Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Day After

The End of the RideFirst and foremost, a big thanks to all of our friends that made the get together last night. Everyone bought so much good food, I felt I could have eaten forever!

On my front, I am also happy to say that the day's grilling came off without a hitch. As I eluded to during the day, I was pretty much sticking to my schedule. The first, and really only snag came when I opened the chickens. They were bad. I mean real bad. I was looking for an environmental clean up team to get them out of the kitchen. We got them from Sam's and they were before their "sell by" date. I would have saved the label to get a refund, but I didn't feel like playing around with them anymore. Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, I ran over to Meijer to pick up two fresh birds. (Meijer: Nice because it's convenient; bad because it's Meijer). Our slight delay in chicken prep pushed the meal back by twenty minutes. However, in my book that is on time.

The Carving Table

I used the trusty Minion Method on both kettles and easily maintained a ballpark 250 degrees all day. I added 10 additional unlit coals half way through the nine hour cook. In hindsight they were probably not necessary. The brisket peaked at 190 about 45 minutes before completion, so even though I started it early, I probably didn't need to do that either. I was slightly afraid the pork shoulders were going to need more time, but I was proven wrong. They coasted to 190 easily and were on time.

Slicing Through

Thankfully, I had the help of Mike & Jayme (my KCBS judging brethren) to carve up our trifecta of meat. Although half the time, I think I caught Mike eating more pork bark than cutting.

Good friends, good food and good beer.

Success

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Harmony


Harmony, originally uploaded by Another Pint Please....

Grill Update

I actually had grand plans of live-blogging today's grilling.  I should have included it on the list, because it didn't happen. 

Prepping the BrisketI don't know about you, but there is something incredibly fun about putting food on the grill before you have breakfast...and I have breakfast early every morning of the week!  We have been gifted with incredible weather this weekend, which made preparation a joy.  I had thoughts last night of rubbing down the shoulders, but I decided to wait until this morning.

For the brisket, I am adapting a recipe from Cooks Illustrated that was given to me by Dustin.  We have both had success with it over the last year.  It turns out when I made my list last night, I forgot how big the brisket was.  It clocked in at a little over six pounds, so I decided to start it at the same time as the shoulders.

Nice Shoulders

Both kettles have been chugging away since about 8:30 this morning.  The smell of hickory and cherry wafting through the backyard is heavenly.  Temps have been staying steady around the 250 mark and if all goes according to plan, I will take them off around 6:30 to allow them to rest.  The smoked curry and lime rotisserie chickens will start spinning in about a hour and a half and the beer is iced down.  If there is one thing we have learned, it how to maximize the ice to beer ratio in our horse troth/beer cooler.  Right now, Zoe is eyeing the Sangria and I am admiring the beer.  Good eating awaits!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Saturday's Mission


Saturday's Mission, originally uploaded by Another Pint Please....

T-minus 10 hours and counting....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Labor Day Prep

Ribeye Down

Tonight was simple.  A grilled ribeye rubbed in salt, pepper, and ancho chili powder.  Tonight was simple because Saturday will be crazy.  We are anxiously awaiting a summer party that we are hosting.  On the menu are pork shoulders, roto chickens and brisket.  It will be a busy, busy day of grilling.  I can't wait...

Monday, August 25, 2008

CRT to LCD

Done...The grill has been fairly inactive over the last week because I have been getting caught up on a number of home technology projects. The first big challenge of the week was running the structured cabling for my parent's new house. When we built an addition on to our own home several years ago, I undertook the same project. The goal is to run at least two RG-6 coax cables and two Cat-5 cables to every room in the house, as well as speaker cable for any audio distribution. With all of the cables "home run" to a central location, you have complete control of the who, what, and where of signal distribution. The nice thing about running the cables now is that you are future proofing your work. If you don't need it, don't terminate. But if you do need it, the cable is there and you are set. So, 3000 feet of cable later, including leads for DirecTV, cable, and an in-attic antenna for over the air HD, we were done. It is easy work for anyone. So if you are ever planning on adding on, or building new, take a project like this on for yourself.

Project #2 was prepping a new home for a Samsung LCD TV we picked up on clearance at Best Buy. When we originally planned the room, the TV was a 200 plus pound Sony 36 CRT XBR. It was a beast and so was its ledge. The goal for this project was to get a clean appearance with adding another in-wall speaker and maintaining the hidden cabling. I also wanted to recess the TV opening a little bit because I wasn't sure what the radiant heat from the fireplace would do.

Insert Company Plug: I purchased all of my cabling from www.callcct.com which is nicely located in the Dayton area. For a little over $50, I obtained two 12 foot HDMI cables, a 12 foot component video cable, and a 12 foot optical cable. If I were to pick these up at Best Buy, I would probably be looking at close to $200. I also found some great double gang covers on Amazon that eliminated the need to have my in wall cables terminated. The shroud, which reminds me of a dry vent, provided an aesthetic way of running the cables out of the wall.

CRT to LCD

I framed the opening in and added a makeshift speaker box for the in wall center channel. I figured the huge opening behind the speaker wouldn't help the sound. After testing to make sure everything fit, I drywalled and Zoe painted. After again making sure everything fit, I added some trim to finish off the recessed areas of the TV.

During this same week, I contacted DirecTV and updated our old DirecTIVO...which I did love, for a new DirecTV branded DVR...which I don't love so much. On the plus side, I got the HDDVR for only $100 and talked them into a free year of HD access valued at $120. So, in the end, I made out on the deal and we have another two year commitment on the shelf.

The only frustrating bit on the electronics side is the Sony receiver. It only accepts two channel PCM audio over HDMI. So, I need to run an optical cable from the DVR to the receiver in order to get 5.1. Sony's HDMI has screwed me before and it has screwed me yet again. At least everything looks nice!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What’s on the Grill #88a, 88b, & 88c

Hello,time?  Believe it or not, I thought August would yield a ton of free time.  Although I did some fun grilling over the last week, time to write about it was about zero.  To complicate matters more, I spent most of my weeknights running cabling for Mom & Dad’s new house and then took off more time from work to play drink beer in a charity golf scramble.  As a side note, I do not golf well…but I can drive a mean golf cart.

So since I am behind, this post will sum up what has been happening on the grill!

Rosemary & Orange Marinated Lamb ChopsThey were good!

Rosemary & Orange Marinated Lamb Chops with Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus

I love lamb, and anytime I have the opportunity to grill it, I will.  I used a recipe for the chops from the Williams Sonoma Essential of Grilling book (p.113 or at least it is in mine, it is an older edition):

1/3 cup each fresh orange juice & dry red wine

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon each grated orange zest & chopped fresh rosemary

The ribs were marinated for just 30 minutes and then cooked direct for approximately 5 minutes a side.  A hot and fast cook is imperative. 

I tend to repeat, and thus kill anything I really like.  So, in keeping with my spirit of tradition, I again made prosciutto wrapped asparagus.  Lightning did strike twice as they were just as good as the first time I made them.  For some unknown reason, I also find they make great leftovers (if you happen to have any).  Usually we just pitch any extra asparagus, but when they are wrapped like this they heat up in the microwave really well.  It’s got to be that wonderfully salty meat!

Cedar Roll: The Inside

While cruising through Kroger, I came upon a stack of “wood sheets”.  Think cedar plank, but cut really, really thin.  Not only did they have cedar, but they also had alder and hickory too.  It sounded like a neat idea, so I picked up a pack.  For their maiden use, I decided upon a stuffing of shrimp, lime and both fresh jalapenos and Thai basil from the garden.  I soaked the cedar roll in a thin layer of Sam Adams Octoberfest for about 15 minutes.  Once wrapped, I grilled them on indirect for approximately 12 minutes.  The shrimp were a tad overdone, so I will have to revisit this in the future.  I like the idea and the flavor was rather nice.

For desert, I was able to finally try out the BBQ banana dish which comes from Andreea at Glorious Food and Wine via Marisa at Slashfood.  Stated simply: incredible.  Click on Andreea’s link for the full recipe.  The before and after pictures are below.

Chocolate Banana Boat: BeforeChocolate Banana Boat: After

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that these are inside out banana splits because with a little bit of vanilla ice cream, that is exactly what you have.  Next time I plan on using better chocolate and will probably add nuts.  There are literally a million combinations you could try.…this weekend, give it a shot yourself and see!

Monday, August 18, 2008

My Official Test Griller

Sunday night Snack

Well this is a first for me.  My friend Kevin, aka Allesgut on Flickr, tried out my Herb Encrusted Baby Back Ribs I threw together for the for the Mario Batali Grilling Contest.  His review was too kind and his picture of the finished product is what appears above.  Apparently he uses the same scoring system as I do: silence at the dinner table = good food, don’t bother me I’m eating!  To make things even better, Kevin was so inspired he went out to get a new rotisserie attachment for his grill.  Thanks Kevin, I’m glad you liked them.  Grill on!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What's on the Grill #87


Tuna Quesadilla, originally uploaded by Another Pint Please....

It was one of those...oh, it's dinner time nights?! So, I threw together a tuna chipotle puree mixture with sauteed yellow peppers and jalapeno stuffed inside a tortilla.

This recipe is proof once again that anything can be grilled!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Irony

Ribeye Friday-Take 483I think this is the first use of one of my photos for something negative…or at least negative to me!  It gets double points for something negative about grilling too, come to think about it!

I have heard this argument before and frankly, I don’t care.  I  know there are those that say just the opposite, so who is to say who is right.  Cancer is not something to take lightly, but you know what?  Walking across the street without looking will kill you too.  At least grilling tastes good.  When my time is up I’ll take my check....and another ribeye before I go.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Lights, Grill, Action!

The Video

It is with great reservations I post this...basically out of fear of public embarrassment! About two weeks ago I entered the Mario Batali video contest. Essentially, you have to come up with an original recipe and create a three minute video documenting you preparing said dish. I prepared herb encrusted baby back ribs on the rotisserie. It is a slightly different take on ribs and one I have really come to enjoy.

Herb Encrusted Rotisserie Baby Back Ribs

Now the bad part is that I tend to be a little cheesy at times...okay, a lot of cheesy most of the times. Thanks to the magic of video, I edited out most of the cheese.  I hope.  Bean, my director, helped to keep me in check too. The result is a no shtick straight demo. The video can be found here. On a technical side, I filmed it in widescreen, but as luck would have it their uploader converted it to 4:3. I'm really not that thin...

If I happen to make the top 7 (which I really, really doubt) I will let you know as I believe everyone gets to vote!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

What’s on the Grill #86

Asparagus with Prosciutto

Asparagus with Prosciutto!  Yes, I know it is just a side and no, I know it is not an original combination, but man was it good. We love asparagus and I have been grilling it for years.  It is a finicky grilled food because it has to be done just right or you are left with a less than desirable outcome.  With that in mind, I can safely say this was the best. 

The saltiness of the meat eliminated the need to add anything else to the asparagus.  All I did was take the prosciutto and wrap it around two spears.  I placed the spears over medium direct heat and grilled each side for approximately 2 minutes.  Because the prosciutto will burn, I moved the spears to indirect for another 8-10 minutes to finish the cook.  I cannot wait to have this again.

It worked really well with a good week of grilling that included a rotisserie chicken with Italian herbs, kabobs, turkey/pork chili, and pulled pork.

Roto Chicken with Italian HerbsKabob Night

Everything is better...Summer Food