Friday, September 26, 2008

Two Briskets, One Egg

I know there are a variety of two level cooking rigs out there for the Egg, but I don't have one. I wanted to cook a couple briskets (~14lbs each) for a party and the Large BGE is my only cooker right now, so I decided to stack em. Bottom brisket went flat down and top brisket went flat up so I could get a good crust. I flipped them a couple times during the cook.

I was worried about the large mass of meat where the fat caps laid together sitting in a danger zone temp for too long. So I made sure to let the briskets come to room temp before putting on the cooker. Also, I started things at 300* and after a few hours when I had the meats at about 140* I turned down to 225* and went to bed. Came out real good!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Looks like its Absinthe, Currywurst and Carp for Dinner Tonight

From the 100 Things You Should Eat Before You Die list that is circulating around the food blogosphere...  

81/100 ain't bad.  But I've really got to fix the tasting at a three-Michelin-star and I don't think Horse will ever be on my 'Had' list

1. Venison - Yes

2. Nettle tea - Yes  

 3. Huevos rancheros - Yes

 4. Steak tartare - Yes

 5. Crocodile - Yes

 6. Black pudding - Yes

 7. Cheese fondue - Yes

 8. Carp

 9. Borscht - Yes

 10. Baba ghanoush - Yes

 11. Calamari - Yes

 12. Pho - Yes

 13. PB&J sandwich - Yes

 14. Aloo gobi

 15. Hot dog from a street cart - Yes

 16. Epoisses- Yes

 17. Black truffle - Yes

 18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - Yes

 19. Steamed pork buns - Yes

 20. Pistachio ice cream - Yes

 21. Heirloom tomatoes - Yes

 22. Fresh wild berries - Yes

 23. Foie gras - Yes

 24. Rice and beans - Yes

 25. Brawn, or head cheese - Yes

 26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - Yes

 27. Dulce de leche

 28. Oysters - Yes

 29. Baklava - Yes

 30. Bagna cauda

 31. Wasabi peas - Yes

 32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - Yes

 33. Salted lassi

 34. Sauerkraut - Yes

 35. Root beer float - Yes

 36. Cognac with a fat cigar - Yes

 37. Clotted cream tea - Yes

 38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O - Yes

 39. Gumbo - Yes

 40. Oxtail - Yes

 41. Curried goat - Yes

 42. Whole insects - Yes

 43. Phaal - Yes

 44. Goat's milk - Yes

 45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/€80/$120 or more - Yes

 46. Fugu

 47. Chicken tikka masala - Yes

 48. Eel - Yes

 49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - Yes

 50. Sea urchin - Yes

 51. Prickly pear - Yes

 52. Umeboshi - Yes

 53. Abalone - Yes

 54. Paneer - Yes

 55. McDonald's Big Mac Meal - Yes

 56. Spaetzle - Yes

 57. Dirty gin martini - Yes

 58. Beer above 8% ABV - Yes

 59. Poutine - Yes

 60. Carob chips - Yes

 61. S'mores - Yes

 62. Sweetbreads - Yes

 63. Kaolin

 64. Currywurst

 65. Durian

 66. Frogs' legs - Yes

 67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - Yes

 68. Haggis

 69. Fried plantain - Yes

 70. Chitterlings, or andouillette - Yes

 71. Gazpacho- Yes

 72. Caviar and blini- Yes

 73. Louche absinthe

 74. Gjetost, or brunost

 75. Roadkill

 76. Baijiu

 77. Hostess Fruit Pie- Yes

 78. Snail- Yes

 79. Lapsang souchong

 80. Bellini- Yes

 81. Tom yum

 82. Eggs Benedict- Yes

 83. Pocky

 84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant

 85. Kobe beef- Yes

 86. Hare- Yes

 87. Goulash- Yes

 88. Flowers- Yes

 89. Horse

 90. Criollo chocolate- Yes

 91. Spam- Yes

 92. Soft shell crab- Yes

 93. Rose harissa - Yes

 94. Catfish- Yes

 95. Mole poblano- Yes

 96. Bagel and lox- Yes

 97. Lobster Thermidor- Yes

 98. Polenta- Yes

 99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee- Yes

 100. Snake- Yes 

Friday, September 19, 2008

Brisket Hunting

Well those of us with off-beat hobbies often find ourselves doing things that are, well, slightly sad and pathetic.

The movie 'Best in Show' comes to mind.

My obsessive-compulsive activity is brisket hunting.

Instead of spending a Saturday afternoon playing golf, or relaxing on my lunchbreak at work I'm out stalking my favorite markets (the locations of which I cannot reveal) for the perfect brisket.

Not all briskets are created equal. The main characteristics I'm looking for are even, thick briskets with a good fat cap. A lot of briskets are thick on one side and then thin on the other, which in my opinion are almost worthless when it comes to competition bbq. There are a few other things I look for, but I'll get into that in detail in my upcoming competition bbq cooking class. ;-)

I have three more events to cook this year, American Royal Invitational, American Royal Open, and the Jack Daniels Invitational. So I've been on the hunt for six perfect briskets for those events. I found two really good ones recently (yeah, Restaurant Depot is one of the stops on my hunting trail).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Harvard, MA

Mass State Championship this weekend in Harvard, MA! The venue reminds me a lot of the old Pig N Pepper contest in Westford, MA that ran for about a decade starting in the early 90's.

At the Pig N Pepper the cooks would often hi-jack the merry-go-round in the middle of the night...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Lucky # 7

Well, yesterday was a big day.  For the 7th year in a row we were selected to cook in the Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ.  "The Jack" is the one of the most prestigious and certainly the most difficult contest to get into out on the competition bbq trail.

The Jack invites only the teams that have won a Grand Championship in each state.  Problem is some states have a bunch of state championships.  I think Missouri has about 40 state championship contests.  So what Jack Daniels does is have a draw for each state by putting a numbered whiskey bung into a big whiskey barrel and pulling out the numbers of the lucky teams. 

Full rules here.

Full results here.

In past years we have won contests like Merrimack, NH or Windsor, VT where these were the only contests in that state so we had an "automatic".  This year though I Smell Smoke!!! swept the automatic New England contests (MA, VT, NH) and as a result 'draw day' was a bit more dramatic for the IQUE team.  

We won two qualifying contests in NY: New Paltz and Troy.  There were three other NY contests though:  Buffalo (won by Lunchmeat), Sayville (won by BBQ-Brethren) and Lake Placid (won by Jacks Down Home).  So we had a 2 in 5 chance of getting drawn.  The Jack also randomizes the order of the state draws so we were hoping that PA went first because Lunchmeat won a PA contest.  If Lunchmeat was drawn in PA they would not be part of the NY draw.  Turns out NY was up before PA so we were really lucky and got drawn for what we hope is Lucky #7.    

The team had pretty much thought we were not going to the Jack so all of our travel arrangements and time off has been focused on the American Royal.  Looks like it might be only myself and my brother Jamie cooking this time.  If so, we'll skip the extra categories like Chefs Choice.  Here is a pic of a lobster pot pie preparation we turned in for Chefs Choice a few years ago and earned a 3rd place jug.  As always our goal for the 2008 Jack is to get a call to the stage.

Congrats and good luck to all the teams going to the Jack.