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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Saturday Night Grilling 4-28-07

I hadn't planned on posting about my supper on Saturday night, but I cooked the whole meal on the ol' kettle. That is always fun for me. On the menu was thick cut (one inch) boneless pork chops, corn on the cob, and asparagus. I went all minimalistic on the prep for the whole meal.

: Rub with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

The corn will take the longest. Some people like to cook them in the husks or in foil, but I like to put them directly on the grill. I like to put them over the coals and turn every couple minutes to get a little char on it. Then I put them on the cooler side of the grill for 20-30 minutes depending on how big they are.

Chops: Lawry's Seasoned Salt, Garlic powder, and cracked black pepper; all to taste.

The chops will go on next and cook them like you always would. These were thick, so they took 4 or 5 minutes per side on the hot part of the grill. On a side note, I cook my boneless chops hot and fast to sear the outside. I don't measure the temps in mine, but I'm sure they end up at 150ish or so. The temp will rise a little when you take them off, so if you take them off at 160 they will be overdone by the time you eat them. Let them rest for 10 minutes or so before you cut into them. By the time you get inside, finish up with the drinks, set down and have the blessing, they'll be ready to go.

Asparagus: Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, a little garlic powder, and some balsamic vinegar.

The asparagus won't take long and do burn easily, so I put them on last. Again, I like to put them over the coals to char them up a little, then put them on the cooler part of the grill. Cook them to whatever tenderness you like. We like ours a little crunchy, so 5 minutes is about right.

The finished product!!!