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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.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Yesterday, today was tomorrow...

... and tomorrow, today will be yesterday.

Take this brother, may it serve you well.....


Saturday, December 30, 2006

So you want to work in a restaurant?

I found this article in The Brooklyn Rail about the trials and tribulations of restaurant workers and one organization, ROC who is determined to give Power to the People.

Dishing It Out, But No Longer Taking It

NEWS FLASH: Restaurant hopping in Manhattan is not for those with shallow pockets. According to Zagat’s 2007 Restaurant Guide, Gotham is the costliest place to dine in America. The average bill, says the Guide, is $39.43 per person; the average tab, $128.79.

Meanwhile, as the well-heeled chow down on pan-seared fluke, slow-roasted pork or Madeira-braised oxtails, conditions for the 165,000 people employed in the five borough’s 15,000 eateries—dishwashers to waiters, 40% of them undocumented—are often heinous. Abuses, say members of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY), are rampant.

Indeed, a 2005 study conducted by ROC and more than 20 groups including the National Employment Law Project, NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1500, uncovered what they call “pervasive inequality.”

Among their findings: the median wage for restaurant workers is $9.11 per hour; 44% live below the poverty line; 48% work more than eight hours a day; 73% lack health insurance; 84% have no paid sick leave; and 70% have no paid vacation.

ROC, a five-year-old workers’ center with nearly 1600 members, aims to change this.

Ayman H. [a pseudonym] got involved with ROC in 2002. “I decided I had to do something meaningful in my life,” he says. A waiter for 28 years, Ayman is outraged by the racial discrimination and unsafe conditions he has witnessed. “I have seen people without civility, chefs who throw dishes, supervisors who call workers bad, insulting names, kitchens with no safety nets. I’ve seen people slice their fingers and I’ve seen others get burned. People who are sick are told, ‘If you stay home today, you can stay home permanently,’ so they work when they’re ill.”

Although Ayman is currently employed in a midtown eatery that provides him with health insurance and paid sick and vacation time, he is active in ROC because he knows that he is an exception. “I want to give back a little bit of what I’ve enjoyed during my life,” he says. “I want to help restaurant workers understand that we have rights. It’s so important to teach people that no one can walk all over them and take their sweat and turn it into dollars.”

ROC’s one-room office, rented from Brooklyn College’s Tribeca satellite program, has the cluttered feel of a campaign headquarters. Pictures of Malcolm X, Fred Hampton, Che, and Gandhi line the walls and a quote from Audre Lorde reminds both staff and visitors that their silence will not protect them. Picket signs lie in heaps on the floor: Fiorello Workers Deserve Fair Promotions; Shelly Fireman Is Not Above the Law; Please Don’t Patronize This Restaurant; Por Trabajo, Justicia y Vida.

Fekkak Mamdouh and Saru Jayaraman founded ROC in 2001. “I had been working at Windows on the World in the World Trade Center,” Mamdouh says. “After 9-11, Local 100 of the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union called me and Saru and said they wanted us to help the 13,000 restaurant workers who’d been displaced by 9-11 get jobs.”

At the time, Jayaraman, an attorney from Ft. Greene, was working in Hempstead at the nonprofit Workplace Project. “What started as a way to help people find jobs quickly turned into something else,” she says. “We learned that David Emil, the owner of Windows on the World, was opening a new restaurant, Noche, in Times Square. When former Windows’ employees approached him and asked for jobs, he told them they weren’t qualified.”

Jayaraman and Mamdouh saw this as old-fashioned union busting, since Windows’ workers had been members of Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE), Local 100. Together, they devised a strategy to bring media attention to Emil’s refusal to rehire his former employees and picketed Noche the night before it was scheduled to open. The next day, Jayaraman crows, Emil hired 35 previous staff members.

Although Noche is now closed, this 2002 victory boosted morale and showed Mamdouh and Jayaraman that winning was possible. Since then, ROC has won more than $300,000 for workers in a variety of venues, from a small deli in Bay Ridge to four-star eateries on the East Side. While each of their six major campaigns has been different, all have utilized a combination of lawsuits and demonstrations to garner media attention.

“Our goal is to force restaurant owners who are taking the low road to take the high road and do the right thing for their employees,” Jayaraman says. They are currently targeting the Fireman Hospitality Group—whose six restaurants took in $52 million in 2004, according to RE Business Online, a national newsletter about business trends—and famed French chef, Daniel Boulud. Thomson-Gale’s online business service, Goliath, estimates that Boulud’s restaurants earn $30 million a year.

“We believe if we can win benefits at these empires, it will have a ripple impact on the entire industry and get changes that will benefit all workers,” Jayaraman says.

ROC charges that Fireman and Boulud discriminate in how promotions are rewarded, sexually harass women workers, force workers to share tips with management, and ignore unsafe working conditions. But John Fireman, vice president of marketing and development for the Fireman Hospitality Group, calls ROC’s allegations “wild and outrageous.” All 1,200 employees, he said in an email, have health insurance, get six personal or sick days and six paid holidays each year, and are given up to three weeks paid vacation. “We pride ourselves on creating a wonderful and happy atmosphere for our employees,” he wrote.

He further believes ROC to be disingenuous, more interested in headline-grabbing than negotiations. A letter to Jayaraman stating his desire to settle the workers’ grievances, dated September 19, 2006, has, he says, gone unacknowledged.

And, he adds, the NY State Department of Labor (DOL) agrees that the Fireman Group has done nothing wrong on tip sharing. According to letters issued by DOL in May and September, “The maitre d’s assisted the wait staff in rendering service to the customers, which entitles them to receive tips. These employees do not have the power to hire and/or fire employees at the restaurant.”

Although the DOL concluded that this entitles them to a percentage of the waiter’s take, ROC organizers believe the decision is flat-out wrong. They are hoping that court-ordered mediation, set to begin soon, will resolve the conflict with Fireman; the campaign against Boulud is also ongoing. In addition, ROC is committed to expanding the Restaurant Industry Round Table, a group for owners that was designed to be a model of “high road” standards for employers.

ROC is also promoting their cooperatively-owned restaurant, Colors, which opened in January 2006. Fifty co-op members from 22 countries earn a minimum of $13.50 per hour, proving, say ROC members, that profitability is not incompatible with paying workers a living wage.

Still, in an industry in which barely 1% of workers are part of collective bargaining units, ROC has its work cut out. But herein lays the group’s strength, say Jayaraman and Mamdouh. “A lot of people have labeled us a union,” says Mamdouh, “but we’re not. It’s not that we’re anti-union. In the end, we hope every campaign we’re in, the union will come and take over, but unions have rules they must follow, regulations about things like membership check cards. You have to have a certain percentage of workers signed up in order to bargain if you’re a union. Since we’re not a union, we can go in on behalf of even one worker, negotiate, and win.”

“People are so scared,” Mamdouh adds. “It’s hard for us to organize them because they’re afraid they’ll be fired. In lots of places once you speak up or show that you understand your rights, you’re out. Or you’re harassed or given bad shifts.”

Still, he concludes, the simple fact that ROC exists gives people a sense of possibility. “Every day we’re here, and every campaign that gets people treated like human beings is a victory.”

ROC is located at 99 Hudson Street in Manhattan; www.rocny.org. The group is open to all restaurant workers; dues of $5.00 per month entitle members to free ESL classes and other training. Lawyers are also available for consultations. Funding for the group comes from membership dues and foundation grants.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

NYC Food Bloggers

There are so many great blogs out there and today I want to take some time to point out some of the great NYC based food blogs. This is not a complete list by any means, and in no particular order, here are some of my favorites. Please forgive me if I left you off the list. I'm late for work!


Thursday, December 28, 2006

BBQ Around the World: Pakistan

I found this in the Daily Times, A New Voice for Pakistan. I don't know much about Islam, but if eating barbeque is part of the religious holidays, I've got to get to know more!

The Eid mentioned in the article is Eidul Azha when the faithful slaughter a goat, sheep, cow, buffalo or camel to emulate the example of the Prophet Abraham and his son, Ismael or Ishmael. Affluent Muslims perform Hajj a day before Eidul Azha by traveling to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage.

Sharpening knives and barbeque grills, all set for Eid

By Imran Naeem Ahmad

ISLAMABAD: In a small shop, sparks fly off Tahir Mahmood Qureshi’s grinding wheel as he sharpens knives and choppers all day.

With Eidul Azha approaching, Qureshi is overworked in the busy Aabpara Market. Hundreds of knives of all shapes and sizes lie next to him on the floor, and after grinding each, he holds up the respective knife to see the end product. The knives he sharpens will soon be used to slaughter animals and chop meat.

The workload in the run up to Eidul Azha is such that Qureshi expects to sharpen between 3,000 to 4,000 different knives in the last two days before the event. “It is a lot of work but this is the time of year when we make good money,” he says as a meat shop attendant arrives with four big choppers. “I worked on 700 knives today and this number may increase to about 4,000 later on,” said Qureshi.

As he continues with his work, elsewhere in the market brand new knives, skewers, barbeque grills, coal and wood chopping blocks are up for sale. Qamar Zaman manages one such shop and says, “The business is good and knives and grills are selling well.”

With sacrificial meat being distributed and exchanged in abundance for Eid, there is barely a household without a surplus of mutton or beef. Hence people like Amir Raza and Iftikhar Khan, both government employees, opt for barbequed meals.

“We look forward to this every year. The children particularly enjoy it and it is good fun for them,” says Amir, while Iftikhar narrates how his family went to Simly Dam last year to grill the meat: “It was a day out my children still remember.”

However, for those wishing to avoid this hassle, some restaurants also offer to roast meat. This is a good bargain for those with a few hundred rupees to spare. “We have many people bringing in their meat,” says a restaurant manager.

Indeed Eidul Azha provides a good chance for many to earn quick money, be they cattle owners selling their animals at the H-11 Market, shopkeepers at centres like Aabpara, coal sellers or butchers.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

BBQ Recippes: Six Hour Pork Roast

I got this from Lisa over at Champaign Taste who got it from Cynthia at The Sandwich Life. This is another example of a recipe for indoor cooking that can really benefit from time spent in the smoke. Hell, even the oven temperture recommended is just over where I usually keep my pits when I barbeque.

This recipe reminds me of a recipe for pork (fresh ham) that my Abuela used to make. She always used a picnic instead of a Boston butt, but this sounds remarkably similar. Unfortunately my grandmother passed away without sharing her recipes, so I can't give you her version; but in another post I'll give you my version of her Cuban style roast pork.

Six-Hour Roast Pork from Mimosa, Los Angeles, CA 1999

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
10 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse salt (Note from Cynthia: I found this a bit too salty the first time I made it—I now use 1 T)
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (6-1b) boneless pork shoulder Boston roast (not tied)

Preheat oven to 275°F.

Blend together sage, rosemary, garlic, fennel seeds, salt, and pepper in a food processor until a thick paste forms. With motor running, add wine and oil and blend until combined well.

If necessary, trim fat from top of pork, to leave a 1/8-inch-thick layer of fat. Make 3 small incisions, each about 1 inch long and 1 inch deep, in each side of pork with a small sharp knife, and fill each with about 1 teaspoon herb paste. Spread remaining herb paste over pork, concentrating on boned side, and tie roast with kitchen string at 2-inch intervals.

Put pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan and roast in middle of oven 6 hours. Transfer roast to cutting board and let stand 15 minutes.

Discard string and cut pork roast (with an electric knife if you have one) into thick slices.

I might try this for New Year's Day. Happy Eating!

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas!

And the reason for the season...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

White Trash Recipes: 3 Bean Chipmunk Chili

In the spirit of our WhiteTrash Christmas and Bob River's 'Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire,' check out this recipe for 3 Bean Chipmunk Chili that I found over at Twisted Christmas. If you get going with this now, come spring you can have some fine eats. But wait a minute -- don't chipmunks hibernate?

First, you are going to need about 10 or so fat chipmunks - best thing to do is capture the little buggers and fatten them up. This way you can make sure they are disease free. Also, you can monitor what they eat. Unless you don't care then, just go out and hunt down 10-15 chipmunks. If you use a shotgun, please make sure to remove all shot from the meat first. IF you use any "Road Meat" chipmunks, please make sure they are fresh kills - makes it easier to peel the fur off.

Use a cat capture cage, bait it with peanut butter. Once you have captured about 10 to 15 of the little guys, set them up in large cages (each cage should measure 4 x 4 at least). Do not put more than 1 or 2 to a cage. Give them bird houses to live out of.

Now for the next 2-3 months, feed those little guys. Plenty of veggies, (carrots apples, etc.) nuts, (walnuts, etc. shells off) fresh water (put some vitamins into the water), oatmeal. Keep the cages clean.

When the day comes, just shoot the little buggers right there in their cages. Make sure you decapitate them right after and strip their fur off. Hold them upside down to make sure all the blood runs out.

Save the fur - you can make a nice pair of gloves with them later.

With a sharp knife, de-bone the little guys, but save the bones. Once you have your pile of bones, put them in a 2 qt pan and boil them. You will use this as your stock for your chili.

Chop up meat into fine pieces or grind.
  • 2 lb. Chipmunk meat pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) Dark Red Kidney Beans, undrained
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) Pinto Beans, undrained
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) Black Beans, undrained
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (6 oz.) tomato paste
  • 2 envelopes chili seasoning mix 1/2 tsp.
  • Ground Cinnamon 1-1/4 cups Sour Cream
Use your broth you made from the bones to boil the meat in a large sauce pot on low heat.

Make sure you do this slowly, use a slow cooker to make the meat tender. Cook for about 3 hours on low heat. Then let it set for 30 minutes and skim off any fat.

Add onion and green pepper; cook until tender, bring up to a low boil on medium heat, stirring frequently.

ADD all remaining ingredients except sour cream; mix well. Bring to boil; cover. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

SPOON into soup bowls; top with sour cream.

Great Substitute:Prepare as directed, substituting 2 pkg. (16 oz. each) thawed
frozen Ground Turkey

There you have it.
Photo of the squirrel courtesy of exzooberance

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

WhiteTrash Christmas Eve Dinner: Prime Rib

Funny thing Christmas Eve Dinner. I've never had a traditional food for the holidays. Many of my friend know exactly what they're going to eat on every holiday because they've always eaten the same things. Me, I never know. I think I'm cursed because I like to cook and I like to experiment. The only tradition we have is that there has to be a lot of food. So I just decided what I'm going to make tomorrow night. Now I just hope the butcher has some Prime Rib left.

Here's a link to an interesting twist on Prime Rib - Salt Crusted Prime Rib that my friend Curt posted on Get Your Grill On. But if you don't feel like surfing, here's a few recipes for Prime Rib that I've found on the net. I'll probably do something similar, but as you know, I never follow recipes exactly. They're just starting off points. The first two are from our friends over at Texas Barbecues.

Best Prime Rib Recipe - Oven Version
Remove roast from the fridge and let stand for about an hour.
  • 8 to 10 lb. Standing Rib Roast(bones in)
Mix together:
  • 2 Tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
  • 2 Tablespoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon1 Tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup salt(I like Kosher salt for a nice crust)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

If rib roast is dry, wet hands slightly and pat down roast before you put the dry herbs on.

Rub dry herb mixture all over and into the rib roast.

Place roast on a wire rack inside a roaster pan, and with the ribs down. Put the meat in oven and roast uncovered for 1 hour. After the hour turn off the oven without opening it.

In about 4 hours, turn on oven to 370°F and roast 30 minutes more for a medium rare, and a little less for rare. Remove the roast from oven and let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving into steaks. Serves 10 people.

Best Prime Rib Recipe - Smoker Version

Herbs and spices stay the same. I do rub the roast down with oil with the herbs. The actually cooking times and methods differ this way:

Get your smoker preheated and ready with soaked wood inside. I like to use hickory or mesquite, and apple will work great too. Push a meat thermometer into the meat but not against a bone. A thermometer with an external reading is best so you won't have to open the smoker to look.

Place the roast on a grate in the heated smoker. Put the lid on and when the thermometer shows 130 degrees it is rare. Pull it off the smoker and let rest 30 minutes. Yes, you guessed the next step. Carve and eat.

*Here's another recipe from my old friend Phil Rizzardi. I've had this numerous times in the past and it's pretty good. It's a fairly confusing recipe, but knowing Phil, I know what he means. I'll try to simplify it, or I should say translate it for you. All measurements are approximate.

Phil's Prime Rib
  • 1 cup Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 small bottle gravy master
  • 1/2 small bottle kitchen bouquet(or you can use a whole bottle of either if ya cant find one or the other).
Combine all ingredients and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Then pour this all over the roast and rub it in. Pierce the beef with a wide blade fork in several spots to allow the marinade to get into the heart of the meat a little bit. If your prime rib has heavy fat cap, use a knife to slice it open in a few spots to allow the sauce to penetrate through the fat to the meat.

Besides the sauce, you will want to to rub your Prime Rib with 2 cups or more of Turbinado Sugar (you will want to use a heavy hand with the sugar when seasoning the meat) and 3-4 Tablespoons of Montreal Steak Seasoning. Rub the meat well and let sit for about 5 minutes. When the roast is covered with rub and you find it dissolving, then some additional rub on the roars. You will want a layer of wet rub and a layer of dry rub on your meat before cooking. Let the roast sit for about half hour, covered.

Cooking Instructions:
During the first half hour to 45 minutes of cooking, place your roast in the hot spot of your cooker where it is at 375 to 400 degrees. As soon as you put the meat in the cooker, damper down your vents so that your cooker temperatures drop slowly to 275degrees. Leave the meat and your cooker alone until internal temperature of the meat reaches between 90 and 100 degrees, approximately 40 minutes. Move the roast to your normal cooking spot in your cooker where the temperature is about 275 and cook until the meat reaches an internal of 125 degrees.

At this point, either remove the roast from the smoker, cover it loosely with tin foil and let it rest until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees. Or, I prefer to roll it around over hot coals, searing the meat to make a crust. Bring the meat to an internal temperature of 130 degrees or so, but no higher than 135. Then take it off and let it sit, wrapped loosely in aluminum foil. Let the meat rest about 20-30 minutes.

The internal temperatures of the roast will continue to climb into the 140s. This will yield a prime rib with rare meat on the inside and medium meat on the outboard slices.

I hope that makes sense. Good luck and enjoy folks. Merry Christmas!

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WhiteTrash Christmas

Merry Christmas folks. It's just two days away and I still have way too much to do. On Dasher, On Comet, On Crystal and Cupid; to the mall!

But, before you go, remember, It's a WhiteTrash Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006


Really busy today folks. Work is crazy, and I still haven't started Christmas shopping. But I haven't forgotten about all of you.

Here's a link to Allen Klien's XM radio site. Just click on the listen now button. Here you can listen, for free to all the great Rolling Stone hits. Phil Spector's here too. So is Sam Cooke, Marianne Faithful, The Animals and Herman Hermits. I'm really digging this.

But if you're looking for BBQ, check out my buddy Matt's site. The bastard (and I say that with love) has been cooking up a storm. Damn, I am jealous.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

BBQ Events: Hill Country Barbeque

I've been scooped by two different sources yesterday! Both my friends Matt Fisher aka The Hampton Smoker and Josh Ozersky of New York Magazine's Grub Street reported that our mutual friend Rob Richter and Mark Glosserman have just signed a lease for the space that will become Hill Country Barbecue. Congratulations guys.

Can Manhattan handle another barbecue restaurant? My answer is a resounding yes! Rob Richter is easily, and rightly, the most lauded competition barbecue cook in New York. If Rob can produce restaurant Que that is half as good as the food he turns in at competition, we're all going to be in for a major treat. Good luck Rob.

Here's Grub Street's article.....

Hill Country to Challenge Blue Smoke, RUB on Their Own Turf

Hill Country BBQ, we've learned from owner Mark Glosserman, has officially signed its lease and begun construction at 30 West 26th Street, just a few blocks from Blue Smoke and RUB . Isn’t it bad medicine to open so close to a pair of established, busy barbecues? Says Glosserman: “It's a great spot, and the price was right, and we're in a big office building, so there will be a lot of traffic even though it's a side street. We have a lot of faith in our product.” No doubt. But we actually like Hill Country's chances. New Yorkers have shown a willingness to go the extra mile to eat great barbecue: Daisy May's BBQ sat on a desolate stretch of Eleventh Avenue and didn't even have tables; RUB ran out of meat every night; Blue Smoke barely had any smoke flavor during its first year, as a result of chimney malfunction. Glosserman hired the best barbecue cooker in the city, Robert Richter. If Hill Country delivers the goods, New Yorkers will support it … right?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

BBQ Music

Here's a couple of music recommendations to keep you dancing while you stoke your barbecue fires during this holiday season. I know that most of these aren't new, and you may or may not have heard them before, but take a listen. If you're like me, you'll enjoy them.

First up is the Alligator Records Christmas Album. I love this blues inspired Christmas album. It's fun, not sappy and a different take on the traditional holiday music.

Artists include: Charlie Musselwhite, Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown, The Uppity Blues Women, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, Kenny Neal, Koko Taylor and many others.

Next - let's switch to the totally other end of the spectrum, take a listen to The Little Drummer Boy by the Harry Simeone Chorale. Here's the version of the Little Drummer Boy you remember. Listen to the soaring vocals and choirs. Listen to the white guys trying to put soul into Go Tell It On the Mountain.

This is the Christmas album I grew up listening to. Very slick, very well produced and to me, just drips with Christmas and sentimentality. But it's still the album I listen to after the kids are in bed and it's just me, a beer and watching the lights of the Christmas tree.

And what's Christmas without a new Beatles CD? This year it's Love. The remix and mashup of just about every Beatles song for the new Circus De Solie act in Las Vegas. I don't know how I feel about this CD. On one hand, it's great to have some new Beatles music. On the other, it reminds me a lot of the old "Stars on 45" remix of the Beatles hits which always bothered me.

I wish the Beatles would get off their royal asses and just remix and reissue the original CDs. There's snippets in the Love album where you hear the cleaned up version of a song and just marvel at it's clarity, beauty and strength. Listening to George singing Something is a new and moving experience. Apple has promised digital versions of the whole Beatle catalog. How long do we have to wait?

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

BBQ Gifts

Are you done Christmas shopping yet? Or are you like me and haven't even begun? Yup. It's getting late but I have a few recommendations for the person who loves to cook outside.

First up is one of the best cookbooks out there for getting started in the world of barbecue and grilling: Smoke & Spice: Cooking with Smoke, the Real Way to Barbecue . This is a great book to get you started. It explains cookers, fires and meats. This is my go to book whenever a beginner is looking to get started.

For the more seasoned pitmaster or the person who likes to mess around with creating sauces and seasonings, take a look at Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces: 175 Make-Your-Own Sauces, Marinades, Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, Mops, and Salsas. Out of all my cookbooks, I find myself returning to this one the most. It isn't just a follow the recipe book, it teaches you how to create your own recipes.

Looking for a great line of hot sauces? Try out Manny and Lisa's Pitbull Hot Sauce. I love this stuff and use it all the time. Be sure to buy a bottle of their Jalapeno Peach BBQ Sauce while you're there. You won't regret it.

How about some rub? Try out John Henry's Wild Cherry Chipolte. It's one of my favorites, but a bit pricey. Or take a look at the folks over at Home BBQ or Spice Wine Iron Works. Both companies make a great line of products. Another great line of rubs which I've mentioned in the past is Dizzy Pig. All right, enough rub recommendations. You'll do great with anyone of these.

Or, do you want to just forget the whole cooking process and buy your barbeque already done? Shame on you. But if you just don't have time to cook, believe me I understand. One of my favorite on-line BBQ stores is Cooper's BBQ in Llano, Texas. You can't go wrong with any of their meat packages.

But no matter how good the barbecue is, it looses something in shipping, so if you're in NYC stop by RUB - Righteous Urban Barbecue or Daisy May's BBQ for some great eating or take out. If you're out on Long Island, stop in at Willie B's in Bay Shore. And finally if you're across the Hudson in New Jersey, be sure to visit the Front Street Smoke House in Elizabeth.

Man, I just got very very hungry!

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Monday, December 18, 2006

BBQ Equipment: Char-Broil's TEC Grills

You might remember that back in October, which seems like yesterday, I attended Charbroil's 2007 product roll-out in Bryant Park, New York. It was a beautiful day, and I got to meet some new friends including Adam from Men In Aprons and the fine team from The BBQ General, Wiley and his lovely wife Janet, while we all poked, proded and kicked the tires of Charbroil's latest and greatest equipment.

I've already talked about their new quick light charcoal, grill cleaners, smart probe thermometers, and the double door smoker, bbq and grill (yeah, the name still sucks, and I owe you a review from my cooking experiences on it); but the real star of the show was the new line line of Charbroil's TEC gas grills.

Now when it comes to barbeque, I'm a purist at heart. I still like building a fire from wood and charcoal. But I am also a realist. I've accepted various levels of technology as cooking tools if they truly make my life easier. I've never bought a gas grill and always said that I never would, but the new TEC grills are making me question that stance.

Why? Well, one reason is that I've come to understand the differences between grilling and barbecue. If you read this blog you should know what I mean by now. If not, I'll save that for another day. Different cooking methods require different equipment.

For grilling, these new grills look like they could bring me over to the gasser's camp for an extended stay. Talking with the award winning chef Marvin Woods who prepared our meal, I could tell that he was impressed with the grill. His passion about the features and ease of use sold me on this very powerful grill.

Take a look at these specs for the four burner grill...

  • Model Number 4632684 07
  • Lowe's item number 242337
  • Duel Fuel equipped, LP or Natural Gas
  • BTU's – 48,000 main, 13,000 side burner, 8,000 rotisserie
  • Two TEC burners 2-brass tube burners
  • Total cooking surface is 900sq in
  • Total primary cooking surface is 660sq in
  • Secondary cooking surface is 240sq in
  • Constructed with 304-grade stainless steel
Charbroil also makes a three burner edition that's just as impressive.

The TEC infrared technology was completely foreign to me before I looked at these grills, but basically it will provide extremely high heat without allowing enough oxygen between the grill and the meat to cause flare-ups. In layman's terms, that means no more burnt food! Whoo Hoo!

Take some time and visit Charbroil's new website for the TEC grills. They get into all the details about the construction, design and use of the grills with much more detail than I can here.

Unfortunately, you can't go out and buy one of these marvels for Christmas. They'll be available at Lowe's in the early Spring 2007. I'm looking forward to it.

EDIT::: NOW WAIT A MINUTE! You can buy these grills for Christmas! I just got this in my email.....

These grills are actually available right now at select Lowe's stores in certain markets, most of which are year-round grilling hot spots. So it's not too late for a last minute Christmas present.

Select Lowe's stores in the following states now carry the Char-Broil TEC Series:
  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • South Carolina
  • Utah

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Around the world in Q - Barbeque that is!

A barbecued pig as cooked on the streets of the Philippines.
Photograph courtesy of Tripsource

Saturday, December 16, 2006

BBQ Recipes: Grill Roasted Prime Rib

With Christmas fast approaching, I haven't had much time to cook recently. Today's in the high 50's here in Brooklyn, and my grills are crying out for attention. But I've got to buy and decorate a tree, start my shopping, attend a party.....

So here's a recipe that came into my e-mail that other day. This is set to us from our friends at Weber.

Grill-Roasted Prime Rib Au Jus
  • 1 bone-in prime rib roast (with 4 bones), about 8 pounds
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large handfuls oak wood chips, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes
1. Lay the roast on its side and very carefully slice across the top of the rib bones along the length of the roast. Cut the bones all the way off (this makes carving easier).

2. Trim any excess surface fat to a thickness of ¼ inch. Thinly slice the garlic cloves. Use a sharp knife to make little slits in the fat and slip in the garlic slices. Slip in garlic slices wherever you can but don’t use a knife to cut slits in the meat, as that would let precious juices escape during cooking. Season evenly with the salt and pepper. Tie the bones back onto the roast with kitchen twine. Let the roast sit at room temperature for 1 to 1½ hours before grilling.

3. Fill a Weber® RapidFire® chimney starter to the rim with charcoal and burn the charcoal until they are lightly covered with ash. Spread the charcoal in a tightly packed, single layer across one-half of the charcoal grate. Place a large, disposable drip pan on the empty side of the charcoal grate and fill it about halfway with warm water. Put the cooking grate in place, close the lid, and let the charcoal burn down to medium heat. Leave all the vents open.

4. Brush the cooking grate clean. Sear the roast over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until golden brown on all sides except the cut ends, 8 to 10 minutes, turning every few minutes. If flare-ups occur, temporarily move the roast over indirect heat until the flames die down.

5. When the roast is well browned, move it to indirect heat, with the bone side facing down. Drain the oak chips and drop them right onto the charcoal so they smoke. Close the lid and cook the roast over indirect low heat to your desired doneness, 2 1/2 to 3 hours for medium rare (125°F), rotating the roast once or twice for even cooking. Replenish the charcoal as needed to maintain indirect low heat, adding 8 to 10 unlit charcoal briquettes to the lit charcoal every 30 to 45 minutes. The roast should finish cooking at a much lower temperature than where it started. Begin checking the internal temperature of the roast after 2 hours.

6. Remove the roast from the grill, wrap in aluminum foil, and let rest for 20 to 30 minutes. During resting, the roast’s internal temperature will continue to rise 5°F to 10°F and the juices will redistribute themselves evenly throughout.

7. Unwrap the roast, being careful to capture the meat juices in the bottom of the foil. Pour the juices into a small bowl. Untie the roast and remove the bones. Cut the meat crosswise into slices. Arrange on a platter or individuals plates. Spoon the juices over the meat.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

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Friday, December 15, 2006

This little pig went to market

This appeared in the Brownsville Herald. I found it interesting, I hope you do too.

Prison pig makes for inmate’s treat

The Brownsville Herald

December 14, 2006 — There was no pardon for a $250 prison pig recently slaughtered and skinned for an inmate and prison guard barbecue of chicharrones and carnitas.

“We slaughtered him and ate him,” Cameron County Federal Detention Division Chief Mike Leinart said.

A guard at the Carrizalez-Rucker Detention Center killed the pig with a compound bow and arrow about three weeks ago, and inmates skinned it.

Inmates and guards cooked the pig in a barbecue pit outside of the prison walls.

The animal was part of an inmate farm and pen where food is grown and prisoners tend animals.

Leinart indicated that the hog’s days had been numbered.

“He was getting ready to go,” Leinart said. “From what I understand, he was real old. I wanted a female anyway.”

The hog wasn’t killed for the cookout, rather because the prison pigpen was not adequate, Leinart said.

“It was too muddy,” he said. “We had him in the mud. We’re pretty new at this (farm business). We wanted to place a concrete slab where he was. We were making room for the concrete pen.”

Leinart said he didn’t partake of the barbecue.

Sheriff Omar Lucio and Chief Deputy Gus Reyna said they did not know the hog was slaughtered.

“But if (inmates) did, it’s for the inmates,” the sheriff said. “It’s their farm. They can eat it.”

The hog was among the animals that Cameron County sheriff’s officials have purchased with commissary proceeds, which are meant to benefit inmates.

Money from the commissary can be used to fund, staff and equip a program addressing the social needs of the inmates, including an educational or recreational program and religious or rehabilitative counseling, state law notes.

Lucio developed the farm with the commissary proceeds earlier this year.

“It’s therapeutic for the inmates, and they have a good time with the animals,” Lucio said, adding that inmates also have learned quite a bit. The inmates who farm and raise crops are in the Prisoner at Work (PAW) program. They provide labor for numerous projects countywide.

“They are human beings, and this is one way we repay them,” Lucio said of inmate barbecues. “These people work hard.”

The idea for a farm started last year after the department, with commissary funds, bought a donkey.

The reason for the $150 donkey expenditure was simple: Since it would eat the grass, no one would need to mow it anymore.

It was purchased from Joe Serrate, who is under contract with the county to pick up stray livestock for $15,000 a year.

“It was like a mascot,” Leinart recalled. “We then thought of putting up some fence and cows and a baseball diamond for the inmates.”

That expanded into growing crops.

In September this year, the department purchased a cow and sheep from Ramon Cisneros for $350, another cow from R.Y. Livestock Sales Inc. for $486, another cow from Ramon Cisneros for $499 and a $250 pig and two goats worth a total of $150 from Juan Aguilar Pig Sales.

Earlier this month, the department bought a $175 female pig from Aguilar.

The farm has three other donkeys: Otto, Emma and their unnamed offspring. Cameron County Commissioners Court counsel Richard Burst and his wife named and owned the donkeys but decided to give them to the sheriff’s department due to dry conditions at the Burst ranch in La Grange.

The donkeys are safe from the barbecue grill, Burst assured.

If they were made into chicharrones, he said, “I think (inmates and guards) would be sick.”

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Let the dogs howl

It seems I've offended many with my last post. That wasn't my intention. But, too bad. Get over it. This blog is home to my opinions and thoughts. If you don't like reading them, move on.

I've always known that as I publish my thoughts and opinions that I would both please and anger people with my views. At first it was easy. The BBQ cooks, restaurants, authors, organizers etc, were all just faceless names. But as I've gotten to know a lot of them, it's been harder to be honest and at one point I was debating taking down this blog. I knew the praise would be accepted, but how would the folks I now knew deal with criticism?

I thought long and hard about it, and decided that I would carry on and let the chips fall where they may. I've pissed off many in the BBQ world over the last couple of years and I've made many very happy.

I learned that the people that I gravitated to as friends could accept honest critiques of their work. Many actually encouraged it. Then there are the ones who can not stand hearing the truth and unfortunately they usually have the loudest voices. They will whine and scream, but let the dogs howl the caravan moves on.

So, to all my brothers and sisters out there who sent their anonymous opinions about my last post, you'll have to find another place to vent. I will not further the views of cowards by publishing them here.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Isn't it a pity?

I'm honored. I've never had one of my blog entries picked up by New York Magazine before. My recent post about the demise of Long Island's Grill Kings barbeque contest was run on Grub Street last night. If you don't know Grub Street is New York Magazine's food and restaurant blog. You should be reading it. Thanks, Josh!

But this leads me to today's story about the power of the blog. From what I'm hearing in the barbeque world, the ONLY reason that Grill Kings is not happening in 2007 is that the organizers are pissed about all the negative feedback they received from blogs like this and the various barbecue forums on the Internet.

That's a shame, because Grill Kings had some real potential. But if its organizers are so thin skinned that they can't accept valid criticism from the cooks, we're probably better off that the event has been canceled.

It's gotten so bad that on one BBQ forum, the site administrator has come down hard on his members with a decree that no one is allowed to voice their opinion about the event. Crazy.

That's a real problem for me. Talking with other BBQ cooks, it seems that the problems with Grill Kings were self inflicted. Sure, every event has problems. But most of the problems that affect the other tri-state area contests are usually outside the organizer's control. The BBQ forums allowed the cooks the chance to voice valid criticism about what happened and allowed the Grill Kings to learn what needed to be fixed.

Isn't it better to hear about the cook's concerns and be given the opportunity to fix them before the cooks vote with their feet?

So, instead of fixing the problems, the Grill Kings took their ball and went home. But as they exit the stage, instead of owning up to the situation, they have decided to blame the messengers.

What a pity.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's Tuesday...

..and I don't have a lot to say.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday, Dec 13) a bunch of tri-state BBQ folks will be gathering at RUB in NYC for some holiday cheer. Feel free to stop in and join us.

RUB - Righteous Urban Barbeque
New York, NY 10011
(212) 524-4300

Here's some pictures of a recent cook at Steve's house. Smoker and his wife are great hosts. A splendid time was had by all, except possibly the neighbors. They many never recover!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Death of a Clown : Grill Kings

Today's a sad day.

I just received confirmation from two independent sources that the Long Island Grill Kings barbecue contest is no more. New York has lost another Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned contest. That's a real shame, but I can't exactly say I didn't see it coming.

Sal and Dean did some great work putting Grill Kings together, but every year the problems for the cooks seemed to get greater and greater. While the event attracted a lot of barbecue teams, it was never embraced by the public. Sources tell me that it was always a money loosing operation. I knew that situation couldn't go on forever.

But Sal and Dean need to be thanked for what they did. Putting together a barbecue contest in suburban New York City is a great accomplishment. Having it run for four years was no mean trick. Thanks guys. Grill Kings will be missed.

That leaves Grillin' On The Bay as the only barbecue contest on Long Island (YES, Brooklyn in on Long Island geographically - look it up) for 2007. It's scheduled for March 31, in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn. I hope to see all of you there.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

You want what?

I admit it. I'm Big Brother; I keep track of what you folks are reading on my blog. I also look at what word searches in Google, Yahoo or any of the big search engines will bring a reader to my site. Don't worry though, I don't keep track of who any of you are.

While most of the searches are what I'd expect, you know - "smoker," "Texas," "BBQ," "ribs," "how to build a fire," etc., but there's always a few that leave me scratching my head. Here's some recent examples:

high life living animals
eating cooked women who wewe oven roasted
unfinished recipe boxes
mother moose bakery
recipe dixie stampede bread

and my current favorite...
elmont whore


Friday, December 08, 2006

Tennessee Mountain Sneaker Hop

One of the things I love about New York City is it's ever changing scene. But one of the things I hate about New York City is the mallification of Manhattan. When I was a teen, one of the great things about going into "the city" was that it was filled with stores and places that didn't exisist anywhere else. Not anymore. Does Manhattan need another chain shoe store?

Crocs seems to think so. According to The Villager, Crocs is taking over the old Tennessee Mountain Barbecue Restaurant space in Soho. What a shame.

"Crocs to rock Soho: Crocs, those crazy rubber kayaking shoes that have taken the nation by storm, will be opening a new store in Soho at the northwest corner of Spring and Wooster Sts., reports landlord Norman Buchbinder. Crocs will be filling the former Tennessee Mountain barbeque space, so it won’t be another bar. As a matter of fact, President Bush touted Crocs as a small-business success story in his weekly radio address right before the midterm elections. We’ll leave it up to Downtown Independent Democrats, though, to sort out all the politics on Crocs."

Me. I miss the old Tennessee Mountain Barbecue. It once ruled the NY BBQ scene, but as the purists opened up, it lost it's crown and it seems its business. Too bad. I'd rather have an OK barbecue place as opposed to another suburban shoe store any day.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

A little bragging

Sauce Magazine just ran an article about the best food blogs out there.

Under BBQ, here's what was listed...

I'm honored to be included in such auspicious company. If you haven't checked out MeatHenge or Bucky's Blog you're really missing out.

It's interesting to point out that the authors contribute to Get Your Grill On. Maybe you should check it out too. You'll never know what you'll learn.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Summer Breeze: New England BBQ Society Contest Season

I can smell the smoke. The New England Barbeque Society just posted a tentative schedule for the 2007 season. Damn, it's a lot of contests.

There's contests in January! Two in March! And then it get's busy. There's a contest almost every weekend from June to September. On June 23rd, there's TWO! It's an amazing amount of growth in a sport that's still foreign to most people in this part of the country.

If you want to see the contest schedule click here. Personally, I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I was reading my friend Scott's blog Sugar and Lard the other day. He was talking about how he's a recipe-aholic. Cutting articles out of magazines, newspapers, off product labels, he does it all. He even fantasizes about how someday, he'll actually be able to use all his snippets of paper.

Well, I'm kind of the same way, but I collect recipes digitally. I can't tell you how many recipes I have taken off the net over the past few years and squirreled away somewhere on one of the many computer networks I deal with. Someday, I'll cook them all. Yeah, that's right. Someday.

But to be honest, my real problem is that I almost never actually follow a recipe. Oh, I'll read them. Oh, I'll swear to make it. Oh, I say, let's go get that jar of fenugreek that I need for this and never use again. But I never do.

To me recipes are a source of inspiration. I read them, think about them and then adapt them to what I have available. Occasionally I will follow a recipe, but once. Only once. Then it's mine to manipulate and massage. Very rarely have I been disappointed. How about you?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Here Comes The Sun

Well all you smoke-a-holics, some good news to report. Dinosaur Bar Be Que in Syracuse is open and back in business. I just got off the phone with them and they tell me the place is packed. Good luck to them. I hope this temporary setback is just that.

Damn, that picture's got me hungry. Should I be adventurous and try Dinosaur in New York City again? It has been about a year since my last visit. Hmm, can I get to Harlem today? Will the food be as good as that picture implies it is?

I'm seriously jonesing for some Que. But restaurant barbecue usually disappoints. I have a brisket in the refrigerator that needs to be cooked. All I need is TIME. Anybody got any to spare?

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

A little merry ment

Is merry ment one word or two? No matter tonight. Tonight we laugh and sing and cause away all aspertions of dignity. Sometimes ya just gotta.

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The sun will come out tomorrow

Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse is cleaning up its act. It seems like they still don't know what caused the problems, but they're doing their best to fix the problem. I hope the restaurant can recover its business, but to be honest, I'd be a little leary about going back.

Cleanup underway at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Updated: 12/3/2006 By: Cait McVey

Most days, you can find a line of hungry people waiting to be seated at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que. But not this weekend; the restaurant is closed for cleanup.

"We've done a top to bottom cleaning and sanitizing in conjunction with the health department. We've changed filters in the air cleaners. We've done ice machines. You name it, it's been taken care of," said owner John Stage.

So far, more than 600 people reported getting sick after eating at the restaurant or coming in contact with someone who did last weekend. The health department said it was most likely a viral illness, but they can't pinpoint just what caused it. So, the department recommended the Dinosaur close for a few days to sanitize.

"I need to emphasize that Dinosaur Bar-B-Que has been very cooperative and we did not have to threaten them with closure. They were very cooperative," Onondage County Health Director Dr. Cynthia Morrow said.

Obviously business will be lost this weekend, but what about after the restaurant reopens? Will customers come back?

"I can only hope. We've been in this community a really long time, and I really hope people give us another chance. I don't know what to expect, but I hope they do," said Stage.

The Health Department is set to perform a final inspection Monday morning. If given the green light,Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will reopen just in time for lunch.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

BBQ Troubles: Dinosaur BBQ Syracuse NY Closed

I wasn't going to post this, I hate to hear about any barbecue restaurant having trouble, but I feel you need to know. This is big story. Over 600 people are ill from eating at Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse, New York. Please realize that this is effecting only their Syracuse locations and not thier joints in NYC or Rochester.

From www.news10now.com

More than 600 report illness related to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Updated: 12/1/2006 4:47:47 PM By: Staff

The number of illnesses connected to the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse is now up to more than 600. Initial complaints came from people who ate at the restaurant either last Friday or Saturday night. But now, people who ate leftovers taken from the Dinosaur on those nights and others who may have come into contact with those that were ill are coming forward.

Preliminary tests show that the illness was not bacterial in nature, but more tests are still being conducted. So, while health officials say it could be something viral, they think it's too early to be sure.

“One advantage to viral infections with this particular type that we may be looking at is that they tend to be very self-limited, they tend to be shorter acting, they tend to be 12 to 48 hours. But, unfortunately they tend to be much more contagious,” Onondaga Health Commissioner Dr. Cynthia Morrow said.

Despite the steady increase in illnesses, the restaurant is still scheduled to open back up Monday morning after being disinfected and throwing prepared food out.

Anyone who feels their sickness may be related to the Dinosaur is asked to call the Onondaga County Health Department.

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Friday, December 01, 2006

BBQ Recipes: Dwight Joes St. Louis Ribs

I got some great feedback on the post for Dwight's Cherry Smoked Turkey, so here's another one from Ramin Ganeshram that sounds pretty good. Whomever Dwight is, I want to meet him. It sounds like he's a great cook.

Based on Ramin's directions, she must smoke her ribs on a Weber Kettle, but it shouldn't matter. Use whatever smoker you have, but be sure to use a preponderance of cherry wood (my personal favorite on ribs) in your fire. Enjoy!

Dwight Jones BBQ St. Louis Ribs

Serves 6 to 8 people

BBQ Spice Rub Blend
  • 5 tablespoons coarse salt
  • 4 tablespoons granulated garlic
  • 4 tablespoons onion powder
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
  • Mix together and store in an airtight jar or zip top bag.
6-8 lb St. Louis Style pork ribs (about 3 racks)
1/2 Cup BBQ spice blend
  • Coat the ribs evenly with the spice blend and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Prepare a BBQ grill for the indirect heat cooking method by placing the coals on one side of the fire grate.
  • Sear the ribs over direct heat for 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Place the ribs on the side of the grill rack away from the coals. Cover the grill and cook slowly for approximately 3-4 hours total.
  • Check the progress about once per hour.
  • Rotate the ribs to ensure even cooking.
  • The ribs will be fork tender and the meat will pull away from the ends of the bones when done.
Baste with your favorite barbeque sauce during the last 45 minutes of cooking.

Serve with your favorite side dishes like Cole Slaw, Potato Salad and Beans.

Ramin Ganeshram is a chef professionally trained at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. She lives in Stony Brook, NY and her new book "Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago" is now available. (For an excerpt, please click here.) Ramin can be reached at chef@dfire.org. Ramin is also the editor of the new magazine Canvas.

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