December 13, 2009

Cochinita Pibil





So hear we are a few days before Christmas and I was waiting for some butter to soften when I thought... "You haven't posted anything in a while."  Partly because I haven't cooked outside much and partly because people have been ready to eat when the meal was done.  So I looked back at the photos and realized that I had taken some pics of the Pibil style pork I made this summer and never added them to the blog.  Might as well add them now.


Cochinita Pibil is a Yucatan peninsula specialty and fits right in with my love of Mexican style foods.  I took some to the waiter at our favorite place and he said it was good.  Although he added it was "Gringo Style."  I am not sure what that means, but I will live with it either way.  :)  


This dish starts with pork butt so how bad could it be.  Instead of a dry rub like barbecue it is a wet marinade made with orange juice, lime juice, onion's, garlic, red wine vinegar, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin, oregano, and achiote paste.  Achiote paste is made from ground annato seeds and, trust me on this, buy it ground.  I tried to grind them in a mortar and pestle and it was much like trying to grind ball bearings.  You can find a nice brick at the Mexican grocery and it is perfect.  Roast the onions and garlic a bit and then use the blender to get it all together, put it in plastic bags with the pork, and toss in the fridge overnight.


Looks something like this...



Traditionally this pork is done in the ground, in what is called a pib,  without any smoke. It's odd for me to throw something on the smoker and not use smoke, but in this case that's what I did.  Wrapping the pork in banana leaves or aluminum foil will hold in the juices during cooking.  I suppose with all that wrapping an oven would work too.  Just like pulled pork we are looking for an internal temp of about 190 to 195. 


Here is what it looked like before it went on the cooker...



I grilled some cilantro lime butter corn on the cob...



Add tortillas, grilled onions, fresh salsa, and the wife's fresh guacamole...



... and something called Mexican chocolate pie.  I don't know why it was Mexican, but it was very tasty!



You know... the turkey at Thanksgiving was great and the ham I will prepare in a week or so will be tasty too... but I am ready for this bit of spring and summer to come back around.


Thanks,
Juju

October 05, 2009

The Luckiest Man...

My wife is fond of telling me I am the luckiest man in Louisville.  And for the record... I believe this to be true for many reasons that I won’t discuss here and for a few that I will.  Where I made my mistake, if that’s what it was, was saying that Jeffrey Garten was the luckiest man in America one afternoon.  For those of you that are unaware of Jeffrey I will say that he is very accomplished, apparently brilliant, works hard,  and his wiki page bears that out.  The portion of his life that is pertinent to this discussion is that he is married to Ina Garten-- The Barefoot Contessa.

I said this because she cooks for Jeffrey daily.  He comes home on Fridays to Roasted chicken, she makes lunches with sandwiches from past picnics in France, and other things too.  The best part is that the food rocks and anyone that has seen her show knows this to be true.  Plus, as you have probably guessed I am a total addict to roasted chicken.  Yes, I love barbecue and all things beef and pork, but there is nothing quite like a good chicken; barbecued or not.  So when we watched the show where she roasted the whole bird and made garlic mashed potatoes etc... For his arrival home every freakin' Friday night... I said "That must be the luckiest man in America."

So there is my fait accomplis.  I said it... I did it... I meant no harm... no foul... no insult of any kind.  I should also add that I never slept outside or on the furniture over this slip of the tongue, but I could tell I had said the wrong thing.  It happens.  But since I was out of Godiva Chocolate money, it had to stand.  :)

I do a lot of the cooking, because I like to cook, but my wife can throw it down too.  In this case it might have worked out pretty well.  See, she took the comment, internalized it, and waited for just the right moment to turn it around.  It’s a female thing... all of the opposite sex does it... I can’t tell you why... I don't even want to think any more about it... it just is what it is.  Well.  Turns out last night was the night.  It had the added bonus of being delicious.  

I had plans on Sunday and she had told me we were having Roasted Chicken with Broccoli and Yukon Gold Potatoes.  For 2 days she had been working on this chicken.  Seasoning... drying the skin... etc... So when we were getting close to eating the aromas were killing me.  Chicken, broccoli, taters, lemon, garlic, fresh herbs, and whatever else was going on in there.  As a hopefully quick aside, if you have never roasted broccoli and hit it with some lemon juice you need to try that very soon.  Anyway, she plates it up and says... "Would you like to take some pictures?"  I said sure.  Now maybe I should have seen it coming right there, but I didn’t.  Many of you are already seeing where this is going.  We sit down to eat.  The meal is wonderful and I am sure to say so.  All of the succulence that is expected from roasted chicken is right there.  Plus, the brightness of the fresh lemon and herbs and the pan jus over the top.  Wonderful and delicious on every level.  I said "Honey, this is definitely a keeper recipe."  It’s what we say when we like something.  That is when she said... yes, here it comes... "Well, do you feel as lucky as Jeffrey Garten tonight?" :)  Ah ha!

Since I am writing this and not consulting an attorney you all can figure out my answer.  It’s always been my answer.  I am far and away the luckiest man around.  Not just for the chicken... for a lot of reasons.  But... the chicken doesn’t hurt a bit! :)







Till next time...
I remain...
The luckiest man...
Juju

October 01, 2009

Sometimes the Chicken is Committed

Y'all know the old story... The chicken is involved, but the pig is committed.  Well, in this case, the chicken was too.

I was making a new dish with roasted chicken and mushrooms with creme fraiche.  One of my favorite things is roasted chicken-- done almost any way.  Crispy skin, succulent meat, fresh herbs, and a rich flavor that can only be had by slow roasting.  Adding shitake mushrooms and morels to creme fraiche, chicken stock, white wine, rosemary, and thyme completes this dish with fragrant notes and woody undertones.  Throw in a side of broccoli and dinner is done-- yeah, it is just steamed.

Well... almost.  I thought that an appetizer would be nice.  I was intrigued by a total chicken concept and decided to make something with an egg.  What kind of appetizer can one make from an egg?  Hmmm... various breakfast fare came to mind and none seemed appropriate.  I recalled an appetizer that was created by David Chang of Momofuku Ko that involved an egg, caviar, onions, and fresh made potato chips.  Sad to say, but I didn't have any caviar and wasn't going to make homemade potato chips, but I did have eggs, onions, kettle chips, and time.  So I made my variation on the masters theme.

Soft Cooked Egg and Onion Soubise with Potato Chip and Smoked Sea Salt


Pan Roasted Chicken with Morel and Shitake Mushrooms in Creme Fraiche Sauce


Enjoy!
Juju

September 16, 2009

Asian Style Pork Chops

These pork chops have become one of our favorite recipes and I use the marinade on many things.  It is excellent on the chops obviously, but really good on beef and chicken satays too!  Here is the basic process... really simple and so delicious.
1. Put a whole head of garlic and 3T of sugar in a mini chopper
2. Run until it has that "wet sand" look below.
3. Add 1/3C Asian fish sauce, 3T honey, 3T rice wine vinegar, 2T dark sesame oil, 1T fresh ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Then give it a stir to combine all the ingredients.
4.  I prefer T-Bone pork chops for this, but it works on any kind.  Pour the marinade over the chops in a dish or bag them in a big Ziploc bag if there aren't any bones to make holes in the plastic.
5.  I grill them over lump charcoal to get that good crust.  Just a note... since the sugar content on this marinade is higher than some, be prepared for the grill grates to get crusty too. 
6.  Plate up with your favorite sides.  We chose sticky rice, snap peas, and heirloom tomatoes.
The marinade is what this recipe is all about.  Be sure to try it on some flank or skirt or tri tip cut in thin strips and skewered... Mighty tasty!  Hope you enjoy it... 
Juju

September 09, 2009

It Isn't Just Barbecue




It isn't just barbecue that makes me want to cook.  While we used to be happy with grilled chicken or a roast in the crock pot our culinary explorations over the past few years have led us to the unmistakable conclusion that there are finer things to eat than that.  It is true that this is largely a barbecue blog, but I think I would like to share a bit more.  I posted the Chicken Peperonata recipe awhile ago and now I think I would like to share another.  This was a meal that I prepared on one of those "Oh My God... How hot can it get?" days we have had here and it turned out to be one of the best things in recent memory.

We started with a cold soup as an appetizer.  

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Goat Cheese


This was a fresh and fragrant cold soup on a hot day that had the sweetness of tomatoes at the peak of their flavor, a little creamy texture from the goat cheese, and the bite of a horseradish undertone.  Simply delicious and refreshing.











Then we moved to the main course.  Some wonderful Wild King Salmon from the local fish monger.



Grilled Salmon with Bell Peppers, Snap Peas, and Pesto

The flavors and textures made this a real keeper.  I think I was most impressed about how well the pesto paired with the fish.  The nuts, olive oil, and basil packed a lot of flavor in what I was, at first, thinking of as garnish.









Add some rice pilaf and the meal is complete.
















Juju

September 06, 2009

...And For Your Last Meal?

As I enjoy my morning coffee I realize that I have answered one of life's most entertaining questions; at least for a foodie. If you were to die to tomorrow, what would you have for your last meal? Morbid, I know, but not an uncommon question for some. Chefs use that question as a game. A conversational foil whilst blowing off steam after work; with a few beverages to be sure. While I am not a chef I do play one in my spare time. :) The truth of the matter was that I didn't know the answer to that question until now or at least I couldn't settle on one thing. I needed a few more options to be sure... and lets not forget desert! That could be a category in and of itself. But today, this morning, even last night as I sat in total contentment after a wonderful meal I knew this was the answer. I knew the answer came from one of life's most humble cuts. The one that when I mentioned it to my non-foodie friends they said "a what??" "Is that any good?" Even butchers were a little surprised when I asked for it. "What's he want?" "What ya gonna do witit?" That's a word in Kentucky. :) One butcher looked as if he either wanted my address or my hand in marriage when I told him what I was "gonna do witit!" I'm not sure he knows which, but I believe he is still secretly hoping for an invite to dinner. :) I found this humble piece of charcuterie in the town of Bards. Or, Bardstown as we call it... some say bargetown, but they probably say y'all too. Wait... I say y'all... anyway, I digress. :) There is a place out there called Boone's Butcher Shop that is carnivore nirvana! I may have to move closer just to avoid the 2 hour round trip. :)

OK... hopefully I haven't prattled on to the point were you left, but here it is... the piece of meat involved is... Pork Belly! Yes... fresh bacon. You must get it with the skin on and crackle it over a hot fire! Oh... my God! I am getting a head of myself. Here is how it happened and the sandwich that has now garnered my enduring love as life's greatest last meal.

I must also give credit where it is due. The recipe is from the Adam Perry Lang cookbook Serious Barbecue via London and Jamie Oliver. If you love grilling you must obtain a copy. That's all I'm saying... read this and go to the book store and buy it. Today. Don't wait... go now. If only because I have not given you the whole recipe. :)

We got a whole pork belly with the skin on. Uncured, unsmoked, and unaltered in any way-- save removed from the pig. It weighed about 10 pounds and was a lovely flat fatty soft and firm piece of meat. Almost pretty to look at actually.
Since that is a lot of bacon and there were only 4 of us I cut it in half. It was marinated over night with ingredients like olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, chopped garlic, Serrano chiles, coarse salt and black pepper. Then some water and butter, as if this thing needs butter ;), was added to the marinade. The belly was placed skin side up in a foil pan, the marinade was poured over top, and the package was sealed tightly with aluminum foil. It got braised for 5 1/2 hours at 275, rested a bit, and put on a hot grill to crisp the skin. If you try this be very careful at this point as it will be soft and jiggly on a level I have never seen before. Well... there was that one college... uh... never mind. :) Just be careful. Once it was crispy it got a bourbon glaze and then rested in some olive, chives, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sliced thin, well as thin as you can, against the grain. And all the angels said yum!! In glorious harmony of course. :)


I had put together, in the mean time, some home made applesauce from the grill and the wife had prepared a field green salad with a tart vinaigrette as well as a loaded tater salad. I don't have pics of all this, but trust me its important. Oh yeah... and we got some Coleman's mustard and ciabatta rolls. Some of you have jumped ahead... that's OK.

So there is the sandwich. A fresh ciabatta roll, spread one side with some Coleman's mustard, spread the other side with a little homemade applesauce, pork belly on the bottom slice, and a pile of the tart greens on top. Close it up and be prepared for a flavor profile that is crispy, salty, sweet, spicy, tart, and unctuous. No other way to put it... it just was perfect. As you bite slowly through, and you should go slowly, a complex wave of flavor rushes over, floods, and tingles your tongue unlike any other. It was slap and tickle for your mouth. :)

...and as we now know...

So Juju... If you were to die tomorrow what would your last meal be?

Without a doubt... The pork belly sandwich. Let me tell you about it...

August 21, 2009

Chicken Peperonata

Howdy...

I have been remiss in my posting as life has kept me fairly busy the last few weeks. I have however, been taking photos and keeping track of a few things along the way and I think its time I get back to sharing those with you.

This was a very simple recipe and tasty too! Its based on a standard in Italian cooking with a few liberties required for the American market. I hope you enjoy!!

Chicken Peperonata

6 T olive oil
2 T fresh lime juice
1/2 t ground coriander
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 bell peppers (1 red & 1 yellow)
1 lg poblano chiles
1/2 med red onion
  1. whisk 4 T olive oil, lime juice, and coriander in a medium bowl
  2. season with salt and pepper to taste
  3. heat remaining olive oil in skillet
  4. season chicken breast with salt and pepper
  5. cook chicken breast until brown and cooked through
  6. transfer cooked chicken to plate
  7. turn skillet up to med-high
  8. add vegetables to skillet
  9. toss vegetables until tender and beginning to color
  10. cover and cook 1 minute
  11. mix in 2 T of dressing
  12. mound vegetables on top of chicken and drizzle with remaining dressing
I served the chicken with creamy garlic polenta, aka Italian grits, but most anything could be substituted. A little crusty bread, sliced on the bias, with some olive oil, salt, and pepper is mandatory in my opinion too.

July 05, 2009

4th of July

The 4th has come and gone. We gave thanks as a nation to all of the troops yesterday, today, and tomorrow that have preserved our freedoms. I thank you all! As a nation, most of us anyway, did it as best we could; by cooking a small feast and setting fire to several hundred dollars worth of powder and paper. I don't have any photos of fireworks... I didn't even have fireworks... I watched the race and listened to others. However, I do have photos of the food-- surely you aren't surprised. ;)

This is called Watermelon Pork Loin with Watermelon Salsa. Yep... that's what I said. It was absolutely delicious too. That sides weren't so bad either... :)

After the rub...

Dinner...


We served it with Sweet Potato Salad




Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad


It was one of the most colorful plates I have ever put on the table... judging by the silence it was pretty tasty too. :)

June 27, 2009

Watermelon Ice Cream

I cant say I ever thought of watermelon ice cream before, but it is tasty even though the flavor is not what your mouth expects at first. Very cold and refreshing on a hot day. Here are a few pics to pique your interest... :) First... watermelon Then you cook some of it for a bit with some sugar and a few other things... Then a little freezer action... ...and its ready for the freezer to harden There are no pictures of the bowled ice cream... too tasty to stop for photos... maybe next time. :)

June 14, 2009

Clod... It's What's for Dinner!

Every year I do this cookout for some friends at work-- kind of an everyone bring a dish(all of them were delicious too) and I will make some Que thing. First time was yard bird, then I did some brisket, and last year fresh hams. What to do this year. Ah.... mmm.... let's do Clod! I like clod. The wife likes clod. Plus, everyone gets curious about what exactly a Texas Clod is—makes for some excitement.

In Kentucky, in years past at least, the problem has been getting a clod. The first time I asked for one they brought me out a 3.5 # chuck roast and it went something like this.

Me: "uh... no... I want the whole thing."

Him: "Man, those things are huge!"

Me: "Yes!! That's what I want."

Him: "let me trim one down."

Me: "no!!!!"

You can see how that went.

This time, same guy, I said I need a whole chuck and he brought me a 22# and a 27# chuck-- he is improving. Since I only had 10 adults and 4 kids I thought the 22# one would be just fine. So I brought it home and gave it a little rub. It smoked for about 17 hours and rested for about 6.

If you haven't had the pleasure of a nice clod; get one soon!!

June 07, 2009

Beef Ribs



This turned out to be a quest... apparently beef ribs are hard to find. :) I found them. Then I thought "You haven't ever cooked beef ribs before!" I think I can do better, but like I have often said... Barbecue is like sex... even the worst you have ever had is still pretty good. :)

Unlike pork ribs which are "king" in this area at least, beef ribs are rare. They come in different cuts, like pork, but one has little control on the product. The 2 racks I got were split in half and had several shiners. Shiners being where the meat was removed all the way to the bone. This means less meat on the ribs-- obviously.

In my opinion good beef needs little more than salt and pepper. I used a beef rub that was 3 parts paprika, 2 parts salt, 2 parts pepper, and cayenne to taste. Very tasty as it just accented the beef.

I decided to cook them as if my smoker was an ugly drum smoker. This would mean that I would run the smoker without a water pan and elevate the cooking grate as far from the coals as possible. This would still allow for the dripping to fall onto the coals and add to the flavor profile as they vaporized.

I mopped them hourly for 3 hours with a mix of beer, coffee, Worcestershire, beef broth, hot sauce, and apple juice. Then I foiled the ribs, gave them a good mop of the juice and put them back on for another 2 hours. I put them in a cooler at this point as we had a long way to go for dinner, but they went back on for an hour to finish. While they were off I did some smoked sausage as I have become somewhat addicted to smoked sausage and rat cheese ever since I went to the Rendezvous. :)

The missus made broccoli slaw and twice baked potatoes as well as some fantastic strawberry shortcake. Sorry... I couldn't put the bowl down long enough to take a photo.

I think the way to go is to cut your own. That way you get several nice rib eyes and a meaty rack of ribs. More to come... stayed tuned for the standing rib roast project. :)

May 31, 2009

The love of my life had one of those special birthdays and I wanted to have a surprise party for her.  It worked and I didn’t have time to take the usual food porn shots, but that really wasn’t what this was about.

 In this case, the cookout was merely a nice backdrop for a small family reunion, a birthday, and good friends being the best they can be.  2 Sisters and 1 brother are separated by geographical challenges and this was a good reason to come together and share their lives for an afternoon.  We added in a half dozen or so friends, the best friends anyone could ask for, and before we knew it there was a small crowd.  The weather is always a challenge this time of year and, fortunately, Mother Nature was in full cooperation mode yesterday.  It was as if she knew this was a special day for us.  Rain clouds moved around us all day and the sun shone brightly on the afternoon.  While we were putting together a little barbecue buffet I listened to the friends and family share tales of this and that.  I can’t put into words what that did for me and I could tell from my wife’s response that her feelings were 10 fold.  Y’all were great!!  She loved seeing you on her special day.

 I know it can be hard for some to understand and I, like others, enjoy good barbecue, but this is why I enjoy making barbecue.  It brings us together.  We take a few hours out of our busy lives and just tell tales and share with our friends and families.  And it doesn’t have to be brisket that took days to make... grill some hot dogs and folks will do the same thing; kick thier shoes off and sit a spell!  It’s a wonderful thing—barbecue.  In this case the birthday was sufficient, but give my philosophy a whirl some Saturday, you might be surprised if you let the Que work its Juju. J

 In the end it was a great day, maybe the best day ever... My wife’s family made it in from out of town, her best friend strung up decorations all over the house, my best friends showed up to do several menial tasks and make some killer deviled eggs, I stashed food in their fridge too, I was able to cook all day in our kitchen while she was at work and not have the wife know I did such a thing (that’s pretty amazing since I clean like $#!+), and we surprised her!  It was great... I wish you could have been there!  Some of you should have been there... 

 

Here are a few pieces of food porn... just so y'all don’t think I am slipping.  :)





May 10, 2009

Steelhead Trout


The local “members only” store had some Steelhead Trout that looked good and I had wanted to give it a try ever since a friend on a forum I frequent had recommended it.  I also had wanted to try this recipe, if you will, with Pesto between the fillets.  I say recipe, but this isn't a recipe, it’s just me throwing things together with inspiration-- usually is.  In the way of a little history and to explain the inspiration let me say this. I frequent a few Que forums and this was inspired by an excellent fellow that goes by the name of Don Marco.  He calls his Ying and Yang Salmon with Pesto and I think you can see how that could happen, but my execution of the presentation was poor.  The taste was great!  Big thumbs up DM!  I highly recommend a little pesto on your salmon. 

The wife was not feeling the pesto concept and wanted me to use an Asian inspired glaze that I put on a few things.  It's a mixture of honey, soy, brown sugar, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and lemon juice.  I didn't measure... mix it up and give it a taste.  If you like it... use it.  :)  I am sorry to say the photo of the glaze looked like brown liquid in a bowl and I suppose it was.  The glaze is applied several times toward the end of the grilling.  

It was getting late and I just used the gasser to cook it.  A fish/vege tray can be very handy to keep the fish skin off the grates.  Always be sure to apply some oil to the grill grates before you cook... especially with fish.  I apply vegetable oil with a folded paper towel and tongs.  Something about spraying PAM at a fire seems like bad juju to me.  :)

We picked up some fresh brussel sprouts, thick cut bacon, and an onion. While I was outside at the grill Mrs. Juju was making these scrumptious little cabbages inside. I mean how can you go wrong with bacon and onions? I say if it will make liver taste good it can make anything taste good. :) Sorry... childhood flashback. These were delicious.
Happy Que
Juju

May 03, 2009

Derby Day 09

Well... Derby is over.  The rain has returned.  :)  Derby was muddy for the horses, but it turned out dry here.  No rain!   I was amazed. :)  That makes 3 years in a row that they have said "rain, rain, and more rain” and we got squat.  It’s ok by me... I am not complaining.  So... those of us that were here put on some warmer clothes, found our favorite beverage (not mint juleps-- see previous post), picked horses, ate some Q, told some tales, and laughed.  Which in these parts passes for Eat, Drink, and Be Merry.

Since Mrs. Juju and I started cooking on Thursday we are immensely glad that Sunday is going to be a lot less busy than the last few.  You can see the slide show above but let me tell you a few things anyway.  Sauce making, cookie baking, and butt rubbing aside the serious cooking began Saturday morning.  As is our custom there was a hickory smoked fatty, cat head biscuits, and bloody Mary’s for breakfast; a good start to any day.  Lunch was more of a “snack on this till the race is over” dealio.  We had chips and salsa, mixed nuts, rat cheese, fruit and dip, spinach dip, Armadillo Eggs stuffed with cream cheese, smoked sausage, and Louisville Wings with a mustardy sauce. (This recipe is straight out of BBQ USA and it is worth the cost of the book.)

All of us found our chairs and started to decide on which horse we thought would win the Derby.  Might I say we were all terribly wrong?  We did have one person who picked Mine That Bird and she… well… she was quite happy!  We were happy for her, but not as happy as we would have been if we had hit the trifecta.  What a race…

Dinner time was normal BBQ fare by description, but much bigger in taste.  Deviled Eggs, Cole Slaw, Tater Salad, The Best Q Beans, and Pulled Pork Sammiches. 2 sauces; a NC vinegar sauce I make and a sweet and sticky sauce most folks like.  I won’t go down the sauce road right now.

We ate… We drank… and We were merry.  It has been said more than once—BBQ is good friends sharing good times and good food.  I may be able to improve on the pork or the beans or the chicken wings… but it don’t get no better than this.

Happy Que
Juju

May 01, 2009

Oaks Day

Well... it is that time again.  Thunder over Louisville is an echo, the Great Steamboat race has been decided, the hot air balloons have soared and dropped the Bluegrass seed on the target, and the Pegasus Parade is just a few hot dog wrappers blowing down the street.  Today is Oaks day.  A day unlike any other in this area.  It isn't a national holiday, but it certainly is a local holiday.  Schools are closed, businesses close early, and the track is the hot spot for the native Louisvillians to gather.  Today.  For tomorrow is Derby Day and only the rich and famous can go to Churchill Downs that day-- unless you want to camp in the infield. :)

There are 2 things that I think come to mind for many folks from other states when they hear about the Kentucky Derby, besides horses that is, and they are Derby Hats and Mint Juleps.  For the record... The hats do cost a car payment if you get them made at the local store.  If you want one from a designer... well... you can imagine.  So those of us here that purchased one, anytime in the last decade, wear it every chance we get-- subsequent Derby Days, church, weddings and funerals, the grocery, while we are putting gas in the car, and occasionally to bed.  :) And, more importantly, no one here that I have ever met has ever said... "Man, I'm parched, where can I get a mint julep?!?!"  Or... "I would like a nice adult beverage bartender!  Muddle together some mint and sugar and top with bourbon and ice and whatever you think would be tasty!"  Doesn't happen... Now, I can almost hear the Mint Julep Anti-defamation League gearing up.  They said... "We are coming to set the record straight and help our fellow mint juleps."  Truth is they just aren't that tasty, wish they were, but they aren't.  Here is a tip for you bartenders, chefs, and everyone else really.  Mint isn't good in everything.  Chewing gum, hard candy, and toothpaste.  That is where mint should be.  And that's why they will sell about eleventy billion mint juleps tomorrow and 9 the rest of the year.  

Whew... I feel better... do you feel better?  For those of you that have never met me... I was trying to be funny in the last paragraph... maybe it worked... maybe it didnt... you decide.  Except when I said mint juleps aren't that tasty and no one that lives here drinks them .  :)  Just kidding... where was I?  Oh Yeah!  BBQ!!

Derby is a great time in our city and most of us just get on with our lives with only a celebration in our back yards.  For me that is exactly what will happen.  Good friends will gather as the day goes by and I cant imagine being any where else.  We have a little larger crowd expected this year; subject to the weather I'm sure.  Some will be early... some will be late... some will come and go.  There will be one constant-- Fun!  It is going to be a lot of fun.  Always is.  We may be a bit more moist this year, but it wont dampen our spirits.
The butts are rubbed, the sauces are simmering, and the marinades are mixing.  Let the Q begin.

Stayed tuned for more on the festivities...  
Happy Derby Y'all!!

April 29, 2009

Green Ham

I had heard that a green ham was some of the best pork BBQ you could have-- so I had to give it a try.  This ham weighed in about 18 pounds.  I had read debates about skin on or skin off and since I was going to smoke it in the 225-250 range I decided that the skin wouldn't get crispy so I removed it.  It was good... but I have to admit I want to try it the other way for comparison. :)

It smoked for about 18 or 19 hours and it was pig pickin' good.
Pulled very easily and I had drawn a crowd by this time.
A few others brought some great side dishes and this was when the feast was about to begin.















I am going to do another this year... skin on this time and high heat at the end to get the cracklin's just right.
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