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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Brisket Burnt Ends: A Canvas for a Hearty Omelette

We are always looking for new and creative ways to deal with leftover BBQ.  This weekend, after our last practice cook for the upcoming competition season, we had a decent amount of burnt ends left over.  So, I was wondering, what can I do with these?  While they are tasty eats the next day, I was looking for something different.  After scouring the refrigerator for ideas, the contents of the frig spoke to me.  Omelettes...

For those of you who don't know what a burnt end is, let me tell you.  A burnt end is the fatty end of the brisket (the point).  Once the brisket is cooked, the point is removed from the flat and cubed into 1/4" pieces.  The cubes are seasoned with more rub, then either BBQ sauce or the au jus from your brisket cook is added to the cubes in a pan.  Once mixed up, the pan is placed back into your smoker for another 15-30 minutes so that the rub and sauce/au jus can set and make a nice, crispy bark.   They are the best part of the brisket in my opinion.

To start, I cubed some burnt ends, along with some red onion and sweet red pepper.  As an afterthought, I added one fingerling potato, finely diced.

I place the above into a sauté pan with just enough olive oil to prevent sticking and to promote caramelization of the pepper and onion.  I sautéed on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until I had the level of caramelization I desired.

I removed from the heat and added one tablespoon of Blue Hog Tennessee Red BBQ sauce for a bit of tangy flavor.  Then, I set aside.

Next, I whisked two eggs and seasoned with salt and pepper.

Add your beaten egg to a heated pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Once the egg starts to firm up, add your burnt end filling and top with the cheese of your choice.  Flip your omelette over in half, then flip the half over to finish cooking the other side.

I served with sriracha sauce on half of my omelette for a little spice.

Breakfast for dinner is the best.  This was outstanding.  The burnt ends mingled nicely with the caramelized onion and pepper.  The Blues Hog added the right amount of acid as a counterbalance to the fat in the beef.  Finally, the potato added just the right amount of crunch.  I would highly recommend that if you have some leftover burnt ends in your future to give this a try.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Brining is a Verb: Dialing in our Competition Chicken

Over the years, our chicken entries have been pretty good.  Nothing less than a 20th place with a few trophies over the last two years.  We have made some tweaks here and there, but the basic recipe says the same.  This year, we are getting away from our homemade brine and going with the Game Changer Brine from Oakridge BBQ.  It smells a lot like my brine.  If anything though, it is just easier to make since I just dump it in water, boil, chill, and it is ready to use.  But, I started thinking, do I have to use water as my brine base?  Why not a liquid that has flavor.  So, I thought, I am cooking chicken, so why not use chicken broth.  Off to the R&D labs we went...

I made a batch of the brine following the directions on the back.  All I did was substitute chicken broth for water.  Brought it to a boil, chilled it down, and brined my chicken.

After one hour of brine time, I removed the chicken from the brine and rinsed with cold water.  Then, I rubbed both sides of the legs with Butchers Honey BBQ Rub.

I whipped up a batch of sauce while I waited.

After letting the legs sit for about an hour, I placed them on the smoker at 275 F.  Then, I followed our process to the letter:

After 30 minutes, dunk in sauce, place legs in pan skin side down.  Place a pat of butter on the top of each leg.  Place back in smoker.

After 30 more minutes, dunk again in sauce, place legs on the rack, skin side up, and apply a light coat of rub.

After 30 more minutes, 90 minutes total cook time, remove from smoker.  Enjoy with beverage of choice.

I gotta say, I like the chicken broth as my brine base.  The legs had a deep chicken favor, as well as being very moist, tender, and juicy.  I am glad we tried this out before the season.  Now, the big question, will the judges approve?  We will find out.

Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A New Twist on a Burger

While I look outside the window today to gray skies, howling wind, and snow, it is hard to believe that it was sunny and in the 80's over the weekend.  But, Mother Nature is fickle in Western Pennsylvania in the springtime.  But, I made the most of the nice weather and grilled up some burgers.

These were burgers with a twist though.  Nothing over the top, but different none the less.  We usually go for a plain burger around here.  Maybe the occasional onion soup mix burger.  But, I decided to add some of our brisket rub to the mix this time around.  So, to one pound of ground round, I added one tablespoon of Oakridge Black Ops Brisket rub.

So, burger in the bowl with the rub.  Mix well, but not too much so that you end up with a grainy burger after cooking.

1/4 pound portions in my magical burger press.

Back in the fridge to firm up.  Go outside to fabulous weather to fire up the grill.

Red hot grill, then toss the burgers on and go inside to get my cheese.  Oh, by the way, do you think they like cheese?

Flipped the burgers after about three minutes, then added the cheese and closed the lid.

Three minutes later.  Perfect medium!

Add thin sliced sweet onion and tomato, dill chips, a thin schmear of mayo and a dollop of Heinz Balsamic Vinegar ketchup.  Served with a cold IPA and I was in heaven.

The brisket rub really kicked this up a notch.  You could make these burgers with any beef rub that you like.  I suggest you give it a try.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Still Looking for that Perfect Rib

If you have been reading this blog, you know that we have had issues with our rib scores over the years.  Our baseline experiment to improve those scores was to cook for six hours, without any foil, to see how tender the meat on the bone was.  I was close, but not 100% there.  So for this cook, I cooked ribs, unfoiled, for seven hours at a lower heat of 225 F to see how they turned out.  Here is what we found.

First, we took some St. Louis spares, rubbed both sides with mustard, and sprinkled our rub/sugar mix liberally on both sides of the rack.  Then, I let them come to room temperature on the counter while I brought the smoker to a temperature of 225 F.

Once the smoker reached 225 F, I placed both racks on the top shelf in the middle.  For smoke flavor, I placed a mixture of apple, hickory, and pecan into the ash pan. Then I shut the door and walked away.  After three hours or so, I rotated the racks left to right for even cooking.  Does it really help?  Who knows, but it makes me feel useful during the down time.

At the six hour mark, I brushed on a thin layer of my BBQ sauce.  Then, after 30 minutes, I touched up my sauce with another thin application.  At the seven hour mark I brought the racks inside to rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

Look at that shiny glaze?  Almost too beautiful to slice.  Well, taste is a component, so we sliced and dug in to try.

As you can see, more often than not I seem to get my ribs from pigs with bad posture or curvature of the spine.  Very bad for a turn in box.  As for the tenderness, I would say that after seven hours, these bones were just a bit over done.  They were right on the line of being fall off the bone.  So, I would have to say that after six and a half hours at 225 F on a smoker, you will produce a rib that is acceptable to a KCBS judge for tenderness.  Stay tuned for another method that just might be better.

Thanks for stopping by,