Friday, April 29, 2016

Hard 8 BBQ, Coppell

sampled 4/29/16 about 7:30 pm
One of our musician friends had a gig here so the Mrs and I decided to come out to support him and check out Hard 8's cue again.  They were doing a booming business.  Parking was tough to come by and their double line set-up was almost out the door.  It took about 20 minutes to snake our way through to the warming pit.
Our favorite item on our last visit was their brush poppers.  Those are chicken and jalapeno around cream cheese and wrapped in bacon.  We got 10 of those, a couple of ribs, and a short chunk of jalapeno sausage.  I watched the pit guy slicing brisket and it was crumbling apart as he sliced it, so we passed.
The sausage was an excellent fine grind with good heat and decent snap to the casing.  The ribs had good moisture and tenderness but were a bit loose on the bone.  Good taste, though.  The poppers were excellent but there was not a hint of smoke in anything we sampled.  There was plenty of smoke outside the restaurant, in the pit room, inside the restaurant, but somehow it never made it into the meat.  Their complimentary beans were excellent, as they were last time, and we went back for seconds.  Good food and some great music made for a fun date night in Coppell.

On the way out, I noticed not one, not two, but FIVE Hard 8 catering vans sitting outside the joint.  Clearly the lack of smoke in their food is not hurting their business one bit.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Rain check brisket number 2

smoked 4/25/16
With the expiration date on our second brisket rain check approaching and lots of rain in the forecast for this week, we decided we'd probably better get our brisket and get it on the smoker.  This one was a bit smaller, about 12 and 3/4 pounds.  Prep was the same as the last one, the fat was trimmed down to about 1/4 inch, Point and flat were separated, coated with soy sauce, then heavily coated with salt and pepper.  My Mrs was in charge this time and she loves to fuss with the fire and keep the smoke flowing heavily.  After 7 hours of smoke, we pulled the brisket and wrapped tightly in foil for a 5 hour heat at 225 in the oven.  When I pulled the meat out of the oven at 6 am the meat thermometer slid in soft as butter.  After letting the meat rest awhile, maybe a little too long, I sliced it up for later.  I still did not find the smoke flavor I crave and the brisket was a bit over done.  Thick slices were difficult to cut and often fell apart, However it all had nice moisture and well rendered fat.  I think we may need to adjust a bit on cook time for smaller briskets.  For the smoke, I'm not sure what's up as my Mrs kept it pretty heavy for 7 solid hours.  I'm thinking we may need some hickory to go with the yard oak and pecan we used this time.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Starting them young

This weekend I attended the Smokin' Blues and BBQ event put on by the Duncanville Lions club.  The event included an IBCA sanctioned cook off which drew 24 participants.  They also had a kids cook off.  Each kid got a small grill (which they got to keep) and a pork chop to cook.  20 kids participated and prizes were handed out in two categories, 10 and under and 11-17.  I was not there for the finals but the judges reported they had some great pork chops.

Click on the photo above for a full view of the cute little grills.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Brisket time!

Smoking 4/5/16
Our BBQ smoking usually coincides with good meat being on sale.  Albertson's had choice briskets on sale a couple of weeks ago but visits to the meat counter at off hours found none in residence.  So we got a rain check at two different stores and have 30 days to cash them at $1.88/lb.  Not a bad deal for choice Angus brisket.  This one is a 14 pounder.
After trimming off about 2 pounds of excess fat, I separated the point from the flat.  The reason we have to cut before smoking is our little bullet smoker won't quite hold a whole brisket.   I left about 1/4 inch of fat on the fatty side.
A little soy sauce, some salt and pepper and into the smoker they went, fat side up.  We put the flat on the lower rack above a water pan and the point went on the top rack.  Supposedly the top rack is a bit hotter.
After adding some soaked oak and pecan wood to the coals, off we go for 5 or 6 hours of heavy smoking.  I also mixed in some pecan hulls every now and then and they made some good smoke.  There was lots of fire tending for the next 6 hours, keeping the smoke flowing.

Halfway through, after a little over 6 hours of smoke, this is the result before wrapping in foil.

There's definitely some nice bark going on there.  Now into the oven, wrapped in foil, for another 6 hours at 225 degrees.
Here's the final product.  The flat came out perfect.  Good moisture and tenderness but a little lighter smoke flavor than I like.  The fat is melt in your mouth.
The point ended up a bit overdone.  It was difficult to slice it was so tender. It was a little smokier, maybe from being on the top rack.  It was also very moist with perfectly rendered fat.
We will eat it all up and will be doing a second one before our rain check coupon runs out!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Smoked chicken Thursday

As usual the Mrs was watching the sales circulars and found boneless skinless chicken breasts on sale for $1.49/lb.  We used her secret marinade overnight, then onto our little bullet smoker for a couple of hours over charcoal and pecan wood from our yard.  After 2 hours we slathered on some sauce and let them smoke another 20 minutes.  The photo above is the finished product.  The meat was moist and tender with plenty of smoke flavor.  This back yard chicken is as good as any I have had at a restaurant and we have 8 pounds to munch on over the next few days.

Below are a few more pics of the process.
Chicks with marinade go into the smoker.
This is what we had after 2 hours.
Adding some sauce to the lower rack.  That extra long brush is very convenient.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Don't look....

My buddy John took his family over to Pecan Lodge today and they sent me this photo of the Pecan Lodge trough.   Don't click on the photo for the full view.  It will make you hungry.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Ribs on sale

Ribs were on sale this weekend for $1.49 a pound and that was too good a deal to pass up.  We also wanted to try our new "wood" smoke using pecan hulls.  My Mrs has been putting aside pecan shells since last fall and as you can see above, they make a dynamite smoke generator.
We prepped 2 racks as usual, but had to cut both racks down a bit as they were too long for our little bullet smoker.  Soy sauce and some Obiecue seasoning made up the rub.
After 2 hours in the smoker we had the lovely sight above, times two.  We sauced them up with some Dr Pepper BBQ sauce, gave them another 30 minutes on the smoker, then wrapped them up tight in foil.
The wrapped ribs went back in the smoker for two hours, then we let them rest for about 30 minutes while still loosely wrapped in foil.  Then we sliced them up and had a feast.
The smoke flavor was awesome throughout but the meat was just a little bit tougher than I like it.  I think next time we'll finish the heating in the oven where we can control the temperature better.  The pecan hulls did a nice job adding some smooth smoke flavor so I think we will be saving those shells up from now on.  We're going to have to try them with a brisket, soon, maybe with a mix of oak and hickory.