Monday, December 19, 2016

Thermapen Mk4 review





Let me start by saying Thermapen has not paid us a dime for this review, in fact we ordered it on their website and paid full retail. Also, the link we use to recommend purchase is a link to ThermoWorks directly and we get nothing for the link. So basically, ThermoWorks, if you are out there, You're welcome, thanks for nothing.  Ultimately, I don't really care, we are about finding the best and this thermometer is it. So let's pass it along.

So no drinks for this review. There is no celebration and there is no food.


Review:


We came across the thermapen while watching competition BBQ shows on TV and realized that everyone was using the same device. I'm guessing product placement and if so, I tip my hat.

We have had issues with thermometers as you can read about on our turkey breast post. It only takes ruining one or two expensive and time consuming cooks to realize how important an accurate temperature measurement is.

The bottom line is don't skimp on your tools. You spent the money on the BGE for a reason so do the same for your thermometer. You won't regret it.

We purchased the Mk4 on ThermoWorks' web site. While they used to sell on Amazon, they don't seem to do that anymore.

Note however that there are a ton of look alike knockoff Chinese versions of this thing. Not that Chinese is necessarily bad but in this case. Go for the original.



The Thermapen arrived in a few days.


Included in the box: A bag of Jelly Bellys, a great manual, cooking guide and calibration certificate.


This is what you pay for. It is very accurate and very fast.

Also, insightful advice on how to measure temperatures and the art of carry over cooking. You figure and be that as it may.


The Thermapen is heavy and solid feeling. It opens like a knife and turns on automatically when you open it. Also the display automatically lights up in the dark and it auto rotates depending on how you are holding it. The temperature is measured at the very tip and only the very tip. 

It is helpful to slide it in and notice the difference between the surface temperature and the coldest part of the meat. It explains how critical it is to take the meat off before the coldest part reaches ideal temperature. The hotter part or exterior most part of the meat's temperature will continue to migrate to the center long after you take it off. It is the carryover cook.

The best part is that it reads temperatures incredibly accurately and it does it in 2-3 seconds. 



Verdict:

At about $90 it seems expensive for a meat thermometer but we think it is worth it. The first time you spend 3 hours cooking a turkey and it turns out overcooked, you've paid for it. So go get one, you won't regret it.

Also, a nice benefit is the mailing list. While you get an ad for more devices, it also comes with a recipe and recommended cook temperatures for all sorts of stuff. Like bread, cake, and cookies. Things I hadn't considered cooking to temperature before.







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. unfortunately, we don't get a dime for this but still, it is one you want.

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




Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Macaroni and Cheese - Community Q style - UPDATED 2.0







So, in our continuing search for the perfect macaroni and cheese, we have attempted to reach the holy grail of mac and cheese in Atlanta, and that is Community Q. Some argue that Community Q is a Mac and Cheese restaurant disguised as a BBQ joint. It is by far the best we have had, and on holidays we regularly go pick some up to go for a side. However, this Thanksgiving we were faced with a sold-out situaish. So, let's make it ourselves. SEE RED FOR UPDATES.



Research:

Located the recipe from one of the owners back when they worked elsewhere. It is HERE.

Ingredients:



16 oz Rigatoni noodles
UPDATED TO 2.25 CUPS
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese
8 oz Cheddar cheese
4 oz Parmesan cheese

Don't get too fancy with the ingredients here. It is mac and cheese, so use staple store brands.


Execution:

Boil some water


Salt the water - as salty as the sea  and then some (extra salty) - and add noodles. Follow the box.


In the meantime, grate up some cheese. All the cheddar and the Jack and then a cup of the Parmesan.



Drain the noodles but don't rinse
.


Mix in all the cream and half the cheese and stir





Then place in a shallow pan - UPDATED TO A DEEPER PAN


Sprinkle on some extra parmesan and the remaining cheese 


Bake at 350 for 30 minutes



Enjoy!


Verdict:

It was a little dry. I think that the recipe was fine, but we used a pan that was too big and spread the mac and cheese too thin with too much surface area - it isn't how they make it in the store. Next time, we will use a smaller and deeper pan and keep the mac and cheese a little thicker with less surface area. Otherwise, the taste was perfect. We will do this again without modifying the recipe.

Standby we will update this.

UPDATED TO DEEPER PAN AND LITTLE MORE CREAM. THIS WAS PERFECT!! ALSO NEEDS TO REST FOR 20 MINUTES OR SO.







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. unfortunately, we don't get a dime for this but still, it is one you want.

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, November 28, 2016

20 lb Turkey on the Big Green Egg






Congratulations readers, we have passed 100,000 page views. By far the most popular post has been our turkey breast on the Big Green Egg, so this Thanksgiving we decided to do a whole 20 pound turkey on the Egg using all of the skills we have gathered over the years. This includes using our turkey sitter

Also the first use of my Thermoworks Mk4 thermometer. Look for a review later but I'm delighted with it.

We bought a fresh turkey from a local farmer's market connection and had them brine it for us. So it was already thawed and brined when we picked it up the day before Thanksgiving.

Research:


Ingredients:

20 pound fresh turkey
stick of butter
3 beer rub

Timing...

Time    Temp
6:45      40
7:45      63
8:45      120
9:45      163

after pulling to rest at 10:10, it continued to rise to 171 at 10:30. So then I wrapped it in a foil and a towel and placed it in a cooler until game time.


Execution:

Did a back handspring out of bed at 6am Thanksgiving day and began heating the egg. I had it prepared the night before so I only needed to light it, turn the digi-q on 420 and let it go. So back into the house, time to get the bird ready.

Took the bird out of the fridge. 0 dark 30.



Bird was 40 degrees or so and pre-brined



Rubbed it down with a stick of butter and then sprinkled on some 3 beer rub (just whatever you have for a little flavor and color) and stuck it on the turkey sitter mentioned above. Used a disposable pan to keep things clean.




In the mean time, the digi-q did it's job and had the Egg at 420 degrees by 6:45. Turkey goes on, fingers are crossed. Note - plate setter is in.
.


As you can see, the bird is about 165 degrees at 9:45am.




So as the temp approached 160, I started measuring the bird with the MK4. Thermoworks tells me that the bird should be pulled off when the coldest part (center of breast) reaches 157 degrees. It says that because they estimate that the residual cooking will continue to heat the bird to 170 after it has been removed from heat.

I pulled the bird at 10:10 at 161 degrees and at 10:30 the coldest part of the bird was 171.



Enjoy!








Verdict:

The bird was perfect. The outermost skin was a little crisp and the inner white meat was perfect. The dark meat is always best.







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. unfortunately, we don't get a dime for this but still, it is one you want.

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




Saturday, August 13, 2016

White Wine Poached Fish with Cream Sauce





Not a lick of grilling in this post. This is old school Julia Child French cooking and it is a winner. In the South we would probably call this boiled fish and gravy but turns out it is fancy.

This is excellent and we will make this again. The sauce is rich and creamy and I want to put it on everything.

Research:

Found this recipe and followed it more or less. Check out this great post at FoodsOfOurLives for this Julia Child classic.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp minced shallot
2.5 lbs of a white fish - Sole
Salt & Pepper
1.5 tbsp butter diced
1.5 cups of dry white wine (something you would drink) go ahead and test it out)
3 more tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
0.25 cups of milk
2 egg yolks
0.5 cup whipped cream
lemon juice
2 tbsp grated swiss




Execution:

Preheat the oven to 350

Sprinkle the fish with salt and pepper

Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large sauté pan and add half the shallots

Add the fish in a single layer and then sprinkle on the remaining shallots

Add the wine and the diced up butter on top then enough water to cover the fish


Heat to almost boiling and then cover with parchment paper and press it slightly into the liquid before moving to the oven. Bake 8-12 minutes until the fish is flaky


Now let's make the sauce

Pour off the liquid from the sauté pan and boil it down until only one cup remains.



Then set the liquid aside.

Melt 3 tbsp of butter into the sauce pan and add the flour and stir until combined. It is a Roux, people.

Then pour in the reserved fish stock liquid and the milk and whisk until thick. We think this would make it a Velouté - mother sauce.
.

In a mixing bowl add the egg yoke and cream and then slowly drizzle about a cup of the hot liquid into the mixing bowl while mixing (this is called tempering). Then slowly add it all into the sauce pan.



Heat on medium until thick and creamy

Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste.

Then pour the sauce over the fish.


And sprinkle the cheese on top


Then return to the oven broiler to melt the cheese



Verdict:

We added the sauce to a few freshly grilled asparagus. I can't tell you how great that thick and creamy sauce is with the poached fish and the lemon juice makes a nice acid addition. Go make this.








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




Saturday, July 30, 2016

Refrigerator Pickles




I know... You must have thought that I died. It has been a while since we have made a whole new post but for those of you who are observant you may have noted that we have been updating some of our other posts as we continue to cook them and refine them. Look for changes in red.

This is just a quick refrigerator pickle recipe - I've made this a few times and didn't realize that I hadn't documented it here. A great fresh idea for summer cucumbers. You can put them in the fridge and eat start eating them the next day. The longer they steep the richer they get.

Research:

Totally made this up with a hint from the ingredients from our picked cucumber and carrot recipe also found here.

Ingredients:

0.5 cup of pickling vinegar per pint
0.5 cup of water per pint - could use white wine but I didn't have any open.
1 tablespoon sugar per pint
1 teaspoon of salt per pint
0.25 teaspoon of pickling spice per pint
a few peppercorns per pint

Consider adding a little bit of korean red pepper paste (Gochujang) for a nice spice.



Execution:

Heat the vinegar, water, salt and sugar until dissolved. Get your kids involved it is great bonding time and the gift that will keep on giving.


Place cucumbers in jar along with the pickling spice and a few peppercorns


add liquid




Place in fridge

Eat the next day or a few days later. I made these to eat the following day with a brisket cook. Check out the brisket  post for updates from time to time. This one I plan on adding a chart for time and temperature notes.




Verdict:

I think these were a little strong. Perhaps a little less vinegar next time. Taste the liquid so you can get an idea what the tartness will be. Might want to add a little sugar.







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.



Help support our drinking habit, buy something you like on Amazon. Simply click through the links below and though you can pick anything - it doesn't cost you a dime extra, 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




Search