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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, February 29, 2008

BBQ Ingredients: Vinegar

I've been thinking about vinegar lately. During the cleanup of the "puddle" 10 days ago I realized that I have a lot of open bottles of vinegar. I have white vinegar, red wine, white wine, fig infused, pear infused, sherry, champagne, rice, taragon and of course balsamic vinegar. And I have a couple of bottles of unopened vinegar. Thank God most of it is relatively cheap.

This got me thinking, do I need all this different vinegar? Do they really taste all that different? I decided to taste them all. I put about 1/2 teaspoon on a piece of white wonder bread and sampled them all.

First up was white vinegar. I rarely use white vinegar. White vinegar can be a bit harsh. It does add tang, but not much more.

According to The Vinegar Institute, apple vinegar is the most popular in the country, and it's the one I use most in barbecue. Sometimes before I cook my meat, I give it a quick bath in the apple cider vinegar before putting on the rub. Apple cider vinegar adds a tart and subtle fruity flavor to anything it touches.

I have a bottle of Heinz apple cider vinegar that states on it's label that it's made from apples. The Heinz apple cider vinegar has a distinct apple flavor and smell. My bottle of Admiration apple cider vinegar doesn't claim that it's made from apples and the apple flavor is missing in the taste test. It does have an apple smell and a sweet finish, but it just doesn't taste of apples.

I've always wondered why the Heinz company labeled the vinegar as made from apples and now I know. It turns out that the Admiration vinegar is made by the Supreme Oil Company. God knows what's in it!

After apple cider vinegar, I use Balsamic the most. Balsamic vinegar was introduced to the United States sometime during the 1970's but has been around since the days of the Roman empire. True balsamic vinegar is made only in Italy and is a true artisan's product. Its production is tightly regulated and can take as long as 25 years to make. I have a small bottle of this that I rarely use as it's very expensive and too good to be mixed into salad dressings or sauces. Traditional balsamic should be used on its own.

Then there's the commercial balsamic vinegar which anyone can make. Some of this is made in Italy and Modena, but most isn't. It's significantly cheaper than true balsamic vinegar and varies greatly in quality and taste from brand to brand.

The "true" balsamic vinegar is a little tart, a little sweet and very complex. The commercial stuff is still pretty good, but it lacks the complexity in taste and mouth feel of the good stuff. All balsamic vinegar pairs amazingly well with both sweet and salty foods.

Up next was the red wine vinegar. Again I have a bottle of Heinz and a bottle of Admiration. Both were tart and a little sweet with a finish not unlike a chianti. I really didn't much of a difference between the two brands.

I won't get into the rest of the vinegars today, as this post is getting much too long, but tasting the vinegars individually answered my question. Yes, I do need all these different vinegars. Each adds a unique flavor to recipes.

All pictures in this post are courtesy of The Vinegar Institute who state that there are vinegar virgins... "Virgins (over 33 million Americans fall into this group) Virgins are simply unaware of white distilled vinegar’s various uses and have not purchased or used white distilled vinegar in the last year."

Imagine that.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

North Carolina BBQ Trail

I just found this on the internet today.

A member of the New England BBQ Society posted this link to the North Carolina Barbecue Society's historic trail of barbeque joints throughout NC.

Lookie here..

"NCBS has designed a barbecue trail from Eastern North Carolina to Tennessee. The trail will meander across the state with stops at 25 NCBS Historic Barbecue Pits. These pits were carefully and selectively chosen by the NCBS board as representatives of the distinctive methods and barbecue cooking styles that have made North Carolina the Barbecue Capital of the World. Each NCBS Historic Barbecue Pit still cooks the old fashioned pit cooked method."

"Criteria for selection to the NCBS Historic Barbecue Trail included, among other things, that the NCBS Historic Barbecue Pit cook their meat product on pits fueled by wood or charcoal, make their own sauce, that the pit had operated continuously for fifteen or more years, that the end product was a good offering and representative of North Carolina Barbecue and that the pit had earned and enjoyed the high esteem of its community, the barbecue industry and barbecue aficionados. The board decided to only include pits that provide a sit down dining experience for the public"

I need a road trip!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Caveat Emptor

I found something out yesterday. My health insurance sucks. Unlike many in George Bush's America, I do have health insurance. And I pay a lot of money for it each month. I pay more every year and get less and less in return.

My son was diagnosed with Mono. He was prescribed steroids because his tonsils are swollen to the point where one is connected to his uvula. The doctor wrote the prescription and I was about to take it to our local Duane Reade to be filled when my wife called.

"Take it to Duane Reade, but don't put it on the insurance," said she. "It's $21.00 to fill. Steroids are cheap." "Why wouldn't I put it on the insurance?" I asked.

"Because the co-pay for prescriptions is $25."

"So?" I replied.

"I don't want to pay $25 when we can pay less," said the wife wisley.

"Why would we pay $25 when it only costs $21?" I asked

"Because that's how the insurance company and drug stores work. Put it on the insurance, pay the deductible and the drug store keeps the rest," my wife told me.

"Damn! Is that legal?" (If there's any lawyers reading this, I'd like to know the answer.)

So, since my car is in the shop getting repaired from the Thanksgiving side swipe, I proceeded to walk to Duane Reade. On my way I came to Rite Aid. I decided to see how much they would charge for the same prescription. "$10.99" I was told.

Buyer beware.

Monday, February 25, 2008

On a Lighter Note

A budding star...

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Baron is Making News

Seems like Paul Kirk, aka the Baron of Barbeque is a busy guy. Today in my email I received two messages about Paul's activities. The first is a brief blurb from the Austin Statesman mentioning that Paul is in Austin for the National Barbecue Association's annual convention.

The other, copied below is a review from Las Vegas City Life of Paul and Andrew Fischel's new Las Vegas outpost of their RUB BBQ restaurant. Enjoy.

Oh, by the way, that's me, Paul Kirk and The Hampton Smoker in the picture from when we brought Paul and his School of Pitmasters to New York.

We knead meat
Sauce is rendered superfluous thanks to Rub's tasty dry-cooked BBQ
Meat. Need we say more?

Click here for


AS I'VE MENTIONED IN THE PAST, I didn't grow up on barbecue. For me, the term referred to grilling burgers and hot dogs in the backyard on holidays. It wasn't until my early 30s that I learned to really appreciate meats cooked for countless hours in smokers. And it wasn't until last year that I experienced my first barbecue competition, in Vancouver of all places, where people from around the U.S. and Canada pitted their top-secret recipes against each other. Fortunately for those who are still in the dark when it comes to real barbecue, Rub BBQ recently opened its doors at the Rio.

Rub is brought to us by Paul Kirk, also known as The Kansas City Baron of Barbecue. Kirk is a certified master barbecue judge, a member of the Kansas City Barbecue Society Board of Directors and was inducted into the KCBS Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2005, he brought his barbecue to New York City with the original Rub Barbecue, and the place very quickly became both an overwhelming success and a celebrity hotspot. Given Las Vegas' hunger for restaurants that have been successful in other cities, it was only a matter of time until we got one here.

The local restaurant is a rather unassuming place on the mezzanine level of the Rio. A large glass window on one walls allows you to gaze in on the massive smokers (which honestly aren't terribly interesting), and many of the seats have a view of The Rio's Masquerade Show In The Sky (which is probably extremely cool for tourists, but can be a bit annoying after you've seen those dancing girls chained to their floats a few dozen times). While the service is great, the place has a casual vibe, with waitresses wearing cut-off denim shorts, and food served in cardboard baskets.

All of that is just fine. Barbecue isn't about fancy restaurants. It's all about the meat, and Rubs delivers some of the best I've ever had.

There's a huge variety available here, including pulled pork, smoked ham, pulled chicken, barbecued chicken, smoked turkey, beef brisket, pastrami, three types of sausage, a whole pig butt, the fatty brisket points known as burnt ends, pork spare ribs and baby backs. They're smoked for as long as 18 hours in a blend of hickory, oak and apple smoke. You can order them in a wide variety of platters ($16.75 and up) and sandwiches ($13.75 and up), with ribs available in half or full racks ($16.75-$26.75).

They also offer appetizers like fried dill pickles ($7.25), fried green tomatoes ($8.75), BBQ bacon chunks ($9.75) and BBQ chili ($8.75). If you want a salad, you have four choices ($3.95-$13.75), although two of them are packed with meat. And sides include greens, cornbread and garlic mashed potatoes (all $3.75 for small, $7 for large).

My wife and I were simultaneously disgusted and intrigued by a listing in the appetizer section called BBQ Frito pie ($11.75). So we decided we had to try it. It was a bowl of Fritos topped with chili, cheese, onions and jalapenos. In all honesty, it was a pretty decent take on nachos -- although Doritos might worked better as an alternative corn chip. The best part about the sloppy appetizer was the barbecue chili topping it gave as our first taste of Rub's perfectly smoked meat.

For our dinner, we ordered up a massive sampler platter called The Baron ($49.75). It could easily have fed four people, but its combination of beef, chicken, pork, ham, pastrami, turkey, sausage, ribs and two side dishes gave us our best chance to try as many meats as possible. Since this was true barbecue, they'd all been cooked dry, without sauce. And on meat this flavorful, you certainly don't need it.

We liked every single thing on the plate. In my opinion, the hand-down favorite was the pastrami, which was the leanest and tastiest I've ever had (I can't wait to try it on one of their BBQ Reuben Crusher sandwiches). My wife loved it as well, but liked the brisket even better. Other standouts included the pulled pork and the incredibly moist turkey.

While all of the meats were excellent, the sides were simply average. The macaroni and cheese and cornbread were on par with the stuff you'd get in a grocery story. I also found all three of their barbecue sauces rather bland, but as I said earlier, they were fairly superfluous.

Those are minor complaints, however, with barbecue this good. Whether you're a barbecue neophytes or someone who grew up behind a smoker, you owe yourself a visit to Rub.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

You Think That's Good?

I was bouncing my review of Fette Sau around in my head this morning. Was it too harsh? I know what it takes to produce great barbeque and how it can be subject to many variables even if you do everything right. I called my client and she said I was too easy on them. Ouch.

To many of my friends in the world of barbecue, the food produced for competition is the gold standard of barbeque meat. While I wouldn't go that far, there's too many other flavors that can be incorporated into good barbecue that wouldn't work in competition, it is a not a bad place to start.

The standards of taste and tenderness do however translate easily from the competition circuit to the restaurant world.

So how do you learn what these standards should be? By becoming a KCBS certified barbecue judge. If you're in the New York area the next judging class will be held on March 29, 2008 in Highland, New York. It's being taught by the Mullanes, whom regular readers of this blog will know by now, and it's being hosted by the fine folks who run the outstanding Hudson Valley Ribfest. These classes fill up fast, but you can download the application here.

I wish I could join you, but I'll be performing my judging duties at the 15th Annual Snowshoe Challenge in Abington, MA that day. If you're anywhere near Abington, come on by. It's a great grilling contest with some of the best teams in New England and always a lot of fun.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Restaurant Review: Fette Sau

Fette Sau
354 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718) 963-3404

I wasn't planning a trip to Fette Sau tonight, but a visit to a client's home in Williamsburgh made the opportunity too good to pass up.

Fette Sau on Urbanspoon

I've heard great things about Fette Sau. My buddy Gary over at Pig Trip summed up his visit this way "Fette Sau has a lot going for it: good to very good barbecue meats with a killer rub, a rotating menu, a great bar atmosphere and a comfortable place to hang."

But I've also heard some not so great things about Fette Sau. Menupages and the New York Magazine gave the place good to great reviews, but the Times (that's the NY Times in case you are confused) and Gawker both trashed it.

I wasn't planning a trip to a bbq joint but I like to check out places for myself, so like I said this was too good an opportunity to pass up. I wish I had.

We arrived to an almost empty restaurant at around 6:30pm. I expected that as most of Fette Sau's tables are outside and it was one of the coldest days in NYC this winter.

We ordered some pulled pork($16/lb), spicy sausage($2.75 link), flank steak ($22/lb), and beans with burnt ends ($5 small). Since my client is vegetarian on hiatus, we also got a side of "Cora's Broccoli Salad" ($3.50 small). It all came with three different barbecue sauces, one worse than the other, and some outstanding potato rolls.

I asked about the smoker (Southern Pride) and the woods being used. The meat cutter told me that they use "a mix of cherry, oak and pine." Pine? I asked specifically about the pine telling him that I've been told since I was a kid in the scouts that pine wasn't good to cook over. He laughed and said, "yeah - but it's cheap." (I think he was just a joshin' me. I HOPE he was just joshin!)

I then asked if they used different woods for different meats and his first answer was no, but then he recanted stating that they might use different wood for the beef than the pork because they cook them separately. Then he added, he really couldn't tell one type of dry wood from another and they all wind up in the same pile.

Apparently all the meat cutter does is cut and wrap meats, because he called over to the cashier for the broccoli salad. She continued to talk with another woman about her latest date and some other guy who was something which I can't repeat on a family blog while I stood there and waited. Once their conversation was over, I guess about 10 minutes later, she bagged the broccoli and proceeded to ring up my order.

The sausage was easily the best offering, nicely cooked and juicy; but it offered so little spice it was mainly consumed by my client's 3 year old daughter. The flank steak was tender but dry and bland even though I could taste a little cinnamon in the bark.

The pulled pork had a very dark bark, but it was dry and tasteless and pink inside. I couldn't figure this out. Usually pink in pork signifies a smoke ring, but this was in a large chunk of gray meat that showed no indication that it was anywhere near the edge or bone of the butt.

My big question on all the meats - where was the smoke?

The beans were pretty tasty and totally devoid of meat, but the bay leaf was a very nice touch. Bay leaf is one of my favorite spices and I welcome its addition to most recipes. The beans had a very nice spicy finish, but they can't hold a candle to the beans at any of the top bbq joints in New York.

What can I say about the broccoli? Well, first off, I don't eat broccoli so I must rely on others for their opinion. My client looked at it and asked if it was cooked three days ago. I wish I had my camera with me, but my Lord, this stuff looked like it was cooked for three days. Pale, gray-ish and limp. My client tasted it and spit it out. She then said it was "disgusting."

Disgusting is more than a bit harsh, but I wouldn't put this place on my list of bbq joints for NYC. Maybe it was a bad night; but damn, it's rare when I don't find at least one meat I like.

So to steal an ending from my buddy Gary: Fette Sau is a bar that serves bad barbecue with lousy service. Go for the booze but eat somewhere else first.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So you want to be on TV?

This has been coming into my inbox for the last couple of days. I wasn't going to post it because it's old news, but there seems to be a new push for audition tapes. Here's your chance to be a star!


Are you a Master Griller? Are all barbeques held at your house? If you're a serious griller (charcoal or gas) and have the skills to prove it, then live out your culinary fantasy on Bobby Flay's new half hour GRILL IT! series on the Food Network.

To apply, please create a 3-minute VHS Tape or DVD in which you cook us your favorite dish. Tell us how you created the recipe and the ingredients you use. All applicants must have a terrific personality and must illustrate why you'd make a fantastic candidate for GRILL IT! with Bobby Flay! Unlike "Throwdown with Bobby Flay" there's no winners or losers, instead Grill IT! shows people how to grill with a well-stocked kitchen.

All applicants must live in the U.S and be 18 and over (although quick-witted teenagers with parents' permission can apply).

To be considered, please mail your submission tape, original recipe and photo of yourself to the address below no later than March 15th.

110 Leroy Street
New York City, NY 10014

Questions? Email us at grillitwithbobby@gmail.com

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Anyone Smell Smoke?

"Pop, there's a leak in the kitchen." was how my daughter woke me up Sunday morning. Our upstairs neighbor's washing machine flooded which, in turn, leaked into our kitchen.

"Is it bad?" I asked.

"No" "I put some paper towels on the puddle."

With that I tried to get some more sleep, but I couldn't. How bad was this leak? So I got my hairy body out of bed and walked into the kitchen to find that the leak had stopped, there was a pile of wet paper towels on the floor and the mess cleaned up.

I popped some bread into the toaster and went to get a plate from the cabinet. I reached in a took a plate, not really looking at what I was doing. Then it hit me brown dirty water.

Every cabinet had been flooded. Every dish, plate, fork, knife, vase, saucer, cup, mug, glass, pot, pan, etc needed to be washed. By hand. We don't have a dishwasher. Ten hours of cleaning up a "puddle."

And how was your Sunday?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Restaurant Review: Ruthie's Bar-B-Q & Pizza

This came into my in box this morning and I thought I'd share. I haven' t been to Ruthie's Bar-B-Q & Pizza or the Wood Pit, but it looks like I need to check out the barbeque scene in Montclair, New Jersey. And I still need to get back to Front Street Smokehouse in Elizabeth! Can somebody say road trip?

Ruthie's strives to raise the Bar-B-Q

Pizza also an attraction at eatery popular with Montclair students
Friday, February 15, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

New Jersey doesn't need another barbecue joint and Montclair sure doesn't need another restaurant, but here comes Ruthie's, with its red-neon-lit sign, tile floors and cozy atmosphere.

A lunchtime hangout for students from nearby Montclair High School, Ruthie's offers the intriguing combo of pizza and barbecue, with a few other items -- panini, hot dogs, burgers and wraps -- thrown in.

"It's like we have two different restaurants in one place," said owner Eric Kaplan.

Kaplan, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who has worked as a chef at Dean & DeLuca, the Bull & Bear at the Waldorf Astoria and other places, opened Ruthie's last July. Ruthie is Ruth Perretti, his girlfriend.

The two went on a barbecue recon mission to check out the competition, although Kaplan, 50, believes he's carving out his own slow-cooked niche. The location is unique, well away from downtown, which means less visibility but much easier parking.

Kaplan mixes and matches his barbecue styles. His ribs are St. Louis or Memphis style, while his pulled pork is Carolina-influenced, with a spicy, slightly vinegary sauce that makes the pulled pork sandwich ($6.75 for sandwich, $9.50 for platter, including fries and slaw) memorable. The pork is sweetish, but not overly so, and immensely juicy.

Same goes for the pulled chicken sandwich ($6.50 for sandwich, $9.25 for platter), loaded with tender, succulent meat. The chopped brisket sandwich ($6.95, $9.75) was the least successful of the three; the meat was too fatty.

The pork ribs ($8.75 ribs alone, $11.50 platter) were nicely done -- plump, tender, chewy. Ask for extra cups of the barbecue sauce; it's that good.

Kaplan does a creditable job with his 16-inch pizzas; they won't put your favorite neighborhood pizzeria out of business, but they'll satisfy your pizza craving. The Neapolitan ($10.99), with marinara, mozzarella, Romano cheese and basil, is a good choice if you're undecided; the marinara sauce is good and tomatoey.

The sauce-less Ruthie's Classic ($14), with tomato, basil, mozzarella and Romano, is okay, nothing more.

Slices range from $1.65 to $2.60.

Sides include chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, baked beans with burnt ends (the end pieces of brisket) and red cabbage slaw with cider vinegar. The mac and cheese ($3.75), barely cheesy, needs work.

The Wood Pit, on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, would win the local barbecue joint showdown, but Ruthie's has the advantage of pizza, and better parking.

Kaplan, who says he's into "rootsy American music and stuff," is a blues guitarist, and his musician friends often drop over, so you never know when you're going to get a jam session with your pulled pork or pepperoni pie.

Where should Pete eat next?Call him at (973) 392-1765 or e-mail to pgenovese@starledger.com.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

New Adventures in Food

It was an interesting night last night. I cooked. Well, I sorta cooked. I made two things I've never made before. First up was Hamburger Helper, Four Cheese Lasagna. Oh my God, I don't think I've ever tasted something so foul in all my borne days. How this orange goop has any resemblance to lasagna is a mystery to the entire family.

After that my daughter decided to experiment on her own. She made Lucky Charms Rice Krispy Treats. I don't know why she choose to substitute Lucky Charms for Rice Krispies in her Rice Krispy Treats, but she did. Hey, I experiment with food combinations all the time. More power to her.

How were they you ask? Unfortunately she burnt the marshmallows, so it wasn't a success. But she still needed to make something to bring to school tomorrow, but by now it was 11:00 pm and she needed to get to bed. "Pop, can you make something?"

Looking through the cabinets, I found a bag of chocolate chips, caramel chips, condensed milk (Why do we have condensed milk in the cabinet? I don't remember ever making anything that calls for condensed milk) vanilla and a bag of shredded coconut. Looks like I'm going to be up making cookies for a while.

But then it hit me - don't you use condensed milk to make fudge? And doesn't fudge take like 15 minutes to make?

So I scoured the internet for a fudge recipe. Unfortunately most of the recipes called for the addition of marshmallow fluff which I didn't have, but then I found a recipe on the Eagle Brand website for Marbled Chocolate Fudge. It called for white chocolate, which I didn't have so I substituted the caramel chips, which were really peanut butter chips, go figure.

But the fudge came out pretty good. Very fudgey and very very easy.

So there you have it folks. Two new dishes in the wonderful adventures in cooking. I wonder where the barbecue is.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

A shelter from pigs on the wing?

This came into my inbox today and I thought I'd share. Pig Brother is watching.

No barbecue is safe

John Kass - The Chicago Tribune
February 8, 2008

America was a free country, once, before the Barbecue Police put their boot heels on our necks.

"Or, you can call them the Pig Police, since they hate people cooking pigs in their own back yard!" Amante Enad, 55, of Wheeling told me Thursday.

"That's what I was doing, until they wrote tickets on me and took me to court. I said, 'What rights do I have to cook in my own back yard? Don't I have rights to cook a pig on my own property?' And they gave me the tickets."

The enemy in this case is the Village of Wheeling. Not the fine and proud barbecue-loving people of Wheeling, but the power-mad bureaucrats of Wheeling. They're dragging Enad into court next week on some vague charge of barbecuing multiple pigs without a license.

But it sounds like they're just opposed to a proud native of the Philippines cooking up some traditional lechon (roast pork) on his own property for later transport to a church fiesta.

It's time Americans stand up and protest, because once they get Enad's back yard rotisseries, they'll come after yours, and then they'll come after mine, and they'll order us to eat lentils and like it.

"What country is America, where you can't even cook a pig in your own back yard?" Enad asked me, perhaps rhetorically. "They came, they wrote tickets. I asked them, 'What are my rights in my own home?' And you know what they told me?"

No, what did they say?

"They said, 'You can cook only one pig. One pig only.' Who sets the limits on pigs? It's my hobby, not a business. I do it for love of the Filipino people. And they say one pig. One pig? Who are they to say one pig? What is going on?"

I first learned of the Barbecue Police by reading stories by Tribune reporter Vikki Ortiz, who has been following the anti-lechon discrimination case.

She pointed out that the lechon Enad made was recently served at St. Catherine Laboure Roman Catholic Church inGlenview. So I called the priests there.

"You can't have a meeting of any kind of Filipinos without having lechon," Rev. Alfredo Salera, associate pastor, told me Thursday. "You have it for birthdays, house blessings and any big feast. I don't know the man, but I've heard his name from other people. He cooks lechon for fiestas. You can't have a fiesta without it. A fiesta without lechon is not a fiesta."

Wheeling Village Manager Mark Rooney says Enad may have been running a lechon side business, but the evidence was unclear.

One anonymous tipster whispered to inspectors that Enad was trapping and slaughtering animals in his back yard, and once he was finished, he'd toss the bones onto the neighbor's yard.

Clearly, this is a vicious lie and not evidence, but some bones were allegedly found. Naturally, the anonymous lechon-hating "neighbor" could have planted them.

"[Inspectors] agreed he could keep the roasters and not sell anything to the public, and if he did it for family and close friends, the village had no problem," Rooney said. "We are not the Barbecue Police. He has to keep the bones on his property so the neighbor doesn't run over them with his lawn mower."

So I called Enad's neighbor, who said he has no complaints whatsoever.

"I would never complain on a guy for cooking in his own back yard," said Roman Augustyn, a native of Poland, which has its own proud roast-pig traditions.

"It doesn't bother me. He told me he stopped because the village came after him. I'd never call the pig police on a neighbor because he cooks a few times. If he makes some more, I hope he brings me a plate," Augustyn said.

Another Wheeling bureaucrat was James Lang, about as reasonable as a riding crop against a boot.

"He's a repeat offender," Lang said. "You take all the humor or whatever you call it. When you get down to it, the guy twice had the case closed against him, and yet, he keeps breaking the code, breaking the rules.

"And then we showed up and he had five roasters and a commercial-grade freezer," Lang said.

I asked Enad about this, and he said, yes, but that he never sold any of it, and just made lechon for churches and friends because he loves to do it.

"I wondered, what country is this?" Enad said. "I mean, you cook in your back yard, they come in your house and look in your freezers? I didn't do this for money."

If they get Enad, then some day, the Barbecue Police will come after your barbecue. And they'll tell me I can't roast a lamb in my driveway on Easter because I leave the head on and neighbor kids might freak out thinking it's a dog.

And what about my rib cookers? They belch hickory smoke when I fire them up. And the two kettles, and the gas grill? The only time I'll give them up is when they're pried from my cold, dead hands.

"No one bothered me in the Philippines," Enad said. "I was free to cook there."

The great economistMilton Friedman insisted Americans should be free to choose. Now we're not even free to cook.

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Zaro's Bakery - Grand Central

This man enjoys his job. Zaro's Bakery in the market at Grand Central. Always worth a visit.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Cooking For Myself

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A frittata is a type of Italian omelette that frequently features fillings such as meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Like a traditional French omelette, a frittata is prepared in a skillet. However, whereas an omelette is cooked on a stovetop and served folded, a frittata is first partially cooked on a stovetop but then finished under the grill (broiler) and served open-faced.

So, why do I tell you about a frittata? Because that's what's in the picture. A corned beef hash frittata.

A little while ago, I discovered that the family wouldn't be home for dinner. This gave me a chance to make myself a traditional New England Boiled Dinner. What's a traditional New England Boiled Dinner you ask? Well, that's another post, but it does contain corned beef and potatoes.

The kids don't particularly like boiled corned beef, but I do, so I jumped at the chance to use up a piece of corned beef that I had in the freezer that I had planned on making into pastrami. So I made my dinner and enjoyed it in a rare silent evening at home. Now I don't know about you, but my mother and grand mother always told me that when you make a New England Boiled Dinner, you should always make enough to have leftovers. So I planned accordingly.

As luck would have it, the family would be out again 2 days later and I could take my leftovers and make hash. I love hash and to be honest, I often make corned beef just to have a meal of corned beef hash. I had my plans set. Don't get me wrong, I love my wife and kids, but sometimes it's great to be able to cook to my tastes exclusively and not worry about pleasing them.

So I diced up an onion or two, and sautéed them in some butter and olive oil adding some minced garlic just before the onions got translucent. I took the leftover meat and potatoes and roughly chopped them up. I was just about to add the meat an potatoes to the pan, when my son came home asking for dinner. I told him he was on his own, or he could have some hash. He griped about how he didn't like corned beef and that he'd make something later.

Then the wife and daughter appeared asking the same question. (I thought I had the night to myself!) They got the same answer, but said they'd eat it. But now I was looking at my ingredients. Would I have enough hash to feed four people? Nope. I needed another plan.

Then it hit me - make a frittata out of it. So I put the meat and potatoes in the pan with the onion and tossed them around just enough to heat them through. I took eight eggs and scrambled them and poured them over the meat. I cooked this on the stove until the eggs were almost set. Taking my large cast iron frying pan and placing it under the broiler, I let the oven finish off the dish.

The whole family devoured this dish. Even my son. From now on, I think I'll be making my hash into frittatas every time.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Ducks in a Row

As the number of posts last month can attest, I've been feeling a bit out of sorts and out of focus. But February will be different. It's off to a great start. I've got my billing out to my clients and on my other site Get Your Grill On, I've already edited and published this week's posts. I'm off and running. It feels good to be ahead of the curve again.

There's a few things I need to bring to your attention. Some of you have noticed that the posts for this year's Grillin' On The Bay contest are no longer available on my blog. Well, there's a reason for that; we lost our venue. We're still working to bring GOTB back for 2008, but right now we don't have a home or a date. I'll let you know as soon as we secure both.

If you're feeling lucky, take a trip over to my buddy Eric Devlin's blog, Home of BBQ. Eric is holding a contest where the winner will take home some of Woody's BBQ Sauce, a tee-shirt, some other swag from Woody's and a special prize from Eric himself.

My friend Matt Fisher is off working on opening his restaurant, Wild Wood which will be a part of the B R Guest empire. I'm really happy for him and his success, but I miss talking with him on a regular basis. But in the end, everything will payoff handsomely as I'll have another barbecue restaurant to frequent.

Speaking of long lost friends, I wonder where Rob Richter will turn up now that he's left Hill Country. Unfortunately Robbie's not offering any hints, but I'm sure wherever it is the Que will be worth the wait.

So that's all the news I have for today. Ill talk with you again soon.

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