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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Burger NIght

Tonight was burger night, I decided it would be interesting to try something new with this classic of the backyard grill. First off however, I needed a bun. I decided to make a small batch of butter dough for some buns. I have no idea what butter dough is, I had no recipe, and decided to wing it.

Butter Dough
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
1 pack Yeast
1 cup each A.P. flour and Bread flour
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
bench flour, I used whole wheat, about 1/4 cup.

With the butter still warm, I added the warm water and yeast, allowed to proof for 15 minutes. Then added sugar, allowed to dissolve. Added the 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup water and mixed into a dough. Kneaded for 5 minutes and let rest for 30 minutes. Kneaded again and let proof for 2 hours. Divided and proofed for 4 hours in a oiled oven pan covered with plastic wrap. These were baked, in the pan, in the oven, for 40 minutes at 350F, then finished at 425F for 10 minutes on the rack. At this time, I burned myself taking them out of the oven.

In the Proof and Cook pan

Sliced and Ready for the oven

To the patties, I was lazy and opted not to grind my own. But, since I was able to get some nice grass finished Painted Hills Beef from Oregon, I felt safe that the ground beef was of a high quality. I have found the meat from Paitned Hills to be consistently high quality. This meat was no different. I formed into patties, from here, I made a variance from my normal process. I formed the meat into balls, then perforated the meat with a steel skewer. The idea was to emulate the texture of a granulated burger, a technique created by Heston Blumenthal to create a better burger patty. More on this later. Here are the patties, coated with The Rub Company Santa Maria Rub and Simply Marvelous Season-All. Yes, I seasoned them like I do tri-tip, which I figure makes sense, they are both beef.

My Ventilated Patty

You can't really see it in the photo, but, the holes through the burger were quite apparent in person. You could tell that each 1/3 pound patty had a bunch of holes in them. Maybe this shot will show them better.
See the holes?

 Oh well, they were there. These were meant to be classic burger, nothing special in terms of toppings, a true backyard burger with the exception of a home baked bun and a ventileated patty. So, some iceberg lettuce, tomato and red onion were added to the mix. I meant to buy pickles, they were missed.


A little mayo and spicy brown mustard, some fresh ground black pepper and some cheddar which was melted on while the burgers cooked on the kettle, which was set to 400F, there was a little apple wood in the charcoals. You could see a little of the effect of smoke in the reddish hue of the patties. I built the burgers, as I always saw at Nations and The Red Onion, mayo and mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion, beef and the top of the bun. Served with tater tots. The tots were coated with olive oil and Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy Rub.

Burger and Tots

Section View

Now, I am not sure what the deal was, but, you can clearly see the effect of the butter (oddly more yellow than in real life) in the part of the bun on the back of the plate, but, the front bun is white (oddly much more white than in real life). I am sure this is a lighting issue, odd though, just could not get the color right no matter the angle. You can see the salad piled under the burger patty.

Burger Patty texture shot

Hopefully that last shot shows the texture of the patty, which was actually quite airy and still juicy. The skewer I used was quite dull, my brisket skewer to he honest, and it pushed slits through the meat, as opposed to cutting the fibers of the grind. The patty had a granular texture, the juices sitting in the voids quite nicely. In my real life, there is a thing called a peched water table, where a gravel drainage bed does not drain, becasue the pores in the gravel section are just small enough to allow fluid surface tension to bridge the gaps, desptie being porous, the liquids stay in place. This was amazing to me, as that is exactly what happened. A delicate texture, light to the teeth, meaty on the palate, bursting with juice with each bite flowing with flavor. I may never do patties the same again.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

St. Loius-style Ribs in the UDS

It has been a while and I had some cooking to get done today, so I decided to throw on a rack of ribs, spareribs to be more precise. I have been wanting to try a few things with spares and this was a good time. I hate firing up the UDS to do a small cook, but, I needed to cook some chicken breasts, the ribs and a piece of lunch meat would round out enough to make the charcoal burn worth it.

The ribs, St Loius style

The ribs were trimmed in what is called the St. Louis-style, which means the flap meat and the ends, or tips, have been removed. This makes them a little easier to cook, as all of the meat is of a similar thickness and fat content. These were not quite as meaty between the bones as I would normally like, but, I was not able to pick them out this time.

Rubbed and Resting

I applied a coating of a mixture of rubs, equal parts of my mother rub and Simply Marvelous Cherry rub and about 1/2 as much of the Rub Company Santa Maria rub. This was allowed to sit in plastic wrap for an hour. I then applied a second coat of the Simply Marvelous, then another coat of the Mother Rub. I find the two commoercial rubs I used offer great complexity used in this manner, but, the added black pepper punch of my rub suits my taste. Another 15 minutes and onto the UDS, at 225F, apple wood smoke, cast iron diverter on lower rack. Top vent was wide open, as always. I was using Royal Oak lump today.

Off the UDS

These ribs are not sauced, but, they were hit three times with my Pig Honey glaze, which offers a bit of honey, vinegar and fish sauce (Red Boat Fish Sauce, of course). This serves two purposes, one is it adds umami and additional complexity to the finished product, the second is that it improved the texture in my opinion. The ribs were cooked straight through for 6 hours.

Mess of Ribs

The flavor of these ribs is very complex, yet, if offers an initial sensation of being a familiar taste, then rolls into the more spicy, earthy and finally lingering umami flavors. It is not as sweet as one might think. There is even a nice little smoke ring showing.


Hopefully the shot above shows the texture of the meat, the little smoke ring and the fact that thanks to Michael (Northwest BBQ), I finally got the white balance thingy worked out and the texture actually shows. The ribs had perhaps just a tad more pull that would have been perfect for competition, but, they tasted great and the texture was by no means bad. These ate well.