BBQ Adventures – Sons 18th plus friend visit

Its been a while since I posted and felt good opportunity would be to summarise the feedback received form BBQ to date and the techniques I have had to improve on since my initial uses of the Napoleon Pro22k Charcoal Kettle BBQ.

More BBQ ribs this time smoked on Cherry wood and giving a wonderful sweet smokey taste.  In addition I smoked the ribs at a higher temperature 300-325 degrees due last time they didn’t quite have the tenderness I was after.  I identified this to be due to the lids infra-red ambient thermometer seem to reflect hotter temp at the top than lower  in the dome (yet to prove this with a temp probe).  This time the ribs came out allot more tender and falling off the bones as you would expect a good well cooked rib to be.  The image below shows the ribs just before mopping with the first apple juice mop over which maintains the moisture in them and keep them from drying out.  I do this mop every 15-20 min for the last hour.  I then finished with a new foil wrap stage.  Lay out foil, squirt a nice zig-zag of your favorite or home bbq sauce, then opposite zig-zag of some lovely local honey.  Put ribs face (arch side) down and then repeat your zig-zags of bbq sauce and honey on their backside.  Wrap the foiled tightly around the ribs and return to the BBQ for a further 15 mins before finally removing and slicing into the ribs (note to self get picture next time of these last two steps 😦 ).

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A few weeks later after my sons BBQ bash I had a friend from Wiltshire, England to stay.  A nice opportunity to try out a new Beer Can Chicken recipe.  I first created a Simon & Garfunkel based rub to prep the chicken with.  Ingredients for this rub was sage, parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and bay leaf powder.  I then applied the rub by a light rub of olive oil on the skin for the rub to stick  to, then applied the rub all over the skin and between the skin and the meat of the chicken.  I allowed it to rest and marinate for 45min in the fridge whilst I prepped the BBQ.  Once the BBQ reached its target 375-400 degrees I added the chicken to the pan & stand (replicating the beer can method) and placed on the griddle for the first 60 mins before reviewing.  After an hour I checked the internal temp and is was nicely at 158 degrees, leaving a further approximate 30-45 mins to reach the 175 degree target. Finally after a further 36 min, the thigh and breast temps had reach 178 degrees, and the skin had turned a wonderful crispy golden colour. Time to get the chicken off the BBQ and leave it to rest on the board with foil wrapped for 30 min.

BBQ Adventures -Birthday BBQ

Time for the new Napoleon Pro22K BBQ first outing for my father-in-laws 70th birthday family event.  Turns out the wife had invited the family to ours and given me the opportunity to try out my new BBQ and a recipe I have been going on about for over year, Smokey BBQ Baby Back Ribs.  So now I had to try and find some ribs at a local butchers or supermarket, turns out  you have to order in advance for our 3 local butchers and Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s all didn’t have any, so this left me a trip to Costco in MK.

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I also wanted to go all out and try one of the recipes I found for making homemade BBQ sauce from key ingredients ketchup, tomato paste, black treacle, sugar, apple cider vinegar, water, onion, garlic powder and bit of heat via some cayenne pepper.  Allow to cool, blended in my Kenwood soup blender and allowed to cook before I bottle it in the washed out ketchup bottle.  A shot below in the pan, cooling before the blend.

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Setup the BBQ

Setting up for an indirect low (temp) and slow smoking cook of the ribs at consistent 225-250f (100-120c).  Indirect cooking means using the spherical shape of the kettle barbecue to act as a convection type oven.  Heat on one side, rises up, hits the roof of the dome and then back down other side, cooking with its radiant heat.   I setup my  briquettes, approximately 70 in the snake formation to allow me to add lit briquettes at one end allowing a slow burn through unlit briquettes to maintain the temp. (image credit to AmazingRibs.com).  I added a few whiskey barrel chips at the start few inches for the smoking of the ribs.

fuse charcoal

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Next up was lighting 7 briquettes in the chimney starter and allow them to reach white hot (appx. 20-30min).  Whilst these briquettes heated up I prepped my favorite BBQ rub based on the New Orleans Rub with my own twist.  I prepped all the drumsticks onto a large tray applying the rub to them. I moved on to prep the ribs by removing the membrane using the common paper towl technique which made it much easier.  Applied a light rub of yellow mustard all over for the rub to stick too, then applied the rub layered twice over and put the ribs onto a tray. Wrapped both trays and put them in the fridge couple of hours.

Checking the chimney starter it was time to add (overlap) the lit briquettes to the end of snake of unlit ones in the bbq and close the bbq lid allowing for the temp to raise to 225f and begin smoking.  It took approximately 15min before the heat and smoke was ready and time to add the ribs on the side of the bbq not directly over the heat and close the lid.

The rib smoke and cook lasted 3 1/2 –  4hrs with every 45min or so a light mopping (basting) of pure apple juice to keep the ribs moist.  After the initial 1 1/2 hours I added the first few bbq rubbed drumsticks and cumberland sausages ready for the first of the family due approximately 30min later.

The Result

Ribs had about 40-50min to go and the first drumsticks and sausages were well into their cook. Here’s a near final shot before all the fun started and family arrived break my photo grabbing attention of the bbq 🙂 … tune in next time when I be trying Beer Butt Chicken…

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BBQ Adventures – The Beginning

Barbecuing has been another area of cooking I enjoy, but like most, always just been the normal family affair or get out the BBQ, light and cook burgers, sausages and chicken. Thanks to a good friend Faithless, he started a few years ago delving into the more complex barbecuing recipes, like Beer Butt Chicken (more on that later) and slow and low pulled pork.  As I stay with Faithless on a regular basis as one of my benefits working down in Wiltshire, UK, we have tried a fair few other recipes and it got me wanting to upgrade to an improved BBQ myself. The search began in 2015…(currently ole faithful 6yr BBQ below)

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My search for new bbq began like for most new items with a budget and my needs, such as how often will I bbq like cooking dinner or will I just use it when we have some British sunshine.  I decided a full blown american style large gas bbq wasn’t for me as I am a traditionalist in all my cooking and prefer the old authenticate approaches (charcoal in this case).  I also decided as I didn’t want anything to big in case I didn’t get the passion for cooking out in the British wet weather, so I ended up targeting a something like a kettle style charcoal bbq.  The research began, through YouTube (BBQ Pit Boys, BBQ Pitmaster X, Kettle PitmasterPostal BBQ, Weber BBQs, Napoleon BBQs, many more, see my BBQ Playlist which im always adding too), bbq sites like AmazingRibs and The British BBQ Society have great advice, information and forums.

Decision Time

After many months (appx. 17mth) of research and attending my friends delivering some awesome cooking results, the time had come to make a decision.  I had so far decided on the following requirements and resulting 4 options…

Requirements

  • Budget £100-300 GBP
  • Charcoal Kettle (ball shape with lid)
  • Kettle in built thermometer / Buy seperatley thermometer set
  • Light, easy to move in storage (garage) or out to garden for use
  • Medium area of space required to use (1-2m squared)

Options

  1. Weber Original Kettle Premium (57cm) at £172
  2. Weber MasterTouch (57cm) at £202 with lid stand and built in thermometer
  3. Napoleon Rodeo Charcoal Kettle (57cm) at £171
  4. Napoleon Pro22k Charcoal Kettle (57cm) at £250 hinged lid and built in infrared thermometer, iron cooking grate plus offer of FREE cover worth £48

and the winner was….

Napoleon Pro22k Charcoal Kettle 

Results are a very well made, sturdy, strong metal BBQ with the extra benefit over the other makes of providing 3 heights of cooking for the iron cooking grate, ideal for those larger poultry birds, pork joints, briskets.  In addition I luckily bought during (May2015) the offer of FREE £48 cover which is also very well made and protects in the weathers. The hinged lid works great and removes the worry of dropping the lid during food checks. The final built version is ready for next weeks father-in-law 70th birthday bbq (look out for the next bbq blog entry)

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