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

Jowl Bacon, Eggs and Cornbread cakes

I had some cornbread cakes left from yesterday. That meant a trip to my butcher Kah Meats for some of his jowl bacon to have with them for my brunch today. I fried up some of the bacon and then did the eggs in the grease. I had three of the cornbread cakes topped with butter and maple syrup. That tasted great but wished I had fried up more of the bacon! I had a glass of buttermilk with it.

My brunch

Smoked Beer Braised BBQ Chicken and Cornbread Cakes

Aug 26 2015

Cooking a chicken this way has been in my mind for a long time. Years ago when my son was young we ate chicken at a National Mussleloading Shoot. The guy had two pots going as I remember, one with boiling water and one with BBQ sauce. He was selling half chickens and they were delicious. I thought I would smoke some and then braise to see how that came out.

I read several recipes on braised chicken and some braised in beer sounded good. Most of them they would brown up the chicken and then braise an hour in liquid. One guy said to use all legs and thighs; that breasts would get dry tasting and I could relate to that. All the grocery had today was thighs and no legs so I settled for a split chicken.

My plan was to smoke for 1 ½ hours and then braise in beer and BBQ sauce for 1 ½ hours. I had enough time for 2 ½ hours in brine to help keep the breasts moist. I cut the halves in quarters and got it in the brine. I rinsed and back in the fridge to air dry 1 ½ hours before smoking. I seasoned it with some Blues Hog Rub and smoked at 180 deg. for 1 ½ hours.

I poured some of the Yuengling beer in the pot and added the chicken. I poured in a cup of Kah’s BBQ sauce, ¼ cup of Blues Hog Tennessee Red sauce, some dried garlic and shallots and then poured the rest of the beer over all. I brought it to a boil and then down to a low simmer and covered with some parchment paper on top. It was on for 1 ½ hours.

Old Dave had me hungry for some cornbread cakes. I used my favorite cornbread mix, Miracle Maize sweet and used the recipe on the box for pancakes. I did them on my griddle outside on my gas burner. My first 4 were burnt so they went in the trash. The next 4 were almost burnt but tasted one and didn’t taste burnt so I went with those, I was hungry!

I had some left over yellow rice for a side. My wife had a breast and I had a leg thigh quarter. The chicken was great, moist, tender fall off the bone. Two hours of braising would not have hurt the chicken any. The skin was not eatable. The wife said the breast was good and moist too. I liked my sauce mix and the corncakes went well with it. Yes I had to have a little butter on my corn cake!

After eating I fried 4 more batches of cornbread cakes and got them just right. I had been waiting for them to bubble up like regular pancakes but this mix did not so just did by checking to see if they were ready to flip. These will taste good tomorrow with some bacon and eggs!

Brined , seasoned and ready to smoke

1 1/2 hours of smoke

In the pot

Ready to braise

Cornbread cakes

Chickens done

My supper

I did better frying up these

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Turkey Burgers on Pretzel Buns and Corn on the Cob

Aug 25 2015

I went to Kroger’s today and found some pre-made turkey burgers and they had some local corn that looked good. I have to get my corn on the cob before the season runs out and it would go good with a turkey burger. My usual corn supply, Suter’s little red barn has already closed up. They probably still have it but I would have to drive to Lima, they run out of college kids, who start school, to man all their stands. They had said they should have corn to the end of August.

I had just enough tomatoes for the sandwiches and some in our salad. I made some dressing for mine, a couple Tbs. of mayo, a tsp. of sour cream and some dried garlic flakes. I had iceberg lettuce to use; my wife has bought a Romaine mix ever since she read iceberg lettuce has no food value. Food value or not I like it for the nice crunch especially for sandwiches.

I had the corn in my rice steamer to be ready when the sandwiches were. I seasoned the turkey burgers with some Penzey’s sandwich sprinkle. I did the burgers on my Weber Spirit on grill grates about 6 minutes each side and toasted the pretzel buns.

My wife and I both had mustard, lettuce and tomato on the sandwiches. All tasted pretty good. The turkey burgers were a tad dry; some bacon would have fixed that!

The burgers

My salad

My corn

My supper

Monday, August 24, 2015

Smoked Sausage Penzey's Chili w/Beans

Aug 23 2015

It was just me & the dog home today so I wanted to make some chili. Our son was at a golf outing so my wife went with the daughter in law and grandson to his soccer game an hour south of here. Our son met them after the game for dinner.

My chili was a half day making and that meant a nice lazy beer sipping afternoon outside listening to music as I was cooking. I did up the tomatoes on the smoker early to get the peels off; an easier way than boiling water. I had about a pound of smoked sausage to use up so that was my meat. I prefer pinto beans for chili but had some little red beans to use up.

After lunch I smoked the sausage on my Traeger for an hour 15 minutes at 225 deg. I measured out my spices, chopped the onion and diced up the bacon. I started out outdoors using my gas burner; I did the bacon, sausage, onions and dry spices then took the pot inside to deglaze and add all the other stuff.

After I got all in and simmering I let it on for 3 hours adding some water as I went and stirring as it cooked. I had a big bowl of it about 6:30 topped with some shredded Mexican 4 cheese blend and a dollop of sour cream along with some buttered saltine crackers. It was a little warm for me but tasted great.

I think ground meat would make it more chili like but I had the smoked sausage to use up.

Click here for printable recipe

The tomatoes

Smoking the sausage

Penzey's spices

Ingredients, beans not shown

Bacon's in

Sausage in

Onions in

Seasoning in

Beer for deglazing

Beer's in

Tomatoes, dried pepper and bay leaves added

Beans were added and simmered for 3 hours

My supper