Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year and Ribeye Roast

This evening, to celebrate the total disappearance of the year 2008 and the first glimpses of 2009, we had our kids and their kids over for food and drink. The highlight of the evening was the meal: ribeye roast, slow-cooked hashbrowns, whole corn, mixed veggies, and french bread. The wine, red, was from a local winery, Felicitas, which was a Christmas gift from my sister and brother-in-law.

The ribeye was 12 lbs and here's how it was smoked on my Traeger:

* Brought it out of the fridge and let it warm up on the kitchen counter beneath an aluminum tent. 1 1/2 hours.

* Spread a spicy mustard over the entire outer skin to hold the rub.

* Spread the rub over the mustard. (Rub: equal parts Montreal Steak Seasoning, Kosher salt, white granulated sugar, dark chili powder, and a pinch of cayenne.)

* Set the ribeye on a rack inside an aluminum drip pan, to collect any juices, and inserted a remote thermometer prob to monitor internal temperature.

* Set the Traeger at 240 and at approximately 3 hours, poured about 3/4 qt of Coca-Cola into the drip pan. 3 1/2 hours later the ribeye's internal temp was at 115.

* Moved the ribeye into the oven where the temperature was at 400 degrees, and turned off the oven. This to create a little thicker crust on the outside of the meat and to allow its internal temp to raise to 135 - medium rare. Meanwhile, collect the drippings and let stand for 20 - 30 minutes: spoon off any fat that rises to the surface; then add Worcestershire, red wine, salt/pepper, and 1 cup of beef broth to the Coca-Cola and drippings - all to taste. Bring to a boil then let simmer until ready to use.

* Once the meat reaches 135 degrees, remove from oven and let it breath beneath a tent on the counter for approximately 20 minutes, then sliced it into 7 three-quarter to one inch slices. Drench the steaks with the juice, then pour left over juice into a bowl for individual preferences at the dining table.

If you're interested in steak that is tender, juicy and so mouth wateringly good that you can hear the folks you share it with groaning in gastronomical delight, then this is the recipe you want. Wow!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ribeye with Red Wine Marinade

We found a good buy on some ribeye in the local food store and after some searching, decided to give this recipe a try. The original calls for an aged, prime cut of ribeye that runs for approximately $17 per pound; so I figured this much less expensive cut we bought should do well in a recipe designed for such royal services.


*1/2 bottle of inexpensive, dry red wine
*1 cup of vegetable oil
*1/2 cup chopped yellow onions
*2 cloves chopped garlic
*Kosher Salt
*Fresh ground pepper
*2 Cuts of fresh ribeye steaks
*1/2 cup melted butter
*1/2 cup oil
*2 average sized yellow onions - sliced
*1 cup sliced mushrooms


*Mix the wine, oil and chopped garlic
*Add the steaks and refrigerate for six hours
*Remove steaks from fridge and let them sit for one hour
*High heat on the grill, or charcoal briquets that are white hot
*Mix melted butter and oil in shallow baking dish
*Coat the steaks in the butter and oil
*Apply a heavy coat of Kosher salt and ground pepper to all sides of the meat
*Place steaks on grill directly over the heat
*Cook for 1 1/2 minutes
*Turn steak 90 degrees and cook for additional 1 1/2 mins
*Flip steak and cook for 1 1/2 mins
*Turn steak 90 degrees and cook for additional 1 1/2 mins
*Using an instant read thermometer, medium rare will register 135 degrees
*Remove steak from grill, place on cookie sheet and cover with foil for 10 minutes. (Stack oven mitts on top to help retain heat)
*They are ready to serve

Sauteed Onions and Mushrooms

Reserve 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the marinade for liquid for sauteeing
Bring the liquid to a boil in a non-stick frying pan for 5 minutes or so
Add the sliced yellow onions and mushrooms and saute until desired doneness.
Pile on top of the ribeye steak and enjoy

This recipe modified from one found at

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Christmas Turkey

This 19 pounder waited patiently in the freezer for about three weeks for its turn. During that three weeks I worried and stewed about my promise to the family to "smoke a turkey" for them for Christmas. I knew I was in deep trouble when I learned my sister and her husband had spent more than a hour or two researching the "best" wine at a local winery, Fidelitas, where they are members. Trouble? The temperatures had dropped into the single digits, and it is no secret that the times needed for smoking meat in a Traeger escalate with lowering temps. I had no idea if it would take 4 hours, 8 hours, or 3 days to cook this sucker.

I researched the issue on google; at Traeger's website; with Konrad Haskins, my instructor at a recent class on smoking/bbqing; my buddy, Joe from Oly, who kinda got me started with the long, slow smoke style cooking and knows tons of stuff about cooking. No one could really answer my questions about whether or not to even give it a try. I even joined an online forum, "pelletheads," and found some pretty strange comments there.

On the morning of the smoke, out of desperation, I called the 800 number Traeger puts up on their website (I found it the night before, too late to call).

Bruce's first question was, "do you have either a 100% cotton, or 100% wool, blanket?" Fold the blanket and lay it over the lid of the smoker for insulation. (Note: Careful with this - that blanket ended up scorched like a fragile pair of laced silk panties smothered beneath a forgotten iron! But it worked.)

Then Bruce told me to get a remote thermometer ($17 at Target), stick it in the breast, put the bird on when the smoker's temp is 300 degrees. Keep it there until the breast hits 100 degrees on the remote, then turn the smoker down to "smoke" and keep it there until the breast hits 170 degrees when it will be done.

Three hours after setting the temp to "smoke" the breast temp, again, in single digit external temperatures, cotton blanket and all, had risen only 3 degrees; so I cranked it back up to 300 degrees and let'er rip until the breast measured 170. I figured it would more like rubber, or leather, or like Clark Griswold's turkey in the movie, "Christmas Vacation."

Once the temp hit 170, I took the bird inside and let it rest for about 15 minutes before carving it. Also brought in the drippings and made the gravy from them while the bird rested.

The turkey was delicious! Succulent, tender, moist, and smoked with cherry wood pellets, fabulously flavorful. The Gang raved about how good it was. Phew.

Turkey Preparation:

Brine for 12 - 24 hours, then wash thoroughly inside and out, pat dry with paper towels.

Separate skin from meat and spread the rub between these two layers.

Pour Italian Dressing over the exterior, mostly as an adherent for the rub, and spread the rub in all the nooks and crannies.


1 gallon water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup Soy sauce
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

Equal parts of each of the following -

Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
White granulated cane sugar
Dark chili powder
Canadian, or Montreal Steak Seasoning
Pinch of Cayenne or Chipotle for heat, to taste (optional).


Put sliced yellow onions (about 2 to 3 cups) in roasting pan along with 4 or 5 tbls of olive oil. Put in oven at 425 degrees for one hour, or until the onions turn a nice golden brown.

Place the bird on a roasting rack and set it in the roasting pan with the onions. Place bird breast DOWN. Add 3 cups of chicken broth (not organic!), and put it in the smoker. Replenish liquid with chicken broth as needed throughout the smoke.

Once done, puree the collected juices, onions, and oil, in a blender and taste. At that point, as my friend Joe from Oly says, "you can begin praising God that he put Joe on earth to be your friend." It is THAT good!

* recipe provided by Konrad Haskins.
** recipe provided by Joe from Oly.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another Brisket

Another Brisket
Originally uploaded by bmgarner

This brisket has an interesting story that involves an error in equipment usage that actually caused the lid of the smoker to open explosively when an overabundance of wood pellets filled the firebox. Owner's error!

The meat survived by spending the final couple of hours in the oven. Something we may do on purpose next time as it filled the house with the most wonderful aroma while finishing up.

* Rubbed
* 3 hours at 185-220
* 1/2 hour at 375
* 3-4 hours at one notch below 275 on a Lil Texas Traeger smoker with the meat immersed in one liter of coca-cola.
*15-20 minutes for resting
*thin slice across the grain
* pour au jus from drip pan over the sliced meat
*bbq as individually desired

Friday, December 5, 2008

Croque Monsier Revisited

This delicious recipe came to me from a book entitled, "Paris Crowd: The Select Cafe," which is discussed in an earlier posting found below.

We tried the recipe again today without the gruyere cheese, or the home-made bread (Almost No-Knead Bread) sliced thin and without the crust.

We used good ol' storebought wheat bread and grated cheddar cheese from a grocery store block.

The sauce is only mentioned in the book; the recipe isn't there. In France it is bechamel sauce and I found an excellent recipe here. The sauce is very similiar to the sauce our American mothers made when we were kids. The biggest difference is this sauce calls for a dash or two of nutmeg. It really makes the sauce.

You can find the recipe for the bechamel sauce here, at Mario Batali's site.

Try this, it makes a lovely lunch. Eat with fork and knife.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Diego's Texas Brisket

My first attempt at brisket was a couple years ago. I had purchased a fairly cheap charcoal bbq unit and had been learning about direct and indirect heat, how to cook salmon on alder planks, how to use a charcoal chimney, and how to manage heat.

The brisket attempt was abysmal: completely black and charred on the outside and bone-dry inside.

I tried it again yesterday.

I bought a 13 lb. brisket; rubbed it with some hot, spicy, mustard; spread a rub over the entire surface; and once the temp was at 185-200 degrees on the smoker, I put the meat on the grille and closed the lid. For three hours. This temp heats the meat above the threshold temp for danger (140) and produces a most impressive smoke ring once the meat is done.

At the three hour mark, I pushed the temp up to about 375 degrees for one half hour where it develops a "crust;" then lowered the temp to about 275. At this time I also put the meat into a foil pan, poured in almost a quart of Coca-Cola*, tented the meat with foil, and let it cook for about 4 more hours. When the meat reached 195-200 degrees, it was declared ready to take off the grille.

Covered with foil for another half hour, it was then cut across the grain and plated. The meat was sliced thin enough for sandwich style preparation on hamburger buns, choice of sauce was left to each individual.

The brisket was excellent, with just a bit of dryness which I am going to research and try to do a little better next time. I think the answer may be to cook it just a bit longer at the top temperature.

* Actually, I used diet-coke because that was all we had; but afterward I was reminded that diet-coke has aspartame in it and at 140+/- degrees it converts to formaldehyde, a carcinogen...ouch...Never again! Bad mistake! I learned the coke tip in a bbq class a couple weeks ago and the teacher then told us not to use diet-coke; but I forgot! shit