1°F Wings

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“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays…” sorry, that’s the USPS’s motto, but anyway, I’m not going to let a little cold come between me and some hot wings.

wings

3 pounds chicken wings
Penzey’s Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave Chicken/Fish Seasoning
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup Sriracha hot sauce
1/3 cup honey
2-3 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Toss wings in oil and then season heavily the Penzey’s seasoning or your favorite rub. Set a cooling rack on a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Lay wings out on a rack and let them sit uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight to let the rub do its work and for the skin to dry out a bit.

wings

Set your grill up for a raised direct cook at 350°F. On the Big Green Egg I used an extender to move the grate up to the level of the rim, putting the chicken further away from the heat.

While the grill is eating up, combine the butter, hot sauce, honey, chili sauce, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, them remove from heat but keep warm.

When the grill is ready, put the wings on the grill and cook undisturbed for 30 minutes. Flip and cook for another 20 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

Baste the wings on both sides with the hot sauce. Let them cook for another 10 minutes, then baste again.

Serve with bleu cheese dressing for dipping.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
The sweet/hot/tangy flavor of the wings was perfect. Just when you thought one of the flavors would drown the other out, the others came through to create a great balance. I really like the brightness that the rub added.

Despite the cold, the BGE performed like a champ. I noticed no change in cooking times at all.

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! 

Chicken Kabobs

I’ve been looking for a simple chicken marinade and found a 4-ingredient one over at NoBIGGIE. Of course I had to play around with it a little bit, but that’s part of the joy of cooking.

8 chicken thighs, boneless/skinless
1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
4 flat, wooden skewers

Make the marinade by combining the brown sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot sauce. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Put the thighs in a zip-top bag and pour the marinade over them. Turn to coat, then squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up, and stash in the fridge for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better). Turn the bag every so often to make sure all the pieces get a coated in the marinade.

Set your grill up for a direct cook over high (400°F) heat. Put the skewers in a pan of water to soak.

When the grill is ready, thread two thighs onto each skewer. Grill chicken about 10 minutes per side or until the internal temp hits at least 180°F and the meat gets a good crispy char on it.

Chicken Kabobs

Remove the skewers from the grill and let rest 10 minutes before serving. I put these over some sesame noodles and roasted peppers.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
I really liked the tangy, sweetness that the marinade gave the chicken. Adding the Sriracha gave it a nice bump of heat.  But I don’t know that the oil really brought anything to the party other than some flare ups. Next time I would skip the peanut oil and go with maybe a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil.

Slow Roasted Chicken

Chicken

This is a perfect recipe for Sunday supper. You get a nice meal out of it plus plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.

1 3 to 4 pound chicken
2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Combine the salt, herbs, and spices in a small bowl. Prep the chicken by removing the giblets and trimming off any excess fat or skin. Gently loosen the skin around the breast and thighs. Use a spoon to scoop about half the rub under the skin, spreading it out evenly. Dust the outside of the bird with the remaining rub.

Move the chicken to a pan with a rack in it and stash uncovered in the fridge for at least an hour (overnight is even better) to let the skin dry out a bit and the rub do its magic.

Set up your grill for an indirect cook over low (300°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg I used an inverted plate setter (convEGGtor) to defuse the heat.

Add a little wood for smoke, but go easy because chicken will soak up a lot of it. I used a small hunk of apple.

Roast the chicken until the breast hits 165°F internal (about 1 1/2 hours). Remove from grill and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Lowering the roasting temperature gave more time for the smoke to flavor the bird while still keeping the skin crisp. Leftovers became a chicken and kielbasa stew.

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.

Ten Degree Turkey

It was mighty frigid for Turkey Day this year, so I went with this dead-simple spatchcocked turkey recipe that maximized the tender crispiness and minimized the amount of time that I had to spend outside shivering.

The Bird
1 whole fresh turkey (a 10-pound kosher bird in this case)
2 tablespoons sea or kosher salt
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning or rub (I used Penzey’s)
1 tablespoon raw or brown sugar
1 tablespoon Chesapeake Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon baking powder

Combine the salt, poultry seasoning, sugar, Chesapeake Bay seasoning, and baking powder in a shaker jar.

Clean and rinse the turkey, then pat it dry. Cut off the tail and any large bits of fat or loose skin (save along with the neck, backbone, and giblets for making gravy).

Place the bird on a cutting board with the breast side down and the back end facing you. Spatchcock (butterfly) the bird by cutting through the ribs on one side of the backbone with either a pair of kitchen shears or a sharp chef’s knife. The bottom couple of ribs are the worst to cut through. Once you are through those it goes pretty easily. Repeat on the other side and remove the backbone.

Open up the bird and make a small slice along the center of the keel bone. Press down on the outer edges of the breast until you hear the keel bone crack and the bird lies flat.
Rub both sides of the bird with the rub, making sure to work some under the skin. Refrigerate the turkey for a least an hour (overnight is best) uncovered to let the rub do its job and to dry out the skin a little.

The Cook
Set your grill up for an indirect cook over medium heat (350°F). On the Big Green Egg this means using about half a fire box full of lump charcoal, an inverted plate setter to diffuse the heat, and a drip pan to catch the fat.

Put the turkey on the grill skin side up and close the lid. Cook undisturbed for 1 hour. Check and rotate the grill if necessary to even out any hot spots. Close the lid and cook until the turkey reaches 160°F in the breast. Figure about 10 minutes per pound total cooking time. This 10-pound bird was done in just under 2 hours.

spatchcocked turkeyRemove the turkey to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes.

To carve, cut the back quarters away from the body at the hip joint. Separate the drumsticks from the thighs. Locate the bone that runs the length of the thigh and remove the meat on either side. Leave at least one of the drumsticks intact because there’s something wonderfully primal about eating one of these with your bare hands.

Find the joint connecting the wing and breast, and cut through it. Remove both wings. Cut the breast meat into two pieces, slicing along either side of breastbone. Slice the breast meat across the grain.

spatchcocked turkey

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Spatchcocking is a great way to grill any kind of poultry, but it makes cooking a turkey particularly easy and tasty. The bird cooks faster and more evenly so you don’t have to worry that the breasts will dry out before the dark meat is done.

I added a little baking powder the my rub to help crisp the skin and it worked wonders. The skin was so crisp that it practically crackled when I carved the breast.