Wednesday, November 7, 2007

How NOT to Inject a Pork Butt

Not only do I tell you of my successes in my outdoor cooking, but I'll tell you about my failures as well. Failure may be a strong word in this case because the pork butt ended up very good, but the injection was surely a failure.

My buddy and I decided to "tailgate" at home before the NCSU/FSU football game last month. (Don't look now, but NCSU may get bowl eligible after a horrendous 1 and 5 start.) I had a couple pork butts in the freezer and moved them to the fridge on Wednesday night to be put on the smoker Friday night. The game was at 2:30 central time, so we want them done for lunch. If you remember from my last pork butt injection, I didn't really see a lot of difference with the injected butt. This time around I decided to use my Eastern NC vinegar sauce as a base, because I love the sauce. I strained the bits of pepper and stuff out of the sauce and mixed it 1:1 with apple juice. All is well at this point. I pull the butts out of the fridge and set one aside (uninjected, to compare). I start to inject the butt and realize to my dismay that the butt is still slightly frozen. It's not frozen hard. I can get the injection needle into it, but when I press on the syringe the liquid just runs out of the hole in the meat. I tried several different areas of the butt, but only got the injection to stay in the outer couple inches of meat. After messing with it a little while, I said "screw it" and just threw em' on the smoker. Slightly frozen meat does fine on the smoker, by the way. You'll actually get a bigger smoke ring.

So, the long and short of it is to never try to inject a semi-frozen pork butt. I should have checked it earlier in the evening. 30 minutes on the counter would have worked wonders. I was in a hurry the next day and didn't get pictures, but you can follow the links to beautiful pork butt pics.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Monthly Roundup, October, 2007

Wow. I didn't post in the entire month of October. Life got in the way and I just didn't get it done. I did manage to get one smoke session in and I'll have a couple posts up in the next few days. I neglected my RSS feeds over the month, too. I went through them the other day and had over 400 food related posts to pour over. I picked out a few gems for you to enjoy.

  • A guide to pork. The Chef from Hell tells us all about pork cuts with short explanations on how to prepare them. If you're unsure where each cut of the pig comes from, this post is for you.
  • Get Your Grill On posted a couple recipes for reusing BBQ....pulled pork noodle bowl and brisket chili. Two things to note here. If you haven't tried Rooster Sauce (formally sriracha sauce, but I think "rooster" sauce sounds better) used for the noodle bowl, go get you some. It's a fantastic chili sauce. Secondly, try to think outside the box with your BBQ leftovers. They will be good in just about anything.
  • Men in Aprons ponders what they could not live without in the kitchen...and comes up with onions. I thought about this for awhile and it's a pretty tough question. I would probably choose bacon because everything tastes better with bacon added to it.
  • Pros and Cons of Frying your Turkey, also via Men in Aprons. I'll be frying a turkey this year. It's been awhile since I've done it, but they are oh so good. I'm considering smoking one as well for leftovers. I may do a pork shoulder or something, though. Be on the lookout for post Turkey day postings. They mention the fact the frying can be dangerous as a con of frying a turkey. It can, in fact, turn dangerous in a hurry, but if you're careful and don't do anything stupid you'll be OK.
  • World's Largest Fatty via Plowboy's BBQ. I don't know if this is really the world's largest fatty, but it sure is impressive.
  • Family's Eating Together via Serious Eats. I'm a firm believer that healthy families eat their meals together. My wife and I ate our meals in front of the TV 90% of the time until our daughter was old enough to eat in the high chair with us. Now, the four (daughter #2 is about to graduate to a booster seat from the high chair) of us are at the dinner table about 6 PM every day. It's an important part of the day to spend with your family, especially your kids.
  • Also from Serious Eats, It's Hog Killing Time! Actually they call it hog "butchering" time, but growing up we called the late fall chill in the air, "Hog Killing Weather", so I went with what I'm used to. This post brought back fond memories of killing hogs, putting up hams and fatback, and making sausage as a youngster. I don't do that anymore, but I am buying a whole hog this year and having it butchered at a local slaughterhouse. Come the first of December I'll have more pork than you can shake a stick at...and I can't wait!!
  • Give the Gift of a Homemade Cookbook, via Slashfood. A couple years ago, my wife compiled all my recipes (my own and some favorites of others) into a three ring binder. She personalized it with pictures and labels and stuff. It's great to have everything in one place and is one of my favorite gifts ever from the missus. Both my wife and my mom are fantastic cooks, and they love cooking for friends and families. Last Christmas my mom made a cookbook (another 3-ring binder) of all her favorite recipes and gave it my wife and my sister. I can tell you from the look on their faces that it was far and away the best present they received last year.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Monthly Roundup, September, 2007

Time for another link roundup. Blogging has been light for the last week or so. I haven't cooked much and been super busy. Mrs. Hog and I have gotten busy with Church and biking (finally found a cheap trailer to haul the kids around) in the last couple weeks. When I've had free time I've been playing a little Halo 3 on the Xbox 360. Anyway, to the links!!!

  • Cupcake crackdown via Serious Eats. It really is a shame when political correctness gets out of hand like this. I mean, denying kids a cupcake to celebrate birthdays....come on.
  • Alaina from Serious Eats visited Wilbur's Barbecue in Goldsboro, NC this month. Wilbur's holds a special place in my heart. It's on the way to the beach from where I grew up (and we went to the beach a lot) and we stopped there to eat many, many times per year. It was especially fun when you were caravaning and had enough people for them to serve it family style....mmmmm, good!!
  • Whitetrash rediscovered his library this month. I often forget about the piles of cookbooks I have. I really need to start digging them out more.
  • Plowboys BBQ had the opportunity to participate in Operation BBQ. This was a great way to show appreciation for our men and women in service to our country. I would have loved to participate.
  • The HellChef also tells us how he learned to love grits. I can't imagine why somebody wouldn't love grits in the first place!!!
  • Men in Aprons defines "blackened" as it pertains to blackening foods. They then give us a recipe. I love me some blackened fish. I've cooked and eaten tons of blackened dolphin (mahi mahi) and tuna....fresh, like caught that day by me (or my Dad). It is fantastic. There is not much my Dad liked more than fishing and cooking his catch.
  • My last link is not a blog. It's the Walmart product page for a Brinkmann stainless steel gas grill. Mrs. Hog and I celebrate five years of marriage on Friday. ***insert the "I can't believe she stuck with you that long jokes here*** She surprised me with the grill when I got home from work (no ahe didn't pay 600 bucks for it...almost half of that). That muther is huge. I've only cooked hot dogs and pork chops on it so far. After I get a few cooks under my belt I'll write up a little review for you. I've got to remember how to cook with's been 10 years or so.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Char-Broil/TEC burners defective??

I just saw this post at about possible problems with Char-Broils relatively new line of TEC infrared burners. I haven't had the opportunity to play with one of these, but I've read some about them and they've gotten good reviews from many industry folks, as well as bloggers. These defective burners could be a real problem for Char-Broil and TEC owners. Take a look at that post and make sure you check your grill for the broken screws.


Whitetrash was kind enough to post Charbroil's official response in the comments. I'll post it here. Thanks, Whitetrash.

Char-Broil has seen the messages posted on this and other forums regarding failing fasteners used in manufacturing of a limited number our TEC burners. We regret that a few TEC by Char-Broil Series owners have experienced burner performance issues.

Char-Broil wants to assure all TEC Series customers that we will take care of their individual issues and assist them in replacing the complete infra red burner assembly in their grill.
Char-Broil encourages TEC Series owners who have encountered a problem with the fasteners to call 1-888-430-7870 to receive a new TEC stainless steel burner assembly from Char-Broil.

Our TEC Consumer Services line will be open 7 days a week from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM EST. One of our customer service agents will be happy to assist you and a warranty service kit will be shipped out at no charge via priority 2nd day air shipping.

We stand behind the safety and performance of our products and make it a priority to respond to our consumer’s needs and concerns.

Good for Charbroil for making good on their product.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Atomic Buffalo Turds (ABTs)

Here is another post I've been meaning to get up for a couple weeks. I posted about atomic buffalo turds one other time, but I didn't really give them their due. We had a pot-luck party a couple weeks ago and I offered to make the appetizer. ABTs were the obvious choice.

Start out by cutting the stem off and halving the peppers. Then I like to use a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the membranes and seeds. Just use the teeth of the spoon to cut through the pulp up near the stem. Then simply rake it down the length of the pepper to scoop everything out. If you want them to be hotter, take out the white pulp and seeds, but leave the thin membrane on the inside wall of the pepper. Give em a good rinse now to get extra seeds, pulp, etc. off of them.

Coring out the peppers is probably the biggest pain of doing ABTs. Once that is done I lay out the peppers and Mrs. Hog helps out with the rest of the process. An extra set of hands make it go a lot quicker.

Make sure your cream cheese is soft before you try to pipe it into the pepper. I let mine sit out for a while, but you can microwave it if you have to. Be careful, want it soft, not melted. I like to add some cayenne pepper to the cream cheese. Just add the pepper to taste in a bowl and use the back of spoon or a spatula to mix it in. Mrs. Hog bakes cakes, so I use one of those fancy piping bags for the cream cheese. If you don't have any of those, just cut the corner out of a zip-lock bag.

Then simply add the lil' smokies on top of the cream cheese. Give them a little push and they'll kind of stick into the cream cheese.

Use a half of a strip of bacon to wrap around the pepper. When I just do a few of these I use toothpicks to secure the bacon, but when i do this many I use bamboo skewers. I put the skewers through the lil' smoky and not the pepper. It's enough to hold the whole thing together, but it's easier getting the ABT's on and off. It also makes it easier handling that many ABTs at once.

Unfortunately, we were running late for the party and I didn't get pics of the cooking or the finished product. Luckily I had old pictures from a Christmas party last year in TX. One hundred turds pretty much fills up the Chargriller. As you can see, this was before I figured out the skewer thing. You can cook these at whatever temp you want. If I do them by themselves I cook them at 275ish for about an hour and a half. They're done when the bacon is done to your liking, which is crispy for me.

These things are as beautiful as they are delicious!!

It's important to note that this recipe is really just a sample. Use your imagination and come up with other stuff to do with these. You can change the cheese, the spices, the kinds of peppers, etc. One of the best ones that I've done was to mince up some pork butt really fine and mix it in with the cream cheese. I believe I left out the smoky on that one. Anyway, you can do anything with these and they'll turn out great.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Grilled Pork Loin

Better later than never, I guess. I actually cooked this on labor day. It was a pretty busy week and I didn't get a chance to put it up. Anyway, here it is. Enjoy!!

We cook pork loin fairly often. Everytime I take a meat run I pick up a whole loin. I'll cut most of it into chops but I always leave a third to a half of it whole for a nice roast. I used to smoke these all the time (still do, occasionally), but I've found that I like to do them indirect on the kettle a little better. They're lean, so they cook better at a little bit higher heat, and they'll cook quicker on the kettle, too. I start by scoring the top of the loin and sprinkling with kosher salt and cracked pepper.

Like I said, loins are pretty lean, so I top them with bacon when I cook them. The bacon fat will render and kinda baste the loin as it cooks. Besides, smoked/grilled bacon is fantastic!!

We decided to cook some veggies in foil on the grill since it would take 45 minutes or so to cook the loin. In a bowl I added just enough Italian dressing, salt, and pepper to coat the veggies. Use whatever kind of veggies you like, but this time we used onions (red and white), mushrooms, squash, and zucchini. Make a boat out of foil and just wrap the veggies in there to cook.

You can see that I put the charcoal all on one side of the kettle this time (instead of on both sides; scroll down for example) I did this simply because I needed a little bit more room for the big pile of veggies. It will cook the same either way.

I cook my loins to 150 degrees, then pull them off the grill to rest. The temp will continue to rise a bit and will end up between 155 and 160 degrees. I let them rest at least 15 minutes before slicing. The bacon usually ends up a little better looking than this. It was pretty thin, so it curled up as it cooked. It was still mighty good, though.

In addition to veggies, we baked a couple potatoes. Instead of the usual butter, sour cream, etc. we went with cheese and salsa. It was some might fine eats, if I do say so myself.

Monday, September 3, 2007

A&P Lawsuit

This is pretty ridiculous. I saw on Techdirt last week about the lawsuit. Then, today I saw more about it at WhitetrashBBQ. Whitetrash sent a letter to A&P, which I'll be doing right after I finish this post. I encourage you to send an email to as well. Evidently they are suing these kids for a million bucks. Like Whitetrash said, you would not have even known this was an A&P if not for the lawsuit. What a bunch of idiots at A&P. The really funny thing is that the video isn't that funny. Nice editing though. Anyway, here's the video:

Friday, August 31, 2007

Monthly Roundup - August, 2007

I'm starting a new thing here on the blog. At the end of each month I'm gong to to a little link roundup to interesting blog posts/articles I've read in the last month. They won't all be about BBQ (most will, though) and they will come from both commercial and private blogs/websites. They are linked here in chronological order (I think).

So, without further ado, here is the very first Hogwild BBQ Monthly Roundup.

  • Better than Bad Sex BBQ Sauce via Hot Sauce Blog. While I'm not sure than any BBQ sauce is better than sex (even bad sex), this has got to be the best BBQ sauce name ever!! BTW, if you're a hot sauce junkie, the Hot Sauce Blog is must visit.
  • Turducken Review via MeatHenge. I've always wanted to try a turducken. This one looks fantastic.
  • How to Smoke Eggs via Howling Hog BBQ. I saw a post somewhere several months ago about smoking eggs (don't remember where) and forgot all about it. The next time I smoke overnight I'm gonna have smoked spam and eggs for breakfast.
  • Electronic Temperature Controllers via BBQguyblog. I've read a lot about using thermostats to control your pit temp lately and I agree with the BBQGuy...that would take a lot of the fun out of it for me.
  • The Bull Shot: A Meat Cocktail via MeatHenge. This thing sounds disgusting, but I like vodka and I'm intrigued. I will defiantly be trying this after my next suitable cook (probably not with the spam and eggs breakfast, though). I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Cooking at home vs. at a competition via Bucky's Barbecue. I don't compete, but I've talked with and read a lot from folks that do. Some say they cook the same way at a comp vs. at home, but I would think it would be different. This is an excellent post on the differences between cooking at home for the family and cooking at a competition.
  • Waiting for Service via Serious Eats. There is not much worse than getting sorry (or no) service when you're out to eat. This picture captures that frustration pretty well, I think.
There you go. If I missed an informative or funny article over the course of the month (I'm sure I did) feel free to leave a link to them in the comments.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pork Steaks

I realized today that I've only posted about pork steaks once, when I posted about my maple bourbon pork chops. I never saw pork steaks for sale until I move from Nebraska. You just don't seen them in North Carolina or South Texas. I guess all the shoulders there are cooked for pulled pork or cut as country style ribs. I usually cook these over direct heat for a couple minutes per side and then finish them indirectly, especially if they're cut thick. I used my all purpose BBQ sauce (bottom of the post) on one of these so I added two coats of the sauce at the end of the cook and cooked it over direct heat just long enough not to burn the sauce.

As you can see, I ate some of the sauced and nonsauced steaks and they were equally good. The missus made the corn and broccoli salad again (we do it a lot in the summer), but she also made a new squash casserole that was very good.

Squash Casserole

  • 2 pounds yellow squash, sliced
  • 1 onion shopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 1/4 melted butter
  • 1 box of chicken flavored stuffing mix
Boil the squash and onion until tender. Stir the squash and onion (including liquid) in with the remaining ingredients. If the mixture isn't very liquid you may not need a whole box of stuffing mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes ore so until the casserole is browned over.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chuck Roast -- Pulled Beef Barbecue

Like I said in an earlier post, I did more than smoke Spam last weekend. I picked up a couple of nice chuck roasts for pulled beef barbecue. Sometimes I'll use the point of a brisket for pulled beef, but I like the taste and texture of chuck roasts a little better.

I picked up two nice chuck roasts at Sam's over the obviously a little nicer than the other. Go ahead and trim the fat off the outside edges. There is more than enough internal fat to keep the roasts moist.

I like to use my brisket rub for pulled beef barbecue. I rub the roast very generously making sure to get the sides as well. I use yellow mustard before I rub them to help make the rub stick.

Pulled Beef Barbecue Rub:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
I cooked the chuck roasts at about 225 (up to 250 at times) to an internal temperature of about 140 degrees. They'll look something like this at 140 degrees and it should take 3 to 5 hours depending on your cooking temp.

At 140 degrees I double wrap the chuck roasts and continue on the smoker at 225-250 to an internal temperature of 200 degrees. On a side note, I don't cook in foil very much. I don't necessarily have an aversion to it, I just seem to like my results without it. I do like to use it on the chuck roasts to collect the juices, though.

The chuck roasts are good and tender at this point. I immediately pour the juice off into a bowl and put it in the fridge. Make sure you let the meat rest like normal. I like to allow at least 20 minutes before I start pulling. If it's tender enough after resting you can just use two forks to shred it. It is kind of a pain and you can tell by the picture that I got tired of pulling and ended up cutting some of it with a knife. It was tender enough that I could cut it with the grain. It'll kinda fall apart when you reheat it. Once you have it pulled, take the juiced out of the fridge and scoop the congealed fat off the top. Add back enough of the juice to moisten up the meat good. You won't need all of don't want it swimming in it. Here is the barbecue sauce that I like on pulled beef. This sauce is similar to a store bought sauce, but it's a lot less sweet with just enough kick to let you know you're eating it. I keep it around all the time for various things. I put just a light coating on the beef and have the sauce on the table to add more if needed.

Pulled Beef Barbecue Sauce:
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

This stuff is fantastic on cheap white buns for sammies. I had one for lunch today. It freezes well, too. Just vacuum seal in single or double serving and it'll keep for several months.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Smoked Spam

Yes, I said Spam.....

I'll put just about anything on the smoker to see how it turns out, and when a coworker brought up the Spam website (Warning: lost of flash and audio) last week at work....well, I decided I had to give it a try. They're really playing up the, "Hey look at us, we're Spam, haha" kinda thing. We got a good chuckle looking at the website. I haven't had Spam since I was a kid, so I thought I would just throw it on the smoker to see what happens. One of them I smoked naked and the other I rubbed generously with butt rub.

They were both pretty good. Only a slight smokey flavor because the smoke didn't really penetrate the meat. There is a crapload of salt in these things, so the one with the rub was a way too salty. If I ever do these again I'll rub it with either a very sweet or very spicy rub to counteract the salt a little bit. I fried a couple leftover pieces this morning for a spam and cheese sammie for breakfast. I could really taste the smoke after it sat overnight.

No, I didn't fire up the smoker just for some Spam yesterday. I cooked some pulled beef barbecue, too.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Country Style Ribs with Weber's Sweet and Tangy Rub

Not to get on a Weber's rub kick or anything, but I followed up last weeks pork chops with some country style ribs using the same Weber's sweet and tangy rub. I wouldn't normally post this up, but the sweet and tangy rub went with the country style ribs much better than the pork chops. It took to the indirect grilling much better than the direct heat. In fact it was very, very good on the country style ribs. I'd try Lawry's or brining before I'd use the sweet and tangy rub again.

Of course I had to cook up some hot Italian sausages while I was at it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Pork Chops with Weber's Sweet and Tangy Rub

I hardly ever buy commercial rubs or spice blends anymore, but as you've read, I do keep Lawry's around and use it mainly on pork. Mrs. Hog and I were walking through our local Wally World (Wal-Mart) last week and I noticed the Weber spices in the spice isle. I've been wanting to try some new stuff and decided on the Sweet and Tangy seasoning. I just did some pork chops directly on the grill. Be careful grilling over direct heat when you use a rub with a lot of sugar in it (like this one). What I do is sear both sides of the chop and then finish them up with indirect heat. The rub was pretty good, but seemed to be lacking something. I like the sweet/tangy mix alot, though. I have a very spicy rib rub that I use with a super sweet glaze that I really like. Anyway, I may try to make a rub similar to this one....I just have to figure out how I want to tweak it.

Mrs. Hog made a corn and broccoli salad that was delicious. I think she got this base recipe from one cookbook or another, but she doesn't remember which one. She makes this fairly regularly and no two are quite the same. Just use whatever you have in the fridge/pantry and it'll turn out great.

Corn and Broccoli Salad recipe:

  • a head of broccoli
  • small red onion
  • a cup of corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/3 cup of cheese
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits
  • dressing:
    • 1/2 cup mayo
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

Remember that all those amounts are approximate...use whatever you have. We've done a balsamic vinegar based (no mayo) dressing with this, also.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Portabella Mushroom "Burgers"

Ok, this is as far from BBQ as you can get, but I thought I'd share anyway since it was pretty good. Mrs. Hog has had a portabella mushroom burger a couple times at a restaurant and when she saw the mushrooms on sale she just had to have one.

Alright, tangent time. How in the hell is one supposed to spell "portabella" anyway. I'm seeing portabella and portobello....anybody?

Anyway, we decided to grill them up with some zucchini and they were great. You might have noticed that I've cooked a lot of zucchini lately. They are coming into season in the the gardens of south central Nebraska right now and both my secretary and my boss are trying to unload them at work. I'll take all the free produce I can get.

We did a balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper marinade on the mushrooms. I'm using the term marinade loosely here. We only "marinated" them for about 10 minutes because you don't want them to get soggy.

We did the zucchini in Italian dressing like I've done before, except we cut them into wedges. That turned into a bad idea. They were hard to turn on the grill and the point of the wedge would get stuck down into the grill great. I'll be cutting them flat from now own. They were good, though.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Commenting and RSS Feeds

I wanted to post a little something about commenting on my (and other's) blogs. The reason I decided to post about this was that I commented on another author's blog the other day and they still haven't gotten around to "approving" my comment. See, bloggers have the option to screen the comments on their blog. If you have commented here you know I don't do that....yet. One really good reason to moderate comments is comment spam. We all hate spam, and if it ever gets to be a problem here I will have to change the way I handle comments. Anyway, I highly encourage commenting on any of my posts with suggestions, criticisms, just to say Hi, or whatever.

And about RSS feeds. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it is technology that allows you to keep up with all the stuff you want to on the internet more easily. If you don't currently use an RSS reader, I highly recommend Google Reader. I use it to keep up with 163 feeds ranging from cooking to general news, to sports, to video games. Google reader is where my shared items come from in the side bar on the right. Here is a good Google Reader primer if you're interested. If you would like to subscribe to my feed, simply click on the link in the sidebar.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Pork Chops: Lemon Soy Marinade

I tried out a new marinade on Saturday night. We pulled some chops out of the freezer on Saturday morning and I decided I needed to try something different. I had kinda gotten in a rut with my chops. The last several times I've cooked them I used some variation of these chops using Lowry's Seasoned Salt.

I scoured my cookbooks for something new and decided on a soy sauce/lemon juice marinade from Tarantino's book (link in sidebar).


  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • zest and juice from one lemon
    • I added a little extra lemon juice (maybe a tbsp) because it didn't look like enough
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
    • I probably added a bit more than 2 teaspoons. I was at the end of a bottle and just added it without measuring.
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
Run everything through a blender or food processor.

I marinated these for about 5 hours turning them once during that time. The chops came out fantastic.

I cooked corn and zucchini on the kettle as well. The zucchini will not take long to cook, so put it on right as the chops are finishing. Slice the zucchini lengthwise, coat with olive oil, and add salt and pepper to taste. It will only take a couple minutes per side on a hot fire.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Smoked Chicken Wings Update

I cooked the smoked chicken wings again last Sunday and wanted to update you on a little observation I made. I had too many wings to fit into two aluminum pans, so I put a half a dozen or so directly on the grate. Those half a dozen ended up even better than the original. Yes they made a little mess in the smoker, but it was totally worth it. I think the biggest difference was that it took up a bit more smoke and, more importantly, none of the rub came off the wings when the fat rendered out of them. I'm going to do these again soon and I'll give you another update with pics. I doubt I'll ever use the pans again.

Piglet's 2nd Birthday

Well, we had a little birthday gathering last Saturday for my oldest daughter's 2nd birthday and I thought I'd share. Man, she's growing up fast already. I didn't cook BBQ. I just did some dogs on the kettle, which I just realized I didn't have any pics of. I do have some other pictures to share, though.

My daughter is in love with fish, so my wife made her a fish cake. I think she did a helluva job. It looked fantastic and tasted even better.

The birthday girl!!!!!

The birthday girl and a couple of her pals.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Site Update

I just wanted to let you guys and gals know I have revamped the "labels" for my posts. Some of you may have noticed in your feed reeder or email an unfinished post that I accidentally posted....oops. I'll be finishing that one up in the near future and will repost it. I noticed recently that a lot of visitors actually click on those links on the right sidebar looking for posts on particular topics. I condensed my labels to 10 that i think will work (It was at 16, which is way too many, I think). They are:

Am I missing something? I'm thinking about changing vegetables to "side dishes" and start posting some of Mrs. Hog's side dishes, too. While BBQ is really about the meat, the side dishes deserve some love too. You'll see it in the sidebar if I do it.

I also want to tell you that I'm leaving for San Antonio tomorrow for a week, so it will be next weekend before I'm able to cook or post anything. Have a great week next week.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Injecting a Pork Butt

I have cooked a lot of pork barbecue in the past, from whole hog to country style ribs, and have never seen the need to inject it with anything. I know a lot of folks swear by it, so I thought I'd give it a try. Everybody raves about Bib Bob Gibson's shoulder injection (their white sauce is good, too), so I thought I would give it a try. I did one butt with the injection and the other without. I used the same rub for both butts and they were both cooked at 250ish degrees to an internal temp of 190 degrees.

The injection recipe:

  • 3/4 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
    • Note: I got this recipe from "Peace, Love, and BBQ" (Link in sidebar) and it says to finely grind the salt. I don't because it's going to dissolve anyway and once it's dissolved, well, it's as small as it's gonna get.
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

As you would expect the injection didn't affect the outside appearance of the butts. I wrapped them in aluminum foil after they were done because it was going to be a couple hours before supper. I just left them on the counter and they were still piping hot for supper. Sometimes I'll cook overnight and get the butts done even earlier. If so, I'll put the butts in a cooler after wrapping them and stuff a couple of towels in with them. The butts will stay hot for several hours (I've kept them for 5 hours before). This works well for brisket as well.

Now for the comparison. When I busted open the butts, I didn't immediately notice a difference. I was primarily looking for a difference in the juiciness of the butt and I didn't immediately find it. After looking into it a little further, I did notice that the meat right next to the bone was a little more juicy in the injected butt. This cannot be seen in the picture below. What can be seen is the color of the injected but on the right. It's a little darker, which I assume is because of the Worcestershire sauce in the injection. I'm not sure if this is normal or not, but I like the whiter butt better. As for taste, I couldn't really tell a difference, but I knew which was which. I had my wife and a friend do a blind taste test and they both could tell which was injected but said it was very subtle. They thought they were equally good, but just a little different. So, I doubt I'll be injecting any more butts because I don't think I gain anything from it. Now, a whole shoulder might be a little different. Darn, I guess I'll have to get me a couple shoulders and do another little experiment.

In the end pulled both butts and just combined them. It was some good eats, if I do say so myself.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Chicken Halves With White BBQ Sauce

Well, I meant to have this and another post up late last week, but had some technical difficulties with my laptop where I had these pics stored. Better late than never, I guess.

I really like doing chicken indirectly on the kettle. Sometimes I like to do a white BBQ sauce with this chicken. A lot of folks haven't heard of white BBQ sauce, but it hails from Decatur, Alabama at Bib Bob Gibson's BBQ. I haven't had the pleasure of eating there, but it's on my to do list. Their family recipe is all over the internet, but I used a simple version that I actually like a little better. I need to make theirs again sometime and reduce the amount of lemon. Anyway here is my very simple white sauce recipe:

  • mayonaisse
  • apple cider vinegar
    • Add enough vinegar to cut the mayo. The sauce should just coat the back of a spoon
  • cracked black pepper (to taste)
  • cayenne pepper (to taste)
As you can see, this is a very simple recipe, but the family really likes it. Here is a pic of the sauce and the bird.

I understand that at Bib Bob's they dunk the chicken in a 5 gallon bucket of sauce. I obviously don't make that much at one time. I just spoon it over the chicken as I eat it. This way your guests can control the amount of sauce they use as well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Smoked Chicken Wings

I did quite a bit of cooking over the weekend so I'll have a few things to share this week. First up is the appetizer for Saturday's cook. I've been wanting to do some chicken wings for a while. I was trying to think up a recipe when I saw this post at Jason's BBQ Blog. His wings looked fantastic, so I thought I would give them a try. I had to deviate from his recipe some so I'll post what I did here.

The rub:

  • 1 part kosher salt.
  • 2 parts turbinado sugar
    • Jason used yellow sugar...I'm going to show my ignorance and say that I don't know what that is.
  • 1 part paprika
  • 1 part garlic powder
  • 1 part onion powder
  • 1 part dry mustard
    • Jason used ground black mustard...again, not sure what that is.
  • ½ part coriander
    • Jason used cardomom, but it was outragously expensive, so I substitued.
The sauce:
  • 2 cups smoked tomato halves
    • Two good sized tomatos, smoked on the Chargriller for about an hour at 250ish. I don't think I smoked them as long as Jason did.
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup dried dates.
    • Jason used fresh dates (I think), but I could find any.
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 1 large red onion, quartered.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 juice from ½ of a lemon
  • ½ tablespoon rosemary
  • ½ tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
Put all of the sauce ingredients into a blender or food processor and liquify it.

I sprinkled the rub very liberally over the wings and let them sit for 15 or 20 minutes. Jason used a BBQ wok for his wings but I used a couple disposable aluminum pans. I put one layer of wings per pan and smoked for a total of about 2 hours or so. You can rip one open when you think it's close and take a look to make sure they are done. The fat really came out of the wings, so I drained the fat twice during the cook. Like Jason, I put the sauce on about a half an hour before the cook was over.

The sauce ended up kind of gooey, so I fired up the kettle and charred up the outside of about half the could see them on the left of the pic. The ones that I put on the kettle definitely had a slightly different taste, but they were equally good. These wings will definitely be made many more times. They were fantastic.

Update: make sure you check out my update on this recipe in a more recent post.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Spring Maintenance on the ol' Chargriller

The weather in Houston was not kind to the Chargriller. It is so humid most of the year (like 10 out of 12 months) that it was constantly wet from condensation. Incidentally, this is not good for vehicles sitting in the driveway, either. Condensation would form even if I had a cover on the Chargriller...even if it was a breathable cover. For the cooking chamber it isn't a big deal because the paint stays on there pretty good. For the firebox, however, you can hear it rust because the heat of the fire takes the paint off over time. So, once or twice a year (I didn't get it done in the fall) I'll take a wire wheel to the rust and repaint the firebox. I also took the opportunity since I had it in the garage to add some bigger wheels so I can move it around a lot easier. Here is a pictorial of the process with some before and after pics.

The before shot...she's looked better.

Here is a shot of the firebox. Lots and lots of rust.

Firebox from the end....even more rust.

I'd say the firebox looks a little better, wouldn't you? It took me aboutan hour to brush the rust off, then I cleaned it with soap and water. I waited a day for it to dry before painting.

My fire baskets, and particularly the rods suspending them, have seen better days, too.

I just straighted out the rods in my vice and put them back in. I'll likely be replacing these next spring.

One of the worst things about the Chargriller are the crappy wheels they come with.

I've been wanting to upgrade for a while now. I thought about pneumatic tires, but decided on the hard plastic ones from Ace. I just used a length of steel rod for the axle...also from Ace.

The "after" pic!!! I'm really pleased with the result, especially the tires. You can see that I decided to move the old "crappy" wheels to the other side of the cooker. This kept me from having to cut some of the legs off to level the whole thing up and it makes it even easier to move around.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

My Apologies

I must apologize for my lack of posts in the last month or so. We've had a sudden illness and death in the family and I've been doing a lot of traveling since the first of May. My father was diagnosed with leukemia on the 4th of May and passed away on the 31st at the age of 58. He was a hell of a man and introduced me to the joys of outdoor cooking at a very young age. He was a man of faith and I know he is with the Lord.

I have several posts in various stages of completion, so I should be back to posting regularly. I did some spring cleaning on the smoker the weekend before Dad wad diagnosed so I'll be posting that soon. I should be doing a lot of cooking going forward, also. I did grill some country style ribs and sausages last night.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Cowboy Lump

I have always heard very bad things about Cowboy Lump. I have had a seriously hard time finding lump charcoal here in south-central Nebraska. I thought Kingsford lump (which I hate) was my only option until a ran across Cowboy at the local Ace Hardware. I decided to give it a try. The NakedWhiz is a fantastic site where you can see reviews on most brands of charcoal. My opinion is similar to theirs, in that I think Cowboy is OK, but far from ideal. I used B&B when we lived in TX and it's much better than Cowboy. However, Cowboy will do in a pinch and it is better than Kingsford.

The fact that is made from construction scraps doesn't bother me at all. They use end pieces presumably from wood going into the flooring and cabinet making industries. I've used two bags of it now and occasionally you find a piece of tongue and groove wood. I have found one piece of wood that wasn't carbonized (in the picture below), but that isn't too bad out of two large bags. I didn't realize until now, but the picture I took underestimates the average size of the charcoal pieces. The average size is probably closer to the large piece in the picture. There was surprisingly little dust in the two bags that I've used. My biggest gripe, by far, is that it burns up so quickly. The best thing about it is that it produces very little ash.