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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Huli-Huli-Katonk Chicken

I decided to cook a chicken today, but I wasn't planning on doing a UDS cook, so it had to be kettle cooking. But then! I was asked by a friend if I could fire up the UDS for some pastrami he had made, well, my back is wiped, but, if someone else does the lifting...why not

So I prepared smoked then grilled chicken, an odd combo, but, take a look.

First, my standard whole pasture raised, free range, air cooled, chicken, spatchcocked washed and rubbed.

Spatchcocked chicken

Rubbed up bird, here is sort of what I did.

2T medium black pepper, Phu Quoc Black pepper
2T kosher salt, Redmond Real Kosher salt
1P each dry mustard, clove, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, chile powder
each was a healthy pinch

Mix and applied over a rub of garlic and olive oil.

This was placed on the smoker for one hour at 225F. Then moved to the kettle running at 225F. It was cooked over indirect heat for 15 minutes, then the kettle was opened, coals spread over half of fire grate and it was cooked direct for 3 minutes per side. It was then put onto the side where the coals were not and cooked a final 10 minutes covered.

Onto the kettle and allowed to cook a little more, all this was done by feel. Each time I opened the lid, the bird got a baste of my glaze.

Bob's Katonk Huli-huli glaze:
1/2 cup coconut vinegar
1/2 cup shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)
1/4 cup Red Boat Fish Sauce
1/4 cup ground palm sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar (medium grain, not table sugar)
1 tablespoon ginger, fresh grated
1 star anise, whole

Heat to dissolve sugar and concentrate liquid, cook, it will be like a thin syrup. Glaze onto chicken as least 4 times.

Off of the kettle

Another angle
Not plated, but, put on napkins, cause this is street food, and there would be no plates.

Overall, this chicken was better than it looked, cooked just until medium, it was juicy and tender, the flavor has some great depth and just a little heat, the glaze was sticky and caramelized beautifully with just enough char to let you know fire was involved. About that name? Huli Huli Chicken is a standard of Hawaii that is rapidly being killed off by the same regulations that are making street food so difficult to maintain here, but, the katonk part? Well, I am not Hawaiian and I totally riffed the flavors with what I know of the Hawaiian palate, and I am a Katonk, ya know if ya know.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pulled Pork Waffle

I made some pulled pork, a very traditional version of hickory smoked pulled pork which I documented at Bob's Brew and Que. I decided to have a little fun and test out my new waffle iron which I received for Christmas.

The overall look

I made a maple mustard BBQ sauce, which was this:
4T Cider Vinegar
2T BBQ sauce (I used Big Butz Original)
2T prepared mustard (Beaver Picnic Yellow)
3T maple syrup
1T ketchup
1t palm sugar

All mixed together and then poured into a pan with a handful of the pulled pork to heat and combine. After sauce reduced and got sticky, I added 3 tablespoons of water and let it heat through again.

I made a basic waffle batter, this was put onto the waffle iron and slightly overcooked beause I did not read the instructions. That would have helped.

I also made some pesto, which involved snipping some Italian parsley, baby arugula and grating some Grana Padano cheese into a bowl and going at it with some koshjer salt and olive oil to create an herbal mush, more olive oil and a clove of garlic which was 'cut' with some garlic. Basically, I like to take garlic, smash it, then cover it with salt and scrape the salt and garlic back and forth with a pastry scraper. It was all then pounded into submission with a pestel in a steel bowl.

I also made some cole slaw, it happened to be made with home made mayonnaise, as I was out of store bought and making it was easier than going and buying some. This was a very basic cabbage cole slaw with a cider vinegar pickle for one day, then dressed with the mayonnaise.

Close-up showing all the components

Anyways, it was all assembled and dressed up with a little maple syrup too. I decided the pesto would be a good herbal/savory counterpoint to all the sweet, the cole slaw was for crunch and a little bite, the pork and waffles because they are delicious.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pork Belly 2 ways

While perusing the Japanese food market for ingredients for my Osechi Ryori meals, I checked out the meat area, looking for high quality pork, and I was not disappointed. I found some nice chunks of Duroc Hog pork belly, perfectly sized for doing something with. I love hitting the Japanese market for pork, as the quality and variety of pork is almost always of a very high quality. This pork had glistening white fat, a nice deep pink flesh and when unwrapped, a nice clean smell.

Mmmm, Poooorrrkkkk

It made sense to do something with the smoker, then again, I really like Siew Yuk, the crispy skin pork belly becoming so popular these days. What I decided to do was go for something inbetween. I prepared a marinade of various Asian-ish ingredients and let the pork belly marinade in it. I did not score the meat, as I would have for siew yuk, I will probably go ahead and score it next time. I marinaded overnight and in the morning, removed it, scored the fat and let it air dry on a rack.
30 minutes into drying

I heavily docked the fat with a small sharp skewer. Then wiped the fat clean to make sure there was no moisture and sprinkled equal amount of kosher salt and medium grained turbinado sugar onto the fat side. This was a light covering. I also prayed a little cider vinegar onto the fat. This all sat for 2 hours under a fan. I wanted to dry the surface as much as possible. I was already running the UDS at smoking temperature, somewhere around 235F or so,which would never do, so I fired up the kettle and got a nice small hot fire going. I took the belly pieces and put them fat side down over the hot fire for a couple of minutes, just to start the caramelization of the fat. It took very little time for each piece to become golden colored, I then put them into the UDS. It smoked for 3 hours over hickory. I pulled when the fat seemed to be fairly rendered.

Off the smoker

I believe it would have turned out better if I had scored the flesh, although, after the 3 hours in the smoker, the fat was almost confit like and the meat was very tender. The top of the fat got nice and crispy and it had the flavor of a light hickory smoke. The close up...
Note texture and crisp top

I hope this photo shows that the fat has rendered and the fat cap has fully caramelized, with the darker parts offering a slightly bitter counterpoint to the earthy hickory smoke and sweet pork. I served two of the pork belly chunks by simply chopping them up and dusting them with a coarse textured turbinado sugar (what? you don't keep multiple sized grains of 3 or 4 types of sugar in your house?) and putting them out on a plate. This would have been really good with some plum sauce.

I also braised some pork belly, I need to see if I have any info on what I did with that.

Asian-ish marinade

1/8 cup shoyu
2 tablespoons Hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons or so of white port, sherry or whiskey (I used white port)
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (untoasted, expeller pressed)
1 large pinch Phu Quoc black pepper, fine grind (fresh ground)
1 star anise piece (whole, use a good large one)
1/4 teaspoon each cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg (untoasted, fresh ground if possible)

Blend all ingredients in marinading vessel (plastic bag for me) and add meat. Shake and turn bag at least 2 times during a marinde time of 4 to 6 hours. Opp, found it, I added the pork belly, along with some bamboo shoot, shiitake mushrooms, chicken stock, bonito stock and some green onions to a brasier and let it braise in the oven for 2 hgours. This is an umami and fat bomb of a dish. I find all of this post to be too much for me nowadays, but, it seems many can still eat more than a couple of chunks or a spoonful. Here is that braised dish.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grilled Tai (Sea Bream)

This year, I offered to host New Years at my house, in large part, this was an idea formulated by my sister and I to let the kids spend some time with our aunts, the last of their generation. Family is quite important to us, and the feeling not only of family, but, of the connections and succession of the generations is something that we consider to be very important. Since we were doing something special, we had gone to the Japanese supermarket to get some groceries, and we saw fresh from Japan, Red Sea Bream, something you rarely see whole and very fresh here.

The raw fish had clear full eyes and fresh gills, it was clearly not very old. It also had been caught and prepared in Japan, which suggested that the fish had rested properly as it flew here. We decided, since it was so fresh, and somewhat pricey, a simple preparation was in order. The fish was taken from ice, stuffed with negi, which is a large Japanese green onion, some lemon and mitsuba, a distinctive flavor of Japanese foods. We then prepared a glaze of shoyu (soy sauce), sake, rice wine vinegar and sugar. This would be brushed on at the last minute to add a finishing sweet/sour note.

Grilled Tai, with a Ginger Shoytu glaze

The fish was given the traditional cross score on the skin, placed in a grilling rack and grilled fast over a hot bed of coals. I had arranged the coals with hotter coals in the middle and just below where the head would be, cooler coals at the thinner tail end. This was to cook the fish more evenly. There are no pictuers as I had three fires going and just needed to focus on not messing up a pricey little 'feesh'.

Detail of meat

It was grilled 4 minites per side, glazing the almost done side while the other side cooked, flipping to cook glasze and glazing the second side, then flipping to cook the glaze, it was plated and served hot. All that was left as a few bones and the skull. A successful grilled whole fish. If you look, the tail looks barely cooked, to me, this means the tail was cooked properly, the entire fish was done to just past rare at the bones, hopefully in that detail shot, you can see the meat is not opaque, it is still a little translucent. It felt good as I rarely cook this way, getting it right was a thrill...I don't acutally eat fish.