Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Grillin' steaks-

The steaks were still in the freezer when my wife called. I got them out, but it looked like a lot of meat to thaw. When she got home, they were still ice cubes. I couldn't find the old defrosting plate we had somewhere. It was starting to get late.

I popped the steaks into the oven at 200 degrees. After an hour I could separate the pieces. I spread them around on the baking sheet to defrost a bit more while I got the coals going. They were big slabs of meat, but rather thin. They would cook fast on a hot fire. I wanted to get the temperature right so that I could cook without burning.

Using my chimney I got some lump charcoal going. Cowboy brand, from Home Depot. That stuff starts easily and gives a good initial heat. Since the meat was big (each of the three pieces were dinner plate sized slabs) I used the smoking chamber to grill. I spread the coals, and put biscuit charcoal in to add to the fuel. Once the heat seemed about right I spread the coals out and closed everything up to even out.

When I returned with the meat, I noticed a strange odor. The heat was warming the pipe frame that holds the whole barbecue together. These parts had not been heated this much during the burn-in of the Char-Broil Silver Smoker. I let the thing cook itself for about fifteen minutes, and the stench went away. I didn't know if the burn-in smell would impact the cooking, but I could wait to avoid the problem.

Steaks on. I didn't keep track of the time. I just put them in, and closed the lid. When it felt right, I opened up and checked. Just the time to turn. A little longer on the second side, as the coals had cooled a bit. I found that I could boost the heat by opening the fire box door with the smoke chamber lid closed. That way the heat and smoke in the chamber were not released, and the added oxygen stoked the coals.

I have been pleased with the Safeway Select meats. So far the cuts have been flavorful, and had just the right amount of fat. These were no exception. Tender and flavorful.

So, my Silver Smoker makes a good grill. I would recommend burning in the whole unit, and not just the fire box. Hot enough to burn off the stuff inside those frame pipes that is a bit unpleasant in the smoke department. On the whole, I really like this barbecue, and expect to enjoy it a great deal over the coming years.

I have seen some modifications on other units, and will consider some over time. Ways to regulate the heat, and ways to protect the metal to prevent untimely wear. So far, it has been great.

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