Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Cooking on the Orion Cooker
Way back in February, I picked up an Orion Cooker for an amazingly low price of $37 when the list price was $139. I didn't think too much about why the price was so low, it being February and all. I just figured they were clearing out last year's "summer" inventory. Un-boxing the cooker, I discovered that this was a used cooker. It had a dent and some paint stains on the lid. It really wasn't a problem as some manly bending easily fixed the dent and the paint came off with a quick swipe with a Brillo pad. Shame on Lowes of West Islip, New York for passing this off as new.
I assembled the cooker in less than 5 minutes; all you need to do is attach the four legs and set it up in the backyard for its inaugural run. I placed the drip pan in the bottom of the main cooking chamber and added some maple chips and a little mesquite, making sure to keep them out of the drip pan and close to the exterior walls of the cooker to get that smoky flavor I love.
The more I set this up, the more I was reminded of the traditional Dutch Oven cooking I've played with in the past. Orion claims that their cooker is using a unique process, but I've cooked this way for many a years and it wasn't new to me!
I then added some chicken stock to the drip pan, put in the cooking grate and was ready for the bird. You could try all sorts of liquids to flavor the bird, many people use beer, but I prefer the simple flavor of stock.
I rubbed the turkey with seasoned butter both under and over the skin. The bird is impaled on the same type of "throne" you would use when you are deep frying a turkey and lowered into the cooking chamber. It made me wonder why I need the cooking grate at all. The throne, for lack of a better term, held the turkey above the stock.
I put the lid on and built the fire using Matchlight as directed by the manufacturer of the Orion Cooker. You are directed to use an entire 13.5lb bag of charcoal, reserving 10-12 coals for the top. I found that the charcoal ring didn't hold all that and I was left with about two pounds of charcoal after I filled it up.
I lit the fire, using matches taken from my last visit to Duke's BBQ. I can't remember the last time I used Matchlight, but the smell of lighter fluid was overwhelming. I can't believe people actually use this stuff and expose food to these toxic fumes.
Now there was nothing to do but wait. The Orion manual claims "Remember – Fill it, Fire it and Forget it!" I don't think that's very wise advice. All this open fire needs to be watched carefully. I kept my animals and children in the house while this fire was raging.
The instructions claim that a turkey cooks at an astounding rate of 7 minutes a pound and boy were they right. I got caught up in reading She-Smoke by Julie Reinhardt, review coming soon, and let the turkey cook for 80 minutes.
Taking the cover off led to an interesting dilemma. Where do I put the hot lid? I had to walk to the sidewalk as it's the only place near the yard that's not covered in grass. As you can see, the turkey was a bit over cooked. It was a beautiful shade of copper. Getting the cooked turkey off the throne proved to be very difficult. Next time I'll remember to spray it with PAM prior to using.
So how did the turkey taste? It was moist and very flavorful. I've never seen the meat retract so much on a turkey leg before. I expected it to be tough since it was so compact. I don't know if you can see it in the picture of the breast, but it was very tender and moist, which surprised me as the bird was just short of being overcooked. The skin was pure rubber, odd considering how much butter I put on it, usually this causes it to crisp.
Cleanup of this machine was a real pain in the ass. Getting the now grease covered drip pan out was difficult and cleaning the narrow channel of all the ash was time consuming.
Do I recommend this cooker? For the most part. It cooks exactly as advertised and produces moist tender meat. For what I paid, I'm very happy; for full price - ah, not so much. It uses a great deal of fuel which makes it expensive to operate, compared to smoking a turkey in one of my traditional cookers. I'm also not too thrilled with the exposed fire. Fire safety is an important issue to me and my family. We've been down that road before.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
This just in from The Feedbag...
firstname.lastname@example.org clearly demonstrating their credentials and illustrating why they should be chosen.
Hmm, I might try to get in on this. It sounds interesting and fun but unfortunately, Hill Country isn't known for its ribs. Too bad this isn't a brisket eating contest!
Friday, May 22, 2009
First Look: Joey's BBQ
This is not a full review, just some first impressions of Hoboken's only BBQ joint - Joey's BBQ.
I stopped in at Joey's BBQ in Hoboken, New Jersey last night. Perusing the menu, I asked the guy at the counter what was best. "Our wings" he said. I found that an interesting statement as this is a barbecue joint, but when in Rome...
So I ordered the wings. Joey's claims that their wings are smoked over hickory for 4 hours. Hard to believe as they had the consistency of boiled then lightly grilled wings with no noticeable trace of smoke. All of the wings, while a nice size, were completely over cooked.
My two sides of potato salad and baked beans were easily the stars of this meal. The potato salad was an interesting mix of potato, onion and apples, while the baked beans packed a punch with a very strong tomato based sauce laced with onions and pieces of what appeared to be pork bark and bacon.
Joey's has four different BBQ sauces available, Original Sweet, Original Spicy, Brisket and Traditional. The first three were very thin, but good and the last very thick and reminiscent of Sweet Baby Rays. All were sampled directly to the tip of my finger.
I will be back to try some of the more traditional BBQ samplings; brisket, ribs, pork shoulder. Any place that creates a special brisket sauce can't be all bad.
Sent from my Verizon Blackberry
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Dinner at RUB: We're Done
Let's finish up our dinner at RUB. There's "Q"ing to do!
The recipe for this is available in Paul Kirk and Ardie Davis' new book; America's Best BBQ.
It's right there on page 177!
Take a look at the inside of the holding pit. Meat is cooked in one of the 3 other J&R Pits and transferred to another J&R Pit for holding before it is sliced and served to the guests. One thing I learned during this tour is that everything at RUB is sliced, pulled or chopped to order. There's no pre-portioned baggies of pulled pork or chicken. That's a lot of chopping!
And I leave you with a picture of the point, or deckle or the fatty upper muscle of the brisket. This sumptuous meat will be cubed, re-seasoned and re-smoked to become burnt ends.
Dinner at RUB; Part 2
Let's talk about dinner. I think we had everything on the menu except for the duck.
In-house Pastrami, in-house Sausage and Pulled Pork.
The sausage is very similar to Kreuz, but better. The pastrami could give Katz a run for its money and the pulled pork was simply fantastic.
Turkey, Brisket and Ham.
I love ham anytime and this didn't disappoint. The turkey was moist and flavorful and a vast improvement from the last time I had it. It has inspired me. I'm smoking a turkey this weekend. And what can I say about the brisket? As I've said a few times in the blog, brisket is not my favorite meat. A long time friend and former chef once told me that if you don't like something, you've never had it cooked properly. Well, I like brisket now.
Ribs - Sorry but I don't have any pictures of the chicken.
Sides: Collard Greens, Cornbread, Onion Strings fried in lard, Potato Salad and Baked Beans.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Dinner at RUB
Another great meet up with the New York BBQ Lovers Meetup Group at RUB. Great bunch of people. Great fun and fantastic food. If you're looking to learn about NY BBQ, join us.
I can't tell you how good this meal was. Andrew, Scott, Matt, Celeste, Molly and all the rest of the staff outdid themselves the other night. You have to get to RUB. Trust me.
Let's start with the appetizers..
Burnt Ends - By FAR the best in the city
And some chicken wings. A great start to an auspicious meal.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Dinner at RUB
OK, boys and girls, tonight we feast! MY wife and I are heading into Manhattan to meet up with members of the NY BBQ Lover's Meetup Group for a night of bacchanalian revelry at RUB BBQ!
Look at this menu which will be shared family style...
- BBQ Chicken Wings
- Bacon Chunks; house cured and triple smoked Berkshire black pork belly bacon
- Frito Pie
- Burnt Ends
- The Taste Of The Baron; tasting of beef, pork, ham, pastrami, turkey, chicken, sausage and topped with racks of ribs.
- Onion Strings
- Potato Salad
- Corn Bread
- Deep Fried Oreos
- Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Memphis In May
Most of the barbecue contests I talk about on this blog are KCBS style, but there's another world out there; Memphis In May. Different rules, different cuts of meats, whole different world. Check it out!
Memphis in May's World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is May 14-16, 2009 in Tom Lee Park in downtown Memphis. Hundreds of teams compete for over $90,000 in prizes and supreme bragging rights.
Teams adorn their areas with elaborate decoration, trophies attesting to their boasting rights, and as one can imagine, clever and creative team names.
While grilling is the main theme, the contest wouldn't be complete without the Ms. Piggie Idol competition where grown men dress in tutus and snouts and women kick their heels (hooves) up. There is also a t-shirt competition and even a best booth contest.
The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, the Granddaddy of Grilling...where on this given Saturday, it's anybody's game.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
KCBS Gets It Right
This just in from Kathie Dakai....
Ken and I would like you to know that the KCBS BOD has reinstated us as KCBS Reps and Ken as a CBJ Instructor.
Thank you for all the support you have given us!! We'll see y'all on the BBQ circuit!
I'm glad KCBS finally did the right thing.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Book Review: America's Best BBQ
America's Best BBQ
100 Recipes from America's Best Smokehouses, Pits, Shacks, Rib Joints, Roadhouses and Restaurants
Ardie A. Davis, PhB and Chef Paul Kirk, CWC, PhB, BSAS
Andrews McMeel Publishing Released: May 1, 2009
Wow. This May is turning out to be a great month for barbecue cookbooks. I don't remember a summer where so many barbecue legends all released new books; Paul Kirk and Ardie Davis with America's Best BBQ, Chris Lilly with Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book and Adam Perry Lang with Serious Barbecue (review coming soon.)
America's Best BBQ is the latest offering in the ever expanding canon of The Baron of Barbecue aka Paul Kirk and Remus Powers aka Ardie Davis.
With so many barbecue cookbooks entering the market this summer, the Baron and ol' Remus took a different route by traveling the country and selecting their favorite BBQ places and focusing on what makes them unique. Instead of the standard BBQ recipes, oh they're there too, but in America's Best BBQ you'll find recipes for things like Volcanic Goat Cheese, Beer Battered Cod, BBQ Pig Salad, Red's Barbecued Coon and my favorite, BBQ Pig Snoots.
This book will take you from NYC's RUB to Chicago's Lem's Bar-B-Q House, to Elgin Texas' Southside Market to Tukwila Washington's Gordon's on the Green and everywhere in between. This is a very enjoyable book filled with the legends, quips and back stories that only two old hands of the BBQ world could tell. Between the two of them, The Baron and Remus have over 100 years of barbeque experience combined.
While I enjoy the narrative of this book, sometimes the recipes leave me scratching my head. Sometimes the recipes are detailed and complete allowing the home cook to recreate the legend's food, other times not so much.
Take this recipe for Smoked Catfish that is attributed to Stevenson Bar-B-Que in Paul's Valley OK; 6 Head-on whole catfish, 1/2 cup canola oil, 2 cups dry barbecue rub. They then explain the technique for smoking the fish. While it is great information on smoking catfish, I would have preferred a recipe that included the make up of that rub so that I could attempt to recreate Stevensons' Smoked Catfish.
I recommend this book with some reservations. The narrative is easily worth the price, but if you're looking for barbecue recipes, you may want to keep on looking.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Book Review: Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book
Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book
Recipes and Secrets From A Legendary Barbecue Joint
Written by: Chris Lilly
Released: May 12, 2009
There's a great new cookbook coming on the market today from 10 time World BBQ Champion Chris Lilly. Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book, Recipes and secrets from a legendary barbecue joint. This is a book I've been waiting for. This is the barbecue cookbook, you've been waiting for even if you already have a dozen. You'll want this book.
If any of you have been reading this blog for a while or have been around competition BBQ for a while or have been watching the barbecue shows on Food TV for a while, you know Chris Lilly.
Chris is the fourth generation of pitmasters at the legendary Big Bob Gibson BBQ in Decatur Alabama and the care taker of its famous Alabama White BBQ Sauce. He'll be on the Today Show on May 12, 2009 to promote the book. I've got my DVR set.
Chris is the great-grandson-in-law of Big Bob himself, now passes on the family secrets in this quintessential guide to barbecue.
From dry rubs to glazes and from sauces to slathers, Lilly gives the lowdown on Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q's award-winning seasonings and combinations. You’ll learn the unique flavors of different woods and you’ll get insider tips on creating the right heat—be it in a charcoal grill, home oven, or backyard ground pit. Then, get the scoop on pulled pork, smoked beef brisket, pit-fired poultry, and, of course, ribs. And so much more. You'll love this book.
I've put up a version of this sauce before that was published in Peace, Love and BBQ that I believed to be authentic, but here's the real deal direct from the horse's mouth.
Big Bob Gibson's Alabama White BBQ Sauce
- 2 Cups Mayonnaise
- 1 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Apple Juice
- 2 Teaspoons Prepared Horseradish
- 2 Teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
- 2 Teaspoons Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Monday, May 11, 2009
Grill Week at Grand Central Market
That's not as odd as it sounds. Grand Central Terminal has under gone an incredible rebirth over the past few years and one of it's greatest additions is the Grand Central Market. Located at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue, the market houses some of New York's best food purveyors like Murray's Cheese, Murray's Salami, Li-Lac Chocolates, Wild Edibles, Zaro's Bread Basket, Ceriello Fine Foods, Pescatore Seafood, Koglin Royal Hams and more.
This year the market is celebrating Grill Week from May 18 to May 25, 2009. All of the various shops will be featuring either grilled items or items that you can take home and grill. They're a hosting a special tasting event to kick-off to grilling season on Monday, May 18th, from 3 TO 6PM which is open to the public. I'll see you there!
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Friday, May 08, 2009
Beware the Sevens
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry "Caesar!" Speak, Caesar is turn'd to hear.
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.
Caesar had the ides, I've got the sevens. On April 7, 2008 my car was destroyed in a 4 car accident when I was stopped at a light. On May 7, 2009 I was hit by a car crossing Ocean Avenue while walking my dog. Beware the sevens!
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Home Cooking Star
This just in, another cooking contest.
This one seems pretty simple and is purely a popularity contest. They're looking for the best barbecue sauce in America. Do you think you have it? All you need to do is to submit the recipe and get your family, friends, cousins, brethren, workers, associates and neighbors to vote for it and hey, you're a Home Cooking Star! Go for it.
Home Cooking Star
Home Cooking Star is a reality contest that actively invites home-based cooks to enter a unique recipe to win having it bottled and sold across America - we manufacture it and the winner gets royalties.
This season is barbecue sauce.
Recipe entry starts now and runs through midnight May 25, 2009!
Enter your recipe this week and your name goes in the drawing for a FREE Gift Pack from Carlton Farms (visit their online store).
CLICK HERE TO ENTER YOUR RECIPE!
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Here Comes The Rain Again
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
School's In Session
Monday, May 04, 2009
I've been doing the WhiteTrash BBQ blog for almost 5 years now and over the course of time, I've met many bloggers and may have event inspired a few, but I've never really done much to promote the blog or myself to the blogging world. I think that's gonna change.
May 7, 2009
Doors open at 7 p.m.
37 Main Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Admission: $10 ($5 for students and seniors)