Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Neighborly Smell and a New (to me) Concept

Memorial Day weekend began with me taking Friday off.  I was hanging out with the kids in the back yard when it hit me. Hickory smoke. My new neighbor, John, was hard at work doing amazing things I'd never beheld.

Turns out this is a tradition for him where he cooks a bunch of stuff over Memorial Day weekend. He feasts for a few days and then freezes what's left. He was trying out a new propane Smoke Hollow cooker.

He had it filled with pork ribs and shoulders.

Also John had found a home for this beautiful setup.

Inside he had 160 pounds of shoulders going. He rubbed them using what he called a simple Steven Raichlen NC BBQ rub recipe. I found this one online, but I'm not sure if it was THAT simple (salt, pepper and paprika). Maybe John can verify this for me.

But check out his setup! It runs on propane, but has trays for smoking wood and charcoal to give it that smoked flavor. You can see on the side he had leads for his thermometer feeding in through the side smoke vents.

It all smelled heavenly. Don't they look good? Here's the bummer. I wasn't around for when he pulled it. Other neighbors told me it was incredible. Apparently there's plenty in the freezer. So I just need to be around when he thaws a butt.

So this was a wonderful visit across the fence. John and I had a great time talking shop. It's great to have such a skilled barbecue enthusiast next door. But here's the one thing that was revelatory to me: He and his grilling buddy, Keith, have taken to pulling the pork at 160-165 degrees. Their logic is that the pork is cooked at that point, so why not go ahead and eat it? 

I've never tried it that way. But like I said, I've heard excellent reviews. It goes against everything I've ever done, but I'm always up for trying something new and learning a new way to do something. Anyone else do it this way? At what temp do you pull pork?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day Steak and Etc.

Perhaps somewhat predictably, when my family asked what I wanted to do for Father's Day, I told them I wanted to cook myself a steak. So I bought 2.5 lbs of ribeye on Saturday. The woman working the meat counter was very helpful. She assisted me in getting two nice, thick cuts which were even straight across. 
 The first couple we looked at were wedge-shaped. In other words they started thick at one end and got skinny as you cut across. Obviously a uniform thickness is preferred.

So going back to the asado for a moment. My cousin is in Uruguay and among the things she and her friends have cooked up are peppers with an egg and some cheese inside. Wasn't sure how to pull this off, but also figured it might be hard to screw it up, so I just went for it.
I also have a good friend in the wine business.He generously gave me a wonderful bottle of wine for Father's Day. He told me to refrigerate it for 20 minutes and then uncork it 20-30 minutes prior to serving. Done.

As I cooked the steaks (seasoned with salt & pepper after I sprayed them with olive oil), I took some short videos with my iPhone. My good friend, James Hogan, was very generous with his talent and time. He strung the videos together into one stream; added some images and some music; and came back with the above video on how to cook a steak T Rex style. Check it out! 

You may know James for his excellent blog at You may also have seen the very-flattering write up he did on me and this blog back in April. Thanks a ton, James. The video turned out much better than I expected.
Meanwhile the steaks came out perfectly. I pulled them when their internal temps were in the high 120s on my Thermapen. I guess it's pretty archetypal daddy grub, but I love me some steak with baked potato. The more stuff on the potato, the happier I am. 
And by golly! The egg pepper thing was really good! I think it could use a little seasoning in there, but it was mighty good on its own. I just cooked it until the egg looked done. And by the way, the pepper makes for an impressive heat shield. The eggs took longer to cook than I realized.
Suffice it to say, I was pretty satisfied at the end of this meal. It's good to be a dad.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day! My son gave me this grilling-related card. Click to enjoy the short jingle.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Asado (a-SA-do): noun; my kind of thing.

I have a cousin who is studying in Uruguay. I'm sorry to say that I haven't been to visit her. Fortunately, she'll be home soon. We will celebrate her return to be sure and I look forward to hearing all the stories.

Meanwhile my aunt and uncle just returned from a visit with her. One thing I totally latched onto was the asado. Friends of hers are renting a place with one. What's an asado? It's like an indoor grill for your house. I suppose almost like "barbecue" it seems like "asado" can be a verb or a noun. The noun can describe the food and the style--and even the event. But I was particularly drawn to the hardware that makes up an Asado.
Firstly, doesn't this look like fun? A bunch of college-aged folks from around the world standing around snacking and preparing a meal? Behind them is the asado. You can see the hood with the tiles and lower down is the fire cage.

So the way my uncle explained it, there's that cage at the side of the asado. You build a wood fire there. Once that fire produces good coals for cooking you use special tools to scrape them down under the grate on which you have beef, chorizo, kabobs and whatever else. This is cooking with live fire . . .INDOORS! I want one in my kitchen. Anybody know a Uruguayan architect? 

How great does this all look? So check for this in future Grill Knuckles posts: I love the idea of halved bell peppers--grilled with an egg inside. Wow!