Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tuna Steak

We purchase most of our salmon at Costo because the prices are hard to beat. For some time now I've noticed their tuna steaks just down a few feet from the salmon. Now I've never been a great fan of tuna, having eaten it only as a sandwich staple; but these steaks look intriguing. They are the color of ... red wine?...and they are about an inch thick. But how do you cook them?

There are only two recipes in Smoke & Spice. I looked online and found it difficult and tiresome finding a "smoked tuna" recipe . . . nothing looked, good. Then I took another look at the Traeger cookbook and found "Dave's Great Tuna Steaks" recipe.

The marinade calls for olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, garlic clove, a bit of dry oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Marinade the steaks for 30 mins while the Traeger heats up to max temp . . . about 420 degrees. Cook for about 7 minutes until the fish turns white, the turn the fish over and cook a few more minutes. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERCOOK.

Well, I don't think I overcooked because the interior of the steaks were too rare.

Next time: Wait for the smoker to reach an even higher temp and wait until the fish is more white than it was this time. I noticed that it was white'r,' but it wasn't really "white." So just a few more minutes on a higher grill; that oughta work.

Bourbon-Glazed Ribs

The recipe is on page 69 of Smoke & Spice, the pre-mo smoken' cookbook of the age. Yesterday was my second attempt at this "smokin'" meal, and I think it came out like, "wow."

I didn't use the rub in the recipe, the one that calls for paprika and chili powder. I used Traeger's "Salmon Rub." Salmon rub on a slab of ribs? I licked my finger and touched it to the rub and rubbed it across my tongue. Yeah, it was good, real good. I checked out the Traeger site and found since they developed this rub, they have found it works on pork, beef, veggies and just about everything else. Next time I use this recipe, I'll use it again!

The mop is fun! 3/4 cup bourbon and 3/4 cup cider vinegar mopped on at 1 1/2 and 3 hours. What I like is the odor of the bourbon and way it sizzles when added to the meat.

In the past I have tried to use intuitive judgement as to how to manipulate the temps as Smoke & Spice always calls for 200 to 240 degrees, and Traeger recipes move from a few minutes on "smoke" (140 to 180 degrees), to starting on medium (225 to 300) or high (325 -450). I've decided to go with the Smoke & Spice temps until I know better.

What I really like about this recipe is the sauce: it calls for butter, vegetable oil, onions, bourbon, ketchup, cider vinegar, orange juice, maple syrup, molasses, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. The recipe is created for 3 slabs of ribs and that's probably close enough. Yesterday, for some odd reason, I was thinking last time it wasn't enough. Well, the reason is because rather than cook on low for "about 40 minutes" to thicken the mix, I cook it on low for about 4 hours, stirring frequently and getting it thick; like those bbq sauces you buy in the store.

At about 3 hours and 15 mins of smoking at 220 - 240 (as called for in Smoke & Spice) you apply the sauce at least once, maybe two or three times, until 4 hours. It carmelizes beautifully. I brushed the sauce on three times.

At 4 hours, I took the ribs off the smoker and into the kitchen where I let the meat rest for about 10 minutes before cutting the individual ribs and stacking them in a plate. Once stacked, I brushed on more of the sauce and had plenty left over.

Was it good? My oh was simply, to die for.

Apple City Baby Back Ribs

Ok, so I have a little experience under my belt with the new Traeger Smoker. I've done ribs a few times and received rave reviews from family and friends. A few weeks ago, using a recipe from the Smoke & Spice cookbook, I put together one fine bunch of ribs called, "Apple City Baby Back Ribs."

The soak is made up of 1 1/2 cups of apple juice; the Rub has brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and dry mustard; and the mop contains 1 1/2 cup of apple cider or juice and 1/2 cup of cider vinegar.

Apple pellets light the fire and the smoke was heavenly to smell.

The ribs were, what can I say, marvelous. The apple brought out a flavor not many have tasted and it was worth all the effort.

All that being said, we agree the Bourbon-Glazed Spare Ribs are the BOMB!! Check the next post to find out more about them.