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An Excerpt From:
The Big Green Egg Cookbook
Celebrating the World's Best Smoker & Grill
By Ed Fisher with Sara Levy and Lisa Mayer
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC
Available at Jessica's Biscuit.com here
The Ceramic Cooker: A Newfangled Grill with a Long History
What exactly is a ceramic cooker? It is a type of thick-walled, elliptically shaped barbecue sometimes called a "kamado." While it may be an unusual appliance by today's standards, evidence of enclosed, rounded earthen cooking vessels has been found by archaeologists in the ruins of practically every ancient civilization since cavemen (or, more likely, cavewomen) figured out that meat tasted a whole lot better when it was cooked over a fire.
The ceramic cookers found in the United States today are most closely related to clay cookers first used in China during the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.-207 B.C.). The Japanese adopted these domed cooking vessels in the third centure C.E. and called them "kamados," which has been translated to mean oven, stove, heater, or fireplace. Initially, pots were hung over the fire inside the kamado, and eventually a slatted cooking grid was fitted inside for grilling and roasting meats. Versatile even then, the base of the unit also provided heat to the house.
Throughout the centuries, there were a number of variations on the theme, including stationary indoor kamados, portable outdoor kamados (could this be the first-ever barbecue grill?), and even "mushi-kamados" used exclusively for cooking rice. Not able to get enough of a good thing, wealthy Japanese often had two or more kamados lined up inside the home to prepare meals.
Now, skip ahead to World War II. U.S. servicemen first encountered kamados in Japan, loved cooking in them, and brought them home when they returned to America after the war. They discovered that the rounded shape and thick walls of the ceramic cooker retained both heat and moisture extremely well. The kamados were an unusual but exciting alternative to the barbecue grills of the day, and early fans were soon sold on the added flavor and juiciness the "new" cooker gave to foods.
Beef Kabobs with Chimichurri
Chimichurri is a piquant herbed sauce that is often served in Argentina and other Latin American countries as an accompaniment to grilled meats. In this recipe, the tenderloin is marinaded in half of the sauce prior to grilling. The other half of the sauce is reserved to use as a dipping sauce. Chimichurri is also terrific served with chicken, lamb, and fish.
Equipment: Cast Iron Grid, bamboo or metal skewers
Set the EGG for direct cooking with the Cast Iron Grid.
Preheat the EGG to 450 degrees F.
2 pounds beef tenderloin
2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (4 to 5 limes)
4 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
8 cloves garlic
2 cups firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup firmly packed fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons red chile flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Trim the beef and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a shallow pan and set aside.
Add the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice, jalapeños, garlic, parsley, oregano, and red chile flakes to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Blend for 30 seconds, season with salt and pepper, then process for another 10 seconds. Pour half of the sauce over the beef, reserving the remainder. Toss the meat in the marinade until completely coated and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.
If using bamboo skewers, place the skewers in a pan and cover with water. Soak for 1 hour.
Remove the beef from the marinade and divide it into 4 (8-ounce) portions. Discard the used marinade. Thread the meat on the skewers and then place the skewers on the Grid. Close the lid of the EGG. Turn the skewers every 2 minutes for a total of 8 minutes for medium-rare to medium, making sure to grill the meat on all sides. Transfer the skewers to a platter and let the meat rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve with the remaining sauce.
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