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  1. A Different Approach on a Pull-Apart Pepper Beef In rearranging the freezer, a 3.5 lb chuck roast emerged from the back recesses in dire need of being cooked. Hummmm… there have been a number of posts on pepper beef so that became my starting point idea. However, I did not want to just do one of the traditional approaches, so I decided to let the imagination spin out of control. The result is a pull-apart sandwich beef with a complex flavor palate that melds smokiness with multiple pepper flavors and a touch of heat all wrapped in a chicory coffee and Steens cane syrup overcoat. Served on warmed Cuban bread with optional Gouda cheese. Sides were salt water corn slow roasted in the husk and roasted sweet potato chunks. BTW - A dollop of mayo on the sweet potatoes really tastes good. A Different Pepper Beef Sandwich Concentrated Meat Goodness Hope There’s Enough The Meat The thawed chuck roast was lightly rubbed with olive oil and seasoned generously with black pepper and lightly with salt. Big Joe was stabilized at 275 degrees with the grill grate in the high position. The chuck was cooked in direct heat for 90 minutes turning as needed to create a crust but no burning – at least each 20 minutes or so. A large chuck of pecan wood was positioned to generate the smoke for this part of the cook. The chuck was removed at about 170 internal just because that is what it was when I checked it at 90 minutes taking a break from mowing the lawn. I placed the chuck in my large Lodge Dutch oven with lid and let it rest while I finished the yard work. Big Joe was kept humming along at 275 or so. He will be needed again. Browning & Smoking the Chuck Roast The Peppers At the same time as the chuck is being browned, a number of poblano peppers were smoked and low temperature roasted for about an hour and then placed in a dish and plastic wrap covered before removing skin and seeds. If all the skin does not come off because they do not get a high level of blistering heat don’t fret it. They are going to be cooked for several more hours anyway. For the other pepper additions, besides the roasted/smoked problano peppers which I sliced, I used one red large bell pepper, a large green bell pepper, both cut in a coarse julienne, and a large serrano pepper with about half the seeds removed and medium chopped. And while we are at it, a large onion coarse chopped. Building the Dish – and the Seasonings The beef was cut into roughly 1 inch cubes and returned to the dutch oven. The peppers were added to the pot. Also, one 14.5 oz can of whole peeled plum tomatoes with the juice. Seasonings were dried thyme, fresh chopped parsley, quite a few toes of garlic, Worcestershire sauce and several dried bay leaves. Sliced & Ready to Cube (the meat while not tender is still moist and tastes good at this point - don't eat too much snacking) Building the Dish The Liquids Here is where the dish gets interesting. First, I prepared a cup of heavily flavored beef stock using a favorite of mine – low sodium Better Than Bouillon beef base to the ratio of 1 TBs+ to the cup of water. Add to the pot. Secondly, I brewed a small strong pot of New Orleans style coffee & chicory (Community brand) using a heavy hand on the amount of coffee. I utilized 2 cups of the brewed coffee for the cooking pot. Save any remaining coffee as a later possible addition. Or have a cup with milk and some of the Steens cane syrup. Now, if you taste the resulting ingredients in the pot at this point the liquid will be bitter and just plain awful. The magic third addition was 3 Tablespoons (add a TBs at a time and check flavor) of Steens cane syrup (another Louisiana favorite). This balances the coffee bitterness with a sweeter overtone and brings out a caramelization note. Ready to Go Back on Joe Into the Final Cook With everything in the Dutch oven, place on stove and get it up to temperature and at a slow boil stirring well. You have options here – cook on stove top at slow braise, in the oven inside or return to the Kamado - which is what I did. Cook covered for another 4 (+/-) hours at 275-300 until meat is falling apart by itself when stirring the pot. Pot should be at a low braise – add a heat deflector under pan if cooking too much - keeping Joe at this temperature is needed when we roast the sides and toast the sandwiches. This length of cooking provides a mix of shredded beef and tender beef nuggets which work well on a sandwich. If needed, add some of the residual coffee mixed with some beef base and the Steens if it is getting too dry or just a small amount of water. You are looking for a meaty dish with not an excessive amount of liquid. If required, cook at the very last for a while with the lid off. The sides I chose get addressed in the final hour of the cook. . Salt Water Soaked Corn The Raw Sweet Potatoes (olive oil + salt & pepper gets added) Adding Expansion Rack For Roasting The Slow Roasted Corn is Done The Roasted Sweet Potato (Ido not have any wood smoke going when doing the sweet potatoes) At this point you can adjust final seasonings to your personal liking for salt, pepperiness, sweetness (reduce it if too much by a touch of regular white vinegar), etc . Mine needed no adjustment. Or if so inclined, you can add careful dashes (go real gentle on the amount) of cider vinegar which will surprisingly swing the overall flavor in yet another and completely different direction. Or do some of both …. I served the cider vinegar at the table for people to add as desired, . Now Serve It Up Layer the meat on a good bread optionally with melted cheese ( warmed/melted in the Kamado of course) and savor a “different approach pepper beef”. Getting Toasty & Gooey Enjoy!
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