So Garnet has been cooking with this cool Sous Vide cooker by Anova. If you are unfamiliar with this method of cooking, it is really very simple. You vacuum seal the food and seasonings in a plastic bag. The bags go into the water bath and the device heats the water to the temperature you set. He had his set at 125F. After being seared on the grill and resting, the meats were a perfect medium rare.

Anova Sous Vide

Anova Sous Vide loaded with many different meats.

 

8 (4-ounce) bone-in lamb loin chops, trimmed

4-ounce bone-in lamb loin chops, trimmed

 

 

New York Strips

New York Strips

trimmed tri-tips

A couple of trimmed tri-tips.

mini big green egg

Madman Mike lighting up the mini Big Green Egg.

Namath Rapid Cooker

Roasting some Green Chilies

Big Green Egg warming up the tortillas

Warming up the tortillas

Tri-tip and Chicken Tacos

Tri-tip and Chicken Tacos – These had a little green onion on them with some kind of awesome sauce and squeeze of lime juice. I had four of them.

lamb chops

The lamb chops didn’t even make it on to a plate.

 

Prime Beef Filets

A few beef filets. MOTHER OF GOD these were good. People were just eating them with their hands. We looked and sounded like caveman, stuffing our faces and grunting at each other.

Medium rare prime filet

Here is one of the filets cut in half. The entire thing was just perfectly cooked. The Anova Sous Vide is one of the coolest cooking devices I have ever seen.

 

 

This years Eggs in the Desert event turned out Egglicious. The teams cranked out some really great food. Here is a list of the winners. The three time champion Garnett Marshal retired this year and taught a really interesting Cooking on the Egg class instead.

  1. Red Brick 421 votes, XL Big Green Egg and Stand
  2. Team “Just Us” BBQ 393 votes, Sure Flame Grill with Cart
  3. Zach’s All Stars 338 votes, Pronto Pizza Oven
  4. Smokin Hot 244 votes, Yeti Roadie
  5. AZ  BBQ 206 votes
  6. Dom’s BBQ 197 votes
  7. Texas BBQ 146 votes
  8. Rough Stock BBQ 132 votes
  9. Glazed and Confused 128 votes
  10. Ballesteros 76 votes
  11. Rex 55 votes

 

The new Joe Jr. is out and it’s pretty freaking sweet. This little dynamo is perfect for cooking for two people. You can sear a couple of steaks, grill some chicken or bake some fantastic pizzas. Once this baby is up to temperature you can crank out a perfect pizza in about 5 minutes. Have fun making small artisan pizzas while you get caught up with friends.

Joe Jr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-3260-BL

SB-3260-BL

The SunBrite TV SB-3220HD outdoor HDTV is rated “safe” for outdoor use and features a powder-coated aluminum exterior – for extra protection from salt-air, humidity, wind, rain and snow … full-HD 1080p, ability to operate in temps up to 120 or below -20 degrees F, a 20 WATT detachable speaker module and 2-year parts and labor warranty. The SB-3220HD is shipped to you with its companion weatherproof remote control.

The Pit Barrel Cooker has been making its rounds on the Internet and I decided to try one out. I thought that some of the company’s claims were a bit dubious and figured the only way to know for sure was to unbox one and cook on it myself.

SETUP

True to the videos, this cooker is ready to use out of the box. The only thing that needs to be adjusted is the air intake (you will need a phillips screwdriver for this). The following items are included;

  • Three legged barrel stand
  • 35 gallon food grade drum with horseshoe handles
  • Charcoal basket
  • Cooking grate
  • 8 stainless steel food hooks
  • Two pieces of rebar to hang the hooks on
  • Wooden hook handle to remove hot hooks

The only thing you need to do to start cooking is place the stand on the ground, adjust the air intake and get the charcoal going. In their videos they claim that you do not need to burn it in first. However after seeing a video where they light charcoal using lighter fluid, I decided to do a 40 minute burn anyways. I lit the charcoal using my chimney starter, which took about 17 minutes and worked really well. Personally, I would never recommend using lighter fluid in any cooking equipment and I think almost all competitive BBQ competitors would agree. The air intake cover is flat and does not seal the barrel even when fully closed. So shutting down the cooker is difficult if not impossible.

IMG_0234

NOTE: There is no thermometer built in so will need a third party device. A digital probe on a wire would probably be best, but I just used my laser thermometer and focused it on one of the pieces of rebar. After about ½ hour the Pit Barrel Cooker leveled out at about 235 F.

COOKING TRI-TIP

The first thing I tried to cook with my Pit Barrel Cooker was a tri-tip. I had a 5 pack I picked up as I was testing several different units this week and boy do I love tri-tip! Personally I prefer a Santa Maria style rub, but opted to use the beef and game rub that came with the cooker. I trimmed the tri-tip, seasoned it with the rub and hung it by the point using one of the provided food hooks. I started temp testing the tri-tip after about an hour. It was at about 103 F internal temperature so I started checking it every 15 minutes. After about 1:45 minutes it was at 125 and I pulled it so I could sear the outside. It already had a bit of a crust but I wanted to brown it up a tad more. I fired up my gas grill and seared it for a couple of minutes on each side. I let it rest for about 15 minutes in the microwave. It was cooked just right. Tender, juicy and great flavor.

COOKING CHICKEN

This part of the testing made me laugh. In one of the company’s cooking demonstration videos they use a couple of chickens and hang the halves from the hooks. The leg bones are the closest to the fire which hit temperatures exceeding 500 F. I thought that there was no way the legs wouldn’t be blackened stumps by the time the breast meat was properly cooked. I used the all purpose rub that came with the cooker.

IMG_0242

The amount provided barely coated the two whole chickens I was preparing. The rub is maybe a 7 out of 10 but I wanted to try and cook the chicken like they do in their demonstration video. I placed the hooks though the chicken halves so they held up the wings.

IMG_0251

The legs seemed to hang really low and the connective tissue seemed weak and flimsy. I was highly skeptical and guessed that the leg portions would drop off into the fire or at least be horribly over done. After about an hour I received an emergency call and had to leave to pick up my cat and transfer him to a surgery center. By the time I got back home the chicken had been in the cooker for almost 3 hours. I expected it to be burnt to a crisp. Amazingly enough the chicken was golden brown with a nice crispy skin. I took out the halves and placed them in the microwave for 15 minutes to rest. The skin was like bacon and the white and dark meat were tender, juicy and delicious. Check out the pictures. I was impressed by the forgiveness of this cooker.

IMG_0265

IMG_0273

IMG_0275

IMG_0276

IMG_0277

PROS

  • Cedar plank anything works well.
  • Cooks chicken and tri-tip really well.
  • Easy to setup
  • Great price point

Cons:

  • Air vent is held in place by a screw so it is difficult to adjust or shut down
  • Even if you close the vent, it is flat and the barrel is round so there is a gap on either side of the opening and your charcoal will continue to burn until it is gone.
  • When you open the lid there is a huge heat gain as the air intake can not be easily closed.
  • Lid horseshoe handle gets pretty warm.
  • While the hooks allow you to cook quite a bit of food, you are limited by the size of the grate when finishing the foods.

THOUGHTS FROM THE REST OF THE GUYS

Mike – The beef ribs I cooked on it, turned out amazing. I was laughing and how good they turned out. I don’t understand how it does not burn stuff but somehow it doesn’t.

JT – The ribs Mike made were really great. I was impressed by what this cooker could do.

Adam – My back hurts.

Melissa – I like this grill. It is light and easy to move. The food made on it, is really tasty also.

 

BBQ Dragon

The BBQ Dragon is a fire-starting tool that starts charcoal faster than a chimney without using lighter fluid, controls the heat of grills and smokers, revives smouldering fires, and scares cats off of counters. It works by blowing large amounts of low-velocity, cool air at fires, providing them with more oxygen so they burn hotter and faster. It’s cordless, hands-free and portable so you can use it tailgating and camping or at the beach. It works for grills, smokers, fire pits, fireplaces, wood stoves, and more.

 

The Southwest BBQ Academy’s latest class featuring Chris Marks was held at the BBQ Island Superstore in Tempe Arizona. The beautiful December day was an added bonus to the comprehensive training Chris put his students through. The following are just a few snapshots from the class.

IMG_1627_11422388634_l

Some of the students that showed up early grabbed a cup of coffee and started flipping through the class material.

IMG_1625_11422364825_l

Ribs are a class favorite. Many people are intimidated by them, but after the class find that that they are quite easy to prepare and smoke.

IMG_1630_11422366715_l

Chris holding up a rack of ribs and answering questions about them.

IMG_1628_11422528963_l

The students got some hands on experience prepping their own half rack of ribs.

IMG_1631_11422392016_l

After the ribs were prepped onto the smoker they went.

IMG_1633_11422531183_l

They turned out fantastic as always.

IMG_1657_11422401306_l

Next up was brisket. Here is a shot of a finished brisket that he had prepared the night before.

IMG_1638_11422394456_l

He used the finished brisket to demonstrate how to cut it up after it was smoked.

IMG_1643_11422372045_l

What a beautiful smoke ring!

IMG_1646_11422396974_l

Tender and juicy!

IMG_1649_11422398404_l

Working with the brisket burnt ends.

IMG_1650_11422399596_l

After the brisket portion of the class Chris dug into pork shoulders. He covered trimming, injections, rubs and cooking techniques. This is a shot of one that he had prepped the night before so the students could taste the finished product.

IMG_1664_11422402424_l

Delicious bark, great smoke ring and tremendous flavor.

IMG_1671_11422381535_l

Chicken was the last of the big four meats Chris tackled. This is a shot of the steaming method he demonstrated which helps get that bite through skin everybody is striving for.

IMG_1678_11422383515_l

Nice shot of the partially cooked chicken.

IMG_1673_11422406246_l

It’s not even finished yet and it already looking delicious.

IMG_1674_11422544993_l

Hot damn that looks tasty. I’ll take two please!

IMG_1679_11422407836_l

Chris also demonstrated how to spatchcock a chicken and why it is a good method to use sometimes.

IMG_1683_11422408416_l

The showstopper was this half prime rib he prepared. Unfortunately I did not get any pictures of the finished product.

IMG_1688_11422548603_l

The class covered a few other interesting items like golf ball or lollipop chicken, which is basically a half deboned leg with the meat balled up and wrapped in bacon. He also made the short version of his unbelievable delicious burnt ends. As always the Southwestern BBQ Academy came through with another great class. Thanks to Chris, the students, everyone who helped with the class and to Derek for taking the time to snap these great photos.

Beef-Chile-Verde-Tacos

This is a great recipe that uses chuck roast instead of pork.  In the summer I put the crockpot outside or in the garage to keep the heat out of the house.  If you roast the peppers and tomatillos on your grill the entire meal can be prepared without heating up your home.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs chuck roast
  • 2 medium yellow onions (chopped)
  • 6 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 24 ounces chicken broth
  • 3 plabano peppers
  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 habanero peppers
  • 12 tomatillos
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3 cups pico de gallo
  • Key limes
  • 24 real tortillas (street taco size)

Directions

  1. Smoke the roast until the internal temperature reaches 165. I used lump charcoal and pecan wood. One the roast reaches 165 remove it from smoker and let rest. You can prepare the rest of the meal while it is cooling down enough to handle it.
  2. While the roast is smoking you can prepare the rest of the dish.  Remove husks from tomatillos and rinse them well. Cut out the stem and cut the tomatillos in half
  3. Cut the plabano and jalapeno peppers in half and break out the stem and rinse under cool water. You can remove all the seeds or not, it is up to you.  Leave the habaneros alone, they are just going to go straight into the blender.
  4. Roast the peppers and tomatillos until the skin starts to turn black. Generally you end up with black areas and if you try to blacken the whole pepper, parts of it will be over cooked. Place the roasted peppers in a paper bag and close the top by folding it over a couple of times. The peppers will be ready to peal in about 10 minutes.
  5. Put the roasted tomatillos in the blender skin and all. Spread the chopped onion into the bottom of the crockpot.
  6. Cut the smoked roast into ½ inch sized cubes and add to crockpot. Don’t worry about cutting out all the fat, it adds flavor and will melt after being in the crockpot for a few hours.
  7. After about 10 minutes remove the peppers from the paper bag and peel the skins off.
  8. Place the all the peppers , tomatillos, cumin, cilantro, garlic and salt into a blender and pulse until the mixture is an even consistency.
  9. Pour mixture over the beef. Bring the crockpot to a boil and then simmer for 2 – 3 hours.
  10. Warm tortillas. Use a slotted spoon to add the chile verde to the tortillas and top with pico de gallo. Serve with key lime quarters, hot sauce and ice cold beer.