Monday, August 31, 2015

Notes: T-bone steak

30 August 2015

  • Serious Eats (an on-line cooking resource) published an article on The Four High End Steaks You Should Know: rib eye, strip, tenderloin, and t-bone.
  • Doing some reading, t-bone is harder to cook than the others because of the bone, odd shape, and having two different muscles, which have different characteristics, in the steak. Pan searing is discouraged and grilling or broiling are recommended.
  • Our steak is even more challenging as it is a thin supermarket cut, easily overcooked before a good crust can develop. Furthermore, it was frozen in its original package then thawed at room temperature.
  • Out steak weighed 0.84 pounds and was ¾″ thick at its thickest.
  • After thawing on the kitchen counter, the steak was patted dry with paper towels then seasoned with kosher salt and black pepper.  The grill was preheated, then two of the three burners were turned to low. The steak was placed so the thinner side was closets to the cooler burners.
  • I guessed 3 minutes a side based on recommendations in several recipes I reviewed. After cooking for this long the temperature was 100°; another 2 minutes brought the temperature up to 130°, medium-rare, for the thickest part.

  • Menu: Steak, fresh sweet corn, boiled red potatoes, Vella Merlot.
  • The meat was good if a tad over seasoned (sigh). It was not overcooked, as I had feared it would be as it is a thin steak. It was reasonably tender though perhaps a little mushy, probably from having been frozen.
  • As suspected, the steak did not develop a good crust. By the time the middle was done the outside was only lightly browned.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Notes: Barbecued Beef Brisket and Sourdough No-knead Bread

23 August 2015

  • I have made and written about barbecued brisket and sourdough no-knead bread each several times before.
  • Bread
    • With an eye towards modifying this recipe by adding more starter, here are the ingredients I used
      • 15 ounces bread flour
      • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
      • 1½ teaspoons table salt
      • 5 fluid ounces room room temperature water
      • 2 fluid ounces sourdough starter
      • 3 fluid ounces lager
      • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
    • I didn't mean to do an experiment with the recipe today but I did by mistake by leaving out the salt.  :-(  Salt is important to bread.
    • The dough was wetter than usual, I had to add a lot of flour while kneading it so that I could handle it, suggesting that leaving out the salt was not my only mistake.
  •  Brisket
    • I bought a relatively small brisket, 3 pounds, the recipe is for a 5 to 6 pound brisket. It had a nice fat cap.
    • Rather than use the smoking directions from the brisket recipe, I followed those in the ATK pulled pork recipe. I used 4 cups of wood chips, 2 dry and 2 soaked, a mixture of apple and hickory. (Not for any culinary reasons but because the bag of apple chips is about gone so I bought a new bag of hickory chips.)
    • A disposable aluminum pan with water was placed under the beef. Supposedly the dampness helps the meat absorb the smoke.
    • I smoked the brisket for 2 hours (the recipe called for 3) with the primary burner on high and the other two burners off. This maintained a grill temperature of about 220°. The recipe did not specify a temperature.
    • The temperature of the roast was around 135° when it came from the grill. It took about 3 hours in the oven to reach the final temperature of 190°. It seemed to get stuck on 176° for a long time before finally continuing its rise in temperature. 
  • Menu: barbecued beef brisket, sourdough bread, crudité (carrots and celery), Quick Boston beans, Vella Merlot
  • What a difference a little salt makes! The bread was bad. The stickiness of the dough suggests I made at least one other mistake, but forgetting the salt was a biggie. The sourness from the starter came through but otherwise the bread was bland. The texture was off, too, it didn't rise well after being formed into a loaf so the crumb was dense. 
  • The beef was good, nice and tender, though over seasoned (Will I ever learn?) and the fat cap added a lot of flavor.  Diane thought the combination of salt-less bread with salty meat worked well. 
  • The bread was tolerable given enough beef or bean juice or butter. 

Eat leftovers
  • tbd