Friday, March 25, 2011

Smoked Corned Beef & Cabbage

Over the weekend we celebrated St. Paddy's Day by making the holiday favorite Corned Beef and Cabbage with a smoky twist. I started with a packaged 3 lb. corned beef brisket flat from the grocery store. From there it went into a plastic ziploc full of water for a 48 hour soak to draw out some of the salt and other additives.

The water was changed every 12 hours and then patted dry with a paper towel and covered in the spice rub. Then back in the fridge it went overnight to cure.

The next morning I preheated the smoker to 250 with Royal Oak Lump Charcoal and started cooking the brisket. I wasn't sure how long this would take so I started at 11AM hoping to eat by about 5PM. Cabbage was on sale for .19 lb. so I bought a big one. I used this 5 lb. head during my workouts for bicep curls earlier in the week! The Smoked Cabbage recipe came straight from Steven Raichlen's How to Grill book. The bottom stem of the cabbage was cut out and filled with a mixture of melted butter, sauteed onions, and precooked diced bacon. Then on top some more butter pads just for emphasis. Below is the cabbage right before being put in the smoker, sitting on a beer can chicken holder. The recipe called for a 2 lb. cabbage to be smoked for 1 to 1.5 hours so I let this one go for three.

Here is the finished product, it tasted better than it looks here. The charred outer layer was removed and the cabbage was very moist and tender and the addition of the onion & bacon mixture gave it some extra flavor. We had plenty of leftovers!

The corned beef took longer than I expected, at 3pm it was only up to 140 degrees so I decided to start up the Weber to get things moving along. I cooked it foiled over indirect heat for another two hours and that got the temp up to 190 rather quickly. It came off and rested for about 15 minutes then we started slicing.

The Recipe:
1 prepackaged corned beef brisket flat (3-5 lbs)
For the Rub
1.5 tablespoons ground coriander
1.5 tablespoons cracked black pepper
3 cloves minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon ground mustard
coarse salt to taste
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1/8 cup sweet or smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Here is the finished Reuben sandwich on toasted rye with swiss c
heese and thousand island. Smoked Cabbage and a Yukon Gold potato on the side.

What I would do differently next time
The cabbage turned out great, we just had a TON of it. A 5 lb cabbage will probably feed 8-10 adults with good appetites. The next day we reheated the leftovers in some foil over direct heat. The corned beef had a really nice outer crust from the spice rub but the meat just wasn't very tender. This was obviously due to moving it to indirect heat for the last 2 hours. Brisket is one of those cuts you really can't rush, it would have been better if I started earlier on the smoker and let nature run it's course...

The brisket was a perfect size for our little group and we even had plenty for leftover corned beef omelots the next morning! This will definetely be on the menu for next St. Paddy's Day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Note from the Blogger...

Let me start off by saying that I don’t consider myself a good cook. I usually need help boiling noodles and watching me chop an onion would be considered stand-up comedy in some parts of the world. Therefore I let me wife handle the pasta dishes and use the food processor whenever knife skills are required. The purpose of this blog is to document my trials and errors with live-fire cooking. I became obsessed with it a couple of years ago after seeing an episode of Barbecue University with Steven Raichlen on PBS. I already had a nice gas grill that I used to burn hamburgers, hot dogs, and the occasional flat-iron steak, but after watching that show I knew I had to get a smoker! A few months later I ordered a small Char-Broil offset barrel smoker and this past Christmas got my first Weber kettle grill. Living in Central Illinois I don’t get to grill that much in the winter but now that the warmer weather is almost here the grills will be fired up very often. This blog will serve as my online food diary, a place to post pictures and recipes of my triumphs and failures and maybe a product review or two. Right now I really enjoy reading bbq cookbooks ( I never thought I would say those words!) and usually take ideas and techniques directly from them as well as a few blogs I follow. Hopefully in the future I will start to branch off and come up with some of my own rubs and sauces to experiment with. Hope you enjoy reading MyThreeGrills and please feel free to leave comments and suggestions.

10 Things about Me:

1.       No matter what dish I cook on any of my grills, there will always be something I criticize or do differently the next time. It drives my wife absolutely CRAZY!!
2.       I don’t like fish…I don’t like it in a house, I don’t like it with a mouse. I don’t like it here or there, I don’t like it anywhere.
3.       In my Weber I only use Kingsford charcoal, in my smoker I use Royal Oak Lump exclusively. If either one of these companies would like to endorse my blog and throw some fuel my way, please feel free…
4.       I don’t use steak sauce. My steaks get salt and pepper and maybe some olive oil before they head to the grill. I’m not opposed to compound butter or salsa after they come off but never steak or barbecue sauce and certainly never KETCHUP!!
5.       During the long Illinois winter my weapon of choice is a La Creuset cast iron dutch oven we got as a gift this past Christmas…I seriously don’t know what I would do without it, it’s awesome!
6.       My refrigerator staples are Frank’s Redhot, Sriracha, Tabasco, Sweet Baby Ray’s and Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce.
7.       I’ve never met a chicken wing I didn’t like…and my heat limit is between 200,000 and 300,000 Scoville heat units.
8.       I never thought I would have my own blog…I also never imagined I would ENJOY reading cookbooks!
9.       I’m very particular about my hot dogs (I prefer all beef)…I’m less particular about my bacon (I’ll eat whatever bacon you put in front of me, even turkey).
10.   I claim no regional affiliation when it comes to barbecue…I like it all!