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Monday, May 01, 2006 

Game On!

Well folks, I can tell you that up here in Vermont, Barbecue season has officially opened for Howling Hog BBQ. This weekend marked the first sunny and warm weekend we've had this spring, and I wasn't going to let it slip by without cooking up a huge volume of meat!

I invited family and friends over for a sunday BBQ to help take care of my soon to be created "meat problem" (my friends always seem to be willing to pitch in when it comes to dealing with an overabundance of BBQ!).

Last Wednesday I stocked up on charcoal. I ordered 66lbs of Wicked Good Charcoal from Maine, and as always it arrived within two days. Thanks to Lee Ann for the great customer service.

I also called my butcher looking for a pork shoulder - something I hadn't had in quite a while as I've been working on brisket of late. Darned my luck, he was out of pork shoulder. But he had brisket, and that would certainly do. He asked me what size cut I was looking for and I mistakenly told him I didn't care. That got me this:

Yes folks, that's 13 freakin' POUNDS of beefy goodness. My, my, my.

So, on Saturday afternoon (I've taken to cooking the day before a get together to allow me more time with guests and less time in front of the stove) I sparked up my grill and got to cooking. Now, I've begun to make it a policy that there should be very little "open real estate" on my grill when I'm smoking a big cut of meat. Charcoal and wood are too expensive, and things can always be frozen for later use.

As you can imagine, my big honkin' brisket took up a fair bit of my grill, but it still left room for some eggs. I'd seen one of Farmer Girl's relatives smoke eggs in the past, and decided I'd give it a shot. They came out great and made some rippin' smoked deviled eggs.

I cooked from 2:00pm on Saturday until about 12:00 midnight. Since I wasn't competing, I saw no reason to pull an all nighter, so the brisket got wrapped in foil and I put it in the fridge.

On Sunday morning I pulled the meat out and popped it in the oven at 220 degrees. Then I re-lit my grill and put one of our homegrown Turkeys on it. This sucker weighed in at 10lbs:

I stuffed the bird with a few onions, a garlic bulb, rosemary, sage and some apples, all to add a bit of flavor and moisture to it. To fill the unused grill area, I put a bunch of country-style pork spare ribs on it. Those will get used at a later date.

When it came time to serve the meal, I unwrapped my briskets (I cut the brisket in half to help speed the cooking process) and here's the joy I saw:

It came out perfectly! The color was really great - note the killer smoke ring. The crust was nice and black, but not burnt. Needless to say it was well received. I pulled one of the turkey breasts and served it in Big Bob Gibson's white sauce. I also made black beans and rice, veggie hobo packs with sweet potato, zuccini and summer squash and, of course my wife's smoked deviled eggs! It was a good feed.

Aside from being excited to be back into barbecue season again, I'm particularly thrilled about the consistancy of what was once my hardest meat to cook. My brisket has been good every time I've made it since last season. There's no way I'm placing last in Brisket at the Harpoon Championships this season. Mark my words.

Hope all of you had the opportunity to cook something good and have your favorite drink.



Welcome back dude! Your food looks incredible. I wish I was in Vermont with you this weekend.

Can you expand on the smoked eggs? How do you do them? What do you do with them after you smoke them?

Great looking food. I'll definitely have to try those eggs sometime.

I want to do the eggs. How long did you leave them on? Thanks from Texas!

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