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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Bistecca alla Fiorentina on the Big Green Egg

Bistecca alla Fiorentina on the Big Green Egg 


Have I mentioned that we visited Florence? Well, we did. We learned that Florence is beef country known for their cattle. It is the Texas of Italy? Famously, the Chianini breed, bred for the marbled beef and therefore unique flavor is the meat used to make the true Bistecca alla Fiorentina or the Tuscan Porterhouse.

We don't have easy access to Chianini in the US. So, we are going to use a regular breed, not sure what breed you get at ye olde generic whole food but we will have them custom cut us a porterhouse and we are going to attempt this refined steak using the Big Green Egg.



Research:

We used this site to remind us of the ingredients but we followed the reverse sear technique to get the perfect rare steak. Check out the technique on our perfect steak post here.

Plan:

Gather the following ingredients:


1 - 2 inch thick porterhouse. Ours was about 2 pounds and we had Whole Foods cut it for us.
1/3 cup of high temp olive oil. (not the EVOO)
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
A couple of sprigs of rosemary

We will heat the egg to 250, cook the steak to 95 internal, pull it off and rest while running the egg up to 600. Then sear each side 1.5 minutes. The reverse sear technique.

Just an update on portioning. A good rule of thumb is that the porterhouse will be about 1 lb per inch of thickness (precooked) and a large serving size (counting teenage boys) is about a pound a person. Our last effort was 2 three inch thick porterhouses that was about 7 pounds total to feed 6 and we had leftovers. Assume about 1/3 of weight will be lost to cooking and bone.

Execution:

Let the porterhouse warm to room temperature


Salt, Pepper, chop up some rosemary and rub in. Brush with olive oil.



Precook to 95 degree internal temp with the egg at 250


Then pull it off to rest while letting the egg heat up to 600


Sear both sides for 1.5 minutes


Lightly brush with olive oil then slice the steak from the center bone into about 1" strips


Serve!


Don't be a luddite. Pair it with a wine that you can't pronounce. This is a good one, Julie picked it. An Italian blend to go with our US/Italian blended Bistecca Fiorentine.




Verdict:

This is the best steak we have made. Absolute perfection. The rosemary, the pepper, salt and olive oil combine with the char to make an amazing flavor. The only thing better would be to be eating it in Florence.





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, January 18, 2015

Beef Back Ribs on the Big Green Egg

Beef Back Ribs (also Short Ribs) on the Big Green Egg

So what did I know about beef ribs earlier this week? not a thing. All I knew is that I wanted what I thought was short ribs and I wanted them to taste like my favorite BBQ place in the world. Fox Bros. Previously I have tried to duplicate them but alas without much success. See THIS LINK for a previous attempt. However, now that I have a digiQ I am ready to reach for the ring again. This time, I will follow the Fox Bros formula and I'll do it using the Big Green Egg and the DigiQ.




Research:

I once saw a food show that described how the Fox Bros cooked their short ribs. It was a seemingly simple process whereby they cooked said ribs for 12 hours at 200 degrees with a salt and pepper rub a la Franklin.

Now, now now... anyone that has a BGE knows that it isn't easy maintaining the Egg at 200 degrees for a long time without it going out. I had abandoned the idea of using the BGE to try this method until receiving the DigiQ from my loving family at Christmastime. I think the DigiQ can help me keep the egg at 200 all day. Also, I did a little short rib research. The Fox Bros ribs are these big giant meaty ribs (you get one rib when you order) that is almost a pound. When I tried to buy them at the butcher they were shorter and smaller hence the name SHORT rib. Turns out that the short rib is just a part or the meaty cut of the back rib, a larger piece of the same rib. It is called a beef back rib. I stopped into Kroger to find such an cut and low and behold they had some.

Plan:

Gather the following ingredients:


2 - Racks of beef back ribs
Equal parts kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 - Disposable aluminum pan



We will wake up early and set the egg up for 200 degrees with the plate setter in, rub the ribs and start cooking for 12 short hours.

Execution:

Beep...Beep...Beep...

Oh Lord is that you calling me home? Thank goodness, it has been a rough life and frankly I was pretty sure I would be heading in the other direction.

No?

Oh, the alarm. 6:45am Saturday.

Despite the photo below, I started the morning in the dark. Filling the BGE with natural lump charcoal, one lighter brick and set up the DigiQ with the damper 1/4 open on the Pit Viper. Daisy wheel open. Plate setter in. 40 minutes later, the BGE is sitting on 200 and holding.


While the Egg was warming up, I pulled the ribs out and rubbed them down the salt and pepper.

What I didn't do but should have, is trim the membrane off the back of the ribs.



and let them reach room temp.

Then onto the egg by 7:30am or so.


Also note that I used the BGE rib rack accessory. A nice option for getting two racks in the Egg without having to cut them in half.

The rest of the day was wide open. I didn't have to watch the temp, or add charcoal or anything. The DigiQ held it on EXACTLY 200 all day long.

So I went to my daughter's winter guard competition.

2nd Place! Congratulations!
Upon returning home at 4ish. I looked outside.


Still 200. Sort of boring. Decided to change some light bulbs.

Then, couldn't resist checking at 5:45pm. Also, checked with a knife for tenderness. They seem pretty soft and smell great! but I am holding out for 12 hours.


At 7:30pm I pulled them, wrapped in foil and towels to rest.


Amazing



Verdict:

Finally checked that box. This is how you make the famous beef "short" rib. Really the beef back rib. Cook it very low and slow all day long.

One thing I would fix, I noted in red above. You should strip the membrane from the back of the rib rack before cooking.

Next time I'll also look for a more premium cut of back rib, more generous on the rib meat, now that I have the process.

We would love it if you would drop us a note and let us know how your cook went in the comment section. 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


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Big Green Egg DigiQ DX2

BGE BBQ Guru


Santa came to our house and dropped off a BGE BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2. That is a mouthful. I am going to open it up and cook with it for the first time tonight so I thought I would document the process so you can decide if you might like one. This will be our very first product review and we will cook a turkey breast with the new system to test it out.

For those of you that don't know, the DigiQ is a thermostat for your Big Green Egg. You can set the temperature you would like the Egg to maintain and it uses a connected blower to control the amount of air into the egg to keep the temperature exactly as you set it. I have longed for this device in the early morning hours when I was forced to get up at zero dark thirty and go outside to adjust the BGE on one of my all night brisket cooks. As you may have read, I usually end up using my morning in recovery mode because the Egg temperature dropped too low.





Research:

I visited The BBQ Guru website. Excellent info. I also lusted after it in the BGE headquarters store in the suburbs of Atlanta.

Plan:

Go buy it on Amazon by clicking though this link (this is the one that includes the pit viper, blower that you must have):

UPDATED LINK TO A NEWER MODEL

BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 Kit for Big Green Egg

And the test Turkey:

1 - Bone-in turkey. 10 pounds. We purchased ours from Kroger.
1/3 cup of Big Green Egg dizzy gourmet viva caliente rub. Purchased at the BGE store! Atlanta, GA.
2 - Disposable gloves
1 - Disposable aluminum pan

We will simply heat the egg to EXACTLY 350 and rub the turkey then cook beer can style. We will place on the grill for around 3 hours or until the breasts reach 163-165.

Execution:

Let's unbox our DigiQ and figure out how to connect this thing...

First some advice from my Svengali of BGE, Mr. Lee Roberson, a 20 year battle hardened veteran of the Egg. He has also recently purchased a DigiQ and offered the following:
  1. Don't light your Egg and let it get hot before activating the DigiQ. Rather light the Egg and immediately turn on the DigiQ and let it control raising the BGE temp to the proper setting.
  2. Close the damper on the Pit Viper (the blower) to about half open and close down the top daisy wheel to about half open.
Now, let's open it up...




as you can see this kit came with the Pit Viper (blower), the DigiQ, a food probe, a pit temp probe, a BGE adapter, a DigiQ stand, and assorted power cords.


The BGE Pit Viper adapter fits into the BGE air intake perfectly and requires no tools.


Simply slide the door closed to seal it up and lock it in place


The Pit Viper attaches by friction. It has an o-ring that seals the connection. The power cord plugs into the DigiQ


The DigiQ with the blower connected, the power cord plugged in and both the pit temp probe and food probe connected.

A word on the probes. They are high quality! way better than the wireless thermometer that I have struggled with in the past. That said, I'll still use the wireless so I can remotely watch the food temp. Too bad the DigiQ doesn't have a wireless feature.

So after connected everything, attaching the Pit Viper and setting the Pit temp to 350, I adjusted the Pit Viper damper to half open (thanks Lee) and let the daisy wheel opened up to see what would happen.



I lit one of the BGE starter bricks and closed the lid.

The Pit Viper was already blowing air, I could hear it.


Over about the next 20 minutes the DigiQ raised the temperature of the Egg from 51 to 350 degrees and held it there. Dead on 350 degrees.


As the turkey reached 160 degrees I would open the lid and check the temp with my CDN instant read and when I closed the lid, the DigiQ would quickly recover the temperature.


We cooked the turkey beer can style in about 3 hours. At 160 degrees in the breast, we removed it and let it rest.




It turned out perfect. Even though we trimmed some of the skin (dieting folks...)



Verdict:

It is rock solid, the DigiQ heated up the BGE quickly and held it at exactly 350 degrees (not one degree off).

I think this new finely tuned temperature control will open up a new world of things that we can cook on the Egg. Really exciting to think about what is next.

We just touched on what the DigiQ will do. In the future, we will be trying some of the more advanced features. Including a setting that will automatically bring the BGE temperature down to meet the meat temperature when you are doing a slow and low cook to make sure you don't overcook your meat.



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