Sunday, December 7, 2008

Two Pork Loin – 8 and 6.5 Pounders

We stopped by a Vons on the way home from Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll tell you what – this is a good time to shop for meats, right after Thanksgiving. We picked up a 22 pound turkey for under $7 and about $100 worth of pork loin for about $30. Good prices!

The turkey is for a dog club holiday party in a few weeks. The pork loin for a Loin’s Club Christmas Party a week after Thanksgiving. The ‘best by’ dates were still far off, so the loin stayed in the refrigerator. There isn’t enough room for the bird, so it went into the freezer.

Jen asked to have one loin with a Chinese BBQ marinade that we have used before and really liked. Wasn’t sure how it would smoke up, but I said “sure!”. It was being smoked the day after her birthday after all… The other one I wasn’t quite sure what to do with. That is until I opened the cabinet to check out some rubs and saw the apple rub. For some reason that jumped out at me as a perfect flavor for the pork. It was D-Dog’s Apple rub.

Started off by marking the Chinese BBQ marinade. I multiplied the recipe by eight since the loin I was going to use was an 8 pound giant. After making it I knew it still wouldn’t cover it, but just couldn’t bring myself to make even more. So I figured I’d turn it as few times before bed and again in the AM.

Prep of the Chinese BBQ marinade

Here is the finished marinade…

finished Chinese BBQ marinade

Here is the loin after sitting all night and being turned. It looked like it took on the marinade pretty well. There wasn’t enough room in the refrigerator for a pot or bowl big enough to fit the loin and marinade, so I coolered it on ice with a thermometer over night.

Pork loin in Chinese BBQ marinade

I’ll include the full recipe for the Chinese BBQ marinade at the end of this post. And yes – it does work well in the smoker.

The 6.5 pound loin got a mix of my secret sauce and a liberal rub down of the D-Dog’s Apple rub. It was plastic wrapped and put back in the refrigerator for the night. Sorry, I failed to get a photo here.

In the morning Mojo (one of “the” Big Dog’s) helped by testing out some of the oak I was going to use…

Mojo "testing" the oak

After the wood was declared ready for use I got a full chimney of lump charcoal going and got ready to go.

This is only my second time using this smoker. I know that it leaks air like crazy – need to work on that. I was also working with a new thermometer today. The temps were all over the place and finally settled down after nearly an hour.

Get that smoke going!

One of these days I need to spend some time working on sealing up the doors on this smoker. Don’t really need to open the chimney much with all the leaks this guy has!

Just a few leaky spots...

I figured what I would do is put on the larger loin for 60-90 minutes before putting on the smaller one. Hoping that they would finish about the same time. So I got some fresh oak on the fire to get the smoke going, and dropped in the Apple rubbed loin. If you caught my error here you were faster than I was. It wasn’t until I went to get the Chinese BBQ loin about an hour later that I realized I did them backwards! I dropped the 6.5 pound loin first! Oh well – that’s how it goes…

So the Apple rub went on first…

Apple run pork loin

Temps were a little high for the first hour too – on top of my mistake! So it was crusin’ to temp a lot faster than I had expected. Maybe because for the first hour the temp was 25* higher on the grill than I thought it was! That could have just a little to do with it.

Apple rub pork loin

I pulled and foiled the Apple rub loin at about 145* F. Then I added the Chinese BBQ loin…

Chinese BBQ pork loin

I worked to keep the temp in the middle of the smoker at grate level around 120* – 130*. My target of 125* was fairly steady. After the Chinese BBQ loin went in I added another little piece of oak to get some fresh smoke going. Also added a little fresh lump first to keep the temps going.

I used a lot less charcoal than on my last smoke (Pork Butt). I think there was less wind, and the lump burns a bit hotter, and I was using some whole oak wood too. I think it was a lot to do with the wind. Looking back at the photos for that last smoke I recall how windy it was – we had to wrap the smoker to keep the heat up!

The smaller loin came off the pit when it hit 160*. It would have to sit for a bit since it went on too early and cooked faster than I had expected. I decided then to not cut these till just before leaving – in the hope of keeping them as moist as possible.

One close, one just getting going

I foiled the 8 pounder when it hit 150*. It came off at about 160*. It would have to sit a little over 90 minutes before I would be ready to cut.

Here’s the Chinese BBQ loin sliced and ready for the pan. This one was really nice when served. I foiled it and pulled it earlier than the smaller one. So it was REALLY juicy. Which was nice because it held up better to sitting in the oven for a bit – it was still nice and juicy when served.

Sliced Chinese BBQ pork loin

And here’s the Apple rub loin all sliced up. This one turned out to be just a little dry, but not too bad. I cooked it a little too far, especially since it ended up sitting in the oven for awhile before being served.

Apple rub pork loin ready to eat.

Something must have gone right – I got lots of compliments on the pork throughout the night.

I would certainly do pork loin again. I think the key is to foil early, and cook to medium doneness (150*) and pull. It will continue to cook more, so if you go any further than that it will start to dry out.

OK – I promised to include the Chinese BBQ pork marinade at the end, and here we are…

Chinese BBQ Pork – from the “Chinese Cooking Class Cookbook” put out by the Editors of Consumer Guide back in 1980. This cookbook is dirty because we use it a lot, there are some good recipes in there.

[ Note: this recipe is really for an appetizer dish (for 2 pork tenderloins at 12 oz each) – so it doesn’t make a ton – but do the math and make what you need, it is an easy one. I made 8 times what it calls for and wasn’t able to submerge my 8 pound pork loin, but it was OK since I turned it and had it marinating for 10 hours. ]

1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons dry red wine (I used a Cabernet Sauvignon we opened for cooking a few weeks ago]
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons red food coloring, if desired (I did not do this)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 clove garlic, crushed (I cut it up a little too)
1 green onion, cut in half (I cut it into about 4-inch pieces)

 

What is your favorite method or trick for pork loin in the smoker?

.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hard to go wrong with a Ribeye on the grill

We usually get the nice, big, think ribeyes at Costco - and have always really enjoyed them. But, we weren't going to Costco and we wanted beef, and these ribeye's at the grocery looked pretty good. So...

Some kosher salt, a little pepper...

Put some oak chips on the grill and...

Time for dinner!

As you would expect from ribeye's - nice and juicy and flavorful!

This is our favorite cut of meat to grill. But I have to say, we did a porterhouse recently (really recently - just the day before these!) that was fantastic!

It has been a good week, with a lot of beef on the grill. Need to get the smoker fired up though!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My First Pulled Pork

And the first time using the "new" smoker. Actually lugged it up to my friend Mike's place. Turn's out they had a family wedding the day before we planned to smoke, so we were going to be feeding about 17 family members.

 

I pulled two pork butts out of the freezer. They were just over 13 pounds together. Didn't get them out quite as soon as I had hoped, so turned to the CBBQA Forum to get some tips on faster defrost. In the end they were thawed late Saturday evening for a Sunday cook, so I rubbed them up with Bad Byron's Butt Rub and tossed them back in the refrigerator for morning.

We got a late start. Neither of us had done butt before. Mike had the coals going in the firebox before I got there, and we put the butts on just about 11:15 AM.

We added a small Tri-Tip and a sausage too. Also put a chicken on the rotisserie later too (used Butt Rub on it too, and it was tasty). The Tri-Tip and sausage went on about 2:15 PM. Pork butt was 131* internal temps at this time.

We added more soaked oak chips as we went along. We had the smoke box running with about a 10 degree difference from side to side. She was running about 210 at the hot side and 200 on the other.

We added a towel pretty quick - lots of air leaks. Going to have to work on that.  In the afternoon the winds picked up a little so we added the fancy brick mod to keep the towel on. It seemed to do pretty well keeping the drafts down. We took it off once to see what would happen - the temps shot up really fast. Was also glad to see it drop back down fast when the towel went back on. 

By 6 PM the natives were getting restless. So we decided to pop up the heat and get things moving along. We had already lost one family that didn't want to wait any longer and had a long drive home. So we tossed on a oak branch piece. That caught and the temps went right up - so turned down the air flow - kept her at about 250/260. At this point the pork was at 166 internal - as you can see in the photo to the left.

We wrapped in foil a little after 6. We pulled the meat before we really wanted to, but we were going to loose everyone, and the other meats were all done. We ended up pulling it at about 7 PM and the internal temp was at 174*.

Below you can see what I chopped for Mike's family to gobble up - yes chopped, I wanted to get it done fast at this point. On the cutting board are also the Tri-Tip and the sausage. That Tri-Tip was tasty. But so was the pork! Next to that is what I pulled after getting home that evening.

 

I pulled 1 1/2 butts and vacuum packed them up in 2 serving sizes. There was probably about 16 servings at least left there.

I'll be enjoying this meat for some time, and I learned a lot on the cook too. Not bad for my first run at pulled pork! I think we are going to try brisket. None of us have done a brisket before either. This is my kind of learnin'!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Review: BJ's Barbecue (Sparks, Nevada)

I happened to be in Reno at the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO) annual conference a few weeks ago. Myself and two coworkers piled into a rental car with the Neverlost GPS system and took off for old Reno in search for food. We cruised the main drag a few times looking at the odd sights. I tossed out the idea of BBQ and Brent thought that was a great idea.

We tried a few variations on "BBQ" in the Neverlost and in the end it served us well by taking us to BJ's Barbeque in Sparks.

Sitting in the booth with a Newcastle on tap was a good start. I happened to mention that I am a member of the California BBQ Association and Brent was very interested to learn more - turns out he is a BBQ fan too. Kevin was quite interested to sit back and ask questions about this form of cooking that we seemed to be so excited about.

Looking over the menu Brent and I both settled on the 1/2 pound of pulled pork and we talked Kevin into the 7 ribs. I went with the coleslaw and dirty rice for sides. I had never actually had dirty rice before, so thought this would be a good time to go for it.

I wasn't thrilled by the coleslaw. It was OK, but not great. I didn't eat it all. The rice was dirty - a little spicy. I'm not that great with spicy, so that wasn't a plus for me. But it was pretty good. Better than the slaw.

Brent thought the corn bread was too sweet. I really liked it.

Brent and I both enjoyed the pulled pork. It wasn't fantastic, but it was quite good. I would get it again for sure. My plate didn't have any pork left on it, that's for sure.

The service was quick and friendly. Our waitress sat down in the booth and joked with us a bit and made suggestions when we asked. Friendly but not pushy.

We were there on a week night - I think it was a Monday evening. Two other booths had folks in them when we got there, so it was quiet.

Did I mention Newcastle on tap?  =)    
Sorry I didn't get any photos.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Enter the Team Pork Fiesta Bowl Sweepstakes!

[ Here's a contest that folks will like to enter for a variety of reasons. ]

 

Fire up the grill and bring along the mega phones, foam fingers and team jerseys. The Other White Meat® and Ray Lampe (a.k.a. Dr. BBQ), tailgating expert and author of newly-released The NFL Gameday Cookbook (Chronicle Books) will be partying in the parking lot with lucky "Team Pork" fans as part of this year's "Team Pork Fiesta Bowl Sweepstakes!"

Be sure to enter yourself in this "draft!"  One national winner will win:

  • All-expense paid trip for two to the 2009 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
  • Two tickets to the Fiesta Bowl game
  • VIP pass to a private tailgating party with Dr. BBQ himself, Ray Lampe

To enter the online sweepstakes, simply fill out the information below and click submit!  You can also check-out the official rules for details on the mail-in sweepstakes.

Contest begins on September 10th, 2008 and will run through December 1st, 2008.

One lucky winner and a guest will be selected on Dec. 8, 2008!

 

Follow link to enter: http://www.theotherwhitemeat.com/aspx/promos/tailgatesweeps.aspx

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Porterhouse over Flame

Well, the smoker has been way too underused. Heck, I haven't even used the new (used) one I got. Once we are back from vacation that has to change.

But until then we are making good use of the gas grill. That lamb was different and very good. Also been doing a lot of burgers for lunch mostly. Mixing in some pork. Salt and pepper for the wife - I've been mixing in some D-Dog's in a few of mine. Twice we even mixed in some other goodies for gourmet burgers. Oh ya - and some ribeye's too.

But today was the day for the porterhouse! We splurged on a really nice cut from a local store called Major Market. It's a little higher end on the grocery store scale, and they have a nice meat counter.

Salted. A little pepper.

On the grill. A few oak chips as well.

Just pulled from the grill.

Juicy. Tasty. Very nice...

This is worth a little extra cost. OK, so not for every weekend. But definitely something to remember for those nice events or a special weekend.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Want a Free Grill & $10,000 Backyard Makeover??

Crisco and Coleman have teamed up to bring us a "Grill-A-Day Giveaway". 100 Daily winners of a Roadtrip LE Grill. And one Grandprise winner, who will get a $10,000 backyard makeover - with a Coleman Series 8200 gas grill.

Enter daily for a chance to win at: http://criscogrilladay.amgpromo.com/ 

 

Good luck!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Can a Hamburger be Gourmet?

Why not? You see enough of them in restaurants for $10 or more!

My wife read an article in a food magazine that had a fancy recipe for hamburger patties - we took parts of that and modified a little.

 

We minced sweet onions, mushrooms and yes, even carrot.

The original recipe calls for roasted garlic too - that sounds fantastic, but we didn't get that far. Although, the first time we made these I did add crushed garlic, and that was a nice touch.

 

Tossed these on the hot grill and cooked through to just passed FDA recommended internal temperature of 160 degrees.

 

Toasted up wheat buns on the grill.

Add some fresh cut cheddar to melt, add your favorite toppings...YUM

 

This is the way to have a burger. Just a little extra work, but worth it.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Grillin' Some Lamb

We got a lamb shoulder chop (0.6 lbs) to bring out to my dad's for Father's Day to grill up - give him something special while the rest of us ate burgers and hotdog's. Well, it was a good plan, but we left the darn thing in the fridge at home!

So I finally got around to it tonight. Wasn't sure what to do, so I popped onto the BBQ Brethren site and did a search on "lamb" - found a lead on the second post I checked. Olive Oil, Garlic, Salt, Pepper and Rosemary - I can do that...well, almost. I didn't have fresh rosemary and didn't want to dig out the spices box - so grabbed some spices we got recently from Penzeys Spices. I decided on the Turkish Oregano in place of the rosemary.

Rubbed it up and popped it back in the fridge for a bit. Fired up the grill to pre-heat. Got it up to 300 degrees (F) and dropped some dry oak chips on the grill above the two outside burners.

Dropped the lamb on while all three burners were at full to sear it up. 30 seconds, turn 90 degrees, 30 seconds, flip, 30 seconds turn again, 30 more seconds and turned the middle burner (where the meat is) off to cook the rest of the way by indirect heat.

 

On a side note - we are going on an Alaska cruise in a few weeks, so we splurged a bit more than normal and got me a new digital camera. This was my first time grilling/BBQing with the new camera, so I took a few shots. Tons of features and settings to figure out!

 

Also had some help from Baron Herzog (2004 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon). Not bad. First time trying this vineyard. I drank a lot of it, so it must be OK!

Gave Jen a small bite. She proclaimed that we would be getting some lamb on the cruise ship - so I'd say it was a success.  =)

Man, was this meat tender! This was my first time cooking lamb by any method. It was better after a little more salt at the table - but other than that - I would certainly grill lamb again.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Wishland's Que'n for Kids BBQ Competition

Well, for various reasons I won't get into here I was not able to attend this event after all. Which is too bad, since I was really looking forward to it. But some things do take priority over BBQ - not many, but some do...

Twenty two teams turned out for this event - including a lot of rookie teams. It sounds like the turn out by the public was good too, and that the location was very nice (Canyon RV Park). Folks reported that everything was very well planned - which is fantastic for a first year event. Well done Wishland!

People are already talking about next year.

Here are some photo sets:

CBBQA Wishland Competition web page 

BBQ Junkie's Photos 

Silvie Curry's Photos

Harry Soo's Photos 

Event Photographer's Photos

Did the event go over well? Let's just put it this way - Que'n for Kids 2009 will be Saturday, April 18, 2009 at Canyon RV Park! I'd say it was a success - planning this far ahead!!

Short article on the event in the OC Register!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

How to Pitch a BBQ Sponsor

This post comes from the BBQ Brethren forums where Ray Lampe (Dr BBQ) was kind enough to post this letter that he had recently used to pitch an event (in this case the American Royal) to a potential sponsor. Ray only asks that you don't use it word for word, but do feel free to borrow from the ideas it contains.

I certainly don't need this right now, but who knows, maybe down the road a bit! One can always hope...

 

Hi guys.
I just got done with this and thought I'd share. Here's a letter I just sent to a potential sponsor. I met a chef that works with Sponsor X and with his help I hope to get them on board for the American Royal. I omitted their name and some personal info but other than that this is what I sent. Notice that most of the document is about how great this will be for them and what we can do for them. We'll see how it works out. Feel free to use the ideas here, but please don't use this word for word.

 


March 27, 2007

Hi Todd,
It was great to see you at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Per our conversation last week I’m sending my thoughts about the possibility of cooking at The American Royal Barbecue this October in Kansas City representing Sponsor X. I think this would be a fun partnership and I’d look forward to working with you on a Sponsor X barbecue sauce as well as recipes featuring Sponsor X for all of our other dishes for the weekend.

The categories we’d be competing in over three days would be:
• Invitational Chicken
• Invitational Ribs
• Invitational Pork Shoulder
• Invitational Beef Brisket
• Barbecue Sauce
• Vegetable side dish
• Bean side dish
• Potato side dish
• Dessert
• Open Sausage
• Open Chicken
• Open Ribs
• Open Pork Shoulder
• Open Beef Brisket

With a little luck and some good cooking we could turn our creations into award winning recipes that many Sponsor X lovers could enjoy. The dates for the event are October 4th through the 7th and it’s held in Kansas City. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best,
Ray Lampe

About the event
The American Royal is a month long livestock show and a 100 year old institution in Kansas City. The American Royal Barbecue was added in 1980 and it has since become the biggest barbecue contest in the world. The American Royal Barbecue is the opening event of the American Royal and the season finale for the competitive Barbecue circuit. “The World Series of Barbecue” is spread over 20 acres in Kansas City’s historic Stockyards District, and boasts nearly 500 teams. They’ll be competing in a highly regarded invitational barbecue cook-off, the world’s largest side dish and dessert cook-off and the open barbecue cook-off which draws all of the top competition teams from around the country. Combine this with a barbecue-related trade expo and this is truly a major foodie event. This year “The Royal” as the barbecue is known, expects 75,000 people to pass through the gates for the three day event. Barbecue teams and visitors came from 30 states and a few countries last year and they represented sponsors such as Bayer, Harrah’s, Royal Oak Charcoal, Coors, Budweiser, The Kansas City Board of Trade, Sam’s Club, UNB Bank, Cerner Corp, Sprint and Premium Standard Farms. The teams host big fun parties on Friday night and. a good time is had by all. www.americanroyal.com

About me
My name is Ray Lampe aka Dr. BBQ. I am a cookbook author and product demo chef. I write a monthly column for Fiery Foods Magazine and I am the company chef for the Big Green Egg grill company. My third cookbook will be out in June 2007 from St. Martin’s Press in NYC but my real background is as a Barbecue Champion. Among my many barbecue awards are a handful of top five finishes at The American Royal Barbecue. I am already qualified to cook in the invitational contest this year at the American Royal. You can learn a little more about me at www.drbbq.com and I can send a full bio if needed.

What we can do
Because of my experience and long relationship with the American Royal I’m confidant we can get a high profile location for our team this year. We would enter the contest under a blatantly plugging fun name such as The Sponsor X Guys or Sponsor X the Bar-B-Q! We can put up any signage we’d like and use our space to promote at will. I’d have to speak with them just in case there was a conflicting major sponsor but that seems highly unlikely. We could hand out samples and recipe cards and have a drawing to collect business cards and contact info. We can host spokespeople or characters or props of any kind as long as it fits within our space. We can also host any VIPs and business related guest for dinner and drinks on Friday and Saturday night. We will use Sponsor X in all of our dishes for all of the contests and with my background and Todd’s recipe skills we will do our best to bring home some awards for the team. The awards would be icing on the cake because we’d have already spent our days promoting Sponsor X to the huge crowd and the media in attendance. There is always a full slate of local and national television on site as well as print journalists. With good advance communication I’m confident The American Royal folks will give us a heads up to all of them and of course we could stir up some of our own with a press release from Sponsor X.

What we need
I’ve cooked at the American Royal many times and I can determine and supply everything we’ll need such as an enclosed tent, a mobile kitchen, fencing, tables, chairs and enough supplies to feed and water everyone in sight for three days. We could not be responsible for supplying the signage but will work with anyone to get the appropriate signs to the event and get them displayed at the site. Of course we’d have travel and lodging expenses for the week for Todd, myself and a few other workers as well as logo’d up shirts hats and aprons. A total budget of $00 would allow us to put on a great show in a first class fashion at The American Royal.

 

This is some very useful info for anyone working on a pitch to a potential sponsor. If that person is you - all the best!

Friday, March 14, 2008

ThermoWorks – Plug Mount Thermapen – Use any Type K probe. Small and Accurate.

This Thermapen is pretty nice - you can swap out the probes so that you can use the right tool for the job without having to have a full second (or third or...) unit. Not the cheapest piece of equipment, but very handy and fast.

Thermapen with Socket for Interchangeable probes

  • Available with 1° or 0.1° resolution
  • -50 to 1472°F (-50 to 850°C)
  • Quick reading with large LCD display
  • Rotate tip to turn on and off
  • Reads Type K thermocouple probes

Check out our new Thermapen 3 and 7 with interchangeable type K thermocouple probes for complete versatility. Connect our new plastic airline safe probe, a penetration meat probe, or a surface grill probe all with a single Thermapen for fast response and accurate performance. If we don’t have a standard probe to fit your application we’ll make one that does.

With one-handed use, there’s no worry about dangling probe wires or finding a place to set your meter while you position the probe. For the cost of those typical replacement probes, you can buy a new Thermapen and tell your boss how much money you saved.

Specifications

Range:
Thermapen 3:-50°F to 1472°F (-50°C to 850°C)
Thermapen 7:-49.9°F to 199.9°F (-49.9°C to 199.9°C)

Resolution:
Thermapen 3: 1° C or F
Thermapen 7: 0.1° C or F

Accuracy:
Thermapen 3: ±1% ±1 digit
Thermapen 7: ±0.7°F (0.4°C) ±1 digit

Battery:
12 volt MN21 - 100 hours

Sensor:
Type K Thermocouple (not included)

Display:
0.5" (12.7mm) LCD

Dimensions:
0.75" x 1.85" x 6" (19 x 47 x 153mm)

Weight:
3.1oz (87 grams)

SEE MORE DETAILS: ThermoWorks – Plug Mount Thermapen.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Freezing and Food Safety

This information is from a USDA website. There is much more than I have posted here so please follow links to the site to get more great information. This is a common area for questions - what can I freeze and for how long? Take a look at the site for a lot of helpful info!

What Can You Freeze?
You can freeze almost any food. Some exceptions are canned food or eggs in shells. However, once the food (such as a ham) is out of the can, you may freeze it.
Being able to freeze food and being pleased with the quality after defrosting are two different things. Some foods simply don't freeze well. Examples are mayonnaise, cream sauce and lettuce. Raw meat and poultry maintain their quality longer than their cooked counterparts because moisture is lost during cooking.

Is Frozen Food Safe?
Food stored constantly at 0 °F will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage. Freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and foodborne illness.

Does Freezing Destroy Bacteria & Parasites?
Freezing to 0 °F inactivates any microbes -- bacteria, yeasts and molds - - present in food. Once thawed, however, these microbes can again become active, multiplying under the right conditions to levels that can lead to foodborne illness. Since they will then grow at about the same rate as microorganisms on fresh food, you must handle thawed items as you would any perishable food.

Read more! --> Freezing and Food Safety

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Free Preview - WSJ.com

Sawdust Shock: A Shortage Looms As Economy Slows

By Joel Millman

Ernie Johnson figured $100-a-barrel oil was bound to happen someday. But the 58-year-old businessman Missoula, Mont., never thought he'd see sawdust at $100 a ton.

The price of sawdust has soared since 2006, up from about $25 a ton to more than $100 in some markets. Blame the housing slump: Fewer new homes mean fewer trees cut for use in construction, which leads to less sawdust and other wood waste, driving up the price.

Free Preview - WSJ.com 

----

Folks on a number of the BBQ related forums are talking about this shortage and predicting that the cost of charcoal will be going up soon as a result of the shortage. Time will tell.

Guess this is another reason to move to a stick burner.
Maybe one day I will be one!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Get Your Grill On - » Product Review: J&D’s Bacon Salt

Thought you might like this review by Chuck Marting on his "Get Your Grill On" site. It is a through review, even with photos.

Bacon is one of my favorite foods, in my home my kids have grown up thinking its one of the basic food groups! In fact one of there all time favorite meals for dinner is an all American BLT! Bacon in our home is a food group all by itself!

So it was no big surprise that I would have to try a seasoning whose motto is “Everything Should Taste like Bacon!” Of course I’m talking about a seasoning known as “Bacon Salt”.
Bacon Salt is the brain child of Justin and Dave who love grilling, hanging out with family and friends and of course eating there favorite food bacon! (my kind of people!)

Read more: Get Your Grill On - » Product Review: J&D’s Bacon Salt

What a Day

The Backyard event was canceled. Then it was rescheduled for a new location, same day - all within about 1 hour!

Whooo Hoooo!

What a group - pulling out all the stops to make this happen. That's great!

March Meat Madness is Upon Us!

This Saturday is the first California BBQ Association event that I will be going to - it is called a Backyard Competition. It is a mock competition for teams to get in some realistic practice with judging and everything - but with a bit less pressure. A great place to try out a new rub or smoking technique.

I have signed up to be a judge. Since it isn't a real competition I can also spend time hanging out with the teams and trying to pick up some BBQ tips. This will be great - I can hang out at the pits, and then also learn some things about judging!

I am hoping to get to a Certified BBQ Judge class this year. Then I can get my CBJ title and go to other real events as a judge. There is class in Nevada in May. Jen will be taking the class as well.

This will be a long day, but one that will be a lot of fun and I hope one that will also help my smoking efforts.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

What the fark?


I'm not quite sure what to make of this. My brother sent me a link to this......thing today since he knows I like to BBQ.

They call it the SteakHouse Grill.
I'm not sure what to call it! =)

Care to learn more? Follow the link below...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Fire it up with Sea Salt

Just saw this post on the BBQ Brethren forums. I've never tried this, but it sounds interesting.

"grillfella" out of LA posts that tossing some sea salt on your fire if it is dying out will spark it back to life.

Here's the post: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?p=565351#post565351

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Smoke Wood Poll (#1?) The Results!

Well, I saw the polling feature that the folks at Blogger added to the tool set, and thought I'd pop up a poll. Thought it would also be a very UNscientific way to gauge the traffic to this oh-so-popular blog.

A few thoughts before you hear the drum roll and get the exciting results...
I just put out there this poll that asked "Smoke Wood - soak it, or keep it dry?". I think I set it up for 3 months. And about 1 month into it I came to understand a critical flaw in the poll. I should have specified that I was asking about smoke wood that is added to smokers when using charcoal.

There are a lot (most?) of barbequers out there that just use wood for their fuel, and also get their smoke that way. They are not adding chunks or chips to their fire usually. And they certainly are not going to soak this wood before using it!

So the question was posed too broadly. Hence the "#1" in the post title. I may re-run this poll and be more specific.

Or not. I've also learned from forum friends at CBBQA that, in general, folks tend to soak wood chips, but not wood chunks. The chips would just burn off to quickly otherwise. But the chunks can hold their own.

So for now, that will be my charcoal and smoke wood plan.

OK - so if you are still interested after all of that, here are the results.

Soak the wood - 35% of the votes.
Keep it dry - 64% of the votes.

Where is that last remaining 1%? I have no idea. Ask Blogger.

Link Tips - Jan 26 2008

I thought that every so often I'd post a little about some links that I've been visiting recently. There is SO much BBQ information out there on the web that it is hard to find it all. And not all of it is worth your time. So these are a few that I've visited recently that I found something of interest on. This might all be old stuff to many of you, but I'm still pretty green and looking to learn. Hope you find some of these interesting and/or useful.

About.com - Pulled Pork: The Meat:
I know that pulled pork is one of the BBQ basics. But I have yet to do one. This will be my next big cook (but first it has to stop raining and I need to have some free time!). This is a fairly basic info page, but it covers everything. There are multiple links to continue on through the process from meat to sandwich.

Playing with Fire and Smoke - Smoking Woods:
I know, there are a lot of sites out there with information on different types of woods that can be used for smoking. Well, this is one of them. Short, simple, and some good basic information.

Playing with Fire and Smoke - Buckboard Bacon:
This is something that I do want to try one of these days - bacon. Yum! This page has some good info and some tasty photos.

Kingfish BBQ - The Water Pan Myth:
This URL worked yesterday, but not today, so hopefully the site comes back up. I've been hearing for sometime about using sand in your water pan in a vertical smoker. But I had yet to here WHY. So I did a quick Google search and this was the first page that came up, and it quickly laid out the reasoning. I'm going to try the sand in the pan on my next cook!

OK - that's it for now. More to come I am sure!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Babeque Wood link

Ran across this page that discusses various woods used for BBQ and has a nice table detailing the flavor of the wood and what meats it is most typically used for. Not a complete list, but covers the most common ones from what I see there.

Take a look here.

I don't agree with his notes on the age of wood - I think it needs to age at least six months. One month is probably still too green. And it can be older, just not toooooo old.

The 2008 SAVEUR 100

Why yes, 2008 has just begun, but that hasn't kept the fine folks over at Saveur magazine from coming out with their Top 100 list for the year. This article never really explains what it is the Top 100 of. I will guess it's the Top 100 food related things. Generic enough for ya? =)

None the less, I'm posting about it here because of the number one slot...

1 Most Beloved National Pastime
The frenzied grilling, the enormous barrel smokers, the piles of tender ribs—is it any wonder that COMPETITION BARBECUE is our favorite sport? Pluck, hubris, and good humor are on display in equal measure at these open-to-the-public, juried events, as backyard hobbyists, brandishing team names like Partners in Swine and Dr. Porkenstein, vie for glory against barbecue-circuit legends like Paul Kirk, of Manhattan's RUB restaurant. We're not alone in our predilections: over the past five years, the number of official barbecue contests around the country has grown from about 200 to more than 600, says Carolyn Wells, cofounder of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, competitive barbecue's main governing body, which sets contest guidelines and trains and accredits judges (there are now more than 8,000 of them). The best part about the sport: the fans are as generously compensated as the players. Attendees get to eat to their hearts' content and bond with fellow 'cue fanatics amid a haze of fragrant wood smoke.

To see what the other 99 items on the list are, please take a look here.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Waiting on the Rain

Northern California got pounded by a storm today. Here in the San Diego area we are supposed to get a small storm with just a little rain tonight, and the big daddy hitting Saturday AM and going all day. I've heard a wide range of rain amount forecasts. Supposedly we could expect up to 5 inches in one day here in Escondido. We can certain use the water in the region - but that's a lot for a single day - especially after the wildfires in October.

But, more to the point of this post. I'm sitting here on the porch in front of the grill with a pretty big chunk of rib eye cooking away. Tossed a small piece of Oak on the grill just for a little smoke. But we tend to like this big ole steaks with a nice salt coating, let to sit for about 20 monutes - then grilled up. Yum. The salt is just right on these bigger cuts. Melts in your mouth.

No rain yet. I'll be headed in soon to feed the wife and I. Then it's waiting time on the rain. I'm sure if this rain comes as expected we are going to loose the driveway again. Fun stuff...
--

Well, that was tasty! Too small, but very tender and good. Still no rain...

Pork Butt? What's Pork Butt??

Well, it's not the butt of the pig as you might expect from the name.

This page is actually very informative:
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/porkbuttselect.html

It has a good explanation of the cut, and lots of info on preparation too.

I've been craving pulled pork, so I think I'll try my first pork butt here soon.
HogWild BBQ has also been an informative blog that I've run across: http://hogwildbbq.blogspot.com/2007/04/pork-butt.html - Hog says that his pulled pork, when vacuum sealed and frozen, holds up really well. That's good for me because I always end up with way too much food - and I hate to waste it. I've got to work on finding folks to feed when I do large pieces of meat. Then again - if it freezes well, that can mean a nice lunch for me for some time!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Must-Have Instant Read Thermometer

The Thermapen by ThermoWorks. This is the tool to have when cooking.

No, they aren't cheap. But if the popularity of these guys on the various BBQ forums is any indication, and the positive review by folks like Alton Brown - then this is the tool to have to check the doneness of your meats.

Lots of colors to choose from. "Free" carrying case when you buy multiple Thermapens at once, etc.

Check them out here.


I've decided I'm worth it and I'm buying myself one with my holiday bonus from work.
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