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Old 01-13-2013, 11:30 PM   #1
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Join Date: 01-13-10
Location: Houston, TX
Default BGT= Big Green Tandoor?

One of the reasons why I lusted after a BGE for so long was the vision I had of it as a BGT. Its a similar concept as a tandoor in terms of material and airflow etc, so I thought, why not?

Just as brisket seems to be the nemesis of most 'cue cooks, seekh kababs are the nemesis of tandoor cooks. Its basically ground meat (generally goat, but beef also counts), seasoned with spices, molded onto metal skewers and cooked in a tandoor. The issue is that the darn things fall off the skewers and end up in the coals - not for seasoned cooks like those at Karim's in New Delhi and other less exalted joints, but for dumbar$ses like myself. The meat starts cooking, the fat starts melting and the things just jump off the skewers into the fire. You can try different binders to hold the meat together like wheat flour, gram flour (besan) and even eggs, but the proportion has to be just right or else you taste those things in the seekh kababs. I had taken a break from seekh kababs for a while, since I can do other things which much better results, but every 2 years or so, the bug bites me and i try again. And that's how we come to today's adventure.

I usually use a mix from the Indian stores (Shan spices seekh kabab mix), but today i wanted to take off from scratch. So I roasted some spices in a skillet - white poppy seeds, cashews, caraway seeds, mace, carom seeds, fennel seeds, dried fenugreek leaves, and crushed red chile.

Once they were dry roasted, I let them cool then ground them in a coffee grinder which I keep dedicated for spices. Added cardamom powder, garam masala powder, salt, pepper, chopped green chiles, ginger paste, garlic paste and ground veal.

Let that all get friendly in the refrigerator, while I fired up the LBGE.

Part of the reason for today's adventure was to try making seekh kababs with a couple of different types of skewers I have - homemade ones which I fabbed myself out of 1/4" steel from HD several years ago and 1" wide Persian style skewers which i bought at a Middle Eastern store here in Houston a few years ago. Loaded up some of the meat mix on one of the homemade skewers when the egg hit about 400F and things looked they were off to a promising start.

Until a few minutes later, when I peeked in through the top vent and saw a nekkid skewer! Carp! Salvaged the kabab that had jumped off from the skewer into the coal and sampled it. Tasted farkin awesome! Flavor profile was spot on for a seekh kabab.

Fueled by beer and ambition, I set off to put plan B in motion- placed the cooking grate in the egg and went to mold some meat onto one of the Persian skewers and these kabab baskets i bought a while back, knowing that some day I would want to try seekh kababs again. The basket can hold a sausage shaped piece of meat, without worrying about it falling into the coals. kind of like a "McRib" mod ( I am embarrassed to say that).

Set things up in a "trapeze" configuration i.e. piece of foil under the Persian skewer so that if the meat fell off it would hit the foil on the grate and all would not be lost. Rested the baskets on the grate, with the wood handles outside the egg.

Turns out that I didn't need the trapeze setup. The kabab stayed put on the wider seekhs. Now I know which ones to use next time.

While the egg had been heating up, I made some dough for "stick naans". How could I make seekh kababs without naans? Since I couldn;t make them the usual way (sticking to the wall of tandoor) I tried Raichlens Planet Barbecue recipe for Armenian Stick Bread.

The bread came out pretty darn good. Cooked 3-4 mins per side. Very nice slightly sweet yeasty flavor. Nice chewy exterior, fluffy soft interior. I will definitely make these again.

A plated shot. I know the seekh kabab looks like something else, but they were very tasty.

Dinner was a hodge podge of things - leftover tzatziki sauce, Ethiopian food leftovers, seekh kababs, and stick naans. It all tasted fantastic though, and I think seekh kababs are back in my repertoire. Next time I will mix in some lamb though, since I think the flavor will be even better.

Thanks for looking!
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