Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pizza Rolls

Tomorrow is my father's birthday and the day after is my sisters, so we all got together tonight at the house to have a birthday dinner. My father is nearly as big of a pizza fan as I am so there was not really any question about what he would want me to cook. He has never had my pizza so I planned on doing a sausage & pepperoni thick crust pizza (my favorite) but I did not want to have the hassle of doing multiple pizzas on the BGE. That presented a problem as one pizza is not enough for everyone.

Well, it just so happens the night before a buddy of mine was telling me about a favorite dish of his that his wife cooks....Pizza Rolls (I will refrain from making a joke about Geno's here). I thought I would give them a whirl.

I bought two Pillsbury thin crust pizza crusts and rolled them out on a greased cookie sheet. I then coverd the crust with a light coating of egg whites, added a very light amount of sauce and multiple toppings, and then rolled the crust back up. I then brushed more egg whites on the outside of the rolls and stuck them in the over for about 15 min at 400 degrees.

One roll was just cheese and one was a BBQ chicken roll. I sliced the rolls up and served the cheese roll with marinara on the side and the BBQ chicken roll with BBQ sauce on the side.

These were excellent and made for excellent appetisers, and coupled with my go to pizza, there was plenty of good food for everyone.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Cheese" Burgers & Dark Beer Brats & Homemade Fries!

I have not updated this blog in 2 weeks and there are a couple reasons for that. First, while I have still been cooking with the normal frequency, I have been cooking many of the same things that I have already posted on, and I cannot find a reason to repost these meal descriptions. Second, I have been out of town with the family on Spring Break.

Well, we just got back into town and today is my daughters birthday so I wanted to grill out (of course the torrential rains and cold weather would return for the occassion). So I needed something that did not require a lot of preperation and something that I had not yet done so I could post something here.

I decided to try a couple new things. First were Dark Beer Brats that I read about in my BGE cookbook and the second was Burgers with homemade fries.

First thing I did was empty about 4 bottles of dark beer into a pot with about 6 brats and brought it to a boil. I cooked them for about 15 min until they were a nice grey color. I was careful not to overcook them so they did not split. I then transferred them to the grill over direct heat to char them up.

Next were the burgers. I called these "cheese" burgers because they are what my buddy calls middle burgers where he makes a thin patty then puts a slice of american cheese on it and then puts another thin patty on top of that and seals up the edges. These were excellent, with the only caution being that you must guard against making the burgers to big.....but then again, who really complains about a burger being to big used worcester, soy, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to season the ground chuck).

Finally, I cut about three potatoes into long strips and soaked them in cold water. I then coated them in olive oil and seasoned them with pepper and rosmary (the rosemary was the only deviation from the recipe from Macon Dinner. I cooked these in the over on about 450 degrees for nearly an hour because I like them crispy!

All in all I was very pleased with everything and currently feel like I will not need to eat again for 2 days.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Boston Butt

Boston Butt is just about my favorite thing to cook on the Big Green Egg. I would do it more often but it is truly an ordeal. This is my third one and both of my last two cooks were 21+ hours. They say that you do not need to add any additional charcol, but I have had to do that both of the last two times. Either way the result is excellent. I will get right into how I did this one.

First, I started at about noon on Thursday with a 6 lbs, bone-in, Boston Butt. I placed the butt in a tray and applied a coat of regular yellow mustard all over the meat. This is not really for taste, but rather to help the dry rub adhere to the meat. I then used a commercial dry rub (I am still out of Evan's Spice) and coated all sides of the meat.

I then wrapped the butt and the tray and stuck it in the fridge until it was time to put it on the grill. I wanted to have pulled pork sandwiches for when my father-in-law got into town around 6 pm on Friday night. So anticipating a 20 to 21 hour cook, plus time for cool down, I decided on putting the meat on the grill around 8:30 Thursday night.

For this butt, I decided to inject the meat with Canjun Injector's Creole Butter. This was the first butt that I ever injected, and to be honest, I am not sure that it made a ton of difference. The meat is always so moist and juicy when it comes off an egg after about 20 hours that I am not sure injecting makes a huge difference when you are cooking on an egg. Having said that, it was kinda fun and I will probably do it again in the futre because it is not that difficult and I am sure it can only help.

I then placed the butt on the grill fat side down with a drip pan below it filled with apple juice (again, not sure this makes much of a difference either). I think many people do this differently and place it on their fat side up, but you have to know your audience and my wife hates fat (yes, I have told her it is the best part) and so I just can't help but think that if I let that slab of fat melt all the way through the meat (as delicious as that sounds) she will not be as big of a fan.

The next 15 hours or so was easy. I set my BBQ Guru to cook the meat at 220 degrees, until it reached an internal temperature of 200 degrees....and the Guru worked marvelously. I awoke the next morning to find the Egg just chugging along at 220 and the butt coming along nicely. The next part is where I always get in trouble. I left the house for a few hours and came back to check on the meat after it had been on the grill for about 18 hours. I decided to busy myself because it will drive you crazy to sit there and watch the meat hit the various plateaus and see the temperature rise quickly, stay stagnant for hours on end, drop back a little ,and then rise quickly again. I mean sometimes it seems like the meat will never get to 200 degrees.....but I digress. When I checked it after 18 hours, the fire was dying.....the flame was down to 170 degrees (Guru was blowing away to no avail) and the temperature of the meat had actually dropped.

So I had to take the butt out while I added more charcol to get the fire back going. This is always dissapointing to me, because I do not want to open the grill until it is done. From that point forward, which was about 3 more hours, I cooked the meat at 260 degrees becuase I was getting impatient.

Finally, after about 21 hours the Guru told me the food was ready!

The first time I ever cooked a Boston Butt on the egg, I thought I did something terribly wrong and burned the hell out of it. It was then that I let it cool and then pulled some of what I thought was burnt crust off the meat and tried it. What I found was the best tasting "bark" that I had ever eaten. I am not sure I had ever really had any bark before (the smoke charred outer crust that has some real juicy meat/fat attached to it as well), but from that moment on, I was in love.

So we let Butt rest for about an hour and then pulled it and covered it in my home made BBQ sauce and served with baked beans and mac & cheese. It was delicious. And I can already speak from experience, the leftovers are every bit as good!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's All In The Sauce

It was not until I started cooking more frequently that I began to really notice how much a good sauce can make or break a meal. This is especially true for BBQ Sauce. There are so many different variations of BBQ sauce that it is ridiculous. For me, and it may sound strange, but I like my sauce to be both sweet and spicy. I like a tomato based sauce with a sweet taste but with a little kick on the back end. My favorite commercial sauce (if you can even call it that as you have to mail order it by check or pay pal) is Suck Creek Wings Spicy BBQ. Due to the time delay of having something shipped to you, and the spontaneity of my cooking adventures, the time had to come where I could make my own favorite sauce. After several attempts, I think I have got it. This is a nice BBQ sauce that has a sweet taste with just enough of a spicy kick at the end to make you take notice. It will go perfectly with the Boston Butt that is currently on the grill (more on that tomorrow).

Here is how it is done:

2 cups of ketchup
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 1/3 cup of brown sugar
3/4 cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons hot sauce

Combine all ingredients except ketchup in a sauce pan and cook on medium until for 10 to 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add ketchup and cook for 30 minutes.