Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Prime Rib

Merry Christmas - well... Happy New Year... or whatever holiday is nearest when you are reading this!  Christmas 2011 marked my first attempt at Prime Rib.  I've been wanting to try to cook a prime rib, but have been a little hesitant due to the cost... It's hard to experiment on a $100 piece of meat!  

First a little info on Prime Rib - or Standing Rib Roast.  This is a cut of beef from the primal rib.  It can include from 2 to 7 ribs.  The cut can be found both with the bones attached and with the bones removed.  Regardless of the status of the bones this cut will often be tied with twine to help hold the different muscles together during the cooking process.  Some will remove the bones and then reattach them with twine for cooking.  Prime rib sliced into steaks is also known as rib-eye steaks.  

I found a 5.25 lb boneless prime rib to try out my first cook.  It was choice grade meat and cost  about $60.  I then rubbed it with olive oil and then with cracked black pepper, cracked sea salt, and rosemary. I refrigerated it overnight wrapped in plastic wrap.  

I did a two stage cook on the prime rib.  I started cooking at 180 degrees in my FEC100 smoker for about 90 minutes then increased the temp to 225 degrees.  When the internal temp hit 135 I took the meat off and tented it with foil to rest for about 30 minutes.  During that 30 minutes I fired up the PG1000 to 500 degrees.  After the thirty minute rest I placed the roast on the indirect side of the PG1000 for about 8 minutes.  This crisped up the outside and gave a nice crust.  Since I didn't cook it directly over the flame it didn't char, but rather got a nice seared crust.   

So you may ask, "Why didn't you do the whole cook on the PG1000?"  I could have and usually would, however I needed to use the 2 stage cooking feature (cook and hold) of the FEC100 as I was not going to be immediately available to adjust the cooker temp.  

Overall the prime rib turned out really good.  It was more medium than medium rare, this pleased my wife who likes her meat well done (ruined) but my goal was a nice medium rare.  So... mistake made here was 1) removing from the first stage of the cook too late and 2)underestimating the "carryover" while the roast was resting (the effect of continued cooking and raising of internal temp during the rest).  Next time I would pull it to rest at a lower internal temp and hope to hit that medium-rare point.  Regardless, the meat was still juicy, flavorful, and tender. 

Rubbed and to the fridge overnight

Sear phase at 500 degrees on the PG1000

Sliced and ready to serve


Friday, December 9, 2011

Nordy's Video Debut - ABTs on the PG1000

Yes this is a repost from Feb 2011, but I wanted to add the video I recently did for Cookshack, cooking ABTs on the PG1000.  You can check out other great videos on the Cookshack Smokers YouTube Channel.

ABT = Atomic Buffalo Turd
Sounds yummy doesn't it...  Name aside these stuffed jalapeños taste nothing like a turd. Halved jalapeños filled with  a mixture of cream cheese, shredded colby-jack cheese, and hot sausage, then wrapped with some peppered bacon.  That cocoon of goodness is then smoked at low temp for about an hour, then the temp is increased to crisp the bacon, on the pellet grill.

ABTs - Post prep - Ready for the grill

ABTs on the indirect portion of the grill.  They are sitting on a 
frogmat.  Frogmats are completely non-stick mesh which prevents
delicate foods from falling through, or sticking to the grates. 

The finished product - Jalapeños plate nicely on a bread plate
The ABTs were spicy but mostly from the peppered bacon.  There is a little heat in the jalapeño but the longer you cook, the less heat they have.  Highly recommend these the next time you need some finger foods/appetizers.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

KCBS CBJ Class & Fast Eddy Competition Cooking Class

I took the weekend off from cooking this past weekend... sort of... 

Every year Cookshack offers a competition cooking class taught by BBQ legend Fast Eddy Maurin and David Bouska of ButcherBBQ who just happens to be the current third place team in team of the year points in the KCBS.  In addition to this class they have a KCBS Certified Barbeque Judge class as well.  

For those who don't know, BBQ competitions sanctioned by the KCBS are encouraged so seek out as many Certified Barbeque Judges (CBJs) as possible when they plan an event.  The approximately 4 hour class teaches people to be able to fairly judge BBQ to the KCBS standards.   Most competitions will have some non-certified judges, however most have a goal of having 100% CBJs.  

Our class was taught by Merle Whitebook, Master Judge from the KCBS.  He did a great job educating us on the KCBS BBQ standards, how to judge, and most importantly how not to punish cooks for things out of their control!  I thought I understood what the rules and standards were, however Merle offered tons of examples and anecdotes which made many of the "rules" more tangible and real.  

The class consisted of a lecture and Q&A time followed by judging a simulated full contest, complete with lots of good food in all 4 categories of Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder, and Brisket.  After each category we discussed the various scores and "scenarios" which were staged such as a box which only had 5 instead of the required 6 portions of food, or illegal garnish etc. 

Overall, great class.  I would recommend anyone interested in BBQ to seek out a KCBS class and become a CBJ and get out and judge some contests!

Stuart and Red prepping some boxes to be judged 
Photo Credit: Frank Diaz - of Tin Hut BBQ

Merle teaching future CBJs
Photo Credit: Frank Diaz of Tin Hut BBQ

One of the 3 pork Boxes during our judging training.
Photo Credit: Frank Diaz of Tin Hut BBQ

The second day of the class is when things got real serious.  This was an 8AM-5PM of competition BBQ teaching.  Fast Eddy and David Bouska did a fantastic job of covering planning, purchasing, trimming, cooking, and winning!  Fast Eddy has been around the BBQ world for years and complements teaching his great knowledge of BBQ with some of the many uh... "stories" from his many years on the BBQ circuit.  David Bouska's team, ButcherBBQ is currently 3rd in the KCBS Team of the Year standings and his anal retentive... uh... I mean attention to detail, leaves no question as to how he attained that ranking.  Both Fast Eddy and David provide not only their recipes for championship BBQ, but teach you HOW to cook them in the intense world of BBQ competition.  We did a little hands on cooking ourselves, cooking chicken and ribs all on the Fast Eddy line of smokers by Cookshack.  Needless to say... the samples of each BBQ category provided by Eddy and David were quite possibly the best part of the weekend.  

I would highly recommend this yearly December class to anyone interested in competing in BBQ, currently competing in BBQ, or even those just interested in beefing up their backyard skills.  Check the Cookshack website for announcements of next years class. 

David prepping ribs while Fast Eddy watches.

(Sorry I was too busy scribbling notes and eating BBQ to take many pictures of the Competition Class!)