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Number6

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    Male
  • Location:
    Colorado
  • Grill
    Kamado Joe

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  1. I don't recall exactly but it was a bit over 200 internal. I would normally start probing around 190 or so and pull it when tender.
  2. My first experience with cooking beef cheeks, overall it turned out pretty well. I recently discovered Chud's BBQ YT channel and he had a couple of beef cheek videos including burnt ends and barbacoa. I found a package of cheeks and Sam's so I figured why not give it a shot. I ended up making burnt ends, barbacoa and stew. Some details below, skip to the bottom if you just want the final verdict. Beef cheek package: There were 3 cheeks and change in the package and I somehow managed to separate things out for the different parts of the cook (right out of the package they are tough pieces of meat). Below on the upper left are some of the larger scraggly pieces I used for barbacoa. Lower left was mostly fat cap and smaller pieces, I diced up the fat cap to make tallow and the smaller pieces of meat to make stew. On the right side of the cutting board is a trimmed cheek prior to cubing and in the foil pan are the cubed cheek pieces for burnt ends. First up were the burnt ends and tallow. I seasoned the beef cheek cubes with a 50/50 kosher salt / black pepper mix. Below are the burnt end cubes on the upper rack of the KJ grill extender and below that is the diced fat which I rendered into tallow. Set the KJ at about 280 indirect for this part of the cook. About 3 hours later the bark was good on the burnt ends so I put them in a pan with the tallow for the tenderizing stage. There wasn't enough tallow from just the beef cheeks so I added some extra from a previous brisket cook. I removed the deflectors and went direct heat, putting the salt and pepper rubbed barbacoa portions on the lower rack and the tallowed burnt ends on the upper rack. Set up for about 300 degrees. After getting things settled on the grill I took the last few bits of meat from the slicing phase and seared them in a pan with some onions, garlic and oil and deglazed it with red wine, cooking that down a bit. Threw that into the slow cooker with carrots, potatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste and some seasoning and let that go on low overnight for the stew. Another 3 hours or so and I pulled everything off the KJ. Wrapped the barbacoa pieces in foil (didn't have any banana leaf) with some onion and put them in the oven at 195 overnight. Put the burnt ends on some paper towels to rest and drain and ate that for dinner. Shredded the barbacoa the next day and vacuum sealed it for later use with tacos. Put the stew in the fridge for yet another meal. Final Results Burnt ends: Good flavor, great bark but some of them were pretty tough. It may have needed a longer tenderizing stage but we were hungry. Also may have cubed them a little too small, although it is tough to get consistent sizes from the cheek. Stew: Delicious - the flavors really came together and the meat was super tender thanks to the nearly 24 hour braise. Barbacoa: Fantastic - made some corn tortillas and topped with queso fresco, onions, cilantro, avocado verde sauce and Mexican sour cream. Beef cheeks in general are pretty lean but have a lot of collagen which breaks down to an almost caramel consistency which makes it different than the taste of other cuts like brisket. I'll definitely do more beef cheek cooks in the future, although probably not for a while - that was a lot of time and work. I really like that virtually nothing went to waste, I was able to use everything in the package and managed 3 distinct meals out of it. Main tip would be to have a sharp knife, it was some tough slicing out of the package.
  3. Perusing the meat aisle at a local grocery store (Harris Teeter) I stumbled on a "Texas-style" pre-seasoned brisket under the Morton's of Omaha label. It was 2.64lb and $7.99/lb so a little over $20. Not having seen this before I decided to give it a try even though it was a little pricey per pound. Normally I buy 12 to 15 pound full packer briskets at Costco and season them myself but that is a lot of meat and this looked like an appropriate sized dinner for a family of 3. It was hard to tell but it appeared to be mostly flat with a little bit of point. I ignored the cooking instructions which basically recommended cooking to 160 degrees internal. Instead I did my usual KJ brisket smoking setup, Fogo charcoal with a few chunks of post oak. I took the meat right out of the package and put it on, keeping grill temps between 300 and 325. After about 4 hours with the meat temperature around 170 there was a little bark set so I wrapped in butcher paper and foil and put it back on. It took a little over an hour to complete. Some parts probed tender, others were a little tough which is generally what I experience with a choice brisket. The end result was positive. There was not a lot of crunchy bark, likely due to the lack of uniform rub, but it had good flavor and was pretty moist. We ate most of it in one sitting. I definitely still prefer seasoning my own packer but I would go for this again for a single meal, especially if it were on sale.
  4. I was on vacation and missed this post, hope the cook went well. As for low temperatures it can be difficult without a controller. Don't fill the firebox full with lump and close down the vents almost completely after it is started, likely just a sliver on both top and bottom. I have a kick ash basket without the original cast iron fire grate at the bottom of the fire box, I would probably put that back in to reduce air flow a bit. You could also try a water pan to even out temperatures although you have to keep an eye on the water level. You can probably drift a bit temperature wise (30 degrees or so) and still be fine.
  5. Thanks for the tip. Nearly two weeks in and my test batch looks like I just bought them. It doesn't taste exactly like they did when fresh but still very good.
  6. I like the 24 hour suggestion. If you don't have a temperature controller to handle the overnight portion of the cook then just use your oven after wrapping, it won't need any more smoke at that point anyway. Here is a thread with more details on how to do it:
  7. Hard to tell from the picture but it could be a cut of very lean brisket flat. It is going to be difficult to turn something like that into nice moist slices without resorting to injecting, wrapping in foil with broth, etc. The next time you dare to try brisket see if you can find a butcher that will give you the point instead of the flat, that should turn out much better. As for the Boston butt I would find the nicest looking (good marbling) bone-in cut you can and not worry too much about size. Even if it is a bigger one you can do a lot with the leftovers. John Setzler's pinned Boston butt post in this forum is a good place to start.
  8. For me it depends on the method. I normally do the Aaron Franklin "Texas-style" pulled pork butt which is just a salt and pepper based rub and as much bark as you can get. Using a Kamado Joe I don't wrap unless I really need to speed up the cook because I want as much delicious crusty bark as possible. Agreed on the temps, most pork butts are pretty forgiving even at high heat. I've gone "hot and fast" at close to 400 when I was pressed for time and it came out great. I assume the "VA" in your profile is Virginia. Not sure where in Virginia but I'm a fan of Dizzy Pig in Manassas, VA, it's worth a trip if you are close. Even if not you can still order rubs online and I haven't gone wrong with any of the recipes on their website yet, easy to follow when I was just starting out. Here is a link to their competition pork butt recipe. Good luck.
  9. I've noticed similar. The big-box home warehouse stores nearby sporadically have Royal Oak or Cowboy but that is about it. I went to a Lowe's which always has the KJ BB 20-lb bags but they were out and I went home with this Cowboy lump (desperate times and all). Aside from a bunch of tiny pieces and a lot of smoke on startup it was fine, no foreign objects or odd smells. I would get it again if there was nothing else available. We've had better luck online. The wife snagged a 4-pack of 20-lb KJ BB on sale from Costco and I bought a 35-lb bag of FOGO Super Premium which has been great. I want to try a few other brands (like Jealous Devil) and this seems like a good time to do so.
  10. Ditto on draping over a Weber rib rack, you should be able to go up to 15 pounds or so with that method. I have a KitchenAid mixer with the meat grinder attachment and will go even bigger (I've bought 20 pounders before) and cut off some of the flat before smoking to make ground beef. That can also help even out the thickness of the brisket if you buy one with a very tapered flat.
  11. I recently purchased the BBQube TempMaster Portable to use with my Kamado Joe Classic II. Thus far over several cooks it has not had any trouble maintaining temperature with lump charcoal. I generally load it up exactly like I used to when I didn't have a controller. The only difference is I use a fire starter cube with the controller to let it come up to temperature slowly instead of the charcoal chimney.
  12. It happened to me shortly after purchasing my Classic II. Filed a warranty claim with KJ. They had me send some pictures to prove I hadn't dropped the whole grill or something extreme like that and then sent 2 new half deflectors (I only needed one). Going on 18 months now and no issues, plus I have a spare half-deflector if needed. Just speculation on my part but since those are the ceramic pieces that move around the most any tiny flaw is going to be magnified. Daniel
  13. Very nice! I love the look of the large block logo on the #3. I have one LBL and one SBL in that size, they are handy little skillets.
  14. Direct with the grates on the upper level is how I've done the last few. Not sure if you rubbed the chicken but I generally add a little paprika for color to my rub, it doesn't do a whole lot flavor-wise in the small amounts I use. So far I've kept it pretty simple: kosher salt, course pepper, paprika, onion and garlic powder.
  15. I recently switched my vertical beer can-less setup from indirect to direct flame (no deflectors) to try and get a more rotisserie-like cook. A few chunks of smoking wood and dome temp 375 to 400 until the breast measures around 155 for a couple of minutes. So far I like it a lot. The skin has some crisp, meat is juicy (but not quite rotisserie juicy), the color is great and I love the smoke flavor. Just don't do what I did the first time. I tried to crisp up the skin even more by opening up the top and bottom vents fully for a few minutes at the end of the cook. It ended up a little too crispy... because the fire flared up and engulfed the chicken.
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