Archive for June, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011 @ 08:06 AM

I have recently had the time to return to charcoal grilling. I was technically thrown into it. We bought a house in another state. We went down for the closing and stayed in the house to settle a few things before returning home to finish packing etc. We told the original owner that we would be bringing down our own stove and did not need the one that was in the house. We thought that he was leaving it anyway, but got to the house and the stove was gone. He was going to take his makeshift grill- BBQ smoker. Thank goodness or we would have had to eat out every night or cook everything in the microwave.

Being back with charcoal again was a great experience. I always loved to cook with charcoal, but when you are a working family with 2 small boys that are involved in Boy Scouts and other community related groups it is very hard to just slow down and grill sometimes. I had finally broke down and got myself a propane grill. I could still experience my love of barbecue and grilled food but did not have to wait the extra time for proper heat. I missed the charred flavorĀ  that came with the charcoal, but figured it was a sacrifice that had to be made for convenience. Also having 2 growing boys can be an expensive prospect. It was one or the other, not both. So I opted for just propane.

My boys are older now. I suppose I have some time to slow down and grill now. But, now I have the option of fast, slow, propane, charcoal, or both. It is nice to have an option. I have an outdoor propane deep fryer too, so I can cook some things really fast if I want to. When it comes to food, life should be full of choices anyway.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011 @ 09:06 AM

Going around the country and trying different local delicacies is sort of a passion of mine. I don’t get to travel everywhere, but if and when I do, I am always up to trying something different. It never hurts to try something new. You might find something that you absolutely love and are willing to either try again or try to master by cooking it yourself.

We are moving our base of operations to the coastal region of North Carolina. Obviously a large fishing area, there are many different kinds of fish, different to the region that I grew up in. They are also very big on pork in North Carolina so that is something that you can find almost anywhere here.

One local favorite in this region is called a shrimp burger. There are some small local shrimp, called green shrimp. The shrimp are breaded and placed in a deep fryer indoors or done in an outdoor propane deep fryer. The shrimp are placed on a burger bun, cole slaw is placed on top, just like a pulled pork sandwich, and you are good to go. Many people here put ketchup on top too, but my sense of adventure only goes so far. The shrimp are small and sweet and go very well with the slaw. I may venture out further sometime and try the ketchup, but for now I am good.

A local eatery was actually serving scallop burgers that same day. It was a special, so not a normal menu option. I had brought some out of town friends to try shrimp burgers though, so that was what we went with. Next time they have the scallop burger I will have to try it out!!

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Saturday, June 11, 2011 @ 09:06 AM

I just finished watching Bacon Paradise on the Travel Channel. I know that the world of bacon has exploded over the past few years, I had no idea that it was to that extreme. I have seen the blogs, the bacon salts, pictures of meats wrapped in woven bacon blankets, the bacon wallet, chocolate covered bacon, Bakon Vodka, and even bacon lip balm. That should have been an inkling. There are so many restaurants out there that are focusing strictly on the bacon.

Watching the program was a great inspiration to me. Given the fact that I love bacon, I now have more ideas for cooking with bacon than I had before. Yes, yes, I know. Bacon is probably one of the worst foods as far as being health conscious and cholesterol savvy. But, who doesn’t love bacon? Waking up in the morning to the smell of bacon and a pot of fresh coffee….mmmm.

Pork bellies are the American version of bacon. In Europe they use the back portion for bacon. Traditional Irish bacon looks more like thin sliced boneless pork chops. Bacon comes in other forms now as well. You can get lamb bacon now. For the more heath conscious mind set, turkey bacon and tofu bacon.

I have worked with rumaki before. For those of you that don’t know rumaki it is basically a chicken liver, a piece of water chestnut, soaked in Teriyaki sauce, rolled in brown sugar and wrapped in bacon and broiled or grilled. Not everyone is about the chicken liver. Myself included, but once you taste the combo of flavors and textures together…it just works. I have played with the recipe and made it with chicken breast and pineapple chunks. I have actually considered deep frying rumaki in my outdoor propane deep fryer.

There were a few of these restaurants on the program that actually bought in pork bellies, cured and smoked them on their premises. One place called “3” in Arlington, VA actually has a pig roast once a month, but they place pork shoulder and pork belly under the splayed pig, so that the juices from the pig drip right down over everything while it is all in the roaster box together.

One restaurant, called Slater’s 50\50, Burgers by Design, actually makes bacon burgers. Not a beef patty with bacon on top…actually ground bacon made into patties. This young man started this idea by tailgating with friends in San Diego. At the time they were making 100 % ground bacon burgers. Mr. Slater has now added 50 % beef to the mix, ergo, 50\50. The light bulb just went on for me. I am ready to go out and buy a pound of bacon, a pound of ground beef and get out my meat grinder.

Now that I am totally hungry and want bacon. I am going to a barbeque at a friend’s house this afternoon. He is all about the smoke. He has 2 BBQ smokers, a smaller grill and has just added a larger Char-Broil grill to the mix. I know that he is smoking a whole turkey, 2 pork shoulders and probably some beef too. There was no bacon to be involved…until now. I saw many places serving bacon on a stick or bacon lollipops while watching Bacon Paradise. I just so happen to have some thick cut applewood smoked bacon from the North Country Smokehouse in Claremont, NH. I am going to thread the bacon onto soaked wooden skewers, place them on the grill, and have them for appetizers. I have some cracklins that I have been saving to trysmoked as well. Think this will be the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl.

Well, now that I’ve made you hungry, go out and get yourself some bacon.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011 @ 11:06 AM

The world of Brick and Mortar restaurants is being taken over by the food cart, food truck and catering industry. A mobile restaurant is a great way to go in this day and age. Many restaurants have actually taken up catering to implement their already established businesses. Many people are just stepping away from their old careers and striking a new path by jumping on this mobile food industry band wagon. I know a lawyer that left his practice, bought a deep fryer and just started doing french fries at festivals. People are setting up at street fairs and festivals. They are setting up at the local farmer’s markets. I know many people that have just started catering businesses. They show up with grills and deep fryers and start cooking.

One key factor to being successful in the outdoor eatery is being unique. Offering something different than the food truck or festival food vendor next to you is a great way to get noticed.

Having mobile cooking equipment is another key to this end of the industry. Adding a outdoor propane deep fryer to your cooking equipment can be a very valuable asset. You can add side dishes like onion straws or potato twisters to your menu. You can go all out and base your whole menu on the deep fryer. Everyone loves deep fried food. Empanadas, fish tacos, chicken fingers are just a few main entree items that need a deep fryer. You can offer a Friday night fish fry to your clients. You may want to take a completely different direction and just offer confections, like deep fried cookies or zepoles (fried dough balls). There are many options that can be offered, many new ideas to explore.

Everyone has to eat. If you are considering a new career path or adding to your existing food vending menu, consider adding a propane deep fryer to your business.

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Friday, June 3, 2011 @ 02:06 PM

I am constantly stressing the fact that your outdoor cooking appliances may have more than one use. Your grill, for instance, may be used for BBQ smoking or even be used just like an oven.

Traditional turkey fryers are multi-functional as well.

You can deep fry, stew, steam, and boil with your turkey fryer.

A neat idea for a cold weather tailgate, is to have hot cider or even mulled wine. Using your propane turkey fryer is ideal for a chilled tailgate crowd.

You can opt for just hot cider. Once it is warm, serve it in cups.

You can do a spicier version for a more grown up taste. This will add a heartier flavor in that crisp fall air.

6 gallons apple cider (not apple juice…cider)

6 whole cloves

6 cinnamon sticks

2 Tbsp. whole allspice

Place everything in the turkey fryer and set it to low. Bring the cider to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to very low, and let it simmer for about an hour or hour and a half. To serve, place a pat of butter in the bottom of each cup, and ladle the hot cider into the cups.

For Mulled Wine you want to basically follow the above directions, but using a red wine in place of the cider. You also do not want to boil the wine. Only to simmer! There are many variations to mulled wine. Some people actually add vanilla pods, oranges, nutmeg and brandy to the mix.

2 smaller batch versions to try ahead of time before you try it at the stadium is as follows:

4 c. sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
3 med. oranges, thinly sliced
1 med. lemon, thinly sliced
2 c. water
1 gallon dry red wine
In the turkey fryer stock pot heat all ingredients except wine to boiling. Boil 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Lower heat to medium, pour in wine and heat until piping hot. Serve hot.
2 bottles dry red wine
4 ounces port or brandy
12 whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
1 large orange, zested
Combine ingredients in the stock pot, set patio stove to low and bring to a simmer. Do not allow mixture to boil. Heat for 20 minutes and serve.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011 @ 11:06 AM

Father’s Day is a time to honor Dad. A time to say thanks for all the days he went to work to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly. For the times that he helped you fix your car. For helping you learn how to ride a bike. For teaching you how to fish or hunt. There are dad’s from all walks of life, white collar, blue collar, etc. Every dad is different and most dads help their kids out with something at least once in their lives. To give them thanks is a great honor.

Not all dads are the tie type. Dads don’t all wear cologne. Some would fancy a new tool for the tool box, but chances are, they already have that tool or something similar anyway. Some like new DVD’s and CD’s.

Lots of dads like to cook outside. It has come down through history since the cave man cooked over an open fire. Many of your dads may have a grill, some may even have a BBQ smoker. Probably only about 1 out of 10 dads have an outdoor propane deep fryer to go along with there outdoor cooking appliances. That may really be more like 1 out of 20. Lots of folks still have a fear of the traditional turkey fryer and the exposed flame and boiling hot oil. But you have to remember that a traditional turkey fryer will also steam, stew, and boil. Your pop can make a huge pot of chili for himself and his friends for Superbowl Sunday in that same turkey fryer. If he likes seafood he can have a summer cookout and have everyone over for a New England style clam bake, or even a Low Country Boil. The units are portable as well. He can take a deep fryer tailgating and cook up a mess of Philly Cheese steak for the guys at the stadium.

Leaps and bounds have been made over the past 2 decades regarding outdoor propane fryers. You don’t have to go with the conventional turkey fryer anymore. There are “safer” fryers out there. Typically, they are just fryers, they don’t steam and boil. But, they are safer in that any possible oil spillage would not come in contact with open flames. The flames are contained in a tube. The tube runs through the hot oil and heats it hot enough to deep fry whatever you can think of. Some of the units are even large enough to deep fry turkey.

So, forget the tie or cologne. Your Pop doesn’t want a new tool. He wants an outdoor propane deep fryer for Father’s Day. He wants to invite his friends over and deep fry some wings for them while they wait for the brisket to finish smoking. He wants to impress his friends by deep frying turkey for Thanksgiving. It is certainly a different option as far as Father’s Day gifts go, but your dad wants more outdoor cooking equipment. Just a grill, can get boring. Add some spice to your father’s life and get him a deep fryer!

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