When a cow is broken down into edible parts such as roasts, steaks, ribs etc. it can get confusing as to what to buy. With beef prices rising, processors are always looking for alternative cost options without compromising a good eating experience.
When it comes to steaks there are so many options based on the cuts and prices. Ribeyes and strips reign supreme but for most of us they are usually designated for a special occasion. So, what is a viable option for the steak lover? Try the flat iron steak. It is not the quality of a ribeye but if it is chosen carefully and cooked properly it makes for a great meal without “breaking the bank”.
The flat Iron steak was discovered in early 2000’s and goes by many names. The more popular ones are top blade roast and top shoulder blade roast. It is part of the muscle that comprises the chuck part of the shoulder. It is the top part of the shoulder and is usually about 3/4″ to 1″ thick and weighs around 12 ounces. There will be two in a pack. The key to having a good eating experience is to pick a pack that has great marbling (striated fat within the muscle fiber). This marbling is an indication of tenderness and great flavor. Another key element is the cooking process. Do not over cook them. We prefer medium rare (130 degrees) and would not cook beyond medium (140 degrees) for fear the steak will toughen up and dry out.
OK, here’s what to do and what you need:
Cook Time: approximately 7 to 8 minutes
Yield: 2 to 3 servings
2 well marbled iron steaks
Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper
Smokin Guns Hot
Big Poppa Double Secret Steak Rub (unfortunately we are not permitted to sell Big Poppa seasonings online so for online purchases use Historic BBQ Black Bird & Beef).
If the membrane has not been removed, ask the butcher to remove it. In most cases it is removed.
Brush on a coat of Butcher’s Steak House Grilling Oil (helps seasonings to stick).
Apply a first layer of Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper (VERY light)
Apply a second layer of Smokin Guns Hot (VERY light)
Apply Big Poppa’s Double Secret Steak Rub (or Historic) medium coat.
Place the steaks back in the fridge for 2 hours.
Preheat the grill to 450 to 475 degrees.
Place the steaks on the grill.
After 1 1/2 to 2 minutes pick up each steak and rotate a quarter turn and place back down. This will give you the cross hatched grill marks.
After another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes turn the steaks over and do the same process as above.
Once completed, temp the steaks with a good digital thermometer for the desired doneness. If not done enough, let them sit for another couple of minutes.
Rare 125 degrees
Medium Rare 130 to 132 degrees
Medium 145 degrees
Do not let the steaks rest. They are thin cuts and will cool off quickly.
This recipe can be used on a smoker, gas or charcoal grill and the oven.
It seems we really don’t think about turkey until we are coming upon thanksgiving. Even the supermarkets think the same. It can be somewhat of a task to find one that sells turkey any other time.
For some, thinking about turkey can bring back some horrid memories. A bland overcooked bird unseasoned and just down right tasteless. This would turn of anyone to go out of their to roast one any other time of the year.
But there is hope. At GrillBillies we put life back into that bird to the extent you would consider it other than thanksgiving. A few techniques and you will WOW your guests and the old turkey will win back some respect.
OK, here are few basics:
Buy a bird in the 12 to 16 lbs. range. We find them tastier.
If you need to cook a larger bird, cook two smaller ones and it will lessen the cook time by a lot.
Inject or brine? Do either but not both to insure that it doesn’t dry out.
If the bird is frozen, allow about 4 days for it to thaw in the fridge.
Don’t stuff the turkey! If you do, you will have to cook the stuffing above 165 degrees because the juices will have soaked into the stuffing and it will result in over cooking the rest.
Don’t truss the bird (tie the legs). You run the risk of under cooking the dark meat.
Remove the pop up thermometer and throw it away. It’s useless. Use a good digital “poke thermometer”.
Remove all the giblets and the neck. If you have the time they will work well in making a turkey broth along with the carcass.
Remove the plastic trussing by the legs and the pop up thermometer.
No need to rinse the turkey. You only spread around bacteria the kitchen and run the risk of one becoming sick. Just pour off the juices.
Brining We like to use an all purpose brine Oakridge’s Game Changer. This brine can be used for anything. If you want to make your own “click here”.
Injecting We like to use Butcher’s Bird Booster. Iinject 3 times on each side of the breast under the skin and 2 times in each thigh and leg. Due this the day before if possible.
Season the turkey under and top of the skin at the breast and on top at the legs and thighs.
Let the bird sit in fridge overnight.
If cooking on a gas or charcoal grill set up the grills for an indirect cook.
If cooking on a smoker you should be indirect.
a 12lb. Butterball turkey. The night before he spatchcocked the bird, injected it with our Butcher Bird Booster Original and seasoned it. The next day he got his Kamado Grill going, threw in a piece of sugar maple wood, injected the bird with melted butter and immediately put it on the grill. Grill temp was set at 325 . 1.75 hours later we were served a delicious and succulent turkey like no other. Thank you Chef!
Note: You do not have to own a smoker for this recipe. You can achieve the same results on a gas or charcoal grill or in the oven.
Yield: 8 servings Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 1.75 to 2.0 hours
1 (12 lb.) whole turkey (spatchcocked)
1 (2″x 3″) piece of sugar maple wood (apple and peach also work well)
1/4 cup of Butcher Bird Booster
2 cups of water
1/4 lb. unsalted butter
1 tbsp Kosher salt
1 tbsp Smokin Guns Hot
1 tbsp Cimarron Doc’s Sweet Rib Rub
1 tbsp Big Bob Gibson Rub
A note about injecting-
Have the legs facing away from you. Inject from front to back with the grain of the meat. Inject each breast evenly in 3 places. You will see the breast rise as you inject. Inject each thigh twice and inject the legs once or twice. Do the same with the butter.
Season both sides of the bird.
Place on the grill skin side up.
To cook the perfect piece of meat is one thing, but to enhance the flavor of the meat is another.
The barbecue pros will create a flavor profile by a process called “layering”.
Layering simple means combining 2 to 3 off the shelf seasonings that complement each other.
Do not mix them together but layer them over each other.
A basic layering works as follows:
1st layer (White) a seasoning heavy in salt. Salt brings out the flavor in the meat and helps with retaining some moisture.
2nd (Red) a seasoning with a little cayenne or chili but not over powering. Just a slight “kick”.
3rd layer (Brown) a seasoning high in brown or white sugar. It balances the kick and gives great color.
Example L to R: White, Red, Brown
So think white, red, brown when coming up with a profile.
Not all seasonings will work well together.
It requires experimenting, and also figuring out what your own flavor profile is.
At GrillBillies, we experiment with the seasonings we sell to create flavor profiles we like.
Click here to see the combinations we use or rummage through your spice rack and start experimenting.
St. Louis Cut or Baby Back Ribs
Vegetable Oil (exclude if the ribs are sweating).
- NOTE-WE VARY SEASONINGS WITH EVERY CLASS. CLASS STUDENTS USE THE SEASONING & SAUCE COMBOS FROM THE CLASS.
Honey or Agave
Parkay Liquid Margarine
Cooking temperature 250 to 275.
Approximate cooking time: 4 to 5 hours for St. Louis, 3 to 3.5 hours for Baby Backs
Start the ribs one to two hours before you expect to serve
Remove the membrane from the backside of the slab.
This is best accomplished by taking a knife and just slide it under the membrane to lift a piece that can be grab by your fingers. Use a paper towel to hold onto the membrane.
Remove any excess fat from the front and back.
(Remove the riblet if you have spare ribs.)
Rub vegetable oil on the entire slab (this helps to “glue” your rub to the meat).
Apply a light coat of the a medium layers of Smoking Guns Hot followed by Meat Church Honey Hog a 3rd layer of Cimarron Doc Sweet Rib Rub
Start your fire and stabilize the temperature at 250 to 275.
Add a few chunks of hickory, oak or apple to the charcoal (no soft woods!). On a gas grill Hickory pellets or chips (read this article for gas grilling). You can use smoke generators such as GrillKickers, BBQr’s Pellet Pot and Amazing Pellet Tube.
Wait for the wood to catch fire (see our article on “Good Smoke Bad Smoke”).
Place the ribs in the cooker right from the fridge or cooler with the bone side down.
Close the lid and leave it closed.
Smoking of the ribs will take place in the very early stages of cooking.
At 2 hours, remove the ribs or when you get a nice mahogany color, place on two sheets of heavy duty foil, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of apple juice, light coat of Tiger Sauce, a coat of Parkay and 2 tablespoons of honey or agave on top. Note: at this point you have the option to put them in the oven to finish cooking if you want to save propane or charcoal.
Wrap the ribs in the foil and put back on the cooker.
At 3.5 hours (for St. Louis, 2.5 hrs. for Baby Backs), check the thinner racks of ribs for tenderness (each will cook at a different rate). If there’s “pull back” from the bone and check the temperature in the middle of the rib. St. Louis cut will be done around 206 to 208 degrees (also bend into a sideways “L” when picked up with tongs). remove the ribs, open the foil and apply a 50/50 coat of Blues Hog Original BBQ Sauce and Tennessee Red to the topside and place back on the smoker uncovered for 5 to 10 minutes to set the sauce. After the sauce is set you have a choice to slice them up and serve or close up the foil and place the ribs in a cooler to keep warm.
Fill the air space in the cooler with newspaper so the ribs retain heat.
If you are cooking multiple ribs (and cooking at different rates) keep taking ribs off as they are done and place in the cooler.
Sitting in the cooler will make the ribs nice and tender and will return juices to the meat.
The ribs will stay hot for a long time while in the cooler.
Indirect cooking or offset smoking such as on our PR, TS, SQ units, Kamado Grills and Gas Grills (click here for smoking on a gas grill)
- 1 whole brisket (point and flat) 10 to 15 lbs.
- Butcher Prime Injection
- Vegetable oil
- Seasonings Listed Below
- Parkay Margarine (Sqeezable)
Cooking temperature 250 to 275.
Approximate cooking time 8 to 10 hours.
- If you can do the following the night before the better:
- Remove the “fat cap” leaving virtually no fat on the brisket.
- At the thinnest edge of the flat cut a small chunk off cutting across the grain this way you know which angle to cut when the brisket is done.
- Mix Butcher Prime Injection in accordance with the label and inject fat cap side about every square inch ( in a grid pattern) going into the meat ¾ of the thickness and inject on the way out (mix the injection 24 hours ahead if possible for better results and keep agitated when injecting).
- Rub vegetable oil on the entire brisket. This helps to “glue” your rub to the meat.
- Rub the meat with your favorite rub. We like to layer our seasonings on brisket and enjoy a 1st layer of Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper topped with Smoking Guns Hot and Meat Church Holy Cow. Another option is Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper topped with Lotta Bull’s Red Dirt.
- Wrap the brisket in loosely in foil or in a foil pan and place back in the fridge fat cap up.
- Light a charcoal fire and stabilize the temperature at 225 to 250 (this lower temp allows for the heat that will be generated when you put the on).
- Add a few chunks of hickory or blend of pecan and cherry to the charcoal (no soft woods!)
- Take the brisket out of the fridge or the cooler and place on the smoker or grill COLD (see our article on smoking).
- Place the brisket with the fat cap up.
- Place a digital thermometer probe in the thickest part of the flat (it is wise to also measure the cooking grate temp for greater accuracy).
- Close the lid and leave it closed.
- Smoking of the brisket will take place in the very early stages of the cooking process (1 ½ to 2 hours).
- When the brisket reaches an internal temp of 160 degrees take it off and place it on two layers of tin foil.
- Squirt liquid Parkay Margarine on top of the brisket.
- Wrap the brisket up in the two layers of tin foil and put back in the cooker.
- Place the probe back into the meat.
- Note-Don’t freak out if the cook time stalls at around 160 degrees. This is normal.
- Bring the meat temp up to 195.
- Take the temp probe and push it in sideways into the meat in a few places. If it’s done, you should feel very little resistance when pushing the probe.
- If not, continue cooking until tender until the probe passes through the brisket like going through butter. The brisket will be probably done somewhere around 198 to 210.
- Once done, remove the brisket from the smoker or grill and open the two layers of foil and allow the steam to escape for 5 minutes. Once done wrap the brisket in a 3rd piece of foil.
- Wrap the brisket up with beach towels and place in a cooler to rest for two hours if possible.
- Unfoil the meat being careful to retain the juices in the foil. Pour the juices in a bowl. Mix the juice and if needed extend with BBQ sauce such as Eat Barbecue’s The Next Best Thing or Smokey Mountain Smoker’s Original Sauce.
- Slice in the same direction as your cut off (meat across the grain) and if needed lightly sprinkle the slices with the juice mixture.
Next to pork ribs, pulled pork is one of the most popular BBQ dishes in the country.
Indirect cooking or offset smoking such as on our Meadow Creek PR, TS, SQ units, Kamado Grills and Gas Grills (click here for smoking on a gas grill)
- 1 Pork butt (also known as Boston butt) 7 to 9 lbs. bone in or out is OK.
- ¼ cup of Apple Juice
- ¼ cup Honey or Agave
- ¼ cup Brown sugar
- Butcher Pork Injection
- Vegetable Oil
- Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper
- Smokin Guns Hot
- Meat Church Honey Hog
- Blues Hog original BBQ Sauce
Cooking temperature between 225 and 275.
Approximate cooking time 7 to 9 hrs.
If you can do the following the night before the better:
- Remove the “fat cap” leaving virtually no fat on the butt.
- Mix the Butcher Pork Injection according to the label and let it sit. Even overnight if possible.
- Inject through the fat cap side penetrating ¾ of the way into the butt and inject on the way out. Inject every inch to inch and a half in a grid pattern. Keep injection agitated.
- Rub vegetable oil on the entire butt. This helps to “glue” your rub to the meat.
- Layer the seasonings in the order above in a medium coat. Do not mix, layer one on top of the other.
- Wrap the butt in foil and place back in the fridge injected side up.
- Start a charcoal bed fire and stabilize temperature at 225 to 275.
- Add a few chunks of apple, pecan, peach or our favorite blend 60% pecan and 40% cherry to the charcoal. For a gas grill use pellets or chips of the same.
- Remove the butt from the fridge or cooler and place on the smoker or grill COLD (see our article on smoking).
- Place the butt in the cooker with the injected side up.
- Place a digital thermometer probe in the thickest part of the butt. It is always wise to also measure the grate temperature with a digital grate thermometer for better accuracy.
- Close the lid and leave it closed.
- Smoking of the butt will take place in the very early stages (first 1 ½ to 2 ours) of the cooking process.
- When the butt reaches 160 degrees take it off and place it on two layers of tin foil.
- Cup the foil around the butt and pour in the apple juice, sprinkle the brown sugar and the honey or agave on the top.
- Wrap the butts up in the two layers of tin foil and put back in the cooker.
- Place the probe back into the meat.
- Side Note-Don’t freak out if the cook time stalls at around 160. This is normal.
- When the butt reaches an internal temp of 190 you need to pay attention.
- Take the temp. probe and push it in sideways into the meat in a few places. If it’s done, the probe should feel like it’s being pushed through soft butter.
- If not, continue cooking for another 20 minutes and check again. Continue this probing until the meat is tender.
- Once done remove the butt from the cooker and wrap in a third layer of foil and put in a small cooler. Fill the open air space with crumbled up newspaper, beach towels etc.
- Let the butt sit in the cooler for a minimum of two hours, longer is better. This process allows the fluids that have gathered in the foil to return to the meat.
- Unfoil the meat being careful to retain the juices in the foil.
- Place the juices in a bowl.
- Now it’s your choice to pull the meat or chop it.
- If pulling, the best tool is a pair of bear claws used for lifting cooked turkeys. If chopping a mezzaluna works well.
- Shred or chop the meat, paying attention to remove any fat.
- After shredding, make a mixture of 1/3 pork juices (in the bowl), 2/3 Blues Hog BBQ Sauce.
- Lightly mix this in with your pulled pork to taste.
Serve on a potato roll along with our signature coleslaw recipe and you will be loved by all!!
Layering two or three seasonings that complement each other is a powerful, easy and inexpensive way to up the results of your barbecuing cooking. The process is to identify off the shelf seasoning that have some synergy when “layered” one on top of the other. By doing so you are sensitizing all areas of the tongue providing an outstanding and amazing flavor profile. One seasoning can only be one dimensional. Two can quadruple the flavor profile. Three matched perfectly can make for an outstanding flavor profile that will “up” your BBQ experience dramatically without changing anything else.
Take for example the “Holy Grail” combination listed in our seasoning combination page. Applying the Obie Cue’s Double Garlic Pepper provides a nice base coat on the meat. Topped with Smokin Guns Hot we get a slight “kick”. When finished off with the sweetness of Meadow Creek’s Black Pepper Rub we offset the heat and provide a nice top surface for carmelization. Once you have achieved a few recipes it will become easier to distinguish which seasonings work and which don’t. For example, we have found that the “fruity” seasonings such as Peach or Pecan Rubs can be “in your face sweet”. To cut this sweetness but still achieve the pleasant taste of these rubs we just layer a half part of Chipotle Rub which takes the edge off the sweetness and calms things down.
Layering your seasonings is a great way of taking some of the seasonings that are sitting unused in your cabinet or those that you may not be “shot in the head” about and getting some utility out of them.
“Difference between a great one and an OK one”
Hamburgers appear to “reign supreme” when it comes to outdoor cooking. We may eat 10 million hotdogs per year but the average American eats 150 hamburgers per year for a total of 50 billion per year. Everybody cooks them and therefore there doesn’t seem to be much forethought as to what they’re comprised of or how they
We tell customers that when it comes to brisket, butts, ribs etc. half the battle of getting good results is the quality of the meat. Low quality meat low quality results. It is the same with hamburger meat.
To understand the quality issue is to understand what you are buying. There is hamburger meat and there is ground beef. The USDA allows processors of hamburger meat to add fat. Fat is not allowed to be added to ground beef. With that being said, you may elect to purchase the ground beef over the hamburger meat but remember you still need a certain amount of fat to make a good burger.
We recommend the following, avoid either if you can. With either one you never know what part of the cow you are buying, how old it was, was the meat frozen etc. Remember, the USDA does not inspect meat unless it travels over State lines. Some States have State inspectors but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee high quality meat. You can be getting anything from the head to the a-s. Most butchers have scruples and will grind up better parts of the cow than a processor so they are your best friend when it comes to getting good quality meats.