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eG Foodblog: Rico (2012) - A Little Bite of Big D


Rico
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Rico: The weather coming in certainly looks menacing. Maybe we'll get some nice lighting out of it...

Happy to see Dallas featured here, I recently (6mos) moved from KY to Addison and am loving the culinary scene here. Central Market and the Asian Markets are like nothing i've ever seen before. You spend any time at Super H or Asia World Market?

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rotuts - A collector's item! Brilliant! I have a tendency to forget to put it away after use, so I am more accustomed to hearing my wife refer to it as a 'blight on the landscape,' or something to that effect. I'll try the collector's item terminology later this week and report back with results.

Shelby - I've got a feeling we're going to be very familiar with this 'rain' business after the next few days; an ominous cloud looms. Literally: it's a big, dark cloud that could very accurately be described as ominous.

Logan - Super H is one of my favorite Asian markets in the area. Since I'm in Richardson, the Saigon and Hong Kong markets closer to Garland are a far more reasonable drive, but if I ever find myself in the area of Super H with a little time to spare, I always stop in. I haven't yet delved into the strip-mall restaurants surrounding it, but I'm looking for the chance. As for Addison, I lived there for a few years and loved it. From what I understand Addison gets a lot of flak in Dallas's food community for having so many chains (which they do) but I found it to be a really fun area that, chains or not, did a good job of embracing the culinary culture that they have and putting it on display as well as possible. And their Oktoberfest is the closest thing I've ever experienced to Munich. Much smaller, yes, but the feeling is similar.

Anyway, lunch today was quick. I am able to sneak home for lunchtime and make a quick meal every now and again, and today it was spaghetti aglio e olio with some spicy marinated olives (from the grocer's olive bar). One of my favorite quick meals.

spaghetti.JPG

 

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Well ... Id like to hear more on "its' particulars: when did you get it etc.

My sister lives in Georgetown TX.

we were originally from The Bay Area (SF south) I visited her for some medial issues a few years ago and and we went to various local BBQ and Sausage Places.

maybe Tylor or Tyler?

so .., having made my one 'smoker' so long ago, and spending time in Geo.town looking at the local items

Im very keen on TX smokers. Esp yours 'A True Antique'

the more pics on that Smoker the better!

Edited by rotuts (log)
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Looking again at your new kitchen: I was able to do mine about 6 years ago. I made some mistakes. But what I didnt do is not get 'new windows' not 'replacement ones'

those windows you have above your sink seem similar to mine.

Kudos! soon you will be able to cook with them open, with a nice fresh breeze.

Light, and a fresh breeze are often not realized for what they are worth.

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Rich, your tomatoes are inspiring. I'm way North and just setting up the trays and lamps. Can you say something about your plans for them?

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Thanks, Blether! For me, pasta's a fun thing to photograph, if only because it's never on the plate exactly the same way twice.

rotuts - Particulars coming soon, I promise. I'm going to get all into the smoker when this weather passes, but for now, I'm just happy for the rain. As for the windows, I chuckled a little when you pointed them out; we had discussed leaving in the old window, primarily for cost purposes, and eventually decided to do so. When the kitchen was finished the old window stood out like a sore thumb and we were forced to address it. Yes, it was well worth the extra cost and effort.

Dinner tonight was chicken souvlaki. A few years ago I started making this dish with the recipe from Vefa's Kitchen, and this is still pretty much based on that recipe. The marinade consisted of oregano, thyme and parsley from the garden, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and some s&p. The chicken and mushrooms were marinated for four hours or so, and the rest of the veggies just had some olive oil rubbed on. Had some store-bought pitas, as well.

I am disappointed I didn't get to start smoking tonight, but hopefully tomorrow we'll find the weather to be a little more accommodating.

souvlaki.JPG

I used to be a proponent of using one skewer for the meat and veggies - primarily for the aesthetic appeal - but soon learned that raw onions can stand a much longer cook than small pieces of chicken, and so on. A well known and simple fact, I am sure, but one I learned the hard way nonetheless.

(Edited to add garlic to the marinade ingredients)

Edited by Rico (log)

 

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Peter - Thank you! My plans for them are general, at best, but they involve eating as many of them as humanly possible. I have to plant a lot of tomatoes, simply for the fact that I eat so many off the vine like apples that am left wondering what happened to all of them. Even if they do make it inside to the kitchen, they're then typically subjected to a slicing and a sprinkle of salt. Only the luckiest actually make it to their intended destination as an ingredient in an actual dish!

nikkib - Thank you, it's been a lot of fun so far!

Breakfast today was, again, coffee. And I found a bag of sunflower seeds in my desk, so I'm eating those. Yup - sunflower seeds and coffee. Perhaps the lamest egullet foodblog meal ever. Lunch will be a vast improvement, I promise!

 

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Lior, I was able to sneak somewhere for lunch, but it wasn't home ...

I took a little jaunt southward to Taqueria La Banqueta (formerly Tacos El Guero). Close to downtown in East Dallas, It is one of my favorite taco places, and it's lately been getting a lot of deserved love from local blogs, press and such. A note - these are small tacos. I realized after taking the shots (and eating the tacos) that there is no good scale. The styrofoam packaging you see is not a full-size package; rather, it's about the size of the box in which you would get a Big Mac.

The taqueria

banqueta.JPG

The tacos, from left to right: Suadero (braised brisket, chopped then finished on the griddle), tongue, and tripe, which cooked until crispy. They're topped with cilantro and onions, you're given a lime wedge or two, and they have a red salsa and green salsa available. I like the red, though it's not in the photo.

tacos.JPG

And a coke from Mexico - I love the glass bottle, and the fact that it's made with real sugar doesn't hurt, either.

coke.JPG

 

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Just wrapped up dinner, and have some initial shots of the brisket, which I'll address second, because there are a lot of things about my approach that I feel I should explain (usually with the explanation of 'I don't know why it works for me this way, but it works for me this way.' Actually, I hope to find some answers among the minds finer than mine ...

Dinner was porcini-dusted pork chops cooked sous vide at 140 for three hours and finished on the stovetop. The sides were steamed broccoli and cheddar and asparagus sauteed with a little lemon juice.

Cooked.JPG

And I just realized I need parchment paper for the brisket. Off to the store - will post the smoker stuff in a minute!

 

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Okay, started the brisket earlier today after a salt and brown-sugar based rub was heavily applied. I cut the flat for this one, as my wife and I will be the only ones eating it, and while the idea of eating 13 pounds of barbecue over the week actually doesn't sound that bad, it wouldn't make for many very interesting posts through the next few days!

The Shiner Black is there for scale, and to let you know what I was drinking while doing all this.

sizeshot.JPG

There is some garlic and cayenne in there, too. The rub, for me, is typically a pretty whimsical thing, so long as I've at least got the salt and brown sugar in there.

rubbed.JPG

In the smoker.

smoking.JPG

And then this. This is why I love this smoker and will never get a sidebox so long as this one stands - it just kind of wants to stay at 225. I don't know how or why, but it does. Sure, it takes a little bit of adjusting the vents, but not much.

temp.JPG

And, as you can see in one of the previous photos, I usually don't use the water bowl - partly because I haven't found a real need for it, but also because ...

wood.JPG

The wood chunks I have wouldn't fit, anyway. I use mesquite (Post Oak is the traditional Texas barbecue method) because I like a stronger smoke flavor.

I took this out of the smoker about 4 hours after putting it in, and will have to wrap it up in parchment paper and throw it in the refrigerator overnight. I'll aim to finish it in the oven for about 10 hours tomorrow at 225, on a rack. I know, it seems sacreligious, but it's got plenty of smoke at this point, and the most important factors from here on out are temp and time - low and slow, as it were. Ideally, I'd do it all in the smoker, but it's Tuesday, you know? A man's gotta go to work ...

Edited by Rico (log)

 

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RRO - Oh, my. Well, you may just have to make a trip to Texas for a barbecue trip. I know a few places. And it should be an easy trip - it's not like Australia's on the other side of the world, or anything ...

Brisket went into the oven at 225 for the day. Camera's out of batteries, so I wasn't able to get a shot, but so far, so good.

In the meantime, more coffee.

Oh, and a break from my usual routing: in order to try to impress my egullet friends (an endeavor that usually finds me in way over my head), I decided to make something from my new Cooking With Chocolate book. Which is, of course, perilous; I have cooked with chocolate maybe a few times in my life. We'll see how it goes, but here's a shot of the first half of the process last night:

chocolate.JPG

Again, so far, so good. We'll see how the rest of it turns out tonight.

 

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I took this out of the smoker about 4 hours after putting it in, and will have to wrap it up in parchment paper and throw it in the refrigerator overnight. I'll aim to finish it in the oven for about 10 hours tomorrow at 225, on a rack. I know, it seems sacreligious, but it's got plenty of smoke at this point, and the most important factors from here on out are temp and time - low and slow, as it were. Ideally, I'd do it all in the smoker, but it's Tuesday, you know? A man's gotta go to work ...

Oooooohhhhhhh Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhh!!!! I have to do the gratuitous "Well, you sure can tell when a Texan is doing bbq...they gotta use a 'Texas Crutch'...aluminum foil or an oven!". That is sometimes followed by "And they sure do like to use old railroad ties (mesquite) for the flavorin'!", but I find that to be gratuitous. Lol, I never have understood the "This region's BBQ is HORRIBLE!" debates....but they are entertaining in small doses. Very cool setup, and I like the fact you have it dialed in solid but it's still stripped down w/no water pan needed. I use a couple of WSM's, but have pretty much de-mythologized the need for water in the water pan over the years....I need the heat shield in that space, but I switched over to filling the pan with sand at one point, and now I just put a 12" terra cotta pot holder in there and rarely have to deal with temp fluctuations.

Good looking brisket...and we are always looking for ways to re-purpose the meat when we have gigantic amounts left over too. Burnt end chili is something my wife started making, and holy lord it's good.

Enjoying the blog! I love reading about food from all parts of the world, but having one from close to home is always cool too...then you get to learn things like- there are people who make me weep with jealousy at their seafood selection who have never eaten brisket!

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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Re: the water pan: People that know a lot more than I do have suggested that the water pan is a thermal sink that keeps the temperature constant rather than adds moisture. It also helps keep the temperature somewhat lower if its a hot day.

See Good Eats S00E06 Right on Q. As fine a show as AB has ever made.

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shelby - One of each taco? I can do that! Though I'm not sure they ship well ...

And rotuts brings up a good point about the water pot. I also wonder if the added moisture affects the thick bark that I personally prefer to have on brisket. I want to say that in my experience I've gotten a better bark without it, but there are so many variables that I never track that it could be any number of things.

ooooohhhhhhh Ooooooohhhhhhhhhhh!!!! I have to do the gratuitous "Well, you sure can tell when a Texan is doing bbq...they gotta use a 'Texas Crutch'...aluminum foil or an oven!". That is sometimes followed by "And they sure do like to use old railroad ties (mesquite) for the flavorin'!"

(loads of fake indignation) Oohh boy, Jerry. Now you've gone and done it! Well, here's what I think of that Kansas City barbecue! ...

Actually, I love it. And, like you, I also enjoy the banter between loyalists of the two (or three or four or five). I do wish to explain that the oven is not the ideal way to finish a smoked brisket, but when they take 14 hours and it's the middle of the work week, sometimes shortcuts must be taken. All that to say, it's a pretty effective shortcut.

As for the chili, you read my mind. I wanted to make some this week, but it may have to be saved for the chili thread next week, depending on the places I can hit over the next few days.

Re: the water pan: People that know a lot more than I do have suggested that the water pan is a thermal sink that keeps the temperature constant rather than adds moisture. It also helps keep the temperature somewhat lower if its a hot day.

Yeah, I've noticed that effect too, the times that I've used it. I always assumed it was the generated steam alone that helped to sort of 'cap' the temperature, but the mass of the bowl (and water) itself acting as a heat sink never really occurred to me, though it makes a lot of sense. And I'll definitely be finding that Good Eats episode.

(Edited to make the post better)

Edited by Rico (log)

 

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Tripe tacos. I think I'm in love! Tacos and barbeque I just never see in the UK commercially. They must be out there, but no where near me.

Very much looking forward to seeing the brisket result. Egullet taught me the joys of pulled pork, coleslaw, vinegar sauce and cheap white rolls. I've only ever brined brisket for boiled beef, but have a slab in the freezer and want to see what to eat it with now I'm definitely going to smoke it.

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Actually, I love it. And, like you, I also enjoy the banter between loyalists of the two (or three or four or five). I do wish to explain that the oven is not the ideal way to finish a smoked brisket, but when they take 14 hours and it's the middle of the work week, sometimes shortcuts must be taken. All that to say, it's a pretty effective shortcut.

One great equalizer is cooking in a few contests and realizing the bbq you have to create if you want a higher score, and the bbq that you, your friends and family love the most can be 2 radically different things. AND after you've seen things like....someone literally dumping an entire can of charcoal fluid into the firebox on their offset and the resulting napalm cloud, you just figure...man, if it's smoky and delicious and you like eating it then live and let live! While I do not condone the activity, using liquid smoke and a crockpot for a brisket is still going to taste better than whatever came out of the aforementioned smoker!

Oh, another thing about water....it evaporates. I never liked my 2am waking nightmares, wondering if the heat had spiked because I didn't get up in time to replenish it. I've had a few guys really take it to the wall arguing the "adds moisture to the meat" angle, but I generally just smile and nod. Again, however you want to spend your 12-16 hours making your food is completely up to you. Nine times out of ten it's still going to be better than what you find in any highly rated bbq joint.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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That brisket looks amazing!

I'm looking forward to following along. I'm going to be in Richardson for a conference next month and I have one night on my own for dinner. Do you have any recommendations for me? Will you be blogging about it?

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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One great equalizer is cooking in a few contests and realizing the bbq you have to create if you want a higher score, and the bbq that you, your friends and family love the most can be 2 radically different things. AND after you've seen things like....someone literally dumping an entire can of charcoal fluid into the firebox on their offset and the resulting napalm cloud, you just figure...man, if it's smoky and delicious and you like eating it then live and let live! While I do not condone the activity, using liquid smoke and a crockpot for a brisket is still going to taste better than whatever came out of the aforementioned smoker!

Completely agree - I could not have said it better myself ... which, of course, is why I copied and pasted it.

LEdlund - Richardson is a very culturally diverse suburb, and has some wonderful restaurants to reflect it. Finer dining in Richardson proper will be a little more difficult to come by, but feel free to pm me (or to start a thread - there are, I am sure, more than a couple people on eG who can provide some good insight) with specifics, and I'll be happy to help out in any way I can!

Lunch today was a deli/beverage store sandwich. And it's one of my favorites. The place is called Mr. G's, and it's located a little bit farther North in Plano. The sandwich is called the Tex-Mex Reuben, and while I am not sure exactly what makes it Tex or Mex (the peppers are more of a particularly piquant giardiniera, and I figure that's the reasoning - either that or the Pepper Jack cheese) it is fantastic. It's roast beef with slaw, the aforementioned cheese and peppers, and Russian dressing on rye. Then it's grilled (griddled). I guess it's fair to call it a reuben, but it seems like a real stretch.

texmexreuben.JPG

Nomenclature aside, though, it's glorious.

Edited by Rico (log)

 

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sheepish - The tripe tacos are pretty special; they way they prepare them is unlike I've had tripe before - it's really crispy, but it's still got that distinctive ... depth, we'll say ... that lets you know you're eating something with a little character.

And if you've got a brisket in the freezer and a smoker, then I - and I am sure many others more qualified than myself on eG - would love to give any advice you might be looking for on how to smoke that sucker. My sides are typically barbecue beans (pinto beans with a whole mess of stuff in them), Potato salad, and deviled eggs are a treat. It's pretty typical to be served white bread with brisket, as well as pickles and onions. A lot of people say smoked brisket should be good enough to eat without the sauce, but hell, if you think it tastes better with sauce, then use the sauce.

And speaking of which, that's what we had for dinner tonight.

Smoked hard for four hours yesterday, pulled off, then cooked at 230 in the oven for 10 hours today, uncovered. We were very pleased with the result.

uncut.JPG

I'm always a little nervy with the first few slices - many years ago, my lack of patience prevented me from ever making a good brisket; I would always try to eat it before it was done, and it would be a tough, chewy mess. That hasn't happened in a long time, but the memory still haunts me. This - especially after a couple slices, merited little worry. The meat was tender and moist.

slices.JPG

And then a closeup - the bark, for which I have an unusually strong affinity - was like candy. Sweet, smoky, salty, spicy candy. (looking off into the distance) I just love it so much ...

bark.JPG

And on the dinner plate.

dinner.JPG

And the dessert. It was the Iced Chocolate Parfait and Cappuccino Sauce from Cooking With Chocolate. Didn't photograph very well, but definitely a winner.

chocolate.JPG

A bigger dinner than we're used to having on a Wednesday, but I am not complaining.

 

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      Stir fried pork and beans
       

      Stir fried Chinese banana (Ensete lasiocarpum)
       

      Pig Ears
       

       
      This may not look like much, but was the star of the trip. Rice paddy fish, deep fried in camellia tree seed oil with wild mountain herbs. We ate this at every meal, cooked with slight variations, but never tired of it.
       

      Stir fried Greens
       
      Our meal was accompanied by the wait staff singing to us and serving home-made rice wine (sweetish and made from the local sticky rice).
       
       
       
       
      Everything we ate was grown or reared within half a kilometre of the restaurant and was all free-range, organic. And utterly delicious.
       
      Roll on dinner time.
       
      On the trip I was designated the unofficial official photographer and ended up taking 1227 photographs. I just got back last night and was busy today, so I will try to post the rest of the first day (and dinner) as soon as I can.
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