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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pork Butt on the Big Green Egg - 2.0 Update

Turns out, I am a butt man. The pork butt or Boston butt or pork shoulder (depending on where you are) is what we here in the South call barbecue. If you stroll into any roadside BBQ establishment in Georgia and order a BBQ sandwich, you will get pulled pork on a hamburger bun or on a slice of white bread. It is something we all grew up with.

I must confess that this is the second time we have endeavored to create the famous pulled pork, the first being just after we bought our Big Green Egg and before we started this blog. In fact, it was that failure that planted the seed for this effort as a way to ensure that we wouldn't repeat the same mistakes and that we would have a place to document what to do and what not to do the next time.

Just an update. We have made this several more times and would like to remind everyone that you should trust the temperature, I seem to always be worried that it isn't turning out right. Even if doesn't seem to be working, as long you get the meat to 200 degrees or so and then pull it off, wrap it up, put it in a cooler and let it rest for an hour or so, it will turn out delicious, moist and tender. It works every time. Check out the updated photos.

Another update to show the cook times and temps for a 10lb butt:

Time      Butt Temp     Egg Temp

9am           34                 250
11:20am   105                250
12:20pm   133                250
1:20          147                250
2:20          155                250
3:20          165                250 wrapped the butt and heated the egg to 275 to speed things up
4:20          174                275
5:20          186                275
6:20          201                275

MORE cook times another 10lb butt:

7am          43                   250
12:30pm  149                  268
5:20         167                  250  turned egg up to 280
7:20         174                  280
8:40         190                  290
9:12         194                  290
9:34         200                  290

not sure why the cook time was so much longer...


Pork Butt on the Big Green Egg


Updated photo

Research:

The first effort was bush league. I talked to a friend at work who is a Svengali of the Egg. He stepped me through the process of the rub and the cook. Unfortunately, I didn't follow his advice.  In addition to seeking counsel, I spent some effort looking up the proper temperature for cooking the pork butt and learned that the safe cooking temperature was 160 degrees, so naturally I assumed this was the temperature in which the pork would be "done" and any more would be too dry. So that was what I cooked it to. I rubbed it with mustard, applied my rub and cooked it until it was "done." It was safe alright, no one died, but it was tough, didn't pull and was just generally bad. Very discouraging.

It wasn't until a few months later, mostly due to weather, that I was able to attempt the famous brisket that turned out so good. It was this effort that resulted in me learning about rendering the fat, the temperature plateau, and the proper target temperature for the meat.

Finally, this time in my research I came across a great blog post at nibblemethis, a blog that puts mine to shame. It is that post that we used as our guide this time because its instructions rang true to me based on my past pork butt failure and my successful brisket.

Plan:

We bought an 8-pound pork butt at the local supermarket the day before the cook. The plan was to assume a 1.5 hour per pound cook at 250 degrees. We were thinking about 12 hours. Based on that, I needed to get MY butt up at 5:45 am Saturday in order to get the PORK butt on the Egg in enough time to allow for dinner at 7 pm. Part of the fun of cooking the butt is making butt references...

Execution:

5:50 am

I do a back handspring out of bed and trundle down the stairs to start the Egg and rub the butt. :). (See, it is impossible to resist).

I filled the Egg up to the top of the firebox with the BGE charcoal and added a few lumps of unsoaked apple wood and lit it.

Then pulled out the butt, trimmed off the fat layer and rubbed it down with BGE Caliente Rub.




Updated photo

Note that we used a disposable tray to hold the butt while I trimmed it and rubbed it and then I used the same tray as the drip pan when I put it on the Egg.


6:30 am

After the Egg reached 250 degrees, I inserted the plate setter, drip pan, stainless grate and placed the butt on the Egg to start the cook.


Still dark outside on Sat am...

Here we have the BGE remote thermometer that I recently replaced the temperature leads on. The first leads started measuring too hot after only a few uses. Turned out, you aren't supposed to expose the leads to direct heat or moisture ??? So with these new leads, you see that I have comically wrapped them in foil to reduce the exposure to direct heat. We will see...

That said, a remote thermometer is otherwise a great thing.

I continued to tweak the air intake and daisy wheel the remainder of the morning to stabilize the temperature at 250. Then I left for a middle school football game that led to an after game victory celebration.

I returned to the Egg about 5 hours later.

2:30 pm


Internal butt temperature is 154 degrees here. My Egg temperature had dropped to about 200 degrees by the time I returned, so I bumped the intake a little and it quickly returned to temp.

From 2:30 until 5ish we watched the butt temperature rise from 154 to about 196. It was here that I inserted the analog thermometer to double-check temps and to check the tenderness. The thermometer went in smooth. When I tried the fork, it was smooth at the edges and maybe still a little tough in the center. I decided to pull it anyway.

5:00 pm

I pulled it off the Egg, wrapped it in foil, wrapped that in two towels, and put it in the cooler to rest for at least 1 hour. Hoping that it would get more tender in the middle.



6:30 pm

Pulled out the pork, unwrapped and began pulling it apart to check the cook and tenderness.


Updated photo

Wow!


Updated photo

I pulled it apart using two forks. It pulled apart gently. The center may have had a little more pull but not much. The bark was crispy and salty and delicious. The inside meat was soft and smoky and moist. It was exactly right.

Verdict:

Very successful this time. Everyone loved the sandwiches, especially the proud cook! The meat was the hit of the day and was quickly consumed.

You should make this. It is simple, cheap and fun to do. We will be making it again very soon.


Happiness!

Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Beef Jerky on the Big Green Egg

My oldest son is a middle school football player and a big fan of beef jerky so we decided it would be fun to try and make some home made Jerky using the Big Green Egg. Here we go.

Just an update. We made jerky again recently and the results were again outstanding. This time we kept them on the egg the entire cook and timed it to take advantage of a cooling down egg after cooking beer can chickens. See our updated photos.

Beef Jerky on the Big Green Egg

 Updated photo

Research:

Straight from Pinterest we found a company that makes Jerky Cure and Seasoning. Hi Mountain Seasonings. Hi Mountain Jerky, Inc. Original Jerky Kit They make a variety of curing and seasoning mixes but we chose the original blend and bought two of them. Turns out, that makes a bunch of Jerky. It comes as a kit and includes instructions and curing and seasoning mixes so it is as simple as following the directions.

Plan:

Ingredients:

2 pounds of round or flank steak (lean muscle meat)
Jerky cure and seasoning:
   1 tablespoon Seasoning mix
   1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of cure

Steps:
  • Slice the meat 0.25" thick strips (with the grain)
  • Mix in the Cure and Seasoning and let it sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours
  • Heat the BGE to 200 degrees
  • Lay the strips out and pat dry
  • Cook for 2 hours at 200.

Execution:


First we sliced up the steaks into 0.25" thick strips with the grain of the meat

Updated photo


Then we measured out our correct amount of mix based on the Hi Mountain instructions.


As they recommended, we dusted them as best as we could and then put them in a zip lock bag to coat them more thoroughly.


24 hours later we pulled them out of the refrigerator and heated up the Egg.


When I pulled them out of the refrigerator, I patted them dry to remove moisture.

It was at this point that I had a major failure. In my lust to obtain the perfect egg temperature, I accidentally extinguished the Egg and then had a hard time getting the Egg to stay at 200. So after about an hour of fooling with it, I gave up and moved them to the oven.


Really, no harm done. They did stay on the Egg long enough to get a good smoky flavor and just ended up finishing them off in the oven very late at night.

Updated photo

Verdict:

These really turned out great. We received two thumbs up from my son, he ate every last one. I felt good that they were healthy and smoky. Forgive me for saying, but these turned out much better than I deserved.

Cudos to Hi Mountain Seasoning for their mix and the clear instructions. They turned out great and I have a lot more mix left over to make more.

Just an update related to storage. We recently made a big batch with hopes of individual 3 oz serving sizes. We put them in little plastic baggies after letting the meat cool. A few days later and the whole batch molded.

Turns out the residual moisture can cause mold to grow when exposed to air. Best recommendation I've read so far is to vacuum seal (to remove oxygen) and maybe even refrigerate. 

Now they tell me...



We would love it if you would drop us a note in the comment section and let us know how your cook went. We are always looking for suggestions and improvements! We have opened up the comments so that anyone can post now, so please do. I'll try not to delete anything unless it is spam or stabs me in the heart.



Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Grilled Peach and Tomato Panzanella

This is an appetizer that we had at a local restaurant, La Tavola, during their Tomato Fest, and it was so good that we asked the waiter for the recipe and decided to attempt to duplicate it at home. This was just for fun, and it turned out great, thus here we are. What a great surprise grilled peaches were. This one is highly recommended.

Grilled Peach and Tomato Panzanella






Research:

We just asked! The waiter, and I hope the chef, was flattered to share the ingredients with us. We took a photo of our dish in the restaurant, and then took both the notes and our photo home with us and made plans to try and make it.
Restaurant photo


Plan:

This is a salad, so the only real cooking was grilling the peaches and making the croutons. We knew we wanted to put a char on the peaches and didn't want to get them too soft, but everything else is just combining ingredients. What makes it so special is how fresh it tasted.

Ingredients:

Grilled Georgia Peaches, about 3
Basil
Mint (we didn't use this ingredient)
Chives
Arugula
Heirloom Tomatoes
Seasoned Croutons (butter, salt)
Red Wine Vinegar
Speck

The didn't give us quantities, so we eyeballed it when putting it together.

Execution:



Slice up a couple of fresh peaches. By the way, we are from Georgia, and therefore we think we have a little expertise in picking peaches. Our advice is to always smell your peaches in the store. If they don't have a strong peach aroma, then don't buy them. They were likely picked green and ripened during shipping, and those don't seem to have much sugar in them. You will be amazed at the difference in fresh tree-ripened peaches.



Grilling them on the Big Green Egg! We heated up the egg and cooked them Egg open on a very hot cast iron grate. Just enough to get a char but not enough to "roast them."



Toasted some bread for croutons. Add butter and salt to these and toast.



Chopped up some heirloom tomatoes from the farmers market. 
We chose both yellow and red for flavor and color interest.



Laid down an arugula bed.  And then layered the remaining components:  peaches, basil, chives, tomatoes, croutons, speck and sprinkle with red wine vinaigrette.



Verdict:

This dish turned out delicious. This is a great summer salad and a way to use both an abundance of tomatoes and peaches.

We did mess up by not seasoning the croutons enough.  We noted that the restaurant version croutons were very flavorful and buttery. It is a nice contrast to the sweetness of the tomatoes and peaches.

Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer



Monday, September 2, 2013

Low Country Boil

This is a made-for-the-patio meal that serves large groups or small gatherings. We love to prepare this on a day that we know it is going be nice patio weather. Boil up a feast and pour it out on the table covered in newspaper for everyone to enjoy. It is simple and quick and something you should make when the weather isn't too hot or too cold.

Low Country Boil





Research:

This is a dish that we have made in the past, but to refresh our memory we did some Googling around and ended up using Paula Deen's suggestions, along with Old Bay's.  We also decided to add in fresh carrots because we had them.

Plan:

Fill up the big pot about three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil. Add in 1/4 cup of Old Bay seasoning. Once the water is boiling, we will add the potatoes, carrots and sausage. Add in one beer for good measure. After 20 minutes add the corn. Then 10 minutes later add the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Then serve!

Ingredients:

2 lbs of large shrimp
1 bunch of carrots
2 ears of corn
7 or 8 small red potatoes (2 per person)
1/4 cup of Old Bay
3/4 pot of water
2 onions
2 lemons
1 lb of kielbasa sausage


Execution:



Add in the Old Bay and turn up the heat. After you do this, you have a lot of time. On our gas stove it takes forever to get this much water to boil. So while waiting, go ahead and prep the other ingredients.

Sliced up 1 lb of kielbasa sausage, 2 onions and clean the red potatoes. Also note the beer that we added to the mix. Seemed a shame to pour the whole thing in so I had a taste. It was good.

Sliced up a couple of lemons and the carrots also.

Sliced up 2 ears of corn into small pieces.

Finally boiling, so add the potatoes

The sausage

Onions and carrots

20 minutes later add in the corn

Finally add in the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes. Go ahead and splurge on the shrimp for this dish. Get the large fresh shrimp. Cook them whole with the shell. The dish needs it for extra taste, plus it is fun to peal and eat when the dish is complete.

A few minutes later, pour it out on the table and gather your family.

A delightful family meal.


Verdict:

It was delicious, but there are a few things that we did wrong. First, use about 1/2 pot of water. That would be plenty. Second, the Old Bay site called for 1/2 cup of Old Bay, and we cut that in half because it seemed too much. It isn't, go ahead and use 1/2 cup.

Finally, pick a day a rain storm isn't going to hit! We had to move it inside last minute because of a storm.

Please help support our site, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything, I suggest the thermometer and knives below:


So apparently Thermoworks doesn't sell through Amazon anymore. You must buy direct. Still the thermometer to have. Go here and order direct. 

Aaron Franklin's Favorite trimming knife:

Dexter-Russell (S131F-6PCP) - 6" Boning Knife - Sani-Safe Series

Aaron Franklin's Favorite Brisket cutting/serving knife:

Sani-Safe S140-12SC-PCP 12" Scalloped Roast Slicer