Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Smoked Beef Brisket Sandwich - Leftovers [Zack]

A brisket is a huge hunk of meat to smoke.  Therefore, you'll probably end up with some leftovers.  Instead of just chucking it into your next batch of smoked beans, why not make a nice sandwich?

Sliced smoked beef brisket
Slaw (shredded cabbage, greek yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, other veggies)
Dijon mustard
Swiss Cheese
Toasted bread

Song: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Funky Monks

Monday, July 20, 2015

Smoked Beef Brisket Texas Style [Zack]

Aaron Franklin is a BBQ God.  People wait outside of his restaurant for 4+ hours, sitting in lawn chairs and tailgating the line.  He has his own PBS show and youtube channel.  I love how he keeps things simple, with both the recipe and the explanations of "why".  He's not one to do things the easy way, but if you own a smoker, I doubt you like shortcuts either.

This was the first time I've smoked a brisket and it turned out amazingly.  I used Aaron's recipe and it was great.  I'm a new user of the Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5" and I must say they've designed these smokers perfectly.  The heat source, water bowl, and meat are vertically aligned so everything cooks evenly and doesn't dry out easily.  I didn't have to wrap or spray this badboy with anything.  And it's super easy to maintain a constant temperature with a low amount of fuel.  I got by with 1/3 a bag of Kingsford and a few hickory wood chunks in the 10.5 hours of smoking.


Really, it's best to just watch Aaron Franklin on youtube, but I'll give you the high-level.

Pre-heat your smoker to 225F.  I lugged myself out of bed at 5am to do so.  Organize your coals using the "minion method".  This means pour unlit coals into the smoker, organize some wood chunks around the outside, and make a volcano cavity.  Pour about 12 light briquettes into the center.  The coals will slowly light from top to bottom over time, and will therefore keep the temperature constant.

Rub a brisket with a 50/50 mix of salt and freshly crack black peppercorns.  Season liberally so you have a nice bark in the end.  Place the brisket on the smoker once hits an even 225F, making sure you have a water pan to keep everything moist.

Smoke the brisket for about 10.5 hours (for 8.5lbs, times will vary).  Pull the brisket once the internal temperature reaches 190F.  Note, the temperature will "stall" at around 170F for multiple hours.  I hit 170F at around 2.5 hours and it didn't exceed 174F until about 9 hours into the smoke.

Keep that temperature constant and check the meat as infrequently as possible.  I added some home-cured bacon and homemade BBQ beans on the top rack to keep things interesting.


Once the beef reaches 190F, pull it off the smoker and wrap it in foil.  Let it rest for around 1 hour.

Slice it against the grain.  The grain switches about halfway through.  Again, just watch Aaron explain it.

Fend off everyone until you are finished with your presentation.  They will be dying for scraps.

8.5lb of beef brisket (trimmed)
black pepercorns, cracked with a mortar and pestle
however many beers you may need to stare at a smoker for ~10.5 hours

Song: Maya Payne - If Only

Sous Vide Pork Belly Porchetta [Zack]

I've enjoyed using my Anova Sous Vide machine for long, slow cooking sessions on big hunks of meat.  It's so much easier to get a perfect, consistent, and repeatable outcome.  I've actually been following recipes that I've found online while I'm learning to use the new tool.

Everyone loves pork belly, and this porchetta recipe is perfect if you want to make something besides bacon.  It's crispy, rich, salty, fatty, and balances well with something light and fresh.  All of the credit goes to my favorite food writer, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt for creating the All Belly Sous Vide recipe.


Lay the pork belly skin-side down on a cutting board and cross-hatch the inner meat portion with about 1/2 inch diagonal cuts.  Rub salt, crushed black peppercorns, crushed fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, smashed garlic, and rosemary all over the inside.  Roll the belly tightly and tie it with butcher string.

Season the outside of the belly with a 2-to-1 ratio of salt and baking powder.  Vacuum seal the belly and let it rest in the fridge for 12 hours or so.

Sous vide the belly at 155F / 68.3C for 36 hours.  Transfer belly to an ice bath if you're not cooking it right away.

Remove the belly from the pouch and reserve the liquid that it exuded.  You can reduce this down for a sauce if you want.

Shallow-fry the porchetta, spooning oil over it and turning when needed.

Remove from the oil when it's nicely golden brown and crispy on all sides.

Slice, and serve over crusty toast and with some cole slaw to offset the richness.

See Kenji's Recipe

Song:  Since this cooks for a while, just jam out to James Blake's whole album:  James Blake

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Sous Vide Teriyaki Beef Short Rib [Zack]

This is by far my favorite recipe to make with the Sous Vide machine (so far).  I've had varied results making teriyaki beef short ribs by braising or simmering.  The flavor has been there, but the ribs would never stay together.  Using the perfect temperature control of Sous Vide, I was able to achieve my ideal consistency of the short rib, while having a better visual presentation.

I like to pair these short ribs with horseradish mashed potatoes and some type of zingy veggie like Kimchi.  Here is a quick snapshot of the process and a rough recipe:


Prepare your teriyaki sauce first.  Dice the garlic, ginger and chiles and simmer in 1T of sesame oil.  Add the wet ingredients and sugar and simmer the sauce until it's thickened and coats the back of a spoon.  Adjust the sauce as needed.

Vacuum seal the beef short ribs with 2 T of teriyaki sauce per short rib.

Place the rib packs into the immersion circulated water bath at 63C for 48 hours.  Use a plate if they float above the water line.

Remove the ribs from the pouches after the timer goes off and brown all sides of them in a saute pan.  Brush with the teriyaki sauce before serving.

Ingredients:  (qty for 4 short ribs)
1T sesame oil
a few garlic cloves
1 inch ginger, diced
1-2 birdseye chiles
1 cup soy sauce
dash of rice wine vinegar
2/3 cup brown sugar (to taste)

4 beef short ribs

Song:  James Blake - I Only Know