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

This Recipe Was a Real Turkey

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Let me start out by saying my 2015 Thanksgiving turkey was the best turkey I have ever made. It was a combination of a great fresh turkey, a great recipe and I managed to not screw anything up. The recipe made the “not screw anything up” part way, way harder than it should have been. There were some inconsistencies and errors in the recipe vs. the version from the TV show. So even though this recipe helped me make the best turkey ever, this blog entry is going to be part rant and part praise. Read More...
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Back in the Saddle-Part 2

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This is the second part of a two part blog entry describing a recent cook which marked my return to grilling in a big way. I made a total of 5 items on my 3 Big Green Eggs. The items were baked, smoked and stir fried in a wok. This cook was unusual in that a side dish, GRILLED SUCCOTASH, was the main driving force behind the entire meal. These blog entries describe some of my planning and thought processes to help make a complex cook come together and be successful. People often tell me they like what I do but they couldn’t do it themselves. Multi-item cooks just require some advanced planning and some organization. PART 1 covered the pre-planning, including my decision to make the two baked items the night before. This part covers the main cook on Saturday, including a last second change I made which made a big difference in the outcome. Read More...
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Back in the Saddle-Part 1

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This 2 part blog entry will cover several topics all in one cook. Many folks tell me they like looking at the big meals I show on this site, but they could never do that themselves. This blog will let you in on some of my thought processes and planning that go into a multi-item cook. Believe me, if I can do it anyone can do it. This entry will also discuss my return to the grill after a long absence. It will talk about the rather unusual circumstances where the meal was planned around the side dish, not the main dish. It was an ambitious meal where 5 items were baked, stir fried or smoked on my 3 Eggs. I will describe some of the steps I took to help make it all come together. Last but not least: I will talk about one of the best dishes I have ever made, which just happens to be a side dish. As I mentioned earlier, it was so good I planned this meal starting with this side dish and picked the other items to go with it. I will write it in two parts. Part 1, which you are reading now, will describe the lead up and planning for the cook. It will also cover the items I made ahead on Friday night. PART 2 will cover the main cook on Saturday, including a last second change I made which made a big difference in the outcome. Read More...
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Food for Thought

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This blog is some of my remembrances of my mother related to food. Specifically how grilling and smoking meals for my parents played a big role in their last 12 years. As you will read in the sidebar below, my mother passed in mid-August. I had been having my parents over for meals every Saturday I was able to. I knew they enjoyed these meals, but these last few months have shown me they were far more important to my parents than I ever realized. So if you have a chance to share meals with your friends and family, by all means do it whenever you can. I really had no idea how much these meals meant to my parents, I am just glad I did them as often as I could. Perhaps there is something I did or discovered that may be helpful to you too. Read More...
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2 Old Problems, 2 New Solutions

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I recently made some BEER-BRINED WINGS and this cook confirmed a recent discovery and it also marked a new discovery that looks promising. I find this interesting because I am approaching my third anniversary of Big Green Egg usage and there are still valuable lessons I can learn. The first discovery solved a problem with the one type of cook I’ve always found difficult to get started: a Low to Medium-Low direct grilling session. The other discovery solved a problem with keeping the lid open on the Big Green Egg, but could also apply to some other similar grills both Kamado and traditional. Read More...
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Thanksgiving Eve 2014-New & Improved?

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This is Part 2 in a 3 part blog entry about Thanksgiving 2014 where I violated the old adage that: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”. I had been turning out my best turkey ever these last few years, but I was no so thrilled with the dark appearance it seemed to take on. At first my plan was to only change the turkey recipe, but by the time Thanksgiving rolled around I had decided to change virtually everything. Part 1, THANKSGIVING 2014 - NEW & IMPROVED?, discusses the changes I made and the thinking behind them. This entry will discuss my Thanksgiving Day Eve cook and whether things went according to plan and if everything turned out the way they should. Part 3, THANKSGIVING DAY 2014 - NEW & IMPROVED? discusses the items I made Thanksgiving Morning. I am going to give something away: Thanksgiving morning things definitely DID NOT go according to plan. It was in a way The Tale of Two Cooks, where two old adages applied. The first half of the cook could have been called: “When bad things happen to good cooks”. I was at the point where I was getting ready to decide what item I could NOT make to help get things back on track. Fortunately the adage “If you don’t succeed, try, try again”, took effect. We often learn a lot from our mistakes or failures than we do if everything goes smoothly. I didn’t have any failures, but there were plenty of mistakes to go around. If you are interested in learning more there are links at the bottom of this blog to some relevant Picture or Blog entries and some of the recipe links. Read More...
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I Don’t Need a Pit Controller, I Need Two

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If you are going to be wrong, at least be wrong in a way where the right answer is an improvement. Historically I have not felt the need to use a Pit Controller. When I owned my Chargriller Smokin’ Pro horizontal offset barrel smoker, the Yankee in me couldn’t see spending more for a Pit Controller than I had for the smoker itself. When I got the Big Green Egg and saw the stability possible with a ceramic grill, I dismissed a pit controller for a backyard griller like me as an unnecessary toy. My first smoke on my first BGE had gone over 9 hours before I had to tweak the dampers. This served to reinforce my thinking on the matter. Also working from home allowed me to do many cooks during the day that I would have done overnight before. Then I started having a change of heart late last year and bought a BBQ Guru CyberQ WiFi. I have already written a series of blog entries on that topic, which I will link to at the bottom of this entry. In a remarkably short time, I have gone from a skeptic to a total convert. I am actually toying with the idea of getting a second CyberQ. This blog will describe what has caused such a big switch in my line of thinking, and what I have come to love about using a pit controller with my Big Green Egg. Read More...
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Thanksgiving 2014-New & Improved?

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There is an old line: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it”. I have been having very good success with my Thanksgiving Bill of fare. Sure last year I had some temperature related issues with my baked goods, but I have solved those. So this year I could've just done the same old same old, but I have decided to make some big changes. This blog will describe some of the reasons behind those changes and the preliminary planning before this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. I will probably write a follow-up to this after Thanksgiving where I look at how things really went, versus how I thought they would go. Also if you are interested, there are links to the picture entries for these items and the recipes (for everything but the turkey) at the end of this blog entry. Read More...
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