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Jul 31, 2012 11:49 PM

August 2012 Cookbook of the Month, Planet Barbecue: Beef, Veal, and Game, Pork, Lamb and Goat, Ground Meat

Please use this thread to report on dishes from the following chapters in Planet Barbecue:
Beef, Veal, and Game, pages 115 - 190
Pork, pages 191 - 264
Lamb and Goat, pages 265 - 304
Ground Meat, pages 305 - 350

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  1. Really Big Bosnian Burgers - Planet Barbecue - p. 315

    I reported on this one in the grilling thread.

    1. Kofta, Ground (beef) Kebabs with Cumin and Mint pg. 328

      This was a big winner for us, despite some substitutions. Whole foods was out of ground lamb so we subbed Grass Fed Ground Beef. Also, we bought 90% ground beef without reading the "Just the Facts" on pg 329 stating the secret to moist kofta is using 15-20% fat content. I added a little EVOO to the meat as I mixed it to make up for the fat and that seemed to be fine.

      So our ground beef was mixed with onion, mint, clantro, salt, cumin, paprika and pepper. I didn't have flat metal skewers, so I just shaped the meat into torpedo-like shaped and sent them out to the grill. My husband grilled them on the Weber and we served them with buttered Naan, a onion and tomato salad, and the green herb chutney and Saffron Chicken Tikka on pg 399. Although Kofta and Indian may seem a stange match (and it was), logistically I wanted to get more than one meal from one big fire. But the Green Herb Chutney went well with the Kofta and I prefer Naan to pita as flatbreads go.

      This was delicious. SO good, in fact, no one would eat the chicken and it (the chicken) just seemed too floral and prissy in comparison to the big flavors of the Kofta. One note, it was a tad salty, which may have been measurement error on my part, but I never find things too salty and usually have kosher salt at the ready when I am eating. But this was just on the verge of too salty for me. But, didn't stop anyone from gobbling it up.

      A definite repeat for us. And I even bought the flat metal skewers to do it right next time.

      6 Replies
      1. re: greeneggsnham

        What size skewers did you select? I am at one of those impasses... don't want too big, or too small, but think buying multiple sizes is wasteful. [A yankee thing I think.]

        1. re: smtucker

          I got the 3/8 inch wide ones. They seem plenty wide and sturdy to me. BUT, I haven't used them yet. Planning on another go round with the kofta within the month, so I will be sure to report back how they work.

          1. re: greeneggsnham

            Heck! I couldn't wait that long so I have them on order. They will arrive on Monday. I was concerned that I would be slightly chastised for having bought such an item, but instead the smtucker home grill-meister was thrilled! Turns out he has disliked our skewers for years.

        2. re: greeneggsnham

          Ground Lamb Kebabs with Cumin and Mint (Kofta), p. 328

          Greeneggs has already described the basic recipe, so I'll just note what I did differently. I used ground lamb, and some parsley in addition to the cilantro and mint. The parsley is in the recipe, or he says you can just use a little more cilantro and mint. I had all three, so I went for it. Instead of making kebabs out of these, I shaped them into four patties, as for hamburger. I did not make any of the suggested relishes. I grilled two patties on my mini green egg, and froze the remaining two for another day.

          I ate one patty on a bun, burger style, and one plain with sliced ripe tomatoes. Delicious either way. I did not find them too salty at all. I've made other kofta recipes before, and I always love them, but these were particularly good. I think it is the mixture of herbs that sets them apart.

          1. re: greeneggsnham

            Kofta, Ground Lamb with Cumin and Mint, page 328

            We too really enjoyed this kofta version which is quite similar to the Rhoden version I have been making for the last year. But, we had some "instruction" issues. As Green states above, all the ingredients are mixed together and then you are instructed to make sausages around a flat skewer. FAIL! So some background.... I bought a whole lamb last Fall and used two remaining packages of lamb to make this dish. I cut the shoulder steaks into cubes, tossed them with the aromatics and let this all hang out in the fridge. Then I ground the meat with the aromatics on a course grind. Again, back into the fridge to firm up since our kitchen was bloody hot tonight. No matter what I did with this meat mixture, there is no way it was going to stay on that skewer. As I made skewer no 2, while no 1 rested over a sheet pan, no 1 collapsed. I then took the meat, dumped it onto some paper towels, pressed another towel on the top, back into the fridge, with an equal level on failure. I was now VERY hungry, so I made some 3" torpedoes and grilled them on a grate.

            What is the problem? Is there not enough fat in my meat?

            I had 1lb 3oz of meat. I increased the herbs because that is always our favorite part. I did use three herbs: cilantro, mint, and flat leaf parsley. We really enjoyed the flavor. Served with Spicy Turkish Tomato Salad [page 327], Simple Moroccan Hot Sauce [pg 414], home made pita I had in the freezer, and some zucchini fritters. I lost energy before making the Onion Relish.

            1. re: smtucker

              Screw the skewers --
              I love lamb. We have bought 1/2 pig, but now I'm thinking maybe next spring, lamb!

              Your dinner could NOT sound more appealing to me. Homemade pita and zucchini fritters --
              and lamb!

          2. Australian Lamb (Not) on a Shovel pg 283

            Okay, so I didn't grill this on a shovel, but I did use Australian Lamb! I saw some beautiful Australian Lamb chops at Costco and decided to find a way to grill them. This very simple preparation worked beautifully. I slathered the lamb chops with olive oil, mashed garlic, salt and pepper and mint (my sub for the optional rosemary) while my husband prepared the charcoal grill. We didn't have wood chips, but threw on a few sticks from the yard when we put the lamb on. Went with the rather pedestrian option of direct grilling on the grate, rather than the shovel. I also sliced some zucchini and red onion to grill at the same time. The veggies went into a quinoa salad to eat with the lamb.

            This was delicious. Very simple, but captures much of the elemental appeal of grilling. Simple, fast, unfussy, delicious.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greeneggsnham

              "...but threw on a few sticks from the yard..." I love this! We have a cherry tree and I could snap off a smallish branch from the (nice) neighbor's peach tree to flavor the fire.
              Strive for unfussy! The "slather" you used for your chops sounds just right.

              1. re: blue room

                It really was good. Cherry and peach branches would probably be even better!

            2. Turkish "Meatball" Burgers p. 312

              My first from "Planet Barbecue!"
              "Turkey's answer to the burger", according to the book. Bread, beef, onion, salt and pepper*. What makes these different is that you make a paste of the white bread with water and knead it -- for 3 to 5 minutes! with the meat and other ingredients. This makes a spongy and fine textured mix. I know that wet bread and sponginess don't sound appetizing -- but try it -- they really are different delicious little things! They are small, 3 inch squares, 1/2 inch thick (before cooking.) This allows you to drop more than one into a pita, I suppose, surrounded by vegetation. (That's what we did.)
              The recipe called for pickled peppers and lemon juice, I sprinkled capers around in the pita instead.
              Many of them rolled out during consumption :) but the flavor was right with the meat.
              * I did use an optional bit of minced garlic, glad I did -- we really liked these and would do again.
              Oh! edit -- my grilling is limited -- these were done under the broiler -- think how much better they'd be grilled!

              1. Mayan Pork Chops (Poc Chuc), page 225.

                There are several steps to this dish, so it was nice to have Mr. NS tending the grill while I worked on the salsa and the accompaniments. The pork chops brine briefly before cooking, in a generous amount of salt, and covered with water. While they were brining, the onions for the dish, and the vegetables for the salsa, were set on the grill. I opted for the Grilled Tomato Habanero salsa, and my report is here:

                Once grilled, the onion is sliced and tossed with "sour orange" juice. Not having that, I used the suggested replacement, a mix of orange and lemon juice. This mixture is "highly seasoned" with salt.

                While the pork was on the grill, I thinly sliced cabbage and radishes. When the pork was done, it was placed atop the cabbage bed and radishes are tossed over. Then chopped cilantro gets stirred into the onion mix, and that goes over everything. Avocado slices go on top. I served the salsa at the table.

                Well, that's about it, except to say, delicious! Loved these flavor combinations. It really is a whole meal, and a very attractive one.

                2 Replies
                1. re: L.Nightshade

                  Looks delicious LN! Another post-it note goes into the book. Adding that one to the list!

                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    Made this last night, with great results and a few variations. I saw a Rick Bayless poc chuc recipe online which is close but not the same; this is curious since both authors report being inspired by the same restaurant version in the Yucatan.

                    In Bayless the chopped cabbage is tossed with the sour orange juice (or orange/lime combo) and seasoned with S&P before being plated. I liked that touch so I followed suit. The Bayless version is more open-ended in terms of pork cuts, and I used his method with a pork leg roast, cutting off 1/4" pieces and then pounding thin. Bayless also suggests splashing the meat with the juice just before cooking, but I thought this would be eviscerated by fire and I preferred Raichlen's quick brine method.* Bayless uses sliced tomatoes instead of radishes too.
                    I served this with the xni pec salsa recipe from Raichlen which is infernal but great if applied judiciously.

                    *I noticed the new Beard-winning Yucatan book by David Sterling suggests brining a variety of meats, even while confessing it is not traditional.