Archive for December, 2006

Winter venison chili

December 31, 2006

     While sorting through the freezer after my big move, I came across 2 pounds of ground venison.  I thought it was a good time for some chili.  So, I thawed the venison overnight in the fridge to see if it survived freezer burn.  The next morning I opened it up, and it looked and smelled fine. 

     I just happened to get some chili mix in a gift box at Christmas.  It is a product by D. L.  Jardines.  I followed the directions with the kit.  I browned the meat added water, tomato sauce and seasoning pack.  It simmered for an hour and then I added the masa after it was mixed with a little water.  Another 30 min on simmer and it was done.  I tried it and it was ok.  My wife thought it was a little bland also.

     This is where it gets interesting.  I dig in the spice cabinet and started adding.  I thew in a couple of pinches of San Antonio Chili Powder, Jalapeno Powder and Chipotle Powder.  I also added some sea salt and granulated garlic.  I let it simmer another 30 min.  I think it came out just right.  This time my wife went for a drink after a taste.  She said the heat doesn’t hit until after you eat it.  It’s the chipotle powder, with the back of the throat heat.

I’ll add a pic later.

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Italian Fatty Sub

December 27, 2006

     I was rummageing through the freezer and came across a vacu-sealed smoked Italian fatty.  I thawed it out and headed to the pizza shop down the street one last time.  Since I was moving, I knew it was probably my last chance to make a new creation.  I decided on my version of an Italian sub.  I chopped the fatty and we loaded up some fresh foot-long french bread with about half of the meat.  I gave the other half to the pizza man.  We added a little oregano and some Italian seasoning.  Then a ladle or so of marinara sauce the length of the sub.  A few handfuls of mozzarella cheese topped the other fillings.  It was then placed in the brick pizza oven to heat.   

     I tell you, it was one of the top 5 sandwiches I’ve ever had.  Me and the wife made short order of our prospective halves.  This is definitely something that will be reproduced.  I’ll miss you pizza man! 

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Merry Christmas!

December 26, 2006

Well I got moved in!  Finished up Christmas night.  I hope everyone had a great Christmas and enjoyed famliy, friends and food.  Once I get my cookers set up, I’ll start getting more info posted.  I’ll post some recipes and other tips until then.

STAY TUNED

December 19, 2006

     I’ll be moving this week, so I may not be able to cook much.  Stay tuned though. I’ll still post a few things.  I have a couple other outside the box meals planned since all my stuff is packed.

The infamous Fatty

December 13, 2006

     Fatties are becoming popular across the country.  They’re easy and versatile.  A fatty is simply a 1 pound pack(chub) of breakfast sausage.  The brands available here in North Texas are mainly Jimmy Dean and Owens.  The offered flavors are Mild, Regular, Hot, Maple and Italian.  Simply choose a couple of different flavors and begin.  Heat your smoker to 225-250 degrees.  Use a sharp knife and carefully cut the sausage wrapper off.  Try to keep the original shape of the sausage.  Simply place on the grates and smoke for 2-3 hours until internal temps reach 165 degrees.  Slice and eat.  They go great on biscuits.  We only slice as needed.  Makes easy breakfast during the week.  Just slice a couple of pieces and they in the pan when your eggs are done.  Or throw them in the microwave and eat between toast.  They offer many options.

      There are endless options when it comes to fatties.  You can try different BBQ rubs and other seasonings on them also.  Or you can stuff them with cheese and jalapenos and make Armadillo eggs.  Same as plain ones, you can stuff them with just about anything.  Use your imagination.  Let me know what you try.

Italian fatty pizza

December 13, 2006

     In a previous post I mentioned smoking a fatty.  In particular, it was an Italian fatty.  I sliced about half a fatty, and headed out the door.  There is a small pizza shop down the road from me.  It is exceptionally good for my area in Texas.  I frequent the place very often.  I took the fatty slices to the pizza guy behind the counter and requested a pizza.  I asked him to use the fatty and add onion also.  Since they know me by name, and know that I cook often, he said sure.  I took enough to share also.  As part of the bribe, I took a six pack of beer to share also.  They were more than happy at the gesture.  After about 20 minutes, I was eating on a great Italian fatty sausage and onion pizza.

Here is the sliced fatty:

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Here’s the great pizza:

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I bought another grill!

December 11, 2006

     And I got punched for my trouble!  My wife threatened me the last time I brought home another cooking device.  So, last night I told her I brought home a baby Weber Smokey Joe. she told me about the “punch.”  I said fine and turned around.  I think she bruised my right butt cheek!

     Well, it was worth it.  I picked up the hardly used grill from a local guy that posted it on Craigslist.  Check it out for your area, it’s nation wide.  I was able to get it for $10.  They usually run about $30 or so.  This will be my travel grill and when I just want to grill for 1 or 2.  So this brings my tally to the Weber Smokey Joe, a Weber Platinum Performer charcoal grill, an original Kamado grill/smoker, and a small older Red Weber gasser and the 20×42 dual door Klose smoker.  I can’t wait to find the next one(Don’t tell my wife, my other butt cheek may not be able to take it).

Grilled Crappie

December 7, 2006

     If your from the South, you should know about crappie.  Crappie is a highly sought after panfish here in Texas.  It is a 100% white meat fish.  They are preferred to be fried in my household.  We like to mix it up a little, and bake or grill every once in a while. 

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  • Crappie fillets
  • I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter spray
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Garlic Powder (I use granulated garlic)
  • Kosher Salt

Pre heat grill.  Spray crappie fillets with “butter” spray.  Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic on the fillets.  Turn fillets and repeat.  Place fillets on grill perpendicular with the grates.  Close lid and cook 2-3 minutes.  Carefully flip the fillets with a wide thin spatula.  Close lid and cook another 3 minutes, or until fish flakes. 

*You can place fillets on foil with holes poked in to help keep from sticking to grill grates.

Knife Care

December 5, 2006

     Knives are very important tools in your arsenal.  They need to be treated with care.  Below is a few tips that everyone can use to get the most out of their cutlery.  You don’t have to have “high end” knives.  You can do very well with almost any non serrated knives if you take care of them.  Although, better quality knives are usually easier to sharpen, and hold their edge longer.  To prolong the edge on a sharp blade, always use a cutting board. 

Cleaning:   Never put knives in the dishwasher.  The heat can cause the rivets to expand and contract causing the handles to loosen.  Never leave a knife in the sink.  Wash with a sponge with the blade away from you.  Dry with a towel on a counter and fold over the flat blade, and slowly slide the knife with gentle pressure on top of the towel.  Wash, dry and properly store knives when done.

Storage:  Knives should be stored one of three ways.  A knife block, a wall mounted magnetic strip, or a knife bag are the preferred devices.  These will keep the blades protected from banging around in a drawer, and keep your hands safe.  More people are switching to the magnetic strip mounts for access-ability.  They can be found at most retailers. 

Sharpening:  Keep knives sharp.  Under normal use knives need to be sharpened once or twice a year.  Please do not buy the $10 hand sharpeners.  They just grind the edge off you blade.  Professional sharpening is available and recommended.  I have mine sharpened about twice a year by a professional, about $4 per knife average.  After each use, run the blade on a steel.  A steel is a surfaced rod used to align and sharpen the edge of a knife.  I run mine about 3 times on each side of the blade.  This keeps the knives ready and sharp for the next use.

Handles:  If your knives have wood handles, they need to be oiled.  I use the same bottle of mineral oil that I oil my cutting boards with.  I put some oil on a folded paper towel and apply liberally.  After I oil the last knife, I wipe off excess oil starting with the first knife oiled.  I oil mine about every 3 months or so.  If they seem a little dry, I give them an oiling.

Texas Pit Beans

December 1, 2006

     With the cold icy weather, I needed to cook something.  I decided to try the Texas Pit Beans recipe from Peace, Love & Barbecue.  This is Vencil Mares’ (from The Taylor Cafe’ in Tayor, TX) recipe.  Texas pintos aren’t sweet like other Southern baked beans.  Pintos are a staple in most Texas BBQ joints.  I soaked the beans overnight, and have them in the crockpot now.  I’ll update with picks when done in a few hours.

 Update:  I let them cook almost 12 hours on low.  They came out really good.  This was another recipe on my BBQ book “to do” list.

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Texas Pit Beans

From Peace, Love and BBQ

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans

  • 2 cups minced yellow onion

  • 1 cup chopped bacon

  • 1/4 cup chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, finely ground (I ran it through a coffee grinder I use for spices only)

     Wash beans and sort through them to remove any foreign particles and broken beans.

Put beans in a large bowl or saucepan and cover with cool water by at least 3 inches.  Soak overnight.

     Drain and rinse the beans and put them in a large saucepan.  Add onions, bacon, chili powder and salt, and cover with cool water by 3 inches.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours, until beans are very tender.

     You can also cook the beans in a slow cooker or Crockpot.  Prepare as above, but add 6 cups of water.  Cook on medium for 6-8 hours, adding water if necessary to keep beans covered.

 My notes: I cooked in the crockpot on high for 1 hour, then low for about 10 hours.  You can’t overcook pintos.  Check bean tenderness to determine when done.  I serve as is with condiments on the side.  Condements are usually hot sauce, sliced pickled jalapenos and salt and pepper.