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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Char siu-the finale

Here are the final shots of the completed char siu.  I ended up adding some cherry preserves to the honey, 1/8 cup honey to 1/8 cup cherry preserves.  This is used as a baste to the char siu during the last 20 minutes of the cook.

I also include this photo of the very high tech BBQ starter that we used to move things along.

There cherry preserves add a very nice fruity flavor while enhancing the red and shine typical of this recipe. The meat was tender and had a range of sweet, salty and savory flavors. Here it is marinading, we ended up vacuum packing this for 36 hours, which I think gives it better flavor. This is a dish that if you can go more than one day, it gets better.

Off the kettle and waiting for the knife.

The finished product.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Char siu

Chinese BBQ Pork, a post form the road.  Tonight I will be making a heirloom recipe, Chinese BBQ pork a la Grandpa Kwock.  My sister-in-laws grandfather ran a Chinese deli and butcher shop in the Los Angeles area for several decades and developed this recipe from his family's own recipes.  It makes some allowances for the ingredients that were more prevalent in 1940's Los Angeles. Here is the recipe as written in his daughters hand.

2 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce
2tablesoons Soy Sauce (dark or regular, not light and never lite)
1.5 tablespoons Rice Wine (sha sing wine)
2.5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon catsup
1.5 tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 cup honey

Mix first seven ingredients and place in a sealable pan or zip sealing bag.

Bone a pork butt, you can use up to 2 lbs of meat for this amount of marinade. Cut boned butt into 3" thick strips. Try to remove large hunks of fat.

Marinade pork strips for a minimum of 4 hours.  Quite frankly, to me, a minimum of 12 hours is necessary to get the right flavor and texture.

This recipe can be roasted in an oven for 45 minutes to an hour at 375F or roasted over a live fire (which is what I prefer) for the same.  The honey is used to baste the meat for the last 20 minutes, first one side for 15 minutes, then turn and baste top of meat for 5 minutes.

The final product should have burnt edges and a nice shiny red surface on the non-edge surfaces.

Pics and variations next post.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Left-hand cooking

I remain left-handed only, this would be okay if I was left-handed. Sadly, I am not. Still, I managed to open a bottle of aged chocolate milk stout and I did make some fry bread. It was tasty.  The stout was brewed last year and I have been holding onto a few bottle through the summer to see how it aged for a year or so.  It aged beautifully, the chocolate and hops flavors have blended into a wonderful hint of chocolate on the front with the hops providing just a little zing to highlight the finish, it has a long finish with a nice malty mid-palate.  As a milk stout, there is the characteristic sense of sweetness throughout the drinking experience. This would be a crowd pleasing brew.

The fry bread was a tasty snack, with my home made seasoned salt on top to add a little salty/peppery flavor along with a nice fluffy yet chewy texture. I used a simple soft dough with commercial yeast, all-purpose flour, kneaded to make sure it had a good chewy texture. Fried in a mix of canola and light olive oil.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Well, I somehow managed to injure myself again, this time it is the right hand.  This makes things like cooking rather difficult. But, I can pop a bottle open.  So, here is a brew post.  About 7 months ago I made some hard cider, using my house ale yeast blend.  This was a mistake. I was told by experienced cider makers that this would be a mistake.  I made it with organic unfiltered apple juice. I was told by experienced cider makers that this would be a mistake. This was also a mistake. Still, I made hard cider and it is finally mellowed enough to say it is quite good.  However, it looks like this...

Not exactly the light clear elixir I had planned. The aroma is definitely of apples with a slight hint of ale. The flavor is dry, with undertones of apple, the overall flavor is that of a fruity wine, with a mild ale-ish finish. The house yeast blend is a blend of California and English ale strains that has been harvested from several previous stout, porter and red ale ferments, it has a strong ale yeast profile.

You also probably wonder about the ice, well, this cider is over-carbonated, I mean, to the very limit of being bottle bombs, the ice calms it down.  Next time, I will, perhaps, take some advice.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Well, yesterdays brisket was mighty tasty, but, I felt it was a little dry.  I felt a little moisture needed to be added back in, and chili would be the perfect way to do that. As an aside, most anytime I cook something like a brisket, I feed off of it for several days, has to do with being single. Anyways, no beans, I did add tomatoes, which I know is strictly speaking, not chili. Okay, it is a chili-like substance.

Yes, it does appear that I have served the chili in a dog bowl, like I said, single.  And you might ask, how do you know how much chili to add.  Well, today I used a simple method, I added some chile powder/seasoning mix etc...leaned over the pot, added more, leaned some more, and then, Wowzers!  Reeled away from stove, eyes and nose burning, yep, that is enough chile powder right there. hack wheeze snort snort whimper...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Brisket Tonight

Well, finally got some time to get back on the smoker, and decided to give brisket a run.  I found a small brisket flat which I rubbed up with a two later rub of Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy then a second layer consisting of medium ground black pepper, kosher salt and orange rind. It looked like this.

I put it on the kettle over a mixed fire of hardwood lump, hickory chunks and oak chunks.  The wood comprised about half the total fuel load.  It was allowed to light nearly completely and then dumped onto unlit lump. The brisket was put on once the thin blue smoke started up, temperature was running 250F. After one hour, I ramped up the heat to 280F to make a hot-n-fast brisket cook. Here is what came off 4 hours after that.

Served up on a Cakebox bun with some red onions and pickles.  And a Belgian Triple Abbey.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

not Queing yet

The return of the dilettante blogger...and I am still not firing up the kettle.  But I did use some of my 'Que stuff to make dinner and it was good.  I decided a burger was in order, and tater tots!  There had to be tater tots.  However, before just whacking the Yukon Gold tater tots into the oven, I coated them with canola oil and a dose of Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy rub.  This was a great decision.

The burger was Niman Ranch, lean grind, coated with Plowboy's Bovine Bold rub and fried up on my griddle. I use an old Magnalite Professional griddle as a pseudo-flat top on my stove.  Amongst it's many duties is actually use as a griddle (one of it's main services is as a low heat burner for sauce work and keeping beans warm).

Here is the food.  The fixings ready for assembly...

Moments before assembly...and let me add here, that Bovine Bold added a lovely crust and an excellent flavor and after a brief rest, the juicy burger was ready for this...

And yes, no lettuce, I went with raw cucumbers, persian-type cucumbers in fact. And look at those tater tots.

Oh, it was accompanied by a nice glass (yes a wine stem) of root beer ale.  I mourn the fact that this is the second to last bottle of this summer's brew.

Friday, November 6, 2009

One of the things about being a BBQ afficionado (addict) is that every trip away from home is a search for new BBQ rubs and sauces.  This past week, I was visiting family in Northern California and took the opportunity to locate some new flavors, as well as an old favorite.  I have been hearing about the new BBQ place in a town that is a little too far off the beaten path, even if I am on vacation, but, I found that they have started marketing their sauce locally in grocery stores, hence, two bottle of Shamus T. Bones BBQ sauce found it's way into my possession.  I also found some jars of Larrupin Cafe Red Sauce which is an excellent version of a BBQ red sauce and is easily converted into a glaze. Here is an image of some examples of the haul.

Along with these two sauces, I found some lime powder and more chile powder to add to my excessively well stocked cabinet of pepper powders. I am not sure how these products will figure into my cooking just yet.  But, vacation is over soon and I will be back at the kettle.