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.