Lazy Day w/Weber Kettle: Bone-in Chuck & Taters with Gravy

Discussion in 'Beef' started by forluvofsmoke, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I wanted to make a meal for my oldest daughter & her hubby, so we'd have an excuse to get together this weekend...[​IMG]

    I had a 4lb that I started thawing yesterday morning with no real plan what to do with it, until I sent a text to my daughter and asked her if she'd like a smoked beef & tater dinner to share...of course she was eager to agree on a time, and I planned on bringing the main dish in a crock-pot for serving, so decided to finish the beef to a tender state in the crock after smoking, so, the plan began to take shape quickly. I know, I know...that's just sacrilege (finishing in a crock or the "O"), but I have my reasons...I'm a purist at heart, to the best of my equipment's abilities...I don't even foil anymore, but this is basically the same whatcha gotta do to gitter done.

    Simple, easy, and delicious. I used a blend of equal parts of hickory, mesquite and cherry @ 240-250* and 5K elevation. Rubbed with a hand-ground (mortar & pestle) mixture consisting of:

    1 tsp Celery Salt (just a few dashes);

    2 Tbsp Garlic;

    1 Tbsp 5-corn peppercorns (5-color blend);

    1 tsp Basil

    1/2 tsp Oregano (with Basil, both for a slightly sweeter background);

    1.5 tsp Thyme

    1.5 tsp Rosemary (with Thyme, both for a more savory touch);

    New Mexico Chili (approx 1/4 of a large, dried) for more depth right up front;

    Dried Shallots (approx. 2.5 Tbsp)

    This was leftover rub from last-night's steak & tater dinner, and I added additional garlic, black peppercorns and kosher salt, just to change it up a add a bit more of a peppery bite for the chucky.

    Just a few minutes into the smoke, giving the fire a bit of a breather here, as I had the intake set a bit too tight and temps were not climbing very well for the first 20 minutes or so...still in a slight learning curve with this kettle for low & slow, but it does turn out some very fine dining with little effort:

    Not much of a load...could have used my older 18.5" OTG, but want to get well-versed with my 26.75" before the summer BBQ's for gatherings are upon me:

    Oh, and the drip-pan under the chucky is a 12"x18" aluminum baking pan...use this size for Smoke Vault 24 as well...perfect fit for both rigs, and allows me to use the charcoal baskets if I want, and directs more of the intake air towards the fire for better temp control:

    3 hours and the taters are ready to rest (this allows the smoke flavor to penetrate deeper into the flesh of the potato from the skin...learned this after eating leftover smoke taters)...just added a bit more hot RO lump to stoke the fire, as it was just starting to drop off:

    Shrunken tater skins is a dead giveaway, but I give 'em a light squeeze for tenderness check as well:

    I hadn't checked I/T on this chucky, but it's cooking nicely, judging by the shrinkage/pull-back from the bone:

    Taters resting peacefully until the chucky is pulled or cut into chunks...they'll get added to the pot after quartering. They took on a nice smoke color, so the flavor should be coming through nicely after a few hours:

    Temp was still climbing when I snapped this one @ 4.5hrs into the smoke...stabilized @ 150.5 or so:

    I was hoping for at least 140* before tossing it into the crock to finish...we're there:

    I added about 12oz water to braise for the finish, and this will be part of the gravy-base when I get to that stage. I preheated the crock/water on high for 20 minutes before dropping chucky in...probably could used another 10-15 minutes of preheat, though. If it cooks fast enough I'll pull it into chunks and if not pulling tenderness I'll do a rough cube, about 1" and smaller...we'll see what happens, as I've never finished a chucky in a crock-pot before, so another little adventure today:

    I left the crock-pot on high to push things along, as it's only a 450-watt with an oval 6.5qt, so a slow-cooker is exactly what it is...I'm just trying to push it's limits here, if need be. I'll drop it to medium heat if it's starts jamming and brings on a rolling boil, but I don't see that happening.

    I just checked the crock and it has a very slow simmer going after the 1-hr mark...should be about right for cooking pace, maintaining a low & slow for a tender chucky...just hope it gets tender before it's time to pack it up and head out to my daughter's house. BTW, I didn't lift the glass lid (no need) and I was greeted with very tempting aromas...then I realized, I've kept myself so busy this morning and early afternoon that I haven't eaten yet today, and dinner is about 4 hours away...and now...I'M HUNGRY!!!

    OK, I gotta eat something...sorry for the hit and run...back with the finish, including the simple gravy, ASAP!!!

    Thanks for peekin'!!!

    aceoky, c farmer and crazymoon like this.
  2. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looking good!
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like it's going to be a tasty meal! Nice smoke!
  4. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lookin great Eric.... Road trip to Eric's house ! :biggrin:

    Tasty lookin meal man ! Thumbs Up
  5. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes sir, lookin fine
  6. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks guys!

    I fed my face and settled in and waited for the chucky...lost track of time, but I think it was riding in the crock 4.5 hrs. Pretty decent pull...had a bit of connective tissue that didn't completely melt, so if I'd had another hour, would have been worth waiting it out. Probed tender, so I went for it.

    So, we have pulled beef and taters in the crock with gravy!!![​IMG]

    I couldn't lift the chuck out of the crock without it coming apart...good sign:

    The bone came out clean when I grabbed ahold of it...another good sign:

    Poured the base from the crock to boil in a saucepan while the chuck cooled a bit for pulling, and whisked together some water and flour for thickener:

    Pulled the chuck, and here's what was left for undesirables:

    Good pull, nice smoke ring, good moisture, lots of rub and soft bark...good to go:

    Gravy is finished...I did want a bit more volume and slightly thinner, so added a bit more water...your desired thickness and volume can be adjusted as needed:

    Potatoes quartered and haved (smallest ones) and added to the chuck and gravy poured over the top:

    I gingerly turned it all together with a large rubber spatula to avoid damaging the potatoes as much as possible and turned the crock on medium to reheat to serving temp:

    I may not know much, but I know this is gonna be good!!!

    You may want to add onion to the smoke and chop it into the crock as well, but I left it out just for my daughter...never got her hooked on onions, I guess...[​IMG] happens.

    Gotta pack it up and hit the road for dinner...catch ya on the flip side!!!

  7. crazymoon

    crazymoon Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    FLOS, Nice smoke and nice pics ! I'm with Justin about a road trip to your house ![​IMG]  [​IMG]
  8. aceoky

    aceoky Smoking Fanatic

    Great Job!!!!

  9. ernesttbass

    ernesttbass Smoke Blower

    I would be all over that.  [​IMG]
  10. Hi Eric.  Long time no speak.  WOW!  With that wood combo you really added some flavor!  I am with you here.  Professional chefs use EVERYTHING in their arsenal to produce a plate of food.  It depends on what you are trying to achieve as to what you use to produce it.  You don't use a sledge hammer to drive upholstery tacks.  A simple looking dish but alot of time invested AND I'll bet everyone REALLY enjoyed.  You would have had to slap me away from the table to stop me eating!  Smoked meat, potatoes and gravy; what's not to like??  On my list to try.  Keep Smokin!

  11. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Thanks, smokin' brothers!!!

    Hey Danny-

    If you're a beef and taters kinda guy, yes, you should try this...nice change from steak & taters, just takes longer, of course. You're correct about the simplicity of this dish, and the flavors and textures were right on the mark. The smoke was a really good pairing, and even my wife mentioned she doesn't like mesquite (had a run-away smoke with mesquite once a few years back...was almost in-edible...she still doesn't know I used mesquite). I do find that simple ingredients and methods very often will walk on their own. I've done some pretty complicated dishes over the years, and they were all very unique and good eating. These are some of the dishes that are one-hit wonders, as in, big hit with family, friends/neighbors, and, wonder if I'll ever make them again...LOL!!! I am rolling with simpler preparations lately, mostly less labor-intensive (let the food and cooker just come together and do their thing), and I do find it more enjoyable, overall.

    The beauty of the simple dishes is that you can use a little more (or less, as I did) ingredients for that personal touch, if you desire. This round, because I used a rather heavy dose of dry rub, did not need additions to the gravy, at all. Slight taste of salt, some smoke and a lit of spices leached into the liquids, as I knew it would. I think you will enjoy this...took some time yes, but not much labor...mostly just waiting for the magic to happen and catching things based on tenderness probing, etc. Internal temp monitoring wasn't a concern because I had bone-in meat (I like it that way), so it really came down to getting it out when I felt I had enough smoke, and then get it tender for pulling. This is one dish that's kind of like a pork butt or really can't screw it up...well, you'd have to be completely off-task and not paying attention at all.

    My main goal was to not overcook the chuck to the point that it got grainy/mealy...once all the connective tissue has melted away, you are at that point, or very close. I dodged that, which makes for a slightly firmer pulled meat, but a very good, tender chew...I try to reach that with all my pulled meats, and I met that goal quite easily with this one.

    There were no complaints. And, (wish I could figure out how to configure a text photo to upload) my daughter asked what she should make...we suggested stuffed mushrooms...she cranked out a pan from the "O" and they were a great compliment to the chuck & taters dish. Stuffing was several fine-grated cheeses, spicy and mild sausages and a mixture of spices...I told her not to forget it, and she should probably write it down. She hadn't made it for over a year, so it was a treat for all of us.

    All in all, easy meal to make, and we ate until we could not eat any more...literally...then vegged-out with a movie for a few hours until we could waddle our way to the door and head home...LOL!!!



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