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Counter Intuitive Barbecues

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This is the most awesome version of frugality.

Many of the insanely rich people I have met wear very expensive clothes and drive expensive cars.

However they are all exceptionally long lasting expensive items. Like they were purchased in the 70's and are still completely serviceable.

I have, over the years, bought a couple of barbecues, probably one every 3 or 4 years as they rust up and so on.

The thing is to be truly frugal I would just use my $20 cast iron grill from the reject shop if I just wanted to cook meat over a gas flame.

So either buy a $20 griddle and whack it over gas tops and have grilled food.

-OR-

Be f*cking awesome.

I bought a Big Green Egg for my birthday because I have always loved the idea of good southern US style barbecue. Like several things I make I have never had it but I have read about it and have worked out most of the requirements.

Now I can buy chickens at a couple bucks each and make them so damn smoky and tasty family members and visitors are asking if they can buy them.

So I am off to buy a rack so I can do 6 at once, which costs the same as doing one. That way I can sell the other 5 (maybe four) and cover the cost of dinner completely hehehehe

I can also buy cheap cheap cuts of meat and barbecue them up in massive chunks and have food like a king.

I realise this may not be genuinely frugal but we can't eat rice all the time and turning an oven on is an expensive proposition.

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Sounds like this green egg bakes the meat. You can get away with cheaper cuts when you bake rather than BBQ.

I find the key for baking red meat is once you pull it out of the heat cover it in foil for at least half an hour. It keeps all that steam in that you see drifting off when you cut into a freshly cooked roast, keeping it moist.

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Sounds like this green egg bakes the meat. You can get away with cheaper cuts when you bake rather than BBQ.

I find the key for baking red meat is once you pull it out of the heat cover it in foil for at least half an hour. It keeps all that steam in that you see drifting off when you cut into a freshly cooked roast, keeping it moist.

Keeping in foil post heat is the key to pretty much all meat cooking (couple of exceptions).

The egg is closer to steaming except it is warm smoking (which is basically tasty steaming). Although it can also apparently run at about 600 farenheit for doing "normal" barbecue style. Heats up in roughly the same time my gas grill does so I figure I might try some steaks on it soon. Easier than retro fitting my gas grill with air vents to up the temps.

Also apparently you can smoke cheese in it. This idea tempts me.

If I can find the bastard butcher that sold me some of the best port sausages I have ever had again I am thinking of doing a pork and beer breakfast sometime soon as a trial run. I figure good spicy pork sausages, bratwurst in hoegaarden, corn bread and a potato salad made with bacon, mushrooms and tomato with a hint of smoke will be a breakfast that I think I deserve. Probably need beer to go with it. Shame, then again I have a few schofferhofer lying around which must be used up so I guess that is kind of frugal.

With kitchen cooked red meat I tend to go for neck cuts like chuck steak and then go for the 90 degree celsius roasting temp. Does mean you kind of need two ovens (veges @ 90 suck arse) but I have a cheap little toaster oven which I bought while saving up to replace the busted main oven so I am fine there. I occasionally use rump but the left overs are less versatile (excellent for thai beef salad though).

I find cooking the beef at 90 and leaving boiled tatties in with it for a couple hours then switching the tatties out to a "temperature of the sun" oven with left over bacon fat results in pretty good tatties. Skin gnarls up so good you can actually reheat the buggers in a microwave and eat them.

I also buy whole pumpkins so I can put them in with some salt an hour or so before the meat (sliced up of course) and after some 4 or 5 hours the pumpkin is ready for splitting into the fridge for soup later (if it lasts that long) and into the oven with the tatties for good sweet dry pumpkin.

If you take the beef at an internal temp of about 40 or 50 and pull it, whack it into pieces and return double tonights dinner size lump then the other lumps you can pre season and freeze, as they thaw later the spices work in well and as it is par cooked it is quicker to get ready for a week day cook. I am not a food and hygiene person and this is likely to kill me apparently. Use your own brain regarding this.

The "double tonight" size is so you can make a ragout tomorrow night.

Buying meat in massive lumps works out so much cheaper and means you can choose the cuts to meet the disk. Next time you are in a butchers look at the price per Kg for, say, scotch fillet and then the price for scotch fillet halves or whole. If you were to buy 4 scotch fillets you should have bought a half fillet for about half the price.

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Wow, that post of yours is going to be my roasting instruction for future.

For vegies, if you get the meat out to throw in the foil you can then crank the oven up to finish the vegies. I have never roasted at 90degrees but know since moving from 160 down to 140 I have seen an improvement so imagine it would be even better. Are you talking 3 to 4 hours to cook say a 1kg leg of lamb at that temp?

My other problem is my gas oven only starts at 140 degrees everything below that is blank on the dial, so I suppose I will just try to extrapolate for 90.

I agree about neck cuts but have only ever roasted pork neck. Pork neck is as juicy as a roast gets but I assume it is pretty unhealthy, seeing it tastes so good.

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Wow, that post of yours is going to be my roasting instruction for future.

For vegies, if you get the meat out to throw in the foil you can then crank the oven up to finish the vegies. I have never roasted at 90degrees but know since moving from 160 down to 140 I have seen an improvement so imagine it would be even better. Are you talking 3 to 4 hours to cook say a 1kg leg of lamb at that temp?

My other problem is my gas oven only starts at 140 degrees everything below that is blank on the dial, so I suppose I will just try to extrapolate for 90.

I agree about neck cuts but have only ever roasted pork neck. Pork neck is as juicy as a roast gets but I assume it is pretty unhealthy, seeing it tastes so good.

Problem is then the veges cook separate to the meat and don't get any of the flavour.

Yeah at 90 it takes forever. You probably want to pick up a thermometer to put in the oven, they're about $10 and easy to calibrate (boils some water chuck the whole thing in, see what temp registers, use it as a sanity check against the over dial).

Chuck Steak is teh awesome. Buy it in 3 or 4 kilo chunks. Feeds 3 or 4 for a week. Costs about $8 or $9 a kilo. Do the unhygenic freezing trick (but cook well after) and you can easily rip out a set weeks dinners, an example:

Sunday: Roast Beef eat it

1 half cooked chunk into chilis (habaneros and jalapenos) and paprika

1 half cooked chunk into dried herbs

1 half cooked chunk into fridge

The completely cooked half shred the fat put it into the fridge

Soak some beans

Monday Thai Beef Salad, use the fat free bits from the fridge

Tuesday Baked beans with the soaked beans and the fridge beef (do a quick pumpkin soup appetiser with left over pumpkin)

Wednesday Thaw dried herbs one and shred and make a spaghetti sauce

Thursday African peanut soup with the thawed chili beef (left over roast tatties are good here)

Friday Do a hash with shredded beef from left over bits and pieces. Fry beef good, put an egg on top. Any left over veges will fry good here.

Saturday PIZZA!!! plus beer.

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Sounds good.

I will have to go get me a thermometer, is this a thermometer I stick into the meat or just one for the oven temp? I suppose I could really be frugal and use the boiling water trick to calibrate the oven itself, see at what point on the ovens dial a small vial of water boils turn it back till it stops boiling knowing this is going to be just shy of 100degrees.

For the veggies I still cook them with the meat initially, putting them in for 30 minutes before removing the meat. Then take out the meat and spread the veggies around the dish then put back in the oven and turn them up.

Should mention too the pork necks at my local butcher back in Sydney were $5.00 per kg so good value, this was in Carlingford so they were a high volume item there. That was in 2004-05 so who knows what they are there now, I assume they are still good value though. In Perth Pork Neck is a rort, $10.00 plus per kg down my way like it is some specialty item, so Id rather go lamb leg at the same price.

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Sounds good.

I will have to go get me a thermometer, is this a thermometer I stick into the meat or just one for the oven temp? I suppose I could really be frugal and use the boiling water trick to calibrate the oven itself, see at what point on the ovens dial a small vial of water boils turn it back till it stops boiling knowing this is going to be just shy of 100degrees.

For the veggies I still cook them with the meat initially, putting them in for 30 minutes before removing the meat. Then take out the meat and spread the veggies around the dish then put back in the oven and turn them up.

Should mention too the pork necks at my local butcher back in Sydney were $5.00 per kg so good value, this was in Carlingford so they were a high volume item there. That was in 2004-05 so who knows what they are there now, I assume they are still good value though. In Perth Pork Neck is a rort, $10.00 plus per kg down my way like it is some specialty item, so Id rather go lamb leg at the same price.

Yeah grab one of those little all metal dial thermos you just leave in the bottom shelf of the oven. You are after oven temp at this point. A good "leave in" meat thermo is way expensive. There is one that does a wireless pulse when the meat hits temp.... man I want one of them for the Egg.

You will probably find that all decent fatty cuts have gone up a lot. 10-15 yrs ago scotch fillet was like $12 a kilo at my butcher because no one bought it. Now it is one of the more expensive cuts, it is right up there with fillet. Insanity.

Anyhow watch for the cuts which are not talked about on cooking shows. Chuck has been an excellent one for that over the past couple years. Has the crappy marbling of pork neck with the flavour of beef. And you can buy it in massive chunks easy as most butchers trim it, chop it and sell it as gravy beef.

Although I have to say I am surprised how cheap pork shoulder is. I picked up my first for $4 a Kg. It has a lot of bone but still get a big one and there is a lot of meat on there.

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You will probably find that all decent fatty cuts have gone up a lot. 10-15 yrs ago scotch fillet was like $12 a kilo at my butcher because no one bought it. Now it is one of the more expensive cuts, it is right up there with fillet. Insanity.

Anyhow watch for the cuts which are not talked about on cooking shows. Chuck has been an excellent one for that over the past couple years. Has the crappy marbling of pork neck with the flavour of beef. And you can buy it in massive chunks easy as most butchers trim it, chop it and sell it as gravy beef.

Although I have to say I am surprised how cheap pork shoulder is. I picked up my first for $4 a Kg. It has a lot of bone but still get a big one and there is a lot of meat on there.

Scotch fillet at my local butcher: $30.00 per kg. As you say it is definitely a premium cut now. At my local rump and tbone are both $24.00 so I would not get scoth over them for a steak.

Yeh, chuck does not get a good rap, but I suppose thats why it is good value, contrarion dieting. B)

$4.00 per kg for pork shoulder, that is great for frugal eating and pork shoulder would do well in your slow roasting BBQ.

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Scotch fillet at my local butcher: $30.00 per kg. As you say it is definitely a premium cut now.

Yeh, chuck does not get a good rap, but I suppose thats why it is good value, contrarion dieting. B)

$4.00 per kg for pork shoulder, that is great for frugal eating. Pork shoulder would do well in your slow roasting BBQ.

I blame TV. One time I was down at the butchers grabbing some meat and this new lady behind the counter asked what I was making, I said I didn't really know I just always like to have a stonking arse piece of cow in the house. She said that they had almost sold out of chuck that day and that all these people were making the same thing.

Freaked me out, I thought one of those fancy cooking chaps had rumbled my game.

regarding pork shoulder in the Egg, yes, yes it does work well. I even heated some left over in the microwave and put it on the cheapest white bread roll I could afford with a splash of sauce this afternoon. Then I had a few beers to celebrate teh awesomeness of it.

I have 2 Kgs of chuck thawing at the moment, gonna put some rub on it in the morning and maybe fire it up wednesday morning for dinner.

Oh have you done chuck in beef bourguinon? Ultimate cut for recipe. Fat melts, meat soft, mushrooms and wine. Bit of mashed potato and chicks are digging you. For me just one chick due to the ongoing nature of our arrangement however it used to work before the arrangement on multiple people and after almost 10 years it still works now (just on a limited audience that can show their appreciation).

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Yeh roast rolls, cannot be beaten.

The beef bourguignon is then moving into my wifes department. While I cook around 1 - 2 barbeques a week and Sunday roasts, everything else she does. Yep things get pretty regimental when you have kids. She self admittedly cannot cook roasts except chicken because her mother apparently did not cook roasts. She always complains that everything I cook is slow cooked, and then wonders why her roasts end up dry.

Stews generally though are fantastic for winter and she uses whatever the butcher is selling as gravy beef.

I learnt my BBQ skills as an 18Yo working on a remote site as the cadet engineer, I was voted in as the one who cooked smoko (i.e. 9:00AM meal) for the site crew every single day. While they were not fussy eaters, doing that for 6 months tought me the basics.

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The oddest roast I've ever had was goat that someone had shot, strung up in their shed to chop into bits and then given me. No fat on goat, you have to cook it covered up - they recommended putting it in an oven bag with some liquid stock in the bottom, and that worked just fine. The other half is getting damn good at doing roasts. We should tell his mother sometime, she does roasts every time we visit (or did until her oven broke) because we are poor starving country people with no electricity and have to cook in a cauldron outside or something, and its got to the point his roasts are much nicer than hers.

As to frugality - we were at the supermarket yesterday and there was a part side of lamb marked at $0 in between all the ones marked at about $25, so we just *had* to buy it. Sadly, it wouldn't scan and they went off and stuck a new price sticker on it. Oh well, can't blame us for trying.

Which is still better than the time a 1kg bag of onions scanned at $64.53 ...

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-OR-

Be f*cking awesome.

I bought a Big Green Egg...

I need to spend more time exploring site. This place is a gold mine.

I have an in-law who introduced me to a Kamado ~10 years ago. We used their cabin from time to time and a few times I dared spark 'er up to see what's what. Fortunately they had instructions / recipes from the manufacturer... I've seen the ribs and chicken references...we did a couple of salmon that were the best I have ever tasted.

If given the choice between high-end gas BBQ or Kamado I would go Kamado every time. We nearly bought one back way back then...had actually got a quote from Japan but it was too expensive (back then I didn't prioritise BBQ)... now it seems there are local outfits. This "green Egg" thing has me pulling back just slightly...the Kamado I knew was flat-black and had Japanese on it. The instructions were things like "set lid to 1/4, vent to 2"...in illustrations. It weighed an absolute ton. No thermometer. Not green. Not modern. Maybe I can adjust my expectations?

I'd given up hope...moved too much to cart around something that heavy but now I am once again very intrigued!

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I need to spend more time exploring site. This place is a gold mine.

I have an in-law who introduced me to a Kamado ~10 years ago. We used their cabin from time to time and a few times I dared spark 'er up to see what's what. Fortunately they had instructions / recipes from the manufacturer... I've seen the ribs and chicken references...we did a couple of salmon that were the best I have ever tasted.

If given the choice between high-end gas BBQ or Kamado I would go Kamado every time. We nearly bought one back way back then...had actually got a quote from Japan but it was too expensive (back then I didn't prioritise BBQ)... now it seems there are local outfits. This "green Egg" thing has me pulling back just slightly...the Kamado I knew was flat-black and had Japanese on it. The instructions were things like "set lid to 1/4, vent to 2"...in illustrations. It weighed an absolute ton. No thermometer. Not green. Not modern. Maybe I can adjust my expectations?

I'd given up hope...moved too much to cart around something that heavy but now I am once again very intrigued!

Barbecues Galore have the egg at around the 1500 mark. Sounds like the kamado you were using was a more traditional type. The modern ones are hi tech ceramics but still fairly basic. They do tend towards thermometers though :)

The egg comes with a stand and rollers so moving it short flat distances is easy. Given the relative fragility of ceramics and the massive weight I am not sure I would recommend it for a transient lifestyle though.

Whilst I have seen people rant about which one is better (egg / kamado) the only differences I can see are kamado is typically purtier and costs more. Actual functionality doesn't seem wildly different.

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