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ScooterQ

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Everything posted by ScooterQ

  1. Go to Bo's Barbecue in Lafayette. I'm a Certified Barbecue Judge and would put Bo's up against any Q joint from Kansas City or anywhere else. Really, really good. According to the SF Chronicle, Bo's is one of the 100 best resteraunts in the Bay Area. Great brisket and ribs, no gas used in the JR Oyler pit at all. Dozens of beers and wines. Don't be fooled by the uppity location and the Acme baguette and balsamic dressed salad served with the food. It's the real deal. Bring plenty of cash because cheap it's not . . .
  2. I got my copy from Amazon yesterday and am about halfway through. Bourdain is right - pure crack for foodies
  3. Andy - I appreciate your perspective. Thanks for clarifying. After reading your blog and seeing your backyard, I have to agree that you're the high priest of the Church of Gastronomy. Count me among its members . . . particularly the sect that deals with Barbecue . . .
  4. Andy, Perhaps I’m taking you a bit too seriously here, but for me, food is no substitute for faith. I’m all for the pleasures of the table – for the good life, conviviality, togetherness, and the enhanced family life that great food brings, but is it a church? I mean, is there a cookbook out there with something useful to say about the problem of evil? Maybe I’m just not getting it. And about religious dietary laws - let me share an example from my faith. I’m an active Mormon, which means I follow the church’s doctrine called the “Word of Wisdom” and abstain from alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea (well, I have to confess I do love a little iced coffee with my Pho). These are the most well known aspects of LDS dietary laws, but there’s a prescriptive side as well (one that is widely ignored by most Mormons frankly). The prescriptive side advocates a diet based on grain as the staff of life, fruits and vegetables of all kinds, and meat only sparingly. In 1833 when this doctrine was introduced, I’ll bet it sounded random, but over time it has proven out as a healthy way to live. I’m not saying everyone needs to follow it, but there is “wisdom” in it. Thx.
  5. Kevin, Perhaps I misread your original post - didn't you say you smoke brisket for 23 hrs? I'm just trying to be helpful here . . .
  6. A little off topic, but 15 hours? 22 hours? I've seen long smoking times other places, but I got my (half) brisket up to 185-190 in 6 hours or so at a temp between 225-250. You're probably better at this than me, but please explain! Ian ← Let me pile on here with Ian. 23 hours on a brisket is a looong time, old school or not. I've never cooked a brisket for more than about 12 hrs to get to 195 internal. Perhaps it's the cooking time and not the sugar content of your rub that's giving you trouble Kevin.
  7. I'm not getting it - what's wrong with carmelized sugar? Burnt, ok, that's not good, but I don't think I've ever had a properly cooked low 'n slow butt that had a burnt sugar taste. I think the trend at cookoffs and rub recipes is toward more sugar in rubs, not less. Paul Kirk's rub book suggests a 1:1 ratio of sugar to salt, with each component representing about a third of the total rub. But that's old school. Ratios of 1.5:1 or even 2:1 of sugar to salt in published, prize winning rubs are not uncommon. Sweet wins contests. If you're trying to raise the temp and still cook BBQ, you've fallen off the path grasshopper. That ain't BBQ. It's smoke-roasting. Still good of course, but at 350 degrees, I would ratchet down the sugar too.
  8. FistFullaRoux, Color me scared shitless too. My wife had the Duodenal Switch Gastric Bypass six years ago and has lost (and kept off) over 200 lbs. There is no question that bariatric surgery is risky, dangerous, and should only be done as a last resort. A co-worker of mine who also had DS (in part through the influence of my wife) just had an episode of intestinal blockage. Very scary - life threatening. She was rushed to the original surgeon who did her procedure and he saved her life. Afterwards, I asked her if she had any buyer's regret over the procedure (as I often do) and she still said no. The risks of the surgery should be considered in light of the risks of being 391 lbs (my wifes's ultimate weight). I believe DS has extended her life. I know it has improved the quality of her life (and our life together) dramatically. We've had two babies since her surgery. She is not a "foodie", and honestly I don't know if you can be one after bariatric surgery. There are things in life more important than food however. Sending positive thoughts and wishes to you and your wife. Thanks for the warning.
  9. eje, A Traeger pellet grill is great for medium heat items like chicken (and will have absolutely no flareups). It's also an excellent smoker, although the smoke flavor will be lighter than what you might get in a more traditional unit. This is because the wood burns very cleanly in the forced air firepit of a Traeger. It won't do everything though - they really can't achieve the high heats necessary for steaks. You'll want to keep your kettle or get say, a Lodge Sportsman grill for that. At BBQ cookoffs, a lot of chicken is cooked on pellet grills. I'll be practicing my competition chicken on my Traeger today. Fuel is expensive, particularly if you don't live near a source of pellets.
  10. Dave, For a guy that from his avatar looks like he has, oh, say $1,500 in K's, your reply is impressive for its lack of defensiveness. I couldn't agree more that it's results that count and there's no question that Kamado and Egg cooks deliver great results. It's also clear that ceramic owners are a very tight knit community that knows how to have fun. Parboiling ribs is evil . . . unless of course, you're making stock .
  11. Hi Dave, I was the proud owner of a beautiful, blue green custom tiled K7 Kamado made by Richard and Deborah Johnson. I’ll see if I can find a pic. That said, I’m not trying to start a flame war or engage in a personal attack. I just have the perspective of an apostate from the ceramic clan and I’m trying to give Nick here the facts as I see them. Ceramic cookers are a great bunch of folks and good cooks to boot. But let me respond specifically to your comments. When I say grate space, I’m talking about the main grate, the one where you grill. Upper level grates are relevant for smoking, but useless for grilling. The main grate space on a $900 K7 is the same as on a $70 Weber kettle. Most of the Eggs are even smaller. Worse, not all of the space is always usable given the hotspot. I suppose you can learn to use this to your “advantage”, but to me that is upside down thinking. Sure, a two level fire makes a lot of sense when you can’t adjust the distance between the fire and the food, but why would you want that for $900? Effectively, it cuts your grate space in half. Even heat trumps a hot spot. And when it comes to grate space, more is just more. It really comes down to heat control. Generally speaking, the only way to control the heat in a ceramic cooker is with airflow (hence the need for lid down and cooking blind). They’re very good at getting hotter, not so good at cooling down. Unfortunately, this is perhaps the most useful type of heat control to have. With my Hasty Bake, a few turns of the crank will drop the temp several hundred degrees in a matter of seconds. In a ceramic cooker, to do this you have to choke the fire, cut off it's airflow by shutting everything down, which creates the conditions for a flashback (if you’re not careful of course, and who is always careful?). In a Hasty Bake, you have three ways to control the heat, airflow, distance between fire and food, and a two level fire (charcoal under just a part of the grate). And about the WSM – I’ve never had to refuel one (even in competition), and they are rock solid tempwise. I’ve had them go all night and not move from 225 degrees. I’ll give you the add water comment . Thx. edited for clarity
  12. Nick, If you want a cooker mostly for smoking, the WSM will perform just as well as an Egg for a lot lower cost, plus give you more capacity. You'll use more charcoal, but so what. The Egg has nothing on a WSM (MHO). If you want mostly a grill, I would avoid all the ceramics. They're tiny (in terms of grate size), prone to flashback, have major hotspots at grilling temps, and you have to grill with the lid down (while your steak is burning because you can't see what's going on). My advice - get a charcoal grill with an adjustable firegrate (say the Charbroil CB 940 or the Brinkmann they sell at Sam's Club). You will get outstanding heat control and lots of grate space. I owned a Kamado for three years, then bought a Hasty Bake. As far as I'm concerned, a Hasty Bake Legacy is as good as it gets and worth every penny . . . .
  13. ScooterQ

    I Love Kebabs

    The last time I bought a 40 lb bag of mesquite lump at Smart and Final it contained a carbonized stump. Seriously - I had to take a hammer to it to break it into pieces I could fit in my charcoal chimney. After that, lump just lost it's allure for me. I would rather just open a bag of Kingsford and dump it in than get covered in charcoal dust. I still use lump for barbecue however, since in my cooker the higher ash content of briquettes would choke the fire. If you have a Weber Bullet though, this is not a problem.
  14. ScooterQ

    Roast Beef

    jackal10, 'nuff said . . .
  15. ScooterQ

    I Love Kebabs

    My wife gives me sh*t about taking photos of food . . ."is the photo shoot over yet?" Well, f*ck her (OK!) I am a serious kebaber. I used plain Kingsford briquettes here - not wood or even lump charcoal. IMO, you really don't get much flavor out of lump, and burning wood down to coals makes so much smoke that the one time I did it my neighbor thought my house was on fire. I've tried . . . really tried . . . to get smoke flavor into grilled food, but short of cooking with the lid down (which ain't really grilling if you ask me), it's never going to taste like barbecue. Burning actual wood helps, but the the resulting flavor is subtle. If someone has this figured out, let me know. Kingsford is consistent, convenient (faster and easier than lump), and cheap. The folks spending a buck a pound for exotic lump are a complete mystery to me . . .
  16. ScooterQ

    I Love Kebabs

    Well - I finally got around to trying chefzadi's blood orange-honey marinade on some pork kebabs (I used blade end loin pork) and the results were excellent. The kids weren't crazy about the the charred edges, which were the result of too much honey in the marinade (I used 2 T). Next time I'll leave it out of the marinade and baste with it. Thanks chefzadi. Thanks also to the other contributors, I'm looking forward to trying more ideas.
  17. ScooterQ

    I Love Kebabs

    I second that. Summer? We don't need no stinking summer to grill! OK - so now I'm definately doing a pork kebab next. Country style ribs maybe - with chefzadi's blood orange marinade . . . I'll take your advice on the quantities zadi and let you know how it goes. hazardnc - care to expound on the Shish Kofta and Shish Tawook? What tradition are these from? I love an adventure.
  18. ScooterQ

    I Love Kebabs

    chefzadi, thanks for your reply . . . your suggestions sound really good (the blood orange-honey marinade in particular appeals). So let's talk about proportions and meats. Are these for lamb, chicken, pork, beef, or does it matter? I'd like to try a ground meat kebab, where you form the meat around the skewer and drop it on the grate. What approach would you take to that? Now about proportions . . . I started with 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 6 garlic cloves, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1 tsp table salt, 1 tsp curry powder, and black pepper to taste. I would pretty much take the same approach on the similar recipes below, but I'm a little conflicted about the acid. I've heard acids inhibit browning, and to me, that's the point. I could be wrong about this, but I think a kebab has more surface area to sear (and for the marinade to cling to) than the same cut in original form, which is why I prefer a kebab to a chicken breast. So how much honey, how much orange juice? There's a restaurant here in the Northern California with a menu based on kebabs. Called Askew grill, it's very Atkins/South Beach friendly (served on a salad) and very popular . . .
  19. ScooterQ

    I Love Kebabs

    In our family, kebabs are favorite meals. The version below is chicken breast with garlic, cilantro, olive oil, curry, salt and pepper. We usually put mushrooms on the veggie skewers, but not this time. I know there's a world of kebabs out there with lots of styles and marinades. We're kind of stuck however, cycling through just a few recipes (the kids always want teriyaki chicken). I thought perhaps the other kebab lovers on the board might broaden my horizons. What are your favorites? BTW - I've tried numerous types of kebab skewers (including the double pronged Weber version) and the ones below by Kristline are the best. They're very sharp and have a deep U shaped groove that holds onto the food. You can buy them here: link. Highly recommended.
  20. snowangel, I'm surprised there are so few chuck eye steaks on the primal. I mean - if you're selling a lot ground beef, wouldn't you be able to make a nice display of chuck eyes? Plus, if like Safeway, you're boning out the flatiron, why not do the same for the chuck eyes? It may be just a marketing decision. The thing I appreciate with the flatiron is that it's unlikely to become the next skirt steak and rocket up in price (due to its gristly heart). Anybody out there grilling blade steaks? Is this another piece of chuck suitable for dry heat?
  21. Thanks for the tip snowangel. I'm on the hunt for one of these now. I did a little research and the chuck eye is a continuation of the rib eye muscle (or perhaps the rib eye is a continuation of the chuck eye). The trouble is actually finding a butcher/store who will actually merchandise them. Most of the stores and higher end places around me just don't sell it. I'm not sure if that's because of the trouble they have to go through to bone this cut out of the chuck, or because they don't want to cannibalize sales of their more expensive short loin steaks.
  22. Jinmyo - when I read "Nasty gristle" I immediately thought of all those "Nasty Hobbitses" Gollum was always complaining about . . . I like to pot roast this cut too. Very nice, my precious . . .
  23. mnebergall - I just took a sharp boning knife and ran it against the flat ribbon of gristle in the meat to remove the connective tissue. It wasn't hard at all. Of course, it wasn't perfect, but it didn't need to be since I was tying it back up and roasting it. I'd say it was a 3-4 lb roast, shaped kind of like a flat cylinder. I cooked it medium rare - about 130º.
  24. This may be a bit off topic, but I really like the carnitas at Chipotle. I don't have the recipe, but there's is another pork shoulder recipe by Steve Ells (founder of Chipotle) at this link. I've tried it and it's very good.
  25. I don't buy much meat at Safeway (select grade for more and don't get me started about that rancher's reserve BS). I much prefer Costco, where the meat is choice, the prices are great, and the steaks are thick. The trouble with Costco is they don't sell every cut, and it's not just low service, it's no service. So I was in Safeway checking out the meat department and a top blade roast caught my eye. Having heard much about this cut for so long (and of course, the flatiron steak made from it) I thought I would give it a try. So I took it home, cut out its dark gristly heart (the line of connective tissue down the center of it) tied it back up, seasoned with garlic salt and pepper, then seared it in a dutch oven for about ten minutes. Then, I stuck a thermometer in it and popped it in a 350 degree oven to finish. It was the bomb . . . . like tenderloin but with flavor. Rich gravy. Just outstanding - for $2.99 a pound. This has led me to wonder if I've been missing out. What other gems lie in the Chuck? Burgers? Sure - I know about them, but what about steaks and roasts? What do you like?
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