Thursday, January 26, 2006 

Tagged in a roundabout way

He didn't formally tag me, but I'm going to jump on this e-chain letter concept that WhiteTrashBBQ just posted on his blog.

Here we go:

Four jobs you had in your life:
1)Customer Service Agent
3)Master Control Technician
4)Land Use Planner

Four movies you'd watch over and over:
2)The entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy
3)Star Wars
Four isn't really a large enough number for this question.

Four places you have lived:
1)Johnson, VT
2)Hardwick, VT
3)Cambridge, MA
There were a lot more that four!

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1)Buffy the Vampire Slayer
4)The X-Files

Four places you have been on vacation:
2)Washington, DC
3)The British Virgin Islands

Four websites you visit daily:
2)the Red Zone
4)Times Argus Online
I'm adding another level to this with the next question...

Four BLOGS you visit daily:
1)Cranial Scraps
4)Politics VT

Four of your favorite foods:
3)Barbecued Meat
Did I mention meat?

Four places you would rather be right now:
2)Sheep Island, Maine
3)New Zealand

Four bloggers you are tagging:
I'm taggin Yomper, and the Quartermaster.


Monday, January 23, 2006 

Chicken, Ribs and Football!

This Sunday was home to the NFL's AFC/NFC Conference Championship game, usually a day with some fantastic football. All the teams are one step away from the Superbowl and are usually pretty pumped.

I learned long ago that the teams I stop rooting for usually go on to do things like, say, win three Superbowls in four years (The Patriots, in case you didn't know). So, using that sort of reverse logic, I rooted for the Broncos. And they lost, which proves that if I root for a team they'll suck. I'll be rooting for the Seahawks in two weeks using that same logic.

Anyway, me and the family attended an annual party centered on the games with a big, fat, meal stuffed in the middle. I volunteered to cook up some chicken and ribs.

My shipment of Wicked Good Charcoal came in (thanks, Lee Ann!), so I was running at full power. White Trash BBQ got me excited about trying "the Minion Method" of doing cue' with lump charcoal. Essentially, you pour most of your charcoal in your firebox. Then you light a small amount of it in a chimney starter and when it's lit you put it in the center of the pile you poured in. Over time, the lit charcoal lights all of your charcoal, but it's a very controlled burn. I was amazed at how well it worked. In fact, I was a little at a loss about what to do with the time I saved not having to work the fire! It was before noon, so I didn't think I should be drinking to kill the time! I'm glad I finally tried it; I don't think I'll go back to the way I was doing it.


I did the two racks of ribs up with a different rub of mine on each. I sell the rubs, so I'm afraid I can't give up the recipe! But, suffice it to say, they're both pretty tasty. The Triple Chile Rub is, as you've probably guessed, chili based. But we're talking mostly ancho chili, a mild smoked chili, so there's not much heat. The other was my hog eatin' rub, which is a typical red rub. Lots of paprika, salt and pepper to balance it out.

I did try an interesting glaze on one rack based on something White Trash BBQ used as a slather - cranberry sauce! Using that ingredient as an idea, I made a glaze with cranberries, bourbon, water and sugar. The combination was brilliant!

The ribs came out wonderfully. They practically came apart when I pulled them off the grill. My only complaint is that I need to find a better source of ribs. My butcher's ribs are simply too thin for my taste. There needs to be more meat on them bones, know what I'm saying?


Along with the ribs, I put two four-five pound chickens on the old smoker. Chicken only takes an hour or so less than a rack of ribs, so the two work well together as far as timing goes.

I decided that Instead of butchering up the cooked birds, I would pull the chicken. I usually pull pork shoulder not chicken. The chickens came out of the smoker nice and juicy, although I think they could have been smoked more at a lower tem to give them better color. My decision to pull the chicken was motivated by the notion of serving the stuff in a bowl full of Northern Alabama White Sauce. This sauce, was apparently created by BBQ Legend Big Bob Gibson. It's very unique and only shows up in his region of Alabama. In a way, it's too bad he didn't hold the recipe closer to his chest, but since he didn't, here it is:

Big Bob Gibson's White Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt, finely ground
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne

Whip the ingredients together in a large bowl. Ta-Da! That's it. And I have to tell you, it has gotten rave reviews. It's got that great vinegar tartness, but the mayo gives it an entirely different body!

The chicken was really well received by the party guests. They loved the sauce. Of course, in addition to the meats I brought, we had a fantastic salad by one of our regulars, great appetizers and a whole host of desserts that were heavenly. Plus, there was some darned good coffee by our host!

Sorry there's no pictures, but we couldn't find it when I needed it! Perhaps in a couple of weeks. I'm probably going to do a brisket up for the Superbowl, although I might change my mind.

Cheers to all!


PS: I got the recipe for Bib Bob's sauce out of the book "Peace, Love & Barbecue" by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tuncliffe, it’s a great read. I highly recommend you pick one up if you like this food and the history that goes with it.

Thursday, January 19, 2006 


Whew. I've been suffering lately. And it's been really bad. A lack of cash has caused me to buy this crappy "gourmet" lump charcoal from a local store. It burns too fast and in general isn't very good. But it's available locally and it did allow me to cook the chicken and ribs posted below.

But no more suffering for me! I just ordered 3 22# bags of Wicked Good Charcoal's competition blend! I'm hoping that Fedex is running on time (even with the god-awful ice, rain and snow we've had lately). If they are, it's usually an overnight journey for my charcoal to make it from Maine to Vermont.

I've got chicken and ribs planned for a buddy's NFL Conference Championship party and I'd REALLY hate to be forced to use that "gourmet" garbage. How, exactly, can charcoal be "gourmet"?

I've got two racks of ribs in the freezer, so I should be able to use this crowd as a test audience. I'm going to use two different rubs and sauces. Hopefully they'll be able to give me some good feedback.

At this point, my Triple Chile Rub is what I prefer on my ribs, but some may find it a bit to spicy (although there's not much heat in it at all). I'm probably going to try one rack with my Hog Eatin' rub as well. White Trash BBQ had the great suggetion of using applesauce or cranberry sauce as a slather on his ribs. I might try a variation of those ideas! It should be some good eats!

It's almost February, so it's time to start taste testing for summer!

I'll have a report for you on Monday, no doubt.


Monday, January 16, 2006 

No Cure this weekend

Hi Folks,

No Cue for us this weekend. The weather in my neck of the woods has been pretty bizzare. Freezing rain on Saturday led into bitter cold and high wind chill on Sunday. Today, Monday, the temp is running right around zero.

Given the cold temps and my lack of Wicked Good Charcoal, there's no fire in the old pit! Payday is this week, though, so I'm hoping to order a couple of 22# bags of charcoal in time for our neighbors NFL Championship party. I'm thinking that there'll be some chicken and ribs coming with me to the party.



Tuesday, January 10, 2006 

Wildcard Weekend BBQ

Well, the NFL's wildcard weekend has passed, and while the football wasn't that great - (yes, I figured the pats would win, but by that much? And what the HELL happened to the Giants?) - I had a great day making food on Saturday.

I had been planning to work, but opted to put it off in favor of enjoying a day in the kitchen and, of course, by the grill.

A few months ago, I hit my butcher during a sale on pork ribs so I bought a bunch and tossed them into the freezer. I pulled a rack out on Saturday. Knowing that I'm the only one in my house who digs ribs, I also pulled two chickens out of the freezer.

I cooked rubbed my rack o' ribs with my Triple Chile Rub, which is a nice, red rub with good spice, some sweet and just a hint of hot. For the chickens, I butchered them up into thighs, legs and breasts. For something new to try with the chicken, I made Big Bob Gibson's White Sauce, a mayo based vineagar sauce. I took the recipe out of Mike Mills "Peace Love and BBQ" which I would recommend to anyone interested in Cue!

I'm currently out of Wicked Good Charcoal and haven't had the cash to stock up again. So I used some of the "gourmet lump charcoal" that I can get locally. It's not that great, but I offset the charcoal with a fair amount of cherry.

Here's what the final project looked like:

The ribs came out fantastically! Had I brushed them with a nice, sweet red sauce they would have been perfect. As you can see from the picture, they fell apart when I took them off the grill. No tough ribs here.

The chicken wasn't done the way I'd like it, but with the white sauce it was still quite good. And today I ate a chicken salad sandwich for lunch that was made with the stuff and it rocked!

There's more football this weekend, although I'm down to the bottom of my charcoal supply. I suspect I'll figure something out!



Monday, January 02, 2006 

Xmas for the foodee!

Happy Holidays Folks!

I hope everyone had an excellent holiday and is ready to get back into the groove of life again. We had a perfect vacation that involved doing virtually nothing. I didn't even spark up the smoker, believe it or not. Of course, that had something to do with the RAIN we had most of the week. I hate rain in winter. It just ain't right. But, enough about the weather - lets talk about Xmas!

My wife surprised me with an absolutely excellent Christmas gift that will be just great for summer parties and the Harpoon BBQ event. She got me a Camper Kitchen from Cabela's. Check out the pic:

The unit is six feet wide, has pantry cabinets under the wings and even hanging hooks for lamps! It was a wonderful surprise. I'm already salivating over the thought of having it at this summer's BBQ competition. I was planning on buying more tables, but now I won't need so many - plus I've got storage and opportunities to be better organized that I didn't have before!

We also got a brilliant surprise gift from my younger brother - three Henkles Pro S knives!

He gave us a small cleaver, 6" chef's knife and a larger chef's knife that will arrive soon. I honestly had no idea how crappy our knives were. I mean, I knew they weren't chef-grade knives, but man-o-man are these new knives terrific!

There were other gifts as well, but most of them weren't centered around my passion for food. All in all it was a stellar holiday and a darned good vacation. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and that life brings you good luck in the new year!

I think it's time for Barbecue!