Sunday, February 28, 2010

How many ribs?

The question I posed last night is how many ribs can one man cook on a large big green egg. Before I even begin to let you know what I think the answer is, let me say that it does not get much better than staring at this at 8 am.

Ok. Now back to the question at hand. The answer is that if you are stacking ribs up into one gigantic hunk of meat you can really cook a pretty ridiculous amount at one time. I did 5 slabs and for me it was little too much. I mean it was not a tremendous problem, but making sure all the slabs got a good coating of sauce was a bit difficult and messy.

I did not have my typical dry rub from Evan's Spices, and with the quantity of ribs, I did them all wet. I usually like to have some wet and some dry. I basically cooked them in my normal style (see previous ribs post), with the only difference being that I was a little more generous with the brown sugar this time. On a side note, I have yet to reach the point where I feel like I have used too much brown sugar. Overall, everything went well...without too much trouble, I fed 8 adults with 5 slabs of ribs (with some left overs for the in-laws), but going forward I still think it is easier to pay more attention to a smaller batch of food.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pale Ale Beer Bread

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I am definently flattering Gray because I stole this recipe directly from his blog Grill Knuckles. To that end, I am not going to repost the ingredients here, so if you are interested go check out the post on his blog. I only strayed from the original recipe in one instance, I used a good ol' Southern Sweet Water 420 extra pale ale. The pale ale makes for a nice twist to beer bread.

(You know I am going to have to try a Guinness Beer Bread very soon.)

After mixing all the ingredients and scraping them into oiled loaf dish, I put the bread on the Egg for an hour at 350 degrees. We are celebrating my mother-in-law's birthday tomorrow and I thought we might enjoy some bread with the cook out. Tomorrow we will see how many ribs one man can possibly cook at one time on a large BGE.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

BBQ Chicken!

There is perhaps nothing I like better than a good ol fashion weekend cookout. I am talking about when you have company over for hours and you cook with no predetermined time frame and nothing to do the next day. The grill is lit and the beer is flowing and I am about as content as you can be.

Well, that is excatly what my wife and I did yesterday when we had two other couples over and their children for some good BBQ. I decided to cook some chicken and I obviously wanted to make a good impression, so I went for the half chicken approach.

I had two young chickens (approx 4lbs each) and split them first by removing the back bone. The next step is to have them skin side up and to press down with your hand in the middle of the breast until you hear the breast bone break. Then just use a good knife to split the bird down the middle.

I was doing 1/2 chickens for the men and split chicken breasts for the women. I then coated all the chicken in EVOO and applied a BBQ rub.

I then smoked the meat at around 225 degrees for a couple hours. I used a mixture of pecan chunks and apple chips in the fire. I started the meat off skin side down for about 25 min, but I acually think this is more trouble than it is worth (especially if you are using a raised grid) when you are cooking them indirect. During the cook, I sprayed the chicken down with apple juice and covered them with some of my own BBQ sauce. I did this about every 20 to 30 min. I pulled the meat off when the breast meat hit 165 degrees. This took longer than expected but I think that was because I had so much meat on the grill it hurt the air circulation.

When it was all said and done, I served this chicken with potato caserole and baked beans and it was excellent. The meat was juciy and it made you remember why the good old classic of BBQ chicken is hard to beat!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Soy Vay Terriyaki Chicken

On Thursday night we tried a little something different. First a friend of mine has been raving about this Soy Vay Veri Veri Terriyaki sauce that he found in the Asian section of his grocery store, so we tried that. Second, everything I read says that if you really want to cook good chicken (especially for BBQ purposes) you are cooking chicken thighs. We have never really cooked thighs. So I thought I would give the two a try.

I marinated 4 chicken thighs overnight in the Soy Vay Terriyaki sauce and then cooked them indirect at around 270 degrees for about an hour or so. I cooked them skin side down for about 20 min and then flipped them over and left them alone. I am not sure this made much difference. When the internal temp reached 170 degrees, I moved the thighs over the flame, skin side down, to crisp up the skin.

This chicken combined with some Asian rice or noodles is an excellent meal. I also reccommend using the Soy Vay as a dipping sauce with the meal.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sausage & Pepperoni Pizza

More pizza! There can never be enough pizza. I was flying solo tonight and set to task to knock out the kids dinner and mine all in one shot. Recently (when my wife is eating with us) I have been using the pre-made grocery store crust. This is because it is safe and predictable and does not make a mess. It tastes excellent...and it tastes like cheating.

When I make my own crust, there is really no guarantee of anything except for the fact that I will make a huge mess. But it is fun! So tonight, I sort of split the difference. I did not mind experimenting with my own crust because it was just me and the kids, but I did not have as much time as usual so I settled with a dough ball bought from Publix Bakery.

I am one of those annoying people who will talk on the phone while in the line in the grocery store and to prove that, I was actually on the phone while I spoke to the woman behind the counter in the bakery. So I think I missed her telling me something like "we are out of the normal dough, but I do have this dough that will rise so much that it can only be described as Super Thick Crust"....but I am getting ahead of myself.

I first rolled the dough out on my pizza peel, which I had already coated with flour and yellow corn meal. I then made the usual for me and the kids...italian sausage and pepperoni (pepperoni only on the portion for the kids). I always empty the sausage from the casing and brown it on the stove.

As you can see this was some thick crust and perhaps I should have just split the ball and then rolled it out even thinner than I did, but again I was pressed for time.

I then cooked the pizza on the plate setter on the BGE at around 475-500 degrees for about 15 min. It was towards the end of this cook that I noticed how much the dough had risen, so I cooked it a little longer than normal to make sure it was done all the way through.

So at the end of the day, I ended up with a thick crust pizza when I was expecting a thin crust pizza at the beginning of the night. This is typical for the types of things that happen when I play around in the crust preparation phase of pizza making. Luckily for me tonight, it was actually very good and did what many store bought crusts cannot, which is truly be something different from store bought oven pizza.

All in all it turned out well and like every time I cook pizza....I am one step closer to making the perfect pie.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza

I love pizza...there is just no other way to say it. One of my favorite pizza's is a good BBQ chicken Pizza. At our house, it is one of my wife's favorite things that come the egg. It also is an excellent way to use up left over smoked chicken.

I was in a hurry today so I just used a pre-made crust from the grocery store(you can make your own and it feels like you have accomplished more, but this is safe, quick, and easy) and made the pizza with some sweet BBQ sauce, fresh cilantro, and chopped smoked chicken. Pretty simple and pretty excellent. Cooked at about 475 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, it is a great option for a quick weekend lunch.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Open Faced Smoked Chicken

Well, it has been another week on the road and another week missing cooking on the egg (I missed my family as well...for the record). So, despite seemingly perpetual rain,I was cooking tonight.

If you could not tell already from this blog, I am not a complicated eater. I like the simple things. What I especially like though is to find a wide variety of ways to cook my favorites so they do not get old. I am sure over time (and with the help of lots of beer) I will experiment and try many new things...but for tonight, I needed comfort food.

So, I decided I would cook a whole chicken and then pull & chop the meat and have some open face BBQ chicken sandwhiches. To start, I prepped the chicken for a cook "beer can style". This is a pretty easy and quick way to smoke a bird. I rubbed the chicken down, in and out, with John Henry's Pecan rub and then cooked it for approx 2.5 hours at 250 degrees. I used a combination of pecan chuncks and apple chips for the smoke.

When the chicken reached 170 degrees in the breast it was done to my liking. I then carved the meat, and with a little of the skin, chopped it all up on a platter.

Served on buns with a little Sticky Fingers Habanero Hot BBQ sauce (out of my normal Suck Creek Wings Spicy BBQ), combined with some roasted potatoes and baked hit the spot!

I think the next variation of the norm will be some good ol fashion BBQ chicken that I was drooling over today on Split whole chickens and chicken thighs smothered in spicy BBQ sauce does sound good!