Two more recent cooks. Off to Vegas now, then to who-knows-where so not sure when I'm cooking again. Hoping to get a booking or two in L.A. but nothing yet... .
The first, tri-tip, salted then rubbed with a mix of onion, garlic, Aleppo, thyme, marjoram and fennel. Seared direct in the kettle, both sides, then moved to indirect to finish. Had a horse issue that delayed me and I couldn't get the meat off when I'd planned. It ended up med-well but was still good. Served it on broccoli-green bean risotto.
An opening salad of romain, baby greens, local tomatoes in a grapefruit vinaigrette, with a parmesan crisp.
The tri, with a delicious '04 Caymus Cab.
Larger close-up here.
Normally I MM the start-up for chuck cooks. Eventually the heat hits the low 300s. I smoke 2-2.5 hours then finish in foil as a braise at temps from 325-350. Cook time is usually 5-5.5 hours for a 3.5-4-lb roast. This was the plan but I had to jettison it when other plans intervened and everything had to be done more quickly. Instead, I used a standard start-up. While the fuel was lighting I browned the salted chuck on the stovetop then rubbed it (garlic, onion, NM chile, thyme, Greek oregano, cumin, black pepper). I quickly assembled the cooker, chucked on a little hickory, and plopped the chuck on the grate (temps 340 lid). I'd alread mixed the liquid for the braise (a little reduced white wine, grapefruit juice (I have a tree full of ripe fruits), and homemade beef stock, but I took a few minutes to slice 5 onions, 1 green bell pepper, and crush 5 cloves of garlic. I grabbed a foil pan, dumped in the liquid mix, the vegs, 2 bay leaves, 1 dried guajillo, 2 chiles negros, 2 aji amarillos, and 8 dried pineapple rings torn in half. This I brought to the cooker, nestled in the chuck, covered tightly, and stuck it back in the cooker. Cranked the heat to 370 lid (the roast was over 3" thick so I knew it would be fine at that heat).
Checked for tenderness 2.5 hours into the cook. It needed a little more time so I went 30 min and it was done. Rested 20 while I fried some boniato fritters (boniato, AKA Cuban sweet potato is sort of like a somewhat sweet white potato) and roasted some local(!) corn.
Salad of baby greens, ripe strawberries, ripe tomato with creamy grapefruit-thyme honey vinaigrette (creamy because of egg); chopped smoked almonds atop.
While the chuck rested I briefly pureed some of the pan contents to blend flavors and thicken it up a bit.
Chuck on boniato fritters (made with grated boniato and onion, culantro, eggs, bread crumbs, grated grapefruit zest, ground NM chile, cumin, salt and pepper); with roasted corn smeared with chipotle mayo.
Larger close-up of chuck and fritters here.
The fritters were crisp on the edges, crisp with interior softness in the middle, with good flavor and a bit of spice. The chuck was moist, very tender, and nicely flavored by the combo of the rub, liquids, aromatics and pineapple. The pineapple added sweetness, along with the onion, the green bell added nice vegetal notes, but the dried chiles really boosted flavor (the aji amarillos added heat as well). I'll be repeating this one.