Massive Butt Cook

24 Apr

As usual, I am way behind on the updates, but am going to try to chronicle a butt cook I am doing tonight for a friend’s church dinner tomorrow night.

After a trip to Sam’s this afternoon to pick up a case of butts (five packages of 2 butts each) weighing in at about 72 lbs, plus two more two-packs for a total of 14 butts weighing in at about 100 lbs, the preparations got started in earnest around 9:30. Here is the first post, which was originally sent as an email to The Professor and a couple of the intended beneficiaries of the butt cook:

Gentlemen – as followers of BBQ, Esq., and being aware of a mammoth butt cook this evening, I wanted to let you know that as of 10:15, all butts have been rubbed and are on their respective smokers.

The final count was 14 butts – about 100 pounds total. 10 of the butts fit on the Traeger and 4 on the WSM.

When I came upstairs, the Traeger was humming along at about 225 on Pecan pellets and the WSM was climbing through 190, assisted by the BBQ Guru Digi-Q DX automatic temperature control device, on its way to 225, fueled with good old Kingsford and flavored with some cherry, apple and pecan wood. Both smokers will hang there over night, with a temperature check to coincide with my nightly “nature call” (BBQ is such a good old man’s sport for this reason), and when the butts reach 160 degrees internal temperature – which I estimate to be about 6 – 7 a.m., they will be wrapped in a double layer of heavy duty foil, a little rub and a splash of liquid added to the foil, and the temps will be bumped to about 275. I estimate that the butts will finish at around 198 degrees between 10 a.m. and noon. They will then be transferred to a cooler, wrapped in towels, and held for pick up by my “customer” about 2:45. EXCEPT that two lucky butts will be reserved for the Smith Family and two special friends (Sorry CPS, you’re family and would have a share except that you are headed west).

We are hoping for a slightly sweet, smoky finish with plenty of moisture and a noticeable but not tough nor chewy crust.

More updates later in the evening.

11:00 p.m update. I usually don’t check my cookers so soon after starting a cook, but I really want to get some sleep and I wanted to know that all was well. The Traeger and the WSM were humming right along at temperature, with a wisp of blue smoke coming from the WSM. The Traeger doesn’t produce much noticeable smoke after the pellets get going, but the smoke taste and smoke ring are there nevertheless.  The butts on the Traeger are going to need rotating at the early morning check to keep the outside edges from getting done too fast. No problem there. So, 11:00 p.m. and all is well. The BBQ, Esq. is off for a few hours of smokey dreams.

1:15 a.m. – Butt check. Temps are holding steady on both the Traeger and the WSM. Butts look pretty much like they’re supposed to after about 3 hours.  Checked fuel in the Traeger. Going back to bed.

5:35 a.m. – I really like automatic temperature controllers! They let me do overnight cooks without worrying about smoker temperatures – not that I worry much about temperatures on the Traeger or the WSM anyway (or the Kamado Joe or Primo XL Oval for that mattter), but still, I sleep better knowing that the technology is doing its job.  Got up and checked the butts this morning and they look great. I did get to the Traeger just in time since it was almost out of pellets. I refilled the hopper and now Traeger is happy again and let out a nice little puff of smoke from the smokestack to let me know. I haven’t checked the butt temps yet this morning because the Thermapen was upstairs and the cookers are downstairs, but judging from the looks of the butts, they are definitely ready to go into foil to finish. Butt first…… coffee…..

7:00 a.m. –  When I took the Thermapen down to the smokers, I found that thee of the butts were just north of 195 degrees internal – they all were on the Traeger and on the “hotter” end of the cooker. They were foiled an slipped into a cooler to hold for a while until the others finish. The biggest butts were on the WSM and they were still in the stall, being in the 160 range. No real surprise there because of their size. All of the butts were wrapped and the 11 that still had some cooking to do were returned to their cookers and the cooker temperatures were bumped to 250.

I will check the butts every 30 minutes or so and as the butts finish, they will go into the cooler. When all are finished, I will put the Traeger into “smoke” mode, which runs about 165 degrees, and hold the butts until my “customer” picks them up after lunch.

Final Update: The butts all finished in due course this morning. As they finished up, they were placed in a cooler and covered with a blanket. The last two to come off of the WSM were designated as mine. I pulled them about 1:30 this afternoon and they were good butts to say the least. Lots of moisture, good bark, very tender (these were pulled at about 200 degrees so they probably finished about 205-210, but they didn’t get mushy). I splashed in some vinegar and pepper sauce just to add a little spice and they were done.

First review was from my friend JST. A self-described picky eater, he gave it his seal of approval. Results in from the church also were good, so we’re calling it a success!

14 Butts – biggest cook to date!

So far so good – with only some minor min-cook adjusting.

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Quick Week Night Dinner…..

16 Apr

Nothing fancy. Just a basic dinner of boneless, skinless chicken breasts marinaded in Dale’s Seasoning and grilled on the Weber Genesis Silver B. Simple but a great dinner with Mrs. BBQ, Esq.’s cast iron skillet fried onions and yellow squash. Leftovers will make great marinated chicken and cheese sandwiches tomorrow for lunch, a la’ Billy’s Bar and Tavern.

Dinner: Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

Marinade: Dale’s Seasoning

Grill: Weber Genesis Silver B

Temperature: 450

Cook Time: 10 – 14 minutes, depending on the thickness of each breast fillet (cooked to 160 degree internal)

Result: Good chicken from the Piggly Wiggly. Dale’s Seasoning adds a nice deep flavor after only a short marinade.

Beef from “Happy Cows”

14 Apr

Those of you who know the BBQ, Esq. family know that Mrs. BBQ, Esq., is a seafood eating vegetarian. Her journey from carnivore to vegetarian began not for reasons of health, but rather, out of her concern for animal welfare. She heard, or saw, one of the expose’ pieces about the very worst practices in beef processing and decided she could not support an industry that treated animals in the way described in the report. We have had many discussions about the meat and poultry processing industries and we have largely agreed to disagree, but earlier this year, I conceded that I would attempt to locate a supplier of pasture raised, grass fed (and possibly grain finished), anti-biotic free beef, what I dubbed as beef from “happy cows.”

She is not crazy about the final journey any animal makes from “happy cow” to medium rare rib-eye, but she feels better knowing that my rib-eye was not raised in warehouse like conditions in which SOME commercially raised beef may be produced. I’m not taking on the whole commercial beef industry thing, and I’m not getting political or anything. I just want to eat a good steak and make Mrs. BBQ, Esq. feel a bit better about what I eat.

Well, the path to Happy Cows was not as easy as it might sound. Despite seeing many beef cattle roaming many pastures as I drive around the State of Alabama, figuring out how to get one of those frolicking bovines onto one of my grills proved to be rather difficult. I searched the CSA sites and Googled “pasture raised” and “grass fed” cattle.

Finally, I found http://www.freshfully.com – a virtual CSA promoting Alabama meat, seafood and produce and emphasizing sustainably-raised and organically farmed products.

I purchased a small quantity of beef – a couple of rib eyes and t-bones – from an Alabama farmer. The beef wasn’t cheap, but I had prepared myself for that and was willing to pay more than the going rate for commercially produced beef (which is high enough these days in and of itself). Today I went to pick up the beef and to say I was disappointed was a bit of an understatement. The rib-eyes were about 8 oz each and were thin. The t-bones were not available so the farmer substituted a package of strip steaks that were quite thin (I’m contemplating how I am going to cook those) and tossed in a dozen farm fresh eggs to even up the deal. I am guessing that the eggs might be the best part of the acquisition.

Leaving the farmer’s market, I saw a sign for “Holmestead Beef,” “Holmesgrown in Perry County, Alabama by J. Cooper Holmes.” I decided to see if the beef Cooper and his wife had for sale was more visually appealing that what I had purchased earlier. Turns out, it was! I ended up purchasing a pack of two, inch and half thick bone-in rib-eyes. For the record, on my patio, an inch and a half is the appropriate thickness for a rib-eye steak. Much more pleased with this purchase – and with the personable Mr. and Mrs. Cooper – I headed home, contemplating how to respectfully prepare these nice looking steaks.

I thawed the steaks and decided that, because they were grass-fed, with less of the visible marbling that we all are accustomed to in rib-eyes, I would use a little bit of briny-like Dale’s Marinade and then dry that off and season with Greek seasoning – one of my favorite steak seasonings.

I decided to cook on one of the Weber Kettle grills on the patio using good old-fashioned Kingsford charcoal. I opted for the kettle instead of one of the ceramic cookers and natural lump because Mrs. BBQ, Esq., had pressure washed the patio and the grills had not yet been restored to their usual locations. Still, there is nothing disgraceful about a Weber One-Touch Gold mounted in a table and Kingsford charcoal. Adding a couple of chunks of Pecan for flavor, I lit a chimney of charcoal and when ready, spread it out over half of the charcoal grate for two-zone cooking.

Because the steaks were cut to an appropriate thickness, I decided to do a reverse sear cook. I cut the top and bottom vents down to about one-half to get the temperature to stabilize at about 350. I put the rib-eyes on the cool side of the grill, closed the lid – and had a Jim Beam. I like the reverse sear technique because it yields wonderful results on appropriately thick steaks and because it allows ample time for a beverage, or perhaps two, while the meat is roasting on the cool side of the grill.

After about 20 minutes – or one beverage – the steaks were just topping 100 degrees. I removed the steaks to a platter and let them rest, opened the bottom vent on the Weber and let the temperature come back up to well over 400 degrees as the oxygen hit the briquettes.

When the coals were once again glowing red and the fire was hot, I seared the steaks over the hot coals for maybe two minutes a side, or until it “felt right” and a peek at the steak showed that the surface of the steaks was nicely charred to a deep mahogany (but not black) color. The meat temperature when I took the steaks off the grill was just barely over 120 degrees.

I usually will take thick steaks to 125 degrees internal temperature, figuring the internal temperature will continue to rise by between 5 and 10 degrees after they go to the platter. Because this was grass-fed beef, I wanted to get them off the grill a bit sooner so they would finish at a lower temperature than conventional beef. My theory was that the lower fat content would require a lower finish temperature to keep the beef from being dry and chewy.

The rest was pretty close to 10 minutes while I finished up some par -cooked red potato wedges on the grill and cooked a fillet of Scamp Grouper from my favorite fish monger (The Snapper Grabber) for Mrs. BBQ, Esq.

So, what was the verdict? I also cooked a nice Certified Angus Beef (“CAB”) USDA Choice Chuck-Eye steak as a “control steak” to compare to the grass-fed, pasture-raised steak. The rib-eye turned out amazing! The steak was a perfect medium-rare degree of doneness from one side to the other, with absolutely no bands of gray or brown at the edges of the steak. The flavor was different from the CAB control steak. The grass-fed steak had a more intense taste, with overtones that could be described as “nutty.” The tenderness was on a par with the CAB steak and the Greek seasoning worked just as well on the Holmestead Beef rib-eye as on the CAB steak. The combination of the cooking method, seasoning and the meat itself made this one of the best steak dinners of the year!

To be sure, the texture and flavor profile is different than that of a USDA Prime or Certified Angus Beef Rib-Eye, but it is no worse, just different. I won’t go to these steaks exclusively – I couldn’t afford to do that and eat as much beef as I do and I’m not thrilled with the possibility of eating less beef – but I suspect that I will order a nice steak or two from the Holmes family to pick up at Pepper Place a couple times or so a month and will look forward to and enjoy each of those steaks!

Here is a picture of the finished product. The Holmestead steak is on the left; the CAB “control” steak is on the right. There is a second Holmestead steak under the first one – that will be lunch tomorrow!

Schedule Update

14 Apr

I had planned on trying to do about 2 blog post a week, but I’ve been a bit lax on the posting lately. I’ve been getting some good material and saving it but haven’t had the time to do decent write ups.

To fulfill the original purpose of my little blog, I’m going to do quick and dirty postings of each outdoor cook I do and other topics I find interesting and then try to do a longer, more thorough post about once a week.

Sorry for the delay in anything new if you are a reading follower of this little diary. I’ll try to get something decent up for you to ready very soon.

Rotisserie Chicken – BBQ 25 by Adam Perry Lang “Style”

31 Mar

As you know if you’ve read my little blog, I’ve occasionally been cooking selections from Adam Perry Lang’s Book “BBQ 25” in an attempt to cook my way through the book over the course of this year.

Earlier in the week, I decided to cook a rotisserie chicken this weekend. I had nice 4 lb fryer in the freezer so I thawed it out and started thinking about how I wanted to season it. Then I remembered that I was trying to cook through APL’s BBQ 25 so I took a look at the chicken selections in the book and found an Adam Perry Lang recipe for Whole Spatchcocked / Butterflied chicken. Spatchcocked chicken is a whole chicken that has had the backbone removed then butterflied open so that it lays flat during cooking. It allows for a quicker whole chicken cook and for the chicken to lie flat so that the entire surface area of the chicken can contact the grill grates. I like spatchcocked chicken, but I had wanted to to a rotisserie chicken on my Weber charcoal rotisserie because I like that the chicken self-bastes as it cooks and stays very moist. The longer cooking time also allows ample time for patio-induced relaxation and a cold beverage.

I thought about my dilemma: APL spatchcocked chicken or rotisserie chicken and then I decided “both!” I have a couple of wire mesh baskets that attach to my rotisserie spit and hold the meat being cooked firmly from both sides. I decided I could spatchcock my chicken and still cook it on the rotisserie.

I brined the chicken according to BBQ 25’s instructions – a minimum of three hours in a brine of water, salt, rosemary, thyme, oregano, pepper and a little canola oil. All of this, along with the chicken, went into a 2 gallon zip lock bag and into the fridge for about 4 hours.

The Weber charcoal rotisserie ring sits between the bowl of a Weber kettle grill and the grill’s lid and has mounting hardware for a rotisserie spit. The spit is designed specifically to fit the 22.5 inch rotisserie ring.

Generally when I’m cooking on the Weber rotisserie, I’m cooking at relatively low temperatures – between 300 and 400 degrees. To maintain a Weber kettle grill in this temperature range requires surprisingly little lit charcoal. I use something of a “Minion Method” technique with my charcoal in the rotisserie. I generally use briquettes on my Weber kettles and tonight I happened to have an open bag of regular Kingsford briquettes. I poured a couple of layers of briquettes alongside and parallel to where the spit would  be placed, then lit about a quarter of a chimney of briquettes. When the lit charcoal was glowing red, I dumped it on top of the layers of unlit and adjusted the vents, top and bottom, to about half open. While the temperature was stabilizing (it takes maybe 10 minutes), I removed the chicken from the brine, rinsed and dried the bird, then set about to remove the backbone by cutting alongside either side of the backbone with a sharp knife. I then flipped the bird breast side up and pressed down on the breastbone to break the cartilage between the two breast halves and used my knife to split the bird into two pieces along the breastbone. After than, I separated the thigh quarter of each half from the breast quarter, and seasoned both sides of each piece with Mrs. Dash salt-free onion and herb seasoning (this is not in the APL recipe, but I like rub and since the bird had brined, I didn’t want to introduce any more salt). Finally, I arranged the chicken pieces in the wire mesh rotisserie basket, clamped the top on the basket as tightly as I could so that all the pieces were held firmly in place and ran the rotisserie spit through the slots in each end of the basket, clamped the basket onto the spit with a pair of thumbscrews and headed to the grill.

By this time the temperature on the kettle rotisserie was about 350, which was in my range of cooking temperature (I would have been fine with an initial temperature of anywhere between 300 and 375 since I had plenty of time to cook). I added a couple of chunks of peach wood to the coals and then slid the rotisserie spit into place, replaced the kettle lid, flipped the switch on the rotisserie motor and settled into my chair.

I figured that the chicken would take about an hour and 15 minutes at 325 degrees. As it turned out, my temperature settled closer to 375 so after about 50 minutes, the chicken was very close to done. If I had pulled the chicken and let it rest, it probably would have gotten to 165 in the breast and 170 in the thigh, but I had some baste/glaze I wanted to get on the chicken so I let it turn just a little longer.

The baste/glaze from BBQ 25 consists of a mixture of extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic cloves, lemon juice, honey, white wine vinegar and just a dash of water. I had made the glaze earlier and the last 10 minutes or so that the chicken was on the rotisserie, I glazed both sides of the chicken every two to three minutes. Finally, when the chicken had been on the cooker for about an hour, I stopped the rotisserie, took off the flat side of the rotisserie basket and removed the four pieces of chicken to a sheet pan, then glazed the top (skin) side of each piece with the remaining glaze.

Since I had mis-timed the cooking time on the chicken, our red potatoes weren’t quite ready when the chicken came off the cooker, so I put the sheet pan of chicken in the microwave to just sit and hang out until the potatoes were ready.

For serving (it was just me since Melissa is a vegetarian and Darling Daughter #2 was “hanging out” with a friend), I split one of the breast quarters into two pieces and ate one half of the breast and a leg quarter.

The chicken had a pleasing appearance. The color was a honey gold rather than the mahogany color my rotisserie chickens usually turn. I attributed this partially to the use of the peach wood rather than pecan and the shorter cooking time for the quartered chicken as compared to a chicken cooked whole on the rotisserie. The brine left the chicken moist and tender, and the flavors in the brine, combined with the flavors in the rub and the glaze, left the chicken with multiple flavor points, all of which complimented each other quite well. There were herb tones from the brine and rub, as well as bright tones from the lemon juice and just a hint of sweetness from the honey in the glaze. I normally accompany chicken – which can be bland – with some honey mustard or Alabama white dipping sauce. However, tonight, the Alabama white sauce from Billy’s Tavern sat quietly on the table. The chicken didn’t need any additional moisture or flavor. And the skin? Well, I carved the breast with a sharp steak knife, but the skin on the leg and the first bite from the thigh were bite through (YES!). On the second bite of the thigh, the skin shifted, but I wasn’t being very careful about from which direction I bit the thigh. I’m calling the skin “bite-through” and that is what I shoot for on every piece of chicken I cook!

Summary: like the other recipes I’ve cooked from Adam Perry Lang’s BBQ 25, the meat came out quite flavorful and well-seasoned. The chicken also was tender and tasty. Also like the other recipes I’ve tried, I gave the recipe a little bit of an interpretative twist – in this case by quartering the chicken and cooking it on the charcoal rotisserie. This recipe is a winner. I know I will use the brine recipe again, and I’m sure that the glaze will be a base for adding some additional flavors to my competition-style chicken legs and thighs. The rotisserie allows the meat to self baste and just adds a bit of fun to the cooking. Good recipe – good chicken – good meal!

Back in the Saddle! Reverse Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions

28 Mar

I haven’t been posting much lately – that’s because I’ve not been cooking as much as I like to. We had a nice Spring Break trip to the beach – where  my BBQ Brother Steve C and I did a  steak, fish and shrimp cook for about 20 people. The whole thing ended up rather Iron Chef/Stadium Kitchen/Restaurant Impossible-like with the two of us cooking steaks and fish fillets on large charcoal grills in the dark with our Thermapens lit by the light of our “assistants'” cell phones. The results were tasty, however, and the left-overs were few indeed.

Back home, I had a strong “hankerin” for plain, old hamburgers and whipped up a batch for the Performer and at the farm last weekend, The Professor and I, assisted by the Professor II, reverse seared some wonderful rib-eyes from Mr. P’s using two separate grills, one of which I know is over 30 years old and still in great shape (that’s another post for sure).

Still, between Spring Break and a trip to Louisville for a title insurance conference (and bourbon), there hasn’t been much time to grill.

Tonight was my first night home with an opportunity to grill in quite a while and since I’ve been fortunate enough to eat some good steaks the past couple nights,  I opted to mix things up a little bit and cook a pork tenderloin.

I usually cook pork tenderloins by searing them off for about eight minutes, turning the roast every couple of minutes to get some crust going all the way around the tenderloin, then finishing them off indirect, all about 350-400 degrees.

Tonight, however, bolstered by the success of my reverse sear steak cook last weekend, I decided to modify my method a bit. After seasoning the tenderloin with mojo dry rub, salt and pepper, and tying the roast off into about 8 sections using butcher’s twine, I set up a two level fire and put the tenderloin on the cool side of the grill with the temperature at about 325 degrees. I let the roast cook whole, indirect, for about 20 minutes, which brought the internal temperature to about 120 degrees. Then, I took the roast off to rest and let the Performer come back up to about 425 degrees. Once the roast had rested and the grill was up to temperature, I sliced the tenderloin into steaks (or medallions, if you prefer) between the twine ties. Then, I seared the tenderloin steaks over direct heat for about 2 minutes a side. This brought the internal temperature up to about 140 degrees which, with the rest between the steaks coming off the grill and serving, gave the steaks time to come up to my desired finish temperature of 145 degrees.

The results were tender and tasty. The steaks had just a bit of pink in the middle (as they should have) and the mojo rub gave the the tenderloin a citrus-y, Caribbean flavor that paired nicely with some Billy’s spicy and sweet mustard sauce. The leftovers should work wonderfully in some Cuban sandwiches planned for lunch tomorrow.

Feels good to be back in the saddle and on the grill again.

BBQ 25 by Adam Perry Lang – as interpreted by BBQ, Esq. – Effort #2

12 Mar

Last week, I started a serial interpretation of the recipes and techniques in Adam Perry Lang’s book “BBQ 25.” Tonight, I continued the cook-through by tackling the second of the 25 recipes in the book: Chuck Steaks & Leaner-Cut Steaks.

This recipe describes a technique for tenderizing and flavorizing steaks cut from the chuck, sirloin and round primal cuts of beef. These cuts generally are leaner, with less internal marbling than the steaks cut from the rib and short loin. Still, they can be wonderfully flavorful and inexpensive to serve if prepared correctly.

Growing up, these were the cuts my mother would pound with a tenderizing mallet, dredge in flour and fry in a cast iron skillet, using the pan drippings to make a thick gravy. Still a wonderfully delicious way of serving these steaks, but I decided to use these steaks (and a cast iron skillet) in a different way.

Mr. Lang’s technique for leander cuts start with a marinade of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, black pepper, sweet onion, chopped garlic, garlic salt, thyme and chile powder. I made the marinade last night and put a 1 pound chuck steak in a large zip-lock bag and poured the marinade over the steak, pressed out the air and tossed the steak in the refrigerator to hang out. I did make a couple of substitutions in the marinade. I used onion powder, granulated garlic and dried thyme instead of fresh onions, garlic and thyme. Yes, I know, the fresh ingredients would be better, but it was late and I was tired from a round of golf with the Professor and didn’t want to schlep out to Publix at that hour of the night, so I made the substitutions in the ingredients and quantities (about half the recommended measurement of the fresh ingredients).

I decided to cook on my Weber Char-Q charcoal grill tonight. The Char-Q is a discontinued member of the Weber Q series of grills (others being the Baby Q, Q 100, Q 200 series and Q 300 series of propane grills – I have a couple of these and they are great smaller sized gas grills – one of them is the official grill of the Bourbon n Que Tailgate Crew), having been discontinued, one would imagine, because of cheaper (and inferior) offerings by Weber’s competitors in the Char-Q’s price range. The Char-Q is typical Weber quality – a cast aluminum body, configured in a clam-shell style arrangement, with – and this is the killer – heavy cast iron grill grates. The cast iron grates on my Q series grills lay down grill marks like nothing else I own.

After removing the chuck steak from the marinade, I patted each side dry, then “glistened” the steak with Canola. The grill grates had heated up nicely and the steak went on with a satisfying sizzle. Here’s where the cast iron skillet comes in. Mr. Lang suggests pressing on the steak with a bacon press or foil-wrapped bricks to keep the meat in contact with the grill grate. If you have ever cooked a thin cut steak, they tend to want to curl up on the edge, especially if there is a band of fat along the edge of the steak. The heavy object – bacon press or foil lined brick, for example – keeps the meat in contact with the grill and keeps it from curling. I used a 10″ Lodge Cast Iron skillet that I use in and around my grills.

The Lodge skillet (made in the USA in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee) is heavy, flat-bottomed and did a nice job of keeping the steak flat. Mr. Lang calls for cooking the steak until it is “nicely caramelized and charred on both sides, approximately 12 minutes total….” His grill must have been cooler or his steaks thicker, because the Char Q was running at north of 475 degrees on a chimney full of Kingsford briquettes and in 8 minutes (4 on each side) the steak was hitting “medium.” I normally would have pulled the steak at medium-rare, but it was cooking fast, so it was medium before I got it off. When I flipped the steak, I did remember to baste it according to Mr. Lang’s recommendations using Canola oil infused with some Dizzy Pig Cow Lick Steak Rub. That may have helped the steak to remain moist even though I overshot the my desired temperature.

After I pulled the steak, I brushed it again with the Canola / Dizzy Pig mixture and brought it in. The steak had a dual purpose tonight: (1) to be used as filling for an enchilada casserole that Melissa was cooking for dinner and (2) for me to eat aside from the casserole since I didn’t want to eat as much cheese and flour tortilla as I would have had I put all of the beef into the enchilada casserole. So, how did it turn out?

Quite well actually! The meat was well-seasoned, with the flavors of the Worcestershire, onion powder and garlic noticeable but not overpowering. Their was a hit of spiciness from the chile powder (I use Chipotle) and the Dizzy Pig. As a steak, the tenderness was good, not great – after all this was a chuck steak (not chuck eye – one of my favorites) – but the steak was very tasty and quite satisfying. As filling for the enchiladas, the steak was outstanding! I chopped the steak for that went into the enchilada casserole and it was perfectly seasoned for the purpose. I would have really liked to have eaten more of the enchilada casserole – it was excellent – but I didn’t need all the cheese and tortillas.

The verdict on recipe number 2 from APL’s BBQ 25 is that it is a definite “do again.” Lean cuts of beef like chuck, sirloin (especially top sirloin) and eye of round frequently are on sale in my area for several dollars per pound less than my favorite cuts. I don’t think any of these leaner cuts will replace my rib-eyes and Porterhouses as my weekend “comfort” steaks but they can be tasty and economical week-day cuts.Next time, I think I will bring the temperature of the grill down to around 350-400 to make sure the I can catch the target temperature on the thinner steaks.

Two recipes down – only twenty-three more to go!