Pressure Cooker Corned Beef

Corned Beef
Normally I would do my yearly Corned Beef on the Big Green Egg, but I have been rebuilding my kitchen and the Instant Pot is one of one of my cool new toysols. It’s a slow cooker/dutch oven/rice maker/pressure cooker hybrid that seemed to be perfect for a cooking a brisket.

Instant Pot
I know a lot of folks think a pressure cooker is just an accident waiting to happen, but the Instant Pot has bunch of safety interlocks that pretty much prevent you from doing anything dangerous with it. You can’t even pressurize it until it checks to make sure the lid is fully locked. Besides, it has Bluetooth connectivity. How cool is that?


3 pound flat cut corned beef brisket with seasoning packet
4 medium red potatoes, quartered
3 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium parsnips, sliced into 1/2-inch coins

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Rinse the corned beef under cold water to remove excess salt and goo.
Put a rack in the pressure cooking pot and arrange the corned beef on top of that. Sprinkle with seasoning packet and then add just enough water to almost cover the brisket.

Lock the lid in place and set to “Meat/Stew” under high pressure for 50 minutes. Once finished, allow it to depressurize naturally (about 15 minutes) while you chop up the veggies.

Remove the rack and brisket from the pressure cooking to a cutting board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest until ready to serve.

Add the potatoes, carrots and parsnips to the broth in the pressure cooking pot. Lock the lid in place and set to “Soup” setting for 5 minutes. When beep sounds, turn off pressure cooker and do a quick pressure release.

Leave the lid on while you slice the corned beef into thin slices against the grain. Arrange slices on a platter and surround with veggies.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
While I missed the smokey flavor of the grill, it’s hard to argue with meltingly tender brisket in under an hour. The seasoning was dead on – warm and slightly exotic  and a great match for the salty beefiness of the meat.

Next year I’m thinking of trying smoking and pressure cooking, a la Montreal Smoked Meat. Can’t wait.

Happy 2016!

Prime Rib

I’m back! Sorry for the hiatus.

Had a small get-together with friends and family on New Year’s Eve featuring this prime rib roasted on the Big Green Egg.

1 6-pound Hereford Beef boneless rib-eye roast
Sea or kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons Montreal-style steak seasoning

Prep the roast a least a day before you plan on cooking it to give the rub a chance to do its thing.

First, score the fat cap (deckle) on the roast, making shallow diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern at about 1-inch intervals. Then generously dust the roast on all sides with the steak seasoning and plenty of salt, making sure to work it into the cuts.

Move the roast to a rack set over a roasting pan, and put the whole works to the fridge, letting the roast sit uncovered overnight.

When you are ready to cook, remove the roast from the fridge and let it sit out while you get your grill fired up. Set up for an indirect cook at 300°F. On the Big Green Egg I used the plate settler with a drip pan to diffuse the heat and raise my cooking grate about 4 inches.

Roast the meat at 300°F until it hits 130°F internal. This should take about 15 minutes per pound, 1 1/2 hour total. I used a Maverick Et-732 Remote Thermometer to keep an eye on both grill and internal meat temp.

Move the roast to a cutting board and let stand 20 minutes before slicing.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
The roast turned out slightly crisp on the outside and medium-rare in the center. It was tasty and tender.

It did not get as crispy or evenly pink as with either the reverse sear or the grill and roast techniques. With the recent snow, it was a tricky and slippery trek to the Egg this year and I decided that simplicity beat falling on my butt and watching the roast sail off into a snow bank.

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year! 

Reverse Seared Ribeye

I’ve already had great luck with the reverse sear technique on prime rib, so why not give a try on a big ol’ ribeye?

Reverse Sear Ribeye

1 thick-cut ribeye steak (about an 1 1/2 thick is ideal)
Sea or kosher salt
1-2 tablespoons Montreal-style steak seasoning

At least an hour before you are ready to cook, prep the steak by trimming off any excess fat, salting fairly heavily, and giving it a light dusting of the steak seasoning. Move the steak to a raised rack and stash it in the fridge to let the salt do its magic. Most of the liquid that forms on the surface of the meat will get sucked back in or evaporate off. Either way, this helps you get an outside that will crisp up nicely and an inside that’s juicy and well-seasoned.

Set your grill up for a raised direct cook over low (250°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg I used an extender to move the grate up to the level of the rim, putting the steak further away from the heat.

When the grill is ready, add a little wood for smoke. I use a mix of apple and a little mesquite.

Reverse Sear Ribeye

Roast the steak at 250°F until it hits 115°F internal (about for 1 1/2 hours). I used a Maverick Et-732 Remote Thermometer to keep an eye on both the grill and the internal meat temp.

Remove the steak from the grill and let rest while you crank up the fire as hot as it will go. I got the Egg up to 700°F in about 15 minutes.

Return the steak to the grill  and sear each side, flipping often, until you get a nice char on the outside (about 5 minutes).

Reverse Sear Ribeye

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Loving the reverse sear! The steak was a perfect, juicy medium-rare on the inside with a with a crispy crust. Normally I would tie the steak to get it a little more compact so that it cooked evenly, but I left this one a little loose and really liked the way the ends crisped up.

Smoked Prime Rib – Perfecting the Reverse Sear

I spent New Year’s Eve alone this year :(. I still wanted to celebrate surviving another trip around the sun, so I hunted up a small prime rib roast and tried my hand yet again at a reverse sear.

With prime rib, you want to maximize the amount of medium-rare meat from edge to center and still have a nicely browned, flavorful crust. This can be a bit tricky because most traditional roasting techniques end up overcooking the outermost layers, leaving you with a wide band of gray and dry meat.

The reverse sear avoids this by cooking the meat slowly until it’s just about medium rare, then pulling it out to rest for 30 minutes while you crank the heat up as high as it’ll go. Then searing the roast until the outside is brown and sizzling, but not so long that you start to cook the inside.

1 prime rib roast (2.8 pounds, boneless)
Sea or kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons Montreal-style steak seasoning

Prep the roast at least a day in advance. Score the deckle (fat cap by making shallow diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern at about 1-inch intervals. Generously dust the roast on all sides with the steak seasoning and plenty of salt, making sure to work it into the cuts.

If the roast is too oblong, tie if up with butcher’s twine to get it more round and compact. This will help it cook more evenly. Stash in the fridge overnight.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook over low (250°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg this meant using the plate setter (convEGGtor) inverted with the legs up and a drip pan to diffuse the heat.

When the grill is ready add a little wood for smoke. I use a mix of apple and a little mesquite.

Roast the meat at 250°F until it hits 120°F internal, about for 1 1/2 hours. I used a Maverick Et-732 Remote Thermometer to keep an eye on both grill and internal meat temp.

Prime Rib

Remove from the grill and let rest someplace warm for 30 minutes.

Prime Rib

While the meat is resting, crank up your grill as hot as it will go while still keeping the indirect setup. I got the Egg up to just a bit shy of 700°F.

Return the roast to the grill for 5-10 minutes, just long enough to crisp the outside.

Prime Rib

Slice and served immediately.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Perfectly rare/medium-rare with a crispy crust and not a titch of gray to be seen. The smoke added a little bite to the meat that helped to offset the richness. Now that I’ve got this reverse sear figured out I’m going to be using it a lot more.

For you food geeks – I took the roast off the grill when it hit 118°F Internal. The temp rose while resting to 123°F then dropped to 122°F.  There was less than a tablespoon of juices lost on the cutting board and the meat was so juicy that there were little pools of standing juice on the slices. The sear only took 5 minutes as was so intense that at the end the little fat in the drip pan got so hot it ignited.

St. Paddy’s Pastrami?!?

For a lot of folks, St. Paddy’s Day is an excuse for the wearin-o-the-green and the puking-on-the-shoes. For me, it’s a great chance to pick up some cheap brisket and make up a big batch of pastrami.

I know it’s not traditional, but both corned beef and pastrami are corned (cured) brisket, right? While corned beef is cured and then roasted, braised, boiled, and/or (sometimes) steamed, pastrami is cured and then re-seasoned before being smoked. I like plain corned beef too, but I think that the smoke adds a ton of flavor to the meat.

1 (7-pound) beef brisket
7 tablespoons Morton Sugar Cure (1 tablespoon per pound of meat)
3 tablespoons raw or brown sugar
3 tablespoons corning or pickling spices

Combine the Morton’s, brown sugar, and spices. Put the brisket in a large freezer bag and coat with the cure. Rub the cure into the meat, covering all sides. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal, and stash in the fridge for 7 days. Liquid will begin to collect in the bag almost immediately. This is your curing solution. Do not drain it off. Flip the bag over once a day to distribute the cure evenly.

After a week, remove the brisket from the cure and rinse under cold water and then soak for an hour to remove some of the salt. Dry off the meat and season with a Montreal-style steak seasoning.

Set up your grill for an indirect cook that will burn for at least 5 hours at 300°F. Use a drip pan under the brisket to catch the fat. Add wood for smoke (I like grape vine). Cook brisket fat side up at 300°F for about 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat hits 160°F internal.

Pastrami

Remove the brisket from the smoker and wrap tightly with several layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Return meat the the grill fat side up and cook for about another 2 hours, or until the meat hits 190°F internal.

Remove foiled brisket from the grill and let rest for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil (steam burns can ruin your day), reserving any juices that have accumulated. Slice the pastrami thinly against the grain to serve.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
We have a winner! I served it hot-off-the-grill with home-made sauerkraut and stone-ground mustard. Very tasty. The rest will go into pastrami reubens with melted Munster cheese and Russian dressing. Anything left over after that will become dip.

Putting Your Heart Into It

They call it a “Sweetheart Ribeye.” You butterfly a 2-inch thick rib roast and it’s supposed end up looking like a heart.

It looks like a heart, right? Kinda? Maybe? Sorta? Glad my dear wife loves me for more than my cooking skills.

Anyway, I gave it my standard hot and fast treatment on the Big Green Egg and it was very tasty. It was not, however, the big hit of the evening. That was the Dark Chocolate Creme Brulee from She Cooks… He Cleans. It was rich, chocolatey, not too sweet, and decadently good. I highly recommend it.

Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day!

Chili Con Carne

Chili Con Carne

No beans, no tomatoes – it’s all about meat and heat. This is a modern version of the chili dish that the Aztecs introduced to the Spaniards and that the Mexican vaqueros brought north with them. A warm and hearty dish like this to ward off the sub-zero weather is just what a lot of us need right now.

3 to 4 pound beef chuck roast
10 dried chile peppers (I only used Guajillo, but a mix of New Mexico, Ancho, and pequin would be good too)
1 (7-ounce) can Chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 quart beef stock
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano (Mexican, if you can)
Sea or Kosher salt and black pepper

Pre-heat your oven to 300°F.

Wearing gloves, stem and seed the dried chiles. Cover with hot (but not boiling) water, and let steep until they are softened – about 30 minutes.

While the chiles are soaking, coat the roast with a little peanut oil on all sides and then dust with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining oil in a large dutch oven until smoking. Sear the roast on all sides until browned (about 4 minutes a side). Remove roast to a plate.

Drain the chiles, discard the soaking water. Put the chiles, can of Chipotles, garlic, cumin, oregano, and about half the stock in a food processor and give them a whirl until they form a smooth sauce.

Put the onions in a layer in the bottom of the dutch oven. Top with the roast and any accumulated juices. Pour chili sauce over it all and add enough of the remaining beef stock to bring the liquid in the pan about a quarter of the way up the roast.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put the lid on and move to the whole works to the oven for an hour.

Chili Con Carne

Braise the roast for an hour, then flip it over and add more stock if needed. Continue cooking until very tender, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours total. Remove the roast from the pan and set aside to shred the meat (I used a 9×13 cake pan to keep everything contained).

Chili Con Carne

Shred the meat and remove any nasty bits. I used a pair of bear paws to break it into bite-sized chunks. Return the meat and any juices that have accumulated back to the Dutch oven.

Move the Dutch oven to the stove top and bring chili to a simmer. Taste and adjust seasoning. Let cook uncovered until the chili is thick and the meat has completely fallen apart.

Serve this with cornbread and garnish with cilantro, diced white onion, sliced radishes, sour cream, chopped green onions, grated cheese, avocado, tortilla chips – you name it.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
This was a very rich and filling dish. Very meat-centric, but the Guajillo and Chipotles kept it interesting with a nice complex, smoky, and lasting heat. I can sure see any leftovers being used as a filling for tacos or tamales.