- Beef brisket: I smoked six briskets overnight on my Caldera Tallboy using oak wood chunks and a variety of rubs.
- Pulled pork: I smoked four boneless pork shoulders overnight on my Weber Smokey Mountain and apple wood chunks using Chris Lilly's Championship Pork Shoulder recipe. This preparation required a rub and injection marinade prior to putting the pork on the smoker and a mop during the cook. Quite labor intensive, but the results were worth it. We served the pork with Paul Kirk's Memphis style BBQ sauce that we made from scratch using gluten free ingredients at the request of our guests.
- Chicken: We grilled chicken thighs on a kettle grill in the community center parking lot using Mike Mills Magic Dust rub and the Paul Kirk Memphis sauce.
- Cowpoke Pintos: We cooked six lbs. of pinto beans using a recipe from Smoke and Spice. Again, we used gluten free ingredients, and I added about a pound of brisket burnt ends to add flavor. I contemplated adding fresh cilantro but ultimately decided not to. I personally love cilantro in beans, but it does add a strong flavor component that some people (and kids in particular) don't like.
- Corn on the cob: We grilled corn on the kettle grill and basted it with a butter/vinegar/lemon juice recipe from Smoke and Spice.
- Roasted butternut squash: Sharon really came through on this one. She roasted 10 lbs. of pre-cut butternut squash with brown sugar, butter, salt and pepper. The pre-cut squash wasn't the most cost-effective way to do this, but from a time/labor perspective, it was essential. Several guests said this was their favorite dish, and I suspect we'll be having this at home in the future.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
First of all, thanks for reading my blog. The response has been very encouraging, and I especially appreciate the comments and return visits. It seems I may be doing SOMETHING right here. That said, I've decided to start a new non-blog, or main, site. The new site will be where I post Degüello BBQ Team information such as the team calendar, competition results, photo gallery, and info on my fledgling catering business. I'll still post on the blog, but I envision the main site as a repository for information that doesn't necessarily fit the blog format. Here's the link:
As noted on the new site, I am still building it and much, much more content is on the way. However, I wanted to go live as soon as possible so I could get feedback and refine the site as it takes shape. I invested some time (and funds) into the construct of the new site, so I'm really depending on reader comments and input. You can comment here, or send me your thoughts via the "contact me" tab on the main site. Again, thanks for reading. And now you'll have to excuse me as I have a major snowstrom to dig out of......
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Today our office participated in a silent auction for the Combined Federal Campaign here in DC. I put together a barbecue themed basket for the auction that included two bottles of Palmina wine from Lompoc CA, the books Peace, Love and Barbecue and Smoke and Spice, a Weber spatula and tongs, meat thermometer, a jar of sauce and rub that I made (thanks Chris Lilly and Mike Mills respectively for your Memphis style sauce and Magic Dust recipes)and bags of cherry and oak chips and cast iron smoker box (I built the basket for someone who doesn't have a "real" smoker).
We raised the second highest amount of all the baskets, and best of all my officemate won the auction. But the REALLY best thing for the winner of the basket is that I offered to volunteer my expertise to help him utilize the contents. And don't worry Jonathan, I've got bottles of Palmina at home already, so yours are safe. In an abundance of caution though, you might want to put the Barbera and Lagrein in a difficult to find location when I come over for drinks, er, cooking school.....
Maine Grilling Woods
Peace, Love and Barbecue
Cooking With The Jamisons
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I eventually found an online deal for discounted WSMs, but there was still the issue of adding more temp control hardware. So I called The BBQ Guru, told them what I was doing and asked if they had a suggestion. BBQ Guru's Bob Trudnak suggested I look at their Caldera del Fuego Tallboy smoker. Bob, I want to thank you for that suggestion, because for the amount of money I would've spent on four WSMs and additional temp control hardware I got a single versatile cooker that serves as a hot/cold smoker, grill, and deep fryer (hopefully I didn't miss any other uses). It holds up to 16 racks and is sized so standard steam table pans slide right in. And of course it's ducted for my CyberQ II.
I've used it twice so far, and I'm really pleased with the results it produces. There's a bit of a learning curve with maintaining a stable temperature, but nothing major. After using Kingsford Competition briquettes on the first cook and having the fire go out overnight, I switched to Wicked Good hardwood lump charcoal the second time and got a much more steady, long lasting burn. So much so that the smoker actually overshot the selected temperature while I was sleeping. Partially my fault, though, as I had the Tallboy "buttoned up" in its cold weather jacket and outside temps didn't drop as much as forecast.
The second cook was a bigger one. 20 lbs. worth of Boston butt, four racks of St. Louis style ribs, one full packer brisket and a brisket flat. I cooked the pork butts and brisket overnight on Wicked Good lump and oak and hickory chunks, and after pulling them around 7:00 AM I topped off the charcoal, added some apple wood chunks and the ribs. The office holiday party celebrants raved about the pulled pork, ribs and brisket, and I even got a few inquiries about whether I'd consider catering. Since I've already got my first job this month, I'm hoping I can get some more.
One more thing I want to mention about The BBQ Guru. As good their products are, their customer service is just as good or better. In addition to BBQ Bob taking time to give me advice on using the Tallboy and preparing for my big catering event, Sarah in sales has been a big help. She's made sure that orders got to me within 24-48 hours if I needed them in a hurry. And she's very nice, too. Thanks Sarah and Bob!
Although I'll still use my WSM for smaller cooks at home, the Caldera del Fuego Tallboy will see plenty of use in 2010 as Sharon and I make our first foray into the world of competitive BBQ.
One of my pork butts. It came pretty much as you see it, and I used my new Misono Ux-10 Gyutou knife to do a little more trimming. The Misono has instantly become my "go to" knife. I read about it in Cooks Illustrated, and it's worth every penny.
Rubbed and injected pork. I used Chris Lilly's Peach Butt injection marinade and rub recipe
Rubbed brisket using my favorite coffee based rub. I have no idea how the (empty) Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale bottle sitting on the sink got there.....
Pork and brisket in the Caldera. Notice the amount of free space in the smoker. I could've easily done 3-4 times as much meat if necessary
And now the recipes and product references:
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Tonight we christened our new, $400 Krups deep fryer (thanks to my coworkers who contributed an incredibly generous $370 towards a Williams-Sonoma gift certificate that facilitated the purchase). And what better way to christen that bad boy than to cook my favorite dish from Chuy's Tex-Mex Cafe, Elvis Fried Chicken. It's a pretty simple dish, but done properly, it's a sublime piece of fried goodness.
2 cups Anaheim Green chiles roasted -- chopped
5 Tomatillas cooked -- pureed
2 teaspoons Onion -- minced
1 teaspoons Mexican oregano -- dried
1 clove Garlic -- minced
1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 teaspoons Pepper
2 teaspoons Cornstarch
2 tablespoons Water -- to dissolve the cornstarch
Makes about 6 cups
Combine all the ingredients except the cornstarch and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Add the cornstarch and stir well. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes more, until well thickened. Serve over Fritos or as an enchilada sauce.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thanks everyone for continuing to check in and read my blog. Sharon and I have had an incredible time in Central California tasting wine as well as Santa Maria style BBQ. In fact, in addition to the 14 bottles of wine and 10 bottles of beer shipped (so far; we're visiting the Stone brewery in Escondido today) and the five wine clubs joined, I am taking home a special souvenir. Here's my Santa Maria style tailgater grill. Picked it up at the santa Maria Home Depot for about 35% off retail:
The hand crank raises and lowers the cooking grate so you can get the exact amount of heat desired. I'm replacing the original cooking grate with a stainless from the manufacturer, and after my red oak chunks and the grate arrive in the mail, we're going to try it out with tri-tip, pinquito beans and Susie Q rub (from Albertsons in Buellton). I've got a feeling this tailgater is going to quickly become a favorite of mine.
Susie Q Santa Maria BBQ Page
A few more pictures from our adventures:
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Short post on Saturday's beef ribs. I found these at Whole Foods for $2.49/lb and they were just too good to pass up! Once again I used Pork Barrel BBQ Rub and smoked them on a charcoal briquette and hickory wood chunk fire at 225F for about 5.5 hours. I also basted them with Paul Kirk's Red Eye Barbecue Beef Mop and foiled for the last hour.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Saturday I decided to try a new (to me) chicken prep method. The chicken somewhat made up for the lack of trick or treaters; however, we've got an almost full five pound bag of candy to polish off ourselves now....
For the chicken, I decided to use the competition method developed by the Pickled Pig BBQ Team. Pickled Pig has a great website and forum with lots of good information, advice and even a "pigpen" for jokes. Check it out if you haven't been there before:
The Pickled Pig
I made a few modifications to the Pickled Pig prep with regard to rub and sauce, primarily because I didn't have the products they use. For the rub, I used Tom Douglas Rub With Love for Chicken. This morning, I researched the ingredients and found that along with the typical BBQ rubs ingredients like paprika, ancho chile and brown sugar, it also contains turmeric and star anise. It did provide an interesting flavor that was unlike most chicken I cook.
Tom Douglas Rub With Love
I used Pork Barrel BBQ sauce (they're in my links list) mixed with pineapple juice.
One of the objectives of the Pickled Pig Method is to get "bite through" chicken skin. Cooking chicken low and slow can yield nice, juicy meat. However, it typically yields rubbery, unappetizing skin. In the competitive BBQ community, the generally accepted "gold standard" is properly seasoned, juicy chicken with non-rubbery skin that you can easily bite through.
I know that many people prefer skinless chicken, but for this prep bite through skin is what we're shooting for. I'm not going to try and replicate every step of the Pickled Pig's outstanding post on their method here because:
- They did a much better job than I could ever do in this blog
- Frankly, it's not too terribly appetizing
- Use chicken thighs that you de-bone and trim yourself
- Remove the skin and scrape the fat off the underside of the skin
- Replace the skin on the de-boned, trimmed thighs
- Braise the thighs in a margarine filled aluminum pan for 30 minutes
- Remove the thighs from the pan and cook the thighs on indirect heat
- Finish on direct high heat
- Using the Pickled Pig Method, I was actually able to achieve bite through skin on about half the thighs I tried. For my first try with this method, I was pretty happy with that outcome.
- Again, the lack of adequate light on my patio was a hindrance. If I could've seen better I would've turned the thighs earlier. In my opinion, the skin color was a little dark.
- I didn't make an attempt to make all the thighs an identical size via aggressive trimming. I'll do that next time, but for this first attempt I just wanted to get the thighs done.
- I used toothpicks to hold the skin on a few thighs. Turned out that was not necessary as the the fat in the skin rendered and held it nicely on the meat.
- I'm going to try a different rub next time. Although the Tom Douglas rub was good, it didn't quite have the flavor profile I was looking for in this application. I will probably use the Tom Douglas rub as more of a stand-alone condiment for cooking chicken without BBQ sauce.
- The Pork Barrel BBQ sauce worked well. I may experiment with straight, uncut sauce next time so I get a bolder flavor and thicker sauce.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
A few observations:
- I think I went just a wee bit heavy on the rub. The heat was just a little too prominent for my taste. Even so, they were still delicious.
- I had to step away from the smoker for several hours, so I was unable to spritz the ribs with apple juice during the whole cooking process. They seemed a little dry on the outside; however, the sauce/juice/foil step seemed to moisten them up noticeably. Plus the simultaneous sauce/juice application made the sauce a little thin and it didn't give me the nice coating I usually get with this recipe.
- Next time, I will stay by the smoker and spritz with juice at regular intervals so I don't feel the need to foil. And I'll go a little lighter on the rub.
Saturday night I smoked a 6 lb. Boston Butt. I used an injection marinade from a Chris Lilly recipe and coated the butt with a liberal dusting of Pork Barrel BBQ rub. I smoked the butt for 13 hours over charcoal and apple wood chunks at 210F. I foiled for the last hour and increased the smoker temp to 250F to push up the internal temp of the butt before I had to go to work. I would've preferred to let it stay on the smoker a little longer, but due to time constraints I pulled it at 188F.
The butt on the smoker at 7:30 AM:
Andy about to attempt to put the whole pan in his mouth:
Chris Lilly injection marinade
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
And here's a link to a video of Guy Fieri's visit to Captain Chuck-a-Mucks:
Chuck and Guy Fieri
And the address:
21088 MARINA RD.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Here's the brisket after I took it off the smoker. It was on for 14 hours at 220F on charcoal and pecan wood chunks. I decided to foil the brisket when it reached 170F and add some extra mop sauce before closing the foil. When I pulled it, the brisket was definitely moist; however, I was a little disappointed with the softness of the bark.
Pork tenderloin rolled with bacon:
Coffee Brisket Rub
2 Tbs. paprika
2 Tbs. garlic powder
2 Tbs. onion powder
2 Tbs. black pepper
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 Tbs. ground coffee (not used coffee grounds)
2 Tbs. kosher salt
1 Tbs. mustard powder
1 Tbs. white pepper
1 Tbs. chili powder
1 Tsp. cayenne pepper powder
Mix this rub well and store in a closed container. It makes enough brisket dry rub for one large beef brisket. Enjoy this one with a pot of fresh-brewed mountain grown Columbian!
Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloins
Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce
Coca Cola Marinade (go to page 65)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
First off, props to "Jumpin' Jim", whose recipe I used. I've not been able to track down the actual Jim, but from what I understand he was a competitive BBQ cook in the Midwest back in the earlier part of the decade. Second, thanks to my friends Tom and Christy, the Virginia BBQ Pirates, who told me about this recipe. Tom and Christy are sharing competition advice with me, and based on their success (and the taste of their entries in Front Royal last weekend), I'd probably do well to listen up real close.
- Next time I'll go lighter on the rub. The chicken was pretty spicy.
- I wasn't cooking these thighs for competition, so I wasn't too concerned with the appearance. Even so, they looked OK when I pulled them from the pan.
- The Cowpoke Pintos recipe called for 4-5 diced serrano chiles. I only added two, and trust me that was enough. In my opinion, 4-5 chiles would've made these beans too hot for most people.
Jumpin' Jim's Chicken Thighs Recipe
Virginia BBQ Pirates
Cowpoke Pinto Beans
The marinated and rubbed chicken at 2:30 cooking time and 163F. I pulled one thigh off the WSM and tried it right on the spot. Great moist texture and a nice subtle flavor from the Italian dressing.