Thursday, June 12, 2008

Smokin Challah

Ok, now I've got to admit, when we purchased our home the thing that I was most excited about was the ability to grill outside. Now I had a small propane grill that I've used to grill when I tailgate that I really love. We bought a small stand for it so that I could grill a little last fall when the weather was semi nice. As spring arrived, thoughts again turned to grilling outside and a new gril and the purchase of a new grill for me to make some real BBQ. At the back of me brain I remembered my pal William writing about making a ceramic cooker based on an Alton Brown design. This led me to do some research on Ceramic Cookers and specifically the Big Green Egg. Looking it over...I was totally hooked. I looked up all the Youtube clips, read as much as I could and saw a piece of hardware that could do the following:
  • Grill (at super hot temperatures!)
  • Smoke (at super low temperatures over a long period of time)
  • Bake
I really wanted a charcoal grill...that wasn't debatable, but I also wanted a smoker. Based on my research...the BGE was what I wanted as it did so much. Admittedly, it is a bit on the pricey side...but I'd rather buy a quality product that I would use all the time. So....we purchased my new baby in March and brought it home. With a ceramic cooker like the egg...the main drawback is the huge 140 lbs weight of lugging it around. Our yard was one big mudpit in March and our deck was only a glimmer of our imagination so we put the egg down near the back stairs.

I'm going to take an aside here and let you in on my plans for the blog...I really want this to show ya'll the evolution of me as a BBQ guy and not just have the successes. Having said all that ...I'll continue

As I was itchin' to try something on the Egg I decided that I would try to bake some bread. I've always wanted to try cooking Challah and thought this would be a good way to kick things off :) I found a recipe online and got rocking. I know most people probably are thinking that it's a strange thing to cook for the first thing on a grill...but that is precisely the reason why. I kicked off things by lighting the grill with my electric starter.

A lot of people think charcoal and they think what a drag it is to light, ash...all that. Seriously...with an electric starter it's not that big of a deal getting the egg up and running in about 15 minutes or so. Now, in order to bake, one needs to put a ceramic heat shield in which creates a convection oven. With some finagling I got the egg stabilized at the proper temperature and cooked away. What came out, I have to say was pretty neat looking:

Biting into the bread, however, produced not only the trademark sweetness of Challah but also quite a bit of smoky flavor. The crust was incredible as well...however, the bread really was suited only for making into bread crumbs. What I realized was that with the lump charcoal...have to let it burn for a a while to make sure that there isn't any smoke from the initial startup of the charcoal. Oh and learn...just wait 'till the pizza post...FAR better results :)

**************Smokay Bread Music****************

Band of Horses - Our Swords


Anonymous said...

Oh I can attest to the glories of pizza on the grill, having designed a decent outdoor pizza oven from my chimnea. It rocks!

Love the egg, and that photo of you embracing it....pretty dang cute!

Helene said...

Wow that bread sounds good to me. What a nice piece you bought. Can't wait to read more stories.

Moon said...

I lust for a smoker. Maybe soon but I'm having fun with the outdoor dutch oven stuff. I use the charcoal chimney to start my coals and I love it, no cord.

So looking forward to the Baby post to start.

Anonymous said...

Pizza for sure! Can't wait for that one.

Scarlet said...

Bread on a grill? It looks delicious!

(I'm visiting from Shionge's blog.)

David said...

looks like an impressive grill! I tend to be more traditional what I throw on the grill but I too have enjoyed grilled pizza!

Cat said...

Now that is a mighty adorable bbq. looks like it might be good for apartment dwellers too :) happy grilling!!