Brewing our House Pale Ale

Seems like I never remember to take pictures of any of my BGE cooks anymore, but I always manage to get a few of brew day. Been brewing a bunch of small batches this summer, partly to experiment and partly because I can do them inside on the stove and I don’t have to drag out my large batch equipment and sit outside in the Texas heat for a coupla hours and partly because I can knock a small batch out including clean up in under 3.5 hrs.

This weekend I did a small batch (2 gallon) of my house pale ale using Chinook and Cascade hops that should come in around 5% ABV and 35 IBUs. 2 gallons will net me about and 18 pack.

Boiling away on the stove

My ‘lil helper getting the wort down to yeast pitching temperature.

My fermentation chamber (mini dorm fridge) is all filled up now. 2 gallons of Pale Ale, 2.5 gallons of my Bourbon Barrel Porter (I brewed this once over 3.5 years ago. The longer I let it age, the better. The last one I drank at 3.5 years and it was the best. My plan is to now brew it every year in small batches and age each batch a minimum of 3 years. In 3 years the first batch will be ready, and every year I will have a new batch. If I can stick to the plan) and 1.5 gallons of pumpkin ale (cuz who wants more than a 12 pack of that stuff sitting around? It should be ready to go around Halloween or Thanksgiving).

And the obligatory pic of Duke, who has not taken off his swim goggles for 3 days now.

I’ll try and get some more cooking pics up soon. We did legs last night, and I know that we are doing burgers one night this week and chilli dogs another, so we’ll see if I can remember

Not “The Best” Marinade for Chicken

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Chicken quarters on the Egg

A few days ago, a member on the Big Green Egg forum shared a link to a blog for  “The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade”. I thought it sounded ok, but the title was off putting. Something about bloggers claiming “the best” anything just turns me off. Makes me not want to even try it.

A day or two later, I find myself needing a marinade for some chicken quarters and I stumbled on that same site again. Was it fortuitous? Was it destiny? Or was it just dumb luck?

I made a few changes. Didn’t have white onion, so subbed red onion. Italian parsley for parsley as I had that on hand. Garlic? I almost always double what a recipe called for. Same with cayenne pepper. After mixing it up, I tasted it and decided it wasn’t quite there for me so I added in 2 tsp of Louisiana hot sauce (I went light knowing that Duke would probably be eating some chicken). Mixed it all up, reserved about a cup or so and dumped the rest on some chicken quarters and let it go just short of 24 hours in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 12oz Mexican beer (I used Tecate, but any popular ones like Dos Equis or Modelo Especial would work)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

The next day, I got the Egg ready for a raised direct cook at 450F. Notice I said raised? I wouldn’t try this at the normal grate level of a Kamado cooker or direct on any other grill. You want to cook this either above the gasket of your Kamado grill or indirectly on a gas or charcoal grill. All that fat will cause flare ups and flare ups are bad. I threw in a bit of peach wood cuz why not? I had it on hand and fruit wood goes good with poultry.

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My setup for this cook. I used an Adjustable Rig from the Ceramic Grill Store and had my grate on the top level.

This cook took around 40-45 minutes, checking on it every 10-15 minutes, flipping and moving the chicken as needed. Poultry is generally safe to pull at 160F as it will continue to rise, but I like to take dark meat a little higher. 170-175 generally. Allows more fat to render out and the skin to get crispy.

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Getting there

The last 5-10 minutes, take the reserved marinade and brush it on the chicken, but watch out…it will cause your fire to start flaring up. If you aren’t using a Kamado grill, now might be a good time to take that chicken and move it to direct heat to get the skin to crisp up, but keep a close eye on it as it will burn fast.

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Done

I think the chicken came out pretty good. Had a good flavor to it, just a tad bit of heat, barely noticeable, but still tasty. Had a very interesting orange almost peachy color to it. Not sure what that was, but I know cherry wood can make poultry appear reddish, so I’m guessing it was from the peach wood.  Duke ate it up, but that’s not saying much. He’s hit or miss lately on whether he wants to eat meat on any given night. The wife and I both liked it. Was it the best? No. Was it the greatest? No. Was it good? Yeah, and I’d probably make it again. Probably tweak it a little more, so yeah…there you go. A pretty good marinade for chicken that won’t disappoint you that has potential to be really good if you doctor it up to meet your tastes.

Two pet peeves about the original post:

  1. I hate it when recipes say beer. Just beer. What kind of beer? An ale or a lager? Dark or light beer? Hoppy like an IPA? There are so many kinds of beer out there and each could add its own flavor. I went with a Mexican beer because I figured a light beer would work best with chicken. It was left in my fridge by somebody and I was willing to sacrifice it over one of my homebrews. Plus it wouldn’t be too hoppy. I think I’d like to try it again with a Hefeweizen or a Wit beer to see how that might work.
  2. “The Best” Who decided it was the best? Was there a panel of judges and if so, what are there qualifications? What was the judging criteria? Has it won any awards at any BBQ competitions? Look, I understand they are trying to…actually I don’t understand what they are trying to do. It might be good, it might be great, I just hate it when bloggers (or anybody) calls something “the best”

 

Another beer…

Chocolate Stout

I really meant to get another post up on food but I guess that didn’t happen. Instead, I brewed a chocolate stout. I wasn’t 100% on how it would turn out, so I opted to brew another 1 gallon batch instead of the normal 5 gallon batch most homebrewers do. Who wants 5 gallons of something they don’t want to drink?

My home made cooler mash tun
My home made cooler mash tun

 

Mrs G was already complaining about the smell from the mash in the tun and since it was so nice out, I did my boil outside.

My outdoor setup including Duke's pot of sand and shovel
My outdoor setup including Duke’s pot of sand and shovel

 

The chocolate flavor comes from the addition of 85 g of Hershey’s Cocoa powder at flameout.

 A little over 1.064 OG
A little over 1.064 OG

Into the one gallon fermenter

You can kinda see me in the reflection if you look hard enough
You can kinda see me in the reflection if you look hard enough…and our messy kitchen. Actually, don’t look hard.

 

Fingers crossed that the yeast will do its thing and time will smooth it out, otherwise based on an initial testing I’ll be stuck with a chocolatey, hoppy, bitter mess. I’m sure it will be fine…I hope.

And the obligatory phot of Lil Griffin taken recently at a photo shoot.
And the obligatory photo of Lil Griff taken recently at a photo shoot.

Bavarian Hefeweizen

Beer. Cuz sometimes you don’t feel like grilling.

Had a few hours to myself yesterday for a change and decided to brew 2 gallons of Bavarian Hefeweizen. Weather was nice, sunny and around 65F so perfect for brewing some beer outside.

My outdoor brewing set up yesterday
My outdoor brewing set up yesterday

Got the wort cooled and into 2 1gallon carboys and pitched the yeast.

Into the carboys
Into the carboys

I know I’ve been real bad about posting anything lately. Life changes and priorities change. Amazing what a kid can do to your life. That, and we’ve not been doing anything fancy lately. Steaks, burgers and simple cuts of meat. I need to do better, but am not going to make any promises, although I do have a few things I’ve got planned so we’ll see.

Duke's showing some interest in grilling already.
Duke’s showing some interest in grilling already.

 

Summer Beer

 

Summer Beer
Summer Beer. A refreshing cocktail for the hot months coming up.

     When Mrs. G and I first started dating, we would go to this pub close to her place called The Old Monk. Great pub feeling and atmosphere. Phenomenal beer and whiskey list. And the fish and chips? Out of this world. If you are ever in Dallas, I would highly recommend getting them. But that’s a topic for another time. What I want to talk to you about is a drink they have on their menu called Summer Beer. I ordered this drink one hot summer day, not really knowing what to expect. It was  recommended by our waitress and I was told it was a cool, refreshing drink which sounded perfect for if my memory can be trusted, it was approaching 100+ degrees outside. The menu simply described it as vodka, Blue Moon and lemonade over ice.

Summer Beer
Summer Beer

     I recently decided I wanted to try and recreate that drink at home as we no longer live 5 minutes away from that bar. It was a lot of hard work, and much alcohol was consumed, but I think I found a recipe that you the reader will enjoy and will get plenty of compliments for at your next barbecue or party. The things I do for you guys.  The following recipe is perfect for two good sized drinks.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz Shiner White Wing
  • 1.5 oz of Dripping Springs Vodka
  • 8 oz of lemonade
  • orange slices
  • ice

Directions

  1. Mix together first 3 ingredients
  2. Pour over an ice filled glass
  3. Add a slice of orange
  4. Squeeze orange into glass, sip and enjoy

     I suggested Shiner White Wing and Drippings Springs Vodka because I like to support Texas whenever I can, but feel free to use your favorite brand of vodka or Belgian White. Blue Moon is pretty common and easy to find in most areas as it is brewed by MillersCoors.

Doesn't that look good?
Doesn’t that look good?

     This just might be my choice of cocktails this summer as the heat bears down on us and becomes oppressive. Cool, crisp and refreshing. Just be careful. It does pack a punch and it will sneak up on you.