Hi all, It’s been a while – but to be honest I haven’t had much chance to do any real cooking. I decided to use this post as a description of how to keep your expensive barbecue equipment (read smoker and possibly grill/bbq) in good shape – effectively how to treat rust.
I find that the firebox rusts very quickly due to the heat that is stored there and I need to repair this at least on a yearly basis – saying that it has been about a year and a half since I last did this.
For this arm killing operation you will need the following equipment: 1. Medium sanding sponge(s) 2. Fine sanding sponge 3. High heat black paint designed for barbecues and firepits
As you can see from the first picture within this blog, my firepit is rusty. The solution (according to Yoder documentation) is to remove the rust by sanding and then spray painting with their special smoker paint. As you can see in the picture below I have sanded the door of the firepit with the medium sanding sponge (a lot of elbow grease and very hard work) – rinsed it down and then sanded again with the fine sponge. Make sure that you remove all the dust. This is supposed to be a solution for small amounts of rust – but I do not really have a better solution for removing the rust – I would have loved to have used a sand blasting machine, but I do not yet have one in my arsenal of hardly ever used tools.
Once the smoker is sanded, clean and dry then you can simply paint it with the high heat paint I mentioned earlier (you cannot get the yoder paint directly in Israel – you may not even be able to buy and ship it here as it is in an aerosol can and could theoretically explode in a plane)
It is really important to keep the smoker in good condition as it is so expensive that you don’t want it to rust away and be unusable – and that is ignoring the aesthetics of the most expensive part of your garden…..
Hope this is useful – and I will write again soon(ish),
I have been trying to add more fish to my diet – and one fish that I really like is smoked trout. It is incredibly rare in Israel – and therefore very expensive. Before I start – after making this recipe I realised that the bought smoked trout must be cold smoked and therefore this recipe tastes different to bought products – but still a really good alternative fish meal.
The only issue that I had was that fillets of such a delicate fish would be impossible to remove from the smoker without damaging and so I bought from Amazon a couple of Mesh Mats as can be seen below. This blog can also be taken as a simple review (use of document) of the Grillaholics Grill Mats.
7 fillets of trout with the skin on (can be bought at David’s in Machane Yehuda – The Ivrit name for the fish is Porrel) 2 litres of cold water 1/2 cup white sugar 2 squeezes silan (date honey/syrup) 1/2 cup coarse sea salt 2 tablespoons garlic powder 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
This is split into 3 parts: 1. The brine 2. Drying 3. Smoking
To brine: Put all of the ingredients (except the fish) into a ziplock and shake until dissolved. Add the fish and put in the fridge overnight
To dry: Lay the fish on a plate in the fridge for 24 hours. Place the fish into a dry ziplock and leave in the fridge another 24 hours
To smoke: Prepare your smoker to smoke at 225F/105C. I used only peach wood for the fish
Whilst the smoker/covered grill is coming to temperature (If you are using a dedicated smoker allow the smoker an hour for the temperature to stabilize) wash the mesh mats in soapy water and let them dry. Put the fish on the mats with space around them to allow the smoke to permeate the fish.
Once at temperature put the trout in and cook for 90-105 minutes. Do not allow the fish to dry out by overcooking.
Normally at this point I would give alternatives – but you know what you like and you are fully capable of adding an ingredient to the brine – or even basting the fish with a warmed sauce during the last 20 mins of cooking.
No, here I am going to tell you how we ate these ourselves as you are unlikely to cook a couple of these for supper without storing a few extra fillets for the days to come.
The main picture of the blog is a simple salad that I took to work for lunch. The smoked fish added a dimension to my daily salad and actually made it a much more enjoyable meal….
With the hot fish, I made a gluten free wrap with sauerkraut, lettuce, sunny-side up egg, the trout and some horseradish sauce – which worked really well.
My wife simply had the trout on Jacobs cream crackers (yes, we just got back from a holiday in Europe, where I totally managed to fail to start a disposable barbecue, and brought some English cream crackers back with us) with mayonnaise, trout and lemon juice. (I apologise for the state of the plate – but my wife started eating before I could take the photo and if I spent enough time to change the plate I would have had nothing left to take a photo of …..)
Anything else that you come up with will be great – ideas could include a type of kedgeree using trout instead of cod or even mixing the trout with salmon to make fishcakes.
About the mats
This is the first time that I have ever used mesh mats at all – and I really liked them. They allowed me to put 7 fillets into the smoker in seconds – imagine if you were smoking 5 kg of wings (each wing split into two). If put onto 4 mats prior to cooking, you could open the smoker for less than 30 seconds instead of up to 5 minutes – which in turn allows you to keep the heat in the smoker. When the mats came out of the smoker they were completely cool to touch after even two minutes – and may of been cool to touch immediately but I didn’t really want to find out by getting blisters on my fingertips…… Also, when the fish came out, the fish came off easily enough that none of my fillets were damaged (one or two did stick slightly but it was easy to get underneath with a fish slice). After use, the mats were easily washed (by hand) with soap and hot water. You can supposedly put them flat in the top of a dishwasher – but my dishwasher is never that empty!
That’s all for now – we are now coming up to the festive season and I will definitely doing at least 1 bbq meal for this time – hopefully the weather where you are is good enough to light your grill or smoker and just enjoy some time peacefully cooking up a storm whilst enjoying a cool drink or two.
No, I am not confused. I think – maybe I’ll ask the doctor. Or not. Actually she is sitting next to me and said that I am just being silly (The wife is a doctor so I can’t get away with anything – thankfully I am over 18 and so am too old for her normal patients……)!
So, on with the blog. As you may remember – I have a freezer full of lamb. What was a whole lamb. A lot has already gone. Some of it has even been blogged about. 3kg of this was lamb mince and so I made a lamb/beef burger for Yom Ha’atzmaut (2 months ago already….).
And here is the simple recipe – with a few useful tips/cheats to make your burgers look professional and not too rustic!
1kg (Ground) beef mince 1/2kg (Ground) lean lamb mince 8 Tablespoons breadcrumbs 2 Large onions very finely chopped 4 Medium eggs beaten 4 Level teaspoons Colman’s mustard powder 4 Teaspoons of mixed dried herbs 1 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic 1 Teaspoon curry powder Freshly ground pepper (10 or so grinds)
The simplest of all – mix all the ingredients together in a bowl!!! This is where we start using tips – as can be seen below I used a burger maker to shape my burgers. This is a very simple tool to make perfectly shaped burgers. I bought mine over 10 years ago in Lakeland along with the waxed discs that you can see in the photo. The burger makers can be bought in Israel at the Weber website – I think Traeger also sells them but couldn’t find it on their website. There may be other stockists (British word – not sure of the American translation 🙂 ) that I am not aware of.
The burger maker is really simple to use (copying from the instruction manual!!!) and also easy to clean by separating into its constituent parts. 1. Place the burger maker upside down 2. Place a waxed disk on the flat pad inside the burger maker (The wax discs we use are only waxed on one side – put this facing the (soon to be placed) meat mixture. 3. Spoon in the burger mixture to just below the rim of the burger maker and spread evenly (I just put a large heaped lump of meat and let the maker shape it!) 4. Place a second waxed disc over the mixture (I put it in the other section – now called a covering lid) 5. (this is where I differ from the instructions. I close the burger maker up and then push the plunger down whilst holding the covering lid to shape the burger) 6. Release the burger by removing the covering lid and depressing the plunger.
Put the burgers in a dish (maximum 2 high) and freeze for at least 30 minutes before cooking them – so they keep their shape whilst cooking. The wax paper discs officially prevents the burgers sticking together. This sometimes works – but it definitely makes them easier to separate!
Cook over a medium grill for approximately 5 minutes a side depending how well done you wish the burger to be.
As with all recipes. The sky is the limit. For this burger I used a standard recipe that I always use as a base and changed the meat from pure beef. I also added the garlic and curry powder. Other simple alternatives are: Onion powder Paprika (sweet, chilli or smoked) Nutmeg Parsley Ginger Chutney Worcestershire sauce Ketchup or BBQ sauces Tabasco Alcohol etc
As I always say – play and find what works for you. If your kids will eat anything in a burger – add some spinach. If you are doing a themed party – add something that matches the theme. If it is St. Patrick’s day – add Guinness and a little extra breadcrumbs. Your imagination (and taste buds) are the limit.
That’s all for now – I will try and do some kind of practical or review style blog next. I have a couple of ideas and will see where they (and spare time) takes me.
Two days ago I posted a recipe for lamb steaks. Today, on Yom Ha’atzmaut, I am writing a post for beef steaks that I made earlier today.
I am not going to post this blog for another week or so. For those that do not know – Yom Ha’atzmaut is Israeli Independence day and is generally celebrated by getting together with family and friends – finding a remote part of the country (that has also been found by at least another 1000 loud Israelis) and having a barbecue (Mangal).
This recipe is one of the two items that I actually prepared for today – the other is a beef/lamb burger which I will post in about a month’s time.
Put all the ingredients into a zip lock back, shake and massage.
Remove all the air and leave refrigerated overnight.
Prepare your grill (bbq) for high temperature direct cooking.
Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side depending on thickness and how well done you want the steaks.
This marinade can be used on all types of steaks – Entrecote (Ribeye) or Sirloin as examples. Just remember that the cut and the thickness of the steak may change the cooking times.
Until the burgers …
And it was expensive.
And so far it has been very tasty. Especially the chopped liver that I made from it.
We have cooked some of it inside the house – but after a very wet winter I am finally starting to use both the grill and smoker – my 15 year old son and his friends have been grilling in the rain a few times although I still do not understand why they start after 11pm without any alcohol to encourage them……
Back to this blog. I took some lamb rump and used it to create some steaks – and it was good. So a recipe here is now in order. I made this on Pesach (Passover) and so wasn’t using my normal grill – I strongly suggest that you make this recipe on a grill with a lid which you can use to starve the coals of oxygen as I had a few flare ups from the fat/marinade as I was cooking.
290ml (1/2 pint) olive oil
6 garlic cloves crushed
2 tablespoons fresh mint
1 larger onion sliced
5 or 6 grinds of black pepper
This is really simple.
Put all the ingredients in a ziplock bag and leave marinating for 24 hours.
Turn the bag 3 or 4 times during this time to make sure all the lamb is covered in marinade.
Prepare your grill (bbq) for high temperature direct cooking.
Remove as much oil from the steaks as possible to reduce the chance of flare ups.
Grill your steaks for 2-3 minutes a side. They are best when red in the middle – but can become tough if overcooked.
Also, note that any flare-ups that are not stopped can cause a layer of “char” on the meat which would look unappetizing. The moral of this sentence is to starve any flareups with your lid.
Clean up the thighs and remove any excess fat.
Mix all the ingredients together.
Baste both sides of the chicken thighs and leave to marinade for between 30 minutes and 2 hours – not more – in the fridge.
Set up your barbecue/grill for direct high heat cooking and grill the thigh on both sides for a couple of minutes.
I really like my chicken thighs almost over cooked. They stay moist and taste really good when they are slightly more charred – this is a personal taste option and would require another minute or so on each side.
Boned chicken thighs (like very thinly sliced chicken breast or steaks) work very well at the start of a bbq/grilling session as they are forgiving of the higher more intense heat during the first 10/15 minutes of grilling. Remember sausages are always last unless cooked indirectly!!!!
First of all, the amount of marmalade used depends on how bitter it is. In this recipe you can hardly taste it (but it is there) you can easily add more and reduce the curry paste.
This marinade with addition of a little silan (date syrup) or honey would be amazing on indirectly cooked duck breasts.
As always – the recipe is a base for your experimentation. It is not a strict set of rules that must never be broken on pain of death. Play, play, play. Then play some more!
That’s it for this short blog. Hope you enjoy the food.
See you next time.
I just realised how long it has been since the last post. In this weather that we are having it is time to make something quick – or better yet inside! So this post is simply (but painstakingly) how to make marmalade from fresh bitter oranges that are still on the trees here. If you are unlucky enough to have a bitter orange tree – this is about the only thing that we have found to do with the fruit…..unless you are diabetic as there is a LOT of sugar involved just to make this palatable! If anyone else knows what else to do with bitter oranges we would love to hear from you!
The second post in this two part series will be a simple grilled chicken using the marmalade within a marinade.
First of all – if you do not have bitter oranges you are certainly thinking of the fruit at the moment. They are very small – just about an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. They are thin skinned and very – very – bitter. They also tend to ripen (according to my garden at least) approximately a month before my other citrus trees – all 8 of them. In fact my lemons have finally all now ripened – I just need to decide what to do with approximately 500 lemons (as a guess). We had approximately 4 kg of bitter oranges – and we used about 2 kg in this recipe. This probably made a few litres of marmalade which we dutifully distributed to our friends. We kept a very small pot for ourselves as a basis for marinades. I wonder what it would taste like on duck or goose breast?
OK, and now for the recipe. Please note this is a lot of work, but it tastes so much fresher than the store bought products.
First things first, do not take these measurements as 100% gospel. You are taking the oranges off a tree in your garden, maybe from a friend, maybe you just came across a tree in the middle of a hike. Therefore the amounts here are more ratios. I used 2 kg of fruit, but this can be done with 200 gm, 500 gm or any amount as long as you have enough space in your pot (and enough patience for the proper preparation)
2 kg Small Bitter Oranges
2 kg Sugar
4 cups of water
1/2 cup Peaty Single Malt Whisky (1/4 cup per kg fruit)
teaspoon vanilla essence
Cut the oranges in half and juice them. (They are so small it is easiest to do by hand even if you have an electric citrus juicer). Put the juice aside and put the pulp and seeds into a heavy bottomed pot). Save the rinds
Boil the water, orange pulp and seeds for between 30 minutes to release the pectin.
Remove and discard the seeds.
If you are being proper then you carefully shred the rinds by hand. After three years of doing this and having aching hands by the end I have started throwing all the rinds into a food processor and doing this inelegantly in seconds rather than a VERY long time.
Add the juice, rind and vanilla essence to the pot and boil for about a quarter of an hour.
Add the whisky and sugar, boil and stir until it becomes very thick. It should darken and turn translucent. In theory this takes 20 minutes – but I have been on this stage for up to an hour sometimes. Do not let it catch and burn at this point!
To test – place a small bit of the marmalade onto a cold plate. It should congeal.
Ladle the marmalade into pots (if glass make sure they are sterilised). I tend to use throwaway plastic containers as can be seen in the picture at the top of the post.
Leave to cool and then put in the refrigerator. I am not sure how long this lasts – but it is the same as jam. You can see if it shouldn’t be used anymore. I keep it for a few months at least. Most people who take it from me finish it in a matter of weeks.
That’s it for now. Next week we will take the marmalade and cook with it – as this was only the preparation stage.
Have a good new year,
This recipe is part of the collection that I cooked simultaneously about 6 months ago which allowed me to annoy my neighbour for the shortest time possible whilst producing multiple posts…… I also used a netting that I bought in my local Makolet (equivalent of a local convenience store) from a company called “Meat and Chicken”. Goose breast is something that I tasted at a BBQ taster event about a month previously. This was done very plainly but tasted great…. I thought that I would try something a little different (In Israel it is very easy to buy small frozen goose breast from any supermarket – no matter how small)
Without further ado – on to the recipe.
2 goose breasts – fat and skin layer still attached
1/2 cup of a good Speyside whisky (I used Tomintoul)
Put the goose breasts and the whisky into a small zip-lock and leave to marinade in the fridge overnight. turning every so often.
The next day, remove the goose from the whisky and pat dry. Mix all the other 3 ingredients and massage them into the goose breasts.
Put the goose breasts into the netting (The netting is not essential but will slightly change the texture of the finished product) with the fatty skin layer on top with both breasts.
Put the goose breasts back into the fridge until ready to cook (it can be anywhere between an hour to a day).
Prepare your smoker to cook at 105C (220F) – I used oak as both my source of heat and smoke flavour.
Cook the breasts low and slow with the fatty layer on top (to allow the fat to moisturize the meat during cooking) until an internal temperature of 63C (145F).
In my case this took about 90 minutes – but use an accurate thermometer like with almost all of my recipes.
The goose breast can be served hot or cold – but will come out of the netting (and slice easier) when cold.
A little about the netting
Many recipes call for meat to be trussed up. This can be done with specific butchers string or these kinds of nets.
The nets are very simple – The netting does stretch but it can still take a bit of effort to get the meat into them.
I liked this net and found it very easy and convenient to use.
As I said in my last post, I made a lot of smoked items in one go a couple of weeks back. One of the things that I made were some smoked bones for our new dog.
We adopted a dog about 3 weeks ago. She came from a shelter and appears to be some mix between a shepherd and lab. She is very cute but a little naughty…..
Now on with the blog, if you go to a pet shop you can pay quite a large amount for smoked marrow bones – so I decided to make my own. Bones can be bought fairly cheaply from supermarkets and butchers around here – the only issue was that I wanted to get some use out of the bones first – so I made some bone broth. The recipe for the broth and the smoked bones are below:
Approx 1kg marrow bones
1 onion chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
celery leaves (if you have)
couple of large mushrooms
teaspoon of peppercorns
any other vegetables that you fancy
2 tablespoons apple vinegar
When making bone broth the taste is supposedly improved by roasting the bones first. I didn’t do this as the bones that I had were very full of meat and I wished to add this flavour to the stock.
In a large stock pot add all ingredients except the parsley and add water to close to the top of the pot.
Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 18 hours. Add water if necessary. If you do not wish to leave the gas on all night – you can put the pot into a normal oven at 90C (200F).
During the first hour or two – you may find that a brown frothy scum is produced on top of the water. This should just be removed with a spoon.
Add the parsley for the last 30 minutes.
When ready strain and reserve the stock , eat the vegetables and leave the bones to cool down (in the fridge).
Prepare your smoker at whatever temperature that you are using – I was cooking at 105C (220F) – and put the bones in for between an hour and two to allow the smoke flavour to permeate.
That’s it – really simple. I was hoping to collect some photos of our dog eating the bones – but she devoured them so quickly that I didn’t manage to capture the moment!
Once you have the bone stock you can use it for any recipes that you require. A smoker suggestion is to place it in a container under ribs or brisket that is being smoked and then use this reduced stock as the base to make some gravy.
Last week I warned my delightful neighbour that I would be smoking all day and I used the opportunity to prepare photos for my next 4 blogs. If my plans do not go awry I will release a blog every two weeks over the next month and a half. I know that I will not keep this pace up for long – but in the meantime I will give you some recipes, reviews and dog treats…..
A while back I did a generic review of the Traeger “goodies” which are sold in Israel and I commented there that my favourite item by far was the flexible skewer. Traegers’ importer was nice enough to give me a free set at a tasting event that they ran last week (If any other suppliers are out there – especially the suppliers of the new wifi enabled thermometer/fan set being sold at BBQ Europe 🙂 I am willing to review your items for you….)
So, back to the blog. I want to review the skewers – but I feel that a review of such a simple item would be pointless as you need to use them to review them. Therefore I am going to include the recipe that I used to test them out. I took a fajitas marinade that I often use off the bbq and then I smoked the resultant meat. It worked great.
My skewed impressions
As I said in an earlier post – I love this idea. The skewers are pure braided metal and appear to be very strong. Time will tell if they get affected by the humid smoking environment – but I am hopeful that they will not rust. When I used the skewers I actually made a loop of meat (you will see this in the pictures) and this could either be placed on a rack – or even hung if you have a lot of meat to smoke. Please note that I used the term “meat to smoke” – this is my only worry with these skewers – We all know that flat skewers are the best for grilling as the food item does not slip when you turn it around to cook all sides. The obvious solution to this would be to put the wire through all the skewed items – then bend it and pierce each item again. This should work, but I haven’t tested it. This solution would also more than halve the length of the skewer, this is not such an issue as it is very long – just over 67 cm or approx 2 foot 3 inches.
When I used the skewers I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to thread the meat onto them, I also found the meat relatively easy to take off afterwards – especially as I did not find the metal loop at the end too hot to touch even straight after cooking.
The only other thing to say about such a simple (but useful) tool is that I found it very easy to clean with wire wool. The dark smoke colour that encompasses everything placed into a smoker came off easily. I do not know if it can be washed in a dishwasher as the packaging does not say.
cheap cut of meat (I used #8 – Shoulder)
2 hot green chillies chopped into small pieces (keeping or discarding the seeds depending on required heat)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
20 grinds of pepper
1/2 bottle of Mexican beer (I used corona)
Cut the meat into 3mm (1/8 inch) slices and remove as much fat as possible. As in the photo below cut the slices of meat lengthways into 1 cm (0.4 inch) wide strips.
Add all the ingredients (including the meat) into a ziplock back and shake until mixed.
Leave in the fridge overnight turning every so often.
Prepare your kettle grill for smoking using wood chips (or your smoker as normal) to a temperature of 105C (220F). I used oak as my source of heat and smoke. Thread the meat onto the skewer piercing each strip of meat 2 or 3 times.