“Slab o Meat” aka Beef Round Top London Broil

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I’ve been itchin’ to cook something this whole week. I originally was going to make some pulled pork. However, I never got to the butcher shop so I went shopping in my deep freezer.

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I found a “slab o meat” that my wife bought on sale at the supermarket. I guess the technical name is Round Top London Broil. All that I learned after researching this cut of meat is; it is lean, tough, and usually not worth the few dollars it costs. So I figured I’d throw this on the grill slow and low, and see what happens.

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I used my standard rub:

Classic BBQ Spice Rub:
  • 4 tbsp Kosher Salt
    2 tbsp brown sugar
    2 tbsp garlic powder
    2 tbsp paprika
    1 tbsp celery seed
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    1 tbsp black pepper

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Liberally season with the rub…

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While the meat is resting after being rubbed, I set up my grill the in the “Ring of Fire” formation. Two single rows of briquettes in a circle, with a single row on top. This configuration should give me 250 degrees for at least six hours. I placed small Mesquite chips around the ring so there would be light smoke continuously throughout the cook.

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Putting on the slabs…

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1 Hour in, a solid 250 degrees…

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5 hours later, and the temp is just starting to dip a bit from 250…

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This is what the meat looked like when I opened the grill. I took a “Chef’s Privilege” piece from the piece on the right. Man was it good!

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I wrapped the 2 in foil and left them on for one more hour. In hindsight I probably should have moved the whole wrapping back an hour. But whatever, it’s “Slabbo meat!”, as my six year old calls it.

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Finally pulled off the grill… I let them rest in the foil a bit before unwrapping. About 15 minutes.

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Unwrapping the meat… I swear every fly in NE Philadelphia started slamming into my screen door once I unwrapped these bad boys! They filled my kitchen with the smell of beef and mesquite.

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Slicing her up on my favorite cutting board…

Lessons learned: If my wife buys “Slabbo” meat again, I may try an overnight marinade and maybe spray it throughout the cook session. But overall, not too bad.

Hong Kong Chicken

I picked this recipe from Weber’s Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire last week, because I wanted something on the grill, but didn’t feel like going out to the store to pick anything up. So I defrosted some chicken legs the night before and set to preparing this. This is a relatively quick recipe to prepare for. Total time from unwrapping thawed legs to plate was about 5.5 hours. The majority of that time (4 hours) was the brine time for the chicken legs.

Let’s move on to the cook!

Dry Ingredients Wet Ingredients

Seasoning Blend:

2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Brine:
2 qts water
1/2 cp. Kosher salt
1/2 cp. sugar

Grill Sauce:
2 tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
2 tbsp. Cider Vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. Soy sauce
2 tsp. grape seed oil
1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

This cook, is brought to you by Bacardi White

Step 1: Brine the chicken for 4 hours in the brine mixture and place in the fridge.

Step 2: Remove chicken from brine, rinse off, and pat dry with paper towels. Then liberally season with seasoning blend.

Step 3:

Set up a medium heat grill. I used 3/4 of a Weber chimney full of Kingsford coals. I filled one Weber basket with lit coals, and then poured the rest to cover half the charcoal grate. (see below)

Step 4: Place chicken directly over coals for a 5 minute char to get the drumsticks started. (2.5 minutes on one side, then 2.5 minutes on the other)

Step 6: Move to cool side of grill

Step 7: After 20 minutes

Step 8: After 40 minutes

Step 9: At 40 minutes, apply sauce to chicken and put the lid to cook for an additional 20 minutes

Step 10: Last 20 minutes

Step 11: Pull and let rest for 15 minutes. I made some sautéed vegetables and brown rice with a Moscow Mule. Excellent! Chicken had a bit of heat to it, a little too much for the kids, but me and the wife loved it!

Grilled Corn with Chimi-churri

I originally came across this recipe on Pinterest from the chubbyvegetarian blog. As soon as I saw it I had to give it try. I did and it came out wonderful and my family loved it!

Recipe and instructions:

Chimi Churri Sauce

  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley (loosely packed)
  • 1 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • zest of one lime
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 jalapeno (seeds removed)
  • pinch of sea salt
  • cracked black pepper
  • pinch of cane sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

This cook was sponsored by: (You have to have some good music on as well!)

Step 1: Place all ingredients in food processor.

 

Step 2: Run food processor until everything is blended fine. Slowly add oil while food processor is running until the mixture is smooth.

 

Step 3: Shuck your corn and remove as much of the silk as possible. Sometimes running under cold water while pulling can help get rid of the most stubborn strands.

 

Step 4: Start a medium hot fire on your grill. 1 chimney’s worth of charcoal should be fine. After coals are ashed over, spread into a layer 1 coal thick. Place corn directly above the coals.

 

Step 5: Grill the corn directly over the hot coals for approx 5 – 10 minutes per side. When the kernels start to lightly brown it’s time to turn and rotate the corn. Make sure you don’t burn it.

 

Step 6: Once corn is nicely grilled all over, liberally brush on the Chimi Churri sauce. Goes perfect with a cold beer!

Blackened Tilapia

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I love Cajun food, particularly Blackened Redfish, but since I didn’t have any Redfish, I substituted Tilapia. I made these the same time as I made my Cedar Planked Lemon-Pepper Tilapia. As before, I had this bag of Tilapia just sitting in the freezer, so I figured I’d do something with it.

The raw materials…

I split the bag in half. I blackened 6 fillets and cedar planked the other 6.

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I used a variation of a recipe from Terry Thompson’s The New Cajun-Creole Cooking cookbook. Here is the recipe I used to “paint” the fillets.

Dry Ingredients “Wet Ingredients”
  • 1 tbsp. Paprika
  • 1.5 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. dried thyme
  • 6 Tilapia fillets
  • 2 cups butter melted
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed, never the stuff from the plastic lemons, EVER!)

I melted the butter in the microwave on low heat, then stirred in all the rest of the ingredients and allowed the mixture to cool. Once cool I painted each fillet on both sides with the mixture and let it marinate for about 3 hours.

Painting the fillets…

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While the fillets were marinating I started a full chimney of Kingsford briquettes. I used half of the lit coals to fill a Weber basket, and the rest I spread in a single layer to toast cedar plank for the other fish I cooked.

Lighting the coals…

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Laying ‘em down…

I let the cast iron griddle heat for about 15 minutes over the weber basket. You’ll know when your griddle/skillet is ready, because the cast iron will get a bit of a gray haze on it.

As soon as you put the fillets on they will produce prodigious amounts of smoke. They will sear and begin to cook immediately. Be careful that the spits and sputters from the fish and butter don’t burn you. You may be tempted to lift the fillets or move them. DON’T! You will touch this only once, when you flip it over. It took these about 3 minutes per side.

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The finished product…

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These tasted as good as they look. One fillet never made it in the house. I brought out a fork and plate and ate it there at the grill.

Lessons Learned/For next time…

The Tilapia was a little too tender for this recipe. A couple of fillets got mangled in the turning. In addition, the weather was cold that day so I had to watch the heat on the second round of fillets. I can’t wait to try this with some Redfish or Red Snapper next time!

Cedar Planked Lemon-Pepper Tilapia

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I cooked these the same weekend I did the Smoke Roasted Round Roast. I had a bag of Tilapia that was taking up space in the freezer. Plus this fish cooks relatively fast. So I decided that I would blacken some, and then use up  my last cedar plank on these fillets.

A bit of courage…

This cook’s official sponsor was a Polish Mule. A great cocktail and easy to mix. 2 oz. Chopin Rye Vodka, juice of half a lime (freshly squeezed, not that green plastic grenade), two dashes of Angostura Bitters and 6 oz ginger beer over ice.

The funny thing about grilling in the middle of winter in Philly, when I take my drinks outside, they actually get colder!

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Step 1: Season…

These fillets got a simple dusting of equal parts kosher salt and ground black pepper. Nothing too complicated here, as the flavor is going to come from the wood and the lemons during the cook.

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Step 2: Gimme some heat…

I lit a full chimney of briquettes, filling one weber basket and then spreading the rest next to it. Below you see me toasting the cedar plank while cooking some blackened tilapia along side. It took about 5 minutes for the cedar plank to toast up nicely.

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Step 3: Laying on the fish…

After toasting the cedar plank, I flipped it, rubbed it with a bit of olive oil and laid the fillets on top. Then as you can see, I added 2 – 3 lemon slices on top of the fillets. Closed the lid and let it cook for about 10 minutes over a hot grill. The smell of the cedar and the blackening tilapia next to it, had my neighbor from down the street come down to see what I was cooking. That and it was 32 degrees outside!

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Step 4: Pulling the fish…

I ended up putting a third fillet on this plank, but the poor fillet never made it inside! He was sacrificed for the sake of cooking science.

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Results/Lessons Learned:

These fish came out very lemony. I guess this would work better with a fillet that had a more robust base flavor, like maybe Sword Fish or Sea Bass. One of the fillets was too lemony, the other two were great though. If I decide to plank these again in the future, I may just go for a spritz of lemon juice at the beginning and just be done with it.

But no worries I gave these a good home!

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Oak-Smoked/Roasted Bottom Round Roast

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This cut of meat is one of the reasons I find beef more difficult than say lamb or pork. There are so many cuts of beef; bottom this or top this. What? I have very little beef “cut-savvy”. I know that prime rib and rib eye are good, and this particular cut here; not so much. So when my wife bought a couple of these on sale I had to try to find a different way to cook it. Normally this goes into the slow cooker for a stew or into the oven but I wanted to try something different.

Granted this recipe is not going to turn this into prime rib, but it does a good job at imparting some flavor from both the rub, carmelization, and of course the smoke.

So let’s get started cooking!

Mise en place… This cut is getting a simple rub equal parts black pepper, kosher salt, and some dried rosemary, fresh from my garden last year.

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Step 2: Using a mortar and pestle to get a finer grind out of the rosemary.

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Step 3: Liberally applying the rub.

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Step 4: I used my favorite cast iron half moon griddle to put sear marks on the meat before moving it to a cooler side of the grill.

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Step 5: Flipping it over to the other side…

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Step 6: Off the griddle and moved to the cooler side of the grill. Grill temp is 350 degrees. Planned cook is for about an hour and a half.

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Step 7: Fresh off the grill

After an hour and a half on the grill, I pulled her off and she looks pretty good. The oak wood chunks gave it a nice color.

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Step 8: Wrapping in foil

I wrapped the roast and let the juices re-circulate for about 20 minutes.

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Step 9: Makin’ the cut

Here is roast finally cut. It tasted a lot better off the grill than my usual methods.

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Lessons Learned

I think if my wife buys this cut of meat again, I may use a beer based marinade prior to the grill roast. Also maybe just an hour or so instead of 90 minutes. But overall I’m satisfied with the results.

Cherry Roasted Thighs and Brats

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It’s the first of the New Year and I had to create a bit of Summer. Right now it is 35 degrees, grey, and a bit dreary here in Philly. But that doesn’t have to stop me. Mind you, my wife and neighbors are sure I’m insane. Besides, its been a couple of months since I’ve been able to grill. Let’s see Hurricane Sandy, an unnamed storm, traveling to Detroit and Chicago for work,  a couple of bouts with some good chest colds, and voila!, There goes your time.

Official sponsor of today’s cook

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Winter in Philly…

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So as before, let’s get started with the players:

Dry ingredients for rub: Wet Ingredients:
3 tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Garlic salt
1 tsp Onion powder
t tsp Coarse black pepper
3 tbsp Brown sugar
Potato Rolls
Johnsonville Bratwurst
12 chicken thighs
2 tbsp EVOO

Since I only thought of barbequing this morning, I didn’t have time to brine the thighs, so I used this basic rub and let it sit for a couple of hours while I grilled some bratwurst and potato rolls. Also, I will do a complete slow and low cook without starting the chicken directly over the coals first. This way they get a chance to absorb as much of the cherry smoke as possible.

I rubbed the thighs with the EVOO first then liberally sprinkled and rubbed in the dry rub. The rub is very basic so go with as heavy as a hand you like.

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The temperature outside is a bit on the cold side, 35 degrees and about 10 mph wind. So I don’t have to worry about temps getting away from me at the beginning of today’s cook. I lit one full Weber chimney of coals that I split between a weber basket and the rest heaped against the other side of the kettle.

This allowed constant heat for the cast iron griddle for the onions, mushrooms, and green pepper, as seen below. I used a bit of smoked sea salt and dried porcini mushrooms while cooking the vegetables.

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After about 30 minutes:

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Best Potato Rolls in Philly!

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Toasting the potato rolls:

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PART II: Thighs

During the brats, the temperature of the kettle wavered between 350 and 300 degrees. About an hour into the cook I added 20 unlit briquettes on top of the burning coals and gave it ten minutes to catch. I poured out the basket onto the side as well as I wouldn’t be needing it for the chicken

At about 30 minutes later in I added in 15 additional unlit briquettes to ensure I had enough heat for the planned cook time of 1:45 minutes totals.

Final Pics of Thighs

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Thighs came off and were perfect. Meat fell off the bone. They went great with a 1:1 mix of Sweet Baby Ray’s and Srirachra Chili Sauce.