Wednesday, June 29, 2011

First Mini Catering Gig

This past weekend one of our friends asked me to cook for their sons b-day. He wanted butts, slaw and potato salad.

I did four butts and a big that's-a-bowl of coleslaw and potato salad. I used a fellow designer's (Jeff Fisher of LogoMotives) coleslaw recipe. It was very good.

Well I was supposed to be up at 3:30 am to get the butts on by 4:00 so they would be done in time for the party. I didn't get up until 5:30. D'OH!!

Well the butts didn't quite get to the temp I wanted (195) but they were done (180-185) and tasted great. The people I was cooking for are all Carolinian's and very particular about their Q, they all loved it.

Here are a couple pictures from the cook.
The cooker

Smoking nicely

The butts about half way through.

Things I learned:
1: Make sure when you set your alarm you turn it on.
2: cooking a little hotter does help get the food done, but it still takes time.
3: smoked hotdogs that roll in the grease from a pork butt are very yummy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

App Review: GrillStar App

Creator: Ryan Michel
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

Cost: $.99
Link: GrillStar

Summer is here and it’s time to fire up that grill (unless you’re crazy like me and cook all year round). Time to feed the family in that old-as-time tradition of cooking over an open flame. They want to eat chicken but every time you grill it, you burn it. You want to grill up some fresh veggies but don’t know how long to cook them for. No worries. GrillStar can solve that problem.

This is a great little app for $.99. You can put your meat, seafood or veggies on a virtual grill and a timer is set to remind you when to turn it over or pull it off on your real grill. Remember, “If you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’.” This app give you information you need to cook your food correctly on the grill as well as some good grilling tips.

The cook times assume your meat is thawed completely, which it should be when you grill, but if it isn’t you need to take that into consideration. The UI is a little difficult to find where things are, but once you figure it out it isn’t bad.

On the Gibbs Ribs scale* I give this app a 3/4’s rack. It is very useful and well thought out but the UI could use some improvement.

*When I do reviews, books or otherwise, I will rate the items with ribs (they are my favorite BBQ dish). A full rack is great and a single rib is poor.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Q 2011

Last weekend I had some friends over for Summer Q 2011. I smoked a bunch of meat and tried some new things. On the menu we had pulled pork, ribs, spatchcock chicken, London broil, black beans (the recipe will be in another blog), caesar salad and chocolate cake. It was a great spread.

I did the pork like I usually do. Slathered with honey mustard and rub and smoked at about 250° for about eight hours. Every hour, or whenever I checked the fire, I would mop the butts with a mix of worsterceshire, soy sauce, olive oil, water and apple juice.

I prepped the Ribs about an hour before they went on to the cooker. I had two racks and did two types of ribs. They started out the same. I removed the membrane and rubbed them. After they were rubbed I let them sit for a while to allow the rub to start to pull out the juices. I put them on the cooker at 250°. They cooked for five hours with a spray of apple juice every hour. After three hours I pulled one of the racks off and foil wrapped it with some butter and homemade strawberry jelly. I left this rack foiled for an hour then unwrapped it and glazed it with a BBQ sauce I made with some more strawberry jelly. These ribs rocked.

I brined the chicken over night in salt water with brown sugar, rub and a vinegar BBQ sauce. About 30 minutes before it went on the cooker I spatchcocked it, dried it and rubbed it. This went on the cooker for two and half hours.

The London broil was a new experiment for me. I rubbed it the night before and let it rest in the fridge. I figured it would only take about two to three hours to cook. I should have checked it after about an hour. It had great flavor but got dried out. I think the next time I do one I will let it cook for 30 minutes then foil wrap it with some mop sauce for another hour.

At one point I had all the meat on the cooker at the same time, so I had to get creative to fit it all on. I took four coke cans and used them as pillars to hold up a small grill that the chicken and London broil cooked on. This is a great way to add an extra cooking shelf to a full cooker.

One of our friends makes a great Caesar salad. When he makes it he "loves the bowl." This involves talking to it while rubbing it down with garlic and lemon juice.

Overall all the meat was good and I got to introduce some of our Canadian friends to real BBQ. I might have to do a Summer Q 2011 II later this summer.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Best Christmas Present - for Q

Last Christmas I received one of the most useful gifts for Q. Silicon gloves. These are one of the most useful tools in my arsenal of Q tools I have. They are insulated black silicon gloves that allow me to grab meat off the hot cooker, pull pork without getting third degree burns and are easy to clean.

They are not good for grabbing a hot grate or stone as it will melt the silicon. The meat doesn't tend to get as hot as the metal or stone so I have never had any trouble with that. To clean them I leave them on, get a little dish soap on them and wash my hands in warm water. This insures I don't get any water inside the gloves. Once they are grease free I lay them down to dry or dry them on a towel.

Many cooking stores carry these gloves and they can also be found on Amazon for about $10. If you make a lot of Q it will be some of the best $10 you will spend.