Category Archives: Grills

Ai, Picanha! : Grilling the Brazilian Prize Cut

My latest BBQ obsession is Brazilian Churrasco (pronounced like SHOE-HASS-KO). I’ve always loved a good ol’ Brazilian BBQ, but churrasco restaurants are pretty limited here in Singapore and not to mention, pricey. So instead of eating out – I thought, why not just do it myself at home?

For this post, we’re using an Ultra Chef UC430 to grill Picanha (pronounce PI-KAN-YA) and cook Brazilian rice and beans.

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What is Picanha, you might ask.

Picanha is actually the rump cap, and the most prized part of the cow in Brazil. A lot of restaurants will try to pass off the rest of the rump as Picanha – but know that Picanha is separated from the rest of the rump by a vein, and it is never heavier than 1.5kg (any bigger and you’re probably getting a “fake” and it will not be as tender or flavourful).

Buying meat in Singapore can be quite a blow to your wallet, which is why I like to get my meat from Australia (just because a lot of friends travel back and forth). There is a South American grocery store in Fitzroy Melbourne called Casa Iberica that sells the Picanha cut of the meat and it’s already sealed up, and easy to bring home.

However, if you don’t have any friends who are coming from Australia, the next cheapest place to get meat from is Zac Butchery. There are 2 outlets, one in Chun Tin & one in Figaro Street. I usually visit the Chun Tin outlet because I’m a Westie, and the butcher there prepared the rump cap for me. I am not sure if they will cut up a rump cap for you in other butchers, but Zac Butchery is quite flexible so I like ordering from them. Another suggestion is to perhaps visit your neighbourhood wet market and speak to the butcher there. You could ask them to order in the rump cap, and perhaps get a better price too. Just an idea of the price difference – in Melbourne, I paid about AUD30 for 1.5kg of Picanha, whereas I paid SGD27 for 400grams of Picanha here (although, the Picanha I got from here was a Wagyu, so it was a bit more premium but I don’t mind paying a little more because you can really taste the difference).

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Preparing the picanha is simple. Slice up the chunk of meat into 1 inch thick slices.

All you will need is coarse sea salt. Grab a plate and spread a layer of the salt on it, and just flip the meat on top of it so it collects the salt. When that’s done, place the meat on top on the already lit grill and sprinkle a little bit more salt on the top. Brazilian restaurants here cut down on the salt they cook with to meet Singaporean tastes, but it’s usually a lot saltier in Brazil. Don’t be surprised if you get lots of salt popping, especially if you’re using a charcoal grill. Also expect a few flare ups from the oil. Close the hood, grill until preferred done-ness (not forgetting to flip it), and take off the grill to rest the meat.

Usually, the meat isn’t consumed as a whole steak – it is cut up into slices and served with Brazilian Rice, black beans and Farofa (seasoned casava flour). Farofa can’t be found here, so I order it from Amazon and have it shipped via 65Daigou or VPOST. I usually order some Guarana Antartica (Guarana flavoured soda) at the same time. But these are all little luxuries I splurge on.

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I cook the Brazilian Rice and Black Beans on the side burner of the UC430 (for those of you wondering what the side burner is for, it usually turns the BBQ into an outdoor kitchen so you don’t have to go in and out of your home a million times). “Brazilian Rice” isn’t necessarily rice that’s made in Brazil, rather, it is a way to cook the rice. I use Jasmine rice in this instance, and the rice is first sauteed in oil and garlic paste/minced garlic and salt, before water is added into the pot. Use a larger pot, as a smaller pot can cause the rice to be mushy. As for the black beans, I usually make a whole batch in the pressure cooker – storing half in the freezer and cooking the rest (also with garlic and salt and oil).

The final dish looks like this:

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And Farofa comes in this packet:

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Burn, Baby, Burn!

photo 1Finally convinced the parental units to get a new BBQ! My folks are pretty conservative, and since our Masport was still working, they didn’t want to trade it for a new one. In the end, I pulled the “but it’s my birthday and you love me” card, and they eventually caved to the Napoleon Lex485RBSIB.

I was really excited to test out the infrared side burner because I hadn’t used one as a main grilling burner before. They usually come as rear burners.

What exactly is an infrared burner? Well, let’s put it this way. A regular stainless steel or cast iron burner has two rows of holes on each side where the flames come out from. The infrared burner on the other hand has about a thousand little holes (or ports) where lots of tiny little flames appear. Just like the glowy bits on lit-charcoal (That’s why they call charcoal barbecues the original infrared grills).

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What was it like to use? The flames burnt blue when I first started the side burner. And even at the lowest heat, it was still very hot. I tested grilling some steaks on it and they were practically engulfed in flames. I’d never seen it like that before on a regular burner. It’s probably why you can also use this side burner as a regular stove too.

 

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At first, I left the steaks on for too long, because I didn’t realise how hot it was. So, we have here a well-done.

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I did better the second time round though. Managed to get a medium steak.

The Verdict: I was really surprised by the extra charred flavour produced by the infrared burner. Even more so than a what you’d get on a regular burner. For those of you who love the smoky, charred taste, the infrared burner will be able to help you achieve that. Also, I love that it comes as a side burner, so when I’m cooking for myself or for two, I don’t have to bother cleaning out the entire main grill. After I turned off the grill, the fire was actually still going. I actually had to blow it out!

The Napoleon Lex485RSIB is available from libertypatio.com @ $2889. A similar but slightly cheaper model with the infrared side burner would be the Napoleon LE3 @ $2,568.

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Say NO to black grease!!!

Honestly, I’m not very particular when it comes to cleaning my grill because I know that the heat kills all the germs. But I do hate the black bits and the dark grease left over on the grill. Which is why, when I got a hold of Premium Kleen’s Rangehood Filter Cleaner, I thought, Okay, well, I’m gonna give it a go. And I was impressed!

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DSC08678 Take about a spoonful of powder.

DSC08679 Mix it up with 1 litre of cold water and 2 litres of hot water.

DSC08680Mix Mix Mix!

DSC08688Put the grill in the bucket.

DSC08693 When you take it out, use a BBQ brush to scrub off the grease, every now and then, dip it back in the bucket and then scrub again.

premium kleen before & after Wash with water and wipe down with a dry towel. Et Viola!! No more black bits and dark grease!

Now put a fresh coating of cooking oil over the grills before you leave it for the next use.

Where you can get it: The Butcher’s Dog @ Great World City
Call them to check stock: 6836 8498

Or online @ Liberty Patio

YES! Napoleon has hit Singapore!

I’m really stoked that we’ve finally brought Napoleon to Singapore because we’ve been using our Masport Maestro Deluxe gas grill for almost 5 years now, and I think it’s time to retire it (it’s still in great working condition even though I’m really lazy when it comes to maintenance).Image

I have to say that they really had me sold on the whole infrared sizzle zone concept. This isn’t new technology. I say this because the original infrared cooking actually derives from the concept of burning charcoal, where you would have all those glowing red bits on the charcoal, instead you get 10,000 tiny little ports with tiny little flames on each burner. So really, similar cooking method to charcoal, but less mess. Hooray!

There are lots of other features on the Napoleon LEX485, but what really caught my attention is this accessory you can get called the Napoleon Charcoal Smoker Tray. Lots of customers come in and they ask, “hey, can I put charcoal inside my gas barbecue?” The answer is NO! Gas barbecues are built to take that kind of heat. Don’t confuse Lava rocks with charcoal. Lava rocks heat up, charcoal sets on fire!

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Anyway, let’s continue. The Charcoal Tray is a brilliant way you can convert your gas barbecue into a charcoal one, simply by placing the tray above the burner (without the flame tamers) and adding in the charcoal. You’d light them simply by switching on your burner and leaving it for about 5 minutes, then switch it off (but leave the hood open the whole time). You can even add woodchips to the mix because it’s got a triangular slot on one corner with holes in them. This tray is made of cast iron, so it’s sturdy and takes heat really well.

Available from Liberty Patio.

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Super Easy Clean!

I recently got a hold of Australian brand Selleys Ultimate BBQ Care Kit.

What really excites me about this is that I’ve never found a cleaner in Singapore that is specifically for BBQ use. Most of the time you get sprays for “Kitchen and BBQ use” or “Microwave and BBQ use” (which kind of confuses me because you’re not supposed to use Microwave cleaners in BBQs anyway.)

Anyways, here is my review on this new kit that’s hit our market:

Selleys Ultimate BBQ Care Kit comprises of 4 items: BBQ Tough Clean (Spray), BBQ Tough Wipes, BBQ Exterior Clean & Shine (Spray), Super Cloth.

My favourite two items on this list are the BBQ Tough Clean and BBQ Tough Wipes. I think they go together brilliantly.

I like using the BBQ Tough Wipes first because they work quite effectively when the grills aren’t overly dirty. They’re food safe too, so you don’t have to wash the grills after you’ve used the wipes.

For an extra clean set of grills, I use the Tough Clean spray after and it comes out in a foamy substance. I leave it there for about 5 – 10 minutes and it’s really effective because the stuff I couldn’t get off at first with the wipes, come off really easily with the Tough Clean spray. A good wipe down and running under water helps to get all the dirty substance off (the Tough Clean spray has to be washed off unlike the Tough Wipes which are food safe). Then putting the grill back onto the BBQ and lighting up to evaporate any remaining water. Oil with cooking oil after for long-lasting protection against rust!

The Exterior Clean & Shine spray works too in giving a non-abrasive clean to the stainless steel BBQ exterior, but I find that any sort of stainless steel cleaner works just fine too. The kit also comes with a Super Cloth which you can use with the Tough Clean spray. Again, also average in terms of cleaning ability.

Overall, the BBQ Tough Wipes and the Tough Clean are certainly really handy for a quick and easy BBQ cleaning experience.

Available @ $37.45  from Liberty Patio, The Butcher’s Dog (Great World City, #b2-11), Natural Living (Park Mall #03-01), Decofix (Serene Centre #01-07 )

Selleys BBQ Care Kit

Selleys BBQ Care Kit

Selleys BBQ Tough Wipes  (12 sheets per packet)
Selleys BBQ Tough Wipes (12 sheets per packet)

BBQ Tough Clean Spray

BBQ Tough Clean Spray

Selleys BBQ  Exterior Clean & Shine
Selleys BBQ Exterior Clean & Shine

Selleys Super Cloth

Selleys Super Cloth

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The Hotplate

Lately, we’ve been getting a few questions about using the hotplate.

Do I need the hotplate? What is it for? Should I just change it to a grill plate? etc. etc.

The hot plate is really versatile and great for cooking anything that might fall through the gaps of the grill (for example, onions, shredded meats, or even egg). You can even cook food that might potentially crumble on a regular grill. It’s also good because it offers better heat consistency with the BBQ-ed food.

The hot plate also allows you to experiment with different kinds of cuisine. One of my favourites is Japanese. You can do up a teppanyaki dinner, and cook up some okonomiyaki (mmmm, one of my favourites!), and noodles!

Honestly, I can’t tell you whether you need a hot plate. Personally, I never use my hotplate very often. In fact, my grill replacement is almost permanently there. However, if you do like to experiment with other dishes besides the regular steaks and hot dogs, I would definitely recommend using the hot plate as it’s quite fun and easy to use.

What kind of hot plate should you use? There are different types of course. The ones we offer are cast iron or porcelain-enameled with serrated lines to give your food those nice criss-cross marks. Some of them are split in half where it’s serrated on one half and flat on the other. If you prefer a completely flat grill, you can always flip over the grill to get an entirely flat surface. I’ve used the steel types before but personally am not impressed because the nice new surface stains very easily and you don’t get that extra flavour that cast iron offers. Having said that, you still have to look after your cast iron hot plate and give it lots of oil to prevent rusting.

In any case, yay for hot plates! 🙂

Porcelain Enameled Hot Plate

Cast Iron Hot Plate

Rusty Reality

Raw cast iron grills are a favourite of our customers because they are believed to bring out a better flavour in their barbecued food. It is also believed that the iron from the grill is absorbed into our bodies for that extra iron intake that we need.

Whether this is true or not, I can’t say for certain. What I do know for sure is that raw cast iron rusts, no matter what you do to prevent it from happening. It’s completely normal and you shouldn’t have to worry about it getting into your food.

However, if you really don’t want to see the following happen to your grill, then here are a couple of tips and tricks to keep your cast iron grill turning into a rust farm.

Rusty Grill. Eeeeeek!

Step One: Before you use your grill for the first time, you’ll want to do what we like to call “burning in”. So, what you need to do is give your grill a good oiling. And by good, we mean, be ultra generous with that vegetable oil. After which, you should put it back on the barbie and turn up the fire. Leave it to burn for about ten minutes. After which, you’ll want to repeat this process of oiling and burning twice. You are now ready to use your grill!

Step Two: When it’s time to clean up, you can actually just leave your barbie as is because the oil from your cooking will help to protect your grill from rusting. But we completely understand that some may find that gross and off-putting. Anyway, here’s what you can do if you insist on giving your grill a wash. After you’ve washed your grill with soap and water and whatnot, you need to put it back on the barbecue and turn the burner on to evaporate the water. Then, of course, oil it again (and I can’t emphasize more how generous you must be with the oil).

Step Three: Now, when it’s time to grill again, just turn on the barbie and burn off the oil from your last oiling. You’re now good to go. Repeat the cycle of having an excellent barbecue experience. Yay!

Do you have any other tips on how to get rid of or prevent the rusty bits on your cast iron grill? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you.