My food posts used to have quite a following. The weather here has been horrible though; more rain than I saw in 10 years back in California. Then the last two months has been house / moving / kitty drama.
I had a few food posts ready to go, but the pics disappeared (along with motivation). HOWEVER, I did manage to find my birthday dinner pics from… a while back. 😉
Yes, we started with spare ribs. My go to for MY day… for a few years now. No, they’re NOT undercooked either. THAT is insanely deep smoked flavor as they were cooked as low and slow as I possibly could. I think they took about 10 hours. Most quality rib joints only cook theirs for about 6 hours.
There was also some corn bread:
And some homemade mac and cheese:
The Panko breading on top didn’t brown too well unfortunately. Blame the cheeses.
My world famous, made from scratch guacamole (appetizer):
And salad and veggies also, but the pics seem to have disappeared… Well, all but one:
Yesterday evening we finally had a break in the never ending rain (I swear I thought we moved to Tennessee, not Oregon), and we dragged the smoker out of the garage to get some cooking done while we can. It’s going to rain the rest of the week.
Anyhow, I smoked a small ham for sandwich meat, 3 chicken breasts for a dish I’ll be making in the next day or two, a turkey breast for sandwich meat, and a nice piece of corned beef brisket for dinner tonight. 😀
A few hours later…
I had to sneak a little piece of the corned beef also after my mom said it would be tough and I should have boiled it.
Being salt cured, it’s a little on the salty side, and while it was a little bit firmer than my usual brisket:
It was still plenty tender, because my family is from Texas, damnit, and tough brisket of any variety is a crime there!
Seriously, ask any Texan and they’ll tell you that you can talk bad about somebody’s mama before you can trash talk their brisket. 😀
I teased in a reply to my burger post that I would be doing NY Steak tonight. I did too! The equally fabulous side dish ends up SORT OF getting the headline though. For those who don’t know, I *love* Tex-Mex cooking. Three peppers in particular are my absolute favorites; Chipotle, Tomatillo and Hatch.
Hatch chilis are green chilis grown around the Hatch, New Mexico area. They can get as hot as Jalapenos, but typically are fairly mild. Great for when you have somebody who doesn’t like hot food, but can appreciate savory, OR you want to add some flavor to an otherwise delicate food.
Trying to tell Hatch that they’re not the chili capital is like trying to tell a Texan they didn’t invent BBQ by the way. LOL. More on the side dish in a minute. First lets take a look at that slow cooked New York Steak:
Slow smoked for almost 2 hours at 185 degrees (85 Celsius). You can see that delicious Hickory and Mesquite smoke ring in the first picture. Topped off with a little Sucklebusters 1836 seasoning rubbed in before cooking, and it’s nearly perfection.
Not an affiliate link BTW, just one of the companies I trust to do right by people and make a killer product. All their rubs and seasonings are good.
The show stealer turned out to be the baby Yukon Gold potatoes with hatch pepper seasoning though. Just something I found at Kroger. Fabulous flavor, and something I’ll try again. 🙂 Next time, I’ll try to do the Hatch seasoning myself and will hopefully have a recipe for you all.
Oh, and did I forget the Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Mousse for dessert? 😀
So let’s hop in the way-back machine and go back to the start though. 😁 I had talked last time I tried “beer can” chicken that I was going to do it again as soon as I got a normal sized porcelain ‘throne’, so that it would actually fit in the smoker. Well, the replacements came in a few days ago.
So, it was time to get busy! Since these chicken thrones make for virtually unlimited options in what you use to steam the inside of the chicken, I decided to do something really different. My uncle brought back a marinade recipe decades ago from Korea when he was in the Navy. Looking online, apparently it’s bulgogi, but it’s not anywhere as sickeningly sweet as the stuff I’ve tried from Costco and a few other places. So anyway… Yeah… Insert Hipster joke or meme here.
Being bulgogi, it’s intended for beef, but I branched out and tried it on chicken with great success (so long as you don’t over-marinate it). Here’s that recipe, in the quantities he used it for a couple of pounds of short ribs:
Korean Short Rib Marinade (bulgogi)
1/3 a cup of soy sauce
1/3 a cup of water
1/4 cup of white or yellow onion, chopped
1 or 2 scallions (green onions), chopped
2 Tablespoons of sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons of sugar
2 cloves of finely minced or pressed garlic
1/2 a teaspoon of pepper
A couple of quick notes here:
First, the original recipe also called for 1/4 a teaspoon of MSG. Given the bad rap that MSG has, I don’t use it though. I’ve also considered adding a tablespoon or two of freshly grated ginger, but haven’t tried it yet.
I’ve tried this on several cuts of beef such as tri-tip and tenderloin with great results. It works good with chicken also, but marinade times will vary. Beef you can do overnight and have great flavor when you cook. Chicken, you only want to do about an hour to and hour and a half per pound. I suspect it would work well on pork also IF it’s done for the same time as the chicken.
This is also one of those sauces that is best made the day before. It gives the flavors time to blend fully. That gives you the faint nutty flavor of the sesame seeds and the savoriness of the garlic and onion also. If you just throw it together and go, esp without thorough mixing, it’ll taste more like a cross between Teriyaki and Soy Sauce.
Lastly, Soy Sauce: I typically use low sodium soy sauce for food, BUT in the case of this marinade, I use regular soy sauce. The reason being that the marinade acts like a brine and tenderizes the meat. That’s primarily due to the salt in the soy sauce. Besides, with it being diluted with equal parts water, it’s not that strong.
Back to the Chicken!
So, I whipped up the marinade and put it and the chicken into a pot:
Because this was a nearly 4 pound chicken, and the pot wasn’t exactly a snug fit, I had to increase all the marinade recipe portions. I used a full 2 cups of soy sauce and water. I could have used less if I had broke the chicken down but then I couldn’t have put it on the throne. About 2/3 of a cup of the finished marinade went into the ‘throne’ also, instead of into the pot.
I let the chicken marinate 4 hours, then pulled it out of the pot and patted it dry with a paper towel. The next step was to rub some salt pepper and garlic into the skin. Given that I was doing an Asian dish, I added some sesame seeds also. With that, we were ready to go.
If I had been thinking, and had any on hand, I likely would have substituted Chinese five spice for the salt, pepper and garlic rub. I smoked it low and SLOW for two hours, which got the internal temperature to about 125 F. At that point, I turned the pellet smoker up to 350 F and cooked it for another 25 minutes to get the internal temperature to a proper 165 degrees F and crisp up the skin.
It turned out better than I’d hoped. Between the marinade, and the steaming from the throne, the chicken was so moist and tender it was unreal. Add some homemade white cheddar biscuits and mixed veggies on the side, and it was a fabulous meal:
And if you really want to see how moist that chicken turned out, check out this drumstick:
The color is due to a combination of the marinade and being smoked low and slow for two hours. It was properly cooked to 165 F internal temperature (as previously mentioned). 👍
Yes, I’m still alive, lol. It’s just been one of those weeks.
I didn’t want to ruin others’ Thanksgiving complaining about how mine went though. After that, sleep and health issues caught up with me for a few days. I’m largely functional now however. 😀
Thanksgiving… As I mentioned before, we were originally scheduled to have at least 12 people. I went out and brought a 23 pound (10.5 kg) turkey so as to have plenty for all. Most canceled with other plans at that last minute, my mom got sick and chased off the rest. Apparently my brother and I were still supposed to brave snow and ice along with her cold or flu though.
I finally had enough of the lack of cooperation on last Wednesday and stopped asking. I told everyone we were postponing Thanksgiving until Saturday or we were canceling altogether. Mom and my brother agreed. Big surprise; the weather and my mom were both better, along with travel conditions. I nagged about re-inviting others, but that didn’t happen. At least I managed to take some control of the insanity though. That was a victory in itself.
When I returned to California after my divorce, I sensed that part of it was a need to resolve things with my dysfunctional family. I think Thanksgiving was the final step there. I realized I may not be able to completely change their insanity, but I can still assert enough control to minimize it’s impact on me. So, I may not have been able to make my mom re-invite people or get the ideal final Thanksgiving in California that I wanted, BUT I was able to refuse to drive in a snow storm to a sick person’s house for a holiday that nobody was attending. There’s balance in that, and finding balance is what life is all about.
The cooking was split up. I did the turkey, dressing and gravy. Mom handled the rest. I slow smoked the turkey and the result speaks for itself:
Now for new followers (welcome BTW. 🙂 ), who are not familiar with slow cooking via a wood smoker, that pink color is not a sign of raw meat. It’s a result of the smoke flavoring penetrating the meat. With poultry though, it’s always important to verify the meat is done via a thermometer when smoking.
My only disappointment was that since I only low smoked, the skin on the turkey never got crispy and cooked with a kind of rubbery texture. Last year, I did a half slow smoke and half normal 350 degree F (or 177 C) cook. Not as much smoke flavor, but the skin was golden and crispy.
Fun fact: That meat fork and the platter belonged to my great grandmother originally. 🙂
It’s a toss up which route I’ll go next year. The smoke flavor on the turkey this year is amazing. The drawback is the same issue with briskets; an insanely long cook time. The standard formula is 1/2 an hour per pound of turkey. So for this bird, that meant a 12 hour, all night cook. That after brining it for a day. Something I should do another article on. 🙂
As it was, the turkey finished at 11 hours. Wrapping it in foil and keeping it in a insulated “cooler” kept it warm till meal time though. That’s an old Southern trick for keeping a brisket warm and fresh till meal time
Now, since there were only four of us and we ate at the smaller kitchen table (as opposed to the dining room), the food stayed on the counter for space reasons. Here’s the final spread though:
Working clockwise from the top, we have green beans, sweet potatoes, chickpea (garbanzo bean) salad, cheesy mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy, and the turkey of course, lol.