Cheeseburger Gothic

My secret shame is over

Posted November 26, 2015 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

I can't cook steak. There. I said it. But it's true. Even though I'm a medium rare guy, I always end burning the crap of my choice cuts. I blame the unreasonable demands of the 'well done' brigade to be served up a plate with nary a drop of the red stuff on it.

Really hoping that this Steakmate app I put on my phone today helps. It's from the Meat and Livestock Corporation, so you'd hope they knew what they were doing.

It seems to have a pretty simple interface. You choose your steak, enter some data like thickness and how well done (or not) you want it, and it sets a timer on your phone and/or watch telling you when to turn and when to remove and rest.

You can set multiple timers for people who want their meat done differently. Thomas and I are both medium rare men. The ladies, not so much.

It only does steak for the moment, but presumably it could be further developed to handle lamb, pork and so on.

Now all I need is a new barbecue to test it out on. My old four burner has not weathered the latest of its ten winters all that well.

35 Responses to ‘My secret shame is over’

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted November 26, 2015
I'm an old school medium rare man too, but cook for some other family members who insist that their steak have no sign of red (yew!). I sometimes just can't be bothered with the time scheduling challenges. I've decided recently it's a little outmoded to be so very fussy about medium rare. I reckon, a few decades ago, the average steak was so ordinary that medium rare was necessary so it didn't taste like an old shoe. These days, with high tech breeding and feeding, the average steak now tastes fine cooked medium, still moist and tender. The medium rare preference is a lot more merely cosmetic than it used to be. These are my maverick findings.


John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted November 26, 2015
Guards! Guards!

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bawpcwpn is gonna tell you...

Posted November 26, 2015
This is why I like my steak just shy of moo-ing. Did download the app once but never got a chance to try it. I like my lamb however medium rare, and wouldn't want to undercook chicken or pork. Perhaps there's a market here? JB's Meat Meter? With added functionality of telling the app how everyone likes their steaks done and it tells you when to turn and remove each. I could almost make a web app easy enough, and potentially an iOS app. Food for thought!

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted November 26, 2015
I've mentioned in the past my beefy heritage. This has led me to be a cow meat snob. If it's for casserole, pie or similar I'll get any old slab O' cow. I've even stooped to the duopoly, although usually I buy from a specialist purveyor of flesh. About once a month it's steak night; usually a bullsh!t expensive (~$12 each) porterhouse from a little joint in Maroochydore. Pasture fed, Not grain fed feedlot shite, 2 to 3 years old, nice marbling but not too fat. Inch and a bit thick Seared, turned twice, 6 minutes total at the rare end of medium rare. *drools*

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 26, 2015
Hmm. Having just enjoyed a nice rare steak, this works for me. More rare than medium. Grass fed only. Happy cows taste better - we make enough cortisol on our own. Inside should be red, not pink. Doesn't need to be bleeding, just needs to melt on the tongue.
For those who demand "well done", either very cheap cuts or something glammed up from balsa wood and cardboard will suffice.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 26, 2015
+1 ATM I'm building, so I read that as GlueLam'd up from balsa & cardboard.

damian puts forth...

Posted November 26, 2015
I'm remembering staying at the Cri in Rocky on our honeymoon and getting the full breakfast, which included inch and a bit thick steak to order, mushrooms, bacon, eggs, fried tomato, fried potato and baked beans.

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trib mutters...

Posted November 26, 2015
While everyone has their own way, I was taught a near-flawless method for steak (and lamb fillet, lamb cutlets, etc.), Here it is, it works for your average scotch fillet or 1" thick meat:
  • pat dry the meat before cooking with paper towel
  • rub meat with a little extra-virgin olive oil, and season with freshly ground black pepper and Maldon sea salt
  • seal the meat 1 minute each side on the hot plate
  • once sealed, transfer to grill over a very hot flame - 1-2 minutes for rare/medium-rare, 4 minutes per side for medium, 6 minutes per side for revolting
For your really gutsy steak - a 2" thick monster or your Cattleman's Cutlet, go 6 minutes on the first side on the grill, then 4-5 minutes on the second side; at least until the juices come through and start pooling on the up-side. For a thinner cut, or a lamb cutlet or similar, take a minute off per side.
Once cooked, rest the meat for 2-3 minutes, slice and serve.

insomniac puts forth...

Posted November 26, 2015
Oh man, the Cattleman's is the best. The ones we get are so big we call them half a cow, and they are so good you can abuse the hell out of it on the BBQ and it still melts in the mouth. Ms insomniac and I share one between us, about 20:80. She get the well done-ish bit at the end and I get the good bit.

trib is gonna tell you...

Posted November 26, 2015
We buy 3 at a time, for me, the Mrs, and the (adult, still at home) child. We take 1/2 each, with fights over the bones. That leaves 3 more halves for the following day at lunch.
Best.

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Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted November 26, 2015
Always pleased to see people expand their culinary talents but isn't the Breakfast Creek Hotel in the same town as you? Why would you ever need to cook your own steak?
If you want to take you steak cooking to the next level you should try Sous-Vide Steak.

Brother PorkChop puts forth...

Posted December 2, 2015
You know the trick the Brekkie Creek uses? To get the steaks consistent, they seal them and finish in a microwave.

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she_jedi has opinions thus...

Posted November 26, 2015
I've reached the Denis Leary "bring me the cow, I'll cut off what I want and ride the rest home" stage in my steak appreciation, where I'd rather err on the side of rare (or tartar), than risk having it remotely medium or *shudder* burnt. My family, to my shame, are still stuck on medium for their steaks. So every time I host a BBQ I have to firstly shoo my father away from "helping" and cooking the steak for me (he's good with a pair of tongs, but will overcook my steak), and then I cook everyone else's steak, and just as they're gathering plates, sorting out salads etc, I slap my steak on to cook. This ensures my family get steaks to their (incorrect) liking, and mine remains to my liking.

I've also tried the Heston Blumenthal theory of turning your steak every 30 seconds (check out the episode of How to Cook Like Heston where he covers beef, and then the science (SCIENCE!) behind cooking the perfect steak), and found this works very well too. Because you have to monitor the steak constantly, you get a good feel for when it's cooked through to when it's burnt if you're cooking for philistines.

My brother has tried sou vide steak, and he finishes it off by tossing it on a really hot BBQ for a few seconds each side to give it the BBQ lines and flavour and make it look like a real steak.

coriolisdave mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015
Seconding the Heston method - it's very very effective.
The other highly-recommended technique - which works regardless of your flipping preference - is to grab a meat thermometer and cook the steak until it hits the appropriate temperature for preferred "doneness".
Seems a bit like cheating, to me, but millions swear by it.

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015

Intuitively I have been cooking all of my meat all of my life using the now-called Heston method, enduring the slings and arrows and empty VB cans of family and friends berating me for my high protein rotations and yet strangely I do not have my own sciency cooking show or legion of online fans?

Marinated butterfly lamb is my speciality - and with a new decking, outdoor dining and BBQ area, not to mention the SPA, I cannot wait till Melba's weather settles down into proper outdoor cooking mode.

Nocturnalist swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 27, 2015

+++Because you have to monitor the steak constantly, you get a good feel for when it's cooked through to when it's burnt+++

Reminds me of PJ O'Rourke's number-one steak cooking tip, which is that it's vitally important to hover over it constantly, scowling and prodding it with a fork. It does nothing for the steak, but it does stop you from wandering off to watch TV and turning your expensive prime cut into a flight jacket.

Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted November 27, 2015
Yep I too like the Heston method - but when doing it on the stove it splashes oil EVERYWHERE...which is a tad annoying. I need an outdoor bbq.

Penley swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 4, 2015
I use Heston method too. Used to use a meat thermometer or cutting into it (!) but now just go by feel - it took ages to get it down but now both boyfriend and I can do it and the learning curve was worth it.

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Murphy_of_Missouri asserts...

Posted November 27, 2015
I tried, many times, to grill our steaks.

Yeah, while my mom likes hers the same way General Grant did the reality is that Cindy prefers hers mooing and I'm somewhere in the grey area.

So I finally turned the steak grilling over to Cindy, who does it perfect, every, single, damned, time.

I'll stick to ribs, brats, and burgers on the grill from this point forward.

insomniac mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015
You may as well cut them off right now. Tsk tsk, letting a woman cook your steak.

Murphy_of_Missouri swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 27, 2015
Oh, but it is sooooo good.
Almost like sex.

she_jedi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 27, 2015
A friend was hosting a BBQ, and the male partner of one of her guests offered to do the cooking. He couldn't light the BBQ. I was summoned, wandered out, turned three knobs on the BBQ (click, click, click, WOOSH!), and had it going in seconds. And in the age old unwritten rules of BBQ-ing, if you light the fire you get to cook. Poor man hovered beside me for the rest of the cooking process offering his help. I gave him the sausages to cook, since I figured if he couldn't light a simple gas BBQ he had no business anywhere near my steak. He admitted afterward that in the moment I got the BBQ lit he felt thoroughly emasculated. He was British, so he could be excused for not being an expert; I think they get about 1.5 days of outdoor cooking weather a year, so he's had nowhere near the practice a native born Australian has had.

Nocturnalist has opinions thus...

Posted November 27, 2015

+++I'm somewhere in the grey area+++

If your meat has gone grey by the time you cook it I think I may have spotted at least one contributing factor to your stomach problems.

Murphy_of_Missouri mutters...

Posted November 27, 2015
On a serious note, I can't eat the steak if it is rare, medium rare, or medium. I get sick within minutes.

No, mine has to be clear of the pink.

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Abe Frellman has opinions thus...

Posted November 27, 2015
I would second Trib's contribution to this discussion. As for the steak itself, if I lived in Brisbane, I'd be sourcing my steak from anyone who stocked beef from Nolan's of Gympie. They use the 'tender stretch' method where the carcass is hung by its crutch in the cool room to age it. It takes up more cool room space and so is a bit more expensive, but the finished product means that if you do over cook it, the finished product won't suffer too much in the process.

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Nigelau puts forth...

Posted November 27, 2015
So, how does the phone cope with lying on the BBQ so it knows the temperature of the BBQ?

Quokka has opinions thus...

Posted November 27, 2015
Surely it's the fit-bit.When it can no longer find a pulse, it's done.

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Justin mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015
I cant believe all this talk of steak and BBQ and none of you have mentioned a webber yet.<div style="transition: all 0.1s ease; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">

Justin mumbles...

Posted November 27, 2015
<div style="transition: all 0.1s ease; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">
<div style="transition: all 0.1s ease;">JB, you would be a fool not to upgrade to a webber, it will improve you skills far beyond any app ever will. Any of the webberQ range will suffice, the new ones even have a sear station now to get it all nice a crispy and caramelized on the outside, while staying BLOODYon the inside. <div style="transition: all 0.1s ease;">Practically cooks the steak itself..............all you need to do is stand round drinking beer and 'supervising'....

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DarrenBloomfield ducks in to say...

Posted November 27, 2015
I've used that app, with mixsed results. Doesn't factor in temperature. If you want to improve your steaks (and who doesn't) you can't go past some tips from Heston. The episode of "the search for perfection" where he cooks rib eye is a thing of beauty. It will change your life.
But if you want to cook a steak in less than the 8 weeks that method takes, the big three tips are:
really hot grillturn often (yes really - it's a Heston tip)no substitute for touching the meat - the "thumb test" really is a good guide for how far on a steak is done.
The fun is in the experimenting.
Don't forget when and how to season: Best article ever on the subject - its Scienz!
http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/03/the-food-lab-more-tips-for-perfect-steaks.html

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Therbs asserts...

Posted November 27, 2015
Steak? Its easy to cook. Make sure its seasoned then cook the bit of dead cow until moisture comes out the top. I usually sear and cook one side first for 4 minutes, then the other. Press the underside of a fork onto it after a couple of minutes and if there's juice starting to bleed out the top, its done. 6-7 minutes all up for a regular porterhouse. And then rest it for a few minutes while you grab another beer, get the latest cricket score, feed the dog, kick the cat and tweet a pic of your steak.

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Bangar reckons...

Posted November 27, 2015
I like my rib eyes, hell who am I kidding I buy steak in bulk and cut it myself, which means a nice thick steak with great sear and char yet still perfectly rare in the centre. Yum. PS dry season sear low heat turn sear low heat

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Spanner mumbles...

Posted November 28, 2015
I like my steak barely frightened.
Take it out of the fridge 30-40 min before cooking so it's not cold in the centre.
1 minute to each side on the plate then 2 minutes each side on the grill or griddle pan.
Cover with foil and rest.
Place steak in mouth hole and wash down with red.

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ShaneAlpha would have you know...

Posted November 28, 2015
The meat makes a lot of difference. A mate of mine, also a good cook, worked for a couple of years for AMH and would buy the *good* export stuff that you never, ever, ever see in Australia. I still, 20 years later, remember the time he cooked beer fed Kobe beef. It was like my mouth had an orgasm.

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Brother PorkChop has opinions thus...

Posted December 2, 2015
A SAFFA mate cooks his delicious meat whole first over flames. Trims and Rubs a whole rib fillet, chars the outside. Slices it into steaks then grills each one to the diners liking. I found it delicious but time consuming when hungry.

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The 4th Whisky Advent Calendar

Posted November 12, 2015 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

I can't believe I missed the first three! Why was I not told? WHY!?!

There are 24 little whisky windows to open, of course, and according to the website "highlights among this year’s 24 drams include a rare 50-year-old Scotch, an award-winning Japanese whisky and the World’s Best Blended Whisky (World Whiskies Awards 2014). Each handmade, wax-sealed dram allows whisky fans to sample a new whisky, tasting everything from single grain whisky to rare Scotch worth up to £350 a bottle..."

20 Responses to ‘The 4th Whisky Advent Calendar’

trib mutters...

Posted November 12, 2015
How did I not know this existed?

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DarrenBloomfield would have you know...

Posted November 12, 2015
Genius

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GhostSwirv asserts...

Posted November 12, 2015
Anyone think its possible I can buy this Whisky Spectacular for my wife's upcoming birthday and then help her drink it?

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted November 12, 2015
I honestly see no problems with this plan.

GhostSwirv swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 12, 2015
Only for the small fact that my beloved hates whisky - I know, I know, I left it off the dating survey - but wait, hey I have just booked the immediate family into a Gold Class screening of SPECTRE to celebrate her youthfulness, I could present the Whisky gift to her in the after-glow of Bond.

What could go wrong?

she_jedi ducks in to say...

Posted November 12, 2015
As a woman I see only flawless planning here. Go forth and implement.

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted November 12, 2015

Why are my Admiral Akbar senses suddenly tingling?

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Lulu puts forth...

Posted November 12, 2015
Will this be like The Simpsons episode when Homer buys Marge a bowling ball?

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted November 12, 2015
Its the real meaning of Christmas.

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon would have you know...

Posted November 12, 2015
okay okay i'll say it and take one for the team to get it out of the way......
"that's the best example of christmas spirit i've seen yet"


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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted November 12, 2015
We were waiting on you to tell us about it.

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted November 12, 2015
Best. thing. Ever.

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dweeze has opinions thus...

Posted November 12, 2015
Ooooh, that's damn scary. They also have cognac calendars. Good thing I'm po' as right now and will not be indulging. Good thing also that I no live in Canada, Russia, Brazil or Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Pennsylvania or Utah. They get no love...

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pi would have you know...

Posted November 12, 2015
Some of my definite faves are in there. Jura Superstition, Monkey Shoulder, and two different Balevenies. Noice.

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Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted November 12, 2015

And the bourbon one, and the rare whisky one and ...

mmmm

*drool*

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FormerlyKnownAsSimon puts forth...

Posted November 12, 2015
One of my nostalgic ones isn't listed - brand called knockando. Was visiting my sister on the Isle of Mull the year my nephew was born and was sitting in a little pub with her partner's best mate and a bunch of unintelligible fishermen and shouted him a drink. He sheepishly said that bottle at the top (i was on holidays so what the heck). I remember we had a few of them and it tasted fantastic. The bartender was also having a wee dram and nearly destroyed his collection on the wall reaching too high under the influence. Hilarious for us. Him not so - because his wife owned the pub.

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Murphy_of_Missouri would have you know...

Posted November 12, 2015
Meh. These bottles? They are too small.

Milosz would not be impressed.

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Darth Greybeard would have you know...

Posted November 15, 2015
This is wonderful. If only i could afford it.

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Bondiboy66 asserts...

Posted November 16, 2015
This makes the latest Lego Star Wars advent calendar (and a traditional one with chocolates also) pale into insignificance.

Bondiboy66 puts forth...

Posted November 16, 2015
That I just bought for the young bloke....

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I have a new favourite

Posted November 1, 2015 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

I mean it this time. I stumbled across this Teeling Irish Whiskey at a tasting in the bottle shop at Gasworks, with which Mr Monsteryuppy will be all too familiar.

I don't normally get suckered into these things, but I was led astray by my good lady wife who encouraged me to have just a wee dram.

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

This shit is insane. I tried the 20 year old, which is aged in six different types of barrel. It compared very favourably with the 25yo Highland Park I'm currently sipping my way through. Hell, it more than compared. It kicked arse. I bought the eighty dollar bottle, but would have paid more than double for it. Probably shouldn't tell the bottle shop that though.

12 Responses to ‘I have a new favourite’

AuntyLou ducks in to say...

Posted November 1, 2015
Eight dollars?

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted November 1, 2015
I mistyped. Now corrected.

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AuntyLou swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 1, 2015
Thought that might be the case. Or it was a very small bottle! Really only interested in the true price 'cause the hubby has a birthday coming up. Might have to investigate. Thanks for the edit.

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WotanPaperClips reckons...

Posted November 1, 2015
Should try the Talisker 10yr old or the Laphroaig 10yr old, top notch stuff if you enjoy smoky single malts

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted November 2, 2015
Seems more like a winter time libation if you ask me.

I wonder if it can be had here Stateside?

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted November 2, 2015
aged in six different types of barrel.

Any idea what these barrels were made of and/or where they came from?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted November 2, 2015
Bunch of red wines and ports as best I recall.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted November 2, 2015
Interesting.

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Therbs swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 2, 2015

Hmmm. Just ran out of Oban and the Lagavulin is on its last legs. I think I have a new ambition. Here's one description of this tipple (from Dan Murphys):<font face="Times New Roman">
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"To add a unique depth of character and
flavour, Teeling Single Malt consists of aged malt whiskey up to 23 years old
that has been matured in five different wine casks including Sherry, Port,
Madeira, White Burgundy and Cabernet Sauvignon. This combination of cask
maturation techniques has never been done before in Irish whiskey and creates a
truly innovative Irish whiskey bursting with personality. Like all the Teeling
Whiskeys, it's bottled at 46% with no chill filtration, allowing for all the
natural flavours of the Whiskey to be retained."

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</font>

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted November 2, 2015
Well that's Christmas sorted

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Peter Bradley mutters...

Posted November 9, 2015
Got a bottle at East End Cellars here in Adelaide on Friday. Yep this stuff is the business, not cheap but lordy lordy does it deliver in spades.

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The Lazy Dog Roll

Posted August 8, 2015 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

My irregular commute, a morning run across the city just ahead of peak hour, takes me within striking distance of The Brown Dog Cafe in the back streets of the Gabba.

It was a place which intriuged me for a long time. An old, anonymous corner lot, out of the way, and yet the footpath outside always seemed crowded. Eventually I checked it out, as is my want, and discovered one of the local secrets of the southside.

The Lazy Dog Roll.

Like the cafe from which it draws its name, the roll is simple. A white bun, fresh sliced ham, cheese, a fried egg and BBQ – or possibly HP – sauce. If I had to nominate a breakfast to eat every day for the rest of my life, I think this would be it. I never tire of this bloody thing, and find myself thinking about as I'm racing ahead of the peak hour wave to drop Thomas to school.

There are heaps of other breakfast options at the Dog, some of them remarkable value, but I can never get past this roll and a flat white in a large mug. I'd post a picture, but I've never known one to last long enough on the plate to capture an image.

10 Responses to ‘The Lazy Dog Roll’

balri ducks in to say...

Posted August 8, 2015
Love the Brown Dog. Used to work across the road and go there every day

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Shep ducks in to say...

Posted August 8, 2015
The emergence of the brekky role in Brisbane is truly something to be thankful for.
Mine's from Valentino's Cafe just off Samford Rd in Mitchelton

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ChrisB puts forth...

Posted August 9, 2015
Dang, that could be any corner here in EP/Juarez...Marty Robbins would be right at home...

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Anthony would have you know...

Posted August 9, 2015
Of course down here in civilisation we are spoiled for choices. I think my favourite would be the roti omelette at Tom Phat on Sydney Road Bunswick.
After a night of excess their Goan Scrambled Eggs with a virgin/bloody mary accompaniment is an excellent pick-me-up.
They also do a very good coffee although that should go without saying. I believe there are certain laws about coffee in Brunswick, just as wearing black is generally mandatory, if you don't produce good coffee the caffeine inspectors from our local council (The Peoples Republic of Moreland) pay you a visit and nasty things happen to your family.

Lulu puts forth...

Posted August 10, 2015
"nasty things happen to your family"
You're forced to move to a zone 2 suburb.

dweeze ducks in to say...

Posted August 10, 2015
I've been through that nasty - it sucked. I found little to keep me in the cultural wasteland of Zone 2 and got the hell out. Now, it's a 10 minute drive to the nearest decent coffee but at least the views are better. Oh, and no Bruns-a-wick hipsterwanker fashion tragics to spoil said view with their ironic smirkiness.

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Sudragon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 9, 2015
makes you wonder if there's a Darwin eatery doing an early morning Crocodile roll...

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted August 10, 2015
For reasons unknown to me I suspect I was intentionally not told about this place, or what sounds like a specifically Brisbane style brekky.

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Lauren mumbles...

Posted August 10, 2015
Swap the ham for bacon and I'm in love.

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted August 12, 2015
Lauren is a GENIUS!

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Strauss Cafe review

Posted August 1, 2015 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

STRAUSS.

189 Elizabeth St, Brisbane QLD

open 6.30am - 3pm | Monday - Friday 07 3236 5232.

It's a trap for young players, breakfast in the city. Especially this city in winter. Hobart, Melbourne, even Sydney, they know it's going to be unpleasantly cold sometime in the year. Brisbane, not so much. Oh, it gets cold enough. But nobody likes to acknowledge that, especially not in the way we live. Because of this there are some lovely places to have breakfast in the city, but you can't go there in winter because all of the seating is outside, often in the middle of a wind tunnel.

Strauss does not seem well located. Tucked away at the end of a long, lonely alleyway, which seems more of an afterthought than a design tweak in a city which is desperately trying to reclaim its backstreets, Strauss has plenty of outdoor seating, but you can bustle on past that and grab yourself a warm and cosy spot inside. Indoors, the cafe is all exposed brick, brushed steel, and hardwood. It's very Manhattan loft space. The clientele are city workers, of course, but they seem to be the sort who assiduously seek after the secrets of the city that most punters, happy with an egg McMuffin and a Styrofoam cup of Ronald McDonald's finest Java, never find.

The coffee at Strauss is of a kind that coffee nerds will seek out, travelling an extra three or four blocks if necessary. They will make all the classics, naturally, but you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't allow them to make you a filtered brew.

Whoa! Back off. Put down those pitchforks right now.

By filtered coffee I don't mean the astringent liquid tar beloved of America's roadside diners. I mean fresh, individually made glasses of superfine premium Arabica. The only place I drink black coffee is at Strauss, and I drink it every time I go there. Served in large, delicate stemless wine glasses (well fuck off, that's what they look like) the filter coffees are a revelation. I don't know whether it's the glass, but the flavour profile is so gently complex it always reminds me of drinking wine. And who doesn't want to drink hot wine on a cold morning?

That's not enough of course. We must eat too, and the thing I like about Strauss is the minimal, stripped back menu. Nothing complicated, but everything made from fresh, top shelf ingredients. It was crowded when I had breakfast yesterday, and I took a seat at the bench running the length of the open kitchen area, allowing me to watch the young woman preparing the meals work her magic. The crowds kept coming, the meal dockets rolled in, and she never stopped moving; sawing through great thick logs of freshly baked sourdough, juggling dozens of perfectly poached eggs, sprinkling fresh raspberries on steaming hot bowls of porridge. It was inspiring and not a little intimidating to watch her work.

I had a simple ham-n-eggs combo, that arrived as two pink slices of prosciutto on thick slabs of buttery toast topped by a couple of golden googs. I rarely get past this menu item, but if I did it would probably be to sample the sweet treats which look devastating.

I meant to take Professor Boylan to breakfast here while he was out, but I failed him in that regard. I let the Prof down, I let myself down, I let Australia down.

10 Responses to ‘Strauss Cafe review’

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted August 1, 2015
Brisbane people and our befuddlement about the cold. I have heard southerners say that they have never been colder than in Brisbane. Because of our traditional single skin housing with lots of windows, if it is 7°C outside, it is probably only about 10°C inside, and we don't have heaters and the traditional Brisbane bloke only owned one jumper and he wasn't sure where it was. Bit changed now, partly because so many southerners now live here, for the weather. I used to think a classic Brisbane scene was a 7°C morning and 3 blokes standing around outside in short sleeve shirts complaining that it was cold.

NBlob puts forth...

Posted August 1, 2015
Allegedly in the 70's it was worthy of Special Brach notification if one installed insulation in one's home. It indicated either homosexuality or Green sensitivities, neither appropriate in QLD.

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tqft mumbles...

Posted August 1, 2015
I seemed to have missed that place.
Maybe next week I might seek it out

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GhostSwirv reckons...

Posted August 2, 2015

Strauss sounds grouse JB - coffee in a wine glass, what's not to love ... as for Professor Boylan, what other places of interest did you accidentally not take him to?

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted August 2, 2015
We pretty much kept all the good stuff from him.

Rhino asserts...

Posted August 2, 2015
As it should be until I get there.

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GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted August 2, 2015

One is reminded of the gay banter between the top ECHELON burgers as like that of those Top Gear ruffians - perhaps you lot should tour the wild lands throwing barbs and bestowing burger-wisdom?

Of course for legal reasons Professor X Boylan should be a party.

Rhino is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2015
Who are the Echelon Burgers?

GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted August 10, 2015

Is this a test Lord Rhino?

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tqft puts forth...

Posted August 9, 2015
Tried it last Wednesday morning.
Busy at breakfast time (before 9am) but that was not unexpected.
Getting first coffee took a while, but they took my order fairly fast.
Had poached eggs on toast (sourdough) with avocado.
Very very yummy.
2nd coffee as a takeaway on the way out.
Very good.

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This is why we will never defeat America at barbecue…

Posted July 25, 2015 into Food & Drink by John Birmingham

Because Harvard is on the case and they've invented a cheap, foolproof smoker. And apparently paying a couple of thousand dollars for your cheap, foolproof smoker designed by Harvard engineering grads is a good deal.

The New York Times has the story, but I got the hero pars right here:

Mr. Parker came up with the idea for the smoker project at a cooking contest in a Memphis parking lot before a college football game. He was stunned by the smokers he saw. “I mean, just piles of metal junk,” is how he described them. “Trash cans with smokestacks. It was offensive to an engineer.”

When the semester began, only two of the 16 students in the class had smoked meat before, two were vegetarians and five were from abroad and did not know what American-style barbecue was.

They began by analyzing smokers on the market, focusing on Big Green Egg, a popular one with a ceramic cooking chamber. They evaluated the extra-large version, which costs $1,200. “We went through the patent of the Big Green Egg and just completely dissected it,” Mr. Parker said. “Where’s the opportunity here? Where’s the weakness here?”

They built computer models of Big Green Egg, of the brisket and, eventually, of their own smoker. They ran hundreds of computer simulations, and they learned that maintaining a precise, steady cooking temperature is crucial to evenly breaking down the meat’s collagen, tenderizing it. Several students spent their spring break taking a crash course in ceramics at the Harvard Ceramic Studio to build two prototypes of the smoker.

I don't know of anybody in Australia who goes to the sorts of lengths for a barbecue fix. I did know a bloke in Canberra used to marinate his prawns for an hour or so before burning them on the grill, and there's always some idiot who insists on upending his beer all over the meat while it's on the flame. But I don't know of anybody who's commissioned research and development like this.

I just don't know that we have the patience. This idea that you stand by the barbecue, or the smoker I guess, and lovingly tend the meat for 12 to 14 hours seems… excessive. Don't get me wrong, I accept that the final product is undeniably superior, but by the time I've got four or five beers under my belt I really just want a burned snag, a slice of white bread and another four or five beers.

33 Responses to ‘This is why we will never defeat America at barbecue…’

damian has opinions thus...

Posted July 25, 2015
Sounds like a reasonable alternative to the slow-cooker for inferior cuts of meat. You wouldn't waste a nice big hairy melt-in-the-mouth steak with such treatment, though.

damian puts forth...

Posted July 26, 2015
And I'd never try!
I suppose if you'd do that, you might order a steak well done. And you might mechanically reclaim the meat from a variety of seafood for fish-sticks...

damian asserts...

Posted July 26, 2015
I love America. I want it to be even betterer!

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 26, 2015
I expected you to say something like that.
You're a communist, aren't you? Some kind of hipster commie type, huh?

damian puts forth...

Posted July 27, 2015
Well, no, I'm not a hipster at all.

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Brother PorkChop asserts...

Posted July 25, 2015
It's not 12-14 hours of tending meat, it's 12-14 hours of dedicated approved steady beer drinking time whilst you occasionally top up the chips, wood or whatever your fuel is. Meanwhile you enjoy some quality beers, ales and lagers whilst being provided snacks from the kitchen. I don't have 12+ hour sessions but the outdoor oven allows for maybe 6 especially if the spit is in use as well.

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insomniac puts forth...

Posted July 25, 2015
Alternatively you need to culture a strong friendship with someone who does have patience, lives locally, cooks often, and invites you over just for the price of bringing over a few delicious beers.

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Coriolisdave would have you know...

Posted July 25, 2015
Is there a link to that piece? I can't see it in the post.
That said, 6 hours lines up perfectly with test cricket - tending the tongs during the drinks breaks, sinking brews... It's completely compatible with the Aussie lifestyle

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Murphy_of_Missouri ducks in to say...

Posted July 25, 2015
Barbecue is an art, not a science.

A computer model of the brisket? How can one take such seriously?

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Therbs reckons...

Posted July 25, 2015
Follow 2FBS over at Tweeterville and you'll find a man who spends a whole day doing such things. The pictures he posts of his efforts make you drool over your Twitter timeline.

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tqft mumbles...

Posted July 25, 2015
I saw this a while back.
A bit tempted, I do like my bbqed meat. But 12 hours is excessive effort.
Good class project

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted July 25, 2015
Of course, the point of the science is not that you have 12 hours of effort. It is that you can put it on and come back 12 hours later and it is perfect.

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NBlob would have you know...

Posted July 25, 2015
The unique combining of French Arcadian, Spanish, African, Caribbean & 1st Nations traditions, rendered down in a competitive context and basted in family traditions has resulted in the finest, stickiest, sweetest, tenderest spicey meat products I've experienced. My gluttony reaches new lows when faced with a pit and a man who knows how to use it. I'm not proud of what I've done & I suspect my artery walls may never be the same, but God Bless American BBQ. One question though what's with the corn bread? It just soaks up valuable meat capacity.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 25, 2015
To understand corn bread you must remember that the BBQ you love is the result of a mash up of the traditions of extremely poor French Arcadian, Spanish, African, Caribbean & 1st Nations peoples. They took what was left after wealthier people had their fill and transformed it something wonderful. Collard greens when cooked right are just delicious. The Collard is a weed that was foraged. Ribs were trash meat. And corn was used to feed animals and consequently, was a cheap carbohydrate. American peasant food.

But let me tell you something, mate, a well-crafted corn bread with cheddar cheese and jalapeno peppers in the batter is a beautiful thing. And yes, it is like a sponge, but it soaks up some fairly tasty juice and sauces.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 26, 2015
Anything involving a complex sauce that itself is part of the treatment - will require some kind of starch on the side to soak up the juices. Suspect it's just a language thing that would steer you away.

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DrYobbo would have you know...

Posted July 25, 2015
I have a recollection of this being a Blunty at some point. My views are unchanged: there is nowt better than a snarler grilled to crunchiness, but still juicy on the insides. I totally get the Seppo BBQ thing, it's more like slow cooking than anything Strayans would associate with barbequeing.

damian mumbles...

Posted July 26, 2015
Agreed - I think Americans do what we call BBQ, but to them it's just grilling. The American BBQ is a totally different thing, really its own cuisine so there's a language issue to hop over.
For us, it's all about the fresh ingredients interfered with minimally.
Though of course an Aussie BBQ sausage should be burnt evenly all the way around.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted July 26, 2015
I know I'm channeling Hughesy a bit, but this story offended me. Just a bit. As Murph points out, BBQ is an art, not a science. As the Blob points out, American BBQ represents culture and tradition. And a big part of that culture and those traditions is the mythic idea that, with a bit of tinkering (that can and often does go on for years, through generations) anybody - no matter how low their station in life - can use just about anything to come up with a method for making the best fucking BBQ you ever tasted.

It is an interesting story, but ultimately it is about a bunch of rich kids using expensive technologies to improve upon something they enjoy (easting tasty food) but don't understand. Their product, though possibly perfect, is the equivalent of a microwave oven. High tech and surely good for some things, but lacking soul, lacking passion, and that is why what comes out of it will never beat what you can find strolling along the converted oil drum monstrosities lined up in a parking lot during a BBQ cook off in Nashville, Dallas, Kansas City, Phoenix - hell, even LA.

Finally, if you really want to understand the traditions and magic of American pit BBQ, read or listen (the audio book rocks) Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan. What he describes will haunt your dreams. You will never be the same.

NBlob mumbles...

Posted July 26, 2015
Thank you for your most excellent contribution to my birthday list. To my unutterable shame I still haven't finished Mz Razor & Mr Keen's A Short History of Stupid, which I got for Christmas.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 26, 2015
Seriously, the Pollan book will change the way you look at the universe - especially his up close and personal exploration of old fashioned open pit pork BBQ. The kind that results in buildings burning down as an accepted occasional natural outcome.

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted July 26, 2015
Love these culture gap things. Boylan hit the nail on the head. Soulless cooking. Their meat may be perfect from a chemistry perspective but it will never have the heart and soul of a full rack from Fat Matts Rib Shack. The unhygienic surroundings just make the ribs or brisquit that much tastier.
Also, as an FYI, smoking is generally set it and forget it. Better if you don't open the smoker at all. Get up early, start the meat, come back a couple of times to add some hickory. Mmmmmmmmmmm. And don't pre-sauce your BBQ. Height of ignorance and amateurism. Wait the last couple of minutes and finish on a grill if you want some caramelization.
What you do (and 99% of Americans as well) is "grilling". Apply meat to flame for a few minutes and remove. If you turn the meat more than once you are an amateur and I will curse you in public.

The cool thing in Atlanta are the rib joints that have Chinese as well. A wrestler that went by the Name Abdullah the Butcher is married to a woman of Asian extraction and his eponymous Abdullah The Butcher's House of Ribs is one such uber cool joint.

damian would have you know...

Posted July 26, 2015
Trust me in this Rhino, there's nothing soulless (or hygienic) about the average grill plate. Anything that is cleaned by superheating, if at all, while suffering rancid pork fat, possum pee and melaleuca resin in random sprays is always an object of character. Or at least parts.
I totally approve of cooking methods that enable the use of the entire cow. It's what makes big hairy steaks possible, and the longer the treatment the betterer. I also approve of "set and forget" (taking a moment to be thankful for the advent of the self-timed electric slow cooker), and self-smoking is something I really want to get into. We have an old brick barbie in the (currently structurally unsound, as most battens and some beams have rotted and become food for the rather glorious orange trumpet flower vine, but that's another story) that I always had a vague plan to convert into a wood-fired pizza oven. I see multiple uses here. And of course there's a potential re-use for the normal hooded gas barbie, possum wee and all. So little time, too many things to try...

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 26, 2015
Murph, the Senator, Ydog, TTim and my less then humble self. I can tell you for a fact that the moment any of us read ""Fat Matts Rib Shack" we said "Fuck, yeah," and meant it to the core of our seppo being.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 26, 2015
"Abdullah The Butcher's House of Ribs"

Got. To.Get.Me.Some.

yankeedog reckons...

Posted July 27, 2015
Just got back from Old Southern BBQ up in the depths of Northern Wisconsin, started by 'Famous Dave' Anderson. All chopped up and prepared right in front of you-and when they run out of meat for the night, you're just out of luck.

Two (slightly greasy) thumbs up! And he's going to start a second place. Having created one chain of BBQ places, I wouldn't be surprised if he gets a second one going, and becomes the Barbeque Czar.
Fat Matt's Rib Shack? I can smell that place in all it's smoky meat goodness right now...even though I've never been there.


Therbs puts forth...

Posted July 27, 2015

I remember Abdullah the Butcher. One of the vicious bad guys back before WWF became WWE and swallowed all the other wrestling competition. Any man that big would have to know what he wants in bbq'd meats.

Anything called Fat Matt's Rib Shack would just have to be full of meaty win.

*burp*

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Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted July 26, 2015
I do the ribs on the gas grill. I improvise a pan of wood chips, mesquite is what I prefer. The rub is a combination of Arthur Bryant's special formulation and some brown sugar. Get the heat around 300 or so and walk away. Maybe check on it ever so often to make sure the grill didn't run away.

Apparently I have a knack for it. At some point I should get a true smoker and see how that goes.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted July 27, 2015
Just had some awesome ribs at Chef Larry's. Dry rub and then in the hot smoker for 2 hours. Then, wrapped in foil and back in medium heat smoker for 3 more hours. Out and rested and sauced.
Meat melted off the bone.

Murphy_of_Missouri is gonna tell you...

Posted July 27, 2015
I bore witness via the Book of Face. Those not there addicted like the rest of us (Thanks, John!) missed out on the foodporn taking place at Casa de Rhino.

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TeamAmerica asserts...

Posted July 28, 2015
I've always assumed barbecue was an Aussie/Yank thing, but it appears to have growing popularity in Britain:
http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/american-style-bbq-heats-up-in-u-k/

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 28, 2015
Cultural imperialism, buddy. First our movies. Then our degenerate music. Now our BBQ. We shall conquer the world by making them all just like us.

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