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Topic: The Fanatic's Grillin Thread!!! All Grillin All The Time  (Read 2857 times)
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TheFanatic
« on: December 19, 2008 12:14:54 PM »

Of course I realize that this is not the time of the year most people cook out doors. Not me. For me it's a year round deal. Last Saturday I cooked Chicken Spedini and Chicken Cordon Bleu on the grill. The temp was about 30 degrees with 30 MPH winds that made it feel like 20.

In this thread I will be posting all sorts of grilled delights. From Angus Beef to Zucchini. That's right. You can cook veggies on the grill as well. I have done: Green Beans; Stuffed tomatoes, peppers, and Vidalia onions; zucchini; squash; Portabellas and white caps; corn in a variety of forms; asparagus; and even broccoli once (that didn't go so well).

I will also talk about the standards, steak, ribs, brisket, chicken, pork loin, turkey, and fish. As well as not so common items as all manner of seafood (shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams, oysters), crostinis, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken Spedini, fatties, meatloaf and others.

I will talk about the difference between grilling (high and fast) and smoking (low and slow). I will talk about rubs, marinades, brines, smoke woods, charcoal, gas, rotisseries, indirect cooking, sauce or no sauce, gadgets, grill maintenance and the all important, what sort of beer or wine should go with which food...So strap in boys and girls...It's going to be quite the culinary ride...
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TheFanatic
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2008 12:23:01 PM »

Since nothing says Merry Christmas like smoked ribs, I thought I would share the last time I did a big batch of ribs.

When it comes to ribs I think there are two kinds of people - those that like them to fall off the bone and those that like them moist and chewy. I fall in the latter category, but I have no problem with those that are in the former. And if I cook my ribs a bit too long and they are fall off the bone I will still enjoy them a great deal. I mean if the worst thing that happens to me in a day is that I have to eat ribs that fall off the bone I've had a good day!?!

On this such occasion I was at my in-laws. My in-laws like fall off the bone, sauced ribs. Since that is what my audience wanted, that's what I gladly made. My FiL is the type of guy to get up at the crack of dawn and smoke ribs for 8-10 hours. I just don't have that kind of time. And I can provide them with exactly what they want in under four hours. That's right, four hours for fall off the bone ribs.

The ribs were marinaded in apple cider, garlic and black pepper over night. The next day my MiL made her wonderful Cumin based rub. Cumin, garlic, some brown sugar, onion powder and black pepper. I'm sure I left out some ingredients so I will check with her and update this post when I know more.

I salted the ribs with some coarse salt and then applied the rub and threw them on the my FiL's sweet Brinkman Offset Smoker. I held back one half slab for myself for a little while so they would not be fall off the bone. Here they are with all of the slabs on the grill:


I know some of you are looking at that pic and see that the coals are actually in the cooking chamber rather than the firebox. This was required to achieve my goal of fall off the bone BBRs in under four hours. To do so I needed to raise the temp from the standard 225 to closer to 275. In order to accomplish this I needed the fire in the cooking chamber rather than the firebox. I slid the grill grates over to the right to have easier access to the fire to add wood and more charcoal.

I was having one problem at this point. The ribs were practically stacked on top of each other which would slow the cooking process as they would insulate each other. I had a couple of options, try to transfer red hot coals from the cooking chamber to the fire box (and add a ton more charcoal to get the temp up) or find away to separate the ribs. After a little digging in the garage I found a rib rack. Problem solved:



In the above pic you can see the lead from my thermometer that leads to the base (out of the pic). With long cooking chambers like this, the thermometer built into the middle of the top of the grill can be off by more than 50 degrees or so from the ends of the grill. I wanted to see what the temp my ribs were at right near where they were cooking.

After 2 hours on the grill, it was time for the foil. Put the ribs on the foil bone side down, slather with either honey or syrup. For a really great bark add more rub but it's not necessary. These were getting sauced so no extra rub:



After I took this pic I just stacked them on top of each other, folded up the foil around them and back on the grill. After 45 minutes or so in the foil I pulled them, and dunked them in a disposable tin foil pan full of sauce.

The sauce was kicked up Cattleman's. I took a sauce pan, added some oil, brought some minced garlic up to a sizzle, added some brown sugar and syrup, as well as fresh cracked black pepper. Cooked that for a bit and then added the sauce. Half a pumpkin ale and cooked it down for about an hour to thicken.

While I was doing all of this I also threw on some rib tips. While I normally cook those as a chef's prerogative and enjoy them throughout the smoking process these were for my BiL's girlfriend (now fiance) who likes ribs but doesn't like the bones. Here are the ribs in their BBQ sauce bath, the tips off to the side and my half slab in foil. I hadn't gotten to removing my slab from the foil yet:


I put the ribs in the sauce right over the heat so they would cook some more in the sauce to guarantee that fall off the bone consistency. Here is a closeup of the ribs in the BBQ bath:


I left the ribs in the sauce for about 30 minutes. So total cooking time was just under 3.5 hours.

This was the second time in about a month I was to grill ribs. I didn't get a chance to do this method the time before as my FiL's neighbor started the grill up and put everything on about eight in the morning. When we ate at 6 that night, they were great. I kept telling my FiL that I could do the same in four hours.

So there we are, sitting around the table chowing on ribs and sides. After a few bones, my FiL, looks at me and says, "four hours?" After a couple more bones says it again. All in all I think he said that about 6 times. He just couldn't believe what he was eating only took four hours.

Now don't get me wrong. I am not a proponent of rushing anything on the grill. Less time grillin meand less time chillin. But I just can't do 10 hours on the grill. Maybe in a Big Green Egg where you set it and forget it, but not with the equipment available to me.

BTW, I did this method with spares about 6 weeks prior. No pics. The wife had obsconded with the camera. I'd heard about this higher temp shorter time method and wanted to see if it worked. I did two hours in the smoke, and then 90 minutes in the foil. As I was pulling one of the half slabs from the foil, one of the bones hit the edge of the foil that was sticking out and the bone actually fell out of the meat!!! Think about that for a second. How much resistance does tin foil have? Next to none. And the entire bone fell out of the half slab. I almost laughed outloud and was really sorry I didn't have the camera!?!?

To finish the spares I put them back on the grill for 30 minutes. I realize that the meat was done after 3.5 hours, but I needed to caramelize the bark as they were sauceless ribs. At the higher temp that only takes about 30 minutes. So for Spares, four hours is all you need for fall off the bone ribs.


**ETA to add the pics now that I have pic rights
« Last Edit: December 19, 2008 01:09:47 PM by TheFanatic - Reason: ETA to add the pics now that I have pic rights » THIS ROCKS   Logged

TheFanatic
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2008 12:23:53 PM »

This would be so much more fun if I could post pics....Looks like I need a few more posts first
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TheFanatic
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2008 01:00:27 PM »

Gratuitous post to get to 10....Now we can have some fun with the grillin and the chillin
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TheFanatic
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2008 01:06:01 PM »

I am a true believe that the perfect steak is rare or medium rare. Anything beyond that is cooked improperly. That being said, using this method for grilling a steak can improve steaks cooked beyond medium rare as well.

My favorite steak of all time is the bone in ribeye and that is exactly what I cooked for this meal. This particular steak was indeed a monster. I put my cell phone into the picture for reference. My cell phone is a standard Motorola Razr:



Another angle to get the idea of the shear size of this thing



All I did was add a little coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper to this bad boy. To some this is all one needs. Normally I marinade my steaks, even filets. The key is using the right kind of marinade for the right kind of cut. But for this one, and for my first demonstration here I went with a simple, almost pure steak.

The real trick to cooking the perfect steak is two zone cooking. Coals on one side. Nothing on the other. Sear the outside on each side to form a nice crust to seal the juices in, then pull off the heat to the side with no coals, put the lid on and bake till desired doneness.

And when I say sear, I really mean sear. I don't jerk around with searing. I get the coals flaming hot and then I pour on some sort of veggie oil and flame sear my steaks. ***Disclaimer - I do not recommend doing this near siding, a wood deck or anything else that could melt or catch on fire. Also avoid doing this in high wind. I almost learned that one the hard way.



To give you some perspective in the day light. Here is a picture of me grilling steaks at my folks this last Summer. This is the flame searing process and thus the necessity for the disclaimer. And yes the GrillinFool did have hair at one time before he started shaving it all off:



The hardest part is having the patience to let that expensive cut sit over those flames without flipping it. Sear for a couple of minutes and rotate 90 degrees and sear for a couple more minutes for nice grill marks. I don't really care about grill marks so I just sear it.

For this steak I seared it and then pulled it over to the side with no coals for maybe 5 minutes. Realize that this bad boy was close to 24 ounces. Smaller steaks (and more importantly thinner steaks ) will take less time to bake to the desired doneness.

Now comes a very critical step. Resting. You just created a nice crust to seal the juices in. You just pulled that steak off a hot grill. Those juices are in a very excited state. They are moving a million miles an hour inside that steak. If you slice it now all the juices will run out before you get to your 3rd bite.

The ideal resting place would be on a cooling rack for cookies so that the juice that does leak out (and there always will be just a little) will not soak through the crust on the bottom. I'm not that anal. I just put it on a plate to rest. More perspective on the size of this thing. It is resting on a standard size Fiestaware dinner plate.



A steak of this size needs to rest about 5 minutes. It should rest long enough to allow the juices to settle down. You're not going for letting it rest until it gets cold. Just till those all important juices calm down.

Those of you who are not fans of rare or medium rare steaks usually get to this point and assume that the blood and juice is going to leak all over the plate when I slice it open. I will prove you wrong with what I like to call the money shot:



And here's an even closer view of the money shot:



Normally I like my steaks just a little redder than that, but this thing was so huge that I baked it for a little longer than it probably needed. Despite that, it was juicy and delicious from the first bite to the last. And I ate the whole thing....
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BlairsBear
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« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2008 01:59:23 PM »

Wow.  It's making me salivate now, but two months agao when I was still pregnant I would have licked the screen.  I totally agree that anything more than medium rare is a waste of cow.
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If it had grown up, it would have made a dreadfully ugly child; but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.
TheFanatic
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2008 02:03:46 PM »

Wow.  It's making me salivate now, but two months agao when I was still pregnant I would have licked the screen.  I totally agree that anything more than medium rare is a waste of cow.

My FiL says he likes his steaks well done.  First time my folks and her folks got together for an evening, I grilled steaks.  I put a nice juicy red one on his plate.  This was after I taught him the trick to cooking a great steak (sear, bake, rest, eat), and he says to me before carving into his steak, "let's see if you know what the hell your talking about."

A few minutes later his steak is gone, he hasn't said a word, he finishes the last bite and says with a huge grin, "the hell you don't know what your talking about!!  That was excellent!?!?!"

I've showed him more than a few times.  And more than a few times he still overcooks everything.  I watch him come outside with a platter of steaks and nothing but a grill fork in his hand (I cringe), and I go inside and make sure there is some sort of BBQ or steak sauce available for when he is done.  My MiL is always "subtly" suggesting that I cook the steaks for everyone!?!
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ambervacation
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« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2008 02:40:27 PM »

Sooooo... I am a firefighter, and we rotate cooking.  I am not a huge meat eater (sue me) but I always cook it because my coworkers are.  I have a hard time with pork chops (as does everyone else apparently because they always seem to be the last thing in the freezer) and I am slightly intimidated by beef tri-tips.  Any suggestions?
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TheFanatic
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2008 02:47:29 PM »

Sooooo... I am a firefighter, and we rotate cooking.  I am not a huge meat eater (sue me) but I always cook it because my coworkers are.  I have a hard time with pork chops (as does everyone else apparently because they always seem to be the last thing in the freezer) and I am slightly intimidated by beef tri-tips.  Any suggestions?

Pork chops....First off have you ever done any brining them?  1 cup of salt per gallon of water.  Then add a soda (not diet) some chunked up fruit (I've used oranges, lemons/limes, apples and peaches), some brown sugar, garlic, black pepper, herbs if you want.  Brine for 12-15 hours.  Remove from brine and rinse it off.  Do not salt before putting on the grill.  Brining will keep the meat juicy even if you overcook them.  Give you sort of an extra margin of error.

I tend to cook pork chops like a steak.  I sear them a bit on each side (not to the extent that I do my steaks above) just to put some grill marks on.  then I pull aside to the part of the grill with no heat (always use two zone cooking), then I cook them till they are medium.  Look up the thumb test for testing doneness in steaks.  Pork does not have to be white all the way through anymore.  They can be pink in the middle.  Go for medium pink though, not medium rare pink. 

As for tri-tip.  Honestly, one of the few things I have not done on a grill.  :bag:And I'm not messing with that till it warms up.  I will let you know then....
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nezumi_chan
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2008 02:56:16 PM »

That steak looks so good!  I agree with you on the rare - medium rare thing.
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