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Add This Technique to Your Repertoire: Smoke-Braising

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The ancient Greeks and Romans named late July and early August “the dog days of summer.” Many people associate the phrase with insufferably hot weather and panting, shade-seeking canines, when in fact, it references the annual rising in the nighttime sky of the dog star, Sirius.

In any case, this is the time of year when all but the most intrepid cooks avoid “heating up the kitchen.”

But do you have to give up flavorful, long-simmered comfort foods like short ribs, coq au vin (chicken cooked in wine), pot roast, or stews until the cooler days of fall? Not at all. In fact, your grill or smoker (gas, charcoal, or pellet) is capable of producing the best iterations of these dishes you’ve ever eaten.

 

What is Braising?
All of the above rely on a combination cooking method called braising (from the French brasier). Meat—especially tougher cuts with abundant fat and connective tissue—and sometimes dense vegetables are seared over high dry heat, then cooked low and slow with liquid (often broth fortified with aromatics) in a covered heat-proof container. The results are meltingly tender with rich, deeply infused flavors.

Braising outdoors not only keeps your summer kitchen cool, it gives you the option of seasoning your dish with fragrant wood smoke. (Try that in an oven or slow cooker.) Whether you cook over wood or a wood-enhanced fire using hardwood chunks or chips, your hands-on time will be minimal, especially if you use a gas or pellet grill; a charcoal grill will require periodic refueling, of course.

We like the technique so much, we call it “smoke-braising.”

 

What is Smoke-Braising?
Chances are good you may have already tried smoke-braising without being aware of it. The “Texas crutch”—enclosing smoked meat tightly in foil or a covered container to finish cooking—is one example. It is often used to barbecue ribs (see 3-2-1 Ribs) or take brisket from its exasperating mid-cook “stall” to the finish line. Or maybe you’ve transferred pork shoulder to an aluminum foil-covered drip pan to let it simmer until finished in its own juices.

 

How to Smoke-Braise on Your Grill
To begin, you have two options: You can sear the meat (or vegetables) over a hot fire, or you can expose the food to wood smoke, the length of time depending on the food.

Next, reduce the heat on your grill or smoker to medium-low, 225 to 300 degrees. Enclose the food in aluminum foil and add a small amount of liquid (about 1/2 cup for a rack of spare ribs, for example) before tightly crimping the edges. Alternatively, place the food in a Dutch oven or disposable aluminum foil pan, add liquid and aromatics, and cover with the lid or foil. Replenish the liquid as needed. (Be very careful when opening the foil pouch or covered container as the escaping steam will be extremely hot.) Continue to cook until the food is done to your liking.

If desired, you can lift the now-cooked food out of the liquid, paint it with a sauce or glaze, and sizzle it directly over the fire. Or the flavorful braising liquid can be turned into an accompanying gravy or sauce. Your choice.

Below are links to a few of our favorite smoke-braised dishes, including one for Whiskey-Brined Pork Shoulder from my newly-released book, Healthy Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker Cookbook. But feel free to come up with your own. 

 

Best Cuts of Meat for Smoke-Braising
In the meantime, here are some good candidates for this cooking technique:

Pork shoulder, loin roast, belly, shanks/hocks, or ribs (spare ribs, baby backs, or country-style ribs)
Beef short ribs
Lamb shanks, shoulder, or ribs
Beef chuck or top round roast
Chicken thighs, legs, or bone-in breasts
Turkey thighs or legs
Globe artichokes
Root vegetables
Beef or veal brisket
Oxtails
Beef tongue or cheeks

 

Asian-style beef oxtails braised with mushrooms, ginger, scallions, garlic, and beef broth.

 

Smoke-Braising Recipes:
1. Whiskey-Brined Pork Shoulder

Get the Recipe »

 

2. Smoke-Braised Lamb Shanks

Get the Recipe »

 

3. Chorizo-Spiced Smoked Beef Tacos

Get the Recipe »

 

4. Project Smoke Brisket

Get the Recipe »

 

Have you tried the smoke-braising technique? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram!

The post Add This Technique to Your Repertoire: Smoke-Braising appeared first on Barbecuebible.com.

Grilling Techniques,Homepage Feature,Recipes & Techniques,Techniques,smoke-braising

By: Cialina TH
Title: Add This Technique to Your Repertoire: Smoke-Braising
Sourced From: barbecuebible.com/2020/07/24/smoke-braising-technique/
Published Date: 07/24/20

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Grilling Tips

Nashville Hot Cauliflower

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Say wha?
 
Saw this idea a few weeks ago, don't remember where.  I started with a roasted cauliflower recipe I like to use; boil the whole head in heavily-salted water for no more than 5 minutes, drain for ten, coat surface with oil and black pepper, then roast at 450º for 25 minutes.  I didn't know if I should pre-coat with the oil, as I'd be dipping it after it was cooked, so I painted one-half of the head with oil and marked it with a toothpick.  After 15 minutes on the Egg I had this:
 

 
The left side does show a bit more darkening, but not really worth the trouble.
 
I had printed out a Nashville Hot Chicken recipe some months back, but haven't made it yet.  I looked it up, and the first two ingredients for the sauce were 1) half-lb of lard, and 2) two sticks of butter!    I thought that may be a bit overwhelming so I made something up:  melted 3 Tblspns of butter, added a clove of garlic, then whisked in a tsp of cayenne, 1/4 cup of Frank's Red-Hot, 2 tsp soy sauce, and 2 tsp of a cornstarch/water slurry.  Once thickened, I poured it in a bowl big enough for the cauliflower head.  
 
After 15 minutes on the Egg, I put the cauliflower in the bowl and rolled it around; was just the right amount to totally coat it.  Returned it to the Egg for ten more minutes to "set" the sauce:
 

 
Kinda purty, like a 7 pound meatball.  I sliced it into "steaks", not florets, and let the pieces fall where they may.  Served with Kimchee:
 

 
The kimchee added nothing as far as color contrast, and nothing to do with Tennessee barbeque, but Ron's recent thread had me hungry for kimchee so…  The meal could've used a big pile of white rice, however.
 
Thanks for looking.  

EggHead Forum

By: Botch
Title: Nashville Hot Cauliflower
Sourced From: eggheadforum.com/discussion/1228032/nashville-hot-cauliflower
Published Date: 06/06/21

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Grilling Tips

A brief caveman pic tutorial

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For those on the reverse sear/caveman fence, this may or may not seal the deal; (all temps *F on the dome)
Low and Slow around 250*F to around 7-8 *F below your desired finish temp. (Expect this step to run around 45 minutes for 1 1/2" and reasonably up steaks-half inch excluded  )

Now time for the hot and fast:  Open the dome and shut the lower vent-let the fire produce a hot lava bed across the coals,

Time for some long tongs and nimble-flip at around 60-90 seconds and pull when your finish temp is there.

You will be justly rewarded.  Add to your arsenal.
Stay healthy and safe out there- (Same steak for the whole show!)

EggHead Forum

By: lousubcap
Title: A brief caveman pic tutorial
Sourced From: eggheadforum.com/discussion/1228033/a-brief-caveman-pic-tutorial
Published Date: 06/07/21

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Grilled Flatbread with Charred Shallots and Figs

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Figs are something I have let fall to the wayside in recent years. There was a time when I eagerly awaited the short windows of time when I was able to walk into my local grocery and purchase tender and sweet figs, and over the years they've worked their way into dishes on this site and off. The shift to almost entirely home cooking during the pandemic reminded me of the virtues of figs and the additional fodder they provide for recipes that offer something different from my usual rotation. So I picked up a package back in the fall and used some pantry staples to put together these grilled flatbreads with charred shallots and figs, then I wrote it up and scheduled the post for seven months from that date to remind to eat more figs when their first season hits in early summer.

This recipe was really born out of finding something new to do with figs that I purchased on a whim, and a pizza making session the day before I made these flatbreads left me with a desire to keep rolling with grilling dough. I have made many variations of flatbread dough throughout the years, but they were all doughs specialized for a specific cuisine, so I was looking for a more all-purpose recipe here and decided to try one out I saw on Food52. The hallmark of this high hydration dough is the large amount of extra-virgin olive oil in it, which I hoped would make this a flavorful bread without the long fermentation time I normally use to achieve that goal.

The first rise for the dough to double in volume took just under and hour, and during that downtime, I put together a balsamic glaze to use as a finishing drizzle on the flatbreads. I had a very small bottle of balsamic vinegar in the cupboard, so I poured the entire contents into a saucepan and added a little brown sugar to it. I then let the mixture simmer over medium-low heat until it reduced by half and had a spoon-coating thickness. When done, I removed from the heat and set aside.

Once the initial rise was finished, I transferred the dough to a well floured cutting board (it was a very sticky dough), divided it into four, and then formed each of those pieces into a ball. I set the portioned dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, covered with a damp cloth, and let it start the second rise, which took about 30 minutes.

During this time, I got everything else together needed for the final flatbreads so I could assemble them very quickly while the bread was still hot and at its very best. After lighting the fire, I cut up my figs into somewhat thin slices and also halved and peeled six small shallots.

The grill was ready to go after twenty minutes of ignition time, and I began by grilled the shallots, which I did over direct heat, placing them cut side down and just letting them cook until well charred. At this point they were somewhat tender, but not fully, so to finish them off, I flipped them over and grilled them until second side was also charred, which took less time than the first since they were already more than partially cooked. Once done, I transferred the shallots to a cutting board, removed the root ends that were holding them together on the grill, and then cut them into thin slices.

The shallots cooked pretty quickly, which was a good thing because the fire was still blazing hot to grill the bread, and a hot fire makes for the best flatbreads. I've rolled out other flatbreads I've made before, but this dough was so soft and stretchy, I went with freeform hand stretching this time. I did as best I could to get the bread even throughout, but, like with pizza dough, it was hard not to have a little extra heft around the edges with the center being thinner.

Happy enough with my globular oval shape, I carefully put the dough over the fire and let it cook until it began to brown a bit. I then flipped it over and browned on the second side and by then the bread was mostly cooked through, so I just kept flipping and moving it as needed to get it across the finish line and add a little extra color too.

As soon as the bread was off the grill, I brushed it with olive oil and assembled the final dish. I started with a layer of arugula, which I ended up going heavier on with subsequent flatbreads for an increased peppery character. Next went on the slices of figs and strips of shallots followed by dollops of a soft goat cheese and a drizzle of balsamic glaze. After slicing it up, I dug in and ate it while still pretty hot.

My first taste was of the bread, which had a nice crunch and chew, although it was not as flavorful as dough I let ferment for many more hours at room temperature or days in the fridge. That lighter touch though meant the toppings were more prominent, and for me it was the sweet and fruity figs that served as the centerpiece. Although there wasn't one in every bite, their presence was lasting and was elevated by the tangy and sugary glaze and given savory contrasts by the cheese, arugula, and shallots. I consumed a couple slices of this first flatbread before moving on and cooking the rest—wanting each one to be as fresh as possible when served. All-in-all, this was a good reminder that I need to get figs back into the rotation more, and having written this post mainly as a nudge to myself, you may see at least one more recipe featuring this dual seasoned fruit on the site before the year is out.
Published on Thu Jun 3, 2021 by Joshua Bousel

Print Recipe

Yield 4 servings

Prep 15 Minutes
Inactive 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Cook 20 Minutes
Total 2 Hours 5 Minutes

Ingredients
For the Balsamic Glaze
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
 
For the Dough
3 cups bread flour (396 g)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (3.5 g)
1 teaspoon instant yeast (4 g)
1 1/4 cups warm water (292.5 g)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (43 g)
 
For the Flatbread
6 small shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
8oz fresh figs, thinly sliced
2 handfuls arugula (about 2 oz)
5oz soft goat cheese
Procedure
To make the balsamic glaze: Whisk together vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer until reduced by half and thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
To make the dough: Whisk together flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add water and oil and knead with dough hook on low speed until dough comes together. Increase speed to medium and knead for 5 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer stand, cover with plastic wrap, and let dough rise at room temperature until roughly doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 4 even pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise at room temperature for 30 minutes more.
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange coals evenly across charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil grilling grate. Place shallots on grill, cut side down, and cook until well charred, about 5 minutes. Flip shallots over and continue to cook until well charred on second side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer shallots to a cutting board, remove root end, and cut into thin strips.
On a floured surface, stretch one piece of dough out into an oval roughly 1/8″ thick. Place dough on hot side of grill and cook until browned and lightly charred in spots. Flip bread and continue to cook until second side is browned and lightly charred in spots. Transfer bread to a cutting board and brush with olive oil. Place 1/4 of the arugula on top followed by slices of figs and shallots. Spoon on dollops of goat cheese and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Cut into slices and serve immediately. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.
Dough recipe from Food52.

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By: meatmaster@meatwave.com (Joshua Bousel)
Title: Grilled Flatbread with Charred Shallots and Figs
Sourced From: meatwave.com/recipes/grilled-flatbread-with-charred-shallots-and-figs-recipe
Published Date: 06/03/21

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