Archive for November, 2006

Arctic Blast 2006

November 30, 2006

     Well, that’s what the news stations call it when a big cold front hits North Texas.  Yesterday it was 80*, and today it’s 30* with sleet and snow.  I’ll be thawing out some frozen vacu-sealed pulled pork for dinner tonight.  Here is what it looks like out there.

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Thanksgiving Leftovers

November 29, 2006

     If you’re like me, you have more turkey leftovers than you can eat.  Aver a few turkey sandwiches, I vacuum seal and freeze the leftovers in portion sizes.  These portions will get defrosted to create other meals for the month.  We’ve already had turkey quesadillas.  Cooked turkey can be used in countless other dishes.  The old standby of Turkey Tetrazini, salads and casseroles.  The next batch will be made into Turkey Spaghetti.  It’s actually just replacing the chicken in the recipe.  The recipe follows below in the next post.

Turkey Spaghetti

November 29, 2006

This recipe is adapted from others that I’ve used. 

  • 1/2 pound cooked turkey or chicken (shredded)
  • 4 oz Velveeta
  • 1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken
  • 3 cups cooked spaghetti

Pre heat oven to 350*.  Heat cream of chicken, Velveeta, and Rotel in the microwave until Velveeta is mixed well.  Saute’ the onion and bell pepper.  Add to mixture along with the turkey.  Stir in cooked spaghetti.  Coat 5×9 baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour in mixture.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.

Thanksgiving 2006

November 26, 2006

     Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.  Mine was filled with family and great food.  Since I had to travel, we cooked what would travel well.  So the day before, I fired up the smoker, and my wife heated up the oven. 

     I made some Armadillo Eggs for appetizers.  These are jalapeno slices with cubed cheese wrapped in breakfast sausage.  Then they’re smoked for an hour or two, depending on size.  I usually make 6 per pound of sausage.   

      Ham is the choice meat in my home, so ham is what we prepared.  Ham shank was the choice.  I used the Dr Chicken Double Smoked Ham recipe that I found at The BBQ-Brethren.   This is a very simple recipe that starts with a store bought par cooked ham, such as Cooks.  It beats out other recipes I’ve tried, and you get a great smokey flavor.  I reserved about a pound and left at home.  Good thing, because every sliver I took was eaten.  The ham was accompanied by a smoked turkey and a fried one.  Both were tastey and cooked just right.  I was caught grabbing a snack of fried turkey.

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     Baked Macaroni and Cheese was our contribution for a side dish.  We used Paula Deen’s recipe from her new book  Paula Deen CelebratesIt was great.  We prepared the recipe up to the baking part.  We covered and refrigerated the pan.  When we got to our destination Thursday, it went into the oven 40 minutes before we were to eat. 

     My wife chose to bake a Hummingbird cake also from Paula Deen Celebrates.  It was one of the best cakes I’ve eaten.  It beat out all other home made cakes that I can remember.  With three layers, I decided to insert bamboo skewers down into the layers.  This kept the layers from sliding during the transport.  Even with 6 pies, half of this 3 layer cake was devoured.   

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Vacuum sealers

November 19, 2006

     I’ve been using a vacuum sealer for years now.  Many people put off getting one for different reasons.  Some say that they don’t have enough leftovers, or they can just use zipper bags.  Have you ever thrown leftovers or a steak in a zipper bag and into the freezer?  Even if used in a week, many times the food will be covered in ice crystals. 

     I talked my wife into a vacuum sealer a few years ago.  I’ve never looked back on the purchase.  I’m certain that it’s paid for itself over and over on protecting my food.  We freeze any type of leftover that we can with it.  I have even frozen soups in containers and then into the vacuum sealer bag.  Since the beginning, no food has been lost to freezer burn.

     The freezer life of food is also extended due to the absence of air.  I’ve successfully stored uncooked meats for 18 months.  Rather it be wild game, rib-eye steaks or ground beef, the results have been the same for me.  With a small family, we still by in bulk for the savings, and I seal into smaller quantities.

     I store all of my leftover BBQ in the vacuum bags.  When I don’t have time to cook, I grab a portion sized bag from the freezer and it goes into a pot of boiling water.  Within minutes, it’s defrosted and heated through.  It is able to retain the same quality as it was the day it came off the smoker, unlike overcooking done by a microwave.

     So, if you think it might not be worth the initial investment, think is it worth it if you keep loosing food to freezer burn or spoilage…

Pics to be added later.  Keep checking back.

Grilled Turkey Tenderloins

November 16, 2006

  Tired of roasted, fried or even smoked turkey?  Or are you just needing to feed 2 or 3 people?  Here is another alternative.  With the popularity of turkey being an alternative and healthier choice, it’s more available.  Fresh turkey alternatives range from breast to wing drumetttes.  I’ve been trying to eat a little healthier for the past year.  This time I chose tenderloins.  They are just like chicken tenders, just alot larger.  The tenderloin comes from between the breast and the breastbone.  Being boneless and skinless, you have to make sure to not dry them out.   These are grilled and sliced into medallions. 

Be sure to cook until the internal temp gets up to 160*. 

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  •  2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper 
  • Hen & Hog Dust

  Coat the tenderloins with Olive oil.  Salt and pepper and then sprinkle dry rub(I used Hen & Hog Dust from Spicewine Iron Works) over on both sides of the turkey. 

     Pre-heat grill on High.  Once up to temp, place tenderloins on the grill, close lid.  After 5 minutes, flip each tenderloin and reduce to Medium heat.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until internal temperature reached 155*.  Remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes.  The internal temp should reach 160*.   Then slice into medallions.

Chris Lilly’s Pork Shoulder

November 10, 2006

     Today I’m smoking 2 pork shoulders.  I’m using Chris Lilly’s Grand Championship Pork Shoulder Recipe from the book Peace Love & Barbecue.  His recipe calls for an injection and dry rub.  The injection was injected last night.  This morning I applied the rub at 5:00 AM and placed in the smoker at 6:30 AM.   Pork butts(shoulders) cook for about an hour to an hour and a half per pound.  For pulled pork, the internal temp needs to reach 195*. 

Here are the butts injected and rubbed. 

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 Stay tuned for finished pics to come.

     Here are the Italian sausage fatties(breakfast logs).  These will be chopped and added to pizza and other Italian dishes. 

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     Below is lunch for the cook.  I threw on 2 fresh bratwurst and 2 fresh Jollypeno sausages from a local butche.  Sausages like these can be done in 1.5-2 hours.  The cook needs something to eat while working on the main course.

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 The pork butts have been in the smoker for 7 hrs.  They should be done in about 4 more hours.

13 hours in the smoker, and the butt is finished.  Here are the final pics of the day.

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Throw out the Lighter Fluid!

November 8, 2006

     Days of soaking charcoal in lighter fluid and throwing on a match, creating a mushroomed fireball, is over.  Get rid of the lighter fluid and get a charcoal chimney starter.  A charcoal chimney is a metal cylinder with a handle.  Inside there is a grate a few inches from the bottom.

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(CharBroil on left, Weber on right) 

You load plain charcoal into the top compartment,  then place crumpled up newspaper in the bottom below the grate.  Place on a safe surface, such as the charcoal grate of your grill and light the newspaper.  Some outdoor cooks even light theirs with a turkey fryer, which is faster and cleaner than using newspaper.  I prefer using the latter of the two methods.  Lighting the coals in a chimney will be able to savor your food without that nasty lighter fluid taste and smell.  There are a few brands out there to choose from.  The most recommended by far is the Weber chimney(www.weber.com).  With its craftsmanship and load size, it’s worth ordering on-line if you can’t find one local.  I started with a CharBroil chimney, and soon realized its short comings.  When the handle came apart with a lit load on the way to the firebox, I decided to upgrade.  I watched for the chimney to go on sale on www.amazon.com.  When it did I talked 3 coworkers into ordering one also(this made the purchase qualify for free shipping).  This made a total price under $10 for each one.  Using the Weber chimney for a year now, I would pay double for a replacement if I had to.

Get out and VOTE today!

November 7, 2006

Today November 7, 2006 is voting day here in America.  Get out and exercise your right today.  This isn’t politically sided in any way.  Just wanting everyone to cast their ballot.  Be sure you vote at your designated poll.  Let the politicians know where you stand. Exercise you right that the brave men and women of our armed forces protect.

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As of 11:00 AM CST I was the 30th voter at my polling location.  I hope the rush comes at lunch and this evening.

Rudy’s Rub & Sause Review

November 6, 2006

Rudy’s is a chain of BBQ joints here in Texas (www.rudys.com)  Their rub is packed with coarse ground pepper.  It works really well on beef and pork, and as well as turkey breast.  I like it due to the kick of the pepper.  The nearest Rudys is 50 miles away, so I grab a bottle every time I drop by.  There is a bottle on hand at all times in my pantry.  I also like to use it in a combination with other sweet rubs.  It gives another great layer of flavor.

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Rudy’s Sause has the same characteristic of their rub.  It’s the black pepper.  This gives the sauce, or “sause” as they call it, the back of your throat bite.  It also is not a thick sweet sauce like many on the market.  When I send their liter sized bottles as gifts, I always get asked for repeat gifts.  I keep a bottle on hand as well as the rub.  It is one of my “go to” sauces.  If you can’t handle the bite from the Original Sause, try their Sissy Sause.  It has all the flavor without the extra kick.