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Messages - UWFSAE

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Poultry / Smoked Cornish Game Hens
« on: April 04, 2014, 01:01:03 AM »
Another little experiment ... brined three Cornish Game Hens in a simple poultry brine (kosher salt, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, minced garlic, black pepper) for five hours in the refrigerator.  A quick slather of garlic-infused olive oil, a liberal sprinkling of the homemade chicken rub I used on some chicken legs, and then into the Smokin-It #3 for 2.25 hours at 250 over oak and pecan until the thigh meat hit 162.

The flavor was great and the skin crisp enough to not need a run through the oven.  I served it with my Molasses BBQ sauce but the chicken (even the breast meat) was so ridiculously juicy from the brine that it wasn't really needed.

All in all, I think next time I'll brine them an hour or so longer but beyond that a real success, and possibly back the heat down to 235-240 for a slightly longer smoke to pick up a bit more pecan flavor.

I'm only down one weekend for the next few months ... my college students are in a race for a national debate championship and there's no rest for the (wicked) coach.

Poultry / Slow Smoked Chicken Legs
« on: March 29, 2014, 04:31:19 PM »
A simple recipe that's kid-friendly while still appealing to adults.  Goes REALLY well with my Georgia Gold BBQ Sauce.  The real key here is the ginger in the chicken rub ... it definitely brings something unique to the party.

I brined the legs overnight in my standard smoked chicken brine and used the following rub after a drizzle of lemon-infused olive oil:

3/4 Cup  dark brown sugar
1/2 Cup  white sugar
1/2 Cup  smoked paprika
1/4 Cup  ancho chili powder
1/4 Cup  kosher salt
1/4 Cup garlic powder
2 Tbsp   ground black pepper
2 Tbsp   ground ginger
2 Tbsp   onion powder
2 Tsp     crushed rosemary
2 Tsp     cayenne pepper
1 Tsp     ground mustard
1 Tsp     cumin

After being vigorously rubbed, I held them in the fridge for two hours on an open sheet pan to dry slightly.  I then applied a light second sprinkling of the rub before putting them in the smoker at 250 for two hours over four ounces of oak.  After being removed, they were put under a broiler for a few minutes to crisp the skin and then served with sauce on the side.  Enough heat to interest the adults, enough sweetness to intrigue a birthday party of 15 three-year-olds ...

Sauces / Joe's Arbitrarily Complex But Delicious Molasses BBQ Sauce
« on: March 29, 2014, 04:16:02 PM »
I've been experimenting with a BBQ sauce tailored for beef brisket, beef ribs, and even hamburgers for guests who enjoy a thicker sauce than traditional Texas Hill Country sauces.  This has met with a ton of kuddos and I will admit to subbing in my Brisket Rub #1 for the dry ingredients with success.  This, however, has a greater depth of flavor with the proportions listed below.

I actually toast the dry ingredients briefly in a non-stick saucepan prior to adding the wet ingredients.  The key to this is a long simmer with very regular stirring.  As it reduces the flavors really come together and, while it's good the first day, it goes to a whole new level after an overnight rest in the refrigerator.  The sauce does thicken when cold and I think a brief reheat does this justice.

1-1/2 Cup    Heinz ketchup
1/2 Cup    cider vinegar
1/2 Cup   beef stock (Kitchen Basics recommended)
1/2 Cup   apple juice (may substitute beer)
1/2 Cup   French's Spicy Brown Mustard
1/3 Cup   molasses
1/4 Cup   dark brown sugar
1/4 Cup   turbinado sugar (can substitute demerara)
3 Tbsp   Crystal Hot Sauce
2 Tbsp   salted butter
2 Tbsp   ground black pepper
2 Tbsp   kosher salt
1 Tbsp   Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp   lemon juice
1 Tbsp   garlic powder
1 Tbsp   onion powder
1 Tbsp   ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp   smoked paprika
2 Tsp   cumin
2 Tsp   cayenne pepper
1 Tsp   ground rosemary
1 Tsp   ground mustard
- Mix slightly toasted dry ingredients with apple juice, lemon juice and butter until dissolved.   
- Add remaining wet ingredients.   
- Simmer until reduced by 15%-20% to proper consistency.   
- Refrigerates well for up up to two weeks.   

Pork / Spareribs using Jack Daniel's Whiskey Barrel Oak Smoking Blocks
« on: December 31, 2013, 08:53:13 PM »
Sorry I've been a ghost for the past few months but I've been traveling like a madman this semester and have only had time for 'Q from local joints throughout Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.

With the Christmas break winding down, I decided to dust off the Smokin-It #3 ... but found myself completely out of suitable smoking woods.  Since I had to run to Academy Sports for some last minute Christmas shopping I threw caution to the wind and bought a bag of Jack Daniel's Whiskey Barrel Oak Smoking Blocks (they were out of all other smoking woods except mesquite) for two standing rib roasts I was smoking for Christmas Eve.  I'll create a post for that little experiment later ...

Yesterday, I prepped a whole slab of pork spares with a light butchering (fat trimmed and silver skin removed), slathered with good molasses and liberally coated with a homemade spicy rib rub.  Into the fridge for 18 hours and they went in the Smokin-It #3 at noon on the dot with a 4 oz. Jack Daniel's oak block at 225 with ambient outdoor temps in Houston being in the low 50's today.  No water pan, no 3-2-1 ... and they came out perfectly after 5.75 hours.  Juicy without any muss or fuss, plenty of bite with a pleasant, firm chew.  The ribs were served with a little Foy's Mild BBQ Sauce (made by Dobbs Foods from Columbus, GA since the 1930's) on the side and some ranch style beans.  A nice send off to 2013, to be honest.

The Jack Daniel's Smoking Blocks do have a pleasant "Old No. 7" aroma to them and are perfectly seasoned.  Their cut size is absolutely perfect for the Smokin-It case-style smokers (and Smokin' Tex or Cookshacks, I'll wager) and burns steadily with no flareups.  The oak flavor is rich, a more mellow flavor than hickory and there's no real whiskey aftertaste ... but I admire their marketing.  While I wouldn't necessarily replace woods from Maine Grilling Woods or Fruitawood with this product, it's an accessible and inexpensive choice for oak chunks pre-cut to the perfect size with very solid results.   

Sorry to be out of pocket for a couple of weeks but work got a whole bunch more interesting (in a good way) so I'm out of town a bunch and slammed when I'm not.

Yet, to quote Douglas MacArthur, "I shall return".

Until then, take care folks.

What type of tree do you use? / Re: Grapevine
« on: September 15, 2013, 09:43:23 PM »
I haven't used it but I've eaten the results at the Coppola winery in Napa ... smoked chicken was nice and it had a very mellow smoke to it.  I'd read up on the seasoning process for the vines before I'd put them in the smoker, however.

Model 1 - The Little Guy!! / Re: turkey
« on: September 15, 2013, 09:40:47 PM »
Steve Raichlen from BBQ University on his PBS show did this a couple of years ago.  He used one of those big Foster's cans and added aromatic spices to 2/3 of the beer in the can and parked the turkey on it.  If I recall, he did brine the bird before smoking.

Burning the legs won't be a real issue since the heat will be so low but you could always foil the tips like you'd do on a grill.

Jerky / Re: Jerky with Flank Steak and Joes Marinade...
« on: September 15, 2013, 07:42:00 PM »
The jerky looks like a success, Jerz.  I'm curious to hear your take on the two different prep processes you used ...

What type of tree do you use? / Re: has anyone ever foiled a dry wood chunk
« on: September 15, 2013, 07:41:19 PM »
You don't need to wrap chunks (in my experience) unless they are exceptionally dry.  Woods ordered from Fruitiawoods or Maine Grilling are properly seasoned and retain good moisture; the wood from big box stores is often held in poor conditions and may well be on the shelf longer than is prudent.

Dry wood may combust at lower temperatures and produce acrid smoke; as such, if you've got wood you need to use or don't have access to fresher stuff then this provides a means to retard that combustion (reduction in air flow) and keep a gentle smoke going.

Beef / Re: Bribery is a Dish Best Served Smoked ...
« on: September 15, 2013, 12:51:34 AM »
A long damn day ... luckily, the brisket was a huge hit.  I warmed it in the oven per my original plan this morning and served it thin sliced with Grands Flaky Biscuits and Sweet Baby Ray's Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce.

It was devoured in less than 20 minutes ... it's a good thing I sampled it last night.

Beef / Re: Bribery is a Dish Best Served Smoked ...
« on: September 14, 2013, 12:39:40 AM »
I tried molasses on a lark and I haven't gone back since.  The natural sugars in it really promote caramelization and an incredible (and tasty) bark.  No overt sweetness, only the barest essence of the flavor and it seems to promote wonderful smoke penetration.

What type of tree do you use? / Re: has anyone ever foiled a dry wood chunk
« on: September 13, 2013, 10:39:31 PM »
If you've got multiple preferences I think you should do a 50/50 blend of apple and hickory.  It mutes the potential bitterness of hickory and provides amazing color from the apple wood.

Beef / Re: Bribery is a Dish Best Served Smoked ...
« on: September 13, 2013, 07:55:45 PM »
So ... yeah.  I had intended to carve this brisket tomorrow for judges and coaches at the tournament I'm hosting. Let's just say the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray.

Removed at 178, coasted up to 185 during the hold.  It's ... sublime.

Beef / Re: Bribery is a Dish Best Served Smoked ...
« on: September 13, 2013, 07:14:28 PM »
I take care of my judges and fellow coaches, that's all I'm saying ...

The first shot is after I removed from the fridge this morning at 6:30am and added a bit more rub.  The second is the culmination of an 11 hour smoke.  Remarkably juicy and a few of the morsels that "fell off" have killer flavor.  I'm calling this new rub my favorite until further notice.

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