Category Archives: Barbeque

Thanksgiving Feast Reveal!

Yes, it was a few days ago, but I needed time to recover, LOL. As usual, I spent WAY too much time cooking. The results and everybody’s enjoyment make it worth while however. ๐Ÿ™‚

I once again cooked the turkey on out Recteq (Formerly Rec Tec; they changed the spelling) pellet smoker. I also had my cousin-in-law (is that a thing? ๐Ÿ˜€ ) drop off a ham since his kids are not turkey fans. Plenty of room in the smoker for both.

200 degrees (93degrees C) for 7 hours…

Since cooking low and slow will turn any poultry skin rubbery, I peeled the skin off the turkey before smoking it. At the point this picture was taken, it was looking better than it did going onto the grill. The ham was pre-cooked and spiral cut, so it went on for a shorter time to simply warm it up and add some smoke flavor to it. We’ve had that brand of ham before and it’s overly sweet out of the wrapper.

I had actually started with the desserts, as they’re the most time consuming. Up at 2:30am start also. There were 2 dutch crust apple pies and a Ghirardelli double layer cheesecake.

Before the dutch crumble topping was added and after it was done baking.

One of those pies went to the next door neighbor, who was kind enough to bring us over a store bought pumpkin pie. The cheesecake (link to recipe at Ghirardelli) was major work. I didn’t remember to get a picture until after we’d cut into it also, lol.

It looked prettier new.

What you have there is a chocolate graham cracker crust, then a layer of regular “vanilla” cheesecake topped by a layer of chocolate espresso cheesecake, then covered with Ghiradelli chocolate ganash, fresh raspberries and mint leaves as garnish.

Since the layers are both liquid when added to the springform pan, they come out with a marbled look instead of even layers. There are some things I’d change with that recipe, having made it now. That will be a separate post in the near future though. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Overall it was a hit, and almost as rich as my goo-goo cluster cheesecake. Something I just realized I’ve never posted here… O_O

Once the desserts were out of the way, I was able to focus on the actual dinner.

One very easy side dish I did was a giant butternut squash:

I know, kind of small. At least it didn’t have a phallic appearance though, lol.

All I did here was skin it, dice it into cubes, throw it in a casserole dish with melted butter, and top it with brown sugar and cinnamon, then bake.

It’s an easy, old school recipe for a veggie dish that even most kids will devour.

There was also some homemade dressing, not stuffing. The difference there is that stuffing goes IN the turkey for cooking. Dressing goes in the oven in a baking dish. Unfortunately, I forgot to get pictures of those two items.

Family also brought over some green bean casserole, fresh baked bread and store bought pecan pie. Yes there was as much dessert as there was food.

From bottom to top: Bread, Turkey, Cranberry Jelly, Dressing, Gravy, Green Bean Casserole, Ham, and WAY at the back off to the side, the Butternut Squash.

Note I wasn’t able to get the skin off the drumsticks or wings, as the picture shows.

How did THAT experiment work out? Reasonably well. I won’t call it a huge success because the turkey was just slightly dry. That had more to do with my thermometer breaking on me though. That, in turn, led to the turkey staying on the smoker a little longer than it should have.

And that’s my Thanksgiving dinner recap. With that, I’ll leave you with this important Thanksgiving thought:

๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Monday Meals Returns (Late)

LOL

My food posts used to have quite a following. The weather here has been horrible though; more rain than I saw in 10 years back in California. Then the last two months has been house / moving / kitty drama.

I had a few food posts ready to go, but the pics disappeared (along with motivation). HOWEVER, I did manage to find my birthday dinner pics from… a while back. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Yes, we started with spare ribs. My go to for MY day… for a few years now. No, they’re NOT undercooked either. THAT is insanely deep smoked flavor as they were cooked as low and slow as I possibly could. I think they took about 10 hours. Most quality rib joints only cook theirs for about 6 hours.

There was also some corn bread:

And some homemade mac and cheese:

The Panko breading on top didn’t brown too well unfortunately. Blame the cheeses.

My world famous, made from scratch guacamole (appetizer):

And salad and veggies also, but the pics seem to have disappeared… Well, all but one:

Anniversary Dinner

I’m LONG overdue for a food post here, and even this meal was a week ago this evening.

For those who have been following long enough, AND actually reading (RARE), you’ll recall that last weekend was my 2 year anniversary. Thankfully, it was SLIGHTLY less hectic than the actual day.

We had family over and I cooked a big meal for everyone. MOST of it turned out too.

First was homemade Tex-Mex guacamole with tortilla chips as an appetizer:

The main course was Ribeye steaks, slow smoked on the Rec-Tec and then reverse seared on the Weber charcoal grill:

There’s some (turkey) bacon on the top rack that was going to be chopped up and added to the steamed green beans but…

It’s hard to see from the pic, but some of the green beans were bad and turned brown while steaming. So, the beans went into the trash and the bacon got saved for later.

Luckily I had another vegetable in the works at the same time, a combination dish really. I took zucchini and yellow summer squash, sliced them into rounds, seasoned them with a little salt, pepper, garlic, oregano and rosemary, then topped them with Parmigiano Reggiano.

I’ve said it many times but it bears repeating; Parmigiano Reggiano is WORLDS better then plain old Parm cheese and Infinitely better than the gunk in the green can.

The basic recipe i found online just said to go with the cheese only but I knew a light bit of seasoning would help also. Once you throw the cheese on, just bake at 425 (or 218 degees C) until the cheese turns golden. Oh yes, cut the veggies 1/4 inch or .635 cm thickness. The summer squash turns out a little watery, but everybody loved both:

I also had some sliced baby potatoes for a carb:

Oh and if you’re wondering how those steaks turned out:

That’s as close to I got to a picture of a fully plated meal. It kept saying “Eat Me”, so I put down the phone and did. ๐Ÿ˜€

BUT… Then There was Dessert:

And this was a bear. The core of the dessert was individual sized, double chocolate mini bundt cakes. It took 3 tries to get cakes that would come out of the molds properly, and I had to thicken the batter almost to the point of being brownies:

BUT, we weren’t done there, nooooo. Next I took some Godiva chocolate, and melted it into a ganash, topped the cakes with Mayfield Cookies and Cream ice cream, and then drizzled the ganash all over them:

We ate good, and I think I’m turning my in-laws off the local restaurants with the quality of my cooking, lol.

Unconventional St Patty’s Day Dinner

I showed the corned beef I smoked for this meal in a recent post. Being a contrarian, I had to do something different with it for dinner. We had a long day that day, and after getting stabbed, I didn’t feel like an ornate meal. Truth? They’ll take away my (part) Irish Card, BUT, I’ve always hated the “throw it all in a pot and boil it” thing for corned beef and cabbage on Saint Patrick’s Day. It takes all the flavor right out of everything.

So what DID I end up doing??

Corned beef sandwiches with coleslaw and Havarti cheese on pretzel rolls with fries.

Viola: Corned beef, cabbage and carrots (in the slaw) and potatoes (fries). Untraditionally traditional. ๐Ÿ˜€

Meatzapalooza!

Yesterday evening we finally had a break in the never ending rain (I swear I thought we moved to Tennessee, not Oregon), and we dragged the smoker out of the garage to get some cooking done while we can. It’s going to rain the rest of the week.

Anyhow, I smoked a small ham for sandwich meat, 3 chicken breasts for a dish I’ll be making in the next day or two, a turkey breast for sandwich meat, and a nice piece of corned beef brisket for dinner tonight. ๐Ÿ˜€

Meatzapalooza indeed! ๐Ÿ˜€

A few hours later…

I had to sneak a little piece of the corned beef also after my mom said it would be tough and I should have boiled it.

Being salt cured, it’s a little on the salty side, and while it was a little bit firmer than my usual brisket:

It was still plenty tender, because my family is from Texas, damnit, and tough brisket of any variety is a crime there!

Seriously, ask any Texan and they’ll tell you that you can talk bad about somebody’s mama before you can trash talk their brisket. ๐Ÿ˜€

Superbowl Snacks: Smoked Chicken Wings

It’s been a couple of days, but I’m back with a tasty food treat. Last Sunday was Superbowl Sunday. No big deal for me, other than I like to see the commercials. They’re typically more creative than the average advertisement. As with last year, I made some snack type food to nibble on while we were parked in front of the TV.

I kept it a little more basic this time since it ended up being just the two of us. However, the weather allowed for pulling the smoker out of the garage and making some slow smoked chicken wings! ๐Ÿ™‚

image from middleclasskitchen.blogspot.com AND Ed Edd & Eddie ala Cartoon Network

Step One: Brining

I started by wet brining the wings, and apparently forgot to get a picture of doing so. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, wet brining is soaking a piece of meat in salt water. This adds moisture to the meat and the salt breaks down (tenderizes) the meat as well. This results in a moister, more tender piece of meat. I find it’s particularly helpful with previously frozen meat. As an added note, poultry and pork brine well, but beef shouldn’t be brined. Beef loses too much of it’s natural juices when brined, which means lost flavor.

Wet brine recipes are all over the internet, and the standard ratio is one cup of salt to one gallon of water. Personally, I think that tends to be a bit strong, and I go roughly 1/2 that. It will take a little experimenting for you to find a ratio that works for your individual tastes. You want the meat tender, but not too salty tasting after cooking.

You can also add other ingredients to your brine mix. I vary mine a bit, but minced garlic always makes it into the brine.

There’s also dry brining. That is basically putting the meat into a bed of salt or dry rubbing salt on it. I’ve yet to try this method for fear of the meat being too salty. HOWEVER, it’s supposed to be good for poultry. Wet skin tends to turn rubbery during cooking, and dry brining is one way to help prevent that. More on that in a little bit. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Step Two: Prep

The next thing to do is dry off the wings as best you can,with some paper towels, for the reason previously mentioned. Before we get to putting a dry rub on the wings though, let’s mention another trick to getting crispy skin on your grilled chicken. That being to dust it lightly with either baking powder or corn starch. Baking powder is an old restaurant trick for this situation since it’s relatively flavor free in light doses.

After drying and possibly dusting with baking powder, there’s the dry rub.

I personally use a simple mix of Salt, Pepper and Garlic most of the time. Options are almost endless here however. Most stores carry several flavors also. Other favorites of mine are Greek, Chipotle and Lemon Pepper. There are thousands of recipes all over the internet also if you want to make your own.

My only two pieces of advice there are use fresh spices, and avoid sugar. Well, also if you make enough to have extra, store it in an airtight container. It’ll last longer. Sugar is really unnecessary though if the rest of the flavors are properly balanced. Some cooks like it because it caramelizes and helps produce a bark on the meat, but good grilling technique can eliminate that need also.

Step 3: Onto the Smoker!

After putting some sort of dry rub on the wings, they’re ready for the grill:

The big lesson in the picture above is to space them out. This gives the smoke as much surface area as possible to soak into the meat and flavor it.

Cooking the wings is a little tricky. The lower the temperature, the more time the smoke has to get into the meat. HOWEVER, to ensure a nice crispy skin on the wings, they need to be cooked at a minimum temperature of 275F to 300F or 135C to 148C.

If you cook at 200F, it will take roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes to get to a proper internal temperature of 165F (74C), which is the temperature the US government says is needed to kill all possible bacteria in the chicken. If you cook at the 275F to 300F range mentioned above, you can reduce that cooking time to roughly an hour and a half total.

A compromise option I use, and have mentioned here before, is to get the meat to an internal temperature about 30F below finished, then put it onto some direct heat like my Weber charcoal grill. This will put a nice sear on beef or pork, and help crisp up the skin on chicken.

As a side note, searing a piece of meat after slow cooking it is technically called a reverse sear. A normal sear occurs at the beginning of cooking. A normal sear is done to lock in moisture. Slow cooking does the same thing however, and will allow smoke and rub flavors to penetrate the meat.

That difference in temperature I found via experimenting. It seems to allow just enough time for the meat to develop a sear without drying it out. The reverse sear step can go fast regardless, so I advise closely monitoring the meat at his stage to avoid drying it out.

Step 4: EAT!

Serve with whatever dressing or sauce sounds exciting OR enjoy as is to truly savor the smoke flavor.

The above pic from Sunday reflects me skipping the reverse sear step. The weather was lousy, and my back was hurting. I crisped them up in our air fryer after this picture which made them much nicer.

They definitely turned out better than the game, or the commercials.

Southern UNfried Chicken

I’m overdue for a food post here. ๐Ÿ™‚ I did this one a while back, and have just had too much drama to deal with.

Yes, UN-Fried Chicken

The Backstory:

Almost as fun as the cooking for me. It all started with the bottle of spice in the upper right corner of the picture. We found a cute little shop that sold spices for just about every kind of cooking you can think of. One of the bottles we bought was for fried chicken seasoning.

When it came time to do the chicken for dinner though, we were already behind schedule for the day and stressed out. I just plain didn’t feel like the mess of creating a batter dredge for the chicken. The end result is we decided to put the chicken on the smoker just using the seasonings without all the extra flour and oil.

Net Result:

Chicken that tasted exactly like fried chicken but with a deep smoke flavor also. It was really juicy and tender. Total winner; all the flavor of fried chicken with none of the fat and carbs!

Delicious!

We had it plain the first night, but the leftovers got served with veggies and topped with a bit of cream of mushroom soup as gravy:

This one was a fun experiment that turned out much better than I expected. It just goes to show that there are options for making classic unhealthy food into something healthy that still tastes great. It’s a process of discovery I’m enjoying more and more.

While I did mine on our Rec-Tec pellet smoker, this could just as easily be done baked in an oven. I’d recommend on a wire rack to let the skin crisp just a little as it bakes.

Hatching a Dinner Scheme :D

I teased in a reply to my burger post that I would be doing NY Steak tonight. I did too! The equally fabulous side dish ends up SORT OF getting the headline though. For those who don’t know, I *love* Tex-Mex cooking. Three peppers in particular are my absolute favorites; Chipotle, Tomatillo and Hatch.

Hatch chilis are green chilis grown around the Hatch, New Mexico area. They can get as hot as Jalapenos, but typically are fairly mild. Great for when you have somebody who doesn’t like hot food, but can appreciate savory, OR you want to add some flavor to an otherwise delicate food.

Trying to tell Hatch that they’re not the chili capital is like trying to tell a Texan they didn’t invent BBQ by the way. LOL. More on the side dish in a minute. First lets take a look at that slow cooked New York Steak:

Just a hair overdone today. They came out on the low end of Medium. Slow smoking them meant they were still moist and tender though

Slow smoked for almost 2 hours at 185 degrees (85 Celsius). You can see that delicious Hickory and Mesquite smoke ring in the first picture. Topped off with a little Sucklebusters 1836 seasoning rubbed in before cooking, and it’s nearly perfection.

Not an affiliate link BTW, just one of the companies I trust to do right by people and make a killer product. All their rubs and seasonings are good.

The show stealer turned out to be the baby Yukon Gold potatoes with hatch pepper seasoning though. Just something I found at Kroger. Fabulous flavor, and something I’ll try again. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next time, I’ll try to do the Hatch seasoning myself and will hopefully have a recipe for you all.

Oh, and did I forget the Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Mousse for dessert? ๐Ÿ˜€

…For A Hamburger Today.

Five points if you got where that half-quote comes from ๐Ÿ™‚

So here’s Silk’s latest culinary creation; a gourmet hamburger:

What makes it gourmet you ask?

1: Kobe Beef smoked and seasoned to perfection

2: Turkey Bacon – Also slow smoked

3: Homemade guacamole

4: Smoked Cheddar Cheese

5: Fresh Veggies

6: A Toasted Bun.

Super-Tasty and tonight we’re using the leftover Guac (vacuum packed to keep from turning brown) for Taco… Thursdays. O_o ๐Ÿ˜€

Tomahawk Ribeye and Mac & Cheese

My latest kitchen adventure involved slow smoking a tomahawk cut two pound Ribeye steak, and some homemade (not quite) Macaroni and Cheese. OK, so first the side dish.

I say not quite Mac because every pasta shape has a different name. The store was cleaned out of the usual mini sea shell shaped pasta I like (it does a great job of holding cheese), and most of what was left in-stock was known to be poor quality brands. I ended up settling on Orecchiette. Close enough, I figured.

Add in some diced panchetta and ton of cheese and we had the start of something good:

I know, odd combination of cheeses, but it worked… Other than how oily the cheddar was. After the cheese was melted and the pasta cooked, into the pan it went with some panko bread crumbs on top. Cook till the Panko is golden brown and we had a delicious side dish:

Yes, I got a little too much pepper on top to make a pretty picture. It did stir into the mix fine though.
Hint; they’re not really talking about food here, LOL

And then there was the giant, man-eating steak, slow smoked for two and a half hours:

Normally, I’d have pulled it off the smoker at 100 degrees internal temperature and then dropped it on the charcoal grill just long enough to get a nice sear and reach a perfect medium rare internal temp of 135. No charcoal grills allowed at the apartments though.

We divided the steak in two and each had half, since it was a steak-asaurus.

And that was Labor Day dinner here at Chateau de Silk.

Oh yes… The baked potato. A standard gourmet preparation there. After washing the potato, pat it dry, then rub olive oil into it and douse with salt, pepper and garlic. Baked unwrapped. You’ll get an amazingly tasty crisp skin. on the tater.