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col klink

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by col klink

  1. col klink

    Steven Shaw

    Oh wow, Steven was way, way too young. eGullet played a vital roll in my life when I joined back in '02 -- it was such a blessing to meet so many great people that also loved food as much as I do. I will be eternally greateful for Steven for such great memories. I distinctly remember him starting his coffee roasting diary which inspired me to start a sausage diary as I tried to figure out how to make true Polish kielbasa. He was upset because he felt my diary trumped his! The man loved his meat. RIP.
  2. I've been experimenting with chuck-eyes for almost six years now and without a doubt, they're my favorite -- they're just as succulent and tender as rib-eyes but they taste like beef. In general, the two most valuable criteria that I look for in a successful steak is beefiness with a good crust and the chuck-eye lends itself well to to that effect. Since these steaks come with a roughly 1" thickness they're perfect for pan searing in the home kitchen. I don't have professional kitchen so I can't get a good crust on a thin steak like you can at a Ruth's, et al. To get even a beefier flavor I do
  3. Central Texans swear by "post oak" for their brisket and I can easily say I agree with them. For pit smoking (where you use embers instead of a fire) mequite and hickory are good but for smoking in a Weber or side firebox it can be too much. That's when I prefer maple or oak. Fruit trees tend to be less smokey. Lately, I've been using ash and although I love the way it burns, it does't have the best taste. I've even used small logs of it on my Weber kettle -- they're about 1 1/2" to 2" in diameter and not more than 14" long. I'll just throw a log on my coals (lump) and I'm good to go. Basicall
  4. Hi Susan, an hour and a half to two hours sounds about right. Though if you can keep the temperature low and still keep it smoking, longer is better. Prime rib is one of those cuts that really do well with long, slow smoking to better render the lucious fat (and what little connective tissue) and to pick up a smokier flavor. However, don't leave it in so long as cook it more than rare! Not overcooked is more important than cooking as long as possible. Luckily this cut is tender enough that you can cook it quickly that the meat will suffer, it's just the fat and connective tissue that gets a li
  5. That would be my suggestion. For big events I'll have "centerpiece" meat/s like brisket and/or pork shoulder and then side meats like goat or rabbit. And just in case twice as many people show up (it's been known to happen), I'll have a ziplock bag of emergency chicken marinating in a hot sauce -- something that can grill up quickly. I usually figure on having at least 1/2 lb of meat per person and then to be on the safe side, make sure there's enough for more people. edit: plus variety is also nice Needless to say, nobody leaves my bbq's hungary. Although I would like to reduce the amount of
  6. I would definitely get some brats on the side. Brisket can be fickle on timeliness so it's always safe to have some stuff on the side to quickly grill. Especially if there are kids who can't understand that they need to wait another 45 minutes. You should be able to smoke the three briskets on two Webers but you'll have to pay more attention to them because they will probably take up all of the surface area. You'll probably always have some brisket that is directly above the coals.
  7. col klink

    Rib Trouble...

    Sugar tends to burn in a smoker so I never include it in a mop. By the way, do you mop? Baby back ribs don't have much fat so it's definitely important to mop a lean meat that's in a smoker for a long time. I tend to use a basic mustard vinaigrette -- something acidic to cut through the richness of the pork but also some oil to help the meat out. Also, make sure to brine (1 cup kosher salt to a gallon of water) the ribs too -- it'll make 'em juicier and less susceptable to temp spikes.
  8. I'm w/Ivan. Regular charcoal produces too much ash. Ever since I started using lump I'm far happier -- there's far less ash, it's easier to light and it burns hotter.
  9. Diva, I can honestly say that I've never tried using an indoor smoker and this is the first time I've even heard of an indoor oven/smoker. Is this the one? If so, I'm dubious of it's smoking quality. For smoking to work well, you generate smoke, pass it over food and then expel the smoke. If it stays in one place, it will generate creosote and the six hours spare ribs need is quite a long time for that smoke sit on the food. For shorter periods like a half hour and shorter it's fine, but longer periods you're more likely to develop a really bitter taste. You can try it (and I would be very int
  10. By now almost all of the paint has fallen off of my firebox. And at times it has listed and looked quite pathetic. As soon as I'm into the new place I can give it some real TLC. Pretty soon you might need to get a new fire grate if you haven't already. I had a buddy weld up some rebar and that has worked fantastically well for the last 5 years but is now starting to show its age. However, the original grate didn't last a month (albeit under heavy use). The mop in the course photo was specifically for the butt and I probably mopped the brisket too at some point. The finished brisket below that
  11. The fire bricks line the fire box. I have four of the thin 1/2" variety, with the thick ones you have hardly any room for fire. Brisket smoked properly doesn't need any sauce of any kind. I'll mop pork but rarely do I mop brisket. That said, if your brisket has been trimmed of its glorious fat (think Samson here), then you do need to mop. In which case I'd basically use a mustard based vinaigrette that's heavy on the oil -- I love the mustard flavor plus it acts as an emulsifier. Just don't add any sugar as it tends to burn next to a fire for 12 hours. If some of your guests can't wrap their
  12. Nice work Abra! Those butts progressed exactly as they should have. And great idea with the beans! I'll have to try that. There's also a cabbage recipe that I've been meaning to try for the last two years but I keep forgetting because when I get ready to smoke, all I can think about is meat. Here's the recipe, adapted from "Legends of Texas Barbecue Cookbook": Take 1 cabbage and core out the base. Add one stick of butter. Wrap in foil. Smoke for 4 hours. When the doc asks why you had a heart attack, you can say it was from eating cabbage!
  13. Why would you boil the bird? They can cook just fine in the smoker. Less time in the smoker = less smokiness. Also, smoked food shouldn't taste bitter. Have you tried smoking with wood rather than sugar? A well smoked chicken or poutry will never see the light of the next day. One thanksgiving my buddies deep fried turkeys, ducks and chickens while I smoked a turkey. People tried to eat the fried birds because they were good but they simply *devoured* the smoked turkey. The only time you'll get bitterness with wood is when you use an overpowering wood with a light meat, i.e. mesquite or hickor
  14. Any temp above 175 is fine. With ribs I usually go more towards 200 than 225 as I tend to overcook them less. And don't worry about strickly adhearing to a specific temperature -- a 50 degree swing around 225 is the ideal. The only time you really need to worry is when the temp spikes to up to 300+ because then you really start losing moisture. Too early to drink? Remember, it's 5:00 somewhere in the world, don't leave 'em hanging. As for tips: --water tray - not only helps keep your smoker cleaner but it also provides a heat sink. (when the temp spikes to 300, you can add ice cold water) --fi
  15. You do need to run the smoker meatless for at least three hours. This is not to season the grates but to burn out the protective oil they apply to the steel so that it doesn't rust in the wharehouse or in transit. You can season the grates but it's not necessary. Yes these are cast iron grates but it's not like cooking with a cast iron pan because the temperatures are so low. At the end of a smoking session your grates will be slathered in fat -- so to clean them I throw 'em in the fire the next time I smoke and that completely burns off the previous fat. Unless you're smoking some really deli
  16. I'm sorry to hear about your problems! I too have had similar issues with some really knotty cherry wood. Some wood is just obstinate. However, there are things that can help. Line your firebox with some firebricks and that will definitely help your fires along. The bricks act as a heat sink and they make tending the fire a lot easier. You'll find that fires burn more effeciently and the fires burn more completely at the end. And to answer your question, no, it's not illegal to throw some coals under the logs to get them started. Just make sure to light the coals with a chimney -- lighter flu
  17. Sorry about not getting back to you sooner! 1) No. If I keep the temp stable in the smoker and the weather doesn't kill my fire, I keep the meat in the smoker. 2-4) With a stable fire, these will go away. I think you'd have better results if you switched to firewood instead of chunks. You can make chunks work but since they're smaller than logs, they're going to burn more quickly and burn hotter. See if you can't find some firewood and try using that. I'm not saying throw out the chunks, they're great when the fire needs a little boost or use them as large, clunky kindling. You'll also find wi
  18. Juanito, the standard natural casings are hog casings, are about an inch in diameter and are used for your standard Italian sausage/kielbasa. But don't worry, the smaller casings (which are also used for breakfast sausage) are also typically hog intestines as well, but the small intestine instead of the large intestine. Sometimes you can find grocery stores that carry standard casings (large intestine), but for the smaller ones you'll need to call your local butchers. When I was in Seattle and making sausage rather regularly it was only the butchers that had small intestine casings. If you ca
  19. That's a good looking cook book and I'm certainly going to try a couple of the recipes -- especially since it's apple season or close to it.
  20. col klink

    Scotch eggs

    A co-worker of mine recently made some for a bbq and I thought they were really tasty. I don't have a recipe for you but it's certainly worth the effort.
  21. Thanks everyone for their kind thoughts and their suggestions! (P. S. to Snowangel. That construction just north of Sandstone cost me 50 minutes Sunday night, argh. If it had been hot and humid I would've been VERY cranky).
  22. And it still came out dry? Do you happen to have a convection oven?
  23. Ahh, I didn't realize your briskets were Kosher. Did they trim all of the fat off the top? I can roast my briskets uncovered because I rarely trim the fat off -- the fat keeps the brisket moist. Was there any visible fat on your brisket? Oy! And I thought $6/lb was high!
  24. Brisket is a tough and chewy cut if not treated properly. In good hands brisket is in one of my top three cuts. To get there, you need to cook it slowly and at a low temperature. If I'm not smoking my corned beef brisket (*bliss*), I roast it under the same conditions sans smoke. ~225F for 6 or 7 hours for a up to a 5 lb brisket. Notice I don't add water -- I roast it dry which gives a nice crust, especially around the fatty exterior bits. Roasting or braising at a higher temp will render the fat but 2 or 3 hours just isn't enough time to break down the collagen between the muscle fibers. Of
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