BBQ Masterclass Recap - Sydney June 2017
FLAMING COALS BBQ TEAM COOKS UP A STORM
Last weekend the Flaming Coals BBQ Team cooked up a storm at our Moorebank NSW store with a record 41 BBQ enthusiasts attending.
The day started off with store manager and captain of the Flaming Coals BBQ team, Cameron demonstrating the easiest way to get the fire going in hisoffset smoker fire box using theFlaming Coals Charcoal Starter Wand. While the offset smoker was getting up to temperature, Cam lit the charcoal in the Pit Barrel Cooker using a charcoal chimney fire starter and explained how the minion method worked. Firstly, filled the charcoal basket in the Pit Barrel Cooker until it is full, then scoop out around one-third of the charcoal from the basket and put it into a charcoal chimney fire starter. Once the coals in the chimney are lit, pour the lit coals in on top of the unlit charcoal. This allows the lit coals to burn through the unlit charcoal slowly and means you don't need to top up the charcoal.
While the smokers were getting up to temperature, Cam and Craig started preparing the meat. 2 pork shoulders were trimmed and seasoned with Hardcore Carnivore rub. One was hooked and placed into the Pit Barrel Cooker and the other was put in the Flaming Coals Offset Smoker. For those of you who are interested in learning more, watch this video which explains how the different types of smokers work.
Next to be prepared were the 4 racks of pork ribs. Craig removed the membrane, explaining that removing the membrane allows the smoke to penetrate better into the ribs and means you don’t get that unpleasant chewiness. The ribs were seasoned with seasoned with a sweet rub and put in the Pro Q Excel 20
The last meat to go into the smoker were beef cheeks, which in Cameron’s opinion can be better than brisket if done right!. Beef cheeks do not take a lot of preparation. Just remove the the silverskin so the cheeks gets the most amount of smoke they can and there's not unpleasant chewiness. Next they were rubbed with Hardcore Carnivore Black and placed in the Flaming Coals Texas Offset Smoker.
Once all the meat was prepped and put in the smoker, everyone’s tummys were rumbling. Due to the length of time it takes to cook a pork shoulder, 2 extra pork shoulders were prepared the day prior, pulled and vacuum sealed. The vacuum sealed bags were then sous vide and samples were served.
After smoking for around 4 hours, the shoulders and ribs were removed from the smoker and wrapped. There are 2 main reasons we wrap the meat. One is to expedite the cooking time, the second is to keep the moisture in the meat.
At around lunchtime, we switched gears and started the spit roasting part of the day, delivered of course by the greatest Greek-daughter-in-law, yours truely.
My in-laws had a Greek restaurant in the famous Bridge Road Richmond for many years back in the 80’s, followed by a winery on the Mornington Peninsula with a Greek restaurant attached. I worked at the winery/restaurant every weekend for 10 years (hence the award of the Greatest Greek-daughter-in-law) and naturally become a surrogate Greek. Every Friday night we had heaps of lamb being carved into gyros and marinated to my father-in-laws exact recipe down to the last gram of salt. While I’m not quite as fussy as that, I still do follow the same ingredients they used of salt, pepper, onion, garlic and sweet paprika, followed by regular basting of olive oil and lemon juice.
To demonstrate how simple it is to prepare gyros, I took a whole de-boned lamb shoulder, trimmed it and cut it into the right cut for the spit. While Craig (butcher) already pre-cut another couple of shoulders, I wanted to highlight to everyone that if you’ve left planning your spit until the last minute, it is possible to pick up a whole shoulder from the supermarket and cut it up yourself. If someone like me with NO butchering experience can slice up the shoulder in a few minutes anyone can! The main thing is to make sure that it is sliced into “fillets” around 10mm in thickness. This is so it cooks and carves easily.
To put the meat onto the skewer, all you do is simply squash chicken thighs and lamb shoulders onto the skewer and in between 2gyros plates. The recipe I used can be foundhere. All up, we had around 5kgs of gyros.
My favourite spit roaster to cook on is the Flaming Coals Cyprus Spit Roaster due to its versatility. To demonstrate its multi-faceted use, I also put a de-boned lamb shoulder in the rotisserie basket so we had gyros on half of the skewer and the flattened out shoulder in the other. The best thing about cooking in the basket is that it’s fast. Instead of cooking through a whole round roast which could be 15-20cm in diameter, the basket allows you to lay the meat flat so it’s no more than 6cm thick. Cooked through to well done, this lamb was taken off in just over an hour. Had we cooked it to medium-rare, we could have taken it off after 45 minutes.
I’m not sure how it happened, but we ended up with way more chicken than we needed for the gyros, so to further demonstrate what you can cook on the Cyprus Spit, I put more chicken thighs on the small kebab skewers which were cooked in just 15 minutes! Nothing like some charcoal chicken to wet the appetite!
While the meat in the smokers continued to cook and the meat turning on the spit mesmerised the crowd, Cam, Craig and myself continued answering everyone's niggling BBQ questions they’d been itching to ask. This to me is the best thing about BBQ Masterclasses and why we love putting these events on. Where else can you go to mingle and chat to other people who live and breathe barbecuing?
Everyone who came along was at various stages of their barbecuing journey. Some were just looking at getting into it while some already had a smoker and were looking at taking their skills to the next level. It was great to see some familiar faces from customers who had attended a previous Masterclass or had been into the shop. It was also great to meet new longstanding customers where we had been shipping stuff up from Melbourne to them for years.
The next BBQ Masterclass has been scheduled for Melbourne on 29th July. Registrations haven’t opened just yet, but we’ll keep you posted. But you better be quick because Sydney sold out in 72 hours!
Check out our previous blog post of how the Flaming Coals Offset Smoker excelled in the Yaks BBQ Festival.