Friday, January 2, 2015

My Traeger & cook area

Below you see my cooking equipment, my Traeger 07E, to the left is a gas cooker w/cast iron skillet & to the right is a fish friar on the cabinet.
Since this photo I have added a Weber Q100 gas grill. Below that you see a photo of me & my faithful companion. Click on any photo to view larger size it opens in a slide viewer with all the photos in the post.

My Smokin Deck,I can cook rain or shine.

Set up for winter weather

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Let's Talk BBQ, One Great Forum

Let’s Talk BBQ; no matter what you cook on this is one great forum for discussing BBQ and learning about BBQ. Whether you use a grill, smoker, or other type of cooker, using gas, wood, charcoal, or electric for fuel there is a place for you there.

Their rules are pretty simple; just treat others the way you want to be treated. Leave your ego at home and have fun learning and discussing cooking and food in a family way.

Most members are from the USA but they are slowly getting some international members. I know of two from Australia and one each from Germany and S. Africa. There may be some from England. I like this since we can learn about other recipes and ways to do BBQ than in our own country.

The forum is laid out well; there are different sections for each style cooker, a recipe section, a general section, a place for sausage making and a place for other hobbies. There are a lot of knowledgeable members there now.

I do most all my BBQ on my Traeger wood pellet smoker; but can adapt most recipes from other types of cookers. I use it year around and do most all of the cooking for my wife and I.

So; if you want to talk BBQ get over there sign up and join in the fun of cooking and eating some good BBQ.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Happy Holidays to All

Dec 17 2014

Happy Holidays and may all have a great New Year coming up. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or whatever you may celebrate and hope we all can have peace; eat some good food and just have fun with friends and family!

I just had a back operation for a ruptured disc so I will be trying to heal up in the next few weeks. Our daughter in law is fixing Christmas Eve dinner for us even though she has to work that day. I hope I am back in shape enough to make it down there to have a great time with her, our son and grandson. Our daughter from the Chicago area will not be able to make it here but she was here for Thanksgiving week end last month.

I plan to at least be able to cook my traditional New Year’s Day good luck dinner of some pork and sauerkraut. I have a batch of homemade sauerkraut ready that will make it extra good. I hope I can get photos and get it posted.

See you all next year! Don

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Asian Dry Rub Baby Back Ribs

Dec 12 2014

Today was my last cook before I go under the knife Monday, my back operation. I was glad I could get out and cook it on my Traeger. It was a bright sunny day but the 38 deg. F felt cold to me.

I had a rack of baby backs from Kah Meats, my butcher. Rather than doing my usual way I saw these Asian dry rubbed ones from Food52 I thought looked good. They were done hot and fast in the oven but thought I could do them on my smoker. I hoped they would be good since my usual way of doing ribs on the smoker is low and slow and instead of 40 minutes take 4 to 6 hours. I was a little leery of the ginger in the rub mix; the wife and I are not big ginger fans. It said 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons so I just used 1 Tbs. and it went well with the other spices.

I cut up the ribs and rubbed well with the dry rub; they went into a plastic bag and in the fridge overnight. I had the ribs half cut before I realized I forgot to pull off the membrane so I pulled it off the half slab that was left.

To go along with the ribs I had some Carolina rice I did in my rice cooker and fried some stir fry veggies for on top of the rice. I did up two frozen Taipei veggie egg rolls for us and I had some Mae Ploy’s chili sauce on mine.

The ribs were great, the wife liked them too. The blend of spices in the dry rub went well together and none stood out, tasted like one flavor. I thought they were like eating Baby Back Bark!

The DIL and grandson stopped in just after we were done. The grandson sat down and ate some rice and veggies and cleaned two of the ribs to the bone! He said those were good!

Note: I showed my wife's plate so you all would know I do feed her too when I cook!

Click here for printable recipe

The rack of ribs

The rub

Cut, seasoned and ready for the fridge

After a half hour of smoke

After one hour

Cooking the veggies

Serving the ribs

My wife's supper

My supper

With my beer

Those were good!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Beef and Cheese Casserole

Dec 10 2014

A casserole is an easy meal to fix and makes for comforting food on a cool winter day. Just have a salad or some veggies and some bread and butter and it’s an easy meal to fix. I had some shredded cheese that needed used so I bought a pound of ground chuck at my butchers; all I needed was a recipe. I found this one for Beef and cheddar at Food Network by the Food Network Kitchen.  It also used some wide egg noodles I had on hand and sounded good to me.

I had a loaf of good take home and bake bread so I baked that before starting the casserole. I like to bake my own bread but when I can get a loaf already made and just bake it for about 10 minutes and it’s as good as I can do from scratch it’s just too easy!

I got my noodles boiling and cooked them about 4:45 and by 6:10 I had this on the table. While the casserole was baking my wife made up a mixed Romaine salad for us. Our son had to work so we had the grandson for supper and the DIL ate when she got here from work.

The shredded cheese I had was two different Mexican mixes and a little cheddar. After eating it I think about any kind of cheese would work with this. Since I was using ground chuck 80-20 mix I removed some of the grease but left some for flavor. I am beginning to love the Penzey’s 4S salt but I use it sparingly since it is heavy in salt. I sprinkled some on top and the red from the smoked paprika in it gave it a nice color. I had blue cheese dressing and French fried onions on my salad.

We all liked this and think it is among the best casseroles I have made. I think what really adds a great flavor to this dish is the sour cream and parmesan cheese added to the noodles.

Click here for link to recipe

All but the sour cream and ground beef

 Cooking the noodles

Noodles, sour cream and parmesan added

Beef browned and peppers and onions added

Tomato paste and diced tomatoes added
plus Italian seasoning

Beef mix over the noodles

Shredded cheese and 4S salt added

Some good crusty bread

Casserole done

My supper

My Lodge Carbon Steel Skillets

Dec 10 2014

We had some discussion about carbon steel skillets on the LTBBQ forum and I wrote this about my Lodge Carbon steel skillets. I don’t usually do product reviews in here but I love the Lodge cast iron and carbon steel to cook with.

I wanted a carbon steel skillet to use, I remember my Mom used to have one and can remember her using it for bacon and eggs. I bought a cheap imported 9 inch skillet and used it. Within a few months it warped and would not set level on my glass top range.

I already had some Lodge’s cast iron ware and saw they now make some carbon steel skillets. I bought a 10 inch one over a year ago. After using it I ordered the 12 inch too. I have used both over a year now and they are my everyday skillets and get weekly use. They show no warping yet. They are a little thicker than most carbon steel ware but still a lot lighter to handle than the cast iron.

They come pre-seasoned and have held up well. I think they cook as well as cast iron and cleanup is the same.  They are only about 1 ½ inches deep so if I need deeper I use my cast iron.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pork Chops, Fried Potatoes and Applasauce

Dec 09 2014

I was thinking about what to have for supper. It would be one of our favorites, pork chops, fried potatoes and applesauce. I like chops on my smoker but when I do fried potatoes I like doing them inside in my steel skillet then fry the potatoes in the pork chop grease for added flavor.

About an hour before cooking I seasoned the chops with a little Adolf’s tenderizer, Penzey’s 4S salt, and fresh ground pepper; covered and in the fridge. Adolf’s is a natural tenderizer made from ground papaya. The 4S salt is a mix of sea salt, smoked paprika, sugar, black pepper, turmeric, onion, garlic, celery, rosemary and thyme.

Before starting the chops I baked some take home and bake garlic knots. I fried the chops in my Lodge steel skillet with a tablespoon of bacon grease 4 minutes per side. They went in a covered casserole dish with just enough water to cover the bottom and in a 325 deg. oven. I then fried the golden yellow potatoes, with some sliced onion, about 10 minutes and then turned for another 10 minutes. The 20 minutes was time enough for the thin chops to get done in the oven.

Supper hit the spot, the chops were as tender and moist as they get. Now the potatoes were not crispy enough, they were done and well browned but not very crispy as we like. I should have let this meal go for my wife to do next week; she can do crispy fried potatoes a lot better than me!

The chops seasoned

Potatoes and onions with a little olive oil

Browning the chops

The potatoes

My supper