Tag Archives: Kamado Joe

After School (or Work) Cookin’ on the Kamado Joe

29 May

Used to be that for a school week or work week grillin’, I would come home and fire up the Weber Genesis or the Weber Q220 or Q320. Those are wonderful grills and in 10 minutes, max, they will heat up and be ready to cook.

However, as fond of them as I am, they do not use charcoal and while gas grilled beats pan seared, oven roasted steaks any day, charcoal grilled steaks beat gas grilled steaks hands down (in my humble opinion, lest we start a blog war). The perception is, however, that it takes too long to fire up a charcoal grill. I’m not sure that is true under ordinary, chimney starter charcoal lighting circumstances, but I KNOW that isn’t the case when you happen to have a propane powered torch nearby! With a long handled propane torch ( check in the welding supply area at Lowe’s) or a weed burner ( bigger ) I can have a Kamado Joe full of lump charcoal lot in about 5 minutes.

Tonight I came straight in from work and hit the lump left over from last night’s pizza cook with the propane torch for about 5 minutes, went inside and changed clothes, poured a cold beverage, and came back to the patio. The Kamado Joe was at 500 degrees and ready for some steaks. I am now enjoying that beverage and waiting until 6:10 to put the steaks on so they will have 10 minutes to cook and a few minutes to rest before the announced dinner time of 6:30.

That is just as fast as any of my gas grills and with a lump of pecan tossed in on top of the lump in the Kamado Joe, I will get flavor not possible on my gas grills.

My technique is simple: steaks on for 3 minutes (rotate half way through if you like cross-hatched grill marks), flip, wait three minutes. Then remove the steaks to a platter. I put a 10 inch metal pizza plate on the grill, put the elevated Kamado Joe second grate on the cooker, and put the steaks on the elevated grate, over the pizza plate, and finish the steaks indirect to get a good, even degree of doneness throughout. Start checking temps on 1 1/4 inch steaks after about 4 minutes on the elevated grate. Once the steaks get over 100 degrees internal, the temps rise quickly. I pull the steaks around 120 internal and let them rest for at least 5 minutes then destroy them!

Great way to finish any work day!

20120529-220724.jpg

20120529-220745.jpg

“EPIC (Shrimp Burger) FAIL!”

28 Apr

Coming off of the week’s “Massive Butt Cook” – chronicled here earlier in the week – I was ready to get a grill fired up tonight. We had some buns left over from the BBQ sharing and I had a hankerin’ for some good hamburgers. When I suggested hamburgers for tonight’s dinner, Melissa countered with Shrimp Burgers. It was a good idea. After all, Meredith likes Shrimp Burgers and and Melissa eats shrimp as part of her vegetarian regime. Shrimp Burgers are healthier for us than the 80/20 Ground Chuck hamburgers that I prefer, and there is a saying I’ve heard somewhere that goes something like “Happy Wife! Happy Life!” So, Shrimp Burgers it was.

Now, here’s the problem: shrimp do not particularly like to be formed into patties! They require some cajoling, some binding and some luck to stay together on the grill. Whereas 80/20 ground chuck pretty much hangs in there for the duration of the cookeration, Shrimp Burgers are always a bit of a mystery. I have a basic recipe from Cook’s Illustrated Summer Grilling special edition from a couple of years ago, and on the surface, it seems simple: 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, bread crumbs, 1/4 cup mayo, salt, pepper, cayenne, lemon zest, scallions, some parsley if its available. Toss the shrimp into the food processor, roughly chop, then transfer to a bowl, blend in other ingredients and form into patties. Yeah, so simple. And yet….

I knew I was in trouble when I formed up the patties and they didn’t stick to my hand like they normally do. Instead they were a bit moist – well, wet actually. I was hoping that they would “set up” a bit in the freezer before they went onto the grill, but I should have tossed them all back into the bowl, added some more bread crumbs and started over, but noooooooo…… that would have made too much sense.

Instead, I fired up the Kamado Joe – damn good cooker it is – and got the temp to 400 degrees, where I wanted it. The squash, zucchini and onion skewers went on and off the grill nicely, charring up on the edges just like they should. Seasoned with salt, pepper and Cavender’s Greek seasoning, they had a nice, satisfying spicy taste and a little carmelization and char to boot.

Then it was time for the shrimp burgers. I was able to get them onto my grill grate without any incident thanks, it appears, to the patties being about half frozen from hanging out in the freezer for about half an hour. So far so good. A little pause for some refreshment, and it was time to flip.

And the trouble began. The first patty I tried to flip started to fall apart as I picked it up. It was just too damned moist. I got it flipped and then waited a bit before trying to flip the others. The flip of those patties did NOT go well. While I was able to get them turned over without the patties coming completely apart, the “burgers” now looked more like “loose meat sandwich filling.” At this point, I probably should have cut my losses, shut down the Kamado Joe and loaded the family into the Smith Family Truckster and headed off to the nearest Mexican establishment, but no….we went forward.

The “patties” were eaten, and when the bun was topped with the “filling” (formerly known as shimp patties) along with a Pepper Place fresh tomato slice, some leaf lettuce, a slice of purple onion, and a dash of mayo, prepared horseradish and Alecia’s Tomato Chutney (my redneck version of tomato chutney aioli), they were indeed tasty.

However, the effort was, due to the disastrous nature of the “patties,” an epic fail” – as the current vernacular calls a calamity of the scale of this cook. I do like Shrimp Burgers, but the next time they are on the menu at our house, Melissa will have to do the honors of making the patties. I will man the grill.

As it stands now, I can’t let the weekend grilling end on that note. Tomorrow night will indeed involve firing up the Kamado Joe and cooking something that I can pull off successfully…..maybe those nice 80/20 ground chuck burgers will get cooked this weekend after all!

Leftover (YUM) BBQ Pork!

8 Dec

Tonight was a no-cook night – well, sort of – no cooking in the Grill Garden. Luckily, I cooked a Boston Butt over the weekend for a friend and had retained a some of the cookin’. So tonight’s dinner was BBQ Pork and roasted sweet potatoes.

The BBQ was cooked on my Kamado Joe ceramic Kamado-style cooker. The KJ is a red-headed first cousin to the ubiquitous large-sized Big Green Egg. It was given to me as a gift about two years ago, and I have cooked on it at least once a week – oftentimes more – ever since then. The KJ comes with a nice sturdy “nest” with large wheels for easy movement and two teak wood fold down shelves. The cooking grate, which is the same size as the large BGE, is stainless steel and hinged to allow the adding of additional smoke wood, if necessary, during the cook. The Kamado Joe Company, based in Georgia, doesn’t yet offer as many accessories as there are “Eggcessories” for the BGE, but the heat deflector set up is creative and the pizza stone is sturdy. Luckily, “Eggcessories” designed for the large BGE also fir the Kamado Joe. I’ve run the KJ for as long as 20 hours on a single load of Wicked Good lump charcoal, starting with grilling steaks, then cooking a Boston Butt, and finally, finishing with a spatchcocked chicken. The Kamado Joe is my all-purpose workhorse cooker, handling all cooking parties with ease – from 14 hour briskets to 8 minutes of searing steaks to 3 minutes or so of Neapolitan-style pizza.

Although the Kamado Joe holds temperatures rock steady for hours on end, I admit that on my overnight cooks, I cheat. That is, I use a BBQ Guru Nano automatic pit temperature controller to help the Kamado Joe maintain a steady cooking temperature. I start the fire in the Kamado Joe, attach the Nano, and set the temperature on the Nano. When the pit gets to temp, I go to bed and sleep well, knowing that when I get up to check on the fire after four or five hours, the temperature will be right where I left it, and when I get up in the morning, the temperature will be in the same place. Actually, it does that without the Nano, but hey, its a great gadget!

I think that BBQ pork often is as good or better a day or two after it’s cooked than it is when it’s pulled off the pit. The heavily-seasoned, bark-covered, smoky outside meat has a chance to hang out with the tender inside meat and all the flavors meld together. Since pork reheats so well, the BBQ sandwiches, pork empanadas and other leftover creations are often as good as the first plate of pulled pork.

Tonight was not exception – a nice plate of  moist, tender, smoky, sweet BBQ pork tossed with a healthy dose of Saw’s BBQ Sauce from Mike Wilson’s Saw’s BBQ in Homewood, Alabama was a perfect main dinner event for a cold, damp night.

The side-kick for the pulled pork was a cubed-roasted sweet potato, topped with olive oil, salt, pepper and a rub I made a while back for pork tenderloin that has a flavorful dose of cinnamon and nutmeg in it. I had been saving it, waiting for something that I thought it would compliment, and the sweet potato seemed like a natural match and it was.

Great cold weather dinner – tasty, satisfying and, best of all, sensible enough to keep me in my calorie goal for the day! Great meal, even if I didn’t get to go play in the Grill Garden tonight. That’s OK, I’m already planning tomorrow night….

A Three Cooker Day…..

4 Dec

We’ve all heard the reference to a “Three Dog Night” (referring to the weather, not to the 1970’s era rock band of the same name). Yesterday, I had a “Three Cooker Day,” which is much better than a chilly “Three Dog Night.”

I started the day by cooking lunch for the World’s Most Wonderful Wife and me on the BGE Mini, then cooked a nice NY Strip Steak and Bourbon/Maple Syrup Glazed Sweet Potatoes on the new-to-the-Grill-Garden Primo XL Oval (more on that cooker in another post), and then wrapped up the day with an overnight Boston Butt cook on the Kamado Joe. I just put the butt in foil at about 170 degrees internal a few minutes ago.  Any time I can put together an opportunity to cook on three of my favorite cookers in a 24 hour period, that has got to be a good day!

Here is the link for the sweet potato recipe:  http://www.weber.com/grillout/recipes/sides/bourbon-glazed-yams-with-mint. It is highly recommended. We didn’t have any fresh mint leaves, so we skipped those, and due to supply limitations, I substituted three tablespoons of Maple Syrup (dark amber) for three tablespoons of the corn syrup. Since it was just Melissa and me for dinner last night, I cooked only one sweet potato. I’m saving the unused glaze for some pork loin chops later in the week. We’ll also bake the other sweet potatoes with those pork chops, but that will be another post…..