The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

2010 Blog Archive

Here is the ARCHIVE OF BLOGS for this year with links to all of the entries listed chronologically.

Why Do You Take So Many Pictures?

If you’ve been elsewhere on this site, the title of this blog may seem self evident. But what caused me to have to answer this question, was a visit from a friend when I was doing a practice run for a Christmas side dish. I was snapping multiple pictures of every phase of what I was doing and he finally said: “I had no idea you shot so many pictures of the things you make. Why do you take so many pictures when you could just take the pictures you need to use on your site?” While I was answering his question, it occurred to me there might be a blog in this. Some of the answers are obvious and some equally good reasons are not obvious. So here is a list of the reasons I document in pictures all the new recipes I make, from start to finish. Read More...

Zero Tare Scale Tip

Now here is a case where I may just be slow and I am the last person to pick up on this capability of a zero tare scale. But in case I am not, here is a way to make quick work out of measuring out ingredients for a recipe where you have the weights. A couple clarifications first. A zero tare digital scale has the ability to ignore the weight of the items on the scale’s platform and reset itself to zero. This allows you to put a plate or a bowl on the platform. The scale is zeroed out so it ignores the bowl and just weighs the content you add. As you may have noticed, I tend to pre-measure my ingredients into bowls. Baking recipes often have the measurements by volume and weight. I like to use weight because it is more accurate than volume. The zero tare feature made it easy: I would put the bowl for that ingredient on the scale, zero it out and add the ingredient. I would do this for each ingredient and then add them to a large bowl to mix together. This was a fairly fast and accurate way to work for sure, but today I found a better way. Read More...

Emile Henry Pizza Stone

I never thought I’d own a pizza stone. After all I don’t make pizza in my oven, and I like making pizza on the grill without the stone. I like being able to grill both sides of the crust as opposed to baking one side like you do with a pizza stone. Until two weeks ago I had no reason to want a pizza stone. Then I started making bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. This book recommended using a pizza stone for the crispiest crust. Since I was really happy with the results so far on the recipes that didn’t call for a pizza stone, I figured these authors knew what they were talking about. My initial breads were made in loaf pans and a stone wasn’t required. I was going to be graduating to loaves cooked without a loaf pan. The authors said you could use a metal pizza pan, but highly recommended a pizza stone. So suddenly a pizza stone was on my radar. The author’s web site had a blog entry on pizza stones and the Emile Henry Pizza Stone was a dark horse favorite. I noticed it was sold at Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table, which meant it was a serious pizza stone. Poking around and looking at critics reviews of pizza stones on the internet, I found this topped many lists as the best pizza stone. Santa came early this year and I picked up my stone. I really like it a lot and while I may not grill with mine, I figured there are others out there with smaller or round grills who may need to use a pizza stone. That is the reason for this blog. Read More...

Be Prepared

Perhaps I’m a chicken, but when it comes to holiday meals or other special occasions I like to play it safe. I like to do dry runs ahead of time for dishes that are new to me so there are no last minute surprises. I don’t want to be one of the family holiday horror stories that get retold every year. There are enough things that can go wrong when you are prepared, there is no sense adding in a whole bunch of surprises to the mix. This blog will talk about some of my reasons for advanced prep and test runs, complete with real world examples. Read More...

Artisan Bread - A Follow Up

Two weeks ago when I wrote the blog entry ARTISAN BREAD IN 5 MINUTES A DAY I had only just begun to use this book. I am back to report that it is just too good, not too good to be true. I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to reach into the fridge, pull out a ball of dough and in about 2 minutes you have a loaf of bread started. About two hours later, after a rise, a bake and a cool down your are cutting into fresh baked bread as good as any I’ve tried. This process really works well. You make a particular “master dough recipe” which can be stored for up to two weeks in the refrigerator. On baking day you cut off a piece of the dough and make the bread. Many recipes have variations for the types of bread you can make from the master dough recipe. The same loaf you get a baguette from, can make a delicious pizza crust from. In fact let me say not just delicious, it was the best pizza crust I’ve ever made or tasted. I’ve now made this bread for several people who are long time bakers themselves and they were blown away when they tasted the bread. Read More...

2010 Year of the Hot Dog

I’ve noticed in the past how certain years seem to evolve into a cooking theme. It isn’t even intentional, it just happens. A new cookbook, a new piece of gear and suddenly you are doing a lot of similar items. This year actually had several themes: Grilled Paella, Grilled Pizza, Comfort Food and perhaps this is a subset of Comfort Food: Hot Dogs. I certainly didn’t start out the year with that in mind, it just happened. I started making so many dogs, they quickly rated their own section on the site. Then I had to add a second page on the site for hot dogs. Next thing I knew I was buying a book about hot dogs. So in this blog I am going to summarize the year I went to the dogs. I will provide links to the picture entries for each item I talk about. That way if you want to see more - just click on the picture link for that item. Read More...

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

This blog title is the title of an amazing cookbook I just picked up that sounds too good to be true, but so far it sure doesn’t seem to be. Now before you wonder why I am talking bread in my barbecue blog, just think about it: Bread plays a key part in most everything we eat. This book uses a series of simple starter recipes to create all types of breads from A to Z. With the recipes in this book I will be able to make rye breads for grilled paninis, pizza dough for grilled pizza, flatbreads, rolls, etc. Read More...

Plank Grilled Meatloaf

In early October I was looking for recipes and I stumbled upon a recipe for cedar planked meatloaf. While this wasn’t what I was looking for, it did intrigue me. A few days later when I was in a bookstore I saw a cookbook dedicated to plank grilling. When I looked inside I found it had a recipe for plank grilling meatloaf. I figured it had to be a sign and picked up the book. Of course the first thing I wanted to make was meatloaf. Read More...

Sweet - FoodSaver Canister Tip

This blog entry is a quick tip on a great use for FoodSaver canisters. I figured this one was a no brainer, but I’ve found many folks with FoodSavers only use them for leftover food that they’ve cooked. I’d mention this use and often they hadn’t thought of it before this. So I’m sharing it here as a quick tip. Read More...

My 200th Blog Post

Within the last 2 weeks my site has reached two milestones. The first was my 300th unique picture post. Today I am writing my 200th blog entry. Back in 2006, you might have heard me calling writing 200 blog entries a millstone, not a milestone. Back then blogs had been around for a few years, but were still somewhat new. I really didn’t know if I would be able to find enough things to write about to keep it interesting for me or the potential reader. Several things have changed along the way. Read More...

Fried Chicken on the Grill??!!

It’s funny how you wake up some days and the day goes totally differently than you expected. I visited the Barbecue Bible message board just after getting up. I found a post there by a gentleman who’s handle is SCBBQBIll, who’d made fried chicken on his Weber Kettle. I was skeptical when I saw the post title, but intrigued as well. Up until that point, I thought the only way to get crispy skin was to deep fry the chicken. I had seen a recipe on the America’s Test Kitchen TV show for making deep fried chicken in a Dutch Oven. It was actually on my short list of things To Do. Reading the post I saw the original recipe came from the Virtual Weber Bullet web site, which was a good sign. Best yet the recipe was simple, You prep the chicken just as you would to fry it. Next thing I knew it was off to the supermarket to get chicken and batter. I couldn’t wait. Read More...

Getting Better All The Time

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When I was writing this year’s 5th annual Looking Back, Looking Ahead blog entry I realized I has a really good year. I have been trying to analyze why this year worked out so well. It certainly wasn’t any one thing, I think it was a combination of items that may have come together to make the total greater than the sum of the parts. Writing this down on the form of a blog entry may help me understand it better too. Read More...

Looking Back, Looking Ahead - 2010

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Continuing a 5 year tradition, I am writing a blog near the end of the year summing up the past year. It contains several “Top 5” barbecue related lists from prior years: “Top 5 Cooks”, “Top 5 Things I’ve Learned”, “The Top 5 Mistakes Made”, and a list of “Top 5 Goals for the New Year”. In 2009 I made a change to the format and added a new list. This year, as in 2009, I was lucky enough to have made some of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. Since these items were also some of my favorite foods, they would automatically have to be listed as the Top 5 cooks this year. There were a lot of other great meals I made that deserved so acknowledgment. So the category I added last year for “Top 5 New Items Cooked” will return in 2010. It is intended for recipes using new foods or new techniques that turned out great. Additionally I am adding a new category in 2010 called “Top 5 Grilling/Smoking Related Events”. Read More...

My 300th Picture Post - Hard to Believe

The ORANGE MARINATED PORK LOINS picture entry marks my 300th unique picture post to this site. I was looking at some site statistics about a month ago for other reasons and I saw I was approaching 300 picture pages. Looking into it a little further I found I’ve posted 3,600 pictures in just the picture entries area of the site. This doesn’t include the pictures in the Blog, Gear, or Que Cal areas of the site. Speaking of blogs I am approaching my 200th blog entry. When I first made the site live in January of 2006, I really didn’t know if I could sustain a blog. My whole growth process over the years, which this site documents has amazed not only me, but friends and family alike. I take no credit for it though. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the great cookbooks out there and the help of others who have been willing to share their knowledge with me. Read More...

Who Wants a Long Probe? I Do

Most folks would not want to be involved with a long probe, unless of course we are talking about the subject of remote read temperature probes. I have had a Maverick ET-72 Remote Read Dual Probe Meat Thermometer since 2003 and the ET-73 Smoker thermometer since 2005. The ET-73 has been flawless up to two weeks ago. The ET-73, on the other hand, has gone through several food temperature probes, 4 total, which were all replace under warrantee. A week ago one of the two probes for the ET-72 went out when I was cooking my CEDAR PLANKED MEATLOAF. Strangely enough, it stopped working before the flareups started, so I can’t blame those. So with under two weeks before Thanksgiving I was faced with ordering a replacement probe and hoping it arrived before the big event. Read More...

Cue Cal 2011 Pictures Posted

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For the previous 4 years I have used Apple’s iPhoto to make a picture calendar with the various foods I’ve cooked in the last 12 months. This year marks my 5th edition of this calendar. Last year I added a section to this site to show the photo pages from each year’s calendar. People who are into food seem to like these calendars and the photos from them. This short blog entry is to announce the posting of the 2011 Que Cal pictures.



Don’t Be a Turkey, Play it Safe, Play it Smart

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately and when I do that I tend not have time to write here. It is time to make up for lost time. This blog entry covers a somewhat last minute decision I have been wrestling with regarding how to cook my Thanksgiving turkey. Read More...

Food Photography Tips

I bought my first serious gas grill and first digital camera in 2003. For the past seven years I have taken close to 30,000 food photos, of which 3,500 have been used for the picture page entries on this site. While I am not a professional food photographer (nor do I play one on TV) I do get compliments from folks on my food photos. About 5 years ago I made a calendar using Apple’s iPhoto with pictures of the food items I’d cooked that year. I had one copy printed and I figured it would be of little to no interest to anyone but me. It turned out I was wrong. Over the years as people have seen it, I have had relatives, friends and co-workers express an interest in getting a copy. This really surprised me, but it means on some level I am doing some things right. My shots aren’t fancy studio type shots that are set up an designed with great attention to detail and utilize fancy lighting set ups and cameras on tripods. I am documenting what I am making and serving with a hand held camera on the fly. If you are looking for a blog entry about food this isn’t it. This blog will discuss some of the things I have learned to date about shooting food pictures. Read More...

Successfully Carving a Stuffed Roast

This is a case of me cribbing the idea for this blog from myself. This past week I was describing a method I’d learned for cutting a stuffed roast to someone in writing. They didn’t understand and asked me to take a picture of it the next time I did it. I wasn’t sure when I’d be making the next stuffed roast. Plus this method can involve 2 people and 3 or 4 sets of hands. Adding a 3rd person and a 4th and 5th set of hands in tight quarters didn’t seem ideal, so I made a diagram illustrating the process. A day or so after I did that, I realized it would be a good thing to share here. Read More...

N.Y. System Hot Wieners

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This blog will be about my quest to recreate one of Rhode Islands unique contributions to gastronomy: the N.Y. System Hot Wiener. For a small state Rhode Island has some great local treats. Hot Wieners, Coffee Cabinets, Del’s Frozen Lemonade, Coffee Milk, Quahogs and Johnny Cakes come to mind. For me Del’s Frozen Lemonade and the Hot Wiener are at the top of the list. My parents were both from Rhode Island. Growing up we were down in Rhode Island on the weekends twice a month. No trip was complete without a stop at a Del’s frozen lemonade stand in the summer and to get a hot wiener anytime of the year. This blog is a story of many weird events and coincidences that ultimately resulted in my being able to recreate this ultimate hot dog - a wonderful treat I remember from my youth. But don’t call it a hot dog, it is far more than a hot dog. My quest involved a field trip to Rhode Island and a two week long search for the exact mustard used. But let’s begin at the beginning - how did I suddenly decide I had to make a N.Y. System Hot Wiener after all this time? Read More...

Great Grill Light

I have been on a long time quest to find a great grill light. I have come close in the past, but so far every light has had something about it that has kept me looking. Last night was the inaugural run of a new grill light, that seems to be the closest yet to what I have been looking for in a grill light. The light in question is from Sur La Table and has the simple name of Adjustable Grill Light with Cover. Before I get into this light, I will discuss what I am looking for in a grill light in general and some of the specific models that I have used before this.

I have now owned tow versions of this light which have now both broken in the same manner. I have provided more information in a 2014 blog entry entitled FAILS & PARTIAL SUCCESS Read More...

YummySoup! - Version 2

YummySoup! is a recipe database program for the Mac. I’ve already written about it in the 2008 blog entry YUMMYSOUP!, which is where to turn for a description of the basic features. This blog entry will describe some of what’s new in Version 2. If you aren’t interested in recipe software for a Mac, this blog entry will not be for you. If you want to learn about improvements made to a great recipe database program, read on. If you aren’t familiar with Version 1, you might want to read YUMMYSOUP! first, then return here. Read More...

Grilled Paella

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This blog entry about my journey to making grilled paellas has a bit of a “What goes around comes around” quality to it. This first paella I saw was the last one I made and best paella I’ve ever made. But let’s begin at the beginning. I saw my first paella on TV three years ago. Steven Raichlen made a Paella Primavera (Vegetable Paella) on the first season of Primal Grill. This Spanish rice dish looked amazing. When a new Spanish restaurant opened in town, paella was the first thing I tried and I was hooked. I had some self-education to do, as well as come up with a source for some special ingredients. I needed to get the special pan used to make paellas and I got a paella cookbook because I knew zip about making paellas. I’ll put some links at the bottom on sources for some of the ingredients and equipment you will need. Read More...

Remote Read ROTISSERIE Thermometer

As anyone who has talked to me or read my blogs can tell you: I love my remote read thermometers. I use them whenever I can. If you haven’t read these blogs I will link to them at the end of this post. I have always lamented the fact you couldn’t use one on a meal cooked on the rotisserie. One of the reasons I dropped a lot of money on a fast response instant read meat thermometer was to deal with rotisserie grilling and the need to manually take the temperature of the meat. This year I noticed that Maverick, who makes the other units I own, had come out with a simple but ingenious remote read rotisserie thermometer. It is the Maverick Remote-Chek ET-75. Where this was new technology I tried posting on several BBQ related message boards to see if anyone had any hands on experience with one of these. I got no response and I finally bit the bullet and used some birthday gift money to grab one on Amazon for $38.00. Read More...

Planet Barbecue

I pre-ordered this book when it was announced in the early spring of 2010 and I couldn’t wait for it to finally arrive. When it did arrive I was knee deep in some other cookbooks and summer grilling magazines, so it took me a while to crack this book open andactually use it. Now that I have started using it, I am amazed at it’s scope and the wonderful variety of recipes. Steven Raichlen spent time traveling around the world in search of the best barbecue. The book has recipes from 60 different countries. Read More...

A Lot at Steak

Last Saturday was a special day around here. First it was my birthday dinner. My wife had bought me some of those 2” thick, 2 1/4 pound Cowboy Steaks I’d written about here a month ago ( see COWBOY STEAK - NOW THAT’S A STEAK blog entry). But more importantly both my parents and my wife’s parents were going to be there to share it with us. I’d made these steaks before, with no issues. So what could go possibly go wrong?

Grill Refurb - Pt 3 - I am a Genius

The biggest event happening around here this year is my decision to refurbish, rather than replace my current gas grill. While the main driving force behind repair vs. replace was economic realities, it turns out that without really knowing it I made an even smarter decision than I thought. I’ve already written two blogs on the actual refurbishing operation. This blog will focus on some realizations I have come to since making the repairs. It turns out I may have been a lot smarter than I knew at the time. Read More...

Served up on a Silver Platter

This blog is about an interesting piece of gear I picked up last summer at Williams-Sonoma. It is called a Grill Tray and I am only just now getting around to using it. But in three uses it has proven to be interesting. I must confess the original big attraction was the companion recipe for grilled nachos that made use of the tray. Now that I have used it a couple times I am finding it is not a one-trick-pony and will have many more uses than I originally thought.

Wicked Good Charcoal

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Wicked Good Charcoal is both the name of the charcoal I am going to talk about, and it describes my feelings about the product after a short time using it. For those of you not from this neck of the East Coast “Wicked” is slang which translates to “Very, very..” . This indeed is is very, very good charcoal and truth be told is probably the best charcoal I’ve ever used. But let’s get to the specifics, because while it IS wicked good, it IS NOT totally perfect. Read More...

Just Ducky - Pt 2

Around the 4th of July weekend I went from never having done duck on the grill (or anywhere else for that matter) to making it three times in under a week. I’ve already described the duck breast on the grill in the blog JUST DUCKY- PT 1. This blog entry will describe making a duck on the rotisserie. There were a couple issues I had to deal with, one was known ahead of time and the other had to be dealt with on the fly, but overall things went well and a delicious duck was the result. Read More...

A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words - Quick Tip

I often keep time temperature logs of my smokes. These are great because two or three years later I can go back to them and see how long a certain recipe took. For short cooks on the gas grill I generally don’t do this. But the other day something occurred to me. I always document the first time I cook a particular recipe in photos. I use the pictures on this site, I sometimes post them on another web site, I can look at the time stamps to see how long the various steps took or the total time, and I can do a quick review to refresh my memory the nexIMG_0784-Blog-300x225t time I make it. Since I have the camera out at the grill to take pictures of the finished product as it comes off the grill, why not take a picture of the remote read thermometer reading and the elapsed time on the timer on my iPhone. This photo get included with the other photos for that cook and now I have something I can refer to when I revisit this recipe at some future time.

I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me sooner, but there is another similar thing I have been doing for a while. That is to take a close up picture of the meat label. This also becomes part of the photo album for that cook and down the road I can see the cut I used, the weight and the price. If they add the Use By date you can also tell how much ahead of time you can buy it.



Cowboy Steak - Now That’s a Steak

IMG_0802-Blog-420x200In my last blog entry PRIME TIME, I mentioned how a new butcher shop called The Meat House had opened up near me selling high quality meats and poultry. On my first visit I saw this amazing Cowboy Steak. I was fascinated with it and I couldn’t stop going back to stare at it in the case. It was tied for the biggest steak steak I’d seen. Morton’s Steakhouse had one this size which cost $64.00 ten years ago. Amazingly this steak I was looking at was 1/3 the price ten years later. I’d told myself that this first visit was to be a “kick the tires” visit. I actually made it out of the Meat House empty handed. I couldn’t stop thinking about that steak, and two days later I was back to buy one. Read More...

Prime Time

This blog entry is about the most exciting thing to happen in my grilling life in a long time, the opening of a new butcher shop, called The Meat House, less than 10 minutes away. What is so exciting about a new butcher shop opening up? Aren’t they pretty much all the same? To take the last question first: Up until this one opened up they were pretty much all the same. What makes The Meat House so exciting is they sell really high quality meat including Prime Grade. Read More...

Just Ducky - Pt 1

Duck on the grill is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but two things kept me from it: fear of the unknown and availability. I found not just one source but two sources for duck and I finally got around to making not once, but three times. While the end results were outstanding it wasn’t a totally smooth ride. Read More...

Chefs in Shorts 2010

For the second year in a row I was lucky enough to attend the 13th annual Chef’s in Shorts event in Boston. At $60.00 a ticket it wasn’t cheap, but my former boss paid for my ticket, so he didn’t have to twist my arm. The event is held to benefit the Greater Boston Food Bank and involves chefs from 30 plus well known Boston area restaurants . Each restaurant has an identically sized area with two large grills and the chefs cook little mini meals with side for the attendees. The shorts are optional. Your admission buys you all the food you can eat, vouchers for 4 drinks and music from a live band in a great venue. It is held at Boston’s World Trade Center in the Seaport District. The World Trade Center hosts conventions and this event is held on a second floor balcony that spans the width of the building. You can smell the food & smoke several blocks away. Read More...

Everything is Panning Out

This blog will be more words than pictures. I will attempt to illustrate the many uses I have found for modular sized sheet pans that you find in better cooking stores or restaurant supply houses. About 4 years ago I started using full sheet pans to help with my grilling chores. They proved very versatile and I ended up with two that I bought and two that were given to me. Within the last two years I added 1/2 and 1/4 sheet pans to my arsenal. The modular nature of these pans opens up all kinds of possibilities. Four 1/4 sheet pans fit in a full pan, two 1/4’s in a half sheet pan, two 1/2s in a whole. Better yet there are gridded inserts for these pans. The inserts for the 1/2 sheet pans are non-stick and are a perfect fit for the 1/2 sheet pans. These non-stick inserts came from Williams-Sonoma. The ones for the 1/4 pans are stainless steel and aren’t quite a perfect fit but close enough. These grids open up all sorts of additional possibilities, which I will attempt to show in the pictures. Read More...

Grill Refurb Part 2-The Rust of the Story

Perhaps I should have taken the way the replacement burners were delayed three times and were finally delivered, as a sign that this part of my grill refurb operation might not run as smoothly as the rest of it had. The burners were out of stock and I had indeed received 3 different delivery dates for them, each 3 weeks later than the previous notice. When they finally did ship I breathed a sigh of relief that at least they weren’t discontinued. I’d gotten a range of arrival dates where they shipped via UPS ground. The day they actually arrived we had some very bad thunderstorms roll through with torrential rains. Knowing that the UPS driver always left packages at my front door, I’d checked the front steps several times that day and there was no package. Then my wife arrived home from work and asked if I had ordered something, because there was a very wet box on the SIDE stairs. I sighed and decided a little water wasn’t going to hurt anything. But perhaps this was a warning sign from the BBQ gods. Read More...

Quick Chip Tip

Up until this past month I’d gotten away from trying to use the smoker drawer in my gas grill for quick cooks. There simply was not enough smoke produced short term to make it worth while. So what has changed? Well a tip from the COOKS ILLUSTRATED SUMMER GRILLING GUIDE 2010 (See blog entry) has enabled me to get more short term smoke. This now makes adding smoke to chicken wings and even thick burgers that cook for 10 minutes or more possible. The best part is this tip is faster & easier than my normal method too.

Memorable Memorial Day Weekend - Part 2

My meal on Saturday, as described in the previous blog entry MEMORABLE MEMORIAL DAY - PART 1 was not soon to be topped and frankly I wasn’t going to try. I just wanted to grill up something good for Monday and the BBQ CHICKEN WINGS I made filled the bill nicely. The recipe came from Cooks Illustrated Summer Grilling 2009 and while I’d made wings in a similar fashion form some other cookbooks, there were three differences. First this recipe gave you 4 different and very interesting BBQ sauces to choose from. Second: This recipe added smoke and the method America’s Test Kitchen recommended had already proven it’s worth for Saturdays SMOKEHOUSE BURGERS. Lastly I was going to try a new recipe for potatoes called GRILLED NEW POTATOES WITH A RED PEPPER CRUST looked really tasty. Read More...

Memorable Memorial Day Weekend - Part 1

Saturday was my mothers birthday and I wanted to make a special meal for her. When folks get into their 80’s you don’t know just how many more birthdays you’ll celebrate with them. One problem is my mother doesn’t ask for much. I offered to make her anything she’d like and she picked hamburgers. Now she does really like hamburgers, but I also think it is a case she doesn’t want me to do what she perceives to be a lot of work. I think she sometimes forgets that her “work” is my pleasure-at least most days. This blog entry will detail the process I went through to make this special meal and also discuss a couple interesting things that happened along the way. This includes a mistake that could have turned out far worse than it did. Read More...

Grilled Brats (and Shoes) in Beer

I try to learn from my mistakes and try not to repeat them, particularly because there are so many new ones out the to make. Friday night I made a real bad mistake that came halfway close to ruining a meal. This blog entry will describe what happened. Hopefully it may help keep someone else from making the same mistake without actually having to go through the whole process. The meal in question was called Grilled Bratwurst in Beer from the COOKS ILLUSTRATED SUMMER GRILLING GUIDE (see blog entry) which has been responsible for some great meals around here in the last month. Bratwurst is a tailgating staple out in the midwest, as I found out in college. I’d d never seen a brat until I moved to Detroit. While I’ve since direct grilled brats like you would a hot dog, until last Friday night I’d never made them in a beer hot tub.

Grill Refurb Part 1

No sooner had I posted my blog entry Reinvigorating My Grill and the doorbell rang & I found all button on of the parts for my grill refurb had arrived - early as a matter of fact. That was the good news. The bad news was the 6 burners, which are buried the deepest inside the grill, are backorder for about 1 month. After thinking about it for a while I decided to go ahead and install theses parts. Read More...

Reinvigorating My Grill

My gas grill will be 7 years old come this fall and needs some work. My original plan was to replace it with a shiny new Weber model, but now I am going to fix my existing grill. While my final decision was driven as much by economic reality as any other reason, now that I have chosen I am actually quite happy with my choice. This blog will describe some of my decision making process. Read More...

More Perspective on Aperture

This is a follow up to my blog entry of few weeks ago on Aperture, Apple’s prosumer photography software, which I am now using in place of iPhoto to manage all of my digital photographs. In the process of moving from iPhoto to Aperture I have learned several important points that might be worth your knowing. This website does combine two of my hobbies: grilling & smoking plus photography. Every once in a while I write a blog about the photography or computer side of things. This entry is one of those times, so a fair warning to you - if you want to read about grilling or smoking, stop right here and use the recently added “Index of Blogs” link found in the masthead above. If you are an Apple Macintosh user looking for a possible alternative to iPhoto, then read on. Read More...

Cookbook Heads Up

I picked up this cookbook the other day during a trip to the supermarket and I already have a dozen recipes picked out to make. This great summer supplement is filled with interesting recipes for items that are sometimes hard to make due to the availability of the right ingredients or they are regional in nature or hard to get just right. Sometimes it can be all three. One of the things that I like is this magazine isn’t just a collection of recipes, there is always a story behind the recipe. This story involves working out some of the problems in terms of getting the right ingredients and finding the proper cooking method. Even if I am not interested in a particular recipe there are often helpful sidebars about cooking techniques or the best brand ingredient to use, that still make the recipe a worthwhile read. They also have a few pages of quick tips that are great time or money savers. These tips can be worth the price of that issue alone. Read More...

Best YET Grilled Pizza

In my opinion grilled pizza is the best way to prepare pizza - period. This week I learned a variation to the method used for cooking grilled pizzas that have made a noticeable improvement. This blog will describe the change in technique. I’m not going to use a whole lot of pictures in this blog. If you are interested in seeing some of the pizzas I’ve made this week I will provide some links at the end. Read More...

Grate Technique

The new WEBER 0N THE GRILL - CHICKEN & SIDES (See Blog Entry) cookbook had a great technique for making paninis. In a recipe scaled to make 4 Chicken Cordon Bleu paninis they had you finish the sandwiches off by placing them on the grill in a 2x2 grid. Then they had you cover them with a half sheet pan weighted down by two foil wrapped bricks. I scaled the recipe down to make two sandwiches and for that I used a 1/4 sheet pan and one foil wrapped brick as can be seen in the picture above.

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As you can see the resulting paninis have wonderful deep grill marks and look like a panini made in your kitchen using a panini press. The only trick thing is to make sure you use a low temperature as bread can burn in the blink of an eye. Better to use too low of a temperature and have them take a little longer. I use medium low on my gas grill and I usually check the bread after two minutes even though the recipe says done in three minutes.



Mega Meal

On the occasion of my parents 55th wedding anniversary I wanted to make a special meal where I cooked all of the items. I had several reasons for this: First and foremost I wanted to give my mother the day off. She usually offers to make one or more veggies or the salad and for this particular meal I wanted to give her the day off. Secondly I wanted to attempt a good old fashioned meal where I made everything from scratch including the main course and all of the veggies. No instant potatoes, no gravy in a jar, no microwave steamer bags of veggies, no fresh baked but store bought rolls. It was an ambitious undertaking since it involved using the grill, smoker, stove and oven together and more than one person told me I was crazy in those words or a more politically correct version of that. Read More...


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Every once in a while I write blog entry about software that helps make my cooking, photography or website chores easier. This blog entry is about Apple’s Aperture 3 which is a photo management software I started using several months ago. So if you are here for a food related entry you should try a different blog entry. Also this software happens to be Mac only, so if you only have Windows PC’s this may not be your cup of tea either. If you have a Mac and find yourself outgrowing iPhoto or if you spending quite a bit if time in Photoshop Elements or some other editing program too, read on.

Webers Chicken & Sides

I discovered not one, but two, new Weber cookbooks that had just been published this month quite by accident. I was on pre-ordering Steven Raichlen’s first new cookbook in 4 years called Planet Barbecue and I discovered these two new books written by Jamie Purviance. Let me just add as a sidebar here that Amazon makes it far too easy to get yourself in trouble. You go looking for one thing and they show you a dozen more you didn’t know you needed to have. If that is not bad enough: Then they put together a bundle where they save you money on two or three of the books purchased together. Here they had the Chicken& Sides which retails for $14.95 selling for $10.17. For $19.95 I got the Chicken and Steak books and free shipping. I ddin’t stand a chance and I didn’t even mention how easy one-click made things. Read More...

Picking Up Where I left Off

After a two month hiatus I returned to grilling. I made two new dishes that couldn’t have turned out better, despite my being a bit nervous about getting them both done at the same time and in good shape. In this blog I will describe how a combination of the right tools and past experience ruled the day. I have some friends who are afraid to venture beyond cooking hamburgers, hotdogs and steaks on the grill between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They seem to think I am some sort of freak or that I got to where I am now in one step. This may be beating a dead horse since I’ve written about this several times: But nothing beats experience and the best thing anyone can do is keep trying since things do get easier. At some point it begins to feel like you are on this incredible roll where things that once confounded you, now seem to just work out. Now maybe I was just lucky, but I am actually prepared to take some of the blame for the success of this meal. But not to get ahead of myself, lets begin at the beginning. Read More...

What is Your Position

Most grills or smokers have hot and cold spots-it is the nature of the beast. On the surface this could seem to be a minus, but in reality it can also be a plus. I will discuss some of the ways you can work with this reality so your food is cooked evenly. Read More...

Kingsford Competition Briquettes - Second Thoughts

A few weeks ago in the oh so cleverly titled blog entry: Kingsford Competition Briquettes I wrote a blog giving my initial impressions about this new (to me) charcoal. I’ve cooked with them a couple more times now and this blog will be a follow up to those initial impressions. Read More...

Measuring Up

The combination of some free time on my hands, the desire to grill, together with some cold and windy weather has seen me find some new ways of using two of my thermometers. The thermometer shown above: the Bonjour Laser Probe Combo Thermometer is proving to be very useful indoors as well. This short blog entry will describe the new uses I have found for both the Bonjour and the Maverick Redi-Chek ET-72 dual probe remote read thermometer.