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Finally, authentic Chinese Spicy Cumin Lamb Kebab in my backyard

Charcoal Road, in Scarborough. Man is it good.

about 6 hours ago
biggreenmatt in BBQ, Smoking, & Grilling

wondering where I can buy an IR thermometer in Toronto in person?

But if you do, find out the cost online, add in HST, and only bring in as much money as you need, in cash.

Place is deadly on the wallet. So... many... awesome... toys! :)

any ideas for smoking something new/unusual?

While smoking a brisket this weekend, I put on a lamb neck, just to see what would happen. Right idea- strong muscle with lots of connective tissue. Smoked it for, I dunno, a bunch of hours at 225F, with a rub of salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary and cumin, over oak. Came off ok, I guess, but I associate lamb with either Greek or Moroccan cooking, so it didn't do too much for me. Tasty, but indifferent.

Ah well. Can't win if you don't play. Plus the brisket was *excellent*.

Help Please - Lunch around North York Civic Centre

Wow- had no idea Guu'd opened up shop at Yonge and Sheppard! Great find- though too bad they're not open for lunch.

What's the best thing to make with a sous vide machine?

Agreed on the chicken and steak. Unless it's a mammoth 2"+ side of cow innocuously purporting to be a steak, it's better either, in my opinion, by pan and oven or super hot grill.

Eggs are ridiculous, dark green veg are ridiculous (broccoli looks unappetizingly gray-green, since the chlorophill breaks down at the "doneness" temp, but the crunch is perfect and the taste is concentrated and intense), but best of all are tough cuts of meat, cooked at low-temp over days.

I made a batch of short ribs, cut very thick, marinaded in kalbi sauce, cooked for 2 days at 125. Came out rare but fork-tender. After a bit of flame, they were ridiculously, falling-apart delicious, and clearly they were rare!

Don't take it from me. An excellent online resource is chefsteps.com, with tons of practical sous vide tips and recipes. Good luck!

Jul 24, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Crispy Chicken Skin - High Heat or Low and Slow?

Depends, I think, on what you're cooking on.

I use a BGE, which keeps flare-ups to a minimum. I cook my butterflied chicken at about 450F until almost done, then flip it for about five minutes to get it extra-crispy.

I suspect on a more conventional barbecue, you'd need to alter your technique, since the dripping fat and excess oxygen would cause massive flareups and char the skin.

Source of cukes for pickling?

Yes, the Highland Farms/Coppa are excellent sources for all kinds of cukes, city-wide. They'll also sell jars and dill to make life easy.

Love Highland Farms/Coppa.

I have about 5 lbs of chicken skin.

Screams for schmaltz. Tremendous stuff!

Jul 16, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

ISO - (pink) curing salt

I've been.

YES services the industry, and especially big industry, like Maple Leaf Foods, though they happily sell to home cooks. They'll likely take you in the back warehouse to show you their operation, and it's absolutely immense. Chat up the account person and see the sights. Fun time for any meat nerd. :)

ISO - (pink) curing salt

For a reliable source, head to YES Group in Markham (Woodbine/Steeles), which carries virtually (literally?) everything a home cook could possibly need for curing, including #1 and #2.

http://www.yesgroup.ca/main_site/inde...

Help Please - Lunch around North York Civic Centre

Damn, sorry, Sababa is at Steeles and Hilda Roads. Access by Steeles West bus.

Help Please - Lunch around North York Civic Centre

I work just north of you at Yonge/Finch, and, as it happens, I grew up in the area.

Ignoring the obvious pubs and chains, both high and low:

Sushi Moto on Yonge is competent for sushi and cooked Japanese. Not fabulous, but competent, which is more than can be said for most sushi/teriaki/tempura joints;

Kinton Ramen is just as good up here as the other locations.

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu is excellent.

That damn Shwarma joint across from the NYCC is good, too, though hell if I can remember its name.

Love Bar Burrito. Again, not stellar, but competent.

Take a trip up to Steeles and Clark and you'll get your hands on Sababa (visit the grocery, not the restaurant!) for what's arguably the city's best falafel.

Golden Star, on Yonge, just north of Steeles, is Old Skool burgers and fries.

Hmm. As I think of more, I'll add on. Good luck!

Finally, authentic Chinese Spicy Cumin Lamb Kebab in my backyard

Hang on- is this the Uyghur/Xinjiang recipe we're talking about, or something completely different?

There's a Uyghur joint in an obscure part of Toronto that's exceptionally good, especially their lamb kebabs, and I'd kill for an authentic recipe.

Where to buy lamb shanks?

Yup. Upper Cut regularly stocks shanks.

Shanks... you're welcome!

Grilling - Closed Or Open Lid?

Yup. Also thinking of the kamados which act as a coal-fueled convection oven and grill, and how the convection effect is lost when the lid is up.

Thomas Keller's simple roast chicken: how to preserve crispiness?

Better than a torch is the Searzall! http://www.bookeranddax.com/searzall/

I own a sous vide unit and I bought myself a Searzall when it first came out. Indispensable tool, and a million times more effective for practical applications than a propane torch. Seriously- it's a good'un!

Jul 06, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Dim Sum King, Dundas Street in Chinatown

FWIW, I like DSK for lunch when I'm in the area. Cheap, friendly, reliable, if not earth-shattering Cantonese dim sum, and you can always get a seat in there.

Dinner... funny, I've never thought of having anything other than dim sum there, so it wouldn't have occurred to me to go at night. :)

Do bbq ribs freeze well after they've been cooked? Once thawed, will they heat up well in foil on a campfire?

Freezing cooked BBQ product isn't ideal, but may be a necessary evil sometimes. Hell, even a brisket lover like my good self isn't going to pound back 8 lbs of fresh product in one sitting. Freezing leftovers is inevitable.

As far as reheating in a foiled packet over open flame goes, I'd be a little concerned about drying out the product even more, having been literally dried out in the freezing process. When I reheat frozen BBQ, I tend to use moist heat, either by steaming in a gentle steamer, or by covering my meat with a damp paper towel and carefully using the microwave. If you've got no other options than a fire pit, make a point of adding some moisture to the foil- and go gentle on the flames. No point in horribly overcooking your beautiful work.

Taste of Lawrence

Man, there was an outstanding Malaysian booth selling these odd (for a non-Malaysian, obvs) stuffed-crepe like things and were extraordinarily tasty. Eat that, pronto.

Tri-Tip

If you like that, you'll love yourself a board sauce, one of the simplest, most elegant things you can do to any kind of slicing steak.

Advice: wear a helmet when you make it for the first time, since you're going to bang your head against the wall, wondering why the hell you didn't think of the method first.

http://amazingribs.com/recipes/other_...

Jul 03, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Anyone use a temperature contoller on their smoker?

I'm a BGE CyberQ user, too.

Works like a charm for long smokes, made that much more important for BGE users, since the Egg has a tendency to creep up in temp as time goes on. Because of the creep, I tend to use my Guru about 2-3 hours in, after the Egg's had a chance to regulate the temp "manually". Once that happens, it's set it and forget it- but mind the initial set up!

Making Montreal Smoked Meat at Home

When you pulled it off the smoker, did you take the internal temp?

Making Montreal Smoked Meat at Home

Intriguing update.

So one of the things that's bugged me about the procedure is the end texture. Most times I've made it, to a lesser or greater extent, there's been an degree of crumbliness to the meat, which has pissed me off. Damn thing literally falls apart, which doesn't happen when the pros do it.

One of the things that's vaguely never made sense to me is why we smoke the meat past the 4 hour mark (at which point no further smoke will be absorbed, up to north of 190F internal, cool it down, and then steam it still it's well north of 190F. Makes zero sense to break down the fibers twice, especially when the second time involves the moist-heat steaming.

Notably, amazingribs.com's pastrami recipe only smokes the brisket to 160F.

I'm putting a batch down this week. Going to smoke it until it hits the stall and/or 160Fish, see if it doesn't work better, and then report back.

Custom Meat Curing Services?

I suspect that short of knowing someone or having a personal connection in the business, it's going to be impossible to find anyone to provide that kind of service.

From a legal perspective, it's a liability nightmare. What if you cure something improperly and end up in the hospital with food poisoning? What if it just doesn't turn out? What if you forget the meat is there and can't be contacted? What if they throw it out? What if they need the storage space? What if you hurt yourself on their property? Remember that if they want to be insured, these are questions that they (and/or their insurer) is going to ask before settling on a premium.

Respectfully, unless you know someone, I suspect you're going to be out of luck.

Has anyone tried "crazy wings"

For wings in the area, there's a St. Louis just south on Yonge. Not revelatory but better than Puck 'N Wings just up the street.

Funny, I work right at Yonge and Finch, and I've never been to Crazy Wings. Maybe it's because they're also Crazy Sushi, though in retrospect, sushi and wings isn't the most horrible combination I've ever heard of.

I should try wings and sushi one of these days. Thanks for the tip!

Any good Indian restaurants in North Toronto?

Suspect St. Clair Ave. W. might not be what the OP meant by North Toronto. ;)

Indian Kitchen is just north of North Toronto (Yonge and Clark- just a skootch north of Steeles into 905 country), and though I haven't been there in years (and years and years!), I remember it being both tasty and reasonably-priced, considering the locale.

http://www.theindiankitchen.ca/

Puddin shots for adults

The Jelly Shot Test Kitchen has both gelatin shots and pudding shots. Fun site.

http://jelly-shot-test-kitchen.blogsp...

Jun 17, 2015
biggreenmatt in Home Cooking

Smoked Meat...Now that Goldin's isn't making it anymore...

Short answer, no, not whole briskets.

Slightly longer answer: best Montreal smoke meat in town is, IMO, found at Centre Street Deli (a la Deli Snowdon), up in Thornhill. It's a shlep to get up there, but I'm confident that if you called ahead, they could put X lbs of Old Fashioned in a vac pac, unsliced, that you could steam at home.

Much longer answer: if you're a masochist like some of us, there's always the nuclear option of making it at home, from scratch. I got pissed off years ago at the lack of decent MSM in Toronto (I'm a devotee of Smoke Meat Pete in Montreal), and so set out to learn how to make it myself. To be sure, it's an investment in time, money, and equipment, but the current formulation is dynamite.

Check it out here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/794033.

Recommend a BBQ Sauce for Pork Shoulder

To me, pulled pork screams for South Carolina mustard sauce. Yes, yes, the purists just a little north will scream that it don't, that a bit of adulterated vinegar is all you need to let the pork shine through, but seriously, I like my meat with sauce. Sauce to augment, sauce to highlight, sauce to lick off fingers.

This is my go-to when it comes to mustard sauce, from one of the best all-around barbecue websites around: http://amazingribs.com/recipes/BBQ_sa...

Making Montreal Smoked Meat at Home

Brilliant job!

Suggestions for next time: unless you like the falling-apart crumbliness, easier on the steam and/or internal temp (I start paying attention to texture at around the 185F internal mark) and be sure to cut against the grain to maximize the product.

But seriously, great job, especially for the first time. It's so awesome to see people knocking this product out at home, rather than figuring it's something you need to eat out at a ridiculous retail price. GREAT JOB!!!