Monday, January 26, 2009

First fire

The smoke was clear and blue. Had the pit up to 300* in about 30 minutes or so.

New Jambo Pit

I was a bit worried about the color choice.  Many of Jamie's clients go for something more showy like candy apple red or corvette yellow.  I'm really happy with the way the midnight blue came out... the blue really shines in the sunlight but the pit looks more black when the sun goes down.   Jamie and Big Mike are true artists and professionals... I couldn't be happier with the way this came out and can't wait to get cooking!

More on the Jambo Pit Road Trip

After a few stops in CT  we headed onto Hagerstown MD.  And dined at Schmankerl Stube a very nice authentic Bavarian restaurant.  Food-wise there were some hits and misses.  The Beer was very fresh (got to love a place that serves 5 Liter glasses of beer) and the Pork Shank was just awesome... super tender with nice cracklins which we dipped in house made mustards... it was almost the size of a picnic shoulder!

The next morning at 5am we found a local Amish market, but unfortunately the stand that sold fresh churned butter (the main thing we wanted) was not yet open...

Along 81 in Virginia we found a great hot dog joint Skeeters... great chili dogs and I liked "the works" which had onion, mustard, cheese sauce, chili and slaw.  I enjoyed three of these (or was it four?) 

After taking delivery on our new Jambo Pit in Knoxville TN (I'll add a separate post on that)  we headed east across North Carolina and stopped in Lexington and ate at Lexington #1 and the Barbecue Center.  I love the simplicity of NC style BBQ... basically pork, salt, vinegar and oak/hickory.  The pork was better at #1 which had a wonderful smoky flavor where the BBQ Center was a bit blander.   BBQ Center may have had the better hushpuppy.  We ordered an extra pound of pork and a couple orders of hushpuppies to go and ate that for breakfast in the car ride home.

Friday, January 23, 2009

On the road

We were not on the road to TN for more than a couple hours and already hit a couple of excellent food stops. I had pastrami, liver pate, and spicy mustard on bialy bread at Reins Deli in Ct. We also picked up 10lbs of hot dogs at Martin Rosols.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Competition BBQ Class

I'm teaching a Competition BBQ Class in April. Send me an email if you are interested in attending...

Get Competition Smart
The IQue BBQ Cooking Class
One Day Demo 8am - 5pm Sunday April 5th
Harpoon Brewery Boston
Limited to 20 students
Class will follow the complete IQue contest timeline. Every detail we be demo'd and reviewed in a condensed format.
  • Review class agenda and goals
  • Review of all ingredients
  • Rubs, sauces, bastes, brines, marinades.. including a demo of IQue's home-made dry rub
  • Winning flavor profiles
  • Meat prep
  • Fire control... guru, wood and charcoal choices
  • Cooking process for brisket, pork, ribs and chicken
  • Demo of Jack Daniels winning Chefs Choice Entry
  • Selecting meat for presentation
  • Presentation... multiple approaches for each KCBS category
One example of the condensed format is: a couple of briskets will be prepped and put on a cooker a few hours before the class starts. This will allow us in the class to demonstrate prepping briskets, getting briskets on the smoker... and then immediately skipping ahead to a later stage of the cooking process with the briskets put on earlier... (if that doesn't make sense, call or email me.)
Please send email for pricing information

Sunday, January 18, 2009

There are not many things better than a good ale, a plate of fried clams and a bottle of hot sauce

In a couple of blog entries last fall I mentioned planning for some culinary exploits in honor of Jenny and I turning 40 this month. After changing our minds at least a dozen times the plan we ended up with was to eat our way through Boston. There were many candidates but the feast centered on the following spots:

Neptune Oyster

o ya


Last night at Neptune we noshed on the aforementioned clams, as well as some West Coast and Island Creek oysters. I love oysters and West Coast varieties like Kumamoto and Hog Island have always been my favorite. I think these local Island Creeks are my new favorite... amazingly fresh, juicy and briny... you can get em at Whole Foods for .99 each.

Late night we drank craft made cocktails at the bar Drink in Fort Point. It was mobbed but we scored a couple of stools... very cool speakeasy prohibition era styled spot. There is no drink menu, the bartenders ask what you like... we ended up drinking Fernet Flips and Mint Juleps.

o ya was outstanding. We sat in the corner at the bar and had a 15 course meal along with a good bit of sparkling sake. It was mortgage payment like expensive, but also almost like a psychedelic experience without the drugs. A great, great time.

KUMAMOTO OYSTER watermelon pearls, cucumber mignonette
SALMON TATAKI torched tomato, smoked salt, onion aioli
HAMACHI TARTARE ginger verjus sauce, spiced chile oil
WARM EEL thai basil, kabayaki, fresh Kyoto sansho
HOMEMADE LA RATTE POTATO CHIP perigord black truffle
FRIED KUMAMOTO OYSTER yuzu kosho aioli, squid ink bubbles
SALMON o ya mayonette, wasabi tobiko, shiso
WILD BLUEFIN TUNA TARTARE warm mayonaisse, black river ossetrea caviar
HAMACHI viet mignonette, thai basil, shallot
SUZUKI JAPANESE SEA BASS cucumber vinaigrette, avocado, cilantro
WILD BLUEFIN TUNA TATAKI smoky pickled onion, truffle oil
CHILLED MAINE LOBSTER SALAD avocado, creamy yuzu dressing, peppercress, cucumber gelee
GRILLED SASHIMI OF CHANTERELLE & SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS rosemary garlic oil, sesame froth, homemade soy
SEARED WAGYU PETIT STRIP LOIN 2 oz., tiny smoked potato, grilled onion, fresh wasabi
FOIE GRAS balsamic chocolate kabayaki, raisin cocoa pulp, sip of aged sake

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas in January

Jamie Geer has finished the new IQUE Jambo Pit, it only needs to be sent off the painter.  Jamie has agreed to drive it 1/2 way up from Dallas and I am meeting him in Knoxville TN on 1/24. The plan is to take our time driving down and hit up some good road food joints.  I've got to figure out how to update my blog from an iPhone.  Here is a picture of a recent pit Jamie built... the IQUE pit should be very similar...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tea Sandwiches and Shoulder Clod

My wife had a baby shower today and asked me to prepare tea sandwiches.

Too offset things I'm also cooking something a bit more manly - Beef Shoulder Clod.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Diet time

We haven't left the house for what seems like a week and have been on a strict 20,ooo calories a day diet. Good times. On NYE the cassoulet didn't come out as well I hoped, I drank too much wine and over-cooked the beans. Some NYE appetizers included Island Creek Oysters with grapefruit/patron granita and tuna, mango, avocado, sweet potato (from the Transformer BBQ playbook):