Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Is tri-tip the best?

Is tri-tip the best cut of meat, or what?!  It lends itself great to a med-rare Santa Maria grill, or... if you find the right piece, it's great to smoke.  I found the latter.

This piece had great marbling - looked like it could be Prime masquerading as Choice or almost a brisket point.  Works for me at 4 or 5 bucks a pound.

I learned how to better get my temps up and for a long time on the kettle - just pile a ton of lump for indirect and let it go for 5 hours - not much fiddling.  Now I just need to figure out how to get it to stop with the crazy ton of smoke - maybe it's the particular bag of lump that I got.  Anyway, this turned out amazing.  It was just a simple rub of S&P, garlic powder, cumin, and quite a bit of coriander.

Monday, August 5, 2013

She's a Redhead

After my buddy, Kurt, mentioned he was getting a Weber kettle, I got the urge to get one myself.  Propane smokers can make good BBQ, but I was hearing that the best backyard BBQ is done using real charcoal.  Since I learned to cook on a Weber growing up, and they seem the most versatile, that seemed to be the best choice for me.

I joined the Weber Kettle Club (WKC) forum and began reading up on the kettles.  I learned that a red kettle is called a "redhead".  That's perfect, I thought, since my wife, Megan, is a redhead.  She even got excited about the prospect (which was a challenge since I'd be cluttering up the beautiful backyard with yet another grilling/cooking appliance).  Searching Craigslist was not much help - they don't seem to be available too often.  I almost pulled the trigger on a new one from Amazon, but really wanted an old-school version of what I learned to cook on.  I also quickly realized that if a decent prospect pops up on Craigslist, it is instantly  linked on the WKC and an enthusiast snaps it up.

Just my luck, an enthusiast from WKC had snagged The Perfect redhead.  Thanks Rick for saving this beauty for me, and doing an amzing job cleaning her up!  Sure, she's got some blemishes, but it adds character, right?  All I really need to do is get some new wood handles and maybe a new cast iron grate.  Still, we got her running this weekend - grilling some fish Saturday night and smoking some pork on Sunday.  How much had I forgotten about grilling with charcoal over the past 20 years of grilling with gas?  Tons.  I'm also now using lump rather than briquettes, so maybe that's quite a bit different too.

My redhead's new home with smoke and a homebrew
First time - grilled fish
And smoking some pork with the "ring of fire" method (somewhat unsuccessfully)... and I'm not even sure what cut of pork this is - it was probably too lean to smoke, but should serve well as sandwich meat for lunches.

Edit:  Here's a bite of the sliced pork for lunch on Tuesday (fabulous, BTW):