Thursday, September 29, 2005 

Old Cherry

My family and I spent last weekend at my Father-in-law's Girlfriend's place (I'll call her History Lady). It was a VERY relaxing weekend, and we had some fun with heavy equipment!

My father-in-law has recently discovered the joys of owning a tractor, and as part of his new forestry managment efforts on History Lady's property he bought a hydraulic wood splitter.

On Sunday morning we did some trimming. Included in the trees we took down was an old Cherry tree. I use cherry as my primary flavor wood to go with my Wicked Good Charcoal. So, we dropped the tree, bucked it up into small log lengths and split it. Then we took a bucket load to my Toyota Corolla and filled the trunk!

More cherry is a good thing. But, Some of this tree was pretty rotten. I'm curious as to what the potential effects of using punky wood to somke might be on flavor. If any readers have thoughts, please post a comment accordingly.

I want a wood splitter and a tractor!


Wednesday, September 21, 2005 

Ode to steak.

Ahhh Steak. There is nothing in this world quite like a perfectly grilled steak. This Sunday I had the pleasure of being home alone - Farmer Girl and the Boy were at our local fair. I'd been to the fair on Thursday and Friday and since Sunday is a day of football, I saw no need to go out! And since the wife and kid were out, I treated myself to the luxury of the steak. Don't get me wrong, they both eat steak, but they do not give it the proper respect and worship they should.

My favorite cuts are usually T-Bone or Delmonico. I like a steak that has a bit of fat since, as we know, the fat adds moisture and flavor. To prepare them, I use my East Valley Steak Seasoning (at some point, I'll do a post about my line of spice rubs). I simply shake a liberal amount of the spice rub all over the steak and let it sit for about an hour. Then, I throw the steak on a searing hot grill and away we go! I'm a huge fan of medium rare meats. Nowadays, it's hard to get meat at a restaurant that is cooked medium rare. Cooking the meat myself gives me the added privelidge of doing it the way I want, not the way the health department says it should be done.

So anyway, back to my steaks...

They were orgasmic. I grilled some fresh squash along with them and had a few slices of watermelon. That, a nice homebrewed beer from the Brewer, and a win from my beloved New York Jets and I had one heck of a good Sunday afternoon.

There is nothing like a perfectly cooked steak. Nothing.



A kick in the pants!

I just got a recent comment from fellow BBQ Blogger, WhiteTrashBBQ asking me when I was going to update this blog! So I guess the answer is - right now!

Since I last posted (on August 17th), I've been darned busy. September and May are my busiest times of the year at work so it's been hard to put things onto my blogs. Plus, I must confess that I've been dedicating a bit more time to one my other blogs.

Although I've been neglecting my BBQ blog, I haven't been neglecting my BBQ!

I've gotten back into grilling a bit lately, since I've barbecued more this summer than I ever have in the past. Some times it's awfully nice just to throw a piece of meat on a grill over a really hot bed of coals and cook it quick and hot.

At the end of August my wife and I had two of our friends over for dinner. For my recipie choice I went back to one of my favorite cookbooks - "The Thrill of the Grill: Techniques, Recipes, & Down-Home Barbecue" by Chris Schlesinger, John Willoughby. This cookbook was what got me started down the wild road of barbecue and I still use many of their recipies. I couldn't recommend their cookbook more.

For this particular evening, I made their West Indies Spiced chicken and grilled bananas. The recipie calls for a unique rub that is bold and spicy. I use my own variation of it, but it's still pretty close to theirs. Because of the intensity of the rub on the chicken breasts, the bananas are an essential part of the dish. You halve the bananas lengthwise and brush them with a mixture of butter and molassas and grill them until they're slightly soft. The super sweet of the grilled bananas counters the intense spice rub on the chicken. Brilliant!

Now fear not, BBQ readers, I haven't forsaken the slow and low methods I've been cultivating for so long. No sir. Over Labor Day weekend I was hired by friends to provide meat for their annual birthday bash. I smoked two pork shoulders and a brisket for 11 hours using my favorite brand of lump charcoal and cherry chunks. The pork was good, although not my best. However, the brisket was the ultimate success (Sorry there are no pictures)!

As you would know if you're a regular reader, I have had an ongoing fight with brisket. My lack of understanding about the cut has resulted in dry, hockey pucklike products. However, I finally understand the need for the fatcap and was able to get my butcher to give me a nice, fatty brisket. The added moisture from the fat cap, and mopping the meat with my own secret sop every hour made it a fantastic experience! I am pleased to say that I got rave reviews from the attendees at this party, plus a bit of a bonus from the hosts who hired me. In addition to the meat, I have also perfected a sauce appropriate for beef.

I need to get back to work. More to come soon.