Setup the BGE for direct cooking

I have a good friend who recently received a Big Green Egg as a Christmas gift. He’s without prep space at the moment as he and his wife have been remodeling their kitchen and I am sad for his Egg as it sits lonely on his patio, all white and pristine. I thought I’d toss him a bone on the burn in procedure for the Egg and realized that, while I had a blog post for indirect heat, I hadn’t done one for direct heat. Continue reading

Sweet Tea Brined Pork Tenderloin

So today comes a new “inspired” recipe. This recipe was inspired by a trip to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel for the annual Christmas lights, shopping, engagement commemoration, etc trip that the wife and I take every year. We ate at the Cascades American Cafe restaurant there and I had their Sweet Tea Pork Tenderloin. They served it with finger potatoes and baby greens over a stone ground mustard sauce. The broccolini pictured below actually came from my wife’s Prime Rib Country Christmas feature that night. Add in a Maker’s Mark Manhattan and it was a pretty fantastic dinner.
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I enjoyed dinner so much (sweet tea, bourbon and pork? yes, please!) that I came home from Nashville scouring the interwebs for a recipe. And I found Saraplicious and her Sweet Tea Brined Pork Loin. When I found out she made hers in the oven, I decided immediately that I was going to have to try making one in the Egg.  Her recipe modified to cook on an Egg is covered below.

Sweet Tea Brined Pork Tenderloin

Sweet Tea Brined Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs pork loin
  • 8 cups sweet tea
  • 1/2 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp minced garlic

Instructions

    Brining:
  1. Whisk together sweet tea and salt in a large container. Pour into a one gallon Zip Loc bag.
  2. Add pork and brine in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours.
  3. Cooking:
  4. Remove the pork from the original Zip Loc bag. Discard the remaining liquid.
  5. Blot meat dry with a paper towel.
  6. Whisk mustard, brown sugar and garlic together in a small bowl. In my case, I used a second 1 gallon Zip Loc bag.
  7. Put pork loin into the second bag. Close the zipper and make like the little girl on the Shake and Bake commercials. This should leave you with an even coat of mustard and brown sugar covering the entire pork loin well.
  8. Let meat sit for 15 minutes on the V-Rack placed on an otherwise empty drip pan. Cover until it's ready to go over the fire.
  9. Setup the Egg for indirect heat and preheat it to 400F. Cook the pork until the internal temperature reads 160F. The 2.00 lb pork loin I used took right at an hour and 15 minutes. I followed Sara's directions recommending that you turn the meat halfway through the cooking time.
  10. Remove from oven, tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 15 minutes.
  11. Slice.
http://magiccityburn.com/2012/12/06/sweet-tea-brined-pork-tenderloin/

Rather than serving ours with baby greens and finger potatoes, we went with black eyed peas and brown rice pilaf. The pork has a sweet, crisp exterior and retains its moisture on the inside

Setup the BGE for indirect cooking

So now that the Egg is cleaned out, I’m ready to start getting ready for TurkeyPalooza 2012.

Being that my back patio is covered and there is 0% chance of rain. I can do this the night before too. If you recall, we started with a clean and empty Big Green Egg.

1. Insert the electric starter (if that’s what you’re using). Pour natural lump charcoal over the top. There are a bazillion different brands out there. I use the “official” stuff lately. Don’t be afraid to reach in there and move individual chunks of charcoal around. For indirect cooking, you want to build a stable, controlled fire.

2. (optional) Add a couple small chunks of wood for smoke. For the turkey, I’m going with Apple. For God’s sake, do not use mesquite for poultry or pork.

3. Add more natural lump charcoal. The idea is to get a full load of coal. At least to cover the holes in the fire bowl. And, for long cooks, you can go as high as near the top of the fire ring if you have to.


For the actual cook:

4. Plug in the electric starter. Open the bottom and top vents all the way for maximum air flow. For a high temp cook, I’ll leave this in for 6 or 7 minutes. for a low temperature cook, I may only leave it in for 3 or 4 minutes.

5. Close the lid. Let the grill pre-heat. Do not leave the grill unattended. You’ll want to start adjusting the vents when you get within 25 – 50 degrees of your intended temperature. For the Turkey, I’m looking for a “dome temp” of 350F, which means the cooking surface should be a slightly cooler 325F. Pro Tip: Be willing to spend time getting your fire right. Your brisket, chicken and pork (and hopefully my turkey) are worth getting this right. If I’m doing a cut of meat that people consider to have a high degree of difficulty (read: brisket), it is not uncommon for me to spend 45 minutes to an hour before I consider my fire to be “right.” One of my friends convinced me this was OK the day before my first brisket and I am glad that he did.

6. Once you’ve preheated and your fire is stable, add the ceramic platesetter. For turkey (for basically anything except pizza), I’m using it inverted with the feet facing up. This will leave room for me to insert a roasting pan to catch drippings. Close the lid and allow the temperature to normalize again. You may need to adjust your vents to permit more air flow.

7. Add the meat. In the case of the turkey, add the turkey, breast side up in a V Rack. I also have a probe thermometer in the turkey breast so that I get an audible alarm when the breast meat reaches 165F.

8. Stick with the grill for another 20 to 30 minutes to be sure the temperature holds steady. And then walk away. Sometimes I check the dome temperature every couple of hours. Sometimes I watch football. Sometimes I just sleep. Whatever you do, keep the lid closed.

Boston Butt

Well, tonight is another slow smoke. This weekend was an Alabama away game in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We didn’t have tickets, so I thought what better way to support the Tide from home than by burning a pig in effigy. I had a 5.13lb trimmed Boston butt. At 1.5 to 2 hrs per lb to hit 195F plus an hour or more to rest, that meant getting up early. Kickoff was scheduled for 2:30 pm. Lunch was served about 2:20. #winning

Ingredients:
Yellow mustard
1 bone-in Boston Butt

Prepare butt for the Egg (the night before):

1. Remove the pork butt from the packaging. Run cold water over the meat. Blot dry with a paper towel.
2. Place butt, flat cap up, on a sheet of aluminum foil and rub mustard over the surface of the meat. Same rule as the brisket cook before this. This is the glue that will hold your rub on the meat.
3. Liberally apply your spice rub to the meat. Make sure to work the seasoning into notches in the meat.
4. Flip the butt over. Apply mustard and rub liberally to the other side.
5. Wrap in aluminum foil. Put the meat back in the fridge and let sit overnight.

Prepare the Big Green Egg (3:15 am):

1. You need a lot of natural lump charcoal for this one. Overfill the fire bowl with natural lump charcoal. Add in wood for smoke. I used apple wood for this smoke. Hickory and cherry also tend to be a hit for pork.
2. Start the fire. Again, like the brisket, you’re looking to start a slow, gradual fire, not a lava hot bed of coal.
3. Stay with the grill. It will take a few minutes for it to heat up, but once it begins to heat up and produce smoke, it will heat up relatively quickly. With your Egg, you’re looking to catch the temperature on the way up, because there is no good way to quickly get the temperature back down.
4. At about 220 degrees, I started to close down the vents. I’m trying to cook this at a dome temp of 250F (for a cooking grid temperature of about 225 or 230F)
5. Once the fire is stable and you’re close to your intended temperature, open the Egg and add the platesetter, inverted, for indirect heat. Put down a drip pan. Add about an inch of water to the drip pan. Place the cooking grid on the platesetter feet, over the drip pan.
6. Close the grill and allow the preheated grill to bring the platesetter and drip pan back up to temperature.

Add the butt to the Egg (4 am):

1. Open the Egg. Lay the butt, fat cap down, across the cooking grid and over the drip pan.
2. Close the lid. Stay with the grill until it returns to your target temp. Make sure your temperature stays stable for 30 minutes or so before you leave it unattended
3. I went back to bed. Smelling roughly like bacon.

After 4 or 5 hours, you should hit a temperature plateau:

1. For me this happened about 8:30 or 9 am. Since College GameDay starts on ESPN at 9 am Central, this worked out perfect.
2. Check the thermometer. My dome temp was still 250.
3. Since I was on a schedule, to make sure that I was on time, I used my digital meat thermometer pen. 150F. At this point, the meat is no longer taking on smoke and magic is happening inside.

10:30 am:

1. Fire is still burning. Temperature still on target
2. Insert digital thermometer. Still only 155F. This is not going to be ready in 7.5 hours (1.5 hours per lb).
3. I laid out two sheets of aluminum foil. And put a fresh towel in the dryer (yes, in the laundry room) to spin and get warm.
4. Pull the butt, wrap tightly in the aluminum foil. Wrap warm towel around the foil. Put in a cooler. You want for the butt to rest for no less than 1 hour before you slice it. I had to keep it warm for 5 and a half hours until lunch.

11:30 am:

1. Insert digital thermometer. 165. Now we’re moving.
2. I laid out two sheets of aluminum foil. And put a fresh towel in the dryer to spin and get warm.
3. Pull the towel out and load it into the cooler to begin warming.

1 pm:

1. Insert digital thermometer. 196F. Yes, I took a bite. Don’t judge.
2. Wrapped tightly in two sheets of aluminum foil. Pull towel out of pre-warmed cooler. Wrap towel around the butt.
3. Let rest. There are two phases to this rest. The first phase is resting, wrapped in the foil. The second phase is to open the foil and let it continue to rest. Plan for both phases of this rest to take at least an hour (total time).

2 pm:

1. Grab the shoulder bone. Twist and pull. It should come out with little effort.
2. Pull the pork with two forks. I went over this technique in the Chicken Pignoli Pasta. This may take a while. If your forearms get tired, wash them and use your hands.

Lunch (2:20 pm):

1. Serve on white buns. With cole slaw and the sauce of your choice. Dill pickle slices optional.
2. There will be leftovers. Share them with your friends.
3. Bama won. 52 – 0. Roll Tide!

Grilled Pork Chops

Another Big Green Egg cook. Center cut pork chops. This is a crowd pleaser around the house. I cook pork chops with and without the bones. These just happen to be boneless this time. We served these with mixed vegetables for lunch.

Ingredients:
Bone-in or boneless pork chops (thick cut)
1/4 cup soy based marinade. We use Pilleteri’s Marinade. But Dale’s would be comparable.
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Marinate chops:
1. Put the marinade in a Zip Loc bag big enough to hold all your pork chops.
2. Refrigerate, in the marinade, for at least an hour.
Apply seasoning rub:
1. Remove the chops from the marinade. Discard the remaining marinade.
2. Lightly dry chops with a paper towel.
3. Shake Montreal Steak Seasoning on both sides of the chops. There’s salt in the rub already, so you don’t need to add additional salt, unless you just like it.
4. Cover, but do not return to refrigerator. Let them warm up to room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
While you wait on the chops to reach room temperature, go ahead and prepare the Big Green Egg:
1. Setup the Egg for direct heat.
2. Start fire and preheat grill to a dome temperature of about 375 degrees.
Once the grill is ready, it’s time to add the chops:
1. Close the lid.
2. Cook to desired doneness. About 15 to 20 minutes total time for Medium (140 to 145). 25 to 30 minutes total time for Well Done (160). Flip the pork chops halfway through cooking.