Saturday, January 2, 2016

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

Summer Kitchen 2015
My new Camp Chef single gas burner, a Weber
 Jumbo Joe that I got last year, a Weber Spirit 
2 burner gas grill and my Traeger pellet smoker 
on the deck

All covered up

Friday, January 1, 2016

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.

If you are interested in Sous Vide cooking there is a section on it with some knowledgeable members using the method.

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.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Bacon Cheeseburger Soup and Fried Green Tomatoes

Sep 03 2015

More crazy weather here in Ohio, Usually in September we start getting cooler weather. The past few days it has been 85 deg. and today was 90. It is not really soup weather but that is what I fixed for supper.

Cheeseburger soup has been around for a while; I love cheeseburgers but had never tried the soup. I found a recipe that added bacon to and I had some jowl bacon to use. I don’t have any more garden tomatoes that will ripen for BLT’s so might as well try the soup.

I did find two green tomatoes that were good to fry and thought they would be good with the soup. I made the soup in my CI Dutch oven outside on my gas burner. I had my bacon cut up and the veggies all diced and ready to go. I started at 5:30 and figured on eating at 6:30 but it was a little after 7:00 before I got it all done. I didn’t figure that too well.

I had just over a pound of bacon and diced half of it about ¼ inch wide to use for topping. I fried two large slices to use as bacon wafers in the soup. The other half I diced 1 inch wide for in the soup. The jowl bacon is a little fattier so I removed most of the fat not per the recipe. I also had ground chuck to use instead of lean beef. I omitted the jalapeno and cayenne pepper too

I did the soup all but the cheese outside then took inside on a low burner while I fried the green tomatoes. I had dipped the slices in seasoned flour, egg and then Panko crumbs and in the fridge a couple hours to set up. I had the skillet right this time and got the green tomatoes fried well. I had added bacon grease to the skillet to fry them in.

When the green tomatoes were done I added two cups of the shredded triple cheddar to the soup to melt. I served the soup with some rye croutons I had made, some bacon bits and the bacon wafer.  The wife and I both really liked the soup. I had figured it would be a onetime deal but I will make this again. It will taste good this winter.

Click here for printable recipe

Broth, cheese, cream and veggies

Bacon for the topping

Frying the bacon wafers

Bacon for the soup

Browning the beef

Veggies added, cooked until soft

Broth added and simmered 20 minutes

Cream and flour added

Green tomatoes fried in bacon grease

My supper

Monday, August 31, 2015

Baby Back Ribs and Baked Potato

Aug 30 2015

I think I have cooked 7 days in a row; mostly sandwiches. It was time for just some meat and potatoes. I had a rack of pork baby backs and I have been on a quest to have the wife say they are at least as good as Old Dave’s! She had some of his ribs at the Ohio gathering and said they were better than mine.

Dave told me some of his secrets to good ribs but I should have watched him a little closer; sometimes you learn more from watching than listening! Now I have cooked ribs over 30 years and do turn out some good ones but I did like his better.

I used to never pull the membrane but did pierce it with a pickle fork. I decided to leave it on this time and show using my pickle fork in a photo below.

Dave uses Blue Hog rub and two of their sauces. He didn’t tell me which two but I chose their original and the Tennessee red sauce mixed 1 to 1. Basically I did them for 5 hours, 2 at 180, sauce them and add some agave syrup and I used maple syrup instead of honey, some pats of butter then  double wrap in foil, 1 hour at 200 meat side up and 1 hour at 225 meat side down. Remove from the foil; brush on more sauce and another hour. My grill level temps were 25 deg. hotter than set temps. After removing from the foil I did have to go to 300 grill levels to get them done so next time I need a little higher when wrapped.

I did a can of black pepper spam, sliced part way through and some Blues Hog Rub added for an hour at 180 deg. and then sauced and on for another 45 minutes. It was not done enough but the cook was hungry and it did taste great anyway!

I did some baked potatoes our favorite way, a potato rod inserted and baked at 350 deg.  two hours for med. potatoes and 2 ½ for large ones. Then slice in half and serve with any toppings you want. After you eat out the potatoes you have a very crisp potato skin to enjoy. I had some leftover stewed tomatoes and corn for a side and some rye bread and butter.

I thought my ribs turned out pretty darned good. I asked my wife what she thought and she said “You’re getting there”! I guess I have to try a little harder!

Ribs ready for the smoker

Spams ready to smoke

After 1 hour

2 hours in, removed the spam for a snack

Ready to foil for 2 hours

Removed the foil

Another 40 minutes the ribs were done

Ready to cut and serve

My supper

Sunday, August 30, 2015

JBFGT Sandwich

Aug 30 2015

JBFGT sandwich, that’s a jowl bacon fried green tomato sandwich. The jowl bacon is from my butcher Kah Meats. I have seen this on the net and think fried green tomatoes were used to top a burger too. I love both bacon and tomatoes so had to try this.

The grandson had a soccer game an hour south of here so the wife went with them. I hate it that it makes too long of day for my back and leg to go along. At least I can still make his home games to see him play.

After I smoked some peanuts today I found one green tomato in my garden that would do for fried green tomatoes. I don’t like them when they are dark green and still too hard, when they turn a light green or even have a little red they are ready.

I wanted to fry the bacon and tomatoes outside but by 5:00 pm rain was getting too close. I breaded 3 slices of the tomato and in the fridge to set up. I dipped them in flour then egg and then panko bread crumbs. Cracker crumbs used to be my favorite but now I prefer the Panko bread crumbs; some people like cornmeal.

I sliced and fried up plenty of the jowl bacon for my sandwich. I lightly coated the bacon with some Savor’s Super Pig. I don’t care for the pig candy that is made from a heavy coat of Super Pig but found I do like a light coat on my bacon. I then took a beer break, well maybe two!

I reheated the bacon grease and fried the green tomatoes; a minute or two on each side to get a nice golden brown. I lightly toasted some rye bread for the sandwich and had left over tater tots with country gravy for a side. I made the sandwich with mustard on the bottom and mayo on the top slice; plenty of bacon added with the tomatoes on top. I had a good Yuengling beer with it.

That was a great sandwich; I would make it again but think I prefer just a standard BLT and have the fried green tomatoes on the side.

For the tomatoes

Bacon sliced and seasoned

Frying the bacon

Frying the tomatoes

My supper

Smoked Cocktail Peanuts

Aug 29 2015

I love about any kind of nut and keep them around to munch on. My favorite variety to smoke is pistachios in the shell. They take on a nice smoke flavor. Cashews and pecans will take on some smoke but most of the other varieties are too hard and smooth to take on much smoke.

For this batch of peanuts, I had about a pound can of Planters; I decided to get a little help from liquid smoke. I mixed a tablespoon of olive oil and a ¼ teaspoon of liquid hickory smoke and poured over the peanuts. I stirred to make sure all were coated well and then added some Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle and Cajun seasoning. I just eyeballed it but was about 2 teaspoons of each.

It was a nice day to be out with the smoker going. I preheated my Traeger to 180 deg. and did the peanuts for 2 hours; stirring them after an hour. My Savannah Stoker V3 controller had a steady rhythm of going from 170 to 190 deg. and putting out nice smoke.

They came out good and have some smoke taste; next time I may go to ½ teaspoon of liquid smoke. I don’t want to use too much. Even though Liquid smoke is a natural made product to me too much can taste artificial.

It took me a while to learn in my older age when you eat peanuts you must chew them up as fine as you want them to exit!

For the peanuts

On the smoker

All done and cooling

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Spam on Rye and Gravy Tater Tots

Aug 27 2015

Spam is not something I eat regularly but I get hungry for it now and then. I remember my Mom used to fry it for sandwiches and I liked it. I read where in 2007 it had sold over 7 billion cans! It is made by Hormel and became a regular item to feed out troops in WWII. It now comes in 16 different flavors. I have tried the BBQ flavor but prefer the original. It is made from pork shoulder and ham, all good meat.

I had corn cut from three ears and 4 nice sized tomatoes from my garden so I made stewed tomatoes and corn for a side. I sautéed some chopped onions, orange pepper and then added the corn to heat then the tomatoes I had removed the peels, some salt and prepper and a teaspoon of sugar. It all simmered about 40 minutes.

I had a bag of Ore Ida tater tots; I did some on the Weber Spirit for about 15 minutes then fried the Spam. I had sliced the can of Spam into six ½ inch slices and fried them about 6 minutes on each side to get crispy. I had made a batch of Pioneer mix country gravy for my tater tots.

My wife had mustard and dill pickle on her sandwich and I just had mustard. She had turned up her nose when I told her we were having Spam sandwiches but after the first bite she said mmm pretty good! It was good and satisfied my hunger for some Spam!

For my supper

Stewed tomatoes and corn

Spam sliced up

About done on my Weber

My supper