Category Archives: Beef

Heaven on a Bun

Monday was a balmy 60 something degrees. I spent the entire afternoon outside, going for a run and then walking another hour and a half. Knowing what was coming later in the week, I wasn’t going to waste the sunshine and warm air. As I was walking, I was getting really hungry. I couldn’t get the thought of a juicy burger with melting cheese oozing from between the layers of a potato bun. Later when I stopped at the store to get what I needed, I did a quick search of the gourmet cheeses. I rarely go for the mundane American or plain old cheddar. I found a morel mushroom and leek jack cheese. Oh yeah! There is a small shop ( The Savory Gourmet )that sells cheeses and other snacky kind of foods in Lititz, PA that used to have a mushroom cheese (first introduced to us at Waltz Vineyards-excellent wines.  My favorite is their Fusion).  Eating that cheese was like eating a choice cut of beef. Awesome with red wine. This cheese that I found in the grocery store was pretty close.

When I got home, I mixed into 1 and a half pounds of chuck (gotta have chuck, 80/20-need that fat to keep the flavor and juices and keep the burgers from drying out) powdered garlic, minced onion, a splash or two of Worcestershire sauce and a big splash of red wine vinegar or red wine. I formed 5 relatively equal patties, giving them a little indention in the center (see Simple Backyard Burgers for more on burgers). The patties went on the grill with a hot fire, coals evenly spread out. I had very few flare-ups. Not sure why, but that is a good thing. Near the end of cooking time, I moved the burgers to the sides, no longer over the coals. Slices of cheese were added, the lid went on for a couple of minutes to melt the cheese and voila! Juicy, cheesey heaven on a bun! The burgers were perfect-just a bit of pink in the middle and the mushroom and leek cheese was an excellent complement to the touch of Worcestershire and red wine vinegar.

Sorry I don’t have pictures-just didn’t get them this time around.

Until next time, Grill Baby, Grill!

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Beef Brisket Take 2

Last year (almost a year to the day I find), I posted Smokin’ Chick’s Beef Brisket. I smoked another one recently-my husband says it was the best brisket he’s ever had!  He said the same thing  last time.  I guess I’m 2 for 2 on brisket.

Some people are intimidated by a brisket or any cut of beef that is known to be tough.  Low and slow with plenty of moisture is the way to cook those cuts.  My brisket was 8.33 pounds.  It was smoked on the grill just under 3 1/2 hours, then in the crock pot on low for another 8 or 9 hours.  It pulled apart quite easily and was very moist.  The rub gave it a nice coating and flavor that required no sauce (but I use sauce anyway).  If you don’t want it pulled, make sure you slice the meat against the grain and not with it.

Smoked Brisket Part 2 (7)

Just off the grill.

For the rub you will need:  allspice, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard and ground ginger.  Place the brisket over 2 sheets of plastic wrap, layered over each other at right angles.  I just sprinkled the spices over both sides of the brisket liberally and rubbed them in.  Wrap the brisket tightly and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours.  Smoked Brisket Part 2 (8)

Smoked Brisket Part 2

Small piles of coals are for later

Pull the meat out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before grill time, to relax the muscle fibers.  Prepare the coals and soak the wood you will be using for the smoke.  I used apple wood chips (I purchase the wood chips from Lowe’s if I don’t have any oak or cherry wood chunks from the trees on our property).Smoked Brisket Part 2 (2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

When the coals are hot, sear each side of the brisket 3-4 minutes to seal in the brisket’s natural moisture.  Opposite the coals, on the coal grate, place a foil pan filled with a liquid.  For this brisket, I used cranberry juice.  Once it is seared, move the brisket to the opposite side, fat side up, add more coals to the main pile and close the lid. 

Seared on both sides

Seared on both sides

The temperature peaked at 325 degrees F.  I had all vents on the lid and the kettle wide open.  If the temperature gets above 325, adjust the vents to regulate the temperature.  The more open the vents, the more oxygen and air flow gets to the coals.  Closing the vents a bit will decrease the oxygen and air flow, thus decreasing the temperature.  Once the temperature dropped below 250, I took the brisket off and wrapped it in foil to further cook and then cool. 

After 3 1/2 hours on grill

After 3 1/2 hours on grill

Smoked Brisket Part 2 (12)

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

I was saving the brisket for a later time, so it went in the freezer for a couple of days.  I took it out the day before I was putting it in the crock pot to thaw in the refrigerator.  For the crock pot, I kept the brisket in the foil, opening it, but forming a bowl from the foil.  I poured enough water around the bowl to provide enough moisture for a lengthy time in the crock pot, but not so much it would get into the foil bowl.  I did not want to take my brisket for a swim!  The brisket slow cooked between 8 and 9 hours.

Out of the crock pot

Out of the crock pot

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

Mom’s Chuck Wagon Beans

Chuckwagon BeansThe Chuck Wagon Beans recipes I have encountered are full of green and lima beans, not baked beans. I really do not like green beans and I hate lima beans and wax beans. Thankfully, my Mom never made those recipes! 

This is the recipe I was going to prepare when I ended up making Baked Chili. My mom made this frequently when I was growing up. I am one of 6 kids. When she made this, it would never last. The recipe below is half of what my Mom would make. Double it and take Chuck Wagon Beans to a potluck.  It is only slightly changed from Mom’s original.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Farenheit.  Brown 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef, adding about 3/4 cup of diced onion when the beef is nearly completely browned.  Drain.  In a greased 9×9 pan, pour in the beef and onion, adding the following:  1 28 ounce can of baked beans, 1/3 cup beef broth, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce, 1 1/2 tablespoons dried ground mustard, 1 garlic clove, minced  and 1/4 ounce fresh grated ginger (or 1 to 2 teaspoons ground).  Mix well. 

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

Cover with foil and place in oven.  Bake for about 45 minutes.  While the beans are  baking, fry 6 slices of bacon until crisp.  Crumble.

Bacon-nothing more to be said!

Bacon-nothing more to be said!

After 45 minutes of baking, remove the foil and sprinkle the crumbled bacon over the beans.  Put back in the oven for another 5 minutes, uncovered.  Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.  This recipe is a good candidate for the dutch oven (read more at the preceding link).  Cast iron cooking with a bit of natural smoke flavoring added!  Enjoy!  Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

Baked Chili

Baked Chili This isn’t what it started out to be. My mom used to make this recipe she calls Chuckwagon Beans, which I will be posting sometime in the future. That is what I was thinking I was going to make for dinner. Turns out, I had one 16 ounce can of pork and beans, meaning I wasn’t making my Mom’s recipe. It was one of those days I was not planning to go anywhere and I was not changing the plan. So Baked Chili is what happened. And I mean, what happened. I started pulling things out of the pantry and the veggie drawer and this is what I came up. All of these ingredients are available in my house 90% of the time.

Although I baked this in my oven, it will easily translate to the grill. A cast iron skillet or a Dutch Oven on the grill or a Dutch Oven over an open fire or with coals will make this recipe even better than it is baked in the oven in the house. Adding natural smoke flavor to any dish such as this improves the overall taste-so pull up your stump around the campfire for this one.

This recipe makes a lot. It will be good for a potluck or when you have a crowd. Of course, you can cut it down 1/2 or 1/4 easily enough. The end result filled a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. To prevent a mess in my oven, I laid a sheet of foil on the shelf below the chili to catch the inevitable drips.  Also, plan ahead.  This will need to bake about an hour and a half.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Brown 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of hamburger in a large pot.  Drain and set aside.  In the same pot, saute 2 medium to large cloves of garlic, pressed or finely chopped, one large diced green pepper and one large diced onion, about a cup and a half each.  If you don’t like that much, cut the amount.  I love peppers and onions.  For a bit of heat, you could add a diced chili pepper.  Saute the pepper and onion about 5 minBaked Chiliutes or so, just until crisp tender.  They will cook further in the oven.  Baked Chili

 

 

 

 

 

 

my favorite brand of beans

 

Add the cooked hamburger back to the pot and stir all together.  Next, you will be adding 3 undrained 16 ounce cans of chili beans, one 16 ounce can of baked beans,one undrained 16 ounce can of kidney beans,one cup of beef broth or stock (veggie works well, too), 1 tbsp dried cilantro or 2 tbsp chopped fresh, 2 tbsp ground mustard, 1 tbsp cumin, 2-3 tbsp chili powder (to your taste).  Stir well.  Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake in the oven (preheated to 375 degrees F) for one and a half hours.  After taking it out of the oven, remove the foil  and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.  It will be very hot!! 

right out of the oven

right out of the oven

In my house, we have cornbread with our chili and sometimes a bit of shredded cheese over the top (sometimes for my husband and myself, every time for my daughters).

When I eventually bake this outdoors, I will prepare the chili completely in my Dutch Oven.  I can brown the hamburger, saute the veggies and stir it all together in the same.  Over an open fire, I use my tripod and keep my fire pretty hot, adjusting the hanging level of the oven with the chain (for more on Dutch Oven cooking, see Heaven and Earth/Himmel und Erde).  On the grill, I will start with a hot fire and keep up the heat, spreading the coals around the perimeter of the grill, placing the Dutch Oven in the center (after removing the cooking grate).  The way cast iron holds heat, I don’t anticipate any issue keeping the chili hot enough to bake as completely as it does in the kitchen oven. 

This is a different kind of chili.  A little off from the chili I make in a pot, but it’s a keeper.  No tomatoes, no tomato sauce, really thick and meaty.  It was good.  I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

Pot Roast Marinated Steak

 Several years ago, I received honorable mention at Taste of Home for my Slow Cooked Rump Roast. I made a marinade out of the liquid base for the roast and used it recently with a couple of pounds of boneless toploin steaks. It worked really well and tasted fabulous!

The steaks were about 1/2 pound each and 1″ thick.  Before pouring the marinade over them, poke them all over with a fork.  The marinade will soak through.  The steaks will seal back up before you put them on the  grill, so you won’t lose any juices in the cooking process.

Marinade:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup oil (I have been using grapeseed oil-it doesn’t add any flavor)

1 large garlic clove, pressed

2 tsp onion powder

2 tsp celery flakes

1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

Blend all ingredients together and pour over the steaks.  I marinated them a little over an hour.

 While the steaks are waiting for their turn on the grill, prepare potatoes and onions.  The potatoes are simply poked with a fork and wrapped in heavy duty foil.  The onions receive a little more treatment.  Peel and core the onions.  Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with some fresh cracked black pepper and about a tsp or so of ground mustard.  A bit of onion along with a bite of the steak is sooo good!

The onions get wrapped like this: 

Time to start the grill.  Since I was cooking the potatoes and onions at the same level as the coals, I split the fire in half.  I put the potatoes on immediately.  They take the longest to cook.

Once the coals are ready, high heat,  add the onions and the grilling grate.  The steaks are seared, each side about 5 minutes, directly over the coals.  I moved them to the middle over the potatoes and onions. 

I added some oak pieces to each side and let them catch before putting the lid on.  The steaks came off the grill after 30 minutes and kept warm in the oven (wrap them up in foil on an ovenproof plate first!) set to 170 degrees F.  The potatoes and onions stayed on another 30 minutes.  Add some cooked carrots and celery if you want a real pot roast meal, but potatoes, onions and steaks was good for us! 

Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!

Smokin’ Chick’s Beef Brisket

Are you ready for it?

This was the best brisket I have ever prepared! It had just the right amount of smoke flavor and was very tender. My husband even said it was the best.

You need to start this the night before you plan to smoke/grill the brisket, so be ready. No running to the store at the last minute for this one. When choosing your brisket, make sure you get one with good marbling and a layer of fat on one side.

Just the right amount of marble

 For the night-before prep, you will need:  Plastic wrap, a shallow baking dish or plate (for any leakage), ground allspice, onion and garlic powders, fresh cracked black pepper and coriander.  Place long sheets of plastic wrap on the counter, layered at right angles (as a cross).  Place the brisket on the center.  Sprinkle each side liberally with all of the seasonings (garlic-not so liberally if you don’t like a lot of garlic-my hubby doesn’t).  Bring the sides up, wrapping very tightly.  Place in the shallow dish or plate and put in the refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours. 

All wrapped up and no place to go-except for the grill!

Plan to have the brisket on the grill at least 2 hours, not counting searing time.  Mine was on 2 1/2 hours after searing.  When I am going to smoke something, I always keep my plans for that day to a bare minimum.  I generally use the time when I’m not actively involved to relax on the deck. 

Prepare your grill for an indirect fire.  I actually used a charcoal chimney to get the coals started.  I have found that if the day is still, the chimney is basically ineffective.  I have only used it when we have at least a little breeze.  That breeze is needed to draw air through the chimney and get all of the coals burning.   Also put your wood chips or pieces in water at this point.  You want to make sure they don’t burn up too soon and you lose smoking time!

charcoal chimney

Remove the brisket from the refrigerator just before you start the coals.  It will take 20-30 minutes for the coals to be ready which is just enought time for the brisket to warm-up a bit and relax.

Just before you put the grate on the grill, you will need to put your foil pan opposite the coals.  You want to make sure you have plenty of liquid during the smoking process to keep the meat from drying out. I used a 12 ounce lager and water to fill up the rest of the pan.   Sear the meat on all sides.  All sides means ALL sides.  You want to seal in all the moisture that you can in the piece of meat.  4 minutes each side was plenty of time to sear the meat adequately.  Some sides took a bit less time.  Once the meat is seared, move it over the pan.  Add 6-8 coals and the water soaked wood.

searing

Ready to start smoking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The lid is on and now I can relax for while.  I insert a meat thermometer in the vent of the lid to monitor the temperature.  I’m not too concerned about the initial temperature.  I am watching for the temperature to drop to about 220 degrees or 215.  At that point, I will take the meat off.  Until then, the lid stays on. 

Smokin’

On the left, is the finished brisket.  It looks tough, but it is moist and fork-tender.  Immediately wrap the brisket in foil.  Let it rest 20-30 minutes if you are going to slice it up right away.  Make sure you slice AGAINST the grain for maximun tenderness.  I let mine cool and put it in the fridge for the crock pot the next day, Memorial Day.  We had activities away from home, and this was our treat when we came home.  It spent about 8 hours on low in the crock pot.  I opened the foil, exposing the brisket, but left it up on the sides to create a bowl.  I added water nearly to the top of the bowl.  I didn’t want to dry out the brisket and be left with a piece of cardboard or worse! 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoy your brisket as much as we enjoyed ours!  Until next time, Grill, Baby, Grill!