My 500th recipe: Pot-Au-Feu

May 20, 2015

Wow, my 500th recipe; five years in the making. For such a momentous occasion I wanted to make something special;  so I picked Pot-au-feu (“pot on fire”) from the May/June issue. Chris Kimball calls this recipe “Simple Pot-Au-Feu“, because it uses only one cut of meat, plus it’s made entirely in one day. Instead of cooling overnight and peeling the hardened fat, this recipe calls for skimming the fat using a ladle. I used a fat separator; as there was a lot of fat. As with many of Chris Kimball’s recent recipes, instead of brown meat on the stove-top, this recipe uses his technique of “browning” in the oven.

Best meal of the year; so far.

Best meal of the year; so far.

The dinner was fantastic; my first 5-star meal of 2015. The flavors were well-balanced; the bone-marrow infused parsley sauce was powerful, and the soup bones made for the most delicious broth I’ve ever tried. The staggered cooking time for the vegetables in the final steps meant that everything was perfectly tender, without anything being overcooked. Next time I might try to brown the beef on the stove-top, because I think the “caramelization” is a little muted as written in today’s recipe. I would also recommend serving with crusty bread; a little crunch was the only thing this meal was lacking.

Additional Comments:

  1. One traditional suggestion for the extra bone marrow is to spread it on toasted bread as an accompaniment.
  2. Pot-au-feu (“pot on fire”) refers to the traditional cooking method of putting inexpensive cuts of meat and root vegetable into a pot and into the fire.
  3. I have three kinds of salt, but didn’t buy flake sea salt. My regular sea salt was in grains, so I used flaky kosher salt in lieu of sea salt for the final dish (in step 14)

Rating: 5-stars.
Cost: $38.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start: 1:00 PM. End time: 6:00 PM.

The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

Meat Ingredients:
3-1/2 to 4-lbs beef chuck-eye roast, boneless
1-1/2-lbs marrow bones
Kosher salt
1 onion
1 celery rib
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Parsley Sauce Ingredients:
2/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
10 cornichons, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Vegetables:
1-lb small red potatoes, between 1″-to-2″.
6 carrots
1-lb asparagus
Kosher salt and pepper
Flake sea salt

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Pull your chuck roast into two pieces, which should naturally come (mostly) apart at the seam. Trim away any large knobs of fat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, then use 3 pieces of kitchen twine per piece to tie into two separate loaf shapes.
  3. Peel and quarter onion and thinly slice celery stalk crosswise (not lengthwise).
  4. Put tied beef, bones, onion, celery, bay leaves, and peppercorns into Dutch oven. Add cold water until it comes up halfway the sides of roasts; about 4 cups. Set over high burner until simmering. Partially cover the Dutch oven and put into 300-degree oven for 3-1/4 to 3-3/4 hours, flipping beef over halfway through cooking time.
  5. Meanwhile prepare the parsley sauce, by combining all ingredients into small bowl, cover and set aside at room temperature.
  6. Towards the end of cooking time; prepare your vegetables. Cut your potatoes in half (or quarter any potatoes that are larger than 2″). Cut carrots in half cross-wise; then quarter the thick halves length-wise, and cut the thin halves into two lengthwise (sounds confusing; each carrot should yield 6 pieces).  Trim asparagus by snapping off the cut end; wherever the asparagus naturally breaks is where each individual stalk needs to be trimmed (as if the asparagus knows).
  7. When the meat is fully tender, a sharp knife can easily slips into meat, but it should not be shreddable, remove the pot and turn off oven. Use tongs to remove beef loaves and set on large platter and tightly cover with aluminum foil. Return to turned-off oven to keep the meat warm while you finish cooking.
  8. Set bones on cutting board and use the end of a spoon to remove the marrow. Mince marrow until it is paste-like and add 2 tablespoons to parsley sauce.  Save any remaining marrow for another day.
  9. Strain broth through fine-mesh strainer into medium bowl. Use a ladle to skim and discard the fat from the broth (I used a fat separator). Measure out broth (I had just under 2 cups), and augment with cold water to make 6 cups; adding back to Dutch Oven.
  10. With the Dutch oven over high burner, add potatoes and bring up to a simmer. Reduce burner and continue to simmer for 6 more minutes. Add carrot sticks and cook for 10 minutes. Finally, ass asparagus and continue to cook all vegetables for 3 to 5 minutes; until everything is tender.
  11. Use a slotted spoon to remove vegetables to large bowl, and toss them with 3 tablespoons of the parsley sauce; sprinkling with salt and pepper.
  12. Taste broth and adjust salt; leaving in pot.
  13. Remove beef from oven and set of cutting board. Cut away twine and slice against the grain into 1/2″ thick pieces.
  14. Arrange large, shallow bowls into individual servings. Arrange vegetables, slices of beef, and drizzle with 1/3 cup broth. Top with a dollop of parsley sauce, and sprinkle meat with flaky sea salt. Serve, passing the extra parsley sauce separately.

Pan Seared Scallops

May 16, 2015

For year’s I have been watching Gordon Ramsey yelling in Hell’s Kitchen about rubbery or raw scallops. While watching with amusement, I also clearly remember my only personal failure to make scallops four years ago. So when I saw that the current issue of Cook’s Illustrated (May/June 2015) included a recipe for Pan Seared Scallops, I was excited to try this “new recipe”. After already purchasing everything for this recipe, I realized they just republished the same recipe from 2009.

Great sear and delicious; but overcooked

Great sear and delicious; but overcooked

Getting a great sear using a residential, gas range requires pre-heating the skillet on your most powerful burner for upwards of 4 minutes. I was a little uneasy pre-heating my non-stick skillet to such a high temperature (health concerns here).  If you have a cast iron skillet you should use that. Otherwise, the recipe is very straight-forward. Cook the scallops for 1-1/2 minutes per side in a screaming-hot pan. After flipping, baste with melted butter while the second side cooks. Unfortunately, the basting technique tilts the skillet removing from direct contact with the flame. The cooled pan takes longer for the second side to sear. The bottom line if this: You have a choice between searing the second-side or cooking to only 115-degrees. Mine cooked to 130-degrees.

The results were delicious; to me they seemed perfectly cooked, even at 130-degrees. The browned butter was delicious and helped attain great caramelization. I only cooked half my scallops today; and want to try one of these sauces when I cook the second half; Lemon Brown Butter or this Orange Lime Vinaigrette,

Comments:

  1. The recipe calls for dry sea scallop, which means that they are not treated with sodium tripolyphosphate (STP). I was disappointed to find out that the scallops packaging (from behind the fish counter in my supermarket) didn’t list the ingredients. I bought then frozen and they gave up so much liquid as they defrosted that I assume they were wet. Therefore, I brined the scallops as directed in Step 1.
  2. The recipe says to remove the tendons. I’m not 100% sure what those are, but I didn’t see anything on my scallops that could be removed.

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $25.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess? Low.
Start: 5:30 PM. End time: 6:15 PM.

The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

1-1/2 pounds dry sea scallop, 10 to 20 per pound
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Lemon wedges

  1. Remove tendons.  If you can only find “wet” scallops, Add 1 quart cold water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons table salt to a medium bowl. Soak scallops for 30 minutes.
  2. Put scallops on a baking sheet that is lined with a clean dish towel, then put a second clean towel on top of scallops and softly press down to blot away any liquid. Allow then to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes so that the towels will dry out the scallops as much as possible.
  3. Season both side of the scallops with salt and pepper. Set a 12″ non-stick skillet over high burner, add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil a pre-heat for 4 minutes until the oil just begins to smoke. Add half the scallops to the pre-heated pan with the flat side down; laying down in a clockwise pattern (so that you can flip them in the same order you set them down). Cook for 1-1/2 to 2 minutes per side, without moving them, until they become well browned.
  4. Just before flipping, add 1 tablespoon butter to the skillet.
  5. Use tongs to flip the scallops and cook the second side, and tilt skillet so that butter runs to one side. Use a large spoon to baste the scallops with the melted butter as they cook. They only need to cook for between 30-seconds to 1-1/2 minutes. The sides of the scallops should be firm and the centers should still be opaque; and measure 115-degrees.
  6. Tent loosely with aluminum foil while you make the second batch. Use paper towels to wipe out the skillet and repeat the cooking process with the remaining scallops.
  7. Serve as soon as the second batch is ready with lemon wedges or an accompanying sauce.

Lemonade

May 9, 2015

The secret to making delicious homemade lemonade is finding fresh lemons. Tree-ripened lemons are so much more delicious and flavorful than their supermarket counterpart. Upon arriving at my brother’s house in Las Vegas, the first thing I noticed was a small lemon tree with it’s branches bending under the weight of dozens of perfectly ripe lemons. My son made his first batch of homemade lemonade; absolutely delicious. 5-stars.

Unfortunately, I don’t have my own lemon tree at home. So Chris Kimball offers some unique tricks to coax more lemon flavor out of supermarket lemons. I combined his recent tips together with his nearly 20 year old recipe for Classic Lemonade. The results were delicious; but takes an astonishing 6 hours (almost entirely unattended time). Overall, 4-stars. Still not as naturally flavorful as tree-ripened lemonade, but definitely worth making on a hot summer-like day.

More Tips:

  1. Chris Kimball has a trick to reduce the amount of sugar used (see here). Allowing the lemon juice to soak in lemon zest for 5 minutes allows you to reduce the amount of sugar by 10% to 25%, depending upon your personal taste.
  2. Lemon juice left to ripen in the refrigerator for 4 hours after squeezing have more complex flavor (see here). But Chris Kimball also warns that any longer than 6 hours the juice will begin to loose it’s flavor.
  3. If you want pink lemonade pink, add one tablespoon of grenadine.
  4. Always select thin-skinned lemons, that yield slightly as you squeeze then. They have more juice than thick-skinned lemons, even when the lemons were identical in size, shape, and weight (see here).

Rating: 4-stars.
Cost: $3.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess? Low.
Start: 10AM. End time: 4:!5 PM.

The original Cook’s Illustrated recipe is here. The recipe as I cooked it today is as follows:

7 – 8 lemons, scrubbed well
1 cups granulated sugar (less 2 to 4 tablespoons if zesting technique in step 2)
pinch table salt (optional)
4 cups cold water

  1. Allow your lemons to come up to room temperature for 2 hours. Chill your 4 cups of water in the refrigerator (and allow to spend the last 45 minutes in the freezer; if you like really cold lemonade).
  2. Zest lemons into a small bowl. Juice lemons, adding juice into the same bowl with the zest. Allow to soak for 5 minutes, before straining into a serving container. Refrigerate the strained lemon juice for 4 hours.
  3. If you’ve let your lemon juice steep in the zest, reduce the 1 cup of sugar to between 3/4 and 7/8 cup. Add sugar to lemon juice, allowing it to dissolve and thicken for 5 minutes until into has a syrup consistency.
  4. Add the 4 cups of cold water, stir until combined. If you didn’t pre-chill you water in step 1; allow lemonade to chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

May 5, 2015

When I was looking to make Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, I realized that I only had this very old post.  So I wanted to update the recipe using Chris Kimball’s most recent recipes and techniques. To prevent the boneless chicken breasts from overcooking and drying out, I used dry milk powder to promote a quick char (see his technique here). The Caesar Salad is based upon his best 2011 recipe (but the crouton portion of that recipe was a failure. Unfortunately, today I used store-bought croutons). Overall, the recipe was great. 4-stars. I slightly under-dressed the salad. The biggest problem was that over-sized breasts were too thick and the char-to-meat ratio left the chicken slightly under-flavored.  I modified the recipe below to solve that problem next time I make this recipe (this makes for a great summer weeknight dinner)

Light and simple

Light and simple

Comments:

  1. Next time, I will pound the chicken so that the thickest part of the breasts measures about 3/4-inch thick. The larger surface area will allow for more of a char, offering better flavor. When I cubed the thick part of the chicken, it was so thick that only one side of the chicken cubes had a char. Pounding it thin should double the amount of flavor in the chicken.
  2. I might also try boneless chicken thighs, which I have been using lately in lieu of breasts. They not only have more flavor, but are more forgiving in terms of overcooking. They are also naturally thinner.
  3. Often times people are afraid to eat raw egg yolks; but there is no way around it in making Caesar salad. One of Chris Kimball’s prior recipe cooks the egg for a scant 45 seconds in boiling water. However, the yolk’s temperature only made it up into the 70’s; I am still eating raw egg. So why bother? It turns out that a USDA study found that only 1 in every 30,000 eggs is contaminated with salmonella, and that most of those are merely contaminated on the outside of the shell. This step helps mitigates that slight risk.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $7.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 5:30 PM. Ready at 7:00 PM.

Here is the Cook’s Illustrated link to the Ceasar Salad Recipe. Chris Kimball’s grilled chicken recipe is here.  My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

Chicken Ingredients:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or three smaller breasts)
1/4 cup table salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Non-stick vegetable oil spray

  1. Trim the chicken breasts to remove any excess fat or skin. Pound the thicken part of the chicken so that the entire chicken is a consistent 3/4-to-1-inch thick. In a large bowl, whisk together 1/4-cup table salt and 1/4-cup sugar with 1-1/2 quarts of cold water. Add chicken to brine, cover with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for an hour (or until the coals are ready; i.e. step 5).
  2. After chicken has been brining for 30 minutes, prepare your charcoal grill by completely opening both the top and bottom vents. Fill a chimney starter so that it is slightly overflowing (mounded) with briquettes and light, which will take about 20 minutes to fully ignite.
  3. Remove the chicken from the brine, and use paper towels to pat it dry. Combine 2 teaspoons milk powder and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a small bowl and evenly sprinkle each side with half the milk powder, spraying each side with nonstick cooking spray to moisten the powdered milk.
  4. When the coals are ready, create a two level fire by emptying 2/3rds on half the grill, and the remaining 1/3rd over the other half of the grill. Pre-heat grate for 5 minutes then clean a rub with paper-towel dipped in vegetable oil.
  5. Put chicken with the skin-side down directly over the hottest side of the grill. Grill for 2-1/2 minutes, then flip chicken (leaving on the hot side) cooking the second side for another 2-1/2 minutes. Flip the chicken again (skin-side down) but over the cool-side of the grill; another approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the chicken from when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160-degrees. Allow chicken to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes before serving. When ready to top chicken, you can either slice or cube the chicken.

Caesar Salad:
1 large clove garlic
3 tablespoons Lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 anchovy fillets
2 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons canola oil
5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2-1/2 romaine hearts

  1. Rip the romaine into 3/4″ pieces; then rinse and dry in a salad spinner.
  2. Peel garlic cloves. Press directly into a large bowl, and add lemon juice and allow to stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, minced the anchovies and use a fork to mash to form a paste (should have just under 1 teaspoon of paste). Grate the Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  4. Add Worcestershire sauce, minced anchovies, and 2 egg yolks into garlic/lemon juice mixture. Whisk until it is combined.
  5. While whisking constantly, slowly pour the canola oil and olive oil into the bowl. Whisk until the dressing has become fully emulsified. Finally, whisk in 1/2-cup grated Parmesan cheese and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Add romaine lettuce to bowl and toss until the dressing is evenly coating the lettuce. Add croutons and gently mix gently.
  7. Slice the chicken crosswise into 1/2″-thick slices, or cube chicken into 1/2″ to 3/4″ cubes.
  8. Serve salad immediately on individual plates or bowls, then add sliced chicken breast on top of each salad.
  9. Pass the remaining Parmesan cheese separately.

Coq au Riesling

May 2, 2015

One of my all-time favorite recipes is Coq au Vin, with its deep, rich sauce; almost a demi-glace. Today’s recipe took an hour less than a standard, red-wine-based Coq au Vin, but I was skeptical when Chris Kimball lightened up its hallmark sauce using a white Riesling. The recipe resulted in great, well-balanced flavor. However, the sauce was a little too subtle; not bold or luxurious. Also, there was not enough chicken in the final dish; by the time I trimmed down my 5-lb whole chicken it was closer to 2-1/2 lbs of bone-in chicken. Given that the two recipes cost the same to make, I would choose the original Coq au Vin (even with the extra hour of cooking time). Overall, 4-stars; today’s recipe makes for an enjoyable meal.

Delicious, but I prefer Coq au Vin

Delicious, but I prefer Coq au Vin

Comments:

  1. Using a 5-lb whole chicken left just over 2-1/2 lbs of bone-in chicken. Next time I think I will use 4-to-5-lbs of pre-cut chicken thighs. Because the pre-cut chicken would not provide me the back and wings (key to the recipe), I could still use some of the chicken trimmings that I always have in my freezer (for making chicken stock).
  2. The cooking times listed in the recipe were understated across the board. For example, browning the skin took 20 minutes, and browning mushrooms took 15 minutes.
  3. While the recipe calls for crème fraîche; I substituted a mixture of 50% sour cream and 50% heavy cream. There are a couple of variations of the substitution here.
  4. Chris Kimball suggests serving with buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

The recipe calls for “dry Riesling”. Unfortunately, I discovered that the term “dry Riesling” did not help me to select the right bottle in my local wine shop.  I ended up selecting my bottle because it had 11.5% alcohol. You should go wine shopping armed with the following advice from Chris Kimball on how to select the proper bottle:

  1. Chris Kimball says that Austrian Rieslings are a safe bet; as most are dry. In my store, every single bottle of Riesling was German.
  2. He says to look for the word “trocken,” which means dry. Again, not a single bottle had the work “trocken”
  3. I did see that on the back label of some Rieslings there was a sliding scale indicating where the wine falls on the dry-sweet spectrum. but the few bottles that had the scale were all sweet.
  4. Finally, he says to look for Riesling that has 11% alcohol or above. The higher the alcohol level, the drier the wine. I found a $10 bottle that had 11.5% alcohol. The recipe left we with a glass to drink and it was indeed not a typically syrupy Riesling.
  5. Chris Kimball’s last alternative is to use a Sauvignon Blanc or Chablis. He specifically says to avoid Chardonnay, which will turn bitter as it reduces.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $19.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 3:45 PM. Ready at 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here.  My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

5-pound whole chicken,
Salt and pepper
2 slices bacon
3 shallots, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped coarse
2 celery ribs, chopped coarse
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups dry Riesling (leaving 1 glass to drink)
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh parsley, plus 2 teaspoons minced
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1 pound white mushrooms
1/4 cup crème fraîche

  1. Break down your chicken, removing the into its major components, setting aside the wings and back (and the little bag that comes inside the chicken). Cut each breast in half; so you should be left with a total of 8 pieces (4 breast pieces, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs). Remove the skin from chicken breast pieces, drumsticks, and thighs; setting aside to use in Step 3.
  2. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with a total of 1-1/4 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; set aside until Step 7.
  3. Chop bacon. Set a large Dutch oven over medium-low burner, add bacon and stir occasionally until it begins to render the fat, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chicken skin, back, and wings to pot, and increase burner to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, for 12 to 15 minutes. Mine took 20 minutes before the bacon browned. The skin should also have rendered it’s fat and the chicken back and wings should be browned on all sides.
  4. Meanwhile peel and chop your shallots. Peel and coarsely chop your carrots. coarsely chop the celery. Peel and smash your garlic (no need to mince or press your garlic).
  5. Temporarily remove the pot from burner and remove and reserve 2 tablespoons of the fat to small bowl; set aside until Step 10.
  6. Return pot to burner (still medium). Add chopped shallots, carrots, celery, and garlic. Cook for 4 to 6 minutes, stir occasionally, until the vegetables become softened. Add 3 tablespoons flour and cook and stir for 30 seconds. Slowly add wine and deglaze the pan, using a metal spatula.
  7. Increase burner to high and simmer for 2 minutes until it slightly thickened. Add 1 cup water, 2 bay leaves, 6 parsley sprigs, and 6 thyme sprigs, and bring up to a simmer. Set chicken pieces in an even layer in pot. Turn down burner to low, cover pot, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Remove the chicken pieces as each piece comes up to temperature; i.e. the breasts measure 160 degrees and thighs and legs register 175 degrees.
  8. While the chicken cooks prepare your mushrooms by trimming the stems. Cut small mushrooms in half and quarter any large mushrooms.
  9. Fish out and discard the back and wings. Empty the pot into a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Press down on the solids to remove as much liquid as possible. Allow to settle for 10 minutes, then use a wide spoon to remove and discard any surface fat.
  10. Meanwhile while the liquid settles, put the now-empty pot over medium burner. Add the fat reserved in Step 5, cut mushrooms, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and stir occasionally for 10 minutes until lightly browned (mine took 16 minutes because they release so much liquid that they wouldn’t brown)
  11. Return the cooking liquid to the bot and bring up to a boil. Reduce burner to maintain a brisk simmer for 5 to 6 minutes until the sauce has the consistency of heavy cream, stir occasionally.
  12. Turn down burner to medium low. Add in crème fraîche and minced parsley. Stir until combined. Add chicken pieces and any juices from the plate. Cook, covered, for 5 to 8 minutes until the chicken becomes heated through. Adjust salt and pepper according to your taste.
  13. Serve over buttered egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

Grilled Pork Kebabs with Sweet Sriracha Glaze

April 25, 2015

I was a little premature in my plans to grill these Pork Kebabs last night, as it was quite cold and was accompanied by few snow flakes. I was extremely excited to give this new recipe a try, as the kebabs can be ready in just 1 hour from start-to-finish; perfect for a weeknight summer meal. My older son loved the kebabs and ate 2 full skewers (he rated them highly; 4-stars). While the technique resulted in perfectly cooked pork, I was disappointed that the promise of the hot/sweet/salty flavors was not, in the end, well-balanced. The pork was too sweet, lacking heat and salt.  Overall, an easy 1 hour meal. Worth making, but I can rate it only 3-stars.

Flavors slightly out-of-balance

Flavors slightly out-of-balance

The recipe was not clear as to when to ignite the charcoal. If you are pressed for time, I would recommend lighting it right after salting the pork. The recipe will take a total of 45 minutes. Last night I followed the order of the recipe and ignited after the preparing the skewers, which may have allowed the flavors to be absorbed by the pork; and added about 25 minutes.

Comments:

  1. The ingredients call for a total of 1-1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin, and the in-package weight of mine was 2-1/2 pounds. I didn’t check the final trimmed weight, and am not sure if that was the cause of lack of salt.
  2. Also, the balance of flavors was overly sweet. It lacked a little heat from the Sriracha and salt.
  3. I minced 1/4 cup of cilantro, but didn’t use all.
  4. If using a gas grill, pre-heat for 15-minutes with all burners to high before cleaning and oiling the grill. When cooking, just leave the primary burner on high. All other burners should be turn off.
  5. Check to see if your pork is enhanced (i.e. injected with a salt solution), and if so do not sprinkle with salt in step 1.

Rating: 3 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Low/Medium.
How big of a mess?  Low/Medium.
Start time 5:15 PM. Ready at 6:30 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here.  My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

2 (12-ounce) pork tenderloin
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1-1/2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Vegetable oil spray
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

  1. Trim away the silverskin and any extra fat from the tenderloin. Cut into 1″-cubes. Add to a large bowl and  sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher. Toss until combined and allow to stand for 20 minutes at room temperature.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together brown sugar, Sriracha, and cornstarch together. Measure out 1-1/2 tablespoons of the Sriracha mixture and set aside from brushing the meat on the grill.
  3. After the 20 minutes has passes, add the remaining Sriracha mixture to pork and toss until evenly coated.
  4. Thread the pork cubes onto four-to-five 12″ skewers; leave 1/4″ between the pieces of pork. Generously spray both sides of meat skewers with vegetable oil spray.
  5. Open the bottom and top vents completely, and ignite a chimney starter filled with charcoal; about 6 quarts. After 20 minutes and the top coals become partially covered with ash, empty over half the grill leaving the other half empty. Replace cooking grate, cover and pre-heat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil cooking grate.
  6. Put pork on hot side of the grill for about 4 minutes until well charred. If it’s a cold day I recommend covering; otherwise leave uncovered. Flip over and brush the tops with reserved Sriracha mixture. Cook the second side for about 4 more minutes; take the internal temperature of the meat and remove when it registers 140-degrees.
  7. Remove to a serving platter, loosely tent with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with minced cilantro and serve.

Jerk Chicken on Gas Grill

April 20, 2015

While visiting my brother in Las Vegas, I had some doubts about making Jerk Chicken on a Gas Grill. Yet, the chicken itself ended up well seasoned and delicious. The 24 hour marinade permeated deep into the chicken, and also left a dark flavorful crust. Overall, the recipe was a success. The main drawback about making this on the gas grill, was that I was not able to get proper aroma and smoke flavors coming from the spice-filled smoking packet. When I put the smoking packet on the grill grate above the burner, the packet didn’t become hot enough to generate much smoke. Then when I placed it directly on the burner element, the wood chips simply caught fire. You should make this recipe even if you only have a gas grill, but still this charcoal grill version is better.

Delicious and no need for sauce

Delicious and no need for sauce

Before Chris Kimball made this recipe, I tried to make Jerk Chicken on my own, but it came out just so-so. Chris Kimball’s only previous Jerk Recipe because used 1/4-cup of brown sugar, which seems absurd to me.

Comments:

  1. My past recommendation was to cut the 3 habaneros (including about 20% of seeds) down to just 2 habaneros chiles. Today, because my audience included kids, I used 3 jalapenos again including about 20% of seeds. It was tame
  2. Be sure to marinate the chicken for a full 24-hours, otherwise your flavor will not permeate into the meat of your chicken.
  3. If you don’t properly clean and season the grill in step 6 then the skin will stick to the grill.
  4. I used 5-lbs of thighs and allow the chicken to marinate for 24 hours. I still had a little room to throw in two boneless breasts for the last couple of hours to marinating; a back-up plan for any spice-o-phobe.
  5. If you go to Jamaica, the only thing better than Jerk Chicken is Jerk Pork.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $9.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 4:30 PM. Ready at 6:00 PM. (of course I started marinating the day before)

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here.  My descriptions of how I prepare it today are given below:

Jerk Marinade:
1-1/2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
2 Habanero chiles (or 3 Jalapenos)
8 scallions
6 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest (2 to 3 limes)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5-lbs bone-in chicken pieces (split breasts cut in half, drumsticks, and/or thighs)

Smoking Packet:
2 tablespoons whole allspice berries
2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
2 tablespoons water
1 cup wood chips

  1. Coarsely grind the whole coriander seeds, the allspice berries and whole peppercorns in a spice grinder. Add freshly ground spices to blender.
  2. Discard the stem from the chiles. Remove and reserve the ribs and seeds, then cut into quarters. Add to blender. Roughly chop scallions and garlic and add to blender. Add all the remaining ingredients (except the chicken) to the blender and process until a smooth paste forms. Empty the paste into a gallon-sized Zip-Lock bag.
  3. Trim the chicken to remove any excess fat (or ribs) and cut the breasts is half cross-wise. Add the chicken to the marinade and remove as much air as possible from the zip-lock bag. Allow to sit a room temperature for 30 minutes; flipping the bag over after 15 minutes. Refrigerate for 24-hours.
  4. Combine the spices for the smoke packet with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl, and allow to hydrate for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, soak 1 cup of wood chips separately. When completely soaked, wrap the soaked chips and moistened spice mixture in heavy-duty aluminum foil. Use a paring knife to cut five or six vent holes in top of the packet.
  5. Set the wood chip packet over the primary burner and turn all burners onto highest setting. Close cover, and pre-heat grill for 15 to 25 minutes until the wood chips begin to smoke. Reduce primary burner to medium and turn off other burners.
  6. Use tongs and paper towels to season the grill grate with vegetable oil (otherwise the skin will stick to the grill).
  7. Leave some marinade on the chicken, and put chicken skin-side-up as far away from the heat as possible. Arrange so that the dark meat is closest to the heat, and the white meat is further. Cover grill and cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Flip chicken skin-side-down as you move the chicken directly over the primary burner. Cook for until well browned. Flip the chicken again skin-side-up and continue cooking directly over primary burner until the chicken reaches the correct temperature; 160 degrees for breasts and 175 degrees for thighs/drumsticks.
  9. Move to a serving platter and tent loosely with aluminum foil for 5 minutes. Slice limes for serving.

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