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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Barbecue Secret Number 12 - Butcher Paper

Barbecued Chuck Roast Rubbed with Salt & Pepper and
Wrapped with Butcher Paper During the Cook.
Besides the usual suspect for wrapping barbecue (a.k.a. aluminum foil) as it cooks and rests after the cook, you can also use butcher paper. Many of the great barbecue restaurants in central Texas use it instead of foil and get excellent results. There are a couple of benefits to using butcher paper instead of foil including the cost (butcher paper is much cheaper) and the differences in how each impacts the barbecue's bark.

The Chuck Roast on the Left was Wrapped in Butcher Paper During the Cook.
The Roast on the Right was Wrapped in Foil. Notice the Difference in the Bark.

If you want to give butcher paper a try, here are some tips.

You can find butcher paper at places like Costco, Restaurant Depot, and even several office supply stores. If you can't find it in a local store, you can also find it online. Another option is to inquire at your local butcher shop or grocery store butcher to see if they will sell you a small quantity from their stock.

Barbecued Chuck Roast Wrapped in Butcher Paper.

Butcher paper comes in several widths. The 24" or 30" widths are best because it's easier to wrap a large cut of meat like a brisket or a long rack of ribs with the wider paper. But, if all you can find is the 18" stuff, you can make it work using a little more paper.

Butcher Paper Balled up Waiting to be Flattened Back Out
and used to Wrap Barbecue.

Butcher paper is a relatively thick paper and can be hard to work with when wrapping barbecue. A way to make the paper more pliable and easier to work with is to cut the size sheet of paper you need from the roll and ball it up then flatten it out again. Do that several times until the paper feels more pliable. I also like to put a light coat of spray oil on it before balling it up or even soaking it with water and wringing out the excess.

Another thing you want to do when wrapping barbecue with butcher paper is to make sure your last wrap around the meat is on the bottom. This will ensure that the weight of the meat will keep the paper in place while cooking.

Here is a great recipe for barbecue chuck roast using butcher paper.

Start with a 2.5 to 3 pound chuck roast. Season it with salt and pepper. Fire up your smoker/grill to a cooking temperature of about 300 degrees using indirect heat. A little oak or hickory works great for smoke.

Put the seasoned chuck roast in the smoker/grill and cook for about 2 hours. After 2 hours of cooking, remove the chuck roast from the cooker and wrap it in butcher paper. Put it back in the cooker and let it cook for about another 2 hours. You will know when it's done when an ice pick or thermometer probe slides into the meat with little resistance. The internal temperature of the meat will be around 208 - 210 degrees. But, go by the tenderness of the meat rather than the internal temperature. Once the meat has reached the proper level of tenderness, remove it from the cooker and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour while still wrapped.

After the rest, pull the chuck roast into sections, scrape off the silver skin and excess fat, slice it against the grain and serve. One last step I like to take with chuck roast is to chop it too. It's delicious served as barbecue beef sandwiches with sauce and slaw, made into taco meat, served with eggs for breakfast, and even used in chili.

Barbecue Chuck Roast Sliced & Chopped

For more barbecue secrets CLICK HERE.

Monday, October 15, 2012

California Barbecue Virginia Style - Tri-Tip

There is a triangular cut of beef from the tip of the sirloin called appropriately enough "tri-tip." It was made popular in California starting sometime in the late 1950's. Before that time, it was just another lean cut of beef ground up and made into hamburger.

Nowadays, it is a specialty of the Santa Maria area of California and for good reason. Cooked properly, it is a delicious cut of beef. For obvious reasons, there are only two tri-tip roasts per cow. Therefore, it can be difficult to find in many area local grocery stores. Ask your local butcher shop if you can't find it and I bet they can help you out.

Here is a great way to cook a delicious tri-tip roast.

Start with your grill setup for indirect cooking. I used charcoal and a couple of splits of white oak wood.

When the wood has burned down to hot coals, add the tri-tip rubbed down with a little sea salt, coarse ground black pepper, and granulated garlic.

Notice how far the meat is away from the heat source. I'm not grilling it; I'm barbecuing it at this point.

The cooking temp was about 300 degrees Fahrenheit using indirect heat.

Once the meat reached an internal temperature of about 127 - 130 degrees, I moved the meat directly over the coals just long enough to get a nice sear on both sides.

After searing it, let the meat rest for about 10 to 20 minutes then slice it into thin slices against the grain and serve. It's good sliced or on sandwiches.

Here is a delicious tri-tip slider with cheese, grilled peppers and onions.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Roast Beef a La Lightning

The Harrisonburg Rockingham Register of August 20, 1907 printed an account of a farmer named John Carroll who, soon after a lightning storm, found one of his cows killed by lightning. Rather than making preparations to properly dispose of the carcass, farmer John made a meal of it.