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Just joined board

evenwhenitsrainingevenwhenitsraining Posts: 73
edited 11:55PM in EggHead Forum
Hi all-I just joined the board. I've had an Egg for 3-4 years now. However, my Egg was recently in storage for 18 mos. (Moved to Chicago and didn't have a place for at at my first city apt. Now I have a house and it's been liberated to the deck!)

I worked in high-end restaurants for 14 years so if you have a question, I hope I can help. I also hope I can learn from the masters about traditional BBQ rights of passage like the Boston Butt, which I've done already. What's the next challenge I should try? I've done pretty much everything, including breads and pizzas. I'm very much into the details, precision, and science behind cooking.

If you have a wine question, I'd be more than happy to suggest pairings. Hope to hear from y'all.


  • 2Fategghead2Fategghead Posts: 9,623
    evenwhenitsraining, Welcome to the forum. You will fit right in. Tim :)
  • ChargerGuyChargerGuy Posts: 357
    I look forward to tapping into your wine pairing knowledge soon!
  • 'Q Bruddah'Q Bruddah Posts: 739
    evenwhenitsraining, great handle, I can appreciate it since I am from Seattle. Welcome to the forum. Naked Whiz has a site that has lots of good recipes.. Steven Raichlen refers to Ribs Butts and Brisket as the Holy Trinity of BBQ. The Egg excels at all of them. Carwash Mike is legendary for Ribs, Elder Ward is the last word on Pulled Pork and no doubt there is a brisket recipe there as well, I haven't done one yet.
    Keep cooking and posting pics, you'll be amazed.
  • YBYB Posts: 3,861
    Welcome to the forum and look forward to getting some recipes from you.Here is a world of information that Grandpa Grub posted.

  • NC-CDNNC-CDN Posts: 703
    Welcome to the board. I'm new too and have had my egg for about the same time.

    Sounds like you will be a wealth of knowledge.
  • MaineggMainegg Posts: 7,787
    Welcome! take a minute and copy and paste your nice "just joined" post into your profile :) we are trying to get everyone to do a mini bio in their profile to help us all get to know each other a little better and this saves time of trying to find their first post. for some of us it was a long time ago and for some others it is chiseled in the old stone tablets from long, long ago LOL
    thanks for sharing and it looks like you will have a lot to offer and learn about your egg. Julie
  • gdenbygdenby Posts: 5,720
    Welcome, with your background, we'll expect lots of pics of wonderful cooks.

    BBQ, traditionally, is sort of the opposite of high end. An old fellow told me that during the Depression he could get slabs of ribs free from the slaughterhouses in Chi, 'cause they were considered to much trouble to cook for most folks. One reason I like BBQ so much is that one turns foods of less quality into some of the finest eating there is.

    Seem that the consensus is that brisket is the hardest thing to get just right. Seems to be a fine line between tough-but-moist and tender-but-dry. Search the board archives for examples.

    Here's my suggestions for something to try. Tongues and hearts can make very good meals. Both require a good bit of careful trimming, and benefit from various marinades and rubs. Done well, they make a fine meal.
  • HungryManHungryMan Posts: 3,470
    Welcome and look forward to some of your cooks. Always looking to improve my steaks with cooking techniques and seasoning. How do you do yours?
  • Car Wash MikeCar Wash Mike Posts: 11,244
    Welcome aboard. 18 months is a long time to go without egging.

  • Hi-I spent years working in high-end steakhouses like Morton's of Chicago and The Capital Grille. Believe it or not, those places use Lowry's Seasoning Salt. I couldn't believe it when I learned it. I myself prefer Montreal Steak Seasoning or basic Kosher salt and black pepper.
    My two most important things are to set the steak out well ahead of time for it to come to room temp and grilling temp. This produces a much more consistent color throughout the steak in the finished product, rather than having a drastic gradient of doneness from the outside to the center: Think juicy red-pink throughout, rather than gray on the outside and cold red in the middle. Also, I like to salt and pepper ahead as well. Some say this causes the salt to draw out moisture from the steak, but I've never detected a difference in moisture when salted ahead of time or right before grilling.
    Also, it's important to learn doneness of steak by touching the center of the steak with your finger and feeling for different levels of "gushiness" in the meat. This way, other varying conditions such as temperature of the grill and thickness of the cut won't confound your ability to know when to pull meat from the grill.
    Use a rocket hot grill. Hot as you can get it. Steakhouse grills can grill at well over 1000 degrees.
    Finally, always pull your steak just under the temp you like it and let it rest under foil for AT LEAST 10 minutes and allow it to "rest" up to your desired degree of doneness.
  • HungryManHungryMan Posts: 3,470
    Thanks for the response. I never got the feel part down, so I use a thermopen. do you ever add seasoning after its cooked? I also use the spider to get close to the fire and have been using the mini more for the steaks.
  • FiretruckFiretruck Posts: 2,678
    Paring? Shoot everybody knows ya kaint beat tickle pink with hot dogs. It has a bukay like no other :woohoo: :woohoo:

    Just goofin off. Glad to have ya here. I hope you can bring some class to the joint. :laugh:
  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 1,806
    You said to let the steak sit for 10 minutes under foil. 2 questions:

    Is the foil just to keep it a little warmer than otherwise, or is there another reason?

    I heard Tony Bourdain once just completely raving about how important it is to let the steak rest, as you are saying, or it would completely ruin a good steak. He didn't say how it ruined it, though. I guess the real answer is for me to try it and compare for myself, but I've usually let steaks sit 5 min. or so, not 10. Can you help me understand better what happens if you let it sit at least 10 minutes, how that helps the steak?

    Thanks, and I'm excited to learn from all of you knowledgeable folks!

  • You can practice the feel thing on your own hand by holding your left hand in a loose fist and then feeling the fleshy part on the top of your hand between your thumb and fist finger with your right index finger. Softer is more rare. Basically, you have to remember that the heat of the grill is causing the muscle fiber to actually "flex" or "bunch up" as if the muscle were still alive. The less "flexed" meat there is, the rarer it is.

    As far as seasoning before and seasoning after, you HAVE to season before because like we explained above the meat is more "open" or porous while the protein strands are relaxed. This allows for better penetration of a salt or brine. However, seasoning after is always "to taste" and there is no proscription against adding a bit to make up for underseasoning before cooking.
  • Basically, all the foil is doing is keeping you from losing too much heat as the meat rests. It also helps the meat to "rest up" to its final and intended temperature for folks who pull 10-15 degrees short of their desired temperature. It does have just the slightest negative effect of slightly softening the crusty sear that you have attained. However, this is negligible in the scope of your overall goals.

    Basically, the liquid in the meat is in rapid motion while the meat is cooking, circulating and/or exiting the steak. When you pull the meat, your goals is threefold: 1) To maintain an acceptable eating temperature while you finish up side dishes, etc. 2) To allow the meat to "rest up" to the desired temperature, and most importantly 3) To allow the juices to slow their circulation throughout the fiber of the meat or even come to a stand still so that when you cut the steak, the liquid rests in the fiber of the meat instead of spilling onto the plate.
  • TheophanTheophan Posts: 1,806
    So if I'm understanding you, waiting longer keeps more juice in the meat, whereas carving sooner would spill more juice out of the meat, making it drier.

    Very interesting, thanks!

  • the idea behind resting to help retain the juices in the meat is solid food science, but they don't really "run around" inside the meat. not do the actual muscle fibers themselves contract (as though the meat were alive) to squeeze out the juices.

    what's happening is that the protein fibers (which make up and are much smaller than muscle fibers) start to contract and congeal and squeeze out the water (all juiciness is basically water) that was between them.

    the muscle fibers are not contracting... they do not squeeze out the moisture. but on a molecular level, the proteins DO squeeze it out.

    resting the meat doesn't allow the moisture to go back anywhere that it came from, and the proteins don't 'relax' or un-congeal. what does happen (according to our good friend Harold McGee) is that the meat (and he's talking about a larger roast, here) simply is more able to retain moisture at a lower temperature (120-ish he advises) than if you cut into it when it hit your higher "done" temperature.

    what he actually says is pretty interesting. a roast ought to be rested for nearly as long as it was cooked. the carryover will cause the temp to rise and finish cooking the meat, but then it sits (for half an hour or more) at room temp while it cools back down to 120.

    we don't do that with our steaks, of course, (half hour or more resting) we rest maybe ten minutes.

    at a rested temp of maybe 120, McGee isn't saying the juices flow back anywhere, or that "muscles" relax allowing water (moisture) to be retained. and he's not even saying the proteins (which squeezed the water out in the first place) relax and let the water back in. they don't. you can't uncook protein. all he's saying is that cutting a hot piece of meat allows the water to more easily be lost to the plate than a slightly cooler piece of meat. after cooling slightly to 120, the "meat structure becomes firmer and more resistant to deformation, and it's water-holding capacity increases" (from "On Food and Cooking").

    what he's saying is the slightly cooled steak (cooled from anything above 120 back down to around 120) will deform less when cutting, and less juice will be squeezed out when it is cut. no relaxing, no redistribution... just simple mechanics. the cooler meat is a firmer sponge, more capable of retaining the water.

    there is much lore associated with cooking. most of it is based on practical experience (yes, resting a steak is better for its juiciness), but the logic behind it is often flawed.
  • you are going to enjoy the egg for steaks, i can tell you that.

    don't forget, your egg cooks steaks at well over at thousand degrees too. the steak-houses like to brag about the high heat, but they are talking about the heat of the element. the element can be as hot as you say, but it is a radiant heat. same thing for the egg. the lump is almost always at 1000+ degrees, regardless of what the dome thermometer says.

    dome thermometer measures air temp, which is merely an indication of how much 1000+degree lump you have going. at 250 dome, you have very little 1000-degree lump. at 700-800 degrees, the lump is roaring, often over 1200 degrees, and there's much more of it. lump charcoal can be used to melt iron... just give it plenty of air

    i agree with you about salt not drying out steak when seasoned before hand. i'll go so far as to say that it is not possible to dry out a steak by seasoning with salt under any circumstance, even burying it in salt overnight. you'd have a salty steak, but you couldn't possible reduce it's moisture appreciably by burying it in salt, let alone merely seasoning/salting it first.

    meat doesn't really have "pores" per se, it's just that salt needs time to work. salting beforehand brings proteins and sugars to the surface too (with the water), and those will help form the brown caramelized surface we are looking for from searing. that water gets sucked back in as well, bringing the salt with it. if you salt at the very end, you'd get some benefit, but certainly not as much as salting first.

    i personally don't season (usually) with anything but salt before cooking. salt is a rock, and is the only seasoning that doesn't char. if i sear at lower temps (say 400-ish) i might use some seasoning to create a more interesting crust. or if i cook a steak in a two-stage process (sear followed by roasting, i will often add seasoning after the sear so that it can roast to the finished temp with seasoning on it.

    oiling a steak (unless pan searing), and seasoning it with anything besides salt, means most of that stuff will burn to a crisp and produce off-flavors (bitterness, etc.) if it's seared at nuclear BGE temps. and most of us have a predilection for nuclear sears around here... :evil: i cringe when someone oils a steak with extra virgin olive oil, and then nails it at 800-dome for 90 seconds a side. that oil is toast.

    i think you'll enjoy the steaks off the BGE. it can be as hot or hotter than the infrared elements at a steakhouse. and those elements don't add any flavor themselves, like wood charcoal can.

    soon, you'll be ordering the crab at Morton's, because their steaks aren't as good as the ones you make for yourself at home. we gotta get you aging your own subprimals... ;)
    welcome aboard
  • Little StevenLittle Steven Posts: 28,817


    Caledon, ON


  • it's very easy to confuse protein fibrils (at a molecular level) with muscle fibers. or to believe that the muscle fibers are contracting.

    in the end, though, regardless of whether the actual process is even understood, the end result is the same. rest the steak, and it'll be more moist. i never understood why though, and i thank McGee for setting me straight. all the stories i'd heard over the years sounded like bunkum, frankly. but they produced the same result after all, right?

    the rested steak is more moist. just because the explanations we always heard were mostly lore, doesn't mean the result was incorrect.
  • eenie meenieeenie meenie Posts: 4,392
    Welcome to the forum evenwhenitsraining, I look forward to seeing your cooks! :) It was mighty kind of you to liberate your egg. Can't wait to see how your egg responds to its now found freedom.
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