Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Christmas Recap

I hope all of you had a very Merry Christmas. I know that with all the going on this time of year it is easy to loose focus on what the holiday is really about. I hope you took some time to reflect and remember why we celebrate Christmas.

Things were very busy around our place this season. Christmas supper at the in-laws on Saturday night (after work of course). My brother in-law broke in his new Cajun fryer by cooking up a huge crab boil. This was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Everything came our tasting great. I tried to talk him out of the cooker but he would not budge. Oh, well. Sunday, my parents came over and we did Christmas all over again. I prepared a Glazed Ham with Dijon-Pineapple Sauce, Roasted Red Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese. My wife fixed the cornbread casserole and green beans. Sorry for not getting any pics this time. Mom brought a pot of Strawberry Dumplings (my childhood favorite). I’ll eat them when they are hot but I love them after they have been in the fridge overnight and get all chilled and thick. I was able to coax some of the recipe out of her while we were eating but did not write it down. Gotta get that recipe on paper soon.

I was fortunate to get some pretty cool bbq gifts this year, too. My youngest son, Jacob, gave me the “Ultimate Tabasco Grilling Gear” gift set. It included a basting brush and bottles of South Louisiana Style Steak Sauce, Garlic Sauce Grillin’ Marinade and Caribbean Style Steak Sauce. I hate to break the seal on these but you know it’s gonna happen. My oldest son, Brandon, gave me a Black and Decker Smart Grind Grinder for grinding my spices. I can see this one getting a lot of use. My wife gave me a Black and Decker Handy Chopper (guess she wants some homemade salsa pretty soon). My parents gave me a Hitch Hauler for my truck. I will use this to haul my WSM when I go to comps or cook away from home. They also gave us a Coleman rechargeable family lantern. This baby will definitely be used on overnight cooks and at comps.

All in all, Christmas was very kind to all of us. The main thing is we were all relatively healthy this year. We were able to all be together and celebrate life.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

My Wish for You...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

New Favorite Snack

Today’s entry will be short and sweet but I wanted to share this new recipe with you. At least, it is new to me. Big Boy posted it on The BBQ Forum back on December 12th under the topic of Christmas Eve Snacks. It is very simple to make and tastes oh so good. I made up a couple of batches last Sunday for our class and they loved it. One batch was pretty tame but I jacked up the other batch with a little cayenne pepper. Even the guy in our class who is a caterer was impressed. These will be made again. Thanks Big Boy for the recipe.

Here is what you need:
2# Little Smokies
2# Bacon
4 cups of brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
¼ cup favorite bbq rub

Here is what you do:
Cut the bacon into 3” pieces. Wrap the smokies in bacon and stick with a toothpick. Place on a foil lined baking sheet (with sides). Sprinkle with bbq rub then top with the brown sugar. Bake in a 400-degree oven until bacon is done. *Mine took about 12 minutes. This recipe makes about two batches.

I will also be cooking Christmas dinner for my family this year. So far, the menu includes Glazed Ham with Dijon/Pineapple Sauce, Roasted Red Potatoes with bacon and cheese, green beans, corn casserole and a fruit salad. My mother will be bringing the desserts. I hope she makes my childhood favorite - strawberry dumplings.

Merry Christmas from Ole Smokey!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Butts O' Plenty

Well, I finally got around to cooking some of the pork butts that have been in my freezer for a few weeks. I was going to do them last week but the weather prevented me from firing up the smoker. This time I wanted to try a little experiment. I am trying to nail down a game plan for my competition pork for next season. After all, that is why God created winter, right? So we could all practice for next season?

Both butts had a pre trimmed weight of 11.46 pounds. After opening the cryo I noticed that these butts did not have a lot of fat on them to trim off. After trimming I would estimate the total weight to be right at 10 pounds or so. Here was my plans for these nice hunks of meat.

Butt #1 -

Marinated overnight in Jack's Old South Meat Marinade. I found this recipe on the Virtual Weber Bullet Site. After marinating, I would rub the butt with Jack's Old South BBQ Rub (also found on TVWB).

Butt #2

No marinade for this one. I just rubbed it with a mixture of salt, garlic powder, black pepper and Bobbie McWright's BBQ Seasoning and Rub.

The wood of choice for this smoke was apple and I used Kingsford Charcoal for heat. Here are the results with pictures.

Butt #1 -

The marinating did not do that much for me on this one. The meat did not taste like what I think bbq pork should taste. The flavor was good but not what I was expecting. The bark, however, was superior to any I have created. I might just stick to this rub for the bark. I want to see if I can duplicate it. The smoke ring was beautiful (almost 1/2" on estimate). I think the marinade might have helped with the smoke ring but I was not totally satisfied with the taste. This is very good table bbq but I would not put it in a turn-in box. Next time injecting might be the route to take.

Butt #2 -

Definitely the best tasting one of the two. It was probably the best tasting so far. I put the spices on, in order, as taught by Lee in MCPP cooking class. Lee teaches that this is the stage where you are trying to create a barrier for the meat in order to get a moist product. We want the spices to dissolve into the meat, so we layer them to achieve this starting with the most water soluble ingredient - salt. Followed by the granulated garlic, black pepper and their rub.) I used a tad too much pepper this go around. Will be more careful next time. The bark was nowhere near as attractive as #1.

Final observations - if I can replicate the taste of butt #2, coupled with the bark of butt #1 - then I will be on to something. I have two more in the freezer. I think I will use the Jack's Old South Rub on one and inject it. On the other I will just use the rub.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Alternate Plans

Ole Smokey (center) with the members of Jack's Old South Competition BBQ team

Our area of Alabama is supposed to have some pretty hefty storms over the weekend and possibly into Monday and Tuesday. So I have decided that I will fix a few comfort foods from kitchen this weekend. However, on Wednesday I will be smoking a couple of pork butts that have been thawing out. More on that later.

First of all, on Sunday I will be cooking up a batch of hot wings – Ole Smokey style and some fried dill pickles. I have been craving some good wings for a while. I have yet to try wings on the WSM but I plan to before too long. This batch of wings I will make in the deep fryer. I like to coat mine with a blend of flour and cayenne pepper and other spices before placing them in the fridge for an hour or so. I have found that this helps the coating stick to the chicken skin better that just coating them and throwing them in the fryer. I then cook them at 375°F in the fryer for about 7 minutes. Comes out money every time. My wife likes my homemade teriyaki sauce so I guess I will make some for her. Gotta keep mama happy! Tabasco has come out with a new sauce that I want to try on my wings. It is called “Sweet n Spicy”. Can’t wait to taste this one.

Monday will be homemade spaghetti night. Tuesday I will be on the road all day so we will most likely just make some burgers and dogs and call it supper.

Wednesday, I plan on experimenting with pork again. I have two butts in the fridge, a total weight of almost 12 pounds. I plan on putting two of the hottest teams on the KCBS circuit against each other for this one. Get ready for Jack’s Old South vs. Music City Pig Pals.

On the first butt I plan on marinating it overnight in Jack’s Old South Meat Marinade found on TVWB. Then I will cover it with mustard and Jack’s Old South BBQ Rub, also found on TVWB. Butt #2 will not be marinated for this experiment. I will use some of the techniques taught by Lee at their cooking class. First I will lightly cover butt #2 with salt. This will be followed by a coating of granulated garlic followed by a covering of pepper. Finally, I will cover the butt with a coating of Bobbie McWright’s Rub Seasoning. Both butts will be cooked over Kingsford and apple chunks. Pics and recaps to follow.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Go smoke something!

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