Second Ribs

We decided to try St. Louis Ribs again and to also try some Beef Back Ribs since we’d never had them before.

First we removed the silver skin on the bottom of the ribs by using a case knife to pry it up and then grabbing it with paper towels and ripping it off.

We then wiped down the inside of the Big Easy Electric Smoker Roaster (BEESR) with olive oil.

We put salt and pepper on both sides of the ribs.  We put the rib hangers through the ribs and hung them in the basket with the bone towards the outside of the basket.

Put some pecan wood chips in the smoker box then turned on the BEESR and ran it on 15 for 15 mins or soe til it started smoking.

Put basket in BEESR.

Run on 15 for 30 mins.

Pull out, wrap in Heavy Duty tin foil, 2 layers. Put upright in basket on shelf 2 levels up from bottom.

Run at 15 for another 45 mins.

Remove them from foil, re-hang them, put some Famous Daves BBQ sauce on them, then put the basket back in the BEESR for 10 mins.

Pulled them out and cut them apart with a knife.  The beef ones were pretty decent and had more meat on them than we expected but we still liked the St. Louis ones much better.  Plus the St. Louis ones were cheaper.  Definitely going to stick to the St. Louis ones instead of the beef ones.


BBQ Chicken Thighs

The USDA says that chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.  Meat thermometer manufacturers tell you to test the temperature at the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone.  Problem is, the part that cooks last on a chicken thigh is the part right next to the bone.  In the past, when I’ve tried cooking chicken to 165 degrees at the thickest part, I still end up with blood around the bone.  This doesn’t make me very happy.  All that work and it’s not done!

Being tired of seeing blood in my BBQ chicken, I decided to over cook them this time, then adjust backwards from here til I get it right.  I’m going to cook them to 180 degrees and see how it turns out.

Picked up some chicken thighs at the grocery store and let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, I removed one of the grill grates so we can cook at a lower temperature.

Salt and pepper both sides of chicken.

Preheat the grill, then reduce heat to as low as it will go, around 300 degrees.

Place the chicken thigs skin side down on grill grates.

After 10 minutes, sauce the side facing up, close grill for 2 mins.

Open grill, flip chicken onto an empty spot on the grill and wait for any fast flare ups to die down.  There is usually a bit of grease that has accumulated on the top while cooking which is why we want to flip them to an empty spot so the grease goes over there and not where we are going to continue cooking.

Move them back to wherever you’re cooking them.

Sauce the other side, then close the grill and wait 10 minutes.

Sauce again.

Increase heat slightly and wait til temp hits 180.  Test with a meat thermometer at the thickest part of the thigh.

Sauce again, close grill for 1 min, then remove from grill.

BBQ Chicken

Fully cooked but not quite as moist as I’d like.  I think next time I’ll try 175 degrees instead.

Rosemary Potatoes

We wanted a side dish to go with the brisket so we decided to try out some Rosemary Potatoes.

Put 1 1/2 lbs of Red Potatoes quartered in a big bowl.  That means cut them in half, then cut the halves in half.

Quartered Potatos

Hold on to the stick part of a sprig of rosemary.

Rosemary Sprig

Strip the leaves/needles off the stick part. Chop them up so they are only about 1/4 inch long at any part.

Rosemarry Minced
Take 3/4 tablespoon of that rosemary and sprinkle it onto the potatoes.

Then take these and sprinkle them all over the potatoes as well:

  • 3/4 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/16 teaspoon pepper

Mix it all up with a wooden spoon (or whatever you have).

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Spray down a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Spread the potatoes around on the cookie sheet.

Potatos On Tray

Once the oven is at 400 degrees, put the cookie sheet into the oven on a shelf near the middle.

Cook for 25 minutes.

Use a fork and poke at the potatoes to see if the fork goes into them easily. If it does, they’re done. If not, give them another 5 minutes and repeat.  Turned out really well.

Second Brisket


We tried another brisket since the first one turned out as good as it did.  We cut this one in half so it would fit flat in the basket in the smoker.  My wife put together a marinade and put the brisket into two zip-lock bags, then put them in the fridge for several hours.

Brisket 2 in Bag

Turned the Big Easy Electric Smoker Roaster (BEESR) on at 15 with some pecan wood chips in the smoker box and let it run for about 15 minutes until it started smoking good.

We put them in the briskets in the basket on the shelves and put a temperature probe into the thickest part of the larger one.  The smaller one was on a shelf two rows up from bottom.  The larger one a few rows up from that.

Brisket 2 in Basketb

Once it started smoking good, I put in the basket.  Internal temperature was at 51 when it went in.

After 15 minutes, droped the temperature setting to 8.  Internal temperature was at 76 degrees.

Ran it at 8 til the internal temperature was 160.

Brisket 2 at 160

At 160, pulled it and wrapped in foil.  Then I put them back in the baskets in the same positions.

Continued at 8 until 195, then FTC.

Pulled them out after several hours and unwrapped them.


Then ran against the grain through the meat slicer.

Brisket Sliced 2 New

Plated them up and ate.  Yum.


Burgers on the Griddle

I like burgers. I really do. I’ve tried cooking them on the grill with varying levels of success but they always seem kind of dry to me. Same thing with ones from the fast food places. Places like Burger King where they cook them “flame broiled” seem dried out to me. My wife prefers Burger King over places like McDonald’s and I’m sure plenty of others do as well. Nothing wrong with them but just not my preference.

We decided to try burgers on the griddle. We’ve got a little electric griddle that looks kind of like this:

Electric Griddle

Since we wanted to do bacon cheeseburgers, we needed bacon.  We bought a package from the store, opened it up, and removed the bacon from the package, and placed it on a baking sheet.  Spread the bacon out, don’t just but the whole clump right there on the sheet, only one piece deep.

Put the bacon in the oven and turn it on to 400 degrees.  Leave it there for 10-15 minutes.  Check it at around 10 minutes.  Different people like bacon at different crispy levels so take it out when it looks like you like it.

Using a kitchen scale, separate out 6 oz of hamburger meat.  If you don’t have a kitchen scale or you aren’t that picky, just wing it and get enough hamburger to make a decent looking patty.

Without over-working the meat, form it into a patty and put a small divot (indentation) in the top (this keeps you from having meatballs instead of burgers).

Salt and pepper both sides of the burger.

Lightly butter the parts of the bun that go towards the burger.

Salt and pepper both sides of the burger.

Pre-heat the griddle to 350 degrees.

Put the buns on the griddle for 2-3 mins.  Lift them off with a plastic spatula once they start getting a little brown.

Place burgers on griddle for 3 mins.

Raw Burgers on Griddle

Flip them and cook them for another 3 mins.

Remove the burgers from the griddle and put on a slice of cheese if desired.

Add your desired condiments like ketchup, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, oh you get the point.

Finished Burger



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.

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