pipes bbq

Pushing My Limits

Last post I talked to you about this being a year of taking my BBQ to the next level. For me, that is not purely about BBQ itself, but also the meal as a whole. As I have posted for the past year my cooks have gotten tremendously better while everything which accompanies the meal has been lackluster, to say the least. I realize that a good BBQ can be pushed tenfold by how it is included in the entire meal. Yes, the star will always be the BBQ, but I need to get my shit together with everything else to make it shine.

Knowing this flaw, I have begun to learn how to cook indoors as well as out. No, I am not going to pan sear steaks...but I am hell bent on creating entire meals revolving around my BBQ. This comes in many forms. It starts as basic and simple as knife skills and extends everything I prepare. 

See, here is the thing, there are a lot of my BBQ cooks this past year which were more like experiments. I walked in with not knowing if it would be cooked properly and certainly not if anyone in my house would eat it. Now, BBQ is done with some skill. I know that when I start a cook, I am not going to use the smallest portion because I don't know who will eat it. Now I make a point to make sure I cook when everyone is home to eat. 

So for this cook, I had the entire family plus ready to eat. I knew everything not on the grill would take up a ton of effort, so I went simple on the cook. The one piece of meat I have total confidence around, the tri-tip! Looking back, my selection was a bit of a double-edged sword. Great that I knew the cook. The downside is that it cooks fast, so it wasn't like I had a couple hours to cook everything else. Once the tri-tip hit the smoker the clock was running.

As I looked for something to pair up with the Tri-Tip, I quickly realized that in order to pair with the food well and have something my family would eat, I was going to have to make a lot of substitutions. So I finally settled for a medley of baby carrots, beets, broccoli, and baby red potatoes. All would be oven roasted in a pan of parsley, thyme, and rosemary.

It all sounded good and work intensive, but then I took it off the rails. Somewhere along the way my wife also asked to try some recipe for a healthy mashed potatoes which includes white beans. So I said sure, let's throw that in the mix too.

So here is how this all went down. I set up my smoker ready for the fire. I then took the meat out of the fridge and rubbed it down with some Caribeque Beef Rub. I set that aside and let it get to room temp. I then peeled all my potatoes and prepped everything for the mashed potatoes. I then prepped everything for my roasted vegetables. 

Now with the difficult prep work out of the way I was ready to fire up the cooker. I quickly got the fire going thanks to my Looftlighter. I bought the cooker up to temp and threw on the cherry. Soon the beautiful tri-tip was on the cooker!

With the tri-tip on the cooker, the potatoes started boiling and I started assembling my tray of vegetables. From this moment forward, it was a bit blurry. It was just a mad scramble to do 10 things at one time. But, it absolutely worked! Well I mean I will not say go make mashed potatoes with white beans, it was just blah. But the vegetables were amazing. It takes a lot for me to say a vegetable is amazing, but they absolutely were. Once they paired up with the amazing tri-tip, this was simply one incredible meal. 

So no, I haven't jumped into a cook that I have no knowledge about. But I did accomplish something I never have, a complete full meal for my entire family. For once my cooking meant something more than a plate of meat.

And next time, I promise I will cook the cook assigned by Mikey!

Until next post, remember kids.....CHUNKS not chips!

Time for Some Smokin' Tacos

So far in my short BBQ lifetime, I have made some incredible meals. Now, one thing they have all had in common is that they were pretty significant meals which I wouldn't have without BBQ. In a way BBQ for me has been a turn off on the dinner highway. Simply meals that didn't happen otherwise. This week though, that is all changing.

For this cook, I am making tacos. So a year ago, that meant throwing some ground beef in a skillet with some seasoning. The ease of this made it a staple in my household. So I was a little taken back when Mikey assigned me tacos. It sounded kinda like he was taking my simple household meal and making it far too much of a process for a weeknight.

I quickly realized though, what he was actually doing was allowing me to enjoy the art of BBQ and still cook something simple. It was kinda genius really. The meat for these new tacos was set to be slow smoked chuck roast pulled. See this was new too. I have pulled chicken. I have certainly pulled pork, but never beef. 

Like most cooks, I assumed this would be smoke slow at 250 until the beef gets to about 190. And like most cooks, Mikey quickly corrected me. He instructed me to smoke the beef until about 165 internal. At that point put the roast in an aluminum pan along with a sliced pepper, a sliced onion, a bit of butter and a can or two of beer. Different for sure...but I was cooking with beer so I certainly would not complain.

Alright, so I love me some High Life. But considering I was cooking with beer, I switched over to Coors Banquet for that extra class. I picked up a beautiful USDA choice chuck roast. I carefully picked out Southern Links Steak and Brisket Seasoning for my rub. With the roast rubbed and the beautiful white smoke pouring out of my kettle it was time to get this cook going. 

In all honesty, this cook went pretty flawlessly. While the roast was smoking, I cut up my peppers and onions. Soon the internal temp hit 165 and I sealed the roast up in its bath of Banquet and started working on everything else that goes with tacos. Just after that point is when I realized that the adage of BBQ being ready when it is ready doesn't quite make everyone happy. The temp was going up slowly and I had a very hungry family on my hands. 

Finally, it hit temp. I pulled it off the grill and began to shred it. Soon there was a bowl of the most incredible pulled beef I had ever seen. It was time to eat. After only a couple bites, I realized that this was like unlike any taco Tuesday we have ever had in the family. The difference between a typical skillet ground beef taco and a smoked pulled chuck roast is unbelievable. The family certainly agreed as it was all eaten almost instantly.


Like I said, I can hardly see me pulling off this smoke on a weeknight for a quick taco dinner. At the same time, I would certainly be able to cook this on the weekend and save it for a mid-week meal. It was a very enjoyable BBQ twist to a pretty standard meal in my house.

Ironically the next night I was at Mikey's house to eat pulled chicken and pulled pork tacos which he made. Obviously, there is a difference between them...But at the very least I feel my pulled beef tacos certainly were in the same category.

Until next post, remember kids.....CHUNKS not chips!