Sunday, June 30, 2013

Standing Rib Roast With Twice Baked Potatoes...

Been a little while since I've had a chance to blog about a cook... This is one that I am really happy with; from the food, to the execution and the experience overall.

After an entire week without Egging anything due to a heavy work load and heavy rain just about every evening, I was itching to get something on the Egg this weekend. Talking it over with my wife, I wanted to try a leg of lamb for the first time. Anyway, we compromised and settled on a prime rib roast. Figured I would run up to Shady Maple first thing Saturday morning at pick one up.

Up at Shady Maple, the Meat Dept was busy so I had to take a number and I was still about 8th in line. While waiting for my number to be called, I checked out the cases to see if they had any bone in rib roasts out, they didn't. Finally my number came up and I told the guy what I was looking for. He asked me how big of a roast was I looking for; I said, "give me 4 ribs". I also asked them to bone it out; basically cutting the ribs just about all the way off and then tying the roast so it is in a more uniform shape for even cooking and easier carving. The guy gave me a slightly funny look and walked away with my order form for the butcher.

After about 15min my name was called and as I approached the counter, I saw the guy look my way holding the roast. Uh oh... What was I thinking? For some reason, figured there are three of us, so 1 rib each with a leftover. Not too big right? Wrong... really wrong. The guy hands me my roast like a nurse handing over a healthy hefty newborn. The roast was just under 9.5lbs! As I wheeled my newly delivered roast over to the produce section to get the rest of the stuff I needed for dinner; I figured I had better get on the phone quick, our simple dinner for the 3 of us had better get a few guests.

Luckily, once the grandparents heard of my problem of "too much prime rib", they were only too eager to help out.

After a little research on the Big Green Egg Forum I decided to cook the beast raised direct between 220 and 250 grid temp (not dome temp) until the internal temp was at 130. Given the size of the roast, and the cooking temp, I could expect to see a temperature rise of 5 to 8 degrees while it rested on the cutting board before carving, figured this in for my finish of rare to medium rare. For sides, I made some mushrooms, sauteed asparagus, and twice baked potatoes based on the recipe in the Big Green Egg Cookbook.

Here is the roast. You can see on the left where they sliced away the ribs almost all the way through before tying into a more uniform shape. I made sure and stuffed some of my seasonings down into the cut as well when I prepped it for the Egg. 

The plan was to get the potatoes cooked for the first part of the recipe and then get the roast on. The mushrooms and asparagus were done on the (please forgive me) stove.

Here are the potatoes after an hour or so on the Egg direct at about 400. They were rubbed with olive oil, seasoned with sea salt, and wrapped in foil. I also poked them several times with a fork before cooking them.
 I scooped out the insides and made the filling. The filling has butter, Cheddar cheese, heavy cream, some BBQ rub, green onions, and salt & pepper. Here is mixing up in the Kitchen Aid.

 As the Egg got stabilized at the temp for the roast, I finished prepping the potatoes and started on the roast. Here the potatoes are stuffed and covered with some more cheese. I'll finish these on the Egg once the roast is off and resting in a few hours.

 Here is my normal spice mix when doing beef roasts... Fresh chopped garlic, fresh chopped rosemary, course black pepper, and sea salt. I don't measure, just go by feel depending on how big the piece of meat is... Mix in some olive oil and create a paste for coating the roast.

And here the roast is rubbed down and ready for the Egg. When doing Prime Rib roasts (or steaks in general) I don't add any smoke wood, I don't want to take anything away from or overpower the taste of the beef.

 Once the Egg was nice and stable with a grid temp of about 240, I put the roast on and stuck the meat probe of my Maverick remote thermometer into the end of it and set my alarms. The Maverick is great, let's me go back into the house and work on other things if I have to while letting me know what the Egg and roast are up to.

Dinner was planned for 6:30-7:00, and the roast went on at around 3:15PM. I cleaned up the kitchen and then around 4:30 started the mushrooms. I wanted to cook them down slowly so the juice would make a nice sauce to go with the beef and potatoes. These are small sliced portabellas. I start with about a 1/4 stick of butter, and a big spoonful of minced garlic. Once the butter is mostly melted, I add the mushrooms and stir it around. I then add about a cup(?) of Cabernet Sauvignon. I turned the heat to low and just let them simmer, stirring occasionally. I added another 1/4 stick of butter after a while along with some salt and pepper.

 Here are the finished mushrooms after about an hour and half... they turned out really well and got thumbs up from everyone.

 After about 3 or so hours, the roast was ready to come off the Egg and rest for a while. Here it is just before I took it off, the IT was 130.

 While the beef rested on the cutting board, I put the potatoes on the Egg to bake and get the cheese on top melted. After about a 25min rest I started to carve the roast. The meat was supper tender and juicy as you can see. And I managed to get the finish basically correct, I nice medium rare to medium.

Here it is plated up with the potatoes, mushrooms, and the simple sauteed asparagus. We enjoy a nice Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner; a 2011 from Fat Bastard. It was nice and dry with a smooth finish and it complimented the meal well.

The grandparents loved it and we were happy to have them over...

The Egg of course showed once again why it's the best cooker period... This is a fairly simple cook, just on a large scale. Don't be afraid to try one of these on your cooker of choice. As long as you pay attention to the temperatures, it should turn out fine.

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear from you if you have any questions or can relate your own cooking adventures.

Have a happy and safe 4th of July!


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Catfish, Corn, And Mango Cucumber Salad...

After my wife's positive reaction to the grouper cook a few days earlier; I decided to go with a new and previously untried fish, catfish. I have had catfish plenty of times and really like it, but it was a new one for the rest of the family.

Decided to make it easy and prepare it the same way I did the grouper; butter, Swamp Venom, and then blackened. I changed this cook up by also making some corn on the cob and still being on a mango kick, a mango cucumber salad that I made up as I went along.

First the salad...

4 ripe mangoes diced
2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 green onions chopped
2 Tablespoons of fresh chopped mint
2 the juice of two large limes

Prep the stuff above, add the lime juice, and stick it in the fridge for a few hours...

 For the corn, I cheated a little and bought already cleaned ears...

I spray them with a little olive oil and then coat them in sea salt,  pepper, and a little garlic salt. Add a couple of pieces of butter and wrap them tightly in the foil.

I got my egg set up direct cooking at the normal grid level; and let the temperature go till about 350F. The foil wrapped corn goes on first and cooks for about 40 minutes, turning it a couple times during the cook. After the corn comes off; the cast iron skillet went on for about 10min to heat up for blackening the catfish...

Here are the results...
The mango cucumber and mint salad was crisp and refreshing; the corn tender and flavorful, and the fish turned out really well. Since they are thinner than the grouper, I cooked the catfish for 2min a side. I tried an Orange Vanilla finishing butter from Wegmans on the fish...

The family asked when how soon would we be having catfish again...



Saturday, May 18, 2013

Blackened Red Grouper & Mango Salsa

Can you believe it?!?!?!? An actual post about food... About time I know.

Okay, here goes...

My wife isn't really a fan of fish except for tuna steaks. I wanted to try some other fish on the egg, specifically doing something with a lot of spice that I could cool with a tropical salsa. While at the store a few weeks ago, I wandered past the seafood department and struck up a conversation with the guy behind the counter. After I told him what I would like to try; he suggested Red Grouper. Figured I'd try it, if the wife didn't like it, I'd have a chicken breast on standby... Brought home two filets and cut them in half for 4 servings, as a friend was joining us for dinner. This was fresh caught wild Red Grouper, supposed to be very mild in taste and since they filets were thick, they could stand up to being blackened in a cast iron pan. I also picked up some fresh fruit and veggies to make the sides.

I found the recipe for the mango salsa on here is the link
Mango Salsa Recipe

Here is the salsa being made... it was simple and very tasty. I will be making this one and ones like it throughout the warmer weather.

 Then it was on to prepping and cooking the fish. I simply melted some butter, brushed the filets with the melted butter, and then coated them thoroughly with Dizzy Pig Swamp Venom. Not the hottest spice mix out there, but it does have a really nicely balanced kick to it...

 Along with the grouper and salsa, I also made some simple grilled asparagus that was tossed with Wegmans Basting Oil and some sea salt, garlic salt, and course ground pepper. As a surprise for my daughter who loves strawberries; I also prepped and grilled some strawberries that where coated with a little EVOO and some Dizzy Pig Pineapple Head rub. This rub is great on any fruits and especially grilled corn on the cob.

The strawberries came off the egg after about 8 min. They were a little soft; but the flavor was amazing. I think they might be better egged in a small sauce pan and then served over ice cream. The juices after they were cooked tasted crazy good.

Here is the fish on the egg. I got the egg to about 350 dome temp and then let the cast iron skillet heat up for about 10 mins. I used a little bit of oil and the remaining melted butter to blacken the grouper. I did them about 3 min a side for the thicker pieces and 2 min a side for the thinner ones.

 I can say the aroma coming off the egg while cooking this had my mouth watering...

Here it is plated up... My daughter loved it, as she is always up for trying new things. My wife gave it two thumbs up and asked when we were having fish next. I would say that counts as a successful cook...

Don't be afraid to try grilling on cooking fish on the egg or whatever grill you happen to have. Ask your fish guy at your favorite seafood counter for suggestions; they are rarely wrong with the help they provide.

If you plan on using a lot of mangoes over the summer, either buy the pre sliced packaged type or get yourself one of these... Oxo Good Grips Mango Splitter  This handy tool will make working with the mangoes so much easier.



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

March Madness Update...

True to it's name, March Madness has been pretty hectic around here...

I have had very little time to blog about cooking. Luckily though; I have had some time to do a little egging. I have taken pictures and have a few posts in mind once I get a few minutes to catch up.

I appreciate your patience and I'm looking forward to the warming weather getting more people out of their kitchens and cooking with fire...

Thanks and have a great day!


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lasagna On The Big Green Egg...

I have never attempted to make a lasagna before; either in the oven or on my Egg... A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to give it a shot...

I found this recipe online and basically followed it except for using my Egg as the oven... It was better the next day as it had time to really set up nicely. After letting it rest for about 30 minutes once it was finished, it wasn't the prettiest dish, but it was certainly tasty!

Here are some images of the cook and the recipe will follow...

 Decided to shred my own provolone. The Egg has helped me to expand the use of my kitchen gadgets. I have used them more since I got my Egg than I have in the first 11 years of our marriage...

Here are the veggies getting prepped...

 Here is the sauce bubbling away... it was just a little too sweet for me. Next time I might cut down on the wine a little and increase the hot sausage a bit.

Constructing the pan of lasagna... I think it ended up with 4 layers if you count the top. The whole pan weigh around 10 pounds when I finished putting it all together...

Here it is resting after coming off the Egg. I let it cook at around 350 until my Thermapen showed an internal temp of 165...

It tasted much better than it looked on the first day; but after setting up in the fridge overnight, it looked a lot more traditional when it was served.

Hope you enjoyed the cook as much I did... Let me know if you try this and how it turns out for you...

The recipe is below...




Prep Time: 1 Hour
Cook Time: 1.5 Hours
  • 2 pound dried lasagna noodles
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 pound ground Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (recommended: San Marzano)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 quarts ricotta cheese , (2 containers)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 pound provolone cheese, shredded
  • Grated Parmesan and mozzarella, for topping
Preheat oven (or Big Green Egg set up for indirect cooking) to 350 degrees F.
Cook the lasagna noodles in plenty of boiling salted water until pliable and barely tender, about 10 minutes. Stir with a wooden spoon to prevent sticking. Drain the noodles thoroughly and coat with olive oil to keep them moist and easy to work with.

Coat a large skillet with olive oil, add beef and sausage and brown until no longer pink, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a food processor, combine the onion, carrots, celery, garlic, basil, parsley, an oregano. Process until pureed, add to the pan with the ground meat and stir to combine. Stir in the flour. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes and add the heavy cream and the cinnamon.

In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta and the Parmesan. Stir in the eggs and season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the lasagna: Coat the bottom of a deep 13 by 9-inch pan with olive oil. Arrange 4 noodles lengthwise in a slightly overlapping layer on the sauce. Then, line each end of the pan with a lasagna noodle. This forms a collar that holds in the corners. Dollop 1/2 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta, spread to the edges with a spatula. Spread 1/2 of the meat mixture over the ricotta. Sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella and provolone on top of the ricotta. Top with a ladle full of sauce, spread evenly. Repeat with the next layer of noodles, ricotta, sauce, and cheeses. Top last layer with noodles, sauce, shredded mozzarella and Parmesan. Tap the pan to force out air bubbles. Bake for 1 hour. Remove from oven. Let lasagna rest for 30 minutes so the noodles will settle and cut easily
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I am a little behind on posting recent cooks... Unfortunately work has gotten a little hectic lately. Not to fear; there will be new posts soon, including my first lasagna ever, done on the Egg no less!

I appreciate your patience. Thanks for hanging in there with me!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Brisket... Finally Got One Right!

This past weekend; during the snowstorm that wasn't (at least where we are) I wanted to do a low and slow cook and see how my egg did in the heavy snow and high winds. We had snow, a very little, but we did have wind...

I picked up a 12 pound Choice packer brisket from Shady Maple and decided to do a straight low & slow cook, no foil crutch during the cook, no in a pan braising either. Get my egg to between 225 and 250 on the dome thermometer and let her go until done.

I prepped the meat by injecting the flat portion in several spots with some simple Herb-Ox beef broth; and then rubbed it with a heavy coating of sea salt, cracked pepper, and Tasty Licks Black Bart's Brisket rub.

In order for it to fit on the large egg; I need to use an inverted roasting rack to raise the middle, allowing the ends to fit inside the dome. The egg settled in at 230 around 7:30PM and the smell of hickory was all over my deck as the wind picked up. I sat and enjoyed some Woodford Double Oak along with a good cigar while a sturdy umbrella protected me from most of the weather.

I called it a night around 12:30AM as the snow was winding down and the wind was really howling. Slept in and checked on the egg around 8:30AM to find it still at 230 with delightful aromas coming from the daisy wheel on top. Here it is around 10:30AM as it is coming out of the stall and at about 185 internal temp. My target internal temp was 205...

And here it is; at 205 internal and ready to be foiled and loaded into a cooler with some towels for a few hours rest until dinner later that day. The brisket came off the egg at about 1PM. This was a total egg time of about 18 hours and then about a 5 hour rest in the cooler.

The result; the best brisket that I have done so far in my almost one year of egging... the meat was tender, moist, and had great flavor... Got thumbs up from everyone on this one.

This was my 4th brisket packer and I think I am on to something. Despite my egg's lack of gasket; waiting till Spring to put the replacement on, it held temperature in the cold and wind without any issues. Don't be afraid to try this particular cut of meat... learning how to do it is all part of the fun!

Served it with some simple slaw and Bush's Black Bean Fiesta...



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Crispy Wings...

The last time I made wings was on Super Bowl Sunday. I have only made them a few times on my egg; and while they tasted really good, most everyone was hoping they would be a little more crispy...

After reading for a bit on the BGE forum; I decided to try something a little different with this batch. Rather than put the wings in a pan and sprinkle the rub over them; I decided to use a zip lock bag and shake them like I would do for stew beef and flour. Also, rather than going straight rub, I added some corn starch to the rub. Based on what I had read, the corn starch would help the skin crisp up while the wings cooked indirect and the meat stayed moist.

Here are wings, washed and dried, with the rub and cornstarch mix. The rub is Dizzy Pig Swamp Venom. I mixed the rub and corn starch in about a 3:1 mix.

After a few vigorous shakes, they went into the fridge for a while as the I got the egg set up. I set the egg up for indirect cooking using the plate setter. Got the temperature settle in about 400 and used some mesquite chunks for flavor. The wings were on for an 1:15 and came off looking good.

These were the best wings I have made so far...
Served with a simple sauce made up of Frank's Red Hot mixed with Blue Cheese dressing...

Let me know if you try this method or have one of your own for really crispy wings!



Monday, February 11, 2013

Smoked Meatloaf And Mashed Cauliflower...

It's been a while since my last post. My apologies...

Meatloaf is one of my wife's favorite meals. She it requested for her birthday recently, being a great husband how could I say no? We have been watching our carb intake in an effort to get a little healthier and more creative in our meals; so instead of making some kind of potato dish, I decided to do some mashed cauliflower. The meatloaf was cooked on my Big Green Egg, set up for indirect, and cooked at about 400 with some hickory chunks until the internal temp was 160.

I am always looking for new ways to try making old staples; and meatloaf is no exception. I did a little searching on Google and found several mentions of using a mixture of saltine crackers and milk to the meatloaf to keep it moist. There where also tips on the how finely ground the meat was before being mixed. Sauteing the veggies until they are tender before using them in the mix was also something I hadn't done before. Well, here we go...

Ingredient List

For the meatloaf...
  • 3lbs of 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 medium onions diced small
  • 1 large green pepper diced small
  • 4 slices of bacon
  • 2 cups of crackers (didn't have saltines, so I used some Cheese Nips)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • About a 1/3 of cup of seasoned bread crumbs
For the mashed cauliflower...
  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Garlic ( to taste, it doesn't  take much) 

Now for the pictures...
Saute the bacon for a few minutes; once it renders a little fat into the pan, add the peppers and onion. Cook on medium heat until they are tender. Add a little salt & pepper.

 While the veggies where on the stove top, I began to prep the rest of the meatloaf. Here is my crackers and milk mixture. In hindsight; I think I would continue to use these instead of saltine crackers. The cheese crackers added some really good flavor to the meat.

 Once the cheese nips and milk were blended well in the food processor; I began adding the ground beef to the mix of crackers in the processor. The meat was originally a courser grind, and as I was going for better texture, I decided to blend the meat in the processor with the cracker mixture.

 Then it was time to add the rest of the ingredients. Once I had it all mixed up; I placed the mixture in an aluminum loaf pan and set it in the fridge for a few hours.

 When the egg was up to temp; I took the loaf pan and turned it upside down in a baking dish so that when cooking the meatloaf, it could get more of crust over more of the meatloaf. I have it a quick coating of Dizzy Pig's Dizzy Dust as well...

Once the meatloaf was on it's way, I started to make the side dish. I simply cut the cauliflower up and cooked it until tender in the microwave. Then into the food processor with some milk, salt, pepper, melted butter, and garlic. Process just like if you were making potatoes...
Once the meatloaf reached an internal temperature of 160, I pulled it off the egg and set it aside to rest.
Here is the finished meal...

My wife loved the meatloaf; saying the taste with the addition of the cheese crackers out it over the top. My family also like the texture of the meat, saying it was unlike any meatloaf they'd had before. The cauliflower was a big hit...

I will have to continue practicing making meatloaf, while this tasted very good, it didn't stay together as much as I wold have liked.

Please let me know if you try a meatloaf of your own; what worked and what didn't...



Saturday, January 26, 2013

Coconut Flour Pancakes...

While I have a pork butt slowly smoking on the Egg this morning; last week I made breakfast for my family. My daughter had requested pancakes... Not something you want to have while trying to avoid grains, gluten, carbs, etc...

I found this recipe here at Nourishing Days.

I am not much of a baker really; but the recipe was pretty easy to follow. The pancake batter is a lot thicker than with normal flour and the pancakes themselves wind up more of a silver dollar size. Very dense; but still fluffy, and with a subtle almost cake like taste. I topped them with melted butter, fresh raspberries, and some organic maple syrup, and served them with some sage sausage.

Family really like them and they were a filling breakfast. Just 3 little pancakes and we were all good till a late dinner...

Follow the link above and try these out...



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BBQ Beef and Red Cabbage Slaw...

This past Sunday; I wanted to enjoy some playoff football, some family, and the nice weather... Can't think of a simpler or tasty way than to do some BBQ on Egg!

Decided that this time it would be beef instead of pork for the slow smokey cook. After doing a little reading on the BGE Forum; I decided to try Clay Q's Pulled Beef from Dizzy Pig's recipe page. Friday night I was up at Shady Maple and picked up two 4 pound chuck roasts for this cook.

Like most directions; I always take them more as suggestions rather than hard and fast rules. Certainly makes cooking and egging more interesting and entertaining...

Clay Q's recipe advises to expect about an 8 hour cook. With the football starting at 3PM; I wanted to have the beef ready around 5PM; so doing some sophisticated figuring, that meant I should be shooting to have to beef on the Egg at about 9AM.

Got the Egg cleaned out; filled with a new load of lump, and fired her up. Once the temp stabilized at 250F on the dome temp I threw in about half a dozen chunks of hickory and put the plate setter on legs up for an indirect cook..

Here are chucks in the rack... The night before I injected them with the Wegman's Santa Fe marinade. Under the rack and in the pan was going to be a couple of onions and and two cans of Guinness. I gave them a good dusting of Tasty Lick's Black Bart Brisket Rub. Following Clay Q's suggestion; I applied a layer of bacon to help with both the flavor and to add some moisture to the party.

And here they are on the Egg... Stage one involved getting the internal temp to 160F before moving onto the braise portion of the cook.

Once the beef was on it's way; it was time to make the Red Cabbage Slaw. I wanted to be tangy and a nice counter point to the richness of the beef. Decided to keep about as simple as possible; red cabbage and a basic vinaigrette. Olive oil, red wine vinegar, sea salt, pepper, onion powder, and seasoned salt. Shredded the cabbage, coated the cabbage with the vinaigrette and put it in the fridge to get happy for several hours while the beef cooked.

Here is the beef after about 6 hours. Not sure why; but these chucks never got to 160 when expected, they stalled around 151 before I pulled them off the rack and they went right into the pan with the onions, Guinness, and drippings. I covered the pan tightly with foil and put it back on with the dome at about 300F to wait for the beef to come up to the end temp of 210F.

In the end; all was well... Based on the way the chucks smelled cooking on the Egg in the crisp air I had to abandon plans for doing step 3 of Clay Q's recipe and simply shredded the beef and served it with the slaw.

Everyone loved it, especially the bacon  being left into the mix as well... Sorry for the very informal plating picture; but we were being very causal at that point in the evening. Did I mention that Monday was holiday for President's Day?

A good time was had by all...

A pretty easy cook overall with some really tasty results...