My entry for the Spring Fattie Throwdown - a running account

Discussion in 'Fatties' started by tasunkawitko, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I decided to give this a go and think i have a good idea for an entry. I will be submitting a Greek-style fatty based loosely on the gyro, which is predominant under many names in Middle-Eastern style cuisine, of which Greek cuisine is a part. I haven't yet decided whether to go with all-lamb or half-lamb/half pork. I am leaning toward the half-n-half.

    Here is the basic recipe i'll be using for the fattie:
    • 1 medium onion, finely chopped or shredded
    • 2 pounds ground lamb (or a 50/50 combination of lamb and pork)
    • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
    • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
    • 1 tablespoon dried ground rosemary
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    Process the onion in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds and turn out into the center of a tea towel. Gather up the ends of the towel and squeeze until almost all of the juice is removed. Discard juice.

    Return the onion to the food processor and add the lamb, garlic, marjoram, rosemary, salt, and pepper and process until it is a fine paste, approximately 1 minute. Stop the processor as needed to scrape down sides of bowl.

    Since I still have a few fresh herbs from my herb garden last year, I will use these as much as possible - also, I may add a bit of a "secret" ingredient that will, for now, go un-named.

    I will then roll it out flat on top of 2 overlapping pieces of plastic wrap that are at least 18 inches long. I'll lay out some fillings - not 100% sure yet what these will be, but I am thinking feta cheese, tomatoes, perhaps some chopped onion and garlic (sauteed a bit) and any other apporpriate filling that would normally be common to Greek food (perhaps spinach leaves?).

    I'll then roll the mixture in the plastic wrap tightly, making sure to remove any air pockets. Once the meat is completely rolled in the wrap, i'll twist the ends of the plastic wrap until the surface of the wrap is tight and store in the refrigerator overnight, to allow the mixture to firm up.

    The next day, I'll toss this on the smoker and smoke low and slow until done. Smoke with what? I'm not sure. The obvious choices, hickory, cherry, apple etc. are not native to Greece as far as i know. I may use one of them anyway. I have heard of people using grape vines and this would be interesting and also keep with the Greek theme, but I have none. Whatever it is, it will have to be mild; I might also try throwing on a few garlic cloves to smoke and some fresh herbs.

    To help keep it moist, I'll baste every now and then by brushing on a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and perhaps some herbs. I'll be shooting for an internal temperature of around 172-175 degrees.

    When done, I'll let it rest for a few minutes, then slice and serve it in pita pockets with chopped cucumber, tomoatoes, sliced onions and of course feta cheese. I'll also offer tzatziki sauce (recipe below) as a topping. If I was really ambitious, I'd try to make home-made pitas, but I don't think I'll be able to get this much going as I am also planning to do a pork shoulder for the first time on the same day.

    Tzatziki Sauce
    • 16 ounces plain yogurt
    • 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely chopped or shredded
    • Pinch kosher salt
    • 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
    • 5 to 6 mint leaves, finely minced
    Place the yogurt in a tea towel, gather up the edges, suspend over a bowl, and drain for 2 hours in the refrigerator.

    Place the chopped cucumber in a tea towel and squeeze to remove the liquid; discard liquid. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the drained yogurt, cucumber, salt, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and mint.

    Yield: 1&1/2 cups

    ANY comments and suggestions on method, ingredients, preparation etc. will be welcomed and taken into consideration. I've never attempted anything quite this ambitious, so I'm flying a little blind here. Based on what I know about Greek and Middle-Eastern food, this will be a good fusion of that cuisine with American methods. A running account of this attempt, with pictures, will be provided on this thread. I'll post a final, "dressed-up" picture of the entry on the appropriate thread.

    P.S. - in case you haven't figured it out yet, the "secret ingredient" is Cavender's Greek Seasoning![​IMG]
  2. bigtrain74

    bigtrain74 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I need pics of this one pleeeeeeeezzzeee!!!!!!!!!
  3. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    alright, train, but i gotta MAKE the danged thing, first!
  4. This sounds quite good, I have used grape pellets for smoking in the past (got them from the trager.) I just checked their site however and it seems they are no longer selling them. If the vines smoke the same as the pellets did it is a very mild flavor, it was quite similar in intensity with Alder.

    You''l have to let me know how this turns out as I have a ton of lamb sausage that I am trying to find new uses for.
  5. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i'm thinking strongly about sauteeing both the onion and the garlic a bit before i add them to the meat. it seems that both take on a different, better flavor when cooked a bit.

    a did plan on adding any fresh herbs i could get to the smoke (including a little thyme). i don't ahve any fresh mint, but might see if i can get some at wally-world as i think it would add a very good accent. i'll probably cut back on the rosemary a bit in the receipe, but add it to the smoke.
  6. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Oh man-oh-man!~Sounds so good I am already drooling. Can't wait for the pics....but please no more teasers ......[​IMG]
  7. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds delicious. Be sure to take plenty of picts. Or you know the pictures, it never happened.
  8. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    going to assemble this tonight. i did pick up some fesh mint and will add some to the lamb mixture and also of course use it in the tzazitki sauce
  9. azrocker

    azrocker Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    :points for delicious ingenuity [​IMG][​IMG]
  10. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    thanks, rivet and az -

    can anyone give a little advice on whether or not it would be a good idea to saute the onions and garlic a bit first before adding to the meat? keep in mind, this will go into the meat mixture itself (the sausage, if you will), not into the stuffing of the fatty.
  11. fire it up

    fire it up Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you have the time and something else that you are smoking you could always smoke the garlic, add it to the fattie meat and then smoke the fattie, that has worked great for me. If not I would not cook the onion but the garlic I would lightly sautee.
  12. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    if i were smoking something tonight, smoking the garlic (and the onion too, probably) would have been a great idea - i will keep that one in mind Fire - thanks!

    since i am assembling it tonight and won't be doing any smoking, i'll give it a light saute. i am also going to hold back a few cloves of garlic to throw in with the smoking wood tomorrow.
  13. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    alright guys - here's how things are shaking down....

    i made the meat mixture pretty much as described, except i cut back a little on the rosemary (maybe 2/3 of a tablespoon) and added a few mint leaves. i did saute the onion and 4 cloves of garlic into the mixture, which turned out pretty well, i think.

    i spread out the meat as well as i could on top of saran wrap that was lining a clookie sheet. it was probably 11.5"x14"x1/2" thick. i sprinkled a little of the fabled "secret ingredient" on the meat, then for the flilling, i used 2 bunches of green onions (chopped) and 4 cloves of chopped garlic, sauted a bit as before until they were soft, and spread them out over two chopped vine tomatoes. if i would have had any, i would have used sun-dried tomatoes in the filling and possibly the meat mixture. i also added a few torn-up mint leaves to the filling and topped with about 4 ounces of crumbled feta cheese.

    i still haven't gotten the hang of rolling these things, but i think i did pretty well. one thing that helped was i left 2 or 3 inches of one end of the meat with no stuffing on it and also about an inch around the edges. i tried to keep it as tight as possible as i went, pressing in the sides a bit. everything seemed ok and i rolled tight the ends of the saran wrap, making a decent-looking fatty that looked like it was wrapped by a two-year-old. it is now in the fridge setting up and blending flavors.

    this fatty is 2 lbs of fresh local ground lamb with fillings. i am expecting to cook at approximately 240-250 degrees tomorrow.

    any guesses on when i should start cooking it (on an established fire) if i want it to be ready tomorrow at appx 230pm?

    also, still looking for suggestions on what wood to smoke with. i have not smoked lamb before and since there are no grape vines in my area (which would keep with the greek theme) i could use some ideas. i have available hickory, apple, cherry, maple and alder.

  14. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Well, my "mungaso" 1.5 pounder from this afternoon took 2 and a half hours to cook so I'd recommed at least 3 to be on the safe side.

    Be aware that I was smoking chicken at the same time so I was holding an average of 325 F . If you are planning to smoke at 250 F you have a lot longer cooking time to factor in. Just a thought- if you have your smoking wood going, there's no need to go as low as 250 F JUST for a fattie. Even for lamb, let her hum at 325 if the TBS is going.

    If you're smoking something else that takes lower temps and longer time, well of course then factor that in .

    Mine was loaded with braunschweiger and cheese which is dense. Your two pounder will need some time. Just temp it towards the end with your thermo probe and if you are above 160 you're good to go! (If you stuff your fatties with things that have a lot of moisture, leave them well past 160F.)

    I smoked mine with apple wood and it was nice. With lamb you might want to stay with lighter woods - pecan, hickory, apple, cherry and stay away from oak and mesquite. Just a thought.

    Look forward to your success, and q-vues. I'm sure you will do fine!
  15. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    hey, rivet - i made those "pre-mod" mods that you recommended (lifting warming shield up on one side, etc.). there were the two U-shaped holes, but i don't have anything to cover them up with at this time, so i am stuck with them. i also have two oven thermomenters that i can set at each end of the cooking chamber. they aren't digital, but they will be fine.

    i realized since i am also doing that pork shoulder with hickory ( i will most likely be doing the fatty with hickory as well i'd like to keep the smoke light, but we;ll see how it goes.
  16. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    No worries on the fattie, hickory is good. Glad you have two oven thermometers, but know they don't replace an internal meat thermometer. Gotta stick your meat. Check the internal temps. That's the key to being done and to being safe.

    May the TBS follow you !
  17. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    >>>Glad you have two oven thermometers, but know they don't replace an internal meat thermometer. Gotta stick your meat.<<<

    yep, i also have one of those (non-digital) as well. i'm lookng at 160 for the fattie to indicate that it is done.
  18. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    well, after a wild ride (which you can read about here: the fatty is done. at a little after 4pm, i pulled it off at160 degrees after beginning it at noon. because of my constant fighting with the SnP, i wasn't able to go get some fresh cucumbers, onions and tomoatoes to serve it with and also wasn't able to make the tzatziki sauce, but even without it is really good. a few pix taken, will post soon.
  19. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    some thoughts - lemonjuice/olive oil mop - very good. fillings - good, although the feta cheese might not be for everyone. looking back, would have been nice to add some kalamata olives, chopped. overall - very good, recommended and would do again!
  20. rivet

    rivet Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Great news! Look forward to the pics, and congratulations on your first SnP smoke so far. Please know you took on a HANDFUL of a mission for a first time try, and sounds like you're well on your way to pulling this off succesfully. Lesser men would have caved! Stand tall, my friend.

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