Monday, December 26, 2011

Beef Brisket

Cooking brisket according to most - myself included - seems to be the hardest to master, but you "will" master it if you keep working at it. The single most important thing in my opinion is to know when the fork truly does go into the meat like butter to confirm the meat is tender enough. I have known that simple test and used it for years and have to admit that I never really benefited from it simply because I was too anxious to call it finished and could not force myself to continue cooking it any longer. The last few cooks I have been able to do that and the fork truly does go in like butter and only then can you find any chance to have cooked a great brisket as opposed to an average one.

THE PIT - It's the recipe and the person cooking the meat that gets the job done and not what type or brand cooker you use. When I cooked this 16 Lb brisket on the Traeger Pellet grill I was not at all confident in being able to produce a top quality piece of meat, but I was wrong. This brisket is the very best I have ever cooked, which leads me to my next point. Many of the users of this type cooker will be the first to tell you that it's hard to get enough smoke on the meat for bbq with this cooker but I think they assume too much about other peoples preferences. There is absolutely no way to convince me that a brisket that was cooked every minute with smoke surrounding it will not have sufficient smoke flavor no matter what cooker produced that smoke. If I had to cook a contest tomorrow, I would have not problem firing up this same little pellet cooker to do my brisket on.

THE FLAVOR - Rubs are no doubt an important part of BBQ, but I've always thought that just about everything else involved in cooking bbq was more important than the rub, or in other words - a ho hum rub would not ruin a good brisket near as quick as a brisket that was not tender enough when you pulled it. For this Christmas Eve Brisket for the family my goal was not a BBQ flavor profile as much as a nice tender brisket that would pair up well with a good Au Jus and Horseradish sauce, so I decided to use Fresh Ground Pepper, Coarse Sea Salt, Garlic and Onion Powders. The results have me wondering why I would ever use anything else for brisket, even for BBQ.

THE METHOD - Mr. Myron Mixon of Jack's Old South, is the undisputed King of Briskets and has always advocated a much higher temp and faster cook for brisket and I definitely can vouch for the fact that he practices what he preaches because I have witnessed him on several occasions not even fire up his cooker till the wee hours of the morning after most others have already had their meat on for hours. I never felt like hot and fast was a good thing for BBQ so have always ignored it and never tried it, but due to the need to have our family Christmas Eve dinner at 5p.m. I decided to give it a try and could not be more pleased. I think I know why Myron Mixon has done so well for so long with Brisket.

THE REWARDS - Serve a great Brisket for company and your guest will be happy and that will make you happy. If there happens to be any leftovers try it for breakfast. I made a nice dish of grits, added cheese, eggs, and butter then baked. Added this brisket to the plate along with some Raisin bread and Apple Butter and oh, did that make one fine breakfast fit for a king and this time it was served on a Kings Birthday (His name is Jesus). Here's more details including times:

· 6:30 partially separated brisket which had all the thick fat kernels removed and fat cap trimmed down to 1/4 inch was placed on the smoker with temp set on "smoke" for 1 hr, temp outside was 40 and the highest temp on cooker for the next hour was 100. Rub was fresh ground black pepper, coarse ground sea salt, onion and garlic powder applied with meat cold that had been in fridge after injecting with Kosmos 15 hrs earlier, meat was only out of fridge long enough to apply rub before going into cooker.

· 7:30 I turned cooker up to 350

· 8:00 Cooker was running 325 but set to 350

· 8:30 meat was at 100 and already getting a great looking bark, was surprised the pit was holding the 350 and turned temp down to 325 and sprayed with apple juice.

· 9:30 internal temp was 136, sprayed with apple juice

· 10:09 meat temp was 160 –170 judging from both the point and flat

· 10:26 meat was transferred to full pan and a bottle of Stubbs Beef Marinade was added and pan wrapped and returned to cooker.

· At 11:41 internal 195 – 200 but NOT tender to the probe test on the flat but point was very tender.

· 12:30 is an estimated time where the internal was at 208 and seemed tender and I removed from pan and broth, separated point from flat, cubed the point, wrapped flat and cubed point separately in foil and towels and placed in cooler for 2 hours.

· 2:00 I sliced the flat and returned to foil and heated in 350 oven for 30 - 45 min till very hot, opened foil to vent and let cool some then wrapped in towels and placed back in cooler.

· 4:30 broth from original pan was strained and refrigerated during the resting time above and I added some Worcestershire and water to the defatted broth and boiled for a few min for the au jus and made some horseradish sauce.

· 5:00 Served

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chorizo Cheese Meatballs

A great idea for Chorizo even if I did make it up myself. It's really just any old cheese and meat meatball bound with biscuit mix, but that flavorful Chorizo and Chili sauce really makes this a nice dish to practice your sopping with. If your wondering why they are so dark in color - it's because I ground and made the Chorizo myself and used chili anchos which are DARK.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Easy Chicken Suppers

Here's the deal! I am passionate about my food and eating and I refuse to eat mediocre food if I can help it. We get disappointed eating out when trying something or some place new occasionally but rarely ever disappoint ourselves when cooking at home. It's easy to do...just rule out frozen dinners or packaged entrees and put together your meals with good ingredients, add a little love to the preparation and that should do it. Like the Boneless Skinless chicken here that I would not be happy about on my plate as a meat by itself, no matter what sides you put with it, but I can grill them and use them to prepare any number of dishes that I do like. The fresh bread and avocados along with the sliced chicken and other condiments makes me happy every time. Or, PIZZA with sundried tomatoes, anchovies, onion, peppers along with the slices of chicken.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Trailer For Sale

I have a 2002 Gooseneck Toyhauler built by Southwest Expressline that is 34ft long with one foot of that as the extended hitch (18ft living qtrs and 15 garage). The living qtrs has the sleeping area, kitchen sink, gas / elec water heater, microwave, gas / elec fridge - bath has the shower / toilet / lav combo - cabinets over the couch and the dining table including a tv cabinet with elec outlet and hook up to std tv disc on top of trailer, and cabinets all across the nose behind the sleeping area. It has two roof vents in the liv qtrs one in the sleeping area and one in the bath, the one in the bath is a power vent. More than sufficient heat and air with the heat being propane with central control. The garage has cabinets down each side to cover about 7 ft of the 15 ft area including across the back wall that separates the living area from the garage. It has 3 vents in the garage; two are 3 spd, reversible power vents positioned at the rear to be used for venting any smoke while cooking inside or on the ramp, the 3rd is in the center of the garage and could accomodate a 2nd air conditioning unit. The ramp has new tread plate and all exterior metal has been painted with rust prf paint (steps, gooseneck, rear bumper, etc). The trailer’s roof seal is two years old and the awning is two years old with only a handful of times being used since it was installed. Also has new spare tire. It has a new deep laundry sink that will be hooked up to the hot cold water in the living qtrs and a separate grey water tank installed for it unless it is sold first. Everything on this trailer works perfectly and the only two mods besides the sink I will make unless it is sold first will be an exhaust installed through the wall just above the smoker and new flooring for the garage. Price – 14,000.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Tips 2011

I'm sure most people put more into their cooking when preparing their holiday meals than any other time of the year just as we do. If you love food and love and cooking it your also going to continue finding new and improved methods, recipes, ingredients, etc all along the way. With that said, let me share what this Thanksgiving meal brought in the way new ideas and changes in some of the things we are doing with our Thanksgiving cooking.

First of all does the Turkey really need to be an expensive Free Range - All Natural bird that you spend hours brining, injecting, and basting? I know I have always gone to a lot of trouble pursuing the perfect turkey and it can be hard to even find the all natural birds sometimes and when you do find one you will normally pay up to 3 times as much for it, add the time and trouble with brining a 20lb turkey and it can be a more than a little difficult.

This year we picked up a 20lb Butterball with "Up to 2%" solution and the results were that we had as good, if not better Turkey than ever. The first step, and I highly recommend doing this with your chicken as well is, to air dry the bird overnight in the fridge after washing and the initial preparation to aid in a nice skin for presentation. I also injected the bird with almost the entire bottle of Tony Chatchers Creole Butter and used our Spitjack injector which is about 10 times better than what you normally find. In fact I will include this injector and how much better job you can do with it in the list of things that made our bird good. An example would be - with the longer needle I was able to inject all the way from one end of the breast to the other without punching holes in the skin. The next step in the process was room temp herb butter mixture (1 1/2 sticks) under the skin of the breast. I used Lowery's Seasoned Salt in the cavity and on the outside and decided to allow the basting alone to color the bird evenly rather than try to add anything before cooking. Onion, garlic, and celery in the cavity was used and other than that cooking at 325 in a V-rack over broth to an internal of 180 thighs and 170 breast or as close to it as possible with emphesis on the breast temp is all that was needed to provide a great turkey. I have included pics of the "must haves" for our Thanksgiving dinner but as usual a number casseroles showed up as well, like the famous green bean casserole with Frenches Onions. Creamy Potato salad, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Cornbread Dressing are always part of the dinner as well as ham. This year however we found that we had enough Pulled Pork on hand from our Competition BBQ Cooking for our crowd and it took the place of the Ham which is another must have and there were no complaints. It was served without sauce or additional seasonings to provide that ham like experience.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beef Shanks

"The Closer To The Bone, The Sweeter The Meat." Use to hear that old saying a lot and I don't know where the saying came from but for me it definitely holds true. Two examples of meat that I prefer on the bone would be, Chicken Breast and Ribeyes. Another example most are less familar with unless you are a big fan of Authentic Mexican food would be the Beef Knuckle that sometimes come as an extra prize in Munudo. I had to learn this by observation at a restaurant I went to often and watched the customers there eat soup for breakfast while I would always have Huevos Rancheros. It didn't take me long to ask to try their soup and found out it was Munudo and by then I had already picked up on using a corn tortilla for an eatable napkin to pick it up with and nibble the delicious meat off the bone. There's just something about that meat next to the bone. That brings us to the Beef Shank and that wonderful bone with the Marrow inside that can be scooped out with a spoon and put on toast points or any other bread. It's simply delicious.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Philly Cheese Steak

The simple method I use for Philly Cheese Steak is to buy either Flat Iron or Tri Tip and place in the freezer till nearly frozen to make slicing easier. Slice really thin, cook onions and mushrooms in olive oil till softened and remove from pan. Add more oil and place seasoned meat in hot pan (in batches if necessary) and cook till the red is gone which only takes a short few min with thin slices. Add the onion mushroom mixture back to pan and cook till all is heated through and layer white Velveeta over the meat in the pan and leave on low long enough to melt the cheese. Use tongs to remove meat to heated Italian loaf, wrap in foil a couple min to allow flavors to develop fully, slice and serve.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Last weekend was our home town BBQ Contest and we did not do as well as we were hoping for and finish in 5th place out of 25 teams. Scottie Johnson's Cancer Sucks Chicago team (2006 Jack Daniels World Champion)along with Cool Smoke and Bub Ba Q, who both happen to be in the top 10 and top 20 respectively for team of the year were there along with many other winning teams. In case you are wondering, there are over 5,400 teams competing in these bbq contest. Our best entries were, Pulled Pork @ 3rd place and Brunswick Stew @ 2nd. We should be happy but will never be happy with less than the Grand Championship or at lest 2nd place. Some tell me that is the wrong attitude and I say, so be it. I want to win and that's that. My desire to compete just increases with each contest and while I thought last weekend finished up 2011 and we would not compete again till April or May of 2011, I was wrong. I have now signed up for The BBQ Cup in Cummings, Ga Nov 18 & 19 and can't wait.

Friday, October 14, 2011

NY Strip Schnitzel

One of the best meals I ever had was Wiener Schnitzel at the Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, Ga and the restaurant is still open and serving the dish today. They have another dish with Veal Cutlets called Veal Oscar that is prepared about the same way except it includes Crab Meat and Hollandaise. Now on to my first time cooking Schnitzel. Substitute beef, pork, or even chicken for the veal as they are all good. Using beef makes this just an improved cubed steak, but the degree of improvement is dramatic. Anyone that has never had Schnitzel will be pleasantly surpised and I think in for a real treat if you ever try it. As so often happens cooking this came about when a thought about something I would like to cook is met by what's on hand, which was a couple of rather thin NY Strips. I started by trimming all fat off, and boy was that hard to do as I love it on a grilled steak. Then I used my poor man's Jacaard style meat tenderizer, which is a device to hold meat while you slice it that came with an electric knife that quit working. After trimming I pounded the meat between plastic and this is the secret to this recipe. You will have a much more authentic version of the dish if you pound it thin enough (or buy it sliced thin) which will make it cook in the pan much differently than the thicker cutlets. When you think it is thin enough just keep pounding as most likely it is still too thick. It needs to be much thinner than cube steak. Seasoned flour, eggwash, and bread crumbs to provide that delicious flavor on the cutlets that only take 3 or 4 min per side to cook (we like to use Pringle potato chips for the breading). Ours were fork tender which did not surpise me at all and they were even better than I thought they would be.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Basil Pine Nut Praline Ice Cream

I scream You scream Everybody screams for Ice Cream has never been more true for anyone more than ME. I love it, and it has been decades ago since having that old timey hand cranked with rock salt ice cream that we use to have at my Grandma Rhudy's. I think our favorite back then was bananna. So, long story short, I have wondered for years now how those new on the counter electric makers work and just how good the ice cream would be. Here's the verdict... On our most recent visit to our good friends Vern and Helen in Maryville, Tn, they made this Basil Pine Nut Praline ice cream that totally blew me away. Being an ice cream lover all my life, I just could not get over Basil being so good in ice cream. Needless to say I was sold on buying myself one of those Cuisinart 2 quart freezers and you'll do the same if you ever have a chance to taste the remarkable difference in making your own ice cream. The ability to customize your ice cream recipes and make up your own specialty recipes is fun and easy. The downside is, I don't think you'll save any making it vs buying it and with the 2 qt your not making a huge amount at a time so you'll need to make in advance for a crowd and it takes at least six hours in the freezer for the bowl to be ready for another batch. Here's the recipe and I can't find it on line so I hope no one minds my reposting it here.

Basil Pine Nut Praline Ice Cream

2 cup whole milk
1 tbs plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 oz creme cheese softened
1/4 tsp fine sea salt\\
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs light corn syrup
1 lg handful fresh basil leaves cut to small pieces
1/2 cup honey nut pralines

PREP: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch ma small bowl to make a smooth slurry.Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.COOK . Combine the remaining milk the cream sugar and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes, Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove From the heat.CHILL Gradually whisk the hot milk into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the basil. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.FREEZE Strain out the basil. Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Rack the ice cream into a storage container, folding in the honey pine nut pralines as you go. Press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rib Tip Cooking

This is a story about the best ribs I ever had…they are not Spare Ribs or Baby Backs, they are Rib Tips, that section attached to the whole rack of spare ribs. I’ve always cooked them and always liked them, but now I know when they are cooked and served the right way, they will be better than Spares or Baby Backs. What you do is this: you can cook them in whole pieces, rubbing them (I use Slabs Birds n Bones Rub) and cooking them just like you would full racks. I cook ribs at 225 with minimum smoke wood and I can’t taste smoke myself, so I don’t pay a lot of attention to the kind of wood I use. The standard cook time would be 3 hrs before foiling them for another 2 hrs but for Rib Tips, I cook them 5 hrs before continuing with the foil. The next step before continuing to that 2 hrs in the foil I believe is the KEY to the best ribs I ever tasted and that is to cut them into individual bone size strips. "That’s it in a nutshell"! Once they are cut into strips you can use pans to cook them in for the final 2 hrs with about ½ cup of apple juice poured over them. I like sauce on them, but not a lot of sauce so what I do is spread them out on a large foil lined sheet pan and lightly brush with BBQ sauce and into a 350-degree oven for another 30 min. The meat is always better closest to the bone and all that cartilage still provides plenty of that excellent rib meat in between. The breastbone at the bottom is the exception, you can separate it from the rest and cook it too, but you won’t be able to cut it in sections like the rest. You most likely will have a good bit of small thin boneless pieces like the flap meat that you just do not want to take up all that grill space to cook and I suggest just putting all that in an open pan and cook it right along with the rest and they will wind up cooking in their own fat so no juice is need in this pan. All I can tell you now is to never take those rib tips for granted again and try them this way the next time you have some available, or better yet try to find a source to buy just the tips and if you can find them they should be 2/3 cheaper than the whole spares.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Checking Carbon Monoxide Level

The stove pipe in this video is temporary and provided a way for me to test the CO level and how well the fans we installed worked. At the end of the 1st video I pressed the top button and got a high reading, then at the beginning of the 2nd video I checked it using the bottom button and it was 28 which was just after loading the meat in the cooker. Having the door open for a long time increased the level but not over the danger zone of 30pps. A reading of 15 was constant throughout the cook. Even with the low reading of 15 for the most part, I would not recommend this setup unless you have a divided living quarters and then I wouldn't do it unless you had a 2nd co detector for the living qtrs. My trailer does not even have an entrace to the cooking part from the living qtrs and is sealed off with a solid wall. Not shown in the pic is a 2nd power vent just like the one over the smoker just to the right of it.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chicken Tacos

A little hung up on this boneless / skinless Chicken Kabob thing but we're just enjoying it so much we're finding more and more uses for it. I used Mojo Grillo marinade for 3 hours and I credit the marinade for keeping the meat moist. I cooked it on the grill at 425 for about 30 min turning a few times. We never ever order chicken tacos anywhere when eating out and considering that what we make at home almost always is better than the top restaurants, doing these tacos would be a good choice for us. I grilled the chicken to 165 and chopped it before frying it in a little olive oil. Cooking meat twice is common in Mexican cooking around here and it sure adds more flavor especially cooking with wood, as you might imagine. Something else we learned a long time ago is that lightly sautéed onions as opposed to chopped onion on your tacos is a nice change and you want them to still have a little crunch to them, so you need to start with hot skillet. These were served with Salsa Verde, Cilantro, avocado, and Lemon (we like it better than lime). A good crumbling cheese like Feta would have been a great addition.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cheesy German Potato Casserole

This is ABSOLUTELY the BEST potato dish I think I've ever had and that's coming from a long line of Potato Salad lovers. I like the flavor of German Potato Salad so I guess that's why I like this dish so much. You just can't beat a potato casserole with cheese, boiled eggs, onions, garlic, apple vinegar, and BACON! Here's how to make it: just boil potatoes the same as if your were going to make regular potato salad and instead of the ingredients you normally add use a large onion, 6 or 8 boiled eggs, 1 lb of bacon (fried, drained, and crunched up). Make your dressing with a cup and half of mayo (Krafts please - there is a reason it's called REAL Mayonaise), 3 or 4 tbs of apple vinegar, couple tbs of Worchestershire, splash of tabasco. Mix it all up and pour half into a casserole dish and add a layer of white Velvetta cubed or sliced (1/2 lb) then the rest of the potatoes, then another 1/2 of the cheese. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper where needed like I do sometimes and bake till heated through and browning a little on top. It's easy as can be and you don't have to chop celery. For the real recipe google German Potato Casserole.

Meat Loaf

This was supposed to be the best meat loaf I ever cooked. Everyone experiences a disappointing cook sometimes I'm sure, as I was with this Meat Loaf. I was impressed with the results of Cook's Illustrated All Beef Meat Loaf and used their method. I rounded up the recipe by doing a search of copycat recipes, as Cook's Illustrated requires you to pay for membership to their site. What I liked about it and why I wanted to cook it this way was mostly the way they did their glaze. Instead of putting a thick layer on at the end of the cook that generally just sits there much the same as when you brushed it on, they started with a thin glaze when the meat first went in the oven and then several more glazes as it cooked which made it cook into the meat. The recipe also had a large amount of onions and used bread and eggs and they cooked the onions, I never do any of that with mine. I do use onions but don't cook them nor do I use bread or eggs. Bottom line is my next meat loaf will be MY meatloaf with the only difference being that I glaze throughout the cook.

Chicken Kabobs

Yeah I know, I know, I'm hung up on the Mr Yoshika's Sauce / Marinade, but not really - it's a big bottle. Seriously I love the flavor on a lot of things and besides doing breast as Kabobs was a nice change. You get a lot more flavor that way and you know how hard it is to do that with boneless skinless chicken breast. Besides think of all the things that can be done with it - serve on speghetti, subs, salads, etc. The directions on this product suggest marinade time to be 30 min to 1 hour, I suggest 12 hours or overnight for anything I've used it on and with these Kabobs I also basted them with it while they were on the grill. Try it sometime.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I've said it to myself many times and I'll say it here "I'd give up cooking on a grill / smoker at home if I didn't have a Traeger" (or some other Pellet cooker). I have always loved Hot Wings and they turn out so good in the pellet cooker. The method I use now is to let them sit out on the counter about 45 min then season them with any old bbq rub, and put them in the cooker indirect with the temp at about 350 for about 45 min. I actually checked these whole wings with the wiggle test to see how done they were based on how loose they were at the joint. A second test for doneness provided a treat for the cook when I pulled one off and tried it. When cooked to my liking, I then used half margarine and half Texas Pete heated enough to mix well and dipped the wings in the sauce and returned to the cooker for another 15 to 20 minutes.

Mr Yoshidas

Here's a product I can recommend that will provide a unique flavor and a beautiful color to your grilled chicken, beef, pork, etc. These Tri Tip roasts were marinated in Mr Y for 12 hours, wiped off the excess, sprinkled with a steak rub and cooked on high (475 - 495) on the Traeger Pellet grill for about 25 min. Use one for Steak Night and refrigerate and shave the other one for the most wonderful steak sandwiches you will ever have. Note: I have found that simply refrigerating is not enough to facilitate shaving beef and about 15 min in the freezer makes all the difference in the world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Brined & Smoked Chicken

I cooked the best chicken I've ever cooked yesterday and I contribute the good results to a good brine and proper doneness. Whole chickens were used but I cut them in half before doing anything else. I used a simple brine that included pickling spices but added a couple of very aromatic herbs to it - both the pickling spices and the other two spices where whole and I ground them in a coffee grinder. I did not want the brine to make the chicken too salty so I limited the time in the brine to two hours. I roasted them in a pellet cooker set at 275 until the breast meat reached an internal temp of 170. A remote meat thermometer was used in the thickest part of the breast. The flavor from the brine was very pronouced and very good. Once they reached 160 I brushed on a light coat of Apricot BBQ Sauce and held them in a warm oven while the side dishes were prepared. Fried Green tomatoes, German Potato Casserole w/Benton Bacon, Carolina Vinegar Slaw, and rolls rounded out the meal.

Click On The Pics Below For Enlarged View

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Memory Lane Restaurant Review

Ann's Place use to be no more than a mile from our office and we went there some but not so much. The food was always good but her old place was so small and well I my as well say it - she was "different" and was extra "saving" with everything from her napkins to her butter, if you needed an extra napkin or pat of butter you had to ask and if you did you'd always just get ONE more at a time. Any way she had to move way across town due to road construction and we hadn't been since. I always liked her and liked giving her my business because I felt she was not cut out for the job but tried her dead level best to put out good home cooking. Her and her husband make more of their stuff from scratch than any other meat and 3 in town, he makes the cakes and pies and she makes the rest. I have been wanting to visit and see how she is doing and found that today was the day to do that since my lunch partner was off today and she wasn't warming up to the idea even though she liked Ann too. I had Chicken and Dumplings, Turnip Greens, and Pinto Beans with Cornbread and Sweet Tea. No doubt the Dumplings were from scratch and just as good as you could ask for, as was everything else. I don't know how you tell for sure if Pinto Beans and Turnip Greens are made from scratch other than judging by how good they are and if that's the only way, these were definitely good enough to pass that test. As I would have guessed there was no pepper sauce setting around for the greens and I didn't ask for any but I found out I didn't need any, in fact if I didn't know better I would have sworn they had some pepper sauce cook in them - they were GREAT. The beans were actually cooked instead of the usual meat and 3 canned version just heated up a little. What I had was so good and I hadn't been to her place for so long, I went ahead and got a slice of that homemade Peanut Butter Pie. It wasn't as good as Edna's over in Chatsworth because he didn't put the mirange on top, but it was good with a light creamy filling on a graham cracker crust and very peanut buttery. Good Sweet Tea that was not too sweet and good cornbread muffins. She has plenty of help including a grill guy that will make you any one of the many grilled items on the menu from burgers and dogs to all kinds of sandwiches including breakfast sandwiches. If anybody ask me I'd tell em to check her place out as it is the real deal and she's good old gal to boot.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

July 4th Rib Tibs

So, everyone knows hamburgers, hotdogs, and watermelon is traditional July 4th food, but I kinda think anything cooked on a grill or smoker passes, or at least it does with me. I decided it was a good time to cook all those Rib Tips from the last couple of contest and I didn’t weigh them but let’s just say my little pellet cooker was FULL. In case you were not aware, Rib Tips were gaining in popularity even before the down economy was a factor and I’ve always thought they were good myself, just needing a little getting use to eating around all those little bones. I have even heard that some people cut them up into small pieces before cooking and I may try that next time I cook them as I always have some thin smaller pieces that dry out a little and that could help get them all done at the same time. Mine were rubbed and into the smoker right out of the fridge and cooked for 3 hours, then foiled and cooked another 3 ½ hours before slathering on a coat of Apricot BBQ Sauce and cooked another 30 min. I have a new favorite side dish that goes good with just about anything that we paired with it called “German Potato Casserole”.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Whole Pork Loin

Everyone has always followed the U.S.D.A. instructions on when meat is cooked to a safe minimum doneness temperature, especially with pork (160), out of fear of a meat borne illness which I can't seem the think of the name of it at present but perhaps you know what I'm referring to. Now it has been changed and you can read about that and other facts about pork from the U.S.D.A on the link Well no one has ever accused me of always following all the rules and I've always cooked certain cuts like Loin and Tenderloin at quite a bit lower done temperature than 160 and have always been credited with them being better than average. So I'm telling everyone I know with confidence now, to please try these at a lower temp and see if you agree that they are far better that way. But that's not all - I have always like 1 1/2 thick center cut loin chops and a week ago I tried a new tool that gave even better results than before - it's called a Jaccard Tenderizer. Now I'm telling everyone I know to cook to the new 145 degree doneness AND use a Jaccard Tenderizer. One more thing...try a Whole Pork Loin with Souvlaki Seasoning and go heavy on the seasoning. I liberally covered mine and wrapped in plastic wrap for several hours and just before putting it in my Traeger Pellet Grill I liberally covered it again and cooked as I said to 145 degrees internally. Try it just as I've said and you may have found the best piece of pork you ever put in your mouth and I promise it will be moist and fork tender.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Visitation Day...

Yeah I knew that would get your attention and noooo it wasn’t the jailhouse, it was the nursing home. I haven’t got any personal experience in either place but I have to think there would not be much difference in them. I haven’t ever visited anyone that had enough money to go into one of those “Retirement” homes, so all my visiting has been in a plan old nursing home and I don’t like them much. Anyway Sunday I visited my Aunt Neeber (on my Mom’s side) and my Aunt Mary Lou (Dad’s side) and the first visit was very sad, as Aunt Neeber is just not doing well. On the other hand Aunt Mary Lou seemed to be doing better than the last time and as a bonus Aunt Mildred made it down to visit while we were there which made it nice to get to see those three in the same day. While I was there Mary Lou noticed how bad my brogans needed polishing and told me about it and it reminded me of a long time ago when I was sixteen, what! 44 yrs ago! Wow. I guess she knew I really wanted some new shoes and she let me drive her new little yellow Mustang with her to Chattanooga to a big department store and look for shoes. I fell in love with some cordovan and black saddle oxfords and she wound up buying them for me. But not before she managed to get the price brought down a good bit by noticing a tiny little mark on the leather right down about where the uppers are sown to the sole. She was persistent as she always was and we got a good deal I’m sure. I don’t know if she was thinking about that day when she noticed Sunday how bad my shoes needed polishing but I hope she was and I need to go back by there and show her my new shoe shine.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day 2011

We always have my Mom come over and fix dinner for her and try to have something we haven't made for her before. We did just that today with a Shrimp Salad, Grilled Salmon, and a Creamy Risotto. The Shrimp Salad had boiled shrimp, minced onion and celery, chopped boiled eggs, pickle relish, and a mayo / vinegar sauce, tossed and served on leaf lettuce. The Grilled Salmon was wild caught and turned out to be some of the best I've ever grilled with only fine sea salt, brown sugar, and coarse ground pepper to season it with.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Everyone knows what that stands for and about everyone has tried it, but you'd be hard pressed to find it made this good very often. The great thing about left overs is they make great meals if you get just a little creative. Tri Tip roast always provides us with some left over for the freezer for everything from Tacos to Philly Cheese Steaks sandwiches, but this S.O.S. is just plain good food. The Wheat Bread is home made and the gravy has a little red wine, onions, and mushrooms to make that great steak even better.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

What Was In The Fridge

Someone made Stuffed Pablano Peppers kinda like this and I've made them myself in the past but having been reminded of them I just had to make them again. I had two pounds of Chorizo I made and vac sealed few months ago and this was already a "clean out the fridge day" so I thought I might do two dishes. The stuffing included more of just what was on hand - Chorizo, black beans, sautéed onions, minced jalapenos, crumbled and toasted left over cornbread, cheese, and spicy V-8 juice. I needed to do something with a little Easter Ham and it wound up in a Baked Ramekin dish with a stuffing covering the ham which included: bread crumbs, pineapple and it's juice, onions, celery, roasted red peppers, cheese, and an egg to bind. We made the Poplanos our dinner and I tasted the Ham dish and both turned out real good considering they were made with just what was on hand.