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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kettle Smoked Chuck Chili

It seemed like a good time to throw together some chili. It is allegedly winter, which is chili time, so I fired up the kettle and threw a chuck roast in there. I opted to use a commercial rub, actually being involved in working, a pre-made rub was just too simple. I used Ted and Barney's Rub, a product from Humboldt County, which is very similar to a Santa Maria rub, salt and pepper heavy. The chuck was smoked over a pecan and charcoal fire, at 225°F for two hours and 300°F in foil for 1.5 hours. This lead the chuck to be just a little underdone, perfect for the use as chili meat.

Smoked Chuck

The meat was removed, placed in an ice chest, while still wrapped and allowed to cool to 150°F then chilled. In the end, I ended up with about 3/4 cup of rendered collagen along with a nearly tender chuck roast. This was all saved for the next morning.

On the day of the cook, some Pinquito beans from Rancho Gordo were procured, and yes, these are worth the hassle of finding. I think that Rancho Gordo is producing the best dried bean product widely available, and they just cook up a whole lot better. The beans were sorted, cleaned, washed then tossed into a pot, with twice as much water and beans, by volume, I also tossed 3 short ribs, for additional flavor. It was brought to a boil, held there for 5 minutes, then reduced to a simmer, covered, for 1 hour. I then salted the beans and simmered until soft. Total time, just around 2 hours.

At the same time, we ground up three types of dried chile, one being Chilhaucle Negro, a rare dried chile commonly associated in it's native region of Mexico, with dark mole sauces. We also had some dried jalapeno and dried New Mexico type chiles. I added some chile powder to round out the heat component. We used a total of 6 tablespoons of this chile powder seasoning.

Two large yellow onions, 3 carrots and 6 cloves of garlic were chopped, and sautéed with 1/3 of the chile powder seasoning. These were sautéed until the onions became translucent.

Second addition of powder

Some chorizo was added at this point, about 1.5 pounds of sausage was removed from casings and added to the aromatics, along with another 1/3 of the chile powder seasoning. This was sautéed until the sausage was cooked through, then the smoked chuck was added, along with a large can of crushed tomatoes, and the final 1/3 of the chile powder seasoning. This was then cooked, and the seasonings adjusted with a little saly, pepper and sugar. This ended up taking about 2 hours, so the beans were added and everything was allowed to simmer for another 30 minutes. We used the bean water to adjust thickness. At this time, some fresh toasted cumin was ground and added, as was oregano. Roughly 2 tablespoons of each. More salt to pop the flavors.

Ready to Serve

Note, that there are two large Dutch ovens worth here. This chili was rich and flavorful with a nice slow burn that develops throughout the mouth and just a little at the top of the throat. The smoke flavor of the chuck, which adds both aroma and flavor is a nice complement to the chili. Yes, there are beans and tomato, but, this was an outstanding bowl of red.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Pulled Pork, South Carolina-style

I was recently the recipient of a very generous package, which included several sauces and the rub from Melvin's, a company in South Carolina. A fellow BBQ Brethren, who goes by PatAttack very generously sent me these from his home state. I have never had South Carolina style mustard sauces, and the style of BBQ plays a secondary role to the more famous North Carolina styles. Thus, this package was a great chance for me to try a new flavor of BBQ.

Melvin's Sauces and Rub

I chanced upon a 3.8 pound pork shoulder butt, from MarinSun Farms, a local pasture grown meat company, this is likely a breed of heritage hog, that has spent it entire life on pasture in Marin County. I was thrilled to find that a local store now carries it. I gave it a quick rinse and trim, then tied it, as it had been boned. I applied a liberal coating of Melvin's rub and let it sit while getting the Kettle to 225°F, which it locked in to like it was an oven.

Fresh and Shiny

Tied and Rubbed

On the grate

As you can see, the kettle was setup for indirect cooking, the foil provides just a little protection from direct heat. I let the butt run at 225°F for 2 hours. Oh, the little cast iron skillet was a Christmas gift, not quite sure what I am going to do with it, but, it is seasoned and what I wanted. After two hours, the meat looked like this.

Ready for butcher paper

Because I was not familiar with the rub, and how it would perform, and I was working, so lost track of time before starting the cook, I decided wrapping and bumping the heat to 300°F was the combination to get to dinner at the right time. A few hours later, the meat felt soft and pliable to the touch, so I pulled and rested it for around 45 minutes. It was wrapped in foil and just sitting on the counter. I had throw together a quick soft bun recipe and it was also just cooling on the stove.

Nicely Barked and Aromatic

Nothing smell better to a BBQ cook than the aroma of pork butt, just ready for pulling. This meat was just tender enough, when I removed the string, and pushed on the top, it simply relaxed into 4 large chunks of meat, a few quick chops with a scraper and it was ready.

Pulled and Coarsely chopped

My preference for sandwiches is to smash the meat and then give it a coarse chop. This was perfectly cooked for that method. The meat was dusted with a little more of Melvin's rub, tossed and placed on the sliced bun.

Little bit of Melvin's Golden Secret

I wish I had gotten some cole slaw together, this sandwich sang without it, but, some cole slaw would have been perfect. I also ended up dipping the sandwich in the sauce that had spilled onto the plate. That is some great sauce, a real nice mustard twang, complements the pork perfectly. No doubt, the rub and sauce are meant to work as a team.

Great Texture

Perfect texture of bread, meat and sauce

This sandwich did not disappoint, and I don't care what you might think about sauce and BBQ, this was very, very, good food. The bread, meat, rub and sauce worked perfectly together. I probably could have shoveled three of these things down. Such a great and generous gesture from PatAttack, and now I can say I have tried a real South Carolina mustard sauce.