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Topics - SconnieQ

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Dry-Aging Meat / 60-day Umai Dry-aged Choice bone-in Rib Roast
« on: December 30, 2017, 12:55:26 PM »
Started a 60 day dry-aged bone-in Choice Black Angus whole prime rib roast yesterday in an Umai bag. Bones covered with parchment paper to prevent punctures. $6.77 per pound at Pick N Save. I'll let you know how it is end of February. Not sure if I will smoke or roast. Maybe both since it is about 19 pounds, I could make 2 good size roasts. I'm hoping for an intense beefy/mushroomy flavor, with maybe a hint of cheese. We shall see. This is a really large piece of meat with the bone-in, so I think it should handle the 60 days just fine. Will be ready end of February. FYI I used the largest Umai bag (Short Loin/Brisket 16x28in).

Fish / Hot smoked Salmon, Chilean Sea Bass, Sablefish (Black Cod)
« on: October 17, 2017, 10:16:52 PM »
Did a little variety fish smoking. I used the same cure for all. 4 parts brown sugar to 1 part kosher salt. Generously packed around fish for 12 hours (actually ended up being more like 18 hours). Rinsed and dried on rack in fridge overnight. Probed the thickest salmon filet, and smoked all with Sugar Maple chips until interior temperature of salmon was 133.

Salmon: good as usual. This just turns out good every time. Have done this many times before.

Sablefish (Black Cod): Let's just get one thing straight right off the bat. This is not cod. It is not even remotely related to any species of cod. Black Cod is a nickname given to this fish by fisherman, because it kind of looked like a cod, and it's skin is black. It is properly referred to as Sablefish. That being said, you will often find this on restaurant menus as Black Cod or Butterfish. (Don't even get me started on Butterfish. Butterfish is an entirely different species.) Now that we have that out of the way, Sablefish is in my top two of all-time favorite fish (the other being Chilean Sea Bass). It sets the bar by which all fish should be judged. Fatty, and rich in flavor, with a lightly flaky texture. And the skin is great. Smoked Sablefish is probably the most popular smoked fish in Alaska besides smoked Salmon. I buy my Sablefish filets from Alaska, sent overnight on dry ice. I had a couple tail pieces in the 10 pound order, so I thought they'd be good to smoke. They actually turned out a bit mushy. The taste was great though, fatty, rich, but I probably should have given them a different brine or dry cure recipe and time than the other fish. My cure time might have broken down the flesh too much. Also, I think these could have been smoked/cooked to 140. I ended up cooking them in the oven later, and the texture was much better, but I think I would only cure them for a few hours next time, due to the more delicate texture, flavor, and thinness of the tail sections. The salt/sugar flavor was a bit strong.

Chilean Sea Bass: I have never smoked this. I don't even know if anyone smokes it. I didn't bother to check. I had a bag of frozen filets from Costco, and thought, why not try to smoke a couple pieces? OMG, this is the most unbelievable smoked fish I've ever had! It is so succulent, juicy fat separates every flake! It's like the most tender and juicy fish-bacon you've ever had (but without the chew of bacon). If anything, I could have cooked it just a touch longer. When the salmon was 133, the Chilean Sea Bass, being kind of thick pieces, was probably in the upper 120s, a texture I like, but just slightly shy of flaking all the way to the middle. I think it could have gone to an internal temp of 135 or just a touch more, just to optimize the flake to fat experience. I later cooked it a bit more in the oven, and it was perfect.

What I have learned is that if you are a Costco member, get a bag of the Chilean Sea Bass filets, and try smoking them. Kirkland Signature Wild Chilean Sea Bass is certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

For anyone thinking about getting one of these, this is a great deal. It's the model I have, and it works great! I'm not even sure what the difference is between the 1st generation and the current 2nd generation. Both are 800 watts and look the same to me. Limited quantities. Only 324 remaining at the time of this post.

Sous Vide! / $50 off Anova through March 31, 2017
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:43:23 PM »
$50 off is about as good as it gets if you are thinking about buying one of these. Here's a code to use. I believe it will only work once, but others will probably also post their codes.


We do like our useful gadgets around here, like the Searzall and the Anova, but I'm pretty sure I don't need a culinary centrifuge, at least not yet. ;D

Dry-Aging Meat / 21 day Dry-Aged Choice Ribeye Roast
« on: December 09, 2016, 03:29:28 AM »
So I've had the UMAI bags for a while. This is my first try at dry-aging. I decided to start a Ribeye Roast after Thanksgiving, when I had room in my fridge for the monster. I bought a 20 pound Boneless Choice Ribeye Roast from Costco on Dec 3rd. I trimmed 3 pounds of steaks off of one end (to be eaten immediately). The remaining 17 pounds went into the UMAI bag, and into the fridge. My plan was to age it around 45-60 days, but then my mom heard about it. You see, our family Christmas is at my mom's house, and she always has prime rib. So she wants to use my Ribeye Roast for Christmas. That will be only about 21 days. I really don't know if 21 days will make that much difference, but I guess I'll find out. I'd prefer to go longer, but there is no choice. I would assume it will at least be somewhat better than if it was not aged at all. I'll have to get another one started for the 45-60 day version.

Poultry / Kari’s White Chili (Chicken or Turkey)
« on: November 25, 2016, 01:14:27 PM »
Kari’s White Chili (Chicken or Turkey)
This is a “non-red” chili, using tomatillos (instead of tomatoes) and green chiles (instead of red). It is delicious with smoked chicken or turkey as well as unsmoked. A great way to use up leftovers.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups chicken stock (or stock made from the carcass)
2 pounds cooked chicken or turkey meat
1 (28-ounce) can tomatillos, drained and chopped (or 20-24 ounces chopped fresh tomatillos)
1 bay leaf
2 poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded, chopped
2 (4-ounce) cans mild green chiles, drained, seeded, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups of your favorite cooked white beans, drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 to 2 tablespoons lime juice
Additional salt to taste
Additional sugar or honey if needed to balance acidity

Grated Monterey Jack cheese, fried tortilla strips or crunched up tortilla chips, chopped avocado, chopped tomato, chopped scallion, sour cream, additional fresh cilantro leaves, lime wedges

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook until softened and golden brown. Add coriander, cumin, oregano, and salt. Stir well to combine. Add stock, chicken or turkey meat, tomatillos, bay leaf, poblanos, green chiles, jalapeño, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 45 to 50 minutes. Gently stir in beans and simmer for 30 minutes more. Remove bay leaf. Remove from heat and add chopped cilantro and lime juice. Ladle into bowls and add your favorite garnishes.

Poultry / Kari’s Tortilla Soup (Chicken or Turkey)
« on: November 25, 2016, 01:11:54 PM »
Kari’s Tortilla Soup (Chicken or Turkey)
This is delicious with smoked chicken or turkey as well as unsmoked. A great way to use up leftovers.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 poblano peppers, seeded and chopped (roast/blacken and peel for better flavor)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock (or stock made from the carcass)
2 cups canned tomatoes
1 to 2 pounds cooked chicken or turkey meat (or boneless, skinless chicken breasts*)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Additional salt to taste
Sugar or honey if needed to balance acidity

Fried tortilla strips or crunched up tortilla chips, chopped avocado, chopped tomato, chopped scallion, sour cream, additional fresh cilantro leaves, lime wedges

In a large heavy pot, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, peppers, salt, cumin, and coriander, and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock and tomatoes, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chicken or turkey and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add the cilantro and lime juice. Ladle into bowls and add your favorite garnishes.

*If using whole raw chicken breasts, add the whole chicken breasts at the same time you add the stock. After simmering for 20 minutes, remove the breasts and shred.

Sous Vide! / Bluetooth Anova Sous Vide for $99
« on: November 21, 2016, 10:38:00 AM »

Poultry / Whole Turkey Smoking Time per Pound at 250?
« on: November 18, 2016, 04:04:56 PM »
I'm smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving. I normally don't worry about the exact time it smokes, since I'm usually flexible as to when it is done. More drinks and alcohol if it takes longer, no problem! But this year, I want to time it fairly close. In the published "smoking guide", it says 6.5 hours at 250 for a 12 pound bird. Does it really take that long??? DM Tony's "Post-Thanksgiving Smoked Turkey" post pinned to the top of the poultry section says it took 3:45 for a 14 pound turkey at 250. What are the other experiences per pound at 250? I'm sorry to say, I've done many turkeys, but never paid much attention to the time. When it was done, it was done, and I had a lot of flexibility. But I don't think it took anywhere near 6.5 hours.

Poultry / Cured and Smoked Turkey Breast (Turkey Ham)
« on: October 29, 2016, 01:04:57 AM »
What I’m going for here is something similar to smoked turkey deli meat, the sweeter version, like maple or honey smoked. Slightly pink, moist, tastes kind of like honey ham. I decided to try Pop’s Curing Brine, since it has a high sugar content, and the flavor profile seemed like what I was looking for. I noticed Gregg (NDKoze) has posted a very similar brine recipe on this forum (looks like a variation on Pop's) that uses a little less sugar. If you want to reduce the sugar, I would suggest reducing the white sugar, and keeping the brown sugar as is.

Pop’s Curing Brine (from SmokingMeatForums)
1 gallon of water
3/4 cup of kosher salt
1 cup granulated white sugar (If you prefer less sweetness, I would suggest reducing the white sugar to 1/2 cup or even none.)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cure #1
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon molasses (mild flavor) (I used full flavor)

1 whole boneless/skinless turkey breast (left and right halves)
Maple syrup or honey for glazing (optional) (I used maple syrup)

Cure breast halves for 2-3 days (I cured for 3 days). Rinse off cure and soak in plain water for 30 minutes. Pat dry. Put the two breasts together, insides facing, thin end of one to thick end of the other, and tie into a uniform cylinder shape, so it will smoke evenly. Refrigerate on a rack for 24 hours to form a pellicle.

Smoke at 200 using 3 ounces of cherry (no water pan). After two hours, glaze with maple syrup or honey. Glaze once per hour after that, 1 or 2 more times. Smoke to an internal temperature of 160. Tent loosely with foil and let cool for 1 hour. Wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 days before slicing. I sliced thin, and vacuum sealed in one or two sandwich-sized portions.

Lessons Learned
After 5-1/2 hours, my internal temp was at 147, and had been sitting at 147 for well over an hour. I feel two things contributed to the IT taking so long to rise. 1) Opening the door to apply the glaze, and 2) Tying the two halves together making a fairly large meat mass. I was starting to get concerned about the meat drying out, so at that point, I decided to wrap the turkey log with foil, and turn the smoker up to 250. The internal temperature then rose quickly. If I were to do it again, I would do the entire smoke at 225, and maybe wrap with foil at around 145 or 150 IT. If I were smoking a single breast (not two tied together) then I would stick with smoking at 200.

I tend to like things on the smoky side, so it was just right for me. Those who like a lighter smoke might want to go with 2 or 2-1/2 ounces of wood. It was definitely on the sweeter side, a lot like honey ham. It was fine as is, but next time I will probably try reducing the white sugar to 1/2 cup if using a honey or maple glaze. I was also pretty happy with the salt level. Deli meat is fairly salty, and it was comparable to that. Not overly salty, but well seasoned, and when used on a sandwich, the salt level and flavors were very balanced with the other sandwich ingredients. All in all, I’ll be putting this in my regular rotation. 2 days would probably be adequate for the brine/cure, but based on the results I had, I'll probably stick with 3 days unless I am pressed for time.

Pork / VOTE: What is your favorite cut of pork ribs?
« on: October 18, 2016, 11:52:26 PM »
Thought I'd start a poll on this hotly debated issue.

Anything Goes!! / Arby's Pork Belly sandwich
« on: October 13, 2016, 12:22:57 AM »
Anybody else here had this? I take a risk that I might be laughed right off of this forum for posting this... I don't eat at fast food joints too often, but had to make a quick stop the other day. Saw a picture of this sandwich on the drive through sign and thought, I'll get it, but I bet it will look nothing like the picture. Big thick slabs of fatty pork belly, hanging out of the bun. looked just like the picture. Probably the best sandwich I've had at any fast food joint, ever. I can't believe this delicious sandwich is from Arby's of all places. Historically, Arby's "meats" could only best be described as "weird", and that's being generous. The thick fat parts of the pork belly melt in your mouth, and the meat parts are tender. Has a smoky taste. 860 calories BTW. My guess is that a lot of the "regular public" who are not familiar with what pork belly actually is, are going to freak out at the fat, take it back, and say "my sandwich is all fatty". But I assure you, it is exactly how pork belly should be. That was a week ago, and I keep thinking I need another one. It's a limited time only menu item, and based on what your average Arby's customer is going to think about the fat, sadly, I doubt it will be back. At least I know I can make it at home with my SI, and I will.

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