Cheater BBQ

Sat, May 30 • 0

I picked up a new cookbook last week, and I’ve been trying some of the recipes in it, with varying success. The cookbook is called Cheater BBQ: Barbecue Anytime, Anywhere, in Any Weather, by Mindy Merrell and R. B. Quinn. The basic premise of the book is that you can bypass hours of slow roasting over a fire, using wood to create smoke and flavor, all by using a bottle of liquid smoke.

(If you are a bbq purist, I’ll wait for you to finish screaming now.)

Ok. Here’s the deal. I don’t think the premise is completely true. I think that long, slow roasting over a flame with natural wood smoke produces really great results that you really can’t replicate in any way. That being said, if you live in an apartment building, or just don’t have the time or inclination to wait around for 16 hours while your hunk of meat gets from raw to succulence, then this book just might be something that might interest you.

My first foray into the world of bbq bogosity
Keep reading…


Sun, Aug 10 • 0

Posole is a thick soup that’s made with pork, hominy, garlic, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, and broth, from the Pacific coast of Mexico.

My brother made this two weeks ago over a camp fire. He used pinto beans, but suggested I try making it with hominy instead. I’m not sure how authentic my version is, since I’m pretty much not allowed to cook anything too spicy if I expect my wife to eat it. Also, both of us hate the taste of cilantro, which is a dominant flavor in most of the recipes I’ve come across. I brined my pork before starting, but if you’re strapped for time, just season your pork with salt and pepper before starting. As with all dishes like this, it’s always better the second night. Serves 6-8 hungry diners or 12 normal ones. (Weight Watchers, 1 serving : 10 points.)

2-3 lbs. pork shoulder, trimmed of excess visible fat
2 T oil
½ bottle beer
4-6 cups water
1 large onion, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 strips bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic
½ T ground cumin
1 t chili powder
2 t smoked paprika
pinch cayenne pepper
3 T flour
1 can diced tomato
2 cans hominy, drained

Heat up a dutch oven with oil, and brown the pork shoulder on all sides — about 5 minutes a side. Remove the pork, discard the grease, and deglaze the pot with the beer. Return the pork to the pot, and cover with the water. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 45 minutes, skimming off any foam that forms. Remove the pork to cool, and reserve the broth, skimming off excess fat.

Without the broth, in the same pan, brown the bacon until the bacon fat is rendered. Remove the bacon bits with a slotted spoon, and save with the pork. Augment with olive oil if necessary, and cook the chopped vegetables until transluscent. Add the spices, and the flour, and stir until moistened. Add the tomato with the juice, plus 4 cups of the reserved broth. Cut the pork shoulder into 1 inch cubes, removing any bones and large chunks of fat, and add back into the pot along with the bacon. Stir in the 2 cans of hominy, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.

If you want to make this spicier, you can add some diced jalepeno when you add the onions to the pan.

Pulled Pork Butt

Sat, May 24 • 0

This recipe will make your house smell wonderful, and you’ll be salivating for the hours it takes to cook.

Preheat oven to 325. Mix in a food processor :

6 cloves of garlic
2 california dried chilis, bloomed over an open flame, the stem and seeds removed
2 chunks of peeled fresh ginger
1 T smoked paprika
1 T mixed dried green herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary)
2 t salt
1 t pepper

Score the fat on a boston butt roast, and rub the above mixture all over the roast, especially into the fat.

Slice a white onion, thick, and layer the bottom of a cooking vessel with high sides. Put the roast on top, along with any left over rub. In a small bowl, mix equal amounts of ketchup and yellow mustard, along with half that quantity of molasses. Pour the wet mixture over the pork roast. Cover tightly with a lid, or with a layer of parchment under a layer of foil (tomato and aluminum foil don’t mix). Put it in the oven, and cook for 4 to 8 hours, or until the meat is literally falling off the bone. Once you get close, remove the cover 30 minutes before the end, and let the crust brown.

Remove the roast to rest. Shred with a pair of forks, and serve in the cooking liquid with the onions, and perhaps some good cole slaw, on hamburger buns/kaiser rolls.

Antibiotics in Meat

Sat, Mar 1 • 1

mooSenators Ted Kennedy (D., Mass) and Olympia Snowe (R., Maine) must have read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, because he recently introduced a bill to limit the use of antibiotics in chicken, beef, sheep and pork farms. According to the book, modern industrial cattle farms force the cows to eat something they normally wouldn’t touch — corn. As a result, cows are prone to acquire all kinds of illnesses that normally wouldn’t be an issue, and so industrial farmers feed their animals large doses of antibiotics to keep infections down, even if a particular head of cattle isn’t showing any signs of needing them. Critics claim that this abuse of antibiotics contributes to increased antibiotics in humans. In the book, an industry insider flat-out admitted that if government were ever to step in and ban the use of antibiotics in farm animals, all of the modern industrial farming practices that have been in vogue for the last 30 to 50 years would cease to be profitable, and farmers would have to go back to raising livestock the old-fashioned, but more natural (and humane) way. This would have an impact on consumers at the check-out, doubling the cost of beef.

Other benefits of doing away with the modern industrial farm practices include making the food supply safer from e-coli contamination, and less risk of bovine spongiform encephalitis, aka “mad cow” disease.

Interestingly, corn farmers probably won’t be too upset about the passage of this bill, since the US government pays them a certain amount of money for a bushel of corn, regardless of market prices or demand. You can expect big opposition bill from industrial agrifarm giants like ADM and Tyson’s Food, though. Until the bill’s passage, you should probably stick to only buying meat with the green “USDA Organic” seal.

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