With Gareth telecommuting to Pittsburgh and the warm weather upon us, grilling season is in full swing. The remote work schedule allows him to perform some amazing feats of slow cooking over the course of the afternoon. Today, while I was toiling away int he office, he smoked up the grill and turned an average pork loin into a very tasty ham.Read More
Anyone who grew up eating dinners that featured the Birdseye frozen vegetable medley like I did have no doubt ended up with a serious hate on for lima beans. I know I did. Then during the winter that is coming to a close, my counterpart introduced me to the dried variety that you cook at home however you damn well please. And, in fact, he cooked them in a cassoulet and they were excellent. The difference between the sad little limas in the Birdseye bag and the ones you cook at home is as stark as the difference between the equally dismal corn in that medley and fresh corn on the cob.Read More
Despite the name, Spanish rice does not originate in Spain. It comes from Mexico, although there they do not call it Spanish rice - they just call it rice. Typically made from rice, tomatoes, and onions, there are many ways to make this dish in America. Ours may not be the most authentic, but is very tasty and satisfying on a cold day.Read More
Cassoulet is a slow-cooked dish of beans and fatty meats with a rich sauce originating in southern France. There are many variations on this dish, depending on the neighborhood and the year. The traditional cassoulet contains white beans and a variety of meats that include pork, sausage, mutton, and duck or goose confit, cooked in a casserole dish with a hearty sauce.Read More
Kheema is an Indian dish made of spicy ground meat, potatoes, and peas. This afternoon my counter part made a very successful variation. He created a flavorful layered dish that, while not necessarily traditional, was certainly very satisfying.Read More
The best part of summer holidays - aside form the sunshine and hot weather - is the prominent role of the grill. In the days beforehand, you can find some really excellent deals on meat. For Memorial Day, we were back in Wisconsin and returned with some brats. For Father's Day, we scored some serious duck breast. As Independence Day approached, we picked up an amazing load of ribs.
A small sampling of our recent rib purchase, pre-seasoned and ready to grill
Just in time for your Independence Day cook out, here is the best pork barbecue sauce ever, followed by some basic grill instructions.
For the Sauce, you will need
White Wine Vinegar
1 Lemon, Juiced
2 Jalapenos, Coarsely Chopped
All you need for perfect sauce
You will also need a blender. My counterpart is partial to the immersion blender.
In your blender cup, add several handfuls of raisins and the
jalapenos and blend until thick and coarse.
Raisins and jalapeno make a sweet-spicy pork glaze
Proceed to add in small quantities the remaining ingredients, blending and tasting until you have a smooth sauce that is spicy and tangy and sweet.
Prepare the Grill
My counterpart is also partial to the charcoal grill, and the small ones work out well for us.
First, line the grill and the lid with heavy duty aluminum foil. This will help conduct the heat and will make clean up much easier.
Line the grill with foil and crease it
Also line the lid
Using more foil, create a small shallow pan for water. This will create a water bath that will help control heat levels and prevent the meat form drying out. You can also purchase these in the store in packages of 3 for about $2.50, but it is also pretty easy to make your own.
Fold in the edges of your foil to create a rim
Fold up the edges again making a wider fold. These are your sides.
Pinch the corners together
Here is your water bin
Place it inside the grill on the lower grate and add water.
It really holds water
To protect the flavor of the meat, start the charcoal in a separate fire-safe container, like a charcoal chimney pictured below.
To prevent the lighter fluid from tainting your meat, start the charcoal outside the grill
Let the lighter fluid burn off and the fire die down and then add the smoldering coals to the grill.
Hot coals but no flame
To get a nice smoke, ad some wood chips. If you have trees in your yard, select some green branches as they will create a highly desirable smoke that will add to the flavor of the meat without burning too hot and charring the exterior. Wood smoke contains some trace minerals, like chromium and iron, which are transferred to the meat while it smokes. Smoking the wood also releases the naturally-occurring sugars, called cellulose, which mingle with the rendering fat and help form the meat glaze.
Add the top grate and cover until some smoke has built up inside the grill.
Grilling the Meat
Place your meat in the cool end of the grill, away from the direct heat of the charcoal and over the water bath.
Have a spray bottle of apple juice on hand. This will keep the meat moist and will also help a nice grill glaze form on the meat. Place the cover on the grill and relax.
The best grill results come from slowly cooking the meat over low heat. Periodically, you will want to check on things to add more wood chips, moisten the meat with apple juice, and to make sure that there are no flames.
While cats are very good at detecting when meat is ready to eat,
we still recommend the meat thermometer
As the meat is smoking, you will also want to introduce the sauce. My counterpart gets good results from using a squeeze bottle he picked up at the green Bay
Supply store, but you can also use an old ketchup or mustard bottle that has been well cleaned.
Smoke the meat until it is heated through. The most reliable method of determining this is still the meat thermometer.
If you are grilling vegetables, use a separate grill. The grills we used can be found at Wal-Mart and run about $10.
Cut the ribs apart and serve with more sauce.