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Brining infuses meat with flavor while tenderizing it so when cooked, it’s juicy, tender and delicious. Check out Will Turner’s recipe for a Cajun brine solution and his technique for brining a 20-pound turkey overnight.
6 quarts Water
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Salt
½ cup Cajun Seasoning (Any Brand Works)
6 cloves of Garlic
2 stalks Celery
4 Bay leaves
1 Tablespoon Whole Black Peppercorns
1 bundle of Fresh Poultry herbs (Rosemary, Thyme & Sage)
Juice of 2 lemons
Combine 2 quarts of water with the sugar, salt, and Cajun seasoning in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients, including 4 quarts of water. Allow the brine to cool for about an hour before pouring over the turkey in a brining bag and refrigerate overnight.
These beef rib tacos are a feast for the eyes and the senses. The rich, juicy rib meat is complemented by a chunky salsa made from roasted tomatoes, onions, jalapeño and garlic. The result is “crunchy, fresh, acidic, smokey and just the right amount of spice,” says Andres Padilla, who cooked these up on his YS640.
For the beef ribs:
I used beef ribs from the plate, not the chuck. I removed all the silver skin from the meat side but left the membrane on the bone side intact. I seasoned them with my own rub for beef ribs and briskets (Recipe below) and let them sit overnight wrapped tightly in cling wrap. I smoked them on my YS640 overnight at 230F with oak pellets for approximately 16 hours. I rotate them in the cooker as needed to try and cook them as evenly as possible. I smoke them unwrapped and no spritzing until they reach 190 internal temperature. At this point, I spritz them with a 50/50 mixture of water and apple cider vinegar and wrap them in butcher paper. Doing this will help soften the amazing crusty brisket like bark that they will have slowly developed overnight. I place them back in the cooker and let them reach an internal temperature of about 203-209 (I’ve found that between these temps is when beef ribs will be perfectly probe tender). Pull them off the cooker and let them rest in a cooler for an hour before cutting them with a scalloped slicing knife (these knives make slicing brisket and ribs effortless, and you won’t ruin the bark).
The Beef Rub
1/2 cup kosher coarse salt
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coarse black pepper
3 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp Hungarian paprika
2 tbsp ancho chile powder
2 K cups Colombian coffee*** A MUST
1 tbsp celery seed
Fire Roasted Salsa
5 vine ripened tomatoes
1 small spanish onion
1 large garlic clove
I couldn’t decide if I wanted a pico de gallo for the tacos to cut the richness of the beef rib a bit or if I wanted a fire roasted sauce, so I said why not both … I coated all of the above in a little olive oil and took them to an open fire on the YS640 to get a good char on them (I didn’t want to cook them through, so I left the chamber open). The idea was to get a good char on the outside quick and keep some texture to the onions and tomatoes as a good pico would have. I let the jalapeño cook through a bit and deseeded and stemmed, and the garlic clove I let cook until completely softened. I removed the pulp from the tomatoes then diced them along with the onion … the jalapeños I minced finely and the garlic clove I mashed into a paste with a bit of kosher salt and a couple of minced cilantro stems. I combined everything together in a bowl, adding some fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice. The results were exactly what I wanted for the tacos … crunchy, fresh, acidic, smokey and just the right amount of spice, the mashed garlic added a lot of depth to it all.
For the tortillas:
I like to use Mission with corn tortillas, and I use my lodge cast iron pizza pan to heat them up. I heat the pan on high for about 15 min with NO oil then I quickly dip the tortillas one by one into a bowl of ice cold water, shaking off the excess before dropping them on the smoking hot pan for approximately 1-1.5 minutes. This steams the tortilla through and also gives them visually pleasing brown spots on one side. Once the tortillas start to curl up slightly around the edges, I flip them and let them go about 30 seconds … just enough to steam off any remaining water. Quickly place them in a tortilla warmer or in an aluminum foil packet lined with paper towels (this will soften them up just right). Repeat the process until you have enough tortillas.
Our Wichita retailer All Things Barbecue hosts monthly cooking classes in their teaching kitchen. It’s a fantastic set-up with an indoor demo kitchen that features overhead cameras so students can see what the chef’s is doing from all angles and a big outdoor patio with a fleet of smokers and grills to cook on, many of which are Yoder Smokers. ATBBQ’s House Chef Tom Jackson, who creates the recipes for their blog The Sauce leads classes with the help of friends like pitmaster Andy Groneman of Smoke on Wheels BBQ and occasional guest instructors.
You don’t hear much buyer’s remorse among Yoder Smokers owners in regards to cooking performance. One regret we DO hear a lot, though, is owners wishing they had gone ahead and ordered the competition cart option instead of trying to scrimp and save a little cash by ordering their pellet cooker mounted on a standard cart. They are thrilled to discover you can always upgrade to the competition cart for your YS480 or YS640 whenever you’re ready. But then you’re left with an empty cart on wheels… what do you do with the perfectly good, durable steel Yoder Smokers cart that’s left behind?
Aaron and his wife recently traveled from Ohio to North Carolina to visit his parents and celebrate “Thanksmas” – Thanksgiving, his 30th birthday, and a shower for their first baby, due in March. He had no idea they were planning a special surprise just for him!
“It was a complete surprise, I have not ever told mom and dad I wanted a new smoker before. I have been cooking on a Weber bullet for 5 or 6 years now and had told my wife I wanted to upgrade one day to something that had more surface area for when I host, not to mention to move away from charcoal heat. They didn’t even ask my wife which I liked… They did their own research and also saw some post from YS that I’ve “liked” in the past on Facebook.”Continue reading →