Posts tagged ‘apple wood’

Grilled Rainbow Trout

Rainbow Trout

     I grew up in a little city down on the Texas coast called Corpus Christi. Spent most of my life there, within 10 minutes of the Gulf. I even went back for 4 or 5 years after college. And somehow, in all that time, I never learned how to fish! Seems like a shame now, especially considering how much Mrs. G and I like seafood, not that there is anywhere in Dallas to fish….at least not that I would eat. So now I just do most of my “fishing” at Central Market.

     To continue on with our healthy eating this week, Mrs. G and I both agreed that we wanted some seafood. So after work, I headed up to my “local fishing” spot to see what I could find. Salmon? No, been doing that too much lately. Tilapia? Boring. Catfish? Never been a big fan. Red snapper? Too expensive. That’s when I spotted some rainbow trout. Haven’t had that in years and the price was good. Fish looked good and didn’t have that fishy smell. Done!

Prepping the Trout

      We kept it pretty simple last night as far as seasoning. Some salt and pepper, a few slices of lemon, some thyme and a little bit of rosemary. (We grow our own rosemary BTW, and when spring rolls around I’m going to try to grow some other herbs as well as our usual peppers, but I digress). I can’t seem to leave things alone, so mine also got a sprinkling of Dizzy Pig Jamaican Firewalk. What can I say? I like a lil bit of heat.

On the BGE

      The fish went on to my Big Green Egg, which was preheated to 400 F along with some apple wood chips to give it a little smoke flavor. We also tossed in some zucchini that was seasoned up simple with some salt and pepper.

Halfway done

      Somewhere I read that you want to cook rainbow trout to about 135. Not sure if that is correct or not. I’ve also heard to cook fish until its flakey, although another source says that if its flakey, it’s already overdone. I really don’t know. We let this fish cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, flipping it halfway through, and to us it seemed done. (And I’m writing this up the following morning with no ill effects and I’m still alive, so it must have been ok, lol).

Plated Up

      Not my best plated up picture, but oh well. I’ll  blame it on still being just a little bit sick, how’s that? We served it up along with some of my wife’s rice. She’s been playing around with using different amounts of chicken stock when making the rice, so it gives it a little extra flavor, but doesn’t make it too salty. She also threw in a few sprigs of thyme. The rice turned out really good, and went well the fish. The fish was very tender and had a mild taste. It would be good for those who are just starting to eat fish, but don’t like a strong fishy flavor (that sounded really weird to me after saying it, does it make sense?). There was a hint of smoke, but could have used more. Next time, I think I will add more apple wood chips. It’s such a quick cook, that if you want a smokey flavor, I think you need to have a handful or more to start with. I probably shouldn’t have added the lil bit of Jamaican Firewalk to mine as it gave it quite a bit of heat and I think over powered the fish. Should have stuck to simple. Overall, I think it was a pretty good meal, and I think it’s going to start going into our rotation as we continue to try to eat a lil bit healthier.

Happy Friday, I hope everybody has a great weekend and get out there and fire up that grill or smoker and cook something up! Everything tastes better over a lil fire!

 

Spatchcock Chicken

Spatchcock Chicken

Deary me! Mention that you are serving spatchcock chicken, and the ladies blush, the men frown and the children giggle. However, it is a real word that has been around since the 18th century. Numerous dictionaries agree on its usage as a noun and as a verb.”                                                                                            ~ The Naked Whiz (www.nakedwhiz.com)

That term raise an eyebrow? Pique your interest? It’s an actual term, I swear, I didn’t make it up and it’s been around at least since the 18th century. The benefits of spatchcock chicken is that 1)the bird cooks faster and 2)it allows the legs and thighs to reach a higher temperature than the breast. Breast meat needs to reach 165F, after that, it tends to dry out. Unfortunately, the legs and thighs are not usually done when the breast is. I like to take legs and thighs up to 175-180 before I consider them done. Spatchcok allows you to accomplish this. This really is a great way to prepare and cook a chicken in a shorter time with amazing results and after reading this post, I hope you give it a try.

So what is it and how do I do it? Very simple. Spatchcock means to dress and split a fowl (in this case chicken) in order to grill, roast or broil. No need to worry about dressing your chicken these days. All that is done for you before it gets to the store, but you will need to split it. I’m sure there are butchers who will do this for you if you ask nicely, but it’s easily done at home. Take a pair of poultry shears, you know, those sharp scissors you got with your knife set that you may or may not know what to do with (please don’t use these scissors for normal cutting jobs, save them for cooking). Flip your chicken breast side down and look for the backbone. You want to cut out that backbone, so starting on one side, cut just to the side of the backbone from the bottom to the top. Repeat on the other side. Whatever you do, please do not throw that backbone out. Seal it up and throw it in the freezer. They are great for making stock along with wing tip, but that’s another post.

Next, flip that chicken back over so the breast side is facing up. Place one hand on each  of the breast and press down. You will hear a pop. This is the breastbone breaking. You have successfully spatchcocked your first chicken. Some sources will have you actually take a knife and cut out the breastbone. I find this to be a tricky and unnecessary step. Breaking it works well enough. Now that I think about it, I probably should have taken pictures of this process to make it easier to understand, but working alone without my partner and getting chicken yuckiness all over my hands does not lend itself to very sanitary conditions. Maybe I’ll add some next time I do it, or just google how to spatchcock a chicken.

To cook this chicken, I went simple on the seasoning and just applied Dizzy Pig’s Swamp Venom, a rub that is very similar to most Cajun seasonings you might be familiar with like Tony Cachere’s, but with bolder flavors and more of a kick. I then set up my Egg at 400F for a direct cook, but using BGE’s Grill Extender to get the chicken up a little higher from the heat source. If you don’t have one of these, you can simply take 3 foil lined bricks and place them on top of your fire ring (or I’ve even heard of people using empty beer/soda cans), then place your grate on top of that. However you chose to do it, you want to raise that grate up high or your chicken will burn. I also used apple wood chips for a smoke flavor.

Spatchcock Chicken on the Egg

 In the above picture, you can just see how my grill extender is sitting on top of the original grate, thereby raising it up. This cook took only 1 hour and that was for a chicken around 4 lbs. From what I have heard, if you raise the chicken high enough above your heat source, you won’t need to flip it at all during the cook. Unfortunately, the BGE Grill Extender did not raise it as high as an Adjustable Rig would have. So after 30 minutes I had to flip my bird as the bottom was threatening to burn. After 30 more minutes, I checked the temperature and the breast was reading 164 and the thighs were at 177. I pulled the chicken off and let it rest under a loosely tented aluminum foil as we prepared the rest of the dinner.

Sliced

 Here is the chicken with the leg quarters removed. You can see how juicy it was and how it came out with a nice crisp skin. It was served up with a salad and some creamed corn. The Swamp Venom gave it a nice heat and the apple wood lent a nice, but not over powering smoke.

Spatchcock might not have that “Wow!” factor and eye-catching appeal as a Beer Can Chicken (but common’…who hasn’t seen a beer can chicken by now?), but I believe it produces vastly better results and in a shorter period of time. From now on, I believe this is how I’m going to do my chicken. Hmm….I do have a turkey in the freezer….

Christmas Prime Rib and Leftovers

Jolly Santa

      Is it me, or did the Christmas Holidays seem to fly by this year? Haven’t posted anything new lately because we’ve been so busy and I really haven’t cooked anything. Mrs. G and I did cook a prime rib on Christmas Day at her parents’ house, but it was in the oven, not on the Egg (which just motivated us to want to do one on the Egg more)

Prime Rib (bad cellphone pic, sorry)

 It weighed in a little bit over 6 pounds and had 3 bones.

Prime Rib

 But that’s not the real reason I’m writing this post. I’m writing it about what to do with the leftover bones. Now, I don’t know what you do with them. Heck, I didn’t know what I was going to do with them considering this was my first prime rib. Maybe you eat gnaw on them right there at the dinner. Maybe you give them to your dogs (mine aren’t that lucky). I decided I wanted to get some smoke on them and maybe cook down a bit more of that fat.

I set up my Egg for an indirect cook at 250 and added some apple wood chips for some smoke. While the Egg was getting ready, I coated the portions of the ribs that had not been seasoned during the original cook and added some Dizzy Pig Cow Lick Rub.  When the smoker was ready, I placed the ribs on the Egg for about 2 hours so that they could absorb some smoke flavor and build up a nice crust.

Ready

 I should have taken some pre-smoked pictures so you could tell the difference. But as you can see, the meat pulled back from the edges of the rib and we developed a nice crust.

Plated

 Knowing that 3 ribs was not going to feed Mrs. G and me for dinner, I also smoked up some sausage and we had a side of pasta to go along with it. I think it turned out real well. This was my first time using the DP Cow Lick (as I got it for Christmas) and I can’t wait to try it on some steak or a nice flat-iron or flank steak. The only thing I regret is when I trimmed the ribs off the prime rib, I wish I would have left some more meat on the bones. Oh well, live and learn and I know next time I will.

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