Posts Tagged ‘BBQ pit’
Spring is starting be make itself known where I live. The spring equinox does not actually arrive for about 3 more weeks, but I have started seeing my bulbs popping up around the yard. No flowers yet, but I can see some foliage popping. We have had a winter here, to rival those of days gone by. I, all of my 44 years upon this earth, here on Long Island, have never seen this much snow. I remember having a good blast every February and it was usually cold enough to last for about 2 weeks. But, anyhow, it has been a long winter, which is kind of unusual for these parts. We are usually directly affected by the Gulf Stream. The snowy weather is not usually part of our region. Colder temps. but usually quite mild.
I am usually an all winter griller. My grill and outdoor propane deep fryer were under so much snow this year that it was too big of a deal to dig a path to the grill. We were shoveling out the driveway and the sidewalks like every other day. I didn’t have the gumption to did a path anywhere else. So I settled for all indoor cooking this winter. Slow cooker, cast iron Dutch oven, my Crock Pot BBQ Pit, my counter top deep fryer, and I used the broiler a few times. This really has to be the first winter that I did not grill outdoors at all.
Well, spring has finally sprung as far as I am concerned. All the snow has finally melted in my yard. I can get to my grill & my Cajun Fryer. I think that it is time for a good old fashioned barbecue and fish fry. Seeing that Fat Tuesday is upon us, I may just have to make this happen. I need to get a big old pot of jambalaya going, deep fry some fresh fish and grill up some brisket and ribs.
Of course, my outdoor cooking equipment has been outside, under wraps, but outside. It never gets put away because normally I could be seen in the middle of January grilling steak or doing Beer Can chicken. So seeing as my cooking gear has spent the winter under a pile of snow, I guess I will have to give it all a thorough once over. Check my hoses and regulators and my propane tanks. (Yes, I said tanks. I keep 3 at all times. One for my grill, one for my deep fryer, and one spare.) This should be done normally anyway, but as I said, this past winter has been an anomaly. My grill has never gone this long without food on it. I cooked a prime rib in my grill for Christmas dinner, and it hasn’t gotten any love since. My Cajun Fryer hasn’t been used since Thanksgiving. I had planned to deep fry half of my freezer stores on Superbowl Sunday and for The Daytona 500, but there has just been too much snow.
This week is the week I intend to give my cooking equipment a whole lotta love. I am going to deep fry a turkey breast, and some fish. I am going to fire up my grill. The gloves are off, or I guess I should be putting them on. It’s time to get back outside and start cooking again!
I came across an old cast iron stove top deep fryer. The cast iron itself could have been re-seasoned, but the basket was beyond repair. The pot was fashioned with a piece that let the basket sit to drain the hot oil.
This was a weekend long event. Many of the vendors came in and stayed for the weekend. Here was a whole new faction of tailgating that I had not seen before. It was more or less just like a race weekend…but, there was no race. Kind of like camping, but as far as I am concerned…there was major tailgating going on. Grills, BBQ smokers, traditional and homemade were all on hand. Tents, trailers, and people just sleeping in cars and trucks. Kids, dogs, food, campfires, and lots of beer. Like I said…it was just like a race weekend. It was even located on the track of a speedway…just no racing.
The speedway had all of their own traditional food; burgers, hot dogs, sausage and peppers, and fried onions. They did bring in some other food vendors for the weekend though. Hot chocolate, cinnamon apple buns, hot apple cider were just some of the things available. My favorite part of the whole weekend was a food vendor from Vermont. They sold sandwiches out of their trailer. Sliced roast beef, turkey or pork. The most awesome part was the two tiered rotisserie BBQ pit that they had right in the window for the public to view. The meat was slow cooked, sliced thin and AWESOME! Some au jus on the side for dipping would have made it perfect, but it was still quite grand.
Over all it was a great weekend. Something different than what could have just been another boring Saturday and Sunday. Variety is the spice of life!
BBQ. The word alone says America. Barbecuing is part of our heritage. Through our nation’s history many factors have played their part. There are regional differences that have played a major role in the barbeque revolution as well. The types of meat, the way they’re cooked, spices, sauces, and even side dishes have played a role in the development of the art of barbecue. Not to be confused with grilling. Grilling is cooking fast and hot over a direct flame or direct heat. Barbeque is cooking low and slow over indirect heat. Usually smoking with wood but some people do use charcoal or a combination of both on charcoal grills or in BBQ smokers. Barbecuing is just a way to make a tough piece of meat, taste great!
The history of this national pastime started in the south where pigs were plentiful. The hog meat was separated. The “good meat” was kept for the plantation owners and their families, and the rest was given to the slaves to do with as they pleased. They were usually given the ribs and the pork shoulders, that can be tough. But cooked properly, they rendered wonderful, flavorful, delectable meals. Being hot and sultry in the south, many meals were cooked outside so as to keep the heat from cooking outside of the house. This is where the BBQ pit played a substantial role. Pits were dug and wood fires were started in the pits and the meat was slow cooked over the smoke and coals.
Today, there are 4 major regions of barbecue. North Carolina, Texas, Memphis, and Kansas City. Tomorrow we will go more into depth on the nuances of each of these regions and their contributions to our American tradition.
The best pulled pork that I ever had was at my sister’s wedding. She cooked it herself starting at midnight, the night before her wedding. She was given a partial recipe. What kind of meat, a rub recipe, and the procedure. The people that gave her the recipe hold the secret to the sauce. Family secret only. They would not give her the sauce recipe, in fact, they came to the wedding with the sauce already made, to be added to the meat just prior to serving. The meat was so good that my sister almost did not get to partake in it. Luckily enough, while she was changing, I made her & myself a sandwich and we got to eat it together. By the time we made it out to the hall, all of the pork was gone! I took some time researching and I stumbled upon 2 separate recipes by Tyler Florence. They are both relatively the same, but the procedures are different. It is the closest I have been able to come to the delectable pulled pork at my sister’s wedding. Here is my one recipe that I have made from a combination of Tyler’s two.
Cooking pulled pork can happen in a day, but making a great pulled pork should start days ahead of time.
First you want to get yourself a good piece of meat. About 5-7 lbs. Most traditionalists use a boneless pork butt or picnic. The fat in a pork butt will make for a beautiful tender piece of meat to work with. But you can also use pork tenderloin. They are leaner than a pork butt. The pork tenderloin will fall apart as well but you may need to go a little heavier with your sauce.
Now that you have this wonderful piece of meat at home, slather it with some stone ground mustard. (I had a jar of a wonderful mustard from Otter Creek Brewery in Vermont, that I used the last time I made this recipe. It was a roasted garlic, beer mustard that they made with their copper ale. It worked quite well). About 1\2 cup or more. Rub it all over and into the cut if using a boneless butt. Wrap the meat in plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Now you want to make your rub:
3 Tbsp. Kosher salt
1 Tbsp. garlic pepper
1 1\2 cup packed brown sugar
1\4 cup smoked paprika
1 Tbsp. dried mustard
1 Tbsp. cayenne pepper
2-3 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
Mix this all together and after the pork has marinated in the mustard for 24 hours, unwrap the meat and cover it with the rub. All of it. Get it in every nook and cranny. Re-wrap the meat and put it back in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours more.
Now you are ready to cook.
Take your meat out and let it come down to room temperature, about 30 mins.
You need to decide how you want to cook the meat. You can place it in the oven. You can cook it in a BBQ smoker or BBQ pit. You can cook it in a slow cooker. I personally put mine in a unit made by Crock Pot called a BBQ Pit. It’s just a slow cooker with a BBQ grill style lid. It works great with meats, ribs, and roasts.
For this application I am going to reference a slow cooker.
Before placing your meat into the slow cooker, add:
2-3 cloves crushed garlic
1 1\2 cups apple cider vinegar
Either 1\2 cup ketchup or 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
Now place your meat in the cooker. Turn the slow cooker to low & cook for about 8 hours.
When the meat is done, remove from the unit. Place it in a glass dish and pull apart with forks.
Separate the fat from the sauce.
You can either pour half of the sauce right into the meat and serve the rest on the side like an au jus, or just put the meat on some nice ciabatta rolls and have the sauce for dipping on the side.
Serve with cole slaw either on the roll or on the side.
This is a great recipe for tailgating race weekends. Start up the slow cooker after breakfast and when you get back from the track, dinner’s ready!