The Big (Red) Mac

A lot of people call me Big Red, hence the name of this burger.

It’s pretty easy to make a bloody good version/copy/something of “that” burger at home. Here’s the steps involved;

1. Head to your local Micky D’s family drive thru restaurant.
2. Keep driving past said restaurant until you reach a local butcher of good repute, where you will purchase some freshly ground beef mince. None of that heart-smart lean shit though – not that I have anything against the whole reduce cholesterol and heart disease thing mind you. It’s just that today you would like some beef mince with a little fat in it. The slightly diabetic, pimply faced kid who serves you at Micky D’s would approve. Trust me.
3. Now you shall drive a little further and find yourself at a bakery, or bread shop, where you shall buy your buns. Brioche, milk buns or potato buns all work well for this monster. One and a half buns per person please.
4. One last stop for your vegetables and assorted other bits and pieces including your cheese. It will be some kind of burger cheese for this one PS. It’s really not the time for halloumi or goat curd, sorry.
5. Now get yo’ arse home and let’s get this fucking show on the road.

It really is a pretty simple list of ingredients
Just bloody delicious


THE BIG (RED) MAC

(per burger)

250 g fresh beef mince
1 ½ buns
2 slices burger cheese
4 slices pickle
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Finely diced white onion
Special sauce (recipe can be found here)
Salt and pepper or your favourite BBQ beef seasoning

Divide the mince into 2 balls of roughly equal size, flatten them out between 2 pieces of baking paper until just under 1 cm thick and then set aside.
Get your special sauce made and your salady bits sliced and diced.
Heat your BBQ flat grill (or heavy based skillet) until hot and lubricate that sucker with a splash of canola or another neutral flavoured oil. Season your beef patties with a little salt and pepper (or BBQ seasoning) and then press down seasoned surface onto the grill.
After 2 minutes flip patties and press down a little to keep that good thickness.
After another 2 minutes remove patties from grill and set aside in a 90 C oven or cover with foil to keep warm.
Cut your buns and get them toasting. I like to grill my buns cut side down on a flat grill (or in a heavy based skillet). That way they get a little toasty on the inside but are still soft on the outside and they steam themselves a little in the middle.
The piece of bun that goes in the middle can go in the toaster.
And now we shall put it all together.
In this order from bottom up; bottom bun, 1-2 tablespoon special sauce, lettuce, 1 slice of cheese, 1 pattie, a sprinkle of diced onion, middle bun, 1-2 tablespoon special sauce, lettuce, 4 slices pickle, 1 beef pattie, a sprinkle of diced onion, the top of the bun.
Frigging get into that.

beef ribs in the smoker

Beef ribs in the smoker are really good.

I really don’t know what else to add.

Good thanks.

Beef ribs after an hour or so…
These go great guns in a bullet style smoker.


BEEF RIBS

(For a gathering of the hungry man’s club.)

2x racks beef short ribs (approx 1.5 kg each)
Beef seasoning (recipe follows)
Rocking chair

Get your BBQ up to 125 C (250 F). Add a little cherry or pecan for extra flavour if you’re keen.
To the best of your ability, remove the membrane from the bottom of the ribs and trim any excess fat and silver skin from the top of the ribs.
Coat the ribs well with the seasoning.
Get the ribs into your smoker, making sure you keep a fairly constant-ish 125 C (250 F).
After 3 hours the ribs should have a nice bit of colour. This is when I like to wrap (no, Vanilla Ice will not be blaring on my Spotify. Please, try to pay attention).
Remove the ribs and wrap it with peach paper (butcher’s paper) or alfoil. Return to the smoker for another 2-3 hours or until the thickest part of the ribs probe like butter. If you are actually using a temperature probe the should be sitting around 92 – 95 C (200 F) or so.
When ribs are good to go, remove from BBQ and rest in a warm spot for 15 – 20 minutes.
Get some sides together, carve them up and get it into your face.


BEEF SEASONING

2 tablespoons each cooking salt, cracked black pepper and garlic granules

This is a good base for making and developing your own beef rub. Start with the quantities here and adjust to your personal preference – if you like it more peppery add more pepper. Or if you don’t like so much garlic, take a little out. If you like chilli or thyme, you can certainly put a little of that in there too. It’s pretty simple.
Also, don’t be tempted to use ground black pepper as it needs a little texture and coarseness.
Also also, garlic flakes are too big and garlic powder is too fine for me. Garlic granules are just right. See above.
Also also also, cooking salt is perfect. See above.
The rub is great for brisket, ribs, steak, burgers, lamb, roast vegetables and whatever else you want to put it on.

Now is the time to eat them.
Almost an instructional video

Beef and beer stew with secret lentils

I put a tin of lentils in here just because it’s probably something you think you hate. You will not hate them in this. In fact, you will most probably fall in love with them and want to marry them. Plus, your bowel will thank you for getting a little roughage in your diet.

Get all of the stuff together and the go and get comfy next to the camp fire
Get it all into the pot and then let it simmer away for a few hours while you sit back and get slightly simmered yourself


BEEF AND BEER STEW WITH SECRET LENTILS

(Serves 6)

1 kg some kind of beef slow cooking cut – chuck, shin, brisket, etc – cut into 3 cm dice (no need to get the ruler out. Just make it a decent sized piece or even ask your butcher nicely and they might do it for you)
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks celery, diced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
3 anchovies. Don’t even think about it, just do it.
2 bay leaves
A sprig of rosemary or thyme if you have some in the garden
3x 375 ml cans dark beer
1x 700 ml tomato passata
1x 400 g tin lentils
Salt and pepper
Chopped parsley, to serve
Soft polenta, mashed potatoes, parsnip puree, pasta or something along those lines, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in a heavy based pot or cast-iron camp oven over a medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic, and sauté until starting to brown a little.
Season beef with salt and pepper and add to the pot (normally you might brown everything off separately but this is going to be an all-in type thing) along with anchovies and herbs. Sauté for 10 or so minutes until they are browned and tasty bits are starting to grip a little on the bottom of the pot.
Add beer and tomato and stir to get all of the good bits off of the bottom of the pot and into the gravy.
Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 ½ hours, stirring every half hour or so.
Check that the beef is tender – it should be ready for Nan to gum to death by now. If not, simmer for another 30 minutes or until soft, adding a splash of water if the gravy starts to thicken up too much.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Finish with a handful of chopped parsley.
Eat it.

If it’s easier for your eyes to watch these things you can find the video at foodisthebestshitever youtube channel.

Cherry tomato salsa / sauce for a steak date


Steak with cherry tomato salsa / sauce.

This little cherry tomato number is great for when you need to get away from the gravy for a night, or maybe even try to impress a date who you have lured, err, coaxed, err, invited to your lair, err, den, err, house. Whatever. I’m pretty sure you get the gist.

The steak. I am not going to try and help you to cook a beautiful steak here today. The steak is something you’re going to cook exactly how you like to cook it. Make a boiled steak if you think that might impress your date. I know for a fact it won’t, but I’m not going to try and talk you out of it.

Just make the salsa. It’s simple like your in-bred cousin and might just be enough to get you over the line.

Cook the steak first for best results

That steak, cherry tomato sauce and some big chips. Deliciousness.

CHERRY TOMATO SALSA / SAUCE

(serves 4 or so)

500g little baby cherry tomatoes, cut in halves if they are a little bigger
1 medium onion, sliced into rings
3 cloves garlic, smashed
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 handful oregano, picked. A few sprigs reserved for garnish and the rest gets roughly chopped (parsley or a little thyme will also work just fine if oregano is not your thing)
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season

Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Add onions and a little salt and pepper and saute until starting to colour a little.
Add cherry tomatoes, garlic and chilli and cook out for another 2 minutes.
Deglaze with sherry vinegar.
Add oregano and another splash of olive oil to gloss it all up. Stir to combine.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Get it on you steak.
Garnish with reserved oregano sprigs.

Eat it.

Curried sausages on the campfire (but easily adaptable for the home kitchen just in case you didn’t figure that one out for yo’ self)


Welcome to another thrilling installment of “the things my ma cooked for dinner when I was a kid and now I cook them sometimes because I am disgustingly in love with nostalgia”.

The ol’ curried sausages were on high rotation as a midweek dinner option during my years at home. Woolies snags, a bit of Keen’s curry powder (one of the only “spices” in my Ma’s pantry. Seriously, I made a spice rack for my year 8 wood work project and it was home for the Saxa salt and pepper, and Keen’s curry powder. That was it), an onion and a couple of other bits and pieces all came together in the big pot to make our bellies very happy indeed. A scoop of either under cooked or over cooked rice on the side and dinner was sorted.

I have made it a little different because that’s just what I do but I think even my Ma would agree that the essence of the thing is still there.


CURRIED SAUSAGES

Serves 4

600 g sausages (beef or lamb is my choice but this is also perfect with pork, chicken or “of no specific origin” snags)
1 onion, large dice
5 garlic, roughly chopped
1 ½ tbls Keen’s curry powder
1 capsicum, large dice
1 zucchini, large dice
1 x 400 g tin diced tomato
1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk
Salt and pepper
Natural yoghurt, mango chutney, coriander and steamed rice, to serve

Heat a splash of oil in the pot that you will be cooking your curried sausages in. Add whole sausages and cook over medium heat for 6 – 7 minutes or until cooked through.
Remove sausages and set aside while you get the rest of this thing going on.
Using the same pot as the sausages were cooked in, sauté onion and garlic until starting to soften a little.
Add curry powder and cook out for 1 minute.
Slice cooked sausages into 2 cm pieces and return to pot with all other ingredients.
Simmer for 30 minutes over med – low heat.
Check seasoning and get it on the table, with garnishes somewhere also on the same table.
Camp fire or stove top, it’s Keen’s curry powder for the win.

Reverse seared steak


The theory behind the reverse seared steak is that the meat is given a bit of smoke at a low temp first and then finished with a flash on the grill at high heat. Basically the reverse of what any classically trained French chef would have taught you in the 90s.

Still definitely not related to the reverse cowgirl, but still definitely something you want to get all up in your face if you’ve never tried it before.

Find yourself some nice steaks

Indirect heat for the first part of the process

Get it on the table with some tasty sides and something to wash it down with.

REVERSE SEARED STEAK

Serves 2 – 4
(It really depends on your appetite and what else may be accompanying the steak to the table)

2x 600 g ribeye steaks on the bone (caveman steaks, texas t-bone)
Steak seasoning (recipe below)
50 – 100 g butter, depending on how French you are
A lump of cherry wood for the smoking
Chimmichurri, to serve (find recipe here)
A couple of sides that you like to eat with steak, to serve

Season your steaks liberally with steak seasoning and allow to sit at room temp while you get your grill sorted.
Fire up your grill to do an indirect cook. Get it sitting at somewhere around 250 F (125 C).
Add the lump of cherry wood.
Place steak on the side of the grill away from the coals so it can have a little smoky time without getting charred.
Cook steak to 130 F (55 C) for medium rare – this will take somewhere in the vicinity of half an hour to 40 minutes.
Remove steak from grill and whack it into a dish with the butter. Cover with foil and rest for 15 minutes. While all that resting and relaxing is going down you should make sure you have enough charcoal glowing for a quick direct cook to finish your steak off.
Flash steaks on grill for 1 – 2 minutes each side to finish.
Plate steak up and serve with chimmichurri and tasty sides and something boozy.

STEAK SEASONING
2 tbls cooking salt
2 tbls cracked black pepper
2 tbls garlic granules (roughly the size of a speck of polenta, not garlic flakes)

Mix well to combine.
Pretty easy.

Steak and chimmichurri is reals good