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Monday, March 25, 2013

Stomachs Eleven: Slow cooked chuck, tri-tip and beef short rib meats

barbecue slow-cooked tri-tip steak

Meat. I don't know that I could ever give up eating protein, but I do think it's imperative to eat meat responsibly. This includes eating all the secondary cuts and offal - not just the prime pieces. And really, why would you want to miss out on the parts of the animal that are richer in flavour, unique in texture and so much cheaper too?

It's a philosophy shared by home cook extraordinaire Pig Flyin' who recently hosted our Stomachs Eleven group for a feast of secondary cuts. It was a chance for him to test out his homemade sous vide machine, and to celebrate his newly purchased Kamado Joe barbecue.

garden purple shiso, venus fly traps and pitcher plants
Garden tour: purple shiso, Venus fly traps and pitcher plants

Pig Flyin' is not just a great cook; he's also a keen gardener. His backyard is a treasure trove of edible delights, and as he led me on an impromptu tour, it was hard not to hear the parental pride as he clucked over his flourishing sage, the bed of purple shiso and patch of lemon verbena.

olive herb
Olive herb

Olive herb was a new addition to the garden. Its leaves taste just like pickled olives!

garden zucchini
Garden zucchini

We had to crouch down to catch a glimpse of the blossoming zucchini. So exciting to see them bursting forth.

deep frying kale
Deep frying kale 

Back in the kitchen, Pig Flyin' began deep frying kale for our pre-dinner snack. We discussed baking kale versus deep frying, but Pig Flyin' simply laughed as said "I'm a rebel. Say no to baking!"

deep fried kale with salt and vinegar
Deep fried kale with salt and vinegar 

There's a hiss and crackle as the kale hits the hot oil, bunching up on itself into a vibrant green coral. We had these sprinkled with salt and vinegar, the delicate crunch cut through neatly by the splash of acid.

battered onion rings
Battered onion rings with paprika

And then onion rings hit the table, massive loops of sweet salad onion dipped in batter and then deep fried until golden. A dusting of paprika added smokiness.

sweet salad onion rings with sumac
Sweet salad onion rings with sumac

The giant salad onions are sweet and mild enough to eat on their own. They're crisp and light, almost like an onion crossed with a nashi pear, and we snacked on then with extra virgin olive oil and a smattering of sumac.

chilled tomato soup
Chilled tomato soup

Pig Flyin' had bought a huge batch of home grown tomatoes from an Italian gardener. Some of these were turned into a chilled tomato soup, a dish that the G-man immediately remembered as being featured in our Christmas dinner in 2008.

homemade gnocchi in fresh tomato sauce
Homemade gnocchi in fresh tomato sauce

And then homemade gnocchi - the softest, fluffiest pillows of potato you could ever imagine. They collapse on the tongue with a sigh (or maybe that was me!), enrobed in a homemade tomato sauce that is intensely flavoured. Over 11 kilograms of tomatoes were placed into a pot and then slow cooked and reduced for hours. Sardinian pecorino was mixed with reggiano in the grater. Pig Flyin' also recommends using a good spicy olive oil to finish.

As for those that are interested, the gnocchi recipe he used is here.

kamada joe barbecue
Kamado Joe barbecue

The Kamado Joe barbecue looks more like a space ship on the back porch, but Pig Flyin' is particularly excited over its temperature range, temperature control (you can adjust the air flow to manipulate the temperature) and its ability to smoke foods. They're not cheap - retailing at around AU$1,000 - but if anyone is going to get value out of a barbecue, it's Pig Flyin'.

saikyo miso marinated toothfish wrapped in cedar on the barbecue
Saikyo miso marinated toothfish wrapped in cedar on the barbecue

Inside the barbecue are parcels of toothfish, marinated in saikyo miso and then wrapped in cedar leaves tied up with string. Yes, these are a few of my favourite things :)

smoking cedar parcels
Setting the cedar on fire for extra smokiness

The toothfish has been marinated in saikyo miso for 24 hours. Saikyo miso is difficult to source in Sydney - so much so that Pig Flyin' buys his direct from Japan. He says that shiomiso could be used in a pinch but it will require the addition of lots of sugar and is not quite the same. Saikyo miso gets its natural sweetness for a special malting process that happens during fermentation.

At the table, the cedar is set alight so the wood burns and imparts extra smokiness into the fish. Pig Flyin' says the cedar shouldn't be burned too much - just a little on the edges for a delicate smokiness.

saikyo miso marinated toothfish roasted over charcoal
Saikyo miso marinated toothfish in cedar roasted over charcoal

The toothfish is succulent and moist, flaking easily beneath the sheath of caramelised marinade. The saikyo miso is insanely good - sweet and salty and smoky from the barbecue.

Pig Flyin's cooking notes for saikyo miso marinated toothfish follow:

Saikyo miso marinated toothfish
  1. Marinate the toothfish (any white oily flaky fish will also do) in saikyo miso for one day. The saikyo miso marinade is diluted with mirin sweet cooking sake.
  2. Soak the cedar in water for a few hours.
  3. Wrap the fish in the cedar and bake in indirect heat at around 200C in a barbecue or oven until cooked.
  4. Light the cedar at the table but don't burn it too much - just at the edges for a hint of smokiness.
  5. Toothfish is available from Wellstone. They have a retail outlet at Willoughby next to Harris Farm. Toothfish is also known as Chilean sea bass in the USA.
And if anyone has tips on where to get saikyo miso in Sydney, let us know!

homemade sous vide machine
The homemade sous vide machine

In the living room is a homemade sous vide machine that Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin' have constructed (Mrs Pig Flyin' is a scientist by day). For the past couple of days, it's been whirring and humming as warm water has been circulated around cryovacced bags of meat.

sous vide chuck steak
Chuck steak cooked at 60C for 24 hours then finished on the bbq

The chuck steak, Pig Flyin' explains, has been slow-cooked at 60C for 24 hours. It's seared on the barbecue and then sliced at the table.

sous vide chuck steak with salsa verde
24-hour sous vide chuck steak with salsa verde

The chuck steak is incredible, rich and flavoursome with hidden pockets of melting fat. A salsa verde adds pep with parsley, basil, garlic and capers.

charcoal broccolini
Charcoal caramelised broccolini

Broccolini has been blanched quickly and then cooked on the grill until slightly charred.

smashed tomatoes and cucumber salad
Smashed tomatoes and cucumber salad

More tomatoes arrive in a colourful salad, with cherry tomatoes smashed until their sweet juices run out, tossed with chunks of cucumber and sprigs of parsley.

zucchini radish and pea salad
Zucchini, radish, fennel and pea salad

A summery salad of raw shaved zucchini and radish is tossed with peas and fennel and mixed through with minted yoghurt.

sous vide tri-tip steak
Tri-tip steak cooked at 60C for 5 hours then finished on the bbq

The tri-tip is a triangular muscle found at the bottom of the sirloin where it meets the rump. It's high in flavour but lower in fat. Pig Flyin' has cooked this fillet at 60C for 5 hours.

sous vide beef short rib
Beef short rib cooked at 60C for 72 hours then finished on the bbq

The beef short rib has enjoyed a three-day hot tub experience, cooked at 60C for 72 hours. Both cuts of meat are finished on the barbecue, seared until the skin has blackened while the inside remains juicy.

slow cooked beef tri-tip and short rib
Slow cooked beef tri-tip and short rib with salsa verde and smoky tomato salsa

The tri-tip and short rib are sliced and then dressed with salsa verde or lashings of a homemade smoky tomato salsa.

slow cooked beef tri-tip
Mmm... meat

It's an insane meat fest. My favourite is actually the chuck steak, remarkably tender and tasty with satisfying bursts of fat.

american graham crackers
American graham crackers

What's a barbecue but for roasting marshmallows? Dessert rolls on with the American campfire classsic, S'mores.

s'mores marshmallow chocolate graham cookie sandwich
S'mores - roasted marshmallow and melted chocolate sandwiched between two graham crackers

We have a precious box of graham crackers, brought back from the USA, which are used to sandwich toasted marshmallows and squares of chocolate. The heat of the marshmallow is supposed to melt the square of chocolate, creating a squidgy sticky chocolatey treat.

chargrilled nectarines and figs with creme fraiche
Chargrilled nectarines and figs with creme fraiche

The barbecue is also used to char grill summer fruits: nectarines and figs roasted and served with dollops of creme fraiche and torn mint.

grandma's frozen cheesecake
Grandma's frozen cheesecake

A frozen cheesecake is hauled out from the freezer and Pig Flyin' says this is his Grandma's creation, and the first dish he ever learned to make. It's a simple concoction but it's my favourite dessert of the night.

frozen cheesecake with fruit jewels
Frozen cheesecake with fruit jewels

Made with just cream cheese and condensed milk, the frozen mixture tastes just like cheesecake. Pieces of chopped tinned fruit look like glittering jewels when the log is sliced. A biscuit crumb top becomes the base when turned out of the tin. It was so good I demanded the recipe and made it at home the very next day.

Pig Flyin's Grandma's frozen cheesecake

Beat 250g of softened cream cheese until fluffy
Add one can of sweetened condensed milk and beat until well incorporated
Add two 425g cans of chopped tinned fruit (peaches, pears and pineapples all work well)
Mix well then pour into a loaf tin lined with plastic film
Add a top layer of biscuit crumbs mixed with melted butter
Freeze until firm
Turn out and slice to serve (you may need to soften for 30min at room temperature for easier slicing.

Thanks Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin'. And Grandma too!

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Stomachs Eleven: Bone marrow and pigs trotters
Stomachs Eleven: Homemade roast suckling pig
Stomachs Eleven: Pigs head and nose-to-tail eating
Stomachs Eleven: Tuna belly banquet
21 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/25/2013 02:38:00 am


  • At 3/25/2013 6:40 am, Anonymous Andrea said…

    Yum, yum, yum.

    Would love to see a kitchen tour of their kitchen and garden. How do they fit all that food and prep in their kitchen?

  • At 3/25/2013 8:33 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    i want to eat... EVERYTHING.

  • At 3/25/2013 9:34 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow... looks amazing. Oops, nearly drooled on my keyboard. Is it too early for meat?

  • At 3/25/2013 9:36 am, Blogger Jacq said…

    the food looks incredible! I'm seriously envious of PigFlyin's garden too!

  • At 3/25/2013 10:01 am, Blogger Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    those meats. WOW! it's got me drooling.... it all sounds too good to be true!

  • At 3/25/2013 10:11 am, Anonymous Hannah said…

    The kale. And the miso. And the s'mores and the frozen cheesecake. Please. Please?

  • At 3/25/2013 10:51 am, Anonymous angela@mykikicake said…

    All of that food looks so amazing!

  • At 3/25/2013 11:02 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    i love reading about your stomach eleven dinners everything looks so amazing! and i love the homemade sous vide machine, can mrs pig flying help out there? :P

  • At 3/25/2013 11:48 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    OMG yum - especially the gnocchi and Smores! :P

  • At 3/25/2013 1:03 pm, Anonymous Kelly @ MsBrulee said…

    I want to be Mr and Mrs Pig Flyin's BFF - wish I knew someplace that sold saikyo miso...

  • At 3/25/2013 1:14 pm, Anonymous Cath @ Confessions of a Glutton said…

    Dear Lord, excuse me while I wipe my drool off the keyboard after looking at that tri-tip steak! And that chuck steak...and that miso marinated toothfish..!

  • At 3/25/2013 4:39 pm, Blogger Stephcookie said…

    I love these Stomachs Eleven posts so much it is ridiculous. Pig Flyin's backyard is pretty much my dream backyard. Sigh! I love how easy that frozen cheesecake recipe looks, totally going to try that!

  • At 3/25/2013 9:14 pm, Blogger Unknown said…

    So jealous of Stomach's Eleven and of Pig Flyin's backyard and BBQ - seriously obsessed with those charcoal bbqs!

  • At 3/26/2013 5:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Might not look as "fine dining" as your previous Stomachs Eleven dinners, but the food looks amazing and the cooking techniques are definitely not amateur (never heard of cedar-wrapping before!).

  • At 3/28/2013 8:32 am, Anonymous Ozmo said…

    Hikari Saikyo Style Miso 500g, can you ask pig fling is this the one if so then you can buy online here
    i also ordered the a number of olive herb plants as well as i was so taken with it.man i love to get an invite one year hint nudge wink.happy chomping

  • At 3/28/2013 4:01 pm, Anonymous Iron Chef Shellie said…

    HOLY FEKING MOLEY! What a feast!! I always think those BBQ look like grenades or avocados :P One day I shall get one.

    Incredibly jealous of just a feast!

  • At 3/30/2013 2:25 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Thanks so much for posting the recipe for that cheesecake! Looks so good!

    And that's after the amazing meats and salads and toothfish...

    xox Sarah

  • At 4/07/2013 4:14 pm, Blogger muppy said…

    serious food envy, what a feast! love the sound of that olive herb. and wow 11kgs of tomatoes, big pot!!!

  • At 4/07/2013 10:06 pm, Blogger Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said…

    Yay for another Stomachs Eleven post! Keep these coming Helen! Love everything here and find Pigs Flyin's menus to be so inspiring. I really want a Kamodo Joe now!

  • At 4/08/2013 1:02 am, Blogger Julz said…


    i live in japan at the moment and often read your blog religiously when i was in sydney!

    point being, if ya want to get some of that saikyo miso stuff and have absolutely no way of getting at all hit me up and i'll try to find it for ya here

    julz! keep up the delicious work :D

  • At 4/12/2013 2:29 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Andrea - Their kitchen isn't that big - they're just super organised!

    Hi Hannah - You're in the land (ok neighbour) of s'mores! So hard/impossible to find Graham crackers here.

    Hi Ozmo - Yep that looks to be the one. Thanks for the link! Have fun with your olive herbs :)

    Hi Julz - Awww that's so sweet of you. Pig Flyin' gets his from amazon.co.jp but thanks so much for offering. You're a gem! :D


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