Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pulled Pork Insanity!!!


This last weekend, Anna and I decided that we needed to do pulled pork on the Primo. It was time, as we've had the thing for months now and it is touted to be the "long job machine".

Let me tell you - it is!

Honestly, it doesn't get any lazier than using the Primo - light the coals, set the grill temp, slap on the meat, and walk away. That thing ran constantly between 100 and 120' C for almost 24 hours! Never once did I have to relight the coals - in fact, Anna and I went to sleep and when we woke up the next morning, all I had to do was open the vents a bit and everything was running fine.

I can warmly recommend that if you have the means, get one. You will not regret your decision.

So, on with the show!

We picked up two 5 kg pork shoulders from Metro. Only problem with that is that they are always bone-out. This means that the hunk of meat looks like it exploded from the inside and you have to tie the things together with butcher's string. Honestly, this is not a problem as the meat reacts exactly the same and a bone-in shoulder. I personally like shoulder much better as it is better marbled and has a finer texture. Boston butt can also be used but I find it to be an inferior cut.

 photo B8A8A7F1-345E-49D3-BBE7-3D82A2F72708_zpsdchrzvy8.jpg

 photo 29062F00-B5B7-404E-B456-F3650FB52EBE_zpsetlpzkqu.jpg

We tied up our two shoulders and sprinkled them liberally with Raichlen's Basic Barbecue Rub (my favorite). Wrapped them in plastic wrap for about two hours and let them soak in the spices. Meanwhile Anna prepped the grill...

 photo 84934B8C-3C69-4CE5-8AEE-8F8FC7C10241_zpsp8zmrdct.jpg

 photo 021C39E0-2AE7-4246-A445-C222B95AA1D8_zps29dfwvia.jpg

Once the right temperature was achieved, we put the meat on the grill and stuck in the thermometers.

 photo 134572A1-2775-4DC2-9CF4-A56EC5D5DD38_zps452coboj.jpg

For those of you who are new to this, a thermometer is easily the most important piece of equipment that you can have. I have the Maverick ET-732 Wireless Barbecue Thermometer which has a remote that shows you the internal and grill temps wherever you happen to be in the house. Really convenient, especially late at night when you wake up and want to check the grill - all you have to do is look at the remote and you know instantly.

 photo 4B743595-5507-4542-9690-D7BBBA6958D8_zpslfucbwbu.jpg

Now, your usual Pulled Pork takes about 18 hours, including the plateau phase (where the temp is stable for hours). For reasons that I cannot explain, these were on for nearly 20 hours and we never achieved the final temperature of 95'C. We hit 87, which was all she wrote. Since our guests were starving, we decided to pull one anyway.

 photo 5473B420-8AC0-48D3-9A05-DBCA5AC7838C_zps2olwapxs.jpg

 photo 6C7D4F13-AB5C-4A55-8ADB-43FF41A2120C_zpsltfd8qjp.jpg

 photo 8B86C089-95FC-45A7-B3E6-A956F0B40677_zpsqbahe1l0.jpg

 photo 7692C86F-6562-4358-9C8E-910D5E66FA7A_zpsasmhbpb8.jpg

Now, we had to go classic - we served our favorite cole slaw as found in the Jamison's "Smoke and Spice" The recipe is as follows:

100 ml milk
100 ml cream
100 ml cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs mayonnaise
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp salt
2 tbs fresh ground pepper
1 medium head cabbage, grated
2 to 3 carrots, grated

In a lidded jar, shake together the milk, cream, sugar, vinegar, mayonnaise, garlic, salt, and pepper until well blended. Place the cabbage and carrots in a large bowl, pour the dressing over the vegetables, and toss together. Chill the slaw for at least 1 hour. It keeps well for several days.

 photo 1D032B61-C8CD-4760-B91A-FCB01EBB53CF_zps17sphlfe.jpg

I also made a Lexington-style Piedmont sauce as told by the Baron of Barbecue, Paul Kirk. I find his book "Championship Barbecue Sauces" a real asset and I encourage any would-be backyard barbecuer to get it. Here's the recipe for the sauce:

1.5 cups cider vinegar
1 cup tomato ketchup
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne

Put everything in a non-reactive pot and stir well. Over medium heat, bring slowly to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Don't breathe in any of the fumes as the vinegar tends to send you into coughing fits. Let cool and bottle...

 photo E77D2B52-3E47-46CB-BE27-702CFFD759E6_zpsmsekmvqh.jpg

It was one of the juiciest and most tender pulled porks I have ever eaten...

 photo F57C6C30-0AD1-4F66-9E31-272919AEB276_zpsuqdzyvwb.jpg

 photo 4C4C2755-305E-4E55-84D7-8A3696EB5F58_zpsyab4wdue.jpg

 photo 090FE73A-0A0B-4B5C-9F6F-6CB90440033A_zpszayabrvl.jpg

Go make some Smoke!

I bid you Peace,

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Be it ever so Humble...There's nothing like a good Burger!


Some of you may be thinking that a burger post is something that doesn't quite meet the high-standard of food that normally appears on this blog. Let me assure you that a burger made by hand and grilled to perfection is a thing of beauty, to be revered!

How do I make burgers? Well, there are a few tricks that I use to assure greatness every time:

Use the right meat - cut the fat, kill the burger
Use the patty press for consistent results
Direct, then indirect - keeps 'em hot and juicy

The first rule - use the right meat. So many times I hear of people buying the leanest ground beef that they can to make burgers and then wonder why the burnt, dry pucks that come off the grill aren't getting very much love. And they shouldn't - if you use the right meat. Try to get the fattiest ground beef that you can buy - 30% fat by weight is optimal. I find that the ground beef you get from the local ALDI comes very close and is of good quality. I also do not salt and pepper my beef as I feel it leaches the moisture out of the patties during cooking and the pepper just burns. Season your meat AFTER you cook.

Next - use the patty press. Now, some of you may be balking at the idea of making a burger patty in a machine but I can assure you that this way you get the best use of your ground beef and have a consistent weight and size to your patty.

 photo 5B60FC2F-9486-48C8-88E5-844580185BE0_zpscrxkqgiq.jpg

 photo CBCD44A2-5FF7-4359-9F66-A9C03094CA0D_zpsrnjitxph.jpg

I got this little gem as a Christmas gift from my folks - I thought I would never use it but now I find that it is a irreplaceable tool when it comes to burger-time at the Rattlesnake Grill. There are countless versions; the one that I use allows me to set the size/weight of each patty. find the one that works best for you and go for it!

Finally, grill direct and then indirect. What this means is that you should first put the meat directly over the coals, which should be very hot. Let each patty sear on both sides until you have good grill marks - about 2 to 3 minutes a side. Once this has been achieved, set the burgers to the side and then close the grill lid for 7 to 10 minutes. This allows the burgers to continue cooking without burning and does not cause them to get dry. While you are waiting, have a beer...

I feel that if you follow these steps, you will achieve the best results possible and people will sing songs of your grill prowess and tell everyone they know about how great it was. I believe it in my heart!

Having followed all the aforementioned steps, I began grilling my burgers.

 photo D3B35A0C-2F6A-4A80-8C4B-ADD6CA5C38B8_zpsvncjkk1c.jpg

 photo FEF2DE2C-9B77-4061-BA6A-E9550F74CE3C_zps8tl8ndu6.jpg

We weren't the only ones who couldn't wait for the food to be done - Una was in the kitchen.

"Are you making hamburgers? I really like hamburgers."

 photo 9E6A579E-F21C-4346-8435-FCCCB0577E8F_zpsneofdxut.jpg

You will give me all the hamburgers...

 photo EA85A4DF-C479-49AE-B5E7-71383EA0BC27_zpssz3xws5r.jpg

Look into my eyes, human, and give us the meat!

 photo C8EA810C-3A69-4AE3-A060-669BD516A8C3_zpsmryfrcut.jpg

Fortunately for all, I was able to resist the Jedi mind tricks from the various animals.

 photo AD8176CE-4A47-4610-B772-C1DF56244BC8_zpsowhcqoqw.jpg

 photo 8271CEC4-3506-4521-BC40-9DB5E63EDC5F_zpswvwccpj2.jpg

Gotta have homemade fries!!! Burger without fries is like a day without sunshine!

 photo 077DDFF6-FB1B-4A9F-888A-56AAD6CC74A2_zpspvs3qwee.jpg

Before I started to make burgers - I made Chipotle Garlic Mayonnaise.

 photo D8E6E179-70AE-4D9D-80B4-EA556B80C1BC_zpsdcjmx0vf.jpg

I know - not the most spectacular photo but I can assure you that you want to make this magical condiment!


2 roasted heads of garlic
1 Tbs Cumin
1 Tbs Chipotle powder
1 Tbs Jalapeno powder
500 ml Mayonnaise


To roast garlic, you need to do the following - Set your oven to 180' C. Cut off the top 2 cm of each head of garlic. Drizzle olive oil on the top of each head of garlic and then wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place in your now-hot oven and let the scent of roasting garlic fill your kitchen, making it a magical place to be for the next hour. Once complete, allow about 15 minutes to cool - trust me on this, the burns you get from hot garlic sticking to your fingers are impressive. Once cool, take the head of garlic and squeeze it into a bowl, like squeezing the toothpaste out of a tube. Add the remaining ingredients and mix very thoroughly - I use my kitchen wand to make sure that the garlic is very small and well-distributed.

Once finished, place into a jar or bowl or squeeze bottle and refrigerate. This is one of those things that gets better with time so I suggest making it the night before.

Side note: for those of you in Germany who may be wondering where to get some of these ingredients, I suggest Chili Food in the 'Net for getting good quality for a fair price.

All that was left to do was enjoy...

 photo B621C103-C81D-4E6E-BADF-5C126A95A2B5_zpsjzsirftf.jpg

 photo 2504B587-E0C1-42E5-BD55-6FA85901F4DD_zpslldsar2z.jpg

Go make some smoke!!


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cast Iron Madness!!!


Since Anna had her birthday, it was time to drag out my Dutch Ovens to create some really tasty and special party food.

For those of you who don't know, a Dutch Oven is a cast iron pot that comes with a lid, a bail, and three legs so you can set it in a fire or set coals underneath it. There is a long history behind the Dutch Oven that is pretty interesting if you are into such information - I will simply say to make a search in the 'Net to find out more. I will spare you the details of care and feeding of cast iron here and get to the food.

For the birthday party, we decided that we would make "Pfundstopf" which is a type of stew that has a pound (roughly 500 grams) of each ingredient and my world famous Gratin potatoes.

The stew went as follows: I used a 12" diameter DO and began with 500 grams of diced Kassler (A type of smoked, boneless pork chop here in Germany)

 photo ED0DE9CE-3FF5-49C8-A25E-6E917ED677BE_zpsotpqwevc.jpg

I then took 500 grams of pork and beef goulash meat and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

 photo 33B15738-46D1-4341-9C40-EEDDBDF6D919_zpshyzqtzcw.jpg

Ahh, my ever-present assistant, Tara, is offended that I have seasoned all that lovely raw meat and haven't given her any...

 photo CED12963-FB99-44C4-8AD6-7AA8DC9CD9EE_zps2xa8xglk.jpg

Next came two diced paprika (red and yellow)

 photo 2182802B-BAAF-46BD-8635-C7339108BDED_zps5si2rcww.jpg

Then a large diced onion...

 photo 70A43F6F-FC56-4404-AEEF-B2F937998D1D_zps0mzsab2u.jpg

I added a jar of Letscho to give it a bit of regional flavor.

 photo D8EFAF0C-7D2D-46BC-BBFC-04556C8EB0AA_zpstqxuux94.jpg

I then added 750 grams of chopped tomatoes.

 photo 46869C36-C9DB-4179-A264-93074171C3A0_zps6k5hmry4.jpg

400 grams of cream...

 photo 743B9B33-EDA2-418C-8003-3113A28B02F7_zpsonbl3yfd.jpg

Finally I added little meatballs that were mixed with Raichlen's Basic Barbecue Rub

 photo DE9B1194-6413-4D11-B6A3-774F6FD6A85F_zpso42eirwx.jpg


 photo 18F2F189-F395-4143-A36A-C440B7371D6F_zpshiiyeqv2.jpg

Now to start on the Gratin. I use a recipe from and adjust to fit my tastes. This time, I found that I was a few onions short of what the recipe required so I used leek, which gave a wonderful aroma to a really good dish.

Cook and peel your potatoes in advance. Once that is complete, I use an egg cutter to slice the potatoes quickly and evenly. Fry up some bacon bits and onion together and layer this in on top of a layer of potatoes.

 photo 50AD4C7B-11DB-4273-9713-0E4317B07272_zpsyh6ov3tq.jpg

 photo 71643728-DA8A-4EDB-95A7-42002D2DB1A5_zpsvjfpdmmm.jpg

 photo D77FA945-CC56-4027-AE87-0FE234F9B51A_zpsq28918dz.jpg

After you are finished, pour a mixture of milk, cream, and schmelzkäse (I don't know what this stuff is in English) and then top with the grated cheese of your choosing - we use Edamer and Gouda.

So! Since everything was ready, I fired up my briquettes, put the appropriate number on top and underneath, stacked the DOs and let everything cook for about an hour and a half.

 photo C0073FF5-B8DB-4582-93D5-F816B44BC3CA_zpsgjl3maaj.jpg

And finally everything was ready!

 photo 1F1DD3ED-8434-46A6-AF17-276D891AA2E8_zpsgll1wzj8.jpg

 photo 29822E65-ED79-461B-8CA8-B50C87C1FABD_zps5d59amfj.jpg

The meatballs got a bit dark but this simply added to the flavor. The party guests loved it - in the end, there was nothing left. Like it should be...

EDIT: I forgot to report on how the first Pfundstopf went. For my taste, something was missing, perhaps garlic. Also we felt that there should be more onion and forget about the Letscho, as it got lost in the rest of the sauce. I will have to play with the recipe next time.

Recipes on request, as usual. Go make some Smoke!

I bid you Peace,

Friday, April 17, 2015

I was on Vacation...


That's right, I took time off of work to refresh my mind and relax. I'm sure all of you noticed that I was gone...

When I have time to myself, I like to go to Heidelberg and spend time on the Hauptstrasse in my favorite café, drinking cappuccino and smoking my pipes.

 photo 0B6B9695-680A-4306-8EE0-D76154452F57_zpsbfi2bn8f.jpg

That's my spot, the table on the left. Close to the door so I can hold it open for people.

 photo EDFA9088-924B-4A57-8101-0FCBBD1B4E87_zpsimdoavpj.jpg

The coffee is the best in all Heidelberg. Well, that's at least my opinion. I do know that the Italians who live there all go there for their espresso, so I take that as a good sign.

 photo 0145CFFA-9481-4A66-885E-BCA7C6048899_zpsdsssfuvx.jpg

The view from my chair...

 photo CB5B4DF5-4769-452D-8F4A-E06233063480_zps25vxwuhg.jpg

 photo AF389BE5-BAA9-485C-874B-97FEA8A3B835_zpsdthpfavb.jpg

As always, I bid you Peace.


Monday, March 30, 2015



A small group of colleagues get together every Thursday to celebrate what we like to call "Fat Thursday". It is a small, weekly celebration of friends and food - every week we try to outdo the last person, which leads to some really tasty home-cooked meals.

My contribution to the tradition last time was Garlic Ginger Pork Steaks! As you can imagine, the marinade for the steaks involves garlic and ginger. Lots of it. Two whole heads of garlic to be precise. A thumb-sized piece of ginger. And other stuff...

 photo 570938B8-94D1-455D-9350-2FC109E04FD0_zpsnypj992x.jpg

The kitchen looked like this when I was finished. Note the well-loved and falling apart Raichlen book in the back?

Here's my variant of the recipe -

2 cloves garlic, peeled
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons honey
1 cup of soy sauce
4 tablespoons Asian (dark) sesame oil
2 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

 photo F3118CFB-C379-47BD-A1E7-1D9167EC5726_zps2xus2etf.jpg

Toss all this into the mixer and blend until it becomes a thick paste.

 photo 71550A52-5739-4624-B0D1-EB3867A136FA_zpswpu9pbyb.jpg

Next, add pork. We made eight chops for four people, almost guaranteeing leftovers (mmmm, leftovers!)

 photo 53364652-BA27-41A9-BD65-96EEC14ADB80_zpsozquro4s.jpg

And, look! It's Tara, wondering loudly why she isn't getting any of that wonderful raw pork action!

 photo B7CD2CA7-F71C-4FD5-9603-003203A14D1A_zpsv9rt0dcu.jpg

Yo, beat it cat! Ain't gonna happen!

After getting rid of the cat, I put the steaks in a plastic bag and filled it with the marinade. Squeezed out the air and left it to marinade in the fridge. The longer it is in, the better the meat tastes. 1-2 hours is the minimum amount of time you want to do this.

Y'all don't need to see a picture of that...

So, set your grill to a high heat, ready for direct grilling. Set the steaks direct over the coals for 3-4 minutes a side, turning once. I like to set them off to the side after direct grilling and let them indirectly cook with the lid closed for another 10 minutes. This assures that the steaks are juicy and tender but still done all the way through. Not everyone likes raw pork like Tara does...

 photo 40BBB3D4-5487-4535-82E9-F9FAADCB24C1_zpsrveioica.jpg

Once done, serve immediately, if not sooner!

 photo C97B69F8-45BD-473F-B034-203EDB6A1729_zpscc3s3end.jpg

We recently bought a deep-fat fryer. This means homemade fries. What else goes better with such steaks than fries? That's right - nothing. Can't be beat.

 photo 920DDF6D-E595-4EC1-B406-474C92BD560C_zpseyfrseg7.jpg

I urge all of you to get out the grill and try this recipe. It creates some of the tastiest pork that you have ever eaten, I guarantee! Go make some smoke!!!

I bid you Peace,