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BBQ Smoke Woods

BBQ Smoke Woods

Green Leaf BBQ is proud to announce the arrival of our newest BBQ product.  “California Vineyard Smoke Woods”.   These Oak wood pieces were infused with wine as they assisted in the process of making great California Wines. Green Leaf BBQ has partnered with many wineries to bring you a truly superior BBQ smoke wood.  From small cubes to smoke in that gas grill, larger pieces to mix into the charcoal pile on your Weber and longer slats for that  stick burning smoker rig.

Reviews have been coming in…  John Ruloff, a Big Green Egg Rep. and BBQ competitor  in Fairfield Ca. took some with him to the 6th Annual West Coast BBQ Championships this past weekend.  Visitors chattered, “The wood was great” others, “With the right amount, the smoke flavor was unique and interesting”, another commented, “something different”.

Recommended Use: Place about 8 pieces on the fire as you are locking in the temperature of the BBQ.  By the time things have settled down to the magic 250 +/- degree mark, the pieces should be producing a nice light smoke.  Keep in mind, if the pieces are tossed on a huge flaming fire, they will just burn up.  The burning isn’t what will give you a unique smoked flavor…so remember those Low & Slow cooking methods.  Some folks soak them in more wine, others in water, others go dry.  Experiment with what works best for you.

Big Green Egg & Weber WSM & UDS: Toss them or stir the pieces into the charcoal bed and catch the temperature you like. Remember it is easier to capture temps that are rising as the fire is growing – it is difficult to put the brakes on a monster hot fire and bring the temps down.

Weber Kettle: Set up for an indirect fire – add the smoke wood as the temps stabilize around the edges of the fire.  I use foil covered bricks down the center of my kettle & make the fire on one side.  The bricks radiate heat well – extending and stabilizing the length of a usable fire.

Gas Grill: Fill your smoker box with a handful of the small cubes – get them smoking – not burning – then add your meat.  Some people dedicate a burner for the smoke box, it may be easier to moderate the burn/smoke rate to your tastes.

Smoke Note: NEVER try to smoke your food while the BBQ is billowing white smoke,  thick white smoke will make your  food taste like garbage and it will turn black and sooty.  Please wait until there are nice clean wisps of smoke and heat – then add your food. (If your fire lacks oxygen – air flow – there will be continuous white smoke – add some air to stabilize the burning characteristics and clean up that smoke)

Availability: If you’re interested in purchasing California Vineyard Smoke Woods, visit our online store,  Visit our website at: http://www.greenleafbbq.com and click “Shop Online”.  First shipments go out Sept. 14th.

Wholesale interests: Please email: oakpit@rocketmail.com or call (209) 342-7878.

So we all know that steaks like to be cooked HOT.  I’ve cooked plenty of steaks this way & as long as they have good marbling, they come out great.  This usually means steaks like a Rib Eye in the USDA Choice category at a minimum.

Carrie and I stoked the Egg one eve and whipped out this amazing steak cooked at over 700 degrees in the Egg.  Keep in mind that as long as the internal temps in a steak stay around 120 -125 degrees – the meat stays red and juicy inside.  When the temps get higher than that, the steak begins to cook through.  Your job as a BBQ master is to cook that steak in as little time as it takes to lightly char the exterior & leave a tender pink interior with as little grey around the edges of the pink as possible.  Of course if the preference is more of a medium or we done steak -LOWER the temps at which you cook it.

For what is’s worth, many steak afficionados love the Medium Rare steak & that is my taste as well…

We used some of the Rub Co. “Santa Maria” product as our base & added butter, garlic & rosemary near the end.   I like to add the herbal ingredients late in the cook so that the flame doesn’t just burn them off – you can see the coarse garlic & rosemary in the photos.

If you haven’t tried this style of steak cooking – it will probably take some practice – everything happens pretty fast.  Don’t give up, as the reward is all the equal of a Morton’s, Ruth’s Chris etc. type of steak -except the price!  So go fire that BBQ, get your self a great cut of meat and go to work!

“This sumptuous feast of barbecued sirloin, salsa, Pinquito beans, toasted French bread, and green salad has been called by Sunset Magazine, the “best barbecue in the world””

Simple aroma of the Red Oak burning in the bottom of an iron pit.  The hot smokey air surrounds everything, changing everything. The deep crackle of the big oak logs, the fire is preparing to give up its gift.  Men in jeans and boots, as authentic as the aroma itself prepare the 4″ thick Top sirloin “Block” steaks or tri-tips.  Preparation is simple – shaking on some coarse garlic, salt & pepper.  We have a few beers – waiting. We aren’t going to trim very much – the fire will need that.  Families are happy, women talk. The fire wisps and cracks as we lower the iron grate on the rotating shaft. We control heat with the movement of the grate.  This scene has been repeated thousands of times, more in this Central California region.  We know nothing else.  This is our lifestyle.  Every important event. Every sad event. Grill marks, weeping, dripping fat into the fire, reddened meat, swollen.  This is my BBQ.  This is Santa Maria Style.

Families grill everyday in “backyard” California.  Our weather is beautiful for 9 months of the year.  Some slow smoke, others charcoal grill, others gas grill.

This style, like other landmark BBQ styles,  is not the “only” way to BBQ, it is just the only true CALIFORNIA BBQ.  It is ours. As simple as the corner of Mill and Vine streets in Santa Maria where the first Tri-Tip roast was discovered.  Bob Shultz stumbled into the core of modern Santa Maria BBQ…only by accident.  This discovery put  Santa Maria BBQ on the map.

The fire lighting tips are simple:

Traditional Oak Pit: as pictured, load it with 5 or so logs and light it up.  When those logs burn down, to coals, put one log in the back of the pit at the edge of the fire.  This log will smolder and give you new coals slowly as the main fire burns down.  Continue to add logs to the rdge of the fire as needed to continue making coals.  Rake or drag the coals to the center as you BBQ. (If you have one of these pits, my information probably isn’t new or revolutionary.  Have patience for those that are new.)

Charcoal grill or any “Stick Burner”: make a fire with BBQ oak wood chunks/small logs make a large pile, light them up, add more until you get a nice bed of coals 3″ thick.  During this process, you probably won’t have seen your grill emit this much fire, so add sparingly to keep the fire manageable.  A person could add charcoal to the BBQ chunks, but that isn’t what we’re talking about here.  This is a process, enjoy it.  Have a glass of wine, enjoy friends around that huge pile of burning oak wood.

Gas Grill: I don’t know what to tell you.  Oak chips soaked in water don’t do it. Use this an excuse to buy another type of BBQ. After all, two or more isn’t bad.

Cooking Tips:

Let the coal bed rest until you can keep the back of your hand over the coals for about 2 1/2 seconds.  It’s gonna be hot…  On the charcoal grills, move the coal bed to one side, block the fire with foil covered bricks or something firm, creating a slightly indirect heat.

In this temp range,  the term “indirect” sorta goes out the window.  We could be looking at 600+ over the fire, and around 450+ on the “cold side” In a charcoal grill, where you don’t have much control of the heat/grill height. Wait until the heat is within the 350-400 degree range before even thinking about putting that $30 dollar 4″ Sirloin Block or tri-tip on the grate.  If you have an Oak Pit, lower the grate as the fire cools to maintain the 350 degree range.  Oh yeah, you probably aren’t going to need that lid on the charcoal grill or Big Green Egg, Weber etc.  Cook this on the grate, moving it around as needed to keep things in line.

Lets see, what else…yeah, your arm hairs may be singed, and you eyes may sting from that cookable clear smoke – that’s a sign that everything is normal.  Just keep that meat moving a bit, don’t burn it & make sure to serve it with a great salad (and strawberries if you can get them)

This BBQ Style will take practice, and will probably cause a newbie some degree of frustration at first.  Stick with it, and you will begin to unconsciously begin to “feel” your BBQ & it’s sumptuous rewards.

We’ll continue to have more on Santa Maria Style BBQ in the future…

I saw this video and thought I’d pass it along. In case you haven’t noticed, I like to focus on techniques that create sound fundamentals.  I’m aware that in order to get great BBQ, many additional techniques are advised that can only be applied when the fundamentals have been established.  We’ll be adding a few of those expert tricks along the way to truly make great Q.

Notice that this guy uses a Weber WSM to cook these ribs.  If a person is using a different style of BBQ, Like a Traeger, Big Green Egg, Horizon Offset or a Gasser etc…keep in mind that the attainable temps may be different and should be accounted for in overall cook time.

Oh yeah, don’t depend on your charcoals flavor – add wood chunks or chips to your BBQ to give it a unique flavor & use a fire starter chimney or paper to light that BBQ — Please no lighter fluid.

Marbling, simply put, is the distribution of fat within a cut of beef.  The USDA measures this “Marbling” and assigns a grade to the beef.  Many recognize that without a degree of marbling, a steak or beef cut just doesn’t taste very flavorful, and may even be tough and dry after cooking. There is a commonly accepted relationship between the amount of marbling in a beef cut, and it’s inherent flavor.  There is also a direct corollary between marbling and price per pound of beef.   This chart explains why a “Select” grade Rib Eye steak will taste remarkably different than a “Prime” Rib Eye steak – and cost more too.

These are excerpts from the USDA marbling chart.  I wanted to post this as an example of the differences that exist between meat grades that we commonly see in the store.  The standard USDA grades are labeled, Kobe Beef falls between “Prime” and “Marble Score 4″.  The  “Marble Scores” come from Australian Wagu Beef, or other unique breeds of cattle.  Draw your own conclusions about the grade of beef and the fat content of each.

So, next time a “Select” New York steak steak goes on sale at you local market , realize that a “Prime” sirloin may be the more flavorful cut at a similar price. Keep in mind that all steaks or beef cuts are NOT created equal. One simply cannot cook the same steak at home as was had at a restaurant unless the grade is the same or similar…no matter how amazing your BBQ skills are.

I thought is was visually interesting to see all of the beef grades together for a quick comparison.  I hope this leads to a more well informed beef purchase and better quality BBQ.

I couldn’t resist posting this sauce – I got it from a friend some time ago, and have been fiddling with it a bit. This BBQ sauce is a really smooth peachy sauce that should be tried when the regular red sauces get boring. With peach season upon us here in California, maybe some fresh freestones could be substituted, make sure to add a bit of sugar to the peaches to encourage a syrup before puree process.

Black pepper can me an option if your base rub uses pepper.

Remember – different flavor layers MAKE a great BBQ.

Peach BBQ Sauce:

48 fluid ounces peach slices in light syrup
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ginger, ground
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

1. Puree peaches
2. Mix cornstarch with a little water
3. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and heat to low boil, stirring occasionally
4. Continue to simmer 30 minutes, stirring frequently
5. Sauce may be thin, so at the end of cooking time, if necessary, add sufficient water/cornstarch mixture to give sauce consistency of commercial barbecue sauce

Apply this one very lightly  – over the top of whatever dry rub that you used – adding thin coats until the desired “stickey factor” has been achieved.  Don’t burn it – reduce temps below 300 degrees during the application process.

* The ribs in my header picture received this glaze…

Best of Luck and feel free to tell me how I should improve this recipe!

Ok, so this is a dead simple post about a great BBQ Rub, but it can be used as a regular flavor boost for about everything imaginable.  This “Original Recipe” was invented by Mike Mills, and he called it “Magic Dust”.  This recipe isn’t mine, and has been relentlessly copied and modified. This is a pretty basic rendition that anyone cam make simply at home and have around.

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, finely ground
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mustard powder
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cayenne

Make it this way first, but it you prefer a bit more heat, add slight amounts of both Black Pepper and perhaps the mustard powder.  Easy on the additions, as in most spices – a little either way can completely change how you mouth tastes the rub.

Enjoy!

Green Leaf BBQ is excited to present a new online store – we’re even MORE excited to add more unique product.  We’ve tried hard to locate quality spices and sauces.  We carry complete lines of Weber, Traeger & Big Green Egg.

Visit us when you’re looking for an addition to your BBQ repertoire.  We’re adding products every week so check to see what’s new.  Store: http://stores.greenleafbbq.com/StoreFront.bok or  website:  www.greenleafbbq.com

Remember that our store is client driven — if you’d like to see something here, make a suggestion & we’ll try to make it happen.

Thanks!

In reflecting on our weekend “BBQ Rib Contest” we hosted at the Green Leaf BBQ Shop (www.greenleafbbq.com), I thought I’d post a little detail on how and why to trim ribs – as opposed to leaving the entire rack as it comes from the butcher shop.

I’ve included this video to assist in a basic St.Louis Style preparation.  After watching the video, I think you’ll have a nice idea of how to prepare a practical pork spare rib rack either for yourself or your guests.

As our video host mentions,  we commonly “clean-up” a rack of ribs to control several main variables. First, to make each rack as similar to the next rack as possible.  This helps keep “cook time” between racks very consistent.  Second, trimming makes the rack easier to eat.  Other benefits are more practical.  More trimmed racks fit onto a  grill, so you can create more BBQ goodness for more guests…and they just look prettier on the plate.

Keep in mind, that the trimmings are NOT thrown into the trash – they are used in other BBQ recipes – such as “Rib Tips” which uses the top portion trimmed off of the whole rack. The boneless pork meat trimmed from the small end of the rack and the inside flap, go into the baked beans, or as treats for the pit boss etc.

From here, the brine, seasoning, or marinade process can begin.  I hope this helps you make better BBQ ribs.

Thanks to: http://www.virtualweberbullet.com for producing such an informative video.

BBQ Rib Contest

BBQ Rib Contest

BBQ Ribs

Ribs

Congratulations to Bob Riedinger who walked away with $100 in cash & the win on Saturday in our BBQ rib contest.  Bob used a “UDS – Ugly Drum Smoker” and Kingsford Competition Briquettes to win.  His sauce was a “doctored” over the counter variety – that’s all we could get from him.

John Ruloff representing,  “The Big Green Egg” for providing an Egg-cellent demonstration of several types of ribs, sausage and pork loin. John, a KCBS certified judge, coordinated and judged with the panel to determine the winning contestant…We couldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks to David Brown and Dave Avila our other contestants. Also, judges Merve and Barabra King.  Special thanks to Village Fresh Market, in Turlock for providing the venue and all meats in support of our event.  Thanks also for the support of veteran Village Fresh Market  meat cutter Mark Hamblin, both in assistance to the contestants and as a judge.

Photography supported by Carrie Brunelle, and Kara Tornquist.

We’ll be posting more pictures of the event as the days unfold – look for us in November for another BBQ Competition.

Green Leaf BBQ strives to take a fresh approach to the old ways of backyard cooking. Barbecue has brought families and friends together for years and we believe that fresh air and great food will always be some of the best things in life. We are a unique retail store that carries specialty barbecues and smokers as well as a large selection of gourmet sauces, rubs and spices that come from award winning locals all over the country. At Green Leaf BBQ, you won’t find gas grills, disposable products or lighter fluid. Instead, you can find a lineup of efficient barbecues and smokers, high quality cookware and accessories, charcoals that come from companies with sustainable practices and gourmet food products that are all natural. We offer cooking classes, first fire techniques, new product demos and private instruction. Our goal is to fuel the creative spirit of cooking outdoors by providing the tools to make anyone feel like a gourmet chef.

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