PBC idea

I think I just figured out how to solve two problems I have been having with the PBC.

 

 

  1. When cooking a lot of meat,  drippings can extinguish the coals
  2. Drippings send ash airborne and it ends up on the food

 

Solution?  Individual drip pans.

Beef.

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Looks dry. Is not dry. Just the photo. And the smoke ring is screamin’ red IRL. Dang lighting in here. We had a mishap on the foil pouch crutch and did lose our broth, so it probably could have been a bit moister with a softer bark. And I found Meathead’s rub just a little too peppery, which is strange, because I love pepper.

However, lovely pink slices fall off the bone and are succulent enough for me to call our first try delicious and successful. I had no idea this meat was going to be so rich. I can only have a small amount and I’m full.

Next time, I’m going to get the boneless version and sous vide it, then put the bark on it at the end.

Pretty stoked about today’s experiment. Booyah!

Pork Ribs.

Pretty good. I think I could have gone a little heavier with the rub. Next time we do pork ribs I’m going to do them with Wiserbud’s rub recipe instead and compare.

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The lowest part that hung just above the coals got charred but not as bad as you would expect, and I was surprised by that. Still, smoky and moist.

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I don’t know if you can see how moist the meat is in there for my terrible photography. Smoke ring is muted in the photo, too. Oh well.

Next up: Beef short ribs. On the crutch now.

 

 

Our First Ribs Together

I love ribs. But in almost twenty years of marriage we’ve never made them, because Scott’s not a fan of ribs.

Yet. Hopefully he’ll become a convert. We’re using recipes from Meathead’s book, so failure is not an option.

Today I got a couple St. Louis center cut pork racks, and four four-rib sections of beef short plate. Lightly salted and then rubbed with spices.

The pork got Memphis Dust, and the beef got Big Bad Beef Rub.

Oh my goodness. Even raw, they smell so nice.

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I’m toying with the idea of doing one of the beef shorties sous-vide overnight, then giving it a quick turn on the grill to crisp up the outside. Just for comparison purposes…hmmm. Nah, another time.

That would be a great thing to do when prepping for a cookout, though. Then the day of, instead of slaving over the grill, you could just pop your already-cooked ribs on the coals for a couple minutes a side and voila. Here is a great primer on what happens to short ribs at various times and temps in the sous vide.

Tomorrow is going to be a really good day. We’ll post the finished pics in the evening, if we’re not too stuffed to move.

UPDATE: It’s ON, people.

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Sous vide Experiment #3

Scott saw this recipe in the sous vide cookbook about transforming a cheap chuck roast into great beef, like prime rib.

  1. I salted the beef generously then browned the roast in a skillet on all sides.
  2. I added sherry, garlic powder, and black pepper to the fond in the skillet.
  3. I reduced the liquid, scraping up the brown bits and adding a lump of butter.
  4. All went into the bag along with the roast, and cooked 48 hrs at 130 degrees.

Pretty nice.

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When it was done, I gave it another turn in the skillet with some browned butter but I don’t think that was necessary.

It’s nearly the same texture as prime rib. Very tender. A fork almost cuts it. The concentrated juice in the bag tastes wonderful. Just like a hearty beefy au jus, but less salty. I’m going to have to make rolls and have a serious french dip experience!

My criticism is that I think this machine’s thermostat runs a little hot. This roast is slightly too done for me. Next time I want to set it to 125 or 127 degrees and see if that leaves it more to my liking (red) in the center. And I want to pull it off at 24 hours and see if there’s any real advantage to leaving it in twice as long.

Next up: More chicken. In a few days.

Sous vide Experiments

OK, so we kept hearing from Tushar and other people about how sous vide gives an awesome texture to meats and veggies.

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We treated ourselves to this thing. It was way lower in price than other brands on the internet ($69 instead of $200), and you don’t need to use a smartphone to control it. Which I think is a really dumb feature of both the Anova and Joule brands of sous vide machines.

Why should I be required to pull out my phone to control the sous vide machine that is sitting right in front of me? This brand (Sous Smart) makes more sense to me. Plug it in and set it. If I did have to walk away from it for a period of time and wouldn’t be around to turn it off when the food is ‘done,’ who cares? One major reason for the existence of sous vide is that the food waits for you at the correct temperature, for hours, without being overdone.

So, yesterday we tested it out with a couple chicken thighs prepared very simply with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. We vacuum-sealed them into a bag and Scott cooked them sous vide for eight hours at 165 degrees.

After removing the cooked chicken from the bag, I quickly seared them in some coconut oil on very high heat to brown them and crisp up the skin.

I made a quick sherry and butter gravy with the liquid in the cooking bags, and the crusties in the skillet. When we bit into the meat, we both made exclamations of wonder. I have never had chicken with this melting texture before. And the skin was shatteringly crisp, probably because during sous vide it was rendered out very thin. Very nice. Will do again.

So today we did some thick center cut pork loin chops for a couple hours at 140 degrees. Scott seasoned all seven of very simply with just a sprinkle of salt, which I am still angry at him about because I wanted to experiment with some different spices on a couple of them, which I TOLD him I wanted to do yesterday but he ignored me and did his own boring thing while I was still sleeping this morning. Which is fine. Fine.

This is how awful and grey food looks when it comes out of the bag. My understanding from some other videos I have watched, is that the bag impressions in the food can be prevented by adding some oil to the bag before cooking. It fills up the corners of the bag instead of allowing the slowly gelatinizing meat to conform there.

I knew this because I watched those videos, so this morning I would have put a little oil in the bags, but I wasn’t around, so now we have plastic bag-looking chops. Whatever. I think I’ll go talk to this wall now.

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Some of them probably would have also looked better if I had been allowed to put some spices on them. But no. Nevermind. It’s a man’s world.

I patted them dry with paper towels and gave them that same scorching skillet sear that the chicken got yesterday, but this time instead of chatting with my husband, I was completely silent, because who cares if I say anything anyway.

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Pretty good. Not as dramatic a textural difference from chops cooked the regular way, though. I wonder if to get that extremely succulent texture, they really needed to be in the low heat cooking for much longer. Or maybe I cooked them a bit too long in the skillet, negating the benefits of low heat cooking.

Don’t know. But we will be trying again real soon. It’s a new toy!

Next experiment: Probably veggies or salmon. Although Scott’s smoked salmon is pretty hard to beat.

The Pork Butt Cooker

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So we’re going to like having this critter around.

One boneless pork butt, with the proprietary rub that came with the Pit Barrel Cooker.

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Adding smoke by hanging inside the PBC.

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Pulled it off and crutched it with a little apple cider when it stalled. Then took it off at around 200 degrees internal. Let it rest under cover for a while before pulling. Nice smoke ring. This thing made lots of juice in the pan, too.

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Smoked pork sandwich on a  ciabatta bun with a side of pork.

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Quite tasty. No, not a giant fork. Tiny sandwich.

The PBC is easy to use. Not a lot of fussing around. Recommended.