Saturday, October 5, 2013

Smoked Brisket Breakfast Bake

I am always trying to find new ways to incorporate the meats I have smoked into other meals so that Mandy doesn't get tired of eating it for the 2 to 3 days that it lasts around the house.  This morning I was riffling through the fridge thinking about what I could make for breakfast and of course the brisket I had sliced up was in the front waiting for me to grab it up.

 So I grabbed the brisket, 6 eggs, a tomato, mushrooms, black olives, 2 tablespoons of biscuit mix, a cup of shredded cheddar, and some El Pato Hot Tomato Sauce.  I chopped up the brisket, tomato, mushrooms, and black olives and sauteed them in a pan.  I also preheated the oven to 375 degrees. I put the eggs and biscuit mix in a mixing bowl and beat it until the lumps were gone. I then added the El Pato (to taste), and cheese (you can add more!) and mixed the ingredients thoroughly.

Once the mixture in the pan was ready I added in the egg mixture and mixed the ingredients to ensure even distribution of the brisket mix in the pan. I let it set up for a couple of minutes on the stove top and then placed it in the oven for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes I tested it with a toothpick to ensure it was done (no liquid on the toothpick) and pulled it out of the oven.  I cut it into quarters since it is just Mandy and I, it would make 6 good servings.  I topped it off with some parsley for color, salt, and pepper.

It has a nice quiche like texture with a smokey aftertaste thanks to the brisket.  I would have done this on the grill, but the winds are picking up here (20 to 30 mph) and it makes it difficult to maintain a good even temperature.  Looking forward to eating the other slices as leftovers tomorrow!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fresh Ground Hamburgers

While it seems impractical to go buy a hunk of meat, chop it into cubes and grind it into hamburger when you can easily buy a package of burger at the store.  Well, think about ground meat for a second and ask yourself, do you really know what is smashed between the styrofoam and plastic wrap in the store, and how old is it....  Trust me the little amount of time it takes to make these will be rewarded by huge smiles and the bragging rights that you picked out the meat ground your own blend and created amazing burgers.

So yesterday I cut 2lbs of brisket flat from a packer brisket I was getting ready to smoke, and set it aside for use in making hamburger.  Today I took that chunk of flat cut it down into cubes and added cut up bacon to the mix.  I placed the cut up meat in the freezer for about an hour to partially freeze it before sending it through the grinder.

Depending on the type of grinder you are using, be it a manual hand crank style, an add-on for a Kitchen Aid mixer, or an electric meat grinder (my choice), always ensure the parts are sanitized using dish soap and hot water before and after each use. Also ensure the parts are lightly oiled to prevent corrosion, and the blades are sharp.  

When I was ready to start grinding I scooped all of the meat into the tray and and loaded the hopper using the plunger.  I started the grinder on low and did a first grind to get all of the chunks cut down.  Once it was all through the grinder I reloaded it with the ground up meat and put it through a second grind to ensure a good mix.  This took less than 5 minutes.

Now I will admit this was not a very scientific process cause I couldn't tell you the exact percentage, but it has bacon in it, so who cares, it is going to be awesome.....

I gently formed my patties using 6oz for each one.  You don't want to pack them too tightly because your burger will be tough.  I then wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them until I was ready to slap them on the grill.

I preheated the grill on high so I could sear the outside of the burgers.  While the grill was heating up I lightly coated the patties in oil and rubbed them with salt and pepper.  Once the grill was hot I threw the burgers on for 5 minutes to sear.  After five minutes I flipped the patties let them sear for 5 more minutes.

Because these are made with bacon they need to be cooked through to ensure the pork reaches 165 degrees.  Don't worry!! They will still be good, its bacon after all.  After the burgers were seared on both sides I reduced the heat to medium and closed the lid.  After 10 minutes they were ready to pull from the grill.

I added some spicy gouda lettuce and tomato and these suckers were still juicy and delicious. Add on some sweet potato fries and a Sam Adams Boston Lager and enjoy!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Brisket and Burnt Ends

Today is the first full day of the "government shutdown" so while I am jobless and sulking over the inefficiency of our glorious government, I have plenty of time to experiment with new recipes and different ideas.  Today I started by trimming down a 10.5lb packer brisket and removing 2lbs of the flat for use later in making hamburger (follow on post).  I cut crosshatches in the fat cap so the rub and juices can get to the meat.

Once I had this massive hunk of meat trimmed and ready for a rub I started with Sriracha  sauce as a base to give the rub something to stick to, and for a little heat.  Brisket is an amazing cut of meat, it doesn't need a lot of dressing up to be really good, as long as you smoke it long enough.

For this experiment I used garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper as a rub.  This will allow for a nice crust to form, but not overpower the meat.  I rubbed it on all sides and let it set for about 15 minutes while the  smoker was coming up the temperature.

I placed the brisket fat cap up on the grill for 6 hours.  After 6 hrs I pulled the brisket, removed the top layer of the point, and wrapped the flat after adding a little more rub.  I cut the point into cubes and and put it back on the smoker in an open pan with some rub to make burnt ends.

If you are thinking what the heck are burnt ends, well they are the awesome chunks of meat that  are cherished for their distinctive flavor and tenderness.     I normally don't take the time to cut it all down, but I figure, what the heck, I am not going anywhere so lets do it.

I left the brisket and burnt ends on the smoker for another 4 hours to finish them off.  Once it is finished cooking I let it rest for about 20 minutes before slicing.  The burnt ends, well I may share those with Mandy, but that will be dinner tonight.  The brisket will get sliced down and packaged for freezing so we can enjoy it again later for a quick meal, or some brisket stew.

These little puppies were like smoked meat butter.  I paired it with a glass of Maurice Car'rie Cabernet Sauvignon. Simply decadent!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lamb and Feta Pizza

This recipe combines 2 of my favorite dishes, pizza and lamb.   Much like last night I used the same dough recipe when I made this one, so this week I am going to do some dough testing to get a good base for my pizzas.

For this amazing combination I pre-cooked some ground lamb, and sauteed some onions. You 'll also need a 1/4 cup of feta cheese and a finish of mint and parsley.

Once I rolled out my dough, I coated it with a light layer of olive oil. The first layer is comprised of sauteed onions that were reduced in butter and brown sugar.  I then put down a layer of ground lamb and feta cheese.

The pizza went onto the stone at 550 degrees for 10 minutes.  I turned it half way through to get an even cook on the toppings.  After I pulled the pizza from the grill I sprinkled it with mint and parsley.

This is probably one of the best pizzas I have ever made.  Only thing I may do different next time is make up some tzatziki sauce for the top. This is a pizza any lover of Greek food would love!

It also went well with a glass of Fat Cat Pinot Noir.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Marvelous Mushroom Pizza

This isn't just any mushroom pizza, this pizza has shiitake, porta bella, and oyster mushrooms all sauteed in olive oil.  This amazing pizza is then covered in 3 types of cheese, romano, fontina, and mozzarella.

To start I rolled out my dough that I made earlier in the day.  While a good dough, it isn't perfect, so the recipe for that will have to wait.  You can use a pre-made dough which will be just as good.  Once the dough was rolled out I coated it in olive oil.  I chopped up the mushrooms and tossed them into a pan with some hot olive oil to saute them down.  Once they were perfect, I spread them over the dough and added the cheeses.

Since I was using a stone for the first time my pizzas got a little lopsided, but hey it still eats the same!  I heated up the stones for about 30 minutes to get them up to temperature and then placed the pizza on when the stone was 550 degrees.  It took about 10 minutes to get a good crispy, but chewy, crust.

I paired this pizza with a Fat Cat Pinot Noir.  It was a smooth fruity red with a nice finish which complemented the richness of the pizza very well.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Melt in your mouth Smoked Pork Shoulder

 All week I tossed around what I thought I might smoke this weekend and just couldn't come to a solid conclusion on what I wanted to do.  I really thought about doing a brisket, but I haven't done pork in a while so I finally decided on Saturday to get a pork shoulder.  I wanted a whole shoulder, but all they had were Butts, and a picnic so I grabbed a picnic, which is sometimes referred to as a picnic ham.  It is the lower portion of the shoulder.

Depending on where you buy yours, it may com with skin on, which I like.  You have a couple of options, you can cut it off and make chicharones (deep fried and spiced) or cut it back like a flap and use it as a fat blanket for your meat.  I like both options, but I prefer option 2.

So I cut it back to the bone, rub spices into the meat, and then place the flap back over the top. You won't really get a good bark on the top, but it is worth it since the skin and fat layer provide moisture as the fat reduces.

Since it is a 9lb hunk of pork I put it on the smoker for about 9hrs at 250.  I checked it a couple of times to make sure it didn't over cook.

Now, this massive hunk of meat can be used for a number of things.  I have planned a couple of meals for this week and the rest will be divided, frozen, and used for future meals.  It works well for pulled pork, carnitas, chili, pizza, and just about anything else you can imagine.

Tonight is going to be pulled pork sandwiches with corn on the cob.    

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Smoked Atomic Buffalo Turds

So I know what you are thinking, what the heck is an atomic buffalo turd (ATB) and why do you think I am going to eat one?  Well, just like smoked armadillo eggs, these puppies have nothing to do with their namesakes.  ATBs are jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and ground lamb (some use sausage) then wrapped in bacon.

 I cut the stem off the peppers cut a slit in the side and cored them out.  I mixed up cream cheese and lamb, then stuffed it into the peppers.  Lastly I wrapped them in bacon and used a toothpick to keep the bacon wrapped tightly.

I put these babies on the smoker at 250 for 2 hours.  I put them on the top rack and spaced them out pretty good to allow maximum smokage!

I pulled them off after 2 hrs and let them cool slightly before annihilating one.  After half a beer, I regained my composure, and thought man that was good, but hot!  Jalapenos are a funny thing, sometimes you get one that you can eat like a bell pepper, other times they are punching out the roof of the Scoville meter.  All I can say is these are amazing little treats and would be a perfect appetizer for a barbecue or holiday party.