Category Archives: Food

Smoker, BBQ tips n tricks

I love to bbq outside, winter, snow/rain whatever.
There is no excuse. There are periods where i use a bbq like 3-4 times per week.
Sometimes just to get a nice smokey hamburger.

I’ve written this post because sometimes i see (or smell) some rookie mistakes. (Wrong type of smoke, using accelerants)

I’ve got a offset smoker
https://www.henriaanstoot.nl/2019/06/16/smoker/

A Weber One Touch

And a Skottle Braai

All have their own benefits,and restrictions.

The tips below are the ones i find useful and are MY opinion, but i’m just an amateur and could be wrong 🙂

Offset smoker:

Offset smoker with on the left a cold smoke part ( for cheese and fish ) Some hops behind the Smoker

An offset smoker is perfect for ribs, brisket and other meats that are perfect to take some time to absorb smoke and get better when slowly cooked.

When going Low and slow, i follow these rules:

  • Try to leave the lid closed! No need to let the slowly buildup temperature get away from your meat!
  • Need to know the temperature? Use the one on your kettle or even better, one with a little cable to leave it outside of the heating chamber.
    (See tools)

Weber:

I use this one to do a fast steak (below more about this),smoking nuts and pizza.

  • Use a lid to hold some of the moisture.
  • Use a line of bricks though the middle to create a little cold/hot zone.
    (See pictures)
  • Buy a second grid/grate with a easy accessible opening.
    I’ve used an angle grinder to open a part of the grid.
    This allows easy access to the coals.
  • When making pizza, use a stone slate, and lay your coals at the side, in a horseshoe fashion.
    Some people say .. crank the temperature up to 400 something degrees.
    Far to high to my liking .. 200 is enough
Tomahawk with a tray below it, brick divider ( indirect / direct part )
Cold smoked salmon using a cold smoke generator (filled with wood dust)
Pizza on a stone slate, i use this slate also for Smoked Chocolate Chip Cookies !
Smoked nuts, cheese sausages and eggs.

Skottle Braai:

This one is perfect for fried rice, meats/vegetables which need fluids.
(Some satay/chinese stirfries or small piece meat like Shawarma.

Another way to stir fry is with our beer brew burner

For all things above:

Prepare everything, get your timing right.
Sometimes you are smoking for 6+ hours, but when you forgot to make a marinade, getting things sliced or need a product you dont have/forgot/gone bad .. (i’ve been there)


For the offset smoker .. i don’t use tuning plates .. and probably never will.
Tuning plates can be used to get your smoker front to back evenly heated. This is only useful when cooking a lot of meat.
I seldom do, so i use the colder part whenever things are going too fast.

I even used a Flir camera to check the temperature distribution


Using a lot of heat? Don´t put pepper on your meat. It will burn, just wait when it’s on your plate.
Salt is fine.


Using briquettes or charcoal?
Briquettes, when properly lighted, doesn´t give you a nasty smoke as plain charcoal, charcoal needs more time to burn properly. Briquettes will last for a long time. (See below tools)
Coconut briquettes are perfect for slow cooking .. they burn for a long time.
Use a chimney and wait until all briquettes are white!

Look at the smoke, it should be thin blue-ish. Not thick or white or even black.
Except for smoking woods.


Smoke wood: I’ve tried a lot of smokewoods. Cherry, wine vines, Apple, Pear, hickory, oak, maple and more.
Some people and even packages say: “Soak for 30 minutes in water”
Well i don’t, then the smoke is mostly water vapor.
If you make a neat aluminum foil package with a few little holes, it won’t burst into flames and produces a nice amount of smoke which lasts a while.

Pack tightly and only a few small holes
Tube wood chip holder

Don’t use accelerants like spirit. It gives a nasty taste/smell.


Use different plates and tools for raw and cooked meat.


Look at the core temperature, for example for beef

Rare: 50 to 52 degrees
Medium rare: 55 to 58 degrees
Medium: 60 to 63 degrees
Medium Well: 65 to 67 degrees
Well done: 70 to 80 degrees

Stop before it reaches the desired temperature. Wrap in foil and wait a few minutes. The temperature will rise a few degrees


Trying to get your temperature up again by adding briquettes or wood?
Sometimes fuel is getting low and temperature is dropping.
I seldom but briquettes or wood directly in the fire, it wil give a nasty smoke when it start burning .. I use the chimney to get it burning right.
Then i will place it in the offset chamber.


Using a drip bucket? Or want to use more moisture for your meat?
Heat some apple juice or plain water, and put this in a container below the meat. (See the tomahawk picture above)


The hand trick to check your meat does not really work.
A IT consultant and a bricklayer have different hands, and muscles. 🙂
But it can be an indicator!

Tools:

Spatula, Tongs, Fork, and Basting Brush

Chimney:
You need this!

Fast and easy getting your fire ready

Trays and foils:
Use heavy duty aluminum foil.

The open one i also used to smoke grains for beer brewing.

Beer grains

Rubs, sauces and spices:
Get yourself some nice different rubs and sauces.
Make your own rubs (or sauce)
I will post some recipes for rubs and the smokey red wine sauce i’ve made.
Remember which spices are going to burn in a dry rub.
Sauce is not only to complement the meat, but you can also use it to glace the meat while cooking!

Injecting:

Injecting game stock into meat. Right a spices cabinet i build which can be turned almost 180 degrees.

Injecting meat will give it a nice flavor and tenderness.

Fire starters:

Use a starter which burns clean .. no smoke no odor

Temperature:

Dual temperature sensor

Use a wireless dual temperature sensor, one for the meat (core) and one for the temperature in the Bbq.

For a fast reading, for example in ribs, i use below speed sensor

Reads temperature in 2 seconds

Use pin for testing tenderness

Or … going fancy with my own build bbq watch .. (separate post)

Small pieces of meat? Use a fine mazed mat like this

To moisturize your meat or apply seasoning like apple juice, use a plant spay

At last .. some tips for you to try:


(No links to recipes on the internet, just google there are many .. i will post recipes i’ve tried myself)

Ribs 3-2-1 method

Got a nice steak with a fat cap?
Try argentina style.
Just do a 3-minutes per site. (Even better .. use a pre-heated iron cast grate to get some nice lines.
At the end press the meat on the grate, so the fat melts and drips onto the coals. These wil burn and give big flames. Those burning flaming fat wil give your beef a taste to remember!

Cast iron grate


Briskett

Cold smoking

Moinkballs

Beercan Chicken

Icecream

Still hot outside, and i like coffee. So what about some coffee icecream!

Ingredients:

  • 200ml Milk (whole)
  • 3 spoons coffee
  • 90gr sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 425ml liquid cream

Place a fine meshed strainer over a container. Put the coffee in the seive. Heat the milk (allmost boiling) and pour it over the coffee. Let it cool.
Dissolve the sugar in 150ml water. Bring to the boil for a few minutes.
Let this also cool for a few minutes.
Pour the sugarliquid to the container holding the eggyolks. Add the liquid cream and the coffee-milk solution.
Cool in the refrigerator and put into your icecream maker. Thats all.

Icemaker is a Cucina – HR2305

Used this ice maker for many years, a lot of different icecreams we made!

Cold smoke

Today some smoking again.

Salmon and cheese

For curing the salmon (500gr) i used:

  • 100 gr seasalt
  • 80gr licht caster sugar
  • 3 teaspoons dille
  • 1 teaspoon crushed juniper berries

Dry salmon, put a layer of above mixture in a container, put the salmon on top, with another layer. Put a heavy weight ontop to squeeze the water out of the salmon, while its in the refrigerator. Next day: Wash the salmon, drying it with paper kitchentowel. Put the salmon back into the refrigerator again to dry some more.
I’ve put the salmon in my smoker with a cold smoke generator for 8 hours, the cheese needed only 2 hours.

Biltong again

In 2020 i made a Biltong drying thingy, using a Nextion and a Arduino.
Today i’m preparing for some Chilli Bintong, which i’m going to put in the drying box tomorrow.

2020 Version 1, now version 3 (no more display bugs)

Arduino functionality

  • Heating light
  • Temperature / Humidity
  • Air flow
  • MQTT to home automation
  • Nextion Display

Recipe

Meat
1 kg Beef Cut into 1.5cm - 2cm steak slices

Spice
2 tbsp black pepper coarsely ground.
2 tbsp course Sea Salt
1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
4 tbsp coriander seeds roasted and coarsely ground.
1 tbsp chili flakes

Marinade
50 ml worcestershire sauce
100 ml apple vinegar
1 tbsp tabasco sauce

Script – get images from Reolink cam

while true; do
wget "http://ip.number.or.hostname/cgi-bin/api.cgi?cmd=Snap&channel=0&rs=123asd&user=admin&password=MYSECRETPASS" -O $(date +%Y%m%d%H%M).jpg
sleep 60
done

Script to generate MP4 (60fps)

cat *.jpg | ffmpeg -f image2pipe -r 60 -vcodec mjpeg -i - -vcodec libx264 out.mp4
Part of Grafana log

Fermenting sauerkraut in a crock

We love fermenting!
Sometimes we ferment our own sauerkraut.

Depending on the volume it can take at least 2 weeks up to several months.

If you don’t have crock pot weights, use a plastic bag filled with water.
(See below)

Mixture: Salt, juniper berries, dill, celery seeds and caraway.

  • Rinse Cabbage and clean. Cut out and discard the hard white center.
  • Take the largest leaves from one cabbage and lay them out at the bottom of your clean and rinsed out crock pot.
  • Shred the rest of the cabbage.
  • Add a layer of shredded cabbage over the laid out leaves in the crock pot. Sprinkle some of above mixture over this layer. Compress by stomping down with the stomper.
  • Repeat the layering process until you used up all the cabbage, salt, and juniper berries. After each layer stomp it down.
  • Pour all the luke warm water over the cabbage. That will activate the fermentation process.
  • Place clean crock pot weights over the cabbage and close the crock pot with the lid. Pour water into the ring of your crock pot and make sure there is always water in that.
  • Wait several weeks until cabbage is done fermenting into Sauerkraut.

Some books about the subject we own

Slavink en hamburgers

Notes:

  • Varkenssnippers 700gr
  • (Flinterdunne speklapjes) ik had omwikkelspek (3 zakjes)
  • 12-16 gram zeezout bij malen in
  • voor 500gr pittige gehaktkruiden

Variant:

  • 300 rundergehakt
  • 12 plakken gerookte ontbijtspek
  • 1 teen knoflook
  • 1 ei
  • Snuf peper en zout
  • 1 theelepel mosterd
  • 3 eetlepel paneermeel
  • 1 eetlepel gedroogde peterselie

Mijn vleesmolen

Bestron AMG600 – Elektrische Vleesmolen

Tips: Zorg dat je vlees goed koud is! Anders loopt de vleesmolen vast.

Cured Salmon Gravlax

Most of the times i use my cold smoker to smoke the salmon, below is a experiment i have to revisit!

Gravlax (Swedish: [ˈgrɑ̂ːvlakːs]) or graved salmon is a Nordic dish consisting of salmon that is cured using a mix of salt and sugar, and either dill or sprucetwigs placed on top, and may occasionally be cold-smoked afterwards. Gravlax is usually served as an appetizer, sliced thinly and accompanied by hovmästarsås “mustard sauce”, in Denmark as rævesovs, literally “fox sauce”, and in Iceland as graflaxsósa), a dill and mustard sauce, either on bread or with boiled potatoes.

In olden times, the salmon was buried in the ground to ferment. I packed mine in foil and buried it in the garden for a few days.

TODO : Post recipe!