Moist Heat BBQ

A place to post your drippings

Friday, June 30, 2006

Happy 4th of July!

It's been kind of a dry heat here at Moist Heat BBQ without Joe-Be-Wan posting his BBQ anecdotes. I'm sure you all plan on grilling for the 4th so we should get some nice pictures and stories posted here next week.

So what does everyone plan on grilling for the 4th? I am taking a trip up to the great north for a short vacation weekend and plan on making a beer can chicken on Sunday. I might make something else too but I haven't decided yet if I will have enough time.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 4th!

Monday, June 26, 2006

T-Bone's First Ribs

This past Saturday, Team T-Bone (Mrs. T helped) attempted to moist heat some baby back ribs on the ol' kettle Q. Our choice of wood was hickory chunks and apple chips which provided an unassuming yet sweet bouquet. After the membranectomy, those bad boys were rubbed with Szeged's rib rub and put in the fridge for 2 hours. Earlier that afternoon at the local hardware store, we completed our equipment purchases of BBQ gloves, rib rack, and mopping sprayer.

With our new Weber chimney, the fire was prepared a la the minion method. After the fire was set, wood was added and the kettle brought to a cooking temperature of 225 degrees. Next, the rib rack was baptized and our baby backs were on their way.

Ribs were mopped every 20 minutes with peak temperature reaching 245 degrees. An hour and fifteen minutes later, the ribs were removed and placed in foil with butter, apple cider and brown sugar. The meat appeared a bit tough at first so we decided to try Dr. BBQ's foil method above for another 30 minutes. The end result was a good smokey flavor; however, the meat was not terribly tender off the bone. I am waiting for some Moist Heat consensus because in my reading of BBQ, I'll wager I haven't read the same recommended cooking temperature or same cooking time used yet.

Oh Joe-Be-Wan-It-Smokey, you're my only hope.

However, check out the smoke ring we were able to achieve.

An Englishman in unknown territory

As an Englishman, the prospect of barbecuing something other than burgers and sausages came as a bit of a shock. Then finding out that serving food that isn’t burnt on the outside and still frozen in the middle from a barbecue is possible (meaning everyone misses out on the fun game of “Guess the meat”) made my head spin. Then to be told that barbecue is different from grilling!! – What is this brave new world?

As a rookie in the grilling world I’m finding that lots of practice and sticking to what I can do has stood me in good stead so far. Fortunately I have a willing guinea pig to test all my efforts before they are unleashed on unsuspecting visitors.

This weekend I had a couple of grilling highlights after watching England stumble into the quarter-finals of the World Cup. First I assembled my new charcoal grill, a wedding present from Joe-Be-Wan, the pictures are below – great isn’t it! Then (since I have yet to buy charcoal) we grilled some country-style ribs on gas (sorry I know it’s not quite moist heat, but I’ll get there...) These were rubbed with the Spice House’s Mitchell Street seasoning and refrigerated overnight, brought up to something approaching room temperature and grilled for about 20 minutes over a medium flame, rested and eaten. The results were juicy and flavoursome and elicited appreciative noises from the guinea pig.

Minion Method

The question was asked as to what the Minion Method is. The Minion Method was named after it's creator, Jim Minion, and is designed to be used for cooking sessions that will last 6-18 hours (although I have personally used it for shorter sessions).

The concept behind the Minion method is simple. Place a small number of lit coals on top of a pile of unlit briquettes and control your temperature by adjusting your vent(s). The lit coals will ignite the unlit coals slowly, allowing you to cook for long periods of time without having to add new coals as well as controlling your temperature since it is easier to bring a fire up to a certain temperature rather than try to bring it down. You really only want to use this method for slow and low cooking (225-300 degrees), not for 325-350 degree cooks.

One possible con to this method is that some say you should never add unlit coals to your fire becuase of the fumes that get released when the briquettes ignite. While this is true, I have not noticed any foul taste on any of the meat that I have smoked.

Depending on the amount of unlit coals you start with, you are supposed to be able to get up to 18 hours of heat by using this method. I have not done anything more than 9 hours and I had to reload coals three times in that period using this method. I can typically go up to 3 hours without having to add any new coals if I use the Minion Method. I only start with one full chimney starter of unlit coals and 3/4 to 1 chimney starter of lit lump charcoal. I'm sure I could go longer if I started with more.

Question about Rib Cuts

Okay so instead of doing the grilling myself this weekend I went to Famous Dave's and let them do the cooking for me. I have to say that I was less then pleased with the results that were put in front of me. I had the St. Louis cut ribs and the other person with me had the baby back ribs, both half racks with Dave's famous rub and sauce on them. The question that I have for the group is what is the difference from St. Louis cut ribs, baby back, and spare ribs. The answer given to me by the lady waiting on us, I think, was below par. The answer she gave was dealing with the width of the rib itself.

Just wondering if there is more of a difference then that?

Food Wars: Barbecue

I watched a great show over the weekend on The Learning Channel called "Food Wars: Barbecue". The hour long show focused on the different types of barbecue from the 4 major BBQ regions: North Carolina, Memphis, Texas, and Kansas City. Here is a brief recap of each region (according to the show):

North Carolina
As we know already from our very own Jo-Be-Wan, North Carolina BBQ is all about the pork. The only debate in town is how to make it. Some restaurants cook the whole pig and then chop all the cuts together whereas others will only use the shoulder for their chopped pork.

In Memphis it's all about the ribs. And their main claim to fame is their dry rub ribs. No need to cover the ribs with sauce there since the smoke flavor is all you need.

There's only kind type of BBQ in Texas and that's brisket. Whether it's sliced or chopped on sandwhiches, brisket is the boss in the Lone Star State.

Kansas City
Kansas City was described as mix of all of the above regions but with one difference...sauce is king in K.C. K.C. Masterpiece originated in Kansas City and has one of the most popular restaraunts in the region.

So which region has the best BBQ? At the end of the show they had 14 "cowboys" take a blind taste test. They sat down and tried food from each region but were not told which food was from which region. They then gave the region a score from 1 to 5 (5 being the best) with the best possible score being 70 points. Here's how it turned out (or at least the best I can remember):

Memphis - 40 points
Texas - 26 points
Kansas City - 26 points
North Carolina - 15 points (even got a few makeshift 0 scorecards from the cowboys)

Sorry Jo-Be-Wan. I guess some people just cant appreciate vinegar soaked pork!

I can't find anything online about the show but if you happen to come across it it is worth a watch.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tennessee Pork Loin

Luckily the rain held off on Sunday and I was able to make the Tennessee Pork Loin with Nashville Sweet Barbecue Sauce.

I brined the pork loin for 2.5 hours in a salt & brown sugar brine. If you're not familiar with brining, has a good explanation of the process.

After brining the pork loin, I followed the recipe from Raichlen's site exactly (except for adding a little Jack to the BBQ sauce). The sauce turned out great. Definetly the best sauce that I have made so far. It had a sweet and tangy taste due to the lemon juice.

I smoked the pork loin for 2 hours using hickory wood chunks that I had soaked in water with a little Jack Daniels. I also added a little Jack to the water I put in the drip pan below the pork loin. I took the pork off at 160 degrees and let it rest for about 10 minutes. The pork was moist and tender and had a sweet taste from the Jack Daniels glaze.

It was nice to smoke something a little different and I would definetly make this recipe again.

Friday, June 23, 2006

What's Cookin' This Weekend

The weekend is right around the corner so what does everyone have on their grilling menu for this weekend?

Saturday I will be at a graduation party so I will not be able to grill. But weather permitting, Sunday I plan on making Tennessee Pork Loin with Nashville Sweet Barbecue Sauce. The recipe is from Steven Raichlen's website. Although I have recently said that I was done making my own sauces, I think I might give this one a try since there is NO vinegar involved. I saw Raichlen make this on a rerun episode of Barbecue University recently and it looked awesome! I will of course post pictures of the finished product.

Anyone else got grilling/smoking plans this weekend?

Grilled Chicken Breasts

Last night's main course was grilled chicken breast. The breasts were rubbed for 24 hours with Szegan's Rib rub. I hope that isn't against the rub code. If I wasn't going to finish with BBQ sauce, I probably would have used a different rub. The sauce and rub ingredients seem more compatible.

Notice the new grill thermometer. I also stacked my coals off to one side of the weber to test the "cold" side temperature for my next pork shoulder attempt. With the vents open wide, the temp got up to about 300 degrees. With proper vent management, I should be able to achieve the 220 - 250 degree temp for smoking with the weber.

Someone say more about the "Minion Method" of coal management for BBQ. Is anyone on Moist Heat a Minion practitioner?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Sauce

To continue our journey through southern BBQ, I take you to the coast of NC. Mainly known for roasting whole pigs over a pit (sometimes made out of old refrigerators), folks there make a nearly pure vinegar sauce. They use this sauce as a baste/mop sauce, BBQ sauce, dressing, dip, and coleslaw dressing. Some of it can get pretty hot. I've seen guys pour quarts of this stuff into the carcass of a roastintg pig.

Most people are horrified by the thought of a pure vinegar sauce (Andiken is one of them), but it really grows on you. I've grown to like it on my pulled pork, then I add a thicker sauce to the top, like a SC mustard or tomato sauce. Mike Mills in Peace, Love, and BBQ lists Goldsboro as one of the capitals of this type of BBQ. The "Western" style of NC BBQ tends to start and be led in Lexington, which is actually in the middle of the state, vs the Western part where I hail from.

I've tried many different recipes, and I find this one the best (from Southern Living, Nov 2003):

7 cups vinegar (preferrably distilled white vinegar [not white wine vinegar], but if you're partial to cider vinegar, it works great too. You can also mix the 2 if desired and it tastes great)
1 cup ginger ale
3 tablespoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 tablespoons ground black pepper

This stuff keeps for a long time, and doesn't need to even be refridgerated.

Dancing Pigs

I want to post a link to one of my favorite rubs and sauces of all time: Dancing Pigs BBQ Sauce. This is the creation of The BBQ Shop in Memphis, TN, one of the best BBQ joint in Memphis. Low-key but incredible. A family run business and one of the first restaraunts to know me by name. Their sauce is rich and thick, their rub is tasty, and their hot sauce is #$%^%$@## HOT! Email, call, or whatever, but if you're looking to order some really good sauce, give them a try:

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Smoked Chicken with White BBQ Sauce

I will periodically post tales of Southern BBQ. Growing up on the NC border in TN (also about 1 hour from VA), I was exposed to many different forms of BBQ, specifically BBQ sauces. Being mainly a chopped pork guy, I will limit my initial discussions to pulled pork sandwiches and sauces.

Today I will discuss the most unique of southern BBQ and sauces: the white BBQ sauce of North Alabama. This was first made in Decatur, AL by Big Bob Gibson, who now has a restaurant named after him, run by his grandchildren. The original recipe is made to go with smoked chicken, but we found it goes good w/ all meats, including beef. The recipe is simple:

1 1/2 cups mayo (using light is fine)
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons black pepper (better if freshly ground)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire (most recipes call for white wine worcestershire, but it is hard to fine. Using traditional is okay)
1 teaspoon salt.

Whisk together until smooth. Serve over chicken, pork, beef.

Big Bob rolls the chicken half in the sauce, but you can serve it on the side.

Smoked chicken: cut a whole chicken into 2 halves (its best to start w/ a whole and cut the spine out, then split it into 2 halves). To cook the chicken, cook over indirect heat for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Keep the temp about 350 F (or until the thigh temp is about 165 or 170). You don't have to turn the chicken or baste. After lighting the fire, place hickory chips or chunks until getting a good smoke, then place the chicken on the grill, away from the heat (hence, indirect heat). Take off when the chicken is firm, juices run clear, and the skin is a dark, golden brown.

Enjoy. Next up is the battle of NC BBQ sauces.

Attached is the photo of my prized Backwoods Smoker.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Magic Dust

One of the more popular rubs used by the Moist Heat team is magic dust from the Peace, Love, and Barbecue book by Mike Mills. I have used this rub on chicken as well as ribs. I used it on some country style ribs last night and finished the ribs with Famous Dave's Rich & Sassy sauce. Below is the recipe for the magic dust as well as pics from last night's ribs.

Magic Dust
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup kosher salt, finely ground
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup chili powder (preferably Peace Climb from the Spice House)
1/4 cup ground cumin
1/4 cup granulated garlic
2 tablespoons mustard powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients and store in a tightly covered container. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

Kettle Smoking

What do you think of this set up for smoking on a weber kettle my fellow meat-0-philes?

Father's Day Beer Can Chicken and Brats

The chicken was okay. It took 2 hours to cook which was fine, I put a tent up over me so I would not get wet and everything worked out well. I only had one bad flair up and it slightly burned one chicken (I did 5) but once the skin was taken off it was good. I was a little disappointed with the amount of flavor or lack there of from the beer and the apple juice. My uncle says that when he does it he puts something on the top of the neck of the chicken so that it doesn’t escape from the top. But my family again loved it and said I had to do it again. I also made 8 pounds of brats while doing the chicken. It was good though put a different rub on each chicken

Father's Day Brisket

I rubbed the brisket Friday night, put in the fridge, and took it out to come to room temperature at 3:30AM. At 6:00AM I started the grill and had the brisket on by 6:30. I had no problems keeping my temperature between 225 and 250. Started mopping the brisket after two hours and mopped it every hour after that. Checked the temperature at about 10:30 and it was at 160, which is the plateau so I knew it would sit at 160 for awhile. Checked it again around 12:30 and it was up to about 170-180. At 1:30 I wrapped it in foil and let it finish. Took it off at 3:30 (9 hours, just like I estimated) and 210 degrees. Set it in a cooler and let it rest until I cut it at about 5:15.

Contrary to the belief of the great Joe-Be-Wan, the brisket turned out very moist and was a huge hit.

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