Letter about the Hunting Chef

This is Megan Nanna, the Hunting Chef’s oldest daughter. I thought I would spice up his blog a bit, and also give his readers some more insight about my dad. This is in hopes that you will find him even more interesting, and follow his blog! (Oh, not to mention that this is a way of me earning some money so that I can travel next year. So let’s help out my travel fund everyone ;)

First and foremost, my dad is the best dad you can ask for. He’s one hell of a role model, as well as one hell of a go-getter.

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My dad and I when I was 5

Second fact, he is one of the funniest guys you’ll ever meet. Any person that knows his can attest to that. I don’t know what it is….actually, maybe I do, since I also inherited that gene/skill. We both have a knack for making the room light up, although he has mastered the skill, while I am still building on it. 

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California, 2008

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Portland, 2002

Third fact, my dad seems to surround himself with giants. This is not because he’s short and they look tall, it’s because all of his friends are huge. I’ve always found that funny.

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Fact four, we always have a lot of fun together. I’m sure everyone has fun when they’re with him. No matter what the situation is, something funny happening is inevitable.

Cabo (click for video)

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Jello shots in CaboIMG_3825

Fifth fact, I love my pops. And I hope you all love his recipes as much as I do. Follow his blog, you won’t regret it! Your belly might though. :)

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Visiting me in Boise

Baby Back Ribs For My Dad

Beef Brisket…???? I do not get it

What is the story with Beef Brisket?  Every BBQ place has it on their menu. All the Pit Masters have to make it in competitions and still HAS ANYONE EVER HAD GOOD BEEF BRISKET?  Every time I try it I think to my self “I dont get it”.   I think it is some what of a good idea to have it in BBQ competitions because if you can make a dog turd taste good you deserve the blue ribbon right?  I made it over the fourth of July and I spent every 30 minutes basting it on a low and slow method on a Traeger smoker….for 12 hours.  That is correct, you heard me…..12 hours.  That is after I had to trim it, dry rub it, put it in the fridge for 12 hours before that.  It was like I was married to it for an entire day.

On the smoker for the next 12 hours

Look at that piece of meat, doesn’t it look just perty?  That is what they would say in Texas because it was the TEXANS that invented this piece of crap…I mean meat.  The beef brisket was considered the worse piece of meat on the entire cow, because it is essentially a muscle.  This cut of meat went to the people in jail, and the cowboys punching cows out in the desert for weeks on in.  They were not served it until they ran out of rations because they used the brisket for tack and jerky because it was so bad.

I'm still a happy in this photo because I don't not know at this point what I am in for...

I followed the National BBQ champions recipe.  Notice the Traeger at 220 degrees?  Notice the hot dog? I’m not sure how that got in the picture, but this takes so long I apparently need to eat something during the 12 hours of smoking and basting.  At this point, I am thinking this is gonna be awesome. In my mind, I am making the best brisket in the world and it is worth the pain and suffering and patience.

This is the 8th hour. I now have put in the meat probe for temp

Looks good right?  It smells good too.  At this point, I start to realize that I am supposed to bring this meat up to 200 degrees internal temperature.  Just so you know, that is super well done.  I am thinking to myself “Could that be right? Is that right?”  Double checked and I was correct.  This makes the brisket break apart nicely with lots of flavor and moisture.  Okay, I buy it I am in.  This is gonna be great.

I am still a believer at this point

Look how happy I am right there!  Notice my temp probe is at 157 degrees.  I already brought it out of smoker at 200 degrees, but my pitmaster instructions say to let it sit for an hour in alum foil.  This keeps all the juices in the meat.

I get to the party and I have the package with me. Neatly wrapped in my aluminum foil, and everyone knows that I have been working on this for basically 24 hours.  I bring it out, and I begin to cut it against the grain as instructed.  At this point, I am not really liking what I am seeing.  It looks like all the rest of the brisket I have seen before, well done.  I plate it, and at this point I am starting to go down hill with excitement very fast.  Notice I didn’t take any photos?  That is because I am not happy.  The only thing that taste good about this brisket is the outside if you licked it.  A chef once told me that the brisket was the shittiest tasting meat on a cow, and he was right.  Call me a Northwest Outdoorsman, but I like taste of meat, and I like it at medium rare.  There is a reason that bbq places lather it in BBQ sauce after they cut it.  My experience taught me one important lesson.  The people of Texas, you can have all the brisket because folks, that is one shitty cut of meat.

The Hunting Chef

New Movie

What to do with a Bison Ribeye

Marni the Monster

As you already know I had to basically bait Marni the Monster to my house to have her help me with my blog format.  So she agreed to help me, as long as I agreed to cook for her.  I replied “choose your weapon”, she replied “Buffalo”.  I then replied “Thursday at 6pm, and make sure your husband wears a shirt”.  George works out 5 hours a day and likes to show his muscles.  So the journey begins.

3 Rib Bison ribeye

First, you select the perfect cut.  There is not a lot of fat to bison, but what fat there is, you need to make sure you trim it off.  It is usually on the outside and very easy to trim.

I am going to make this into a French cut roast, so what I need to do is trim the bones and it begins like this.

Make another cut about four inches from the end of the bones

At this point you need to cut the meat out from in between the bones, but I am a firm believer of not wasting good meat product. Set the meat aside in a bowl because we will use it later.

Trim up any meat in between the bones

Discard of any fat, and then season your roast with what you prefer.  I use sea salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder,and a hint of Cajun powder.

Seasoned and ready for the fridge

I apologize for the photo, my oldest daughter borrowed ours for Costa Rica.  Now if you’re in a hurry let it sit for 30 minutes, or put it in the fridge for a few hours.  If you do the later make sure to let the meat sit before bbq’ing for about 30 minutes.   I took the left over Bison meat, and I am going to combine it with a pound of veal, and one pound of burger with no fat.

Grind up the meat

I then season it with a little sea salt and pepper.  That is it, and roll it into nice 3/4 wt. balls.

NIce even round meat balls

They are now ready for the burger press.  Notice the little wax papers I have them sitting on. This will save you a major clean up mess.  It will also be handy when freezing them later.

I then put a sheet on top and on bottom to put in my press.  This keeps it nice and clean and allows me to work with the meat with ease.

Wax paper on the top and the bottom, then PRESS

Then you take them out and lay them on one sheet of paper.  I set them on a cookie tray, and I set them in the freezer for 45 minutes to set up for the final process.

Burgers ready for the freezer

Once “Set Up” then I take them to my professional vac pac machine and let the machine do its handy work.

Burgers ready for freezer

These burgers will be the best tasting meat patties you ever had, and the best part is you used the bison meat to boot.  Lets get back to the rib eye.  So now, I have started my trusty Green egg and I brought the temperature up to 500 degrees.  I am going to cook it at 500 degrees for 20 minutes to sear the meat.  Then I am going to drop it to 325 degrees and cook until 135 degrees.

The Meat is ready for the Green Egg

Okay your going to ask me how do I know when the meat is at 135 degrees?  A meat thermometer dude!

Using a Meat probe is the most important thing you need when BBQing

I cannot stress to you enough how important a meat thermo probe is.  The best 40 bucks you will spend.  The novice keeps opening the thing up and cutting into the meat to see.  Total rookie!

Once the temp is 135 degrees I take it off and let it stand for 10 minutes.  Bison meat is going to go from medium rare to medium well very fast.  I would recommend serving it med. rare because it will be medium half way thru the dinner.

Let the meat rest for 10 minutes

Then you slice it, plate it, and watch Marni and George roll their eyes back into their heads.

Oh Lord, does that look good?

I cannot express to you how good it taste

Look at that bite I am about to put in my mouth!!!

That is how you finish off a good night with good friends.  Thank you Marni for helping me with my blog and thank you George for keeping your shirt on and most importantly thank you sous chef Stephanie for helping me in the kitchen.

 

The Big Green Egg is a BAD ASS piece of Equipment

I recently added to my bbq arsenal the Big Green Egg after I read an article about it.  I have a few friends that have them and swear by them.  One family being the Huevos Ranchero people…The Hesters.  So my buddy Dave and I set off on a quest to learn about them at a dealer.  An hour later, Dave and I were both owners of the Japanese old technology, reinvented as the Big Green Egg.  So what do you cook on the first trial run, the maiden voyage??  I had to roll with the chicken y’all.  I have made them several different ways from the Traeger, to the water smoker and have reached my potential…so I thought.

The Big Green Egg-Large edition

I went with the large edition, had them put the high heat-resistant acrylic on the sides instead of the wood.  When you buy one of these bad boys, you will quickly learn that everything is sold separately.  The “nest” is below and has wheels on it, I do not understand why anyone would want one with out it, because you can hardly move the damn thing.  I almost broke my back wheeling it to my back yard.  The Green Egg is one heavy son of a #$@! at 250 lbs.  Make sure to pay the 25 bucks to have them put it together! Thank me later.  But here he is, a member of the bbq family in my back yard.

BRINE THE CHICKENI have said it before and I will say it again! BRINE THAT BIRD. If you learnanything from this blog, learn this. BRINE BRINE BRINE. I did this the night before and let it go for 18 hours. I throw a block of ice on top and it keeps it cold.Lets do this drill again.1 bird=1 gallon of water. I have two birds, so two gallons so double the brine ingredients.1 cup of sugar1 cup of salt1 cup of soy sauceseasoning of your choice, I usually add 1/2 cup of Montreal seasoning but it is not needed to accomplish what you need. Remember I use 1/2 of the gallon of water to bring to boil, and melt all the ingredients into the water then add remaining water. Once you have completed this brining task, then you take the birds out and let them dry. Once you have done that, season the birds with what you enjoy, in this experiment I heard about using a product called Butt Rub, it was good and had good color. Season the Birds and let sit another 10-15 minutes

At this point, you should go get your Green Egg started.  It’s very easy to use, you add the special charcoal, this is the non treated wood stuff.  You can buy it from Green Egg or Cash and Carry.  Add enough to get above the air holes, add the fire block they recommend and start it with the lid open.  You never use regular charcoal, or lighter fluid.  Once the flame is going you want to put your damper on, open it up and below there is another damper you want to open.  You can control your heat with these two devices.  I brought it up to 600 degrees then lowered to 400 degrees.  I added wood chips from Alder that I soaked for an hour, but I am not sure I would do this again for chicken.  I also made the mistake of putting olive oil on it, with the high heat you really do not need that.  It is not bad it just gave the bird a darker color.

See the damper at the bottom and the damper at the top? That is how you do it

Then you regulate the heat, once you got it you got it.  It doesn’t fluctuate a whole lot. I cooked these birds for about 70 minutes.  Notice the electric bbq temperature gauge on the right?  That is a must.  The last thing you want to do on any bbq smoker is keep opening to look at it.  That is a rookie mistake, so stick your thermometer into the chicken, inside the dark meat next to the leg, close it.  Put the alarm on at 170 and go make the side dishes.

Speaking of side dishes, I decided to go with a blue cheese wedge, with tomatoes and fresh cooked bacon.

Blue Cheese WedgesNow, you can make the salad dressing by hand using the best blue cheese in the world, Oregon Rogue Cremery blue cheese.  The stuff is like heroin though and very expensive unless you order it straight from them in a wheel fashion such as I do.  You can also use store-bought, but if your going to do this buy the good stuff like Lighthouse Blue Cheese salad dressing that is in the produce section.  Fry up some good bacon (no cheap stuff) and chopped it up along with a fresh tomatoes and wedge your salad.  It is easy, and very good.  Look at the lumps of Blue gold in that dressing!         Meanwhile, I put the Rosemary, butter rolls in the cast iron skillet that has been rising for three hours in the oven at 400 degrees.  My alarm goes off on the chicken…I cannot wait to open the Egg up. Chicken coming out of the Big Green Egg

 

Fresh Rolls with Rosemary and sea salt cooked in an iron skillet in the oven

Look how the skin is tearing from the bird, desperately holding on from keeping these birds from exploding out of their skin.  It brought a tear to my eye.

Chicken coming out of the Big Green Egg

 

The chicken is as moist as it gets with ton of flavor.  This by far is the moistest chicken I have ever made.  Unbelievable, and great texture!  I think there is a lot of things you could do here.  My brain is working on them, you are going to have to come back to get the low down.

Look at the color, this chicken is JUICY

Nice smoke ring color on the outside, and perfectly cooked.  I am impressed with the Egg.  I put the corn on grill and closed it for 10 minutes while I cut chicken and plated.  The one thing I truly like about the Egg is that you close all the dampers and it will kill the burn within minutes so you can re-use the charcoal.

Happy fathers day Dad

Here it goes, the photo show the bird a little dark, but you get the point.  I had my folks over and they gave it a thumbs up rating.  I had a breast today for a late breakfast snack and it was still juicy.  I have to say, I am all over this!!!  Until next time my friends.  I think I will make a pizza on it tonight!

The Perfect Steak

The quest for the perfect steak.  I have cooked steak in just about every scenerio out there.  My oldest daughter Megan refuses to order steaks at the finest steakhouses in the world (I say this because she ordered one on our trip to Europe once) and is always disappointed in the outcome because she believes her daddy makes the best steaks in the world.  If I accomplish nothing in my life, I always have that to fall back on.  That being said, sometimes just a simple steak needs a little love, a little spike in it to make it different.  This is one of those recipes I can honestly say, was a homerun.  It is not a steak I would make regularly but definetly one that had a different flare to it that was off the charts in flavor.  It all starts with a perfect cut, 2 inch ribye.

2" cut with marbeling, prime cut Ribeye

That there is one beautiful cut piece of meat, great marbeling, great color.  I now season that bad boy with a little sea salt, and some quality pepper.  Apply this liberally and on both sides.  Do not be affraid to really use the salt, because it will burn off with the heat of the coals later.  Set aside and let it soak in the flavor and come up in temperature.  While the steak is breathing.  Get out some your favorite goat cheese. Usually 4 0z. is plenty for two nice ribeyes, possibly three if you dont smother them.  Mix the goat cheese, with a tablespoon of olive oil, chopped parsley, chopped tyme.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside.  Now you need to make the Mustard lemon honey vinegarette. 1/4 cup of clover honey, tablespoon of dijon mustard, one lemon squezzed in, tablespoon of grain mustard, mix.

Herbed Goat cheese on left,  mustard, honey lemon vinegarette on right

Cut two lemons in half like so.

Meyer lemons cut in half

Then, you want to take your 8 month old daughter and let her lick one of the lemons to see what face she makes.

Lemon licker

While all the hoopla is going on, you should have started the charcoal and when they are nice and hot, get your steak ready by adding olive oil to keep it from sticking to the grill.  Grab your lemons and head out to the que.

A beautiful sight

Put the lemons down and the ribeye on direct heat.  When cooking a ribeye over the grill, dont be affraid of a little flame.  Sears the meat, brings good color.  That being said do not get ridiculous and burn the thing either.  Just keep an eye on it and dont be drinking beer and telling hunting stories with your buddies.  Mistakes are always made around the bbq when drinking and bull shit are involved.  Usually about 4-5 minutes on each side. The steak should be about 135 degrees before taking it off the grill.  This is important folks, gently put some aluminum foil over it and let it sit for 5 minutes.  Before you do this however, put the goat cheese mixture on top.

Perfectly grilled at Med. Rare

Okay, then after you remove the steak and plate it, then drizzle the vinegarette over the steak and serve with grilled lemon.  You can squeeze the lemon juice from the grilled lemon if you like or take a little bite.  I apologize for the photo of the finished product. I cut it family style to give you a look of the inside of the meat.  Bon apetite my fellow steak lovers.

This is off the hook y'all