Brisket, ABTs and the New Flame Boss 100

Flame Boss 100 Trial 1

Flame Boss 100 Trial 1

This is the follow up post on the new Flame Boss 100. For its trial run, I figured go big or go home and nothing tops brisket! I had a 13 pound brisket all trimmed up. I rubbed it down with mustard and a mix of Fiesta Brisket Seasoning and Dizzy Pig Cow Lick. Normally, I just use a 50/50 mix of salt and freshly ground black pepper by weight for brisket, but after realizing just how many spices and rubs I have during our move, I thought it was time to clear some out. No more Fiesta. Started the Egg around 10:30 Friday night to allow plenty of time for the Egg to get dialed in with the new controller. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to get up to temp and didn’t want to mess up the finishing time on the brisket. Nothing worse than having a horde of starving masses at your house and you don’t want them filling up on chips and dips and such.

Brisket on the Egg

Brisket on the Egg at 235F

Played with the temps a bit between 10 and 12 and it did a really good job responding. Brisket went on at midnight with B&B oak lump and mesquite (both chips and chunks scattered in the lump) for smoke. Temp set at 235F. Went to bed around 1:30 and all looked good. Not sure what time I got up, but the Egg was steady at 236. 1 degree difference. I think I can live with that.

What a sight to greet you first thing in the morning!

What a sight to greet you first thing in the morning!

I’m pretty sure I pulled it at 1PM (13 hours or so) when the temp had hit around 200F in most places and the probe went in like “buttah”. Forgot to take a pic. Sorry, totally gotten out of the habit of writing posts and documenting the cook with pictures. The brisket was wrapped in foil and placed in a cooler (FTC or foil, towel, cooler) to rest for a few hours as it wasn’t time to eat just then. Then it was time to bump the temp to 250F the ABTs on.

ABTs, poppers, ass burners (new one to me)...whatever you want to call them.

ABTs, poppers, ass burners (new one to me, JB Smith)…whatever you want to call them.

Yes, there were 3 nekid, vegan ones for my cousin. How a Griffin became a vegetarian? I blame it on living in California for a few years. :-?

Just in time for the Baylor game!

Just in time for the Baylor game!

The brisket was so tender after sitting in a cooler for a few hours. I was able to separate the point and the flat with the back of a knife. Here’s the flat. For some reason I can never get a smoke ring on a brisket on the Egg. Not that effects taste, just cosmetic.

The flat

The flat

Some people really like the flat or the “lean” portion of the brisket. Not me.

Look at that!

Look at that!

I could cook a whole brisket, toss the flat and just eat the point or “fatty” portion of the brisket and be totally happy. A little bend test. Fork tender.

Yep. That's bendy and tender and juicy!

Yep. That’s bendy and tender and juicy!

After pulling the ABTs, I raised the temp from 250 to 375 so my cousin could cook his vegan patties. The Flame Boss had no trouble bringing it up to temp in less than 15 minutes. No pictures of that cuz well they  were frozen vegan patties. Who cares?

So what are my thoughts? I did notice when installing the Flame Boss, that the new fan does not have those two bendy wires that attach it to the adapter. Kinda freaked me out finding that at first after having a few drinks. I thought mine must have been defective.  Turns out it has a new lip design that keeps it attached. Forgot to take pics of that.

Old fan. You can see the 2 bendy wires?

Old fan. You can see the 2 bendy wires?

Do you need a pit controller to take care of your Egg? Absolutely not. Is it nice not having to worry about the possibility of your fire going out overnight? You betcha!! Is it nice to just light you egg, plug it in, walk away and know that it will hit your desired temp and not overshoot while you’re prepping your meal? Or watching tv? Or having a cold beverage? You’re darn tooting!

As far as performance, I’m totally happy. Works like a champ. Besides the way it attaches, the new design of the controller itself (the most obvious change and appears to be just cosmetic) and new wires that I have no info on, it works just like the original…perfect IMHO. Quickly brought the egg up to temp, held it there for over 13 hours then quickly brought it up to a higher temp to direct grill some burgers. The “Open Dome” function works just as it should, stopping the fan from coming on when you are checking your meat.

No it doesn’t have internet or wi-fi. No it won’t keep track of your temps and graph them. No it won’t tie your shoes or open your beer, but then again I don’t want or need a pit controller that does all those things. If you do, hey, that’s your thing and this one isn’t for you. No biggie. Different strokes and all. Actually, if it could open my beer…

If you want a controller that just controls your pit and that’s all without all the fancy bells and whistles, this one deserves looking at. Obviously, I’ve only used it once, but I’ll keep testing it to see how it does over time and how durable it is. So far, I am pleased with it. In fact, I’d love to try it out again this coming weekend but I’ve already got plans on Saturday. Maybe there will be some time for ribs on Sunday…

 

**Edit – since I wrote this, I was asked on the Egghead Forum by a fellow named BRushOO “Here’s the bottom line of the Flame Boss 100 as I see it:  If this flame boss was stolen/broke/you were no longer it’s owner….. would you buy another one at retail cost?” I thought about it and quite honestly I would say that yes, I would. I would not hesitate to buy one. Unless, I opted to check out the DigiQ just for sake of change and in order to do review a different brand.

The New Flame Boss 100

The new Flame Boss 100

The new Flame Boss 100

Hey guys, remember me? Yeah, sorry I haven’t been very active lately. I’d love to say that the reason I haven’t been posting is that we, and by we, I mean Mrs. G, is in her third trimester, but that’s not it. I’d love to say that it’s because we moved into a new house, but we stopped posting long before that. I’d love to say that it’s because lately I’ve been super busy at work, which I have, but it’s not that either.

I think  what it really boils down to that I got burnt out. Burnt out on posting. Burnt out on cooking. Burnt out on food. I think since August, I’ve really only been eating to survive, not caring what it was. Mrs. G would ask what I wanted for dinner and I’d tell her that honestly I didn’t care. It didn’t make any difference to me. So we’ve just been eating a lot of plain Jane normal stuff. Cheeseburgers, tacos, spaghetti, maybe a steak of two. Honestly, just your quick throw it together dinners. Hell, we’ve been in our new house 3 weeks and I’ve only fired up the Egg 3 times!! The crockpot has gotten more love than the Egg. :(

But I think I’m finally snapping out of that. Getting a little creative spark back. I’d love to dive back in here, full throttle, but I think I’d burn out again. I’d love to say that I’m gonna try and post at least once a week, but let’s try and just ease back in. Say two posts a month? That doesn’t seem like to hard a goal to meet. Hell, there might not be anybody out there anymore paying any attention to this blog for all I know. Let’s just see how it goes, shall we?

That’s not what this is about, though. What this is about today is the new Flame Boss 100. I received this a few weeks back to try out. The owner said that since I was the first person to really write about the original, he thought he’d send me the new version to try out.

What comes with the new Flame Boss 100. Hey, you like the new granite counter tops?

What comes with the new Flame Boss 100. Hey, you like the new granite counter tops?

I don’t have all the details on what all changed from the original to the 100, so I’ll just share with you my observations. The most obvious is the pit controller itself. It’s got a fancy new makeover. We’ll get to that in a moment. The fan has also been changed. It no longer has the two metal wires that slide into the adaptor and lock it into place. Instead, it has a lip on the edge that locks it into place. You’ll notice that it also has two adaptors. They claim that it will fit on any size Egg. I believe them, but can only vouch that it will fit on the Large and the Mini. They also say that it will fit all size Kamado Joes, Primo Grills, Grill Dome, Char-Griller Akorn, and others. There is another version that will fit the Weber Smokey Mountain, offset smokers and other smokers. I can only speak for performance on the Large BGE, however. The meat probe and pit probe have also changed in, but whether that is in appearance or if some of the specs have changed, I have no idea. I do like the “plastic-ey” wires on them. No more metal wires that can get bent or crimped. We’ll have to see how they hold up in the long run.

The Pit Controller

The Pit Controller

I really should have taken a side by side pic of the new controller and the old one, but it didn’t cross my mind at the time. If you want to see the old one, click HERE. The new version looks more sleek, more modern to me. No clicky, push buttons. The display looks the same. The biggest thing is the mounting bracket that comes with it allowing you to mount the controller on a table or wall or anything near your smoker.

New Mounting Bracket

New Mounting Bracket

I didn’t mount mine yet as I’m still getting used to the new location and I’m not sure I’ve got my grilling station set up just how I want it. Once I do, I will mount it for sure.

Easily pivots for viewability.

Easily pivots for viewability.

The new mounting bracket will allow you to mount it to any horizontal or vertical surface and then pivot to give you an easy to ready screen.

Testing it out

Testing it out

While everybody else was Trick or Treating, going to costume parties, or haunted houses, we stayed in and played with our new toy. Here it is in action. I’ll let you know what we cooked and how it performed in our next post, but I will say for now that I am impressed so far.

Again, sorry for our absence and I hope y’all are still out there. I promise I’ll work harder to get some more posts up and some new recipes soon. Thanks for still tuning in.

**Disclaimer – I was not paid to promote this item nor compensated in any way. I do not work for Flame Boss, nor have any affiliation with anybody in the company. This controller was sent to me for free as a gift and I was not asked to review it or give my opinions one way or another. And any and all other legal mumbo jumbo that should be noted here.

Bratwurst Burgers

This past weekend, I was cleaning out the freezer and found some home made bratwurst (using this recipe) hiding in the back. This package of brats was in bulk form (ie wasn’t stuffed into casings) and I thought it would be perfect to make some burgers.  Now, if you don’t happen to have fresh, home made bratwurst in your freezer (I do feel sorry for you), then you can always grab some links from your grocery store, slice open the casings and form them into your own burgers. I happened to have a pound of bratwurst which was perfect to make 3 patties as I like my burgers around 1/3 lb each. Feel free to make your patties to whatever size makes you happy.

Bratwurst patties on the grill

Bratwurst patties on the grill

I set up my Egg for a direct cook around 500F. The bratwurst burgers were grilled for about 2 minutes, then turned 90 degrees, grilled another 2 minutes, then flipped and repeated on the other side. Grill until the temp reaches 160F (carryover will take it to 165F). Even though the FDA says pork is safe at 145F, with ground pork (ie sausage), I like to play it on the safe side, especially if I didn’t grind it myself and it’s store bought.

Bratwurst burgers on pretzel buns

Bratwurst burgers on pretzel buns

I know pretzel buns are probably “so last year”, but while at the store getting some other things, I spotted them at my bakery for the first time. I’m not always the first to jump on every food bandwagon. Often times, I just watch it pass by and shake my head. Some of them make no sense to me, but pretzel buns with bratwurst burgers? Seemed like they were made for each other. Made me take a short trip down memory lane. Sitting at a biergarten in Germany. Drinking beer and snacking on pretzels and sausages.  Good times. Sorry. My minds started to wander there for a bit.

So how to top these bratwurst burgers? I decided to keep it simple. Some spicy, brown mustard and a bit of sauerkraut. And why not some more pretzels on the side and a cold beer to wash it down (not pictured)?

Dinner is served

Dinner is served

Taking a food that is normally eaten as a link and serving it in a burger form was different, to say the least. I mean I knew on a mental level what to expect it to taste like, but picking it up, it was like some kind of mental muscle memory kicked in and I almost expected it to taste like a burger. Like the eyes and sense of taste and mind just weren’t meshing up. It’s hard to explain. I think I had the same experience when we made King Ranch Mac and Cheese. I expected that to taste like Mac and Cheese, but then got all the flavors of King Ranch Chicken. Weird what the brain can do to you sometimes. Regardless, it was a pretty tasty burger/bratwurst burger. The only thing I think it was missing was some kind of cheese. What kind of cheese would you serve on a bratwurst burger?

Fajita Chicken Wings with a Creamy Chipotle Dipping Sauce

     Some of you may know that yesterday was National Chicken Wing Day (7/29/14). If you lived in my house, you would have known for sure. One of my favorite food holidays of the year. What’s not to love? Crispy, bite sized food? You’re expected to use your hands? People don’t frown down on you if you get a bit messy? And most often come with some kind of tasty dipping sauce? Check, check and check. Sounds like the perfect food group to me.

     I’m always on the look out for a new wing recipe. This time, I used a little influence from growing up in South Texas and a nod to Chris over at NibbleMeThis to come up with my version of fajita chicken wings and a creamy chipotle dipping sauce. A little fusion of Tex-Mex and chicken wings.

Fajita Chicken Wings for National Chicken Wing Day

Fajita Chicken Wings for National Chicken Wing Day

     While Chris’s recipe is a little more in depth with more ingredients and a marinade process, I kept mine fairly simple by just using Fiesta Chicken Fajita Seasoning for two reasons. I like the flavor and I find that marinades can prevent the skin on chicken wings from getting crispy.

Ingredients

  • chicken wings
  • Fiesta Chicken Fajita Seasoning (or any brand you may prefer)
  • cornstarch (optional)
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 chipotle peppers, chopped + 1 tsp juice
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • juice of half a lemon or lime
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash of ancho chile pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chicken Fajita Seasoning and my lil devil bottle opener

Chicken Fajita Seasoning and my lil devil bottle opener

Directions

  1. Lightly dust your chicken wings with corn starch (optional – this will help the skin get crispy as it cooks). Then dust the wings with fajita seasoning. Arrange the wings in a single layer on a platter and cookie sheet and place in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 12 hours. This process will allow the wings to air dry and will also help them crisp up.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set the bowl in the fridge and allow flavors to marry for an hour or two.

    Creamy chipotle dipping sauce

    Creamy chipotle dipping sauce

  3. Preheat your grill to 400F. If using a Kamado style grill, set it up for a raised direct cook. If using other grills, set it up for a two zone cook (one side with the coals or burners on and one side without) so that you can shuffle the wings back and forth in case of flare ups.
  4. Grill wings for 30 minutes, turning two or three times to ensure even cooking. Keep an eye out for flare ups and move wings to the unlit side of the grill if necessary.
  5. Wings are safe to eat at 165F, but I usually like to take mine to 175-180 to get that crispy skin. Not to worry. The wings will not dry out.
Wings cooking at 400F raised direct. Almost done.

Wings cooking at 400F raised direct. Almost done.

     I went back and forth on what to serve with my wings. On the one hand, I wanted to keep with the Tex-Mex thing and thought about going with Mexican rice. Maybe some boracho beans. But that would require using a utensil and would counter balance part of the fun of wings…eating with your hands. Or I could just go with one of my other favorite foods…Tater Tots!! Yep, tater tots won out.

Wings and tots makes me happy.

Wings and tots makes me happy.

     It’s always interesting to switch things up on wing night. That first bite you expect to get some heat. These wings don’t bring the heat, though. They bring those flavors that you have come to expect from fajitas. Cumin, garlic, onion and a hint of citrus. The Chipotle Dipping Sauce doesn’t serve the same purpose as the normal bleu cheese or ranch that you get with Buffalo Wings. It’s not there to cool off your mouth from the heat from the wings. Most people enjoy their fajitas with sour cream. This sauce gives you that sour cream along with the smokiness of the chipotle peppers and some heat from the cayenne and ancho. Completely optional, but it adds that extra dimension to the wings that really set them off.

Demolished

Demolished

     Next time you are thinking about wings, try thinking outside the box. How could other cultures influence your wings and take them to a whole nother playing field? You might surprise yourself. You just might come up with a recipe that replaces Buffalo Wings as your favorite type of wings.

 

How To Build Your Fire For a Low and Slow

Over the years, I’ve seen and heard countless people ask about how to build a fire in a Kamado style grill in order to get smoke through out a low and slow cook. In fact, just this morning I was asked in a PM about this very topic. If you just put wood on top of the coals, it will burn up at the beginning of your cook. You can always take out your plate setter or your heat deflector and add more wood, but you lose heat, its awkward (where do you place that hot plate setter?) and will end up adding time to your total cook. Who wants that?

The answer is pretty simple. When filling up your firebowl, add wood mixed in with the lump charcoal. Place a layer of charcoal on the bottom, then add your wood chunks (or chips. Or a mixture of both), add more charcoal, then more wood chunks and repeat until your firebowl is full. As the fire burns down, it will continue to hit fresh wood which will ensure smoke through out the cook. Voila! Easy peasy. Simple as could be.

Note that on a low and slow, you will have a small fire and it will be contained pretty much too a small cylinder in the middle of you bowl. For that reason, just add the wood to the center. No need to spread it out towards the edges as the fire probably won’t ignite any wood there.

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I’d like to be able to take credit for creating the above illustration, but in truth it’s been floating around the ole interweb for years on various forums. I believe credit should go to a guy named Stike, but sadly he is no longer active on the Egghead forum.

Happy Smoking!

Happy Friday the 13th!! And Happy Father’s Day!!

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You may not know this about me, but my name is Jason.  No. Not Voorhees. If it was, this would be Voorhees Vittles or something like that.  Growing up, I heard all the jokes about Friday the 13th and Jason. It got old. Fast. But in life, you can choose to either ignore things or embrace them. I decided to embrace them.

friday-the-13th

Here’s a little guide to help you survive the day.

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And did you realize to compound the matter that there’s a full moon? Technically, it was at 12:13 ET this morning, but close enough. Won’t happen again until 2049. So be careful and be safe. ;)

But on a more serious note before I log off for the weekend, I just wanted to say Happy Father’s Day to all the Dad’s out there and especially to my Dad who has always been there for me and who has been a role model, somebody I can look up to and my hero. Love you Dad!!

Super-Dad2

Check Your Thermometers!!

Summer is upon us and people are firing up their grills across the country. Whether they be year round grillers or just fair weather grillers, I bet more grills get fired up this month than any other of the year. Regardless of which camp you fall into, it’s always a good idea to periodically check your thermometers to make sure they are reading accurately. Both your grill thermometers and instant read meat thermometers.

Firing up the Mini BGE for some brats

Firing up the Mini BGE for some brats

I was reminded just how important that was last night when I went to fire up the MINI. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mini Egg, but it hasn’t seen a lot of action lately. If you told me I had used it less than five times this year, I wouldn’t be surprised. The Large has been seeing all the action lately as we’re usually grilling both proteins and veggies.

Last night, however, I was only doing brats and so it got the nod. I lit it per my normal method (paper towel soaked in oil, shoved through the bottom vent and lit), sat down with an ice cold glass of tea and started to read while occasionally tossing the ball to Oliver, our German Shepherd, when he would actually bring it back. I’d glance over at the Mini every so often to see how it was doing. 200F. Gonna be a bit longer. Read some more. Still at 200, maybe a bit higher.

OK…something is not right here. Peeked down the top vent and there was plenty of red hot coals. Held my hand over it. NOPE. That ain’t 200F!! Thermometer must be completely out of whack. Closed my vents to where the normally are for a 350-400F cook and tossed the brats in anyway.

Happy to be using the Mini Egg

Happy to be using the Mini Egg once again

So basically I cooked the brats blind, I had no idea what temp I was at, but I forged ahead anyway. Wait a few minutes, turn, wait a few minutes, turn again. Listen for any sizzling that would be an indication that they were too hot, the skins had split and juice was leaking down into the coals, which is a bad thing, of course. While this was happening, I thought back to grilling pre-BGE. Years grilling on kettles, offsets and gas grills. Grills that either did not have thermometers or ones that read LOW-MED-HIGH. I reminisced about holding my hand over the heat and counting how long I could hold my hand there to give me an indication of how hot my grill was. A great trick every pitmaster should know and one I’m glad I learned. I figure I was somewhere in the 350-400F range. Thankful that I have those skills and don’t need to rely on a thermometer.When the brats were done, I pulled them and checked the thermometer one last time. Dead on 200F. Yep, definitely out of whack.

Definitely not reading accurately

Definitely not reading accurately

So how do you know if your thermometer isn’t calibrated? There’s two easy ways. You can submerge it in a glass of ice water and it should read 32F. Obviously, with my thermometer, that trick won’t work since it only goes down to 50F and who really cares if its accurate at that end of the scale? The other thing you can do is to submerge your thermometer in boiling water. You remember science class, right guys? What temperature does water boil at? That’s right. 212F. Plus or minus a bit depending on altitude and barometric pressure and all that. You can try and get all precise, but if you are in the 210F ballpark, I’d call that good enough.

What do you do if your thermometer is off? I can’t speak to all thermometers as there are so many out there, but if its one like this or a Tel-Tru, there should be a nut on the back. Use a wrench and turn the nut until the dial reads 212. Clockwise will make it read higher, counter-clockwise will make it read lower. Only slight adjustments should be necessary to dial it in to 212F.

As for me? I’m probably just going to toss mine. It’s the old school thermometer that used to come with the Egg. I’m not sure its even a Tel-Tru, which is what they come with now. To be quite honest, I kinda recall that the stem got bent awhile back and I had to put quite a bit of force into it to bend it back. I don’t exactly recall what I did to bend it, but ever since I’ve been moving my new Tel-Tru thermometer from Egg to Egg depending on which one I am using. I just forgot last night. After bending the stem, I’m not sure it even works anymore. I’ll just replace it with a more accurate thermometer. Heck, maybe I’ll even look into seeing if there is a digital version out there I could use….

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