First Red Snapper

We have an international grocery store near us called Global Food.  We’ve been going there for quite a while and have always looked at the section where they have whole fish but didn’t really want to have to clean the fish ourselves.  Turns out we don’t have to!  You pick out the fish you want, put it in a basket, and hand it to the people behind the counter.  They weigh the fish, print the label for how much it weighed and how much it cost, then ask you how you’d like it cleaned.  Sweet!  Since we didn’t have to clean it (yes, we’re lazy sometimes), we decided to try Red Snapper.  We got two decent sized Red Snapper and had them scale them, gut them, and clip the tails, but leave the heads on.

Note: All the credit for this one goes to my wife.  All I did was eat it.  She had everything done but pulling it off the grill by the time I got home but I had her explain to me what she did so I could share it here (and so we could refer back to it later, it was GOOD!)

  • Open up the cavity of the fish (where the guts were) and salt and pepper the inside.
  • Take a knife and score both sides of the fish with a knife.  This just means cut two or three slits diagonally along the body part of the fish
  • Inside the cavity, fold a green onion in half, add two sprigs of rosemary and four sprigs of parsley.
  • Then add a couple tablespoons of mixed vegetables: leeks, celery, shaved carrots (sliced really then lengthwise), and green onions inside the cavity.   Exact measurements aren’t needed.
  • Tie the fish up with cooking twine so the stuff you just put into the cavity doesn’t come falling out when you flip the fish later.
  • Generously sprinkle kosher salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil on the outside of both sides of the fish.
  • Preheat the grill on high (about 10-15 minutes)
  • Put the fish on the grill , then add a green onion lengthwise on top of the fish.  Add two orange slices on top of the green onion.  Do this to each fish.
  • Leave the heat on high, close the lid, and cook for 10 minutes or until the fish releases from the grill.
  • Once the fish releases, remove the orange slices and green onion from each fish with tongs, flip the fish over, then add the green onion and orange slices back on top of each fish.
  • With the lid closed, grill for another 10 minutes or until the fish releases.
  • Remove the fish from the grill and serve whole on a plate.

Red Snapper

There were some small bones right near the gills which happens to be where we started eating.  We were thinking that we were in for a battle of picking bones out out of the fish.  As we moved away from the gills though, towards the tail, there weren’t any more bones except those connected to the spine.  It was very easy to pick the meat off with a fork and was really tasty.  We had never had Red Snapper before but after this, we’re certainly going to have it again.

This was also the first try with the new Grill Grates.  The fish ended up being really moist and not dry at all.  The grill grate tool (my wife calls it a pitch-fork) worked really well in flipping the fish and removing them from the grill when done.

Result: Very tasty flavorful fish.

Pineapple in the BEESR – Maximizing Juice

We cooked a pineapple in our Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster (BEESR) about a week ago.  When we did, we had bought two pineapples from the store.  The second one had been sitting around the kitchen ever since.  It was starting to get more and more yellowish/orangeish colored so last night we figured we better do something with it.  Off to the BEESR!

We wiped down the inside of the BEESR with vegetable oil using a washcloth, and turned the power setting to 15.  Then we chopped off the green leaf thingies on top with a knife and put the pineapple in the bottom of the basket.  After the BEESR had been running for about 15 minutes, we put the basket in the BEESR.

After running for 45 minutes on power setting 15, we took the basket out and placed it on a cookie sheet.  Then we used heat resistant gloves to remove the pineapple and placed the pineapple itself on a cookie sheet.

We put the pineapple on it’s side and chopped the top off with a knife.  Then we used a pineapple corer to get out most of the good parts inside  (bought the pineapple corer at the grocery store but not all of them carry them.  Similar to this one.)  This time, since the pineapple was a bit older, it didn’t cut the pineapple out quite as well as it had the first one.   We decided to cut the side off in order to get the last bits out of the bottom.  When we did, a good bit of juice came pouring out onto the cookie sheet.  Good thing we didn’t do this on the counter!

Once we had gotten the rest of the pineapple out of the bottom we took the cookie sheet and poured the juice into a cup through a strainer (metal mesh kind of thing you can get at the grocery store or places like Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, etc).  My wife and daughter said it was the best pineapple juice they had ever had. That gave me an idea.

We still had the rest of the pineapple rind just sitting there in a couple of pieces on the cookie sheet.  A lot of it still looked pretty juicy.  So I got a gallon sized zip-lock bag and put the rest of the pineapple parts along with the top we had cut off into the bag.  The thought was to use a rolling pin to see how much more juice I could get out of it.  Turns out the rolling pin didn’t do that great of a job.  Just grabbing the pineapple through the bag and squishing it did a lot better than the rolling pin.  Once I finished squishing it, I opened about an inch of the bag at the side and poured the extra juice through the strainer into a cup.  We got about an extra 8 ounces this way!  And to think we just threw the last pineapple rind away.  Won’t be doing that again.  🙂

Result: Another really tasty pineapple with almost twice as much juice as the first one by squeezing the rind.

Note to self: Try not to let them get quite so ripe.  They’re a tad better if you use them earlier.

Pulled Pork – Boston Butt

We’ve been wanting to try pulled pork in the Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster (BEESR) since we got it.  So this week we found a Boston Butt at the grocery store.  The one we got was 5.7  pounds.  Here’s what the label looked like:

Boston Butt Label

We kept it in the refrigerator for a few days so it would be good and thawed.

We put some hickory wood chips that we got from the grocery store in the smoker box, turned it on at 15 and waited for it to start smoking (about 15 minutes).

We took the Butt out of the refrigerator, put it on a cookie sheet, and covered it in cheap yellow mustard (CYM).  This helps the rub stick to the Butt.  We then covered the Butt with Famous Dave’s Rib Rub.  This is what it looked like:

Butt With Rub


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Grill Grates

Been loving that infra-red cooking that the Big Easy Electric Smoker Roaster Grill does so much that decided to try it out on the grill itself.  There is a company that sells these things that go over top of your existing grill that turns any grill into an infra-red grill.  They’re called Grill Grates.

The concept is basically that the grates heat up and transfer the heat using infra-red.  This is supposed to cook more evenly and eliminate flare ups.  I measured my grill, did the math (wrong), and ordered five of them.  They’re basically 5 inches wide and come in a 2 panel starter pack and one panel add on’s.  Since my grill is about 30 inches wide, I needed the starter pack (5+5) plus three of the add on’s (5+5+5).  Right?  5+5+5+5+5=30 doesn’t it?  No, it certainly does not.  (sigh).  But the good news is, you can use them even if they don’t fit.  But I still want one more.

Here’s the grill before:

Grill Before

And after:

Grill Grates New

And here’s after I put some vegetable oil on them with a washcloth and turned the grill on high for about 20 minutes to season them a bit:

Grill Grates First Seasoned

I’ll be sure to post once I’ve cooked something other than vegetable oil on them.

Chicken Quarters in the BEESR

Continuing our endeavors of  trying things in the Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster (BEESR), we decided to try out chicken quarters.  No, we weren’t stealing change from chickens, chicken quarters are what they call the leg and thigh still connected to each other.

We bought a package of 6 of them from the grocery store and brought them home to try.   We left them in the refrigerator for an hour or two until we were ready.  We took them out and put them on the counter while we got things ready with the BEESR.  We wiped down the inside of the BEESR with vegetable oil using a washcloth, added some pecan wood chips from the grocery store and set it on 15 to get it to start smoking.

Went back to the kitchen and took the plastic wrap off the chicken so we could separate them and get them ready.  STILL FROZEN! NOOOO!  Turned off the BEESR, re-wrapped the chicken with plastic wrap, then put them back in the refrigerator.

Note to self: If you’re planning on cooking chicken from the grocery store soon after bringing it home, make sure it isn’t frozen solid.

We decided to have the chicken for lunch the next day instead.  Next day comes along.  I turn on the BEESR, get the chicken out of the refrigerator, remove the wrapping, and discover it’s STILL FROZEN!  This chicken is really putting up a fight!  This time, we decide to shake things up a bit.  The chicken quarters were in the packaging pretty tight with the legs and thighs interlocking with each other and making it more difficult to thaw.  We put three of them in zip lock bags for the freezer and three of them back in the fridge to thaw.  Again.  🙁

Note to self: If you’re trying to thaw chicken in the refrigerator quickly, don’t leave it tightly packed in the original packaging.

The next day, we finally had thawed chicken and could begin.  Turned the BEESR back on again.  Added more pecan wood chips since we had managed to burn through a whole box just starting and stopping it while playing with frozen chicken.  We turned the BEESR on 15 and let it start smoking.  Then we put kosher salt and pepper all over the chicken and put two of  them in the basket on the half shelves placed half way up from the bottom.  We used a second shelf that came with the accessory kit for the third chicken quarter placed a couple of shelves up from the first one.

We put the temperature probe into the thickest part of the biggest chicken thigh and put the basket in the BEESR.  We lowered the temperature setting to 12 and set the target temperature to 120 degrees and waited.

Once the temperature reached 120, we changed the setting to 12 and set the target temperature to 165.  Once it hit 165 we removed the basket, removed the chicken and put it on plates.  Here’s what it looked like:


We cut into them and started eating and discovered the chicken still had red parts near the bone.  What?  We cooked it to 165 in the thickest part of the meat, so what gives?  That’s what I’d always heard to do and it’s rarely worked.  One of those frustrating things that nobody bothers to mention.  Well the folks over at one of the BBQ forums had some help for me.  So simple once they said it.  The last part to cook on a chicken is the part right next to the bone.  So putting the thermometer in the thickest part isn’t going to measure whether or not it’s done next to the bone.  But putting the thermometer next to the bone isn’t going to work either because the bone is going to be hotter than the meat.  So what we should be doing is letting it go to 170-175.  That will give the parts next to the bone time to cook and should eliminate the red.

Note to self: Cook chicken to 170-175 since you can’t put the probe at the right place to judge the temperature of the last part to finish cooking, next to the bone.

Learned a lot this time.  Hopefully I’ll come back and read this before trying again so I can put some of this to good use.   OH, and by the way, the parts of the chicken that WERE cooked were really tasty.  Going to have to try this again soon.

St. Louis Ribs in the BEESR

We decided to try some St. Louis Ribs in the Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster.   First thing was to buy some St. Louis Ribs from the local grocery store.

Once they thawed out in the fridge, we removed the packaging and the silver skin on the back of the ribs.  The silver skin is exactly that, the small layer of skin that looks silver on the back of the ribs.  To remove the silver skin, get a flat not sharp knife and work your way underneath it.  Then pull at it until you get it all removed.  You don’t want to eat it and it doesn’t help, it just gets in the way.

We decided to start simple.  We cut them in half so they would fit in the BEESR using a knife.  Then we put kosher salt (sold at the grocery store, tastes a bit better in our opinion), pepper, and olive oil (comes in a bottle in the grocery store and just says Olive Oil) on both sides of them.

We went outside and rubbed down the inside of the BEESR with vegetable oil using a washcloth, put in some pecan wood chips from the grocery store, and set it on 15 to get it smoking.

Next we used a knife to poke a hole in the middle of one side of the ribs, just below one of the ribs so the rib hanger that came with the accessory kit would fit through.  Then we hung  the ribs on the basket.

Hung Ribs

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Pineapple in the BEESR? Why Not?

After the great success with the Brisket in the Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster (BEESR), we decided to give a pineapple a try.  Why you may ask?  Why not!  I think I saw a video of this being done somewhere but I can’t seem to find it.  Perhaps the idea came to me in a dream.  Not sure.  Regardless, we decided to give it a shot.

We started by rubbing down the inside of the BEESR with vegetable oil.  (it’s just the stuff from the grocery store in a bottle that says vegetable oil).  We pour a little on a washcloth and wipe the insides til it has a nice thin coat.  Then we turned it on and waited about 15 minutes for it to warm up.

Next we cut the top parts off of the pineapple with a knife.  Not the top of the pineapple it’self, just the leaf things coming out the top.  Not sure if we need to do that or not but we didn’t want them to burn.

Next, we put the whole thing in the bottom of the basket and put the basket in the BEESR.  We didn’t set a target temperature.  We set a timer for 45 minutes.

When the timer went off, we took the basket out of the BEESR and removed the pineapple with heat proof gloves.  Then, using one of the heat proof gloves, we cut the top off the actual pineapple with a knife.  We then used a pineapple corer to remove the good stuff from the pineapple.  This isn’t the exact one we used, but it’s quite similar and shows how it works.  Once the pineapple has been roasted, it’s fairly easy to use the corer on it.

That turned out the best pineapple I’ve ever had.  I don’t have any pictures of this one because we didn’t get started until midnight.  Hopefully I’ll get some pictures of the next one we do.  Wow was that thing good.  Sooo easy to do.  Loving this BEESR.

First Brisket

My wife really likes Brisket so that was the first thing we decided to try in the new Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster (BEESR).  My wife found a rub recipe she wanted to try so she put the rub together, put it on the brisket, put the whole thing in a zip-lock bag and put it in the fridge overnight.

We used two of the boneless rib hooks that come in the accessory kit for the BEESR and hung the Brisket from the side of the basket while resting it on two of the half shelves that came with it positioned two levels up from the bottom.  Next time we will probably change this since it seemed kind of odd:

Brisket Rubbed

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Char-Broil Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster

We’ve wanted a smoker for a while but we didn’t think we would get our moneys worth out of one for the amount of times we thought we would use it.  Plus, having to deal with the charcoal didn’t sound like much fun to me (I’m more of a gas grill kinda person).  So year after year went by with no smoker.

This year, I was walking through Lowes and saw an electric smoker for $99.  I hadn’t realized that they made electric ones nor did I realize they sold them for that low.  So I went home and did some research.   Not a lot of people liked the one they were selling for $99 but the next one up for $139 got great reviews.  I decided to go with the Char-Broil Big Easy Electric Smoker and Roaster.  Char-Broil sells it for $199 but I got it at Lowes for $139.

The first thing to do is season it.  We took some vegetable oil (bottle from the grocery store, says vegetable oil), poured a little bit at a time onto a washcloth, and rubbed it all over the inside of the smoker as well as the top of the inside.  Lined up the two holes in the side of the inside with the smoker box and turned the power setting to 15.  We let that run until it stopped smoking (30 minutes or so).  When it was done, this is what it looked like:


Now to start posting about some of the great food that’s come out of that thing.

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