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, July 2, 2015

Molasses Brined Pork Butt for Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Jul 01 2015

I have had this recipe for a while and been wanting to try it. It has been ages since I made a large pork butt. Monday I got one from my butcher Kah Meats; it weighed 10.25 pounds. It would not fit the pot I do my brining in so I cut a chunk off to make it fit. I have other pots but this one fits my fridge nice. The chunk I cut off was 2.5 pounds and I vacuum sealed it and froze for later.

I still cannot lift much after my back surgery so to get it out in my garage fridge I put just the pork butt in; then mixed up the brine and carried it out to add.

The brine recipe was ¾ cup of molasses, ½ cup coarse salt and two quarts of water. I added two tablespoons of Blues Hog rub; the seasoning I was going to use on it. It was in the brine for 48 hours.

I got up this AM at 5:30 to get the pork butt on. I rinsed it well and dried then added a light coat of yellow mustard and plenty of the Blues hog seasoning. I got the Traeger fired up and at 190 deg. I got the pork butt in at 6:25. After 2 hours and 15 minutes I wanted to go to the grocery so I upped it to 220 deg. and went to the grocery. When I got back at 9:30, 3 hours in I went to 235 deg. and it was giving me 250 deg. at grill level.

At 11:30, 5 hours in I inserted a temp probe from my Maverick ET732, it was at 154 deg. and went pretty quick to 164 deg. it started it’s stall at 167 deg. I decided to try tenting it instead of wrapping in foil like I usually do. I let it go until an IT of 185 deg. then I I placed it on a broiler pan with some sliced onions on the bottom and added a cup of water and went to 250 deg. on the Traeger. It slowly went to 189 deg. and set there for at least an hour. I wanted to start checking and probing it at 195 deg. It went to 192 deg. so I gave it my probe test and was looking good. At 4:00 PM it finally went to 194 deg. so decided to pull it and place it tented in a heated 200 deg. oven to rest for an hour before pulling. It was in the smoker a total of 9.5 hours.

I made some potato salad while the pork was on. It was my favorite, Justin Wilson’s Picnic Potato Salad.
I watched my Savannah Stoker V3 controller temps pretty close after changing some parameters sent to me by Billy Merril, who makes it. It worked just the way I would like. At 200 and 225 I was getting 8 to 10 deg. above and below set point for some great smoke.  After I went to 235 deg. it held within 5 deg. never getting out of the 230 range. This gave me 250 to 255 deg. at grill level. When I get time I will do a write up in the Savannah Stoker and my latest thoughts on it.

I think this was the first pork butt I brined and not sure if it was that much better. By tenting it and then removing and in the pan with a little water the last couple of hours did give me some great bark. It pulled nice and then I did a coarse chop to get the bark chopped smaller. I think it’s agreed if you don’t wrap at all you get crispier bark; but I think unless you are feeding most of it right away whatever you save and or freeze will end up with the bark being soft when you serve it later. I think I still prefer wrapping.

My wife had a sandwich with some of Kah’s BBQ sauce, it’s a little like Sweet Baby Ray’s but a little more tangy. I had one sandwich with some mustard and sprinkled on more Blues Hog rub, my other one was with some Kah’s BBQ sauce I added some Penzey’s Galena St. rub and Blues Hog rub to. I liked it but liked the one with mustard and Blues Hog Rub the best.

The potato salad was good, a little different picnic style with more dill relish than sweet relish.

Click here for printable potato salad recipe

Brined seasoned and ready for the smoker

5 Hrs. in about ready to tent


Pellet usage, for 9.5 hrs. Filled about 1 inch from
the top at start. 10 Lb. capacity

My potato salad

About done

After a 1 hr. rest

Rough pull

Final pull and excess fat removed

Final chop and ready to serve

My supper

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Parmesan Garlic Butter Chicken Breasts

Jun 30 2015

I had some leftover spaghetti and Italian gravy so I took some Butter Garlic marinated chicken breasts out of the freezer this morning to have with it. My butcher always has several different chicken marinades made up and frozen. They are just right for the wife and me and easy to fix.

It was a nice day today except we had a light rain about the whole time I was smoking some peanuts and then a light sprinkle as I finished supper. Me and the dog had a close encounter with a brave little sparrow today for some fun.

I had the smoker heated to 190 deg. and did the chicken breasts for 45 minutes to finish thawing and heat up some. I then did them about 4 minutes per side on my Weber Spirit along with some buttered and seasoned bread. I topped the breasts with some parmesan and heated the spaghetti in the micro wave. I melted the cheese some more under the broiler. I had used my thermopen to make sure the chicken was done.

We both had a small salad with some baby pickled beets and homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. That was an easy meal and tasted good!

Chicken from my butcher

A little olive oil and garlic herb salt added

On my Traeger

One side done

Parmesan added and the bread

My salad

My supper

Brave Little Sparrow

Jun 30 2015

I fed the sparrows for 30+ years and they were used to me. For the first couple of years after I built my smoke deck they stayed out then more often they started to roost there overnight. Last year I closed up most of the roosting spots but then this spring they had found some more places and were making a mess. I had already stopped feeding them and the gold finches. Finch feed was getting too expensive and it attracted the sparrows too. Hummers are the only birds I feed now.

I got all the roosting spots covered now and my smoke deck has been bird poop free now for a couple of months.

Now my dog is not spoiled but he likes to eat outside in the summer. He will even beg ne for food when it is on the back porch until I take it outside. Then he gobbles it down. The sparrows have been stealing some of his food so I guess you might say he feeds the birds now. They will fly in and steal some even when I am close by.

Today an especially brave one beat all I ever saw. I was filling the dog bowl and my dog was waiting right there. This little guy ran around behind me and jumped up for a drink of water and then into the food bowl. My dog just stood there looking, maybe he was in shock! Then it hopped up on the deck and my dog finally chased it. Later it came back and almost got in my hand.

When I started smoking the peanuts today I had my camera handy and shot this of the Brave Little Sparrow. I shot this from the chair I was setting in so that's how close I was.

Smoked Cocktail Peanuts

Jun 30 2015

I got hooked on some planters smoked peanuts I got at Wal-Mart. I kept them around for mid-night snacks. Then just like a smart store they quit carrying them. I thought I will just smoke my own. I have done a lot of pistachios, and have tried pecans almonds and cashews. Most recipes say to use raw nuts but tried cashews and almonds but I like the roasted and salted ones better. I suppose it’s because I just smoke them at low temps for the added smoke flavor.

I had a one pound can of Planters cocktail nuts I did today. I added a tablespoon of olive oil and mixed to coat all. Then I added a teaspoon of granulated garlic; and a heaping teaspoon each of Cajun seasoning and smoked paprika.

I had my Traeger pre-heated to 190 deg. and did them in my Weber grill pan for one hour then went to 200 deg. for another hour. I was getting some nice smoke from my SS V3 controller. They came out with a good flavor. Even though they were salted I could have used more salt; but then I am a salt lover.


Ready to smoke

In my Traeger


Monday, June 29, 2015

Wok Shrimp and Chicken Pad Thai

Jun 28 2015

 It was a nice day today, no rain, sunshine and a slight breeze at 75 deg. I had a good late breakfast and spent the rest of the day getting stuff ready to cook Pad Thai outdoors in my Wok. Pad Thai is a dish I love and gives a break from eating BBQ. I had been making it from a kit by Thai Kitchen that had a sauce with tamarind in it and the rice noodles.

I finally bought some tamarind paste and some Annie Chun’s brown rice noodles. I found a recipe for sauce and changed the ingredients to my liking.

I spent the afternoon relaxing, getting the shrimp thawed and seasoned, cutting up the chicken and prepping all the veggies. Wok cooking goes pretty fast and you need to have everything prepped and in bowls ready to add to the wok as you go.

I started cooking about 5:30, heated the wok on my Camp Chef Pro 30 burner and had the rice noodles cooked and ready to go plus all the veggies. I like to add some veggies to mine and this time used some pea pods. It took about 20 minutes total for the cooking.

I had baked a take home and bake baguette for some bread and butter. I know bread and butter is not usually served with Pad Thai but it goes with about anything when ole Don is cooking!

We both squeezed some lime over it and I had some chopped cashews, sliced green onion tops, and crushed red pepper on mine. We both thought it was the best Pad Thai I have made. I thought it could have had a little more salty taste to balance the sweet so next time will add more fish sauce to the sauce.

Click here for printable recipe

For the sauce

For the stir fry



Ready to start

Shrimps in

Chickens in

Pea pods are in

Onions in and chicken back in

Shrimp back in

Bean sprouts and half the sauce added

Rice noodles and more sauce added

My Pad Thai