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wilburpan

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Everything posted by wilburpan

  1. Just to clarify: when your fire initially gets up to 400+ºC, how long after that point do you start cooking your pizzas? Immediately? Or do you let the grill sit at that temperature for a while? Also, is your pizza stone or whatever you're putting the pizza on in the grill during this part? My guess is that if you're going from hitting 400+ºC and putting a pizza in right away, your grill hasn't had time to heat soak. If you're also not heating up your pizza stone/whatever, some of the heat inside the grill is going towards warming up the pizza stone. Ideally, you should let your kamado grill hit its target temperature, and then wait long enough for the ceramic to heat up as well. That way, when you open the grill to put in the pizza, the air inside may cool down during the placement of the pizza, but then when you close the lid, the heat from the ceramic will quickly bring the air inside back up to temperature. Some grills are more efficient at doing this than others. Hope that helps.
  2. They did, if I say so myself. The brisket went so fast I didn’t have a chance to take a picture of the sliced brisket.
  3. $25-30/lb. is pretty common for Chilean sea bass here on the East coast, where we’ve got easy access to seafood.
  4. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to post some cooks. I’ve been using Smaug over the summer, but have had very little time for posting. Here’s a pork shoulder. Here’s two more pork shoulders that I cooked at once. And here’s a nice 12 lb. brisket, with before and after pictures. There’s nothing special about these cooks. I’ve done them before, like many of you. What all of these cooks have in common, however, is that I did the same routine for setting up Smaug for each one. I started the fire around midnight, set the vents for what’s worked for me for a low and slow cook (bottom vent barely open, top vent turned 1/4 turn), waited long enough to see that the thermometer got up to around 180-200ºF (about 20-30 minutes or so), and then went to bed. In the morning, the thermometer was pretty consistently right around 200-225ºF, which is where I wanted to be. Probably better than anything else, this shows what the quality of a Komodo Kamado grill gets you: ease of control and repeatability in your vent settings. I’m confident enough in my grill that I was able to set the vents and walk away knowing that I would get really close to my target temperature, even though holding temps this low increases the degree of difficulty of the cook. I should mention that I’m usually not in the habit of doing cooks this way. In each case I was “volunteered” to provide food for a potluck or a party at the last minute, which is why I wound up doing the overnight cook approach. Still, it’s really nice to know that my KK grill is so well made that I can get results like this so consistently.
  5. Congratulations! Compared to your current grill, you’re going to enjoy kamado grilling so much more. And I bet you’ll see a difference in your cooks.
  6. If you've ever had the green stuff in the body of a cooked lobster, it sort of tasted like that. It's definitely an acquired taste. It was easy enough to scoop out of the squid after cooking if you didn't like it, which is what my wife did.
  7. I actually like this version better. The slime was really only an issue with one of the bodies, so I think it’s a reflection of how well I rinsed out the body before grilling. I’m definitely doing this again, so we’ll see.
  8. For our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I took a trip to Italy. It was the first time for both of us. One of the meals we had was in Murano, which is well know for its glassmaking tradition. But what I remember most from that part of our trip was eating a plate of grilled squid. It was very simple: squid, cleaned, grilled, and seasoned with salt, pepper, and some lemon. So simple, yet so delicious. It’s a meal that I still remember even though it was more than 15 years ago. We were at the Korean grocery store picking up food to do Korean BBQ. At this grocery store, I always stroll through the seafood section even if I’m not intending to get any seafood. I noticed that they had fresh squid for sale. I picked up three of them, to see what I could do with them. Here’s the squid. As it turns out, cleaning and prepping squid is pretty simple. The first order of business is to cut the tentacle end from the body. I made a cut between the eye and the tentacles. Once I did this, the guts came out easily. Then I rinsed the squid under running water, to rinse away the ink and any slime from the inside of the body. The bodies have a long thin bone in them. It looks clear, almost like plastic. You can just grab it and pull it out. The bodies are also covered with a thin skin. It’s easy to peel the skin off. Once the skin is off, the fins can be peeled off the main part of the body. Some people say that removing the skin and the fins isn’t necessary. I took the skin off all the squid bodies, but I left the fins on two of them. For the tentacles, there’s a sharp beak in the center. This just pops out. After I was done disassembling the squid, I patted them with a paper towel to make them as dry as I could. Then I sprinkled some olive oil on them. Cook the parts on the grill at high heat. I once posted a picture of Smaug cooking just four hotdogs. Cooking just three squid is equally ridiculous. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on them, and add a drizzle of lime juice (we were out of lemons), and you’re done. These squid were really good. As far as tenderness goes, I can’t think of anything I could do to make it better. The one thing I didn’t anticipate was the development of a slimy juice inside the bodies of some of the squid as it cooked. The juice that developed had an interesting taste to it. If you like the green stuff inside a lobster, or uni (sea urchin sushi), this stuff tasted like that. I think it was a result of me not rinsing out the squid enough. The fins were indeed edible, but not as nice as the body. It was a little tougher. I’ll definitely be doing this again, although next time I’ll be sure to rinse the squid more carefully.
  9. I think the increased moistness that you’re seeing in your pork shoulder is a manifestation of the added efficiency of a KK grill to maintain a low temperature. Or it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
  10. I still remember the day when Smaug arrived. It was a revelation to see the quality built into a KK grill compared to the others I had seen. Even the close up pictures I had seen don’t do these grills justice. You’re going to have a blast cooking on it. For those who are jealous, don’t be. Come on over to the KK side! It’s so much fun over here.
  11. That’s truly impressive. Here’s to many more decades of use.
  12. Nice ad hominem comment, John. But that’s okay. I forgive you.
  13. While this is true, that doesn't mean you can't do scientific tests. If you're trying to figure out this particular question, I say you go one step further than wilbur has suggested (side by side test) and you do a blind triangle test. Exactly. It may be true that no two people taste things the same way, and that one’s sense of taste has a subjective component to it. That just means that testing taste is difficult. It doesn’t mean you can’t set up a scientific test involving taste.
  14. Exactly. This is how science is done. I want to make clear what my objection to Meathead’s methods is. I’m fine with people saying, “I don’t think using a beer can transmits much flavor to the chicken because of X, Y, and Z.” Thinking through and analyzing a process is great. Where Meathead runs into trouble is when he says, “I don’t think using a beer can transmits much flavor to the chicken because of X, Y, and Z, and that’s science.” Analyzing and thinking through a process is great, but it’s not science until you do the actual test. And in this case, the test is a real taste test. If the taste test shows that there’s no difference in flavor between using a beer can and not using one, then it becomes science. John’s experience with aromatics in water and using other devices than a beer can is a great illustration of this. Assuming that page 296 of Meathead’s book is similar to what he wrote for the Amazing Ribs website, all the reasons that he states why beer can chicken won’t work also can be applied to aromatics in water. John has cooked with aromatics in water, and states that it added something to the cook. Meathead’s version of science would lead to the conclusion that John is wrong about this point.
  15. Just because a test can be done badly is not justification for not doing the test at all, especially if you are claiming to do things in a scientific manner. You can do a blind taste test without rigging it or biasing your testers. It just takes the time and energy to do so. Well, the title of the book is “The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling”. Meathead is claiming to be scientific. I would say whether or not he really is doing that is fair game for discussion.
  16. So you don't think there is a HUGE difference between stuffing a chicken with items that are in physical contact with the meat and having a layer of aluminum can in between? Try this simple test with your "scientific" method. Cover one chicken with a spicey rub and for a second chicken, put the rub in an empty beer can. Cook side by side and see if anyone can taste the difference. Just to clarify my point: I’m not saying that beer can chicken does or doesn’t add flavor to the chicken. It very well be a non-factor. What I’m saying is that there’s a difference between arguing that the beer can method doesn’t add flavor to the chicken based on circumstantial evidence and stringing together a series of factoids, which is what Meathead does, and showing that the beer can method doesn’t add flavor to the chicken based on a side-by-side taste test, which is what Meathead did not do. My only issue with Meathead is that he claims what he’s doing is science, when it’s clearly not. In fact, from what I’ve seen, it would have taken a lot less time and energy to do the side-by-side cook compared to the amount of time he’s spent typing counterarguments. As far as my example of stuffing a chicken with onions and other aromatics goes, that was mainly an example of rationalizing the other way. If putting onions and aromatics affects the taste of chicken, then so should a beer can, since you can smell the beer from the outside of the can. That smell is a bunch of flavor molecules that can add flavor to the chicken. This is just a series of rationalizations as well. Again, I could make this claim, but it’s not science. I would also have to do the side-by-side cook to show that it was true or not. And then I can say it’s science. For your spicy rub experiment, the same thing holds true. It “makes sense” that putting rub in a beer can won’t add flavor to a chicken. And you may decide not to do that because of that line of thought. But that’s not the same as showing it scientifically. You need to do the side-by-side cook to see for sure. Again, I’m not saying that putting anything inside the cavity of a chicken alters the flavor of the chicken or not. What I’m saying is that if you want to say that this won’t work from a scientific perspective, you actually have to do the cook to show whether that’s true or not. Meathead claims his methods are scientific when they’re not. And he refuses to consider or discuss the possibility that another test should be done to make it a real scientific test. That’s the issue I have with him.
  17. That was one of Meathead’s arguments. Here’s the flaw in just relying on that point. It could be that as the cook goes on, some beer evaporates out of the can, and moisture from the chicken drips or condenses back into the can. My point wasn’t that this actually happens. My point is that if you want to show that beer can chicken imparts no added flavors to the chicken, don’t just make rationalizations. Cook chicken with and without the beer can and do a taste test. If there is a difference, all the rationalization doesn’t matter. If there isn’t a difference, then that’s the proof. And that’s how you do science. That’s where J. Kenji Lopez-Alt does things very well. He dives into the science to predict what might happen when you alter a parameter when cooking, but at the end of the day, he actually cooks the food and tastes it to see if he was right. Besides, all the rationalization about why beer can chicken doesn’t change the flavor of the chicken should mean that hundreds of years of French people stuffing chicken with onions/carrots/celery/other stuff and cooking it was a big waste of time. I think the French know something about cooking roast chicken as well. (I know roast chicken is not exactly the same as kamado-cooked chicken, but there are more similarities than differences.
  18. I have exactly the same take on Meathead and the Amazing Ribs website. Long story short: On the Amazing Ribs website, I asked him about his take on whether or not the beer transfers flavor to the chicken. His explanation strung together a bunch of facts, but the conclusion wasn’t scientific. The test that needed to be done was a side-by-side comparison of beer can chicken vs. non beer can chicken, to see if there was a difference in taste. Amazing Ribs didn’t do that test. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe their conclusion, it was their claim that this was based on good science that I had an issue with. For my day job, I run clinical trials as part of my duties. I think I know something about properly designed experiments. Meathead’s response was to point out that he’s won awards, and published papers, and he has a PhD working for Amazing Ribs, and that I knew nothing about science. Eventually, he just deleted all of my comments. J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, from Serious Eats was mentioned above. He also has a scientific approach to cooking, but in his articles looking for the best techniques, he will go through the process of multiple rounds of cooking to back up his conclusions. I also accepted their conclusions that there are many reasons why other methods of cooking chicken yields better results, like spatchcocking. It was just the claim about the lack of flavor transfer with beer can chicken that I had an issue with. Meathead’s response left a bad taste in my mouth. *rimshot*
  19. Hi Rak, I finally figured out what this was referring to. Congratulations on the new gig! I hope you enjoy it.
  20. wilburpan

    23 VS 22

    Can you do pretty good two zone cooking with the charcoal splitter? I was wondering if that could be an advantage of the 22 Both the KK 22” and the KK 23” have charcoal basket splitters available. Functionally, there should be no difference between the two with one exception. This is the charcoal basket splitter for the KK 22”. This is the one for the KK 23”. The charcoal basket for the KK 23” is round. Because of this, you can orient the basket splitter front to back, left to right, or at an angle. With the KK 22” basket splitter, the only option you have is front to back. I’ve had times where I’ve used the splitter front to back for a two zone cooking setup, and left to right when cooking something on the rotisserie. It’s nice to have the flexibility, depending on the cook you’re doing.
  21. wilburpan

    23 VS 22

    The extra horizontal area has helped me with two types of cooks. The first situation is direct grilling of lots of smaller pieces of food. For example, lots of burgers, hot dogs, portobello mushrooms, grilled zucchini, and so on. With this sort of mass direct grilling, I’ll take every inch I can get. Somewhat related to the above situation is making wings. I typically cook wings indirect. I’ve found that the perimeter of the grate has a hot spot that will overcook wings if I spread them out too far towards the edge of the grate. Again, having the extra horizontal real estate helps in this situation, even more so than direct grilling, as I have less useful cooking area because of the hot perimeter. The second cook where this has helped me is with ribs. I’ve found that the ribs that I usually can get around here fits nicely into a KK 23” grill. I imagine I still could cook ribs on a KK 22”, but that would mean starting the cook with the ribs touching the sides of the KK 22”, or doing some sort of manipulation to make the ribs fit on the grill. Not a deal breaker, for sure, but for me I like having the extra horizontal space so that the ribs aren’t up against the inside of the grill at the start of the cook. Here are some pictures to illustrate. This is the start of my last rib cook. The ribs somewhat overhang the top rack, and barely fit on the main rack. I think this is more an issue of the size of ribs I can get from our local butcher, not a ding on the capacity of a KK 23”. This is how the cook finished up. You can see that the ribs shrank down in size. Hope that helps!
  22. For what it’s worth, it took me more than a few months to get over the increased cost of a KK grill compared to the usual mainstream kamado grills. Once Smaug (my name for my KK 23”) got delivered to my house, and I started cooking with him, it didn’t take too long for this to be the conversation I have with friends that ask me about my grill: Friend: So how much did you pay for the grill? Me: I DON’T CARE. On top of that, my friends have all consistently said that the BBQ I’ve been making is the best that they ever have had. That includes my friends here in NJ who lived in the South. And that’s without having had any experience with low and slow cooking until I got Smaug. People keep telling me that my choice of grill had nothing to do with the results I’m getting, but I don’t believe it. I fully understand the situation with families who are on a budget, and I don’t begrudge anyone who has decided that their budget precludes getting a KK grill. Having said that, if you enjoy cooking, and if you enjoy and appreciate the experience of using high quality equipment, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with a KK grill.
  23. I’m repeating what I said in another thread, but talk to Dennis and ask him about the pros and cons of both models. He probably has the best take on what can fit under the lid of the KK 23” vs. the KK 22”. For me, having owned my KK 23” for 1-1/2 years now, I would still go with the KK 23”. Overall, I do more direct grilling than low and slow, and I don’t do low and slow cooking with huge quantities of meat, so the under-the-lid capacity is less important for me. If I was routinely making enough pork butts at a time where I needed the upper rack capacity, I might think about the KK 22” instead. But that’s a LOT of pork butts. In addition, the lower rack in a KK grill is usable for low and slow cooks as well. I’ve made ribs using the lower rack, and although they did cook a little faster than the ribs on the main and upper racks, the results were still excellent. It was enough to convince me that the lower rack is a viable spot for low and slow cooks, which reduces the dependence on capacity under the lid. Finally, I just think the profile of the KK 23” is nicer to look at than the KK 22”.
  24. wilburpan

    23 VS 22

    I am considering this grill and very few people have it. Have you tried putting standard aluminum foil pans in it? Does it fit in the main grate? I'm wondering if I will regret not having the extra inch... How about racks of ribs? Do you ever have issues with horizontal space? In trying to decide between the 22 and the 23. I'm thinking the 22 might be more versatile... Talk to Dennis. He probably has the best take on what can fit under the lid of the KK 23” vs. the KK 22”. I mentioned this before, but for me, having owned my KK 23” for 1-1/2 years now, I would still go with the KK 23”. Overall, I do more direct grilling than low and slow, and I don’t do low and slow cooking with huge quantities of meat, so the under-the-lid capacity is less important for me. If I was routinely making enough pork butts at a time where I needed the upper rack capacity, I might think about the KK 22” instead. But that’s a LOT of pork butts. In addition, the lower rack in a KK grill is usable for low and slow cooks as well. I’ve made ribs using the lower rack, and although they did cook a little faster than the ribs on the main and upper racks, the results were still excellent. It was enough to convince me that the lower rack is a viable spot for low and slow cooks, which reduces the dependence on capacity under the lid. Finally, I just think the profile of the KK 23” is nicer to look at than the KK 22”.
  25. In the long run, it probably doesn’t matter that much. What’s happening from a food chemistry standpoint is that the collagen that’s in the ribs are converting to gelatin. Theoretically, a longer cook at lower temperatures will be more optimal for this. At a higher temperature, the meat will cook too fast for enough time to go by for that conversion to happen. If I’m planning on making ribs, I make sure I have a 6 hour time window for that. For that time window, 225ºF will work well. I really don’t cook by time. I use the bend test instead. For the most part, if I don’t have a 6 hour window for cooking ribs, I’ll cook something else instead for lunch/dinner.
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