Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Chef Summit 2018

FTC Disclaimer:  This trip was sponsored by Certified Angus Beef® Brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions are my own.

Earlier this month Alexis and I were thrilled to attend Chef Summit 2018 at the Certified Angus Beef® Brand's Culinary Center.  Chefs from all over North America came to

  • get hands-on butchery lessons and break down a side of beef,
  • see the level of dedication and care that goes into producing the Best Angus Beef, and
  • gain a better appreciation of under-utilized cuts to use for delicious and profitable menu items.

Here is some of the fun that David Dial (Spiced...One Dash At A Time), Cindy Kerschner (Cindy's Recipes and Writings), Alexis and I had while getting to learn side-by-side with the chefs. 

Day 1

The first day was a reception followed by a dinner prepared by the talented chefs of the Culinary Center. 

Because the event started in the early evening, Alexis and I drove up instead of flying.  This allowed us to enjoy a casual drive through the slightly mountainous Kentucky/Tennessee border, rolling horse country of Kentucky, and the bucolic countryside of Ohio.

Tara opened the event with a session about the history of the brand.  Fun Fact: The Certified Angus Beef® Brand all started because a rancher got a flavorless, tough steak at a restaurant.
The brand began as a desire to foster quality beef.  This program was built on a foundation of quality specifications formulated by a meat scientist.  To this day, quality is the key to their pull-through marketing strategy.

Waste not, want not.  The chefs use trimmings from the Meat Lab to create tasty beef sausages. The tasso is a beefy spin on a spicy Cajun ham that we have made at home, and it was my favorite of the bunch.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Competition Style Brisket on a Kamado Grill

[FTC Disclosure]  This is NOT a sponsored post.  However, we are sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef® Brand.  We have personal relationships with the owners/operators of Flame Boss, Kick Ash Basket, and Albukirky Seasonings.

Brisket is my strongest category at KCBS BBQ competitions.  We aren't a team competing at 20+ events a year, but we almost always get a Top 10 "call" in the brisket category. This isn't the only way to cook a competition brisket, but it is what works for us.

How to make competition style smoked brisket on a kamado grill, such as kamado joe, Big Green Eg,

We now use a Deep South Smoker GC36 for competitions and large cooks, but this is how we do the brisket on kamados using the same process.

Selecting A Brisket

Timing is critical because I like to wet age my briskets for 28 to 32 days before smoking them.  The average time that beef wet ages before selling in retail is 12.7 days, so I typically need to wet age my briskets for about another 15 to 19 days.  I always ask my butcher for the harvest date to be sure.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Green Egg Tuesday at Elder Ace Hardware - Chattanooga

I will be talking grilling with our friends at Elder Ace Hardware's East Brainerd location in Chattanooga.  It is Tuesday, June 12th from 5pm to 7pm.


We will be talking about the Flame Boss, beef tenderloin, and maybe a few secrets that I learn at the Certified Angus Beef® Brand's Chef Summit next week.  If you are in the area, come on out!

Monday, May 21, 2018

Green Chile Steak Seasoning

[FTC Disclaimer]  This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef® Brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions are my own.

I'm a believer in that good steaks only need a little salt, pepper, and garlic.  But sometimes you want to shake your seasonings up a bit.  That's why I came up with this Green Chile Steak Seasoning this weekend for a pair of Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steaks.  

Green Chile Steak Seasoning recipe for ribeyes, strip steaks, flank steaks and more.

I tweaked the usual salt, pepper, garlic base with cumin, coriander, and poblano chile for something that is more "Summer-ish" to me.  Poblano is very mild, it is more fruity than spicy to me. Hatch chiles are another great chile to use for this.  If you want to elevate the heat, switch it out for jalapeno or even serrano chiles.

Green Chile Steak Seasoning

Ingredients


  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper (16 mesh, Malabar preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried poblano chile
  • 1.5 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground dried shallot or onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Candied Bacon French Toast Casserole with Mixed Berry Syrup

We served Candied Bacon French Toast Casserole with Mixed Berry Syrup at the Sunshine State Eggfest.  

Candied Bacon French Toast Casserole with Mixed Berry Syrup

This dish was Alexis' idea, and it was a huge hit.  There is a lot of sweet in this dish, with the homemade syrup and whipped topping but the candied bacon has just enough saltiness to balance out the sweet.

With 4,700 people attending, our sample sizes were a wee bit smaller.

This dish is suitable for serving at an Eggfest because about 90% of is can be made ahead of time.  That also makes it great to serve the family on a weekend morning.

Breakfast on a Big Green Egg

Candied Bacon French Toast Casserole with Mixed Berry Syrup

Ingredients

For the Candied Bacon


Friday, May 4, 2018

Event Recap: 2018 Sunshine State Eggfest - Vero Beach Florida

Last weekend, thousands of hungry tasters descended on the 2018 Sunshine State Eggfest hosted by Wassi's Meat Market like a horde of ravenous locusts.  They were there to do 4 things:
  1. Taste samples of foods cooked on Big Green Egg kamado grills by some of the best backyard chefs in the country.
  2. Raise money for a good cause, Candlelighters of Brevard.
  3. Take advantage of fantastic deals on Big Green Eggs, grilling supplies, and accessories.
  4. Chew bubblegum.
They were all out of bubblegum.



In addition to cooking at the event, I was part of a Big Green Egg Dream Team cooking the dinner for 400+ people at the Friday night Meet and Greet.  Here are some behind the scenes pictures from this fantastic Eggfest.

We added branded aprons to our cook team's uniform this year.  We were having problems with getting these done but Alexis' friend, KS Customs in Knoxville was able to embroider them for us on short notice.
Being a successful cook team is like an iceberg.  The effort that you see on Saturday is just 10% of the work that goes into it.  The other 90% is a ton of preparation, planning, and sweat equity from cook teams, vendors, and the sponsoring Egg dealer.

All of our Eggfest gear loaded in our Nissan Titan XD
Doing a successful and food safe cook at a big Eggfest like this one requires a good bit of equipment. Here are 4 Cambro hot boxes for keeping food warm, a large Igloo cooler, a Yeti 75, prep table, my grilling gear box, a griddle, tent, adjustable rigs, chairs, and cases of foil steam pans.
It's a 700+ mile trip to Vero Beach so everything has to be neatly stacked, waterproofed, and tied down.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Leftover Brisket: Brisket, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits.

[FTC Disclaimer]  We have no affiliation with Deep South Smokers.  Flame Boss has given us samples but we have also bought units from them at full price too, they are worth it.  We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef Brand but this is not a sponsored post.

We smoked a couple of briskets a couple of weekends ago to practice for upcoming BBQ competitions.  The next morning I woke up at 5am with this idea in mind.  It's a brisket, egg, and cheese biscuit, complete with a cheese skirt.


  • The brisket was shredded from the point, the best part of the brisket IMO.
  • I seasoned the egg with a little of our beef rub recipe and fried it sunny side up.
  • I made a "cheese skirt" using Bojangle's concept for the Cheddar Bo biscuit that they used to sell.  I took the bottom half of a biscuit, topped it with fresh shredded Colby-jack cheese, and put it on a sheet pan in a 425f oven for 3-4 minutes.  This melts the cheese in a "skirt" around the biscuit.
  • Alexis made the lemon pepper sour cream biskets.  


I could have done the briskets on our kamado grills but since it was for competition practice, I used the Deep South Smokers GC36.  This is a gravity fed, insulated box smoker.  

The Flame Boss is an electronic controller that maintains a specific temperature in your cooker and monitors the cooking temperature of up to 3 meats.  It is wireless via wi-fi so it lets me keep an eye on things on my smart phone.  These work with a pit like my Deep South or something smaller like Big Green Eggs.
 I use several factors for selecting my briskets.
  • Source - When possible, I like to get Certified Angus Beef Brand briskets because I find their 10 quality standards provides a consistent brisket.  My second choice is prime briskets, usually from Costco because they are about the only store that routinely carries prime brisket in my area.  I'll do wagyu from time to time but I've scored better without it.  
  • Size - It depends. For competition I look for 17-18 pounds.  If I'm cooking it whole on a large Big Green Egg, the length limits it, usually around 13 pounds. 
  • Shape - For competition I buy 2 briskets. One with a very nice flat and the other with a big point. I get two because on one, I trim the point short so part of the point protects the flat. I'll take my slices from that flat and the burnt ends from the other point.  The flat should be well marbled, flexible, and have "mostly even" thickness. It should also have color to it, I don't like pale briskets.  If I am just buying one for home, I look for the one that has the nicest flat with a decent point.
We separate the brisket flat from the point for competition.  It makes the cook time faster and it gets more bark on my point for burnt ends.