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WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Friday, April 28, 2006

BBQ Sweepstakes - Win A Pit

The folks over at Texas Pepper Jelly and Texas BBQ Rub are giving away a Gator Pit Budget Mobile BBQ pit, valued at $1950 included as part of $13,500 in prizes and gifts from Texas BBQ Rub, Gator Pit, Texas Pepper Jelly, and Yellow Rose Jerky is going to be given away starting right now.

So what's the catch? They want your email address and the ability to send you email promotions. You'll be entered in Texas Pepper Jelly's and Texas BBQ Rub's monthly newsletter which are always full of discounts, promotions, recipes, BBQ tips, etc. Along with the newsletters, you will still have a great chance at winning one of their prizes. Currently they have over $13,500 worth of prizes that will be given away to over 850 winners!

So don't hesitate any further, it sounds like a fair deal to me. Sign up with Win A Pit 2006 right now! It's certainly worth a shot. Then again, don't. It'll increase my odds of winning.

And please welcome Edible Brooklyn to my blog roll. Edible Brooklyn is a new magazine, well new to me at least, that celebrates the Borough's food culture, season by season. I found it while dining in the ulta-chic new hipster neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn. Be sure to check it out.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Utah BBQ Association and a Shot in the Arm

Over the last month or so, I've been thinking a lot about this blog. Why do I do it? Is anyone reading it? Am I keeping it focused on my barbecue adventures or has it simply become another diary on the internet? Is this blog keeping me focused on realizing my dream or have I let it morph into something that I never intended? Have I lost focus?

I know I don't have all the answers to my questions. I'm still out on many of them and I believe I may never know the answers to some of the questions. For some questions I don't know if I will be ever honest with my self enough to answer.

But the other night while checking my blog statistics, I came across a posting on the Utah BBQ Association's web forum about my blog. Hmm, who is this group? I've never heard of them, but I'm glad to see that barbecue is popular enough in Utah to warrant its own barbeque association.

This posting helped to answer some of my questions. Apparently people are reading my blog. I am actually making a difference to someone in the barbeque world. HoochieQue, thank you for the shot in the arm. Even a guy "green as a gourd" appreciates the praise. Good luck with your judging class. I hope more people attend because of my recommendation.

Here's Hoochie's post....

For anyone and everyone "new" or "old" to Que, you HAVE to go check out this blog - WhiteTrashBBQ... I "stumbled" onto this guy's blog via a Google Search for "rubs", and have thoroughly enjoyed his chronicles as he has ventured into the world of Que over the past 2 years...

The fellow - Robert Fernandez, from NYC - sets out nearly 2 years ago with this blog to record his journey towards becoming a Master Smokehead... It appears he was "green as a gourd" when he began this pursuit... So as you read about his efforts to reach his goals, there is a lot that everyone participating in this forum will find themselves relating to... It is also chock full of some great tips - regardless of whether to just want to hone your skills as a backyard king, or are planning to set the world on fire at the next American Royale...

The link (at the bottom of my post) will take you back to his very first blog on June 8, 2004... You can access all of his blogs chronologically through the "Archives" which are found along the right hand side of his blog towards the very bottom...

It will take you a while to read through it all... It is definitely not a quick read... But it is an entertaining / insightful / educational trip into the Land of Smoke as seen through the eyes of a "newbie"... This boy may be from New York City (born and raised there) - but man oh man does he have a passion for Que!!! And to his credit, just a little over a month ago he was one of the founders of the very first real BBQ contest to ever be held in NYC ("Grillin' On The Bay")!!

Oh - and one last thing... Here is a recent quote from his blog (for those of you still stuck on high center about the KCBS judging class coming up soon):

"For those of you just starting out, here's some of the best advice I can give you about competitive barbeque. Go become a certified barbecue judge. One of the best things I did before cooking at a competition, was to become a Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified Judge. By becoming a judge, I was taught what goes on in the judge's tent. I learned how the judges would be examining my meat and got lots of inside tips and tricks that I would use in competition. I learned what makes good BBQ and great BBQ. Everything I learned also helped me become a better cook at home."

Here is the link to his first entry on his blog:


Enjoy! Cool

And if I have any readers out in Utah, be sure to check out the Utah BBQ Association and give it your support.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Restaurant Review: The Cookhouse

The Cookhouse
154 Boston Post Road
Darien, CT.

This review is overdue. Way overdue. Back on March 18th, Militant Squatter of Bad Bones BBQ Crew and Smoker of the BBQ-Brethren BBQ team and I met up and headed out to judge at the New England BBQ Society's Annual Snowshoe Challenge in Abington, MA. You can read about the judging experience here, but I need to talk about the restaurant find that we discovered on the trip home.

Submitted for your approval, three grown men in a small red car traveling on an interstate highway returning to the Big Apple. They've been up since about 4 in the morning and have already traveled far. They've feasted on fish, sausage, beef steak and vegetables. But a sign beckons from the side of the highway - "Best Barbeque in Connecticut." Throwing caution to the wind, and crossing three lanes at considerable speed, they pull up in front of The Cookhouse.

At first glance, The Cookhouse is a bit disappointing. The restaurant is housed in a converted Red Lobster and on the outside it still has that familiar nautical feel. But stepping inside, the place has been converted. It's warm and welcoming, with the tell tale smell of wood smoke, albeit with a slight feel of mass commercialism. The chain restaurant roots of the building are disguised but not completely gone.

We arrived and were told there would be a slight delay. As Smoker, Militant and I waited we wondered around, perused the menu and joked that this place was about to be reviewed by three Certified Barbeque Judges. Would "Fat Tommy's Slo-Smoked Barbecue" live up to it's promise? We've heard it all before. We've been tempted by slogans before only to be presented with boiled ribs and liquid smoke filled sauces. Our expectations weren't high, but our standards were. Not only are we Judges, with a capitol J mind you, but we all cook barbecue on at least a weekly basis. Could The Cookhouse stand up to our own backyard and award winning competition Q?

As we waited, we started taking pictures of the restaurant. Smoker was enjoying the fire place when Fat Tommy made his first appearance. None us knew who he was, but he apologized for ruining the picture and introduced himself to us.

Fat Tommy is a convivial host and asked us if we had been there before, where we were from and all sorts of the usual restaurateur chatter. But we decided to raise the stakes. Tell us about your cooker Fat Tommy, your woods and your methods. He replied that he used a Southern Pride cooker and cooked only over wood. Then we dropped the hammer - we're not regular customers - we're Certified BBQ Judges! Fat Tommy- (I wonder if he likes being called that?) - laughed and said that his food was good and hoped it would meet our expectations. He then invited us on a tour of the kitchen. Now that's class.

We were seated in the bar area, far away from the dear children that Smoker loves soo much, Fat Tommy introduced our waitress, Lizzie who handed us our menus and we debated what to eat. Now don't forget, we just judged a competition. We just ate about 2 pounds worth of barbeque. We decided that we would try to cover all the meats that Tommy offered.

As we looked over the menu, we were served some biscuits and cornbread with a kane sweetened butter. Man these were good. I could have made a meal out of them alone.

We decided to start with the appetizers. Tommy suggested we order the Bunkies, so we did. From the menu "“Bunkie Meat Pies $5.99 (because we make fresh daily will only be offered as a special) -- Rob & Fat Tommy Used To Drive 30 Miles To A Trailer Where These Were Sold In Bunkie, La. Rob's First Food Fantasies Were About These Little Pies Filled With Beef, Pork, Hot Red Pepper & Other Good Stuff. Served With Cookhouse Jelly For Dipping."

We also ordered the Nachos "“Nappy's Nachos $9.99 -- Nappy, One of Our Cooks, Made A Dish For The Staff That We All Loved. Taco Chips, Beef, Pork, Beans, Pepper Jack Cheese, Jalapeno Peppers, Fresh Tomato Salsa & Sour Cream. This Is Huge & Suitable For Sharing."

And finally the BBQ Pizza "“BBQ Pizza $5.99 -- A Cookhouse original with pulled pork, onions, cilantro, BBQ sauce and Pepper Jack on a crisp Flatbread"

For dinner, we ordered the previously mentioned beef rib and Tommy'’s Tombo Combo "“The Tombo-Combo $21.99 -- A Feast For True 'Cue Lovers & A Bargain To Boot. Choose Any 3 Of: Ribs, Brisket, Chicken, Pulled Pork (From Our Smithfield Butts) Or Andouille Sausage. Plus Two Sides. Dig In! (To Choose Ribs Twice Add $4.00) -- We went with the chicken, brisket and ribs with the sauce on the side.

There'’s a tip there folks. No, make that a rule. When ordering at a barbecue restaurant, always order your meat without sauce. Many a time a good meal is ruined by the kitchen dumping overly sweet and way too much sauce on perfectly good food. Tommy's sauces were excellent. I liked every one of them.

As we were served, our waitress took real good care of us. She was funny, friendly and open. She let us in on some secrets on working for Fat Tommy and The Cookhouse. (Tom -- you'’re going to have to ask her, but believe me you won'’t be disappointed.) And at some point Tommy'’s wife came over and took our picture for "The Wall."” Tommy also checked up on us a couple of times. But he did it with skill. We felt taken care of and never interrupted.

OK -- let'’s get down to the nitty gritty -- how was the food? Readers of this blog know that I'm not a fan of most barbecue restaurants and very unforgiving when reviewing them. But are you ready for this? Are you sitting down? The Cookhouse has the best restaurant barbeque that I have ever had. Hands down. I really can'’t find a criticism in the whole experience, and believe me, we tried. The Bunkies alone are worth the trip. We were treated like Kings.

Even with the current gas prices, I'’m looking for any excuse to drive up to Connecticut and eat at The Cookhouse again. ROAD TRIP -- ROAD TRIP -- – ROAD TRIP!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

BBQ Supplies - Pit Bull Hot Sauce

For some reason, most of the serious barbeque-rs I know are into hot sauce as well. I haven't figured out the correlation between hot sauce and barbecue but I'm sure someone will. Is anyone looking for a doctoral thesis? Here you go, just be sure to thank me.

In my humble opinion, one of the best hot sauces on the market is Pit Bull Hot Sauce, produced a small company run by Manny Ortiz, Lisa Anziano, Harlee and Syd the Pit Bull out in Bay Shore, Long Island.

Pitt Bull Hot Sauce
claims to be "the Sweet Sauce That Bite You Back." And it lives up to its promise. When you first open the bottle, it reminds me of a very good buffalo wing sauce. But when you taste it, you'll experience the honey and garlic flavors which are quickly followed by the bite of Tabasco chili peppers. This is a complex sauce; smooth, sweet and tasty. The heat is there, but it's not overpowering by any means. This sauce actually enhances the flavor of whatever it touches.

Now I like hot, and Pitt Bull Sauce is fairly hot, but they also make "Revenge" which is 4 times hotter than the original and "“Renegade" which is 8 times hotter. All of these sauces, even the hottest version still produce flavor and not just heat. I highly recommend all of them.

They recently released Jalapeno Pineapple Pit Bull Sauce, and believe me it'’s extremely tasty and good. I have used it as a salsa, on cream cheese and as a finishing sauce on ribs. As a supporter of Grillin'’ on the Bay - NYC's first sanctioned BBQ contest, Manny was demonstrating this sauce and it was the hit of the event. I don't know how many bottles he sold, but I'’m sure it was his best seller that day.

Do you self a favor, the insane folks over at Pitt Bull Hot Sauce are actually giving away FREE samples. Take 2 minutes and order some. You'll be glad you did.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Barbeque Rubs and Sauces

Spring is finally here. Albeit a rainy spring, all weekend it rained. Water pelted the land at an almost non-stop pace Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It wasn't a weekend for barbeque. Damn.

But it was a good weekend to do some housekeeping. I had two cabinets in the kitchen filled with barbeque rubs, sauces, spices, rubs and seasonings. It's amazing how fast these things pile up. Well, with a little incentive towards spring cleaning, I consolidated two cabinets into one. Some of the rubs and sauces had to move out of the kitchen and have found a new home in the basement. The scary part is that I still have a cabinet in the kitchen filled with rubs and sauces. These are the overflow!

The picture above is of the newly exiled. They'’re like the reserves, waiting to be called into duty. Oh, they will. Believe me. In the not too distant future, these orphans, these cave dwellers will be called to do their jobs, lay down their lives and season my meat. That didn'’t sound right.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Barbecue Events - Pig Fest 06

Mark your calendars!

May 13, 2006

The Brooklyn Brewery hosts its
6th Annual Brooklyn PigFest.

This event which benefits the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy is held every year at the old Tobacco Warehouse at Brooklyn Bridge Park at the corner of Water and Dock Streets, DUMBO. For you non-New Yorkers, DUMBO is the Brooklyn neighborhood Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.

Come drink some damn good beer, listen to music and eat some chicken and pork barbecue cooked by a trio of local pitmasters. This year's chefs are Waterfront Alehouse's own Sam Barbieri, Steve Harkavy, Bon Soir Caterers' Jeff Reilly, and Rob Richter of Big Island Barbeque.

Tickets are $75 each, but benefit a good cause. I hope to see you there.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Free Barbecue


FREE BBQ and Pig Roast
Saturday, April 30, 2006 --- 2 to 4 PM

Now, I don't usually promote people I don't know and I've never been to this restaurant, but hell, a free Barbecue and Pig Roast is certainly a reason to check it out. Big Daddy's is celebrating the addition of "Southern Style" Barbeque to its menu with this free party.

Looking at their website, it certainly looks like we're going to be eating the real deal. Digging a little further, I found that they were "Reserve Grand Champions" at the 1999 "King of the Grill" Barbecue Contest in Ocean City, New Jersey. Now I'm definitely convinced. See you there.

Friday, April 21, 2006

BBQ supplies - Esposito Sausage

Sausage, one of the essential barbeque foods. In many parts of Texas, sausage rules supreme. Forget about brisket. To hell with pulled pork or ribs. Bring on the sausage! Sausage is barbecue.

Here in New York, we are blessed with many incredible sausage makers. One of the best and oldest is Espostio Sausage. If you can get your hands on some of their sausage, I highly recommend it. You've probably had their sausage and never knew it. Much of their product is relabeled by the best stores and restaurants in the city and sold as their own.

It was in 1933 that Giovanni Esposito and Son's was founded as a fresh meat and poultry butcher shop in the same Hell's Kitchen-New York City location where it stands today.

Pursuing the "American Dream" Giovanni Esposito moved from his hometown of Naples, Italy to New York City. Originally launching his business on Mulberry Street Giovanni was forced to close it and return to Italy in 1924 to aid in his country's war effort. By 1933 Mussolini's continued rise to power forced his return (with his family) back to New York City.

And the rest, as they say is history.

Esposito Sausage is one of New York's great culinary achievements and a proud sponsor of NYC's first Barbecue contest - Grillin' on the Bay. We thank them for their generosity.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

KCBS Judges Class - Long Island, NY

It's getting to be that time of year. The competitive BBQ season is just getting started in the North East. So far, I've been at two "pre-season" grilling events, the Snow Shoe Challenge and Grillin' on the Bay. Both just whetted my appetite for cooking, and I can't wait for the real deal.

This year, I will be taking a new road into the competition world. A few new opportunities have arisen and I need to rethink some past strategies and refocus to put WhiteTrash BBQ back on its original course. We'll see, and I'll let you know as things develop.

For those of you just starting out, here's some of the best advice I can give you about competitive barbeque. Go become a certified barbecue judge. One of the best things I did before cooking at a competition, was to become a Kansas City Barbeque Society Certified Judge. By becoming a judge, I was taught what goes on in the judge's tent. I learned how the judges would be examining my meat and got lots of inside tips and tricks that I would use in competition. I learned what makes good BBQ and great BBQ. Everything I learned also helped me become a better cook at home.

The Long Island Grill Kings are hosting a KCBS certified judging class on April 29, 2006 at their headquarters in Franklin Square, New York. The cost is just $70 and well worth it, if you plan on competing in any BBQ event. For the fee, you'll learn how to judge, eat about 2 lbs of BBQ meat, and get a membership in KCBS which includes a year's subscription to the Bullsheet.

Or, if you just want to enter the lucrative and satisfying world of BBQ judging, come on out and take the class. With certification, you'll be able eat world class barbecue while traveling the country on the BBQ circuit.

And if you haven't signed up already, here's one more incentive, I'll be there cooking with Phil's team The BBQ-Brethren/Brothers in Smoke. Some of the food will be great, some good and some down right lousy. The judges need experience with all levels of barbeque so that they can learn to judge effectively and they'll get it!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shameless Barbecue Pimping

My friend and talented barbeque competitor Eric Hoover over at Cockeye BBQ has just announced that he's selling T-Shirts and other sorts of memorabilia to help support his award winning BBQ team. Take a look. Better yet, purchase a few things. I know I'm going to buy at least a shirt. I really like his logo and will be proud to wear his cockeye on my back.

Another new blog to check out is the brand spanking new, just published today, Garlic Powder Blog. It's a new product of smoked garlic powder being released by another of the BBQ-Brethren.

And since I'm promoting blogs, here's one more new one to look at tonight-- Bucky's BBQ Blog. Bucky McOinkum has a lot to say. Take a few moments and spend some time with him. You'll be glad you did.

And for all my friends and fellow bloggers to whom I owe cross links, thank you for being patient. I'm in the process of doing a lot of housekeeping and you'll be seeing your links soon.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New England BBQ Society - Judging the Snowshoe

Way back on March 18th, Militant Squatter (Vinny), Smoker (Steve) and BrooklynQ (me) all of the BBQ-Brethren fame, drove up to Abington Massachusetts to judge at the New England BBQ Society's annual Snow Shoe Challenge.

We were supposed to meet at my house in Brooklyn at 5:30 AM (God - why do they start these events so early?) to make the cook's meeting in Abington at 11:00 AM. At 5:45 AM I called Smoker and was greeted with a sound asleep "Hello? Huh - Oh sh-t the alarm never went off" and a round of laughter. Smoker and Squatter were just a few minutes away.

So after a quick stop at the ATM and the gas station we hopped into Bagel Boy for some world famous Brooklyn Bagels with a schmear and were on the road. Little did I know that Smoker is some sort of right wing nut with Michael Savage's phone number programmed into his cell phone. But Smoker doesn't like talking politics. But that's alright, Smoker is a good guy. After four hours were we discussed everything from how to brine chicken to solving the world's crisis we arrived in Abington for the event.

The Snow Shoe Challenge is held on the grounds of the VFW hall in Abington. It is really a nice spot with a large parking lot, beautiful hall and large wooded fields in the back. The weather was a little cold, but it was a clear day and absolutely still.

We got there a bit early and introduced ourselves to the organizer,Gary of the world famous BBQ team Lunchmeat and wondered around among the teams. I've discovered that both Squatter and Smoker are a bit shy and I just whored myself while pushing Grillin' on the Bay, NYC's first sanctioned BBQ contest was being held to benefit the St. Mark Sports Association on March 25, 2006 in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn.

So after our judges meeting where we all swear to uphold barbecue and the American way of life, we sat down to do what we were there to do... Judge!

Now since this was not a KCBS sanctioned BBQ contest, the food categories are set by the contest organizers. For this event, the categories were, fish, beef, sausage and vegetable. Also, this event was judged by NEBS rules which are based on KCBS rules with some slight modifications.

For those of you not familiar with the KCBS judging process, each team cooks for a table of six judges. Each judge get's a judging plate where after critiquing the presentation box, the judge takes a sample of each box on put it in an assigned space on the plate. Only after all the samples are plated are you allowed to judge for taste and tenderness.

Smoker egged me on to take pictures of the turn-in boxes. I checked with the guy repping the contest and was told it was OK as long as it didn't interfere with the judging. So instead of taking pictures of the boxes, it was easier to take pics of my judging plate.

There were four categories...

From my left to right - that's Salmon with a BBQ sauce that overwhelmed the fish, Salmon with a nice rub, Chilean Sea Bass with a boring saffron sauce, Swordfish which was my favorite with a nice pepper/tomato salsa and a very good Salmon with some traditional BBQ flavorings..


From my left to right - Some sort of chicken with vegetable combo, A very good pork sausage that was ruined by the apple stuffing, A home made patty with lots of vegetables, chicken and pork I think, and A classic Italian pork sausage in gravy. (That's tomato sauce for you non-Italians or Brooklynites.)

Beef Steak
From my left to right - Rib eye maybe with what tasted like canned gravy, Fillet migon with BBQ sauce - same sauce that was used on the first salmon entry, Fillet mignon with a tasteless bernaise sauce, Fillet mignon again with a parsley, lemon pesto which was tasty but overwhelmed the meat, and finally a flank steak that I really liked the flavor of but was really tough.

And finally vegetables...
From my left to right - That's a grilled stuffed portabello mushroom, stuffed with spinach, garlic, bread crumbs and cheese. The mushroom was overly marinated and tasted primarily of vinegar and the stuffing was tasteless. An over smoked stuffed tomato which was stuffed with an unrecognizable corn and bread mix. Stacked grilled white and blue potatoes held together with a rosemary stalk and sauced with a traditional scalloped potato sauce (It took third place). A good grilled sweet potato and red pepper mix. And finally a sweet potato pie tartlet topped with Merigne with chocolate covered cherries, which took first place.

Here's a pic of the turn in box when it got to my end of the table of the sweet potato tartlets...

Now - is this a vegetable or a dessert? If I was running the event, I would have disallowed it on a couple of levels. I didn't think it was a vegetable dish, to me it was a desert. Two, the tarts were not made on site. And three - what was the main ingredient - wheat and flour or sweet potato?

Overall I thought the food was OK, but nothing really stood out as great. I heard the same comment from a lot of the judges. But now I'm wondering to myself if the judges, me included, become super critical when judging. I mean - people took time to come up with these recipes and they must have thought they were outstanding when they decided to cook them. So are the judges just too tough?

Here's a picture of the legendary Dirty Disk's niece and son as they walked the stage for their stacked potato third place vegetable win.

If you don't know of Dirty Dick and the Legless wonders, you haven't spent any time on the KCBS competition BBQ circuit. They're a legendary team that usually places in the top three of any event where they compete.

It look's like the next generation is being groomed to accept the crown.

The winner's of the Snowshoe Challenge were...

Grand Champion: Green Moutain BBQ
Reserve Champion: Personal Fowl

The Grand Champion is determined by which team has the highest total points for the contest. So even if you don't win every category, as long as you place well in each, you can become Grand Champion

And in each category, the winners are....

Fish: Smokin' Bones

Sausage: Personal Fowl

Beef Steak: Faux Pas BBQ

Vegetable: Green Mountain BBQ

Oh, one more thing, we have our share of cooler packing judges in New England too. The judges are allowed to take home their leftovers after a contest. But this has become a bit of a political issue amongst the cooks in the KCBS circuit. Personally, I don't care, and I know I won't be taking home food after a contest. I can't imagine it would be any good by the time I got home.

The folks who put together the Snowshoe Challenge deserve a great deal of praise. It was an extremely well run and fun contest. Even though the day was bitter cold, everyone had a great time and no one complained about the weather.

As you may know, The Hampton Smoker and I put together NYC's first BBQ contest - Grillin' on the Bay for the following weekend. We owe a huge debt to the organizers of the Snowshoe. We watched everything they did and tried to model our event on their actions. They provided a great model for us and a tough act to follow.

And finally a picture of our table captain. The table captians are really the unsung heros of any contest. They do alot of the work, and rarely get fed enough. Here he is cutting up the fish entries for the judges. The Snow Shoe rules allow presenting fish whole and having the capts cut it up for the judges. I don't remember his name, but he was dumbfounded when after the second turn in he offered Smoker some new crackers for the next category and Smoker turned him down saying as he tapped his watch "No thanks, I'm done. I've got to get going." I've never seen a jaw drop so far so fast.

Overall a splendid time was had by all.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter barbecue - Birdland

Well, Easter has come and gone and this year we had some damn good eats. This year's menu, after much arguing and discussion with the family was apple brined smoked turkey, red wine marinated duck, fattie stuffed mushrooms, steamed asparagus with a red wine-walnut vinaigrette, Yukon gold mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, buttered corn, corn bread stuffing and pumpernickel rockies.

I smoked everything in the trusty Weber Smokey Mountain, using maple and hickory wood for the fire, with the duck on the top shelf. As the duck cooked, its drippings fell on the turkey below. I posted the recipes for the Apple Brined Smoked Turkey and Wine Marinated Duck already, so here are the pictures and the results.

This duck was amazing. It was tender, juicy and flavorful. I want to give a big thank you to Troutman of the BBQ-Brethren for the recipe. I pretty much followed his recipe, but I didn't use the majoram on the outside. Instead I put some fresh majoram stalks inside the duck with some chopped orange pieces since I didn't have any apple in the house.

I love duck. I order it a lot in restaurants, but I never cook it at home because "no one" eats duck. Well, now my daughter does. Now my cousin does. Now my neighbor does. Duck is back in the cooking rotation in my house. This was a big hit!

Here's a picture of the Apple Brined Turkey. It was good but not the amazing knock out that the folks at the Virtual Weber Bullet promised. It may have been my fault, because I let the turkey get a little too done because my guests showed up and hour and a half late. I will try this again, but there will be some tweaking of the recipe.

And here'’s a new recipe for the Fattie Stuffed Mushrooms. These were absolutely amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed them and they all disappeared almost as quickly as I put them on the table.

Be warned about the measurements in this recipe. I don't measure anything when I cook. The measurements posted are all best guesses. Feel free to adjust as you see fit. To me that's part of the fun of the cook. Who ever follows a recipe exactly?

Fattie stuffed Mushrooms
  • 1 lb smoked Jimmy Dean Sage Fattie - crumbled or diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs - probably less - just enough to hold things together
  • 1 box chopped spinach, drained of any extra water
  • Shot or so of red wine. I used Merlot. Keep the mixture moist
  • 4 scallions finely chopped
  • 1 small bottle of pine nuts - toast in a pan before using
  • A few handfuls of golden raisins. I used them whole, but next time I'll chop them.
  • 4 oz of crumbled feta
  • Salt and Pepper to taste. Be careful of the salt - the feta is salty on its own.

Mix all together and place in uncooked mushroom caps.

Bake in 450 degree oven for 15-18 minutes, until mushrooms are tender but not mushy. I'm sure you could smoke these, but I only wanted the smoke flavor from the fattie.

I used a 40oz box of mushrooms and had a lot of stuffing left over. You could probably cut everything in half and still have enough stuffing for the 40 oz package of mushrooms.

This is a picture of the stuffed mushrooms as they headed into the oven. Looking back, I should have used an ice cream scoop to put the stuffing in the caps. It would have certainly be neater.

I had a picture of the finished product, but it didn't come out. The picture was blurry and the mushrooms didn't look that much different, just a little darker.

Happy Easter folks and look for a lot more postings from WhiteTrash BBQ. Spring's here and the fires are going. The competition season is starting soon and I have spring fever! Bring on the meats!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holiday cooking

Happy Easter or Happy Passover! Or just celebrate the arrival of spring! Whatever your faith, just celebrate. Have a party this weekend, why do you need a reason?

The Easter holiday is quickly approaching here and that mean's I'm cooking for the family. Cooing for the family brings the usual dilemmas about what to cook. Should I just do a standard barbecue meal? Or should I do something more traditional and keep the family happy? But how do I keep the family happy when there are so many disparities in tastes and dislikes? Lamb - certainly traditional, but my father and brother won't touch it. Ham - again traditional, but my wife and daughter won't eat it. Prime rib - expensive and my cousin won't eat beef. What's a cook to do?

I propose turkey - easy traditional holiday fare. "BUT NOT FOR EASTER," my daughter tells me. OK. Duck! "Yuck." say the wife and daughter. "ENOUGH!" say I!

So this year for Easter we are having smoked turkey and duck. I'm in the mood for duck, which due to my wife's dislike of the critter, I haven't cooked in the 18 plus years we've been married. To go with the meats, we're also having fattie stuffed mushrooms, steamed green and white asparagus with hollandaise sauce, corn with butter sauce, mashed potatoes and some local bread called rockies.

Even as I type, I’m brining the turkey using a brine recipe from the Virtual Weber Bullet Forum which I’m posting below. For the duck, I’m marinating it as suggested by my Brother in Smoke, Trout Man from the BBQ Brethren. I’m posting his recipe as well.

Apple Brine for Turkey
2 quarts apple juice
1 pound brown sugar (light or dark)
1 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt
3 quarts cold water
3 oranges, quartered
4 ounces fresh ginger, unpeeled and thinly sliced
15 whole cloves
6 bay leaves
6 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Substitute 3/4 cup Morton Kosher Salt or 1/2 cup table salt for Diamond Crystal.

Combine apple juice, brown sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve. Boil for one minute, remove from heat, let mixture come to room temperature, then refrigerate to 40°F.

In a large non-reactive container, combine the apple juice mixture with the remaining ingredients. When adding the oranges, squeeze each piece to release the juice into the container, and then drop in the peel.

Trout’s Duck recipe
For smoking a goose duck or pheasant this is good and simple:

2 cups of red wine
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion sliced
2 bay leaves, crumbled
1/4 cup olived oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp crushed marjoram leaves
half an apple
rap of celery
half an onion

Place the bird(s) in a non metal container. Add wine with enough cold water to cover, add onion, garlic and bay leaves. Cover and refrigerate 18 to 24 hours. Remove bird(s) pat dry. Rub with Olive oil and sprinkle with salt pepper and marjoram. Stuff cavity with the apple celery and the half onion. Pour the marinade into the water pan or not. Smoke for 3 hours.

I’m getting to cook over wood and charcoal again. It’s been way too long. I can’t wait to play with the fire. Nothing smells like summer like a wood fire!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Grandma's Recipes: Unfinished

I recently borrowed - or stole as my Mother would say - my Grandmother's recipe box. My Grandmother lived with us and was a really good cook, when she cooked, but usually my Mother handled the cooking in the house. Mom really was/is the better cook of the two. Grandma was old school Irish/New England Yankee type of personality and she cooked that way. Mom likes to experiment.

It's really interesting looking over Grandma's recipe collection. Most of the recipes are hand written; some in pencil, most in fountain pen ink and a few newer recipes in ball point. I plan on cooking some of them and I'll be posting the results.

Reading these cards is like having a conversation with my Grandmother. Many are unfinished, just simple notes to herself on what to cook. Many times there's only a title and a list of ingredients. I guess she felt that she knew how to make whatever the recipe was pointing to.

Here's a couple of the unfinished and untitled recipes.

3lb Leg Mutton
8 Potatoes
3 Onions
8 Carrots
1/2 cup

I think that was a base for lamb stew. Grandma made that on rare occasions, but there's got to be more than that.

4 cups Sugar (Brown)
1 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 lb English Walnuts

If I had to guess, I'd say that is a fudge recipe. I don't recall Grandma ever making fudge. Maybe it's something she wanted to try, but never got around to it. If anyone out there knows what Grandma was trying to make in either recipe, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts.

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