Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Be Careful Slicing Beef

It is no secret I love beef the best, enjoy it the most, have it most often, and like foul mouthed Anthony Bourdin, “still want more”. So beginning with St Patrick’s Day, and a lucky score on a small store bought Corned Beef Brisket and then again this past weekend with one of my favorite and inexpensive steaks (the Tri Tip), I discovered just how important it is to slice these two cuts of beef properly once cooked. The problem was not with me knowing to slice across the grain but rather taking to time to look and actually do it. The lucky score on Corned Beef came about when my Step Son bought a Corned Beef (very small) and dropped it by for me to cook him some of my BBQ he and wife Anna loves so well – not knowing it’s not the same. At the last minute just before St Patrick’s day arrived, I hit a couple of stores and they were out – what to do? Simple, just pick up a real brisket for his BBQ, which is what he really wanted anyway and use his Corned Beef, which I rinsed off, and soaked overnight in water to provide a milder Corned Beef flavor. I had a short trip to make that afternoon and stopped by home to put it on to cook while I was gone and decided to go with a Dutch Oven cook with onions, potatoes, carrots, glazing the meat with a little garlic powder sprinkled on top, whole grain mustard, and brown sugar. With meat glazed and placed in the pan and surrounded by veggies, I poured a can of O’Doul’s non alcoholic beer and enough water to reach about half way up on the meat and cooked at 275 to and internal of 200, covered (about 3 hrs), added cabbage during the last 30 min and all was well till I forgot to slice ACROSS the grain. We have the Tri Tip quit often because, like the Corned Beef it serves a dual role in that, one Tri Tip provides enough for a steak dinner for two with enough left over for a Roast Beef sandwich Made In Heaven the next day. If your not familiar with this cut of beef, it is in a shape that will make you want to slice it based on it’s shape rather than check the grain of the beef first and once you do you’ll most likely find it runs just the opposite from what you would think. Thankfully I can end by saying, in just under two weeks time, I have redeemed myself on both counts and have probably made the scale creep up slightly as a result, but I don’t care. Click HERE and you will find some fine information about the subject and at the bottom of that page if your interest there is also some great info on cooking steaks.

Monday, March 21, 2011

BBQ Pork and Brisket

This past Saturday afternoon I trimmed and injected a Boston Butt and Brisket, the brisket was cooked for Craig and Anna and I had a single butt in the freezer. It’s always nice to have both or at least something else in the cooker to take advantage of having it fired up for such a long amt of time. I learned or re-learned a few things beginning with – pulled pork is better slightly under cooked than overcooked or at least for bbq it is. Secondly that marvelous thing called Burnt Ends, which is the Point meat on a whole Brisket, is indeed my favorite BBQ Beef and these were by far the best I’ve ever cooked. I separated the Point from the Flat before cooking which I don’t always do and at 165 internal on the Flat the rub was not setting up very much but the point was looking real good in that respect so I continued cooking to get a better bark on the flat. When the flat looked like it had a good bark the internal was at or near 180 so I wrapped it but the surprise was that point was more like 195 and looked great and tender enough so I pulled it off and cubed it up only to find it was as I said my best Burnt Ends ever. I never sauced any of the meats yesterday but at a contest I would have held those Burnt Ends in the cambro and reheated in sauce being very careful not to cook anymore. The only other thing I thought would be useful in the future was after pulling the pork and separating the big muscles from the rest, I pulled the rest and then used a meat cleaver to chop it a little bit and I liked the result of doing it that way better than just pulled. I usually survey the meat after separating it and decide which way I’m going to go to build the box to present to the judges and sometimes it has pulled pork and sometime just chucks along with the money muscle, and at other time all three – it just seems to change with me and I’m not sure that’s good but so be it. First contest is 4/15 in Kings Mtn, N.C. and I’m anxious to get that first one behind me.