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2012 up in smoke….

I am totally on the New Years bandwagon here, just giving you lots of old posts because I am too lazy to write out a new one.  I am going to share the best of the best of 2012 just in case you missed it…I have only been up and running since September so you havent missed much though.

oh yeah baby!

oh yeah baby!

The greatest thing I did this year was BBQ brownies.  It is still my number one day of traffic ever….which proves to me that you people suck, seriously, pureeing some sweet potatoes and cooking them in chocolate is not anywhere near as impressive as the perfect brisket.  Still, they rock…we will definitely make them again once all the january sugar detoxing/whole30 hybrid is over. Anyway, there will be a few recipes that overlap here, because I know that nobody is going to sit here and read every link I posted…if you want to, by all means go ahead, and please leave your full name in the comments section so I can spell it properly on the restraining order.

Important lessons:
Planking (and bacon)
Using Skewers
Tempering and Resting your meat
Starting a good fire
Choosing your charcoal
Getting the right big-boy-toys
Basics on using a smoker, and the perfect hunk of meat for a newbie

There is more to be learned about smoking, in 2013 there will be a series called “Better know a smoker” and important information on rubs, BBQ competitions, and other random rants and tirades about why I am right and you are wrong. Now on to the meat…

Juciest pork on the planet

juiciest pork on the planet

In the pork category we have:

Pork Butt
Rib Basics
Bacon…thats right we make our own bacon!
Spare Ribs
Ham
Korean Style Ribs
Pork Stuffed Peppers
BLT Salad made with our own bacon of course
Pork Tenderloin

Smoke rings make me happy

Smoke rings make me happy

The nom-nom-nominees in the beef category are:

Sausagey Beef Burger
Braised Beef Chili
Flank Steak Skewers
Grilled Meatloaf
Ungrilled Meatloaf with bacon
Brisket though the title lies, we did make a better brisket last night burning straight hardwood with no coals.

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Chicken:

Basic BBQ Chicken
Chicken Caesar Salad
Recipe I stole from Michael Symon

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Seafood:

Haddock
Basic Grilled Salmon and grilled squash goodness
Oh look, this recipe again because there is shrimp on it
Dirty South Clam Chowder
Smoked Mackerel Salad

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Breakfast:
I grilled eggs in bell peppers then again in pork

I know that is a big plate, but I don't like my food touching

Game Meat:
Deer Jerky
Bison Burger with smoked applesauce…seriously go make that applesauce, it will change your life.

Liquid gold baby!

Sauces:
Basic Red Sauce aka Liquid Orgasm
Carolina Style Pork Sauce

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Chili and Clam Chowder are obviously also in the new soups category, while Jerky, Smoked Sausage, and Hickory Smoked Mixed Nuts are all under snacks

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Lastly there was a grilled watermelon salad that was amazing, but didn’t really fit in anywhere else

I already have dozens of ideas for 2013, so keep coming back for more smoked meat sexiness and white trash shenanagains

This was a redneck theme birthday party, he doesnt actually wear overalls or beat me.

This was D’s redneck theme birthday party, he doesn’t actually wear overalls or beat me.

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Random, Uncategorized

 

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I Love The Fishes Cuz They’re So Delicious…

Ok, holidays are over finally, I went to town on some paleo desserts.  I feel like I should share what I made for those people who pressured me to “indulge a little” in some straight up garbage food that wasnt worth the tummy ache.  My December of sin included:

Ok, so maybe I did not eat all of that by myself, since a very large portion of my paleoish goodies were given away as gifts, but they really helped me make it through the holidays without snapping when subjected to the dumbest comments on the planet.  Are you ready for another list? Here is some of the stupid sh*t I get to listen to at parties:

  • I don’t eat red meat because it is harder to digest than poultry
  • I burned off 750 calories on the elliptical today so I can eat what I want
  • Here is some cookies/cake/bread/whatever….I know you are paleo but it is the holidays so you should have some

star-trek-facepalm

I actually was able to keep my mouth shut in light of all these comments, I did not start berating a single person for their stupidity, it is a freaking Christmas miracle!  Anyway, I figured it would be a good day for a nice light recipe for a change of pace.

Ingredients:

  • 2 filets of mackerel with the skin on
  • an orange
  • salad stuff: I used lettuce, onion, hungarian pepper, and a hard-boiled egg

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Soak your wood chips before you start, as always, I used alder wood this time. Then, salt and pepper your fish and set aside while you fire up the grill.  We used out 22.5 inch Webbie here, since there is no need to fire up the smoker for something this small.

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Bust out one of your finest disposable foil pans and use it to create a water pan on the opposite side of the grill from your coals.  I only used about 1/2-2/3 of a chimney of coals here, because when you are smoking fish you want to keep the temperature extremely low under the cooking surface so you are actually smoking and not just grilling.  Got it?  Ok, throw the fish on and let it smoke for approximately an hour while you go inside and prep the rest of your food.

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Cut your orange in half and slice off the peel all the way around, then slice into segments.  The fruit in this recipe really helps to cut through the intense fishy-ness of the mackerel.  Prep the rest of your salad to your liking and set aside while the fish finishes up.

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With a little experience you can tell when your fish is done by just eyeballing it.  If it looks like this then you are doing pretty well.  It will be easy to flake apart with a fork and turn golden brown.  If you are seeing lots of little white fat droplets on the top of your fish the heat is way too high and you are cooking not smoking….cooking bad smoking good.

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Break apart your fish, pile it on top of the salad, and serve with a drizzle with olive oil (I used lemon infused).  This recipe is big enough for two but I tend to always eat the whole thing myself because I need a big hit of omega 3s to combat the stress-related effects of a life spent silently suffering through stupid conversations.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Salad, Seafood, Uncategorized

 

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Many thanks to WODjourney for posting this!

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Barbeque Basics Part Four: Give it a Rest Already

The secret to cooking perfect meat isn’t actually about the cooking at all, it is about the art of patience.  Perfect meat is created by two processes; tempering and resting, both of which require you to just leave your food alone.

I’m letting my meat rest for a bit!

Tempering is letting your meat come to room temperature before cooking.  If you have ever eaten a thick steak that looked done on the outside but was raw in the middle you know why tempering is important.  Warmer meat  needs less of a rise in temperature to reach your desired level of doneness, which means less cooking time.  You would think that all these extra steps make your time spent slaving over hot charcoal longer, but it can actually cut your cooking time down by several minutes.  Less cooking time means less time for the delicious meat juice to evaporate as well.  The second reason why this is important is even cooking.  You will not end up burning your roast on the outside while waiting for it to come to temp..   Think about it, it is much more efficient to cook 70 degree meat to 130 than it is to cook 40 degree meat!

Everybody wait, it hasn’t come to room temp yet!

 

Resting is the same thing as tempering, letting the meat sit on the counter, except this time it is done after cooking.  When you heat up a piece of meat the fibers compress, changing the distribution of liquids inside.  Imagine the meat as a sponge, if you squeeze it on one side water will come leaking out the other.  The process of heating and flipping your meat will cause the juices to redistribute all willy-nilly, and like a sponge, it cannot hold all the extra liquid in one spot without some of it running out.  A bad analogy perhaps, but it is what happens when you cut into a steak that hasn’t been rested, the fibers stuffed with juices will release them causing a dry and less flavorful dinner.  When you let it rest for a few minutes the fibers will relax a bit and let the juices redistribute evenly in the meat .  Neat huh?

The next important reason to rest your meat is that it also cuts down on your cooking time since the meat will continue to cook while it is resting.  I typically take my meat off 5-10 degrees before it is done and let it come to temp under a little tin-foil tent.  It is like my meat is waiting for the release of the new iPhone and must camp out for days.

There must be a mastodon roast resting under this tent

 

Ok, so we are going to sum this all up with your mission, should you choose to accept it; leave your delicious dinner on the counter.  To temper let the meat rest for an hour or more depending on the thickness and size of the meat.  For an average one inch thick steak I recommend about an hour, less for burgers, more for roasts, use common sense, but an hour is always a good amount of time.  Obviously you do not want to temper your uncovered meat outside in the hot sun for an hour, but any safe place in your house will do.

I am going to totally go lick your tempering steak right after licking my butt

 

Rest your meat by removing it from the heat or hot pan and placing it on a cutting board or plate.  For steaks, roasts, tenderloins, whole chickens, or other large hunks of meatiness, make the little tinfoil tent.  You do not actually need to get little skewers and build a little North Face hut for your food, just cover it loosely to keep heat and steam from evaporating.  The length of the rest also depends on the meat; 5-10 minutes for burgers, small pieces of boneless pork or boneless chicken, 10-20 minutes for steak, thick pork chops, or bone-in chicken, 20 minutes for large roasts, pork shoulder, whole birds, ect.  This gives you plenty of time to do some dishes, prep your sides, or make a nice pan sauce!

 

Like this

 

If you still don’t believe me, the folks over at Serious Eats have studied this extensively.

 

This picture shows steaks cut into at 2.5 minute intervals, with the first one not resting at all, all the way up to 12.5 minutes of rest prior to cutting.  I think I should just delete my whole explanation and leave you with this picture instead, because it says everything.

Last bonus is that you wont burn your tounge from putting meat that just came off of a 400 degree grill directly in your mouth  Hooray!

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2012 in basics, Technique, Uncategorized

 

A Hunk-a Hunk-a Grillin Love

It is a widely accepted fact that Elvis loved pork.  I mean, A Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On and All Shook Up are all just songs about The King’s favorite spice rub.   Don’t even get me started on You’re The Reason I’m Living, Hot Dog, and Big Hunk o’ Love…All of them about pork.  I can rewrite history if I want to, who are you to tell me I am wrong?  I will even change it in Wikipedia so then it has to be true!

Elvis loves bacon so much his apparition actually shows up on bacon!

 

Did you actually just look at Wikipedia? Because, that would be hilarious, look up gullible next!

Ok, on to the pork tenderloins, I started with a marinade of:

  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 2 TB seasoning blend. I like Organic No-Salt Seasoning from Costco, since it lets me control the the sodium content
  • 2 heaping TB Dijon or whole grain mustard
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t horseradish

Take your pork tenderloins and rub them tender, rub them true (there I go with the Elvis thing again).  Seriously though, mix your marinade in a container; put you’re your meat in, and make sure it is evenly coated.  Pop it in the fridge for several hours and let all that goodness mingle together.  Before you start your grill make sure you let the meat come to room temperature, we will talk about why later this week, so for now just do it.

For this recipe we did not make a dual-zone fire, since the tenderloins are very small pieces of meat.  Just prep a medium-high heat fire and leave the meat alone for a few minutes.  You want to get a nice amount of crust and only fools rush in to flip it! Every 5 minutes you can turn your meat until you get an internal temp of 145-150.  The meat will continue to cook a bit while it is resting, so I took mine off right around 145.  People get a little paranoid with their pork and cook it to death, well it should be already dead I hope, but they cook it to higher temps like chicken, and by that time it is completely dried out and tastes like shoe leather.  Don’t do this…trust the pork.

Look at that gorgeous char! Dont like the char? Then use less heat

Let your meat rest on a plate for 5-10 minutes before cutting into medallions.  This dish looks very rustic so we served it family style on a big platter some sweet potatoes and broccoli.  Oh I can’t help falling in love with pork!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Grassfed vs Grainfed

Borrowed this from Cinnamon Eats. Choose the right cow, start a nice fire, magic begins!

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Fajita On A Stick

I am in the middle of a bedroom remodel this week, but I will try to blog as much as I can.  I am turning my ugly mustard yellow bedroom with our old brown blankets from our last house into a wonderful little love nest.  The hubby is out-of-town so this whole thing will be a complete surprise for him, unless of course he somehow procures access to a computer in his travels.  Unlikely that he would use it for anything other than Facebook, and perhaps a dirty movie or two.  He is away from his wife or a few weeks…give the guy a break!

This recipe was a stroke of genius, especially since I was looking for something quick and easy to do at the start of my remodel.

Ingredients:

  • One medium-sized london broil steak
  • one pound shrimp
  • 3 bell peppers
  • lettuce leaves
  • an onion
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • chili powder

Start by soaking some skewers in some salted water.  If you have reusable metal skewers skip this step (duh!).  I find that the salt penetrates the wood and flavors your meat from the inside.

London Broil tends to be a tougher cut of steak: Something I would not typically eat on its own, but wonderful for fajitas.  I started off by chopping the steak into kebab sized pieces and putting approx 1/4 cup of  oil and cider vinegar with the juice from half a lemon over the top.  This will help to tenderize the tough cut of meat, in fact if you ant a totally kick-ass london broil marinate it for 24 hours.  You can use any acidic marinade you choose, or skip this step and go right on to adding your spices.  After the meat was chopped I lightly sprinkled the meat with all of the seasonings.  I did not measure here, just make sure everything is evenly coated.

It is not too pretty, but it is my wonderful meat prep!  I set the steak aside and stared peeling shrimp.  I peeled and removed the tail from mine, but if you don’t like the people you are cooking for you can just say, “screw it, they can do it themselves.” This will save you quite a bit of trouble.  I then dusted the shrimp with the spices and started the grill before building my skewers.  Full chimney of hardwood, dual zone fire, ect.  Skewering is pretty much a no brainer but there is one little trick…

Not everything cook to perfection at the same time or temp, so to avoid having raw meat, rubbery shrimp and burnt veggies you should keep your skewers all OCD and separate everything mono-food-matically.  Ok, I made that word up, however this is the way to get perfectly done everything.  You can keep the veggies on the cooler side of the grill shrimp on the middle and steak on hot.  I put my steak on the grill first and let that sear on the hot side for a couple of minutes each side.  Once you get really nice grill marks you are done, these wont take long to cook.  I brought them inside and let the meat rest while I added the veggies and shrimp.  Shrimp are done when they are pink and opaque, they can turn black pretty quick so watch them.  Veggies are done well…when they look like it.  Use your best judgement (not the same judgement that got you on that spring break video you know the one I am talking about).

I served mine up “family style” with a bunch of lettuce for fajita-making and some avocado to add in healthy fats.  Like with all things BBQ, it is a great way to serve a lot of people without slaving away over a hot stove all day (or microwave for your special “home-made” appetizers).

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Beef, Seafood, Uncategorized

 

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