

About half way thru and they were looking NOM.

Pulled at 170º internal.
I rested the fatties in foil for about an hour then placed them in the fridge until it was time to serve Sunday morning.  I got up early Sunday and placed the fatties in the warming tray to get the internal temperature to just over 120º.  I sliced them and served them with eggs, fruit, and a danish MBH made.

Notes:
These things were very good.  They had a great smoke ring and went great with the eggs.  I got some great comments and some suggestions about what to stuff a fatty with in the future.  The cheddar fatty had more flavor imo but FIL said the spinach was his favorite.  I think next time I will add some rub to the fatties for even more flavor.  We were only able to eat one of each kind of fatty so I have two in my freezer for later!

Sliced and served.

Cheddar goodness!


The spinach fatties were less messy but still delicious!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Crazy Fast Pork Butts

MBH and I have been celebrating our marriage for nearly 2 years now starting with out engagement party and finally wrapping up this past weekend with a large reception type partay.  Since we were going to have a bunch of guests in from out of town we decided to have an event the night before the big event and wanted to have it at a Braves game.  I wanted to show off my cooking skill so I decided to do some butts since I have had great success with them in the past.  My sister and her boyfriend arrived on Thursday so I decided I would do the butts overnight Thursday for the game on Friday.  I started the butts with the intention of cooking them as I had in the past (15 hours at 225º-250º).  However, when I went to pick up my sister and boyfriend we decided to go straight to dinner and then to get drinks.  I thought I had the grill stabilized at 225º but that was not the case.  The butts cooked at nearly 350º (100º more than I usually cook them) and finished in half the time.  Here is the Summary.

Prep:
I prepared the butts a night earlier using DP Raging river on one and Montreal Steaks pork rub on the other leaving the fat caps intact.  I covered them in Saran wrap and left them in the fridge overnight.



Cooking:
I set the egg up for indirect cooking with the platesetter legs up with a drip pan on the platesetter, and the grate on the legs of the platesetter.  I placed the butts directly on the grate fat cap up.  I thought I had stabilized the egg at 225º but while we were out (nearly 4 hours) the temperature rose to just over 350º at the grate.  I check the temperature of the meat upon our return and noticed that they were around 160º.  I was shooting for 195º internal so I decided it was time to foil them.  I shut down the vents and foiled the butts letting them go for an addition 2 hours.  In this time, the temperature dropped but was still above 275º and my butts had reached my desired internal temperature in 6 hours (usually takes 15).  I had no idea how these were going to turn out but I let them rest then placed them in the fridge.  The next morning I put them in the warming tray to get back to and internal of 150º and then placed them in a cooler to take out to the game.

Notes:
Everyone still raved about the butts (even FIL).  They were very moist and had an amazing smoke ring (I was not expecting any smoke ring due to the decreased cooking time).  The high heat had also helped to render all of the fat out of the butts so they were nice and lean.  However, the bark did not get as crisp as normal.  I now know that butts can be successfully cooked at increased temperatures but for a great bark it needs to be lower and slower. 

Everyone was hungry and demolished the first butt and nearly 30 hot dogs.

The second butt was bigger and we only got through half of it.  I ate pork all this week.

Served with bullseye bbq sauce which I had never had.  The carolina sauce was the favorite.
(Yes those are bbq nachos happening in the background- lays, pork, and bbq sauce)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Chicken 2 Ways

In the world of green eggery, there is an ongoing debate about the best way to prepare a whole chicken.  Two main cooking methods come to the forefront in this argument and I decided to try both so that I could draw my own conclusions.  The two methods are that of beer can chicken (cooking a chicken standing up on top of a container of liquid) and spatchcock (removing the back bone of the chicken and "butterflying" it).  Most arguments center around the basic components of cooking time, moistness, skin crispness, and clean up.  I decided to keep all of these in mind during my cook.

Prep:
Spatchcock chicken:
I laid the chicken on the cutting board breast down and used a pair of scissors to cut the bird along its length on either side of the back-bone.  In the process, I cut through several of the thin ribs and removed the back-bone completely.  I flipped the chicken over and pressed on the breasts to flatted the chicken out as much as possible.  I rubbed the chicken with DP Raging River Rub.


Beer Can Chicken:
The beer can chicken was fairly simple.  I stood the chicken on my beer can chicken stand and placed a shortened Budweiser (Amurica!) underneath.  I rubbed some olive oil on the chicken and then added some Cavendar's and Tony Chachere's.






Cooking:
I set the egg up for direct cooking at 400º and used the grill extender to raise the cooking surface farther from the heat.  I placed the chicken on the grate and closed the lid.  I did not use any smoke for this cook though I will try it next time.  The spatchcock chicken reached 160º in the breast and 180º in the thigh after an hour.  The beer can chicken took 1.5 hours to reach the same temperatures.



Notes:
After sampling both chickens I made the following observations.  The beer can chicken was slightly more moist than the spatchcock chicken (they were both very moist) but the spatchcock chicken had a nice crisp skin.  As far as clean-up, the spatchcock involved a little less clean up as there was no stand to clean up.  In summary, I think I would default to the spatchcock chicken for future cooks.  Though the beer can was slightly more moist, the difference did not overcome the ease of cooking the spatchcock in terms of cook time and clean-up.  I chaulk the crispy skin up to a combination of the cooking method and the Raging River rub.  I would recommend trying both as they are both superb methods for cooking whole chickens.





Bonus Food:
We also decided to have some veggies on the side.  MBH skewered some peppers, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, and zucchini.  We added some olive oil and Cavendars to the veggies and threw them on for the last half hour of the chicken cook.  Depending on where the veggies were over the fire they finished at different times and I kept and eye on them pulling them off when done.



We also made our dessert on the egg.  MBH prepped some peaches with some pecans and brown sugar and some apples with cinnamon and honey.  I threw them on for about 25 minutes until they looked done.


The veggies really retained a smokey flavor and the the dessert was light and refreshing.  Both were simple and delicious.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

BGE Leftovers: Chicken Gyro

After our Amurica celebration and the mass amounts of food I cooked, I was left with plenty of leftovers.  One of the most anticipated leftovers for me was some of the Italian chicken breasts.  Some of the other items were less American.  Upon inventorying the ruins of the party I also found some pitas and feta cheese (no clue what these were used for).  It must be known that I have been on a gyro kick ever since I had one in NYC. This could only mean one thing, time to take a crack at making my own gyro (of course using the chicken instead of gyro meat).

I made some homemade tatziki sauce using Greek yogurt, dill, salt, pepper, and red onions adding each to taste.  I nuked the chicken to warm it up.  I added tatziki sauce, lettuce, hot sauce, red onions, feta, and the chicken to a pita.






This was very tasty and definitely curbed my gyro craving for a couple days.  The tatziki sauce was later used as a veggie dip and was a big hit.  I am definitely going to make these again at some point. Might have to take a shot at lamb at some point.

Friday, July 8, 2011

America!

In honor of completing the deck renovation and after a long weekend of celebrating the independence of our great nation, MBH and I decided to throw a celebratory BBQ and invite several of our friends.  In honor of America I tried to keep my menu as USA inspired as I possibly could. I decided to do some ribs, corn, chicken, ABTs, salsa, and brats (I said I tried to keep is as American as possible and nothing is more American than over eating and over celebrating).  After the long, hot weekend we were very surprised to get some rain on the 4th but I was determined to not let this slow me down at all.

Prep:
I originally got some ribs from BHFM but at some point during the weekend they spoiled (we assumed the fridge was left open and we purged the fridge of all of the meat we had for the cookout - costly mistake).  Luckily Publix had spares on sale for $1.99/lb and had plenty in stock.  I grabbed 4 slabs, two of which I froze.  The other two were cut in half, de-membraned, and rubbed.  I rubbed two of the halves with a smokehouse maple rub and the other two with a Cajun rub and Tony Chachere's.  I foiled them and placed them in the fridge until cooking time.  We marinated the chicken breasts in light Italian dressing and placed them in the fridge until cooking time.  I did the corn as we usually do it by pulling back the husks and coating in olive oil and Tony's and set them aside for the grill.  I prepped the ABTs as per normal and set them aside until it was their turn.


ABTs waiting their turn.

Cooking:
I set the egg up for indirect cooking using the platesetter, with a drip pan on top, and the grid resting on top of the platesetter legs.  I used the lambda rack to stand the ribs up on end and added some apple juice to the drip pan to add moisture to the ribs.  I set up the Maverick 732 to measure the temperature of the grill and
the meat and then set off for a little pool time. I let the ribs cook for 2 hours at 225º with soaked hickory wood chunks and Jack Daniels wood chips until I returned.

Just getting going and the sun is back out for a bit.

Upon my return I added the salsa ingredients to the grill.  Due to the inclement weather I decided to multitask here.  I was concerned with getting too much smoke on the veggies but decided that it was necessary to speed up the process.  I let the veggies and ribs continue at 225º for an hour flipping the veggies every 15 minutes.  After the veggies were done I pulled them off and shocked them in an ice bath.  I placed all of the veggies, cilantro, and the juice of 4 limes in a food processor and mixed them together.

Starting to rain again but I am resilient.

After the ribs had been on for 3 hours total I wrapped them in foil with apple juice and place them back on for another hour.  At this point, the meat was at 190º and I unfoiled the ribs and put them back on the firm up for another half hour. The ribs were done at this point and I wrapped them in foil and placed them in a cooler to rest until serving.

When the ribs were done I left the grill setup for indirect cooking and opened the vents to increase the temp.  Once at around 350º, I put the ABTs on.  I let them cook for about 45 mins and pulled them off to serve while the rest of the food went on.  I pulled out the platesetter and drip pan and set them aside.  I put the 10 pieces of corn on the egg next with the husks folded down to protect the corn.  I let it cook for 30 mins allowing the temperature to reach 400º and flipping them halfway through.  A majority of the corn was pulled but the pieces near the outer edge of the grate were left on while the rest of the food was put on.  Next I added the chicken and the brats.   I went inside to cut the ribs and serve them along with the corn that was already done.  I pulled the remaining corn after about 10 minutes and pulled the brats shortly there after.  I left the chicken on for about 30 minutes total flipping every 10 minutes until they were done.

The back-up  dancers.

Notes:
Everyone had good things to say about the food in general. The salsa was very spicy but had some great flavor.  Next time I need to completely de-seed the peppers before adding them to the food processor.  The ribs were my favorite with corn and chicken following closely behind.  We had a lot of fun celebrating America but everyone was pretty worn out after eating and the party was pretty low key.  I am very much looking forward to my next cook and the new deck makes egging so much better.

I made a lot of salsa.  That is a big bowl.

I couldn't even set the plate down before people were grabbing at these.
The spread when I finally got my chance at it.
Had a great smoke ring on the ribs.  The flavor was great.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The BGE has a New(ish) Home!

So I mentioned in my previous post that the egg has been out of commission for a few weeks due to a little remodeling I was doing to the deck it sits on.  While working on the deck, the egg was constantly being moved from side to side and was covered with tools and other junk as can be seen in the link below.  Well this weekend MBH and I made a push to finish the deck and we did it just in time for a little Independence day cook that I will post about later this week.  A timeline of pictures are located here if you care but look forward to more cooks and posts in the near future.


Here is a look at one of the images from the link above of the egg atop its new(ish) home.
(Notice I decided to stain some of the ivy also.)