Mostly about food, this blog is just a place for me to throw things that are of interest to me. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by an look around. This represents just some of the stops on the various pathways that this amateur home cook finds himself.

You may find that these foods tend toward protein and away from carbohydrates - this is due to diabetic issues, so I try to only sparingly use carbs, and good ones at that. Of course, sometimes I forget....

Feel free to drop me a line with any suggestions or just to let me know what you think. Thanks!

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wrap them Loins!

Momma's home, and hungry. Need some quick and tasty eats. I decided to pull together ideas from three different dishes and produce some eats.

I started with a pork tenderloin, all silver skin and fat removed. It was wrapped in a spiral bacon weave, with the bacon woven all the way around, not just wrapped, with toothpicks holding the ends down. It was then seasoned with a commercial seasoning which I received in a Brethren trade. Very nice stuff! Here it is pre-seasoning:

On the grill, doing all sides until the bacon is cooked. After that, it was moved to the cooler side to finish cooking.

Resting on the cutting board. It was pulled at an internal temp of 138°. Final internal was 146°.

A sliced pic (blurry - sorry). Very juicy, hard to keep from eating it right off the board!

Served up with a baked potato carrying butter, bacon salt, pepper and minced cilantro:

Here's the seasoning I used. It has a terrific flavor profile, but not really any heat. This is a good thing, as you can add chili/cayenne powder to make your desired heat level. It's just hard to find!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Bacon Cheeseburger - for FOUR

So I was thinking of food - big surprise - and missing the great places that have gone on to that restaurant retirement in the sky. One of the San Antonio greats was Little Hipp's Gimmedraw Parlor, home of Shypoke eggs, mega-sized cheeseburgers, and Willard the turtle. Just down the street from Hipp's Bubble Room, located on the corner and possessing a criminally undersized parking lot, it was impossible to have a bad time there.

Back to the burgers. They had these giant burgers you had to cut like a pizza to eat, but beside being huge, they were mighty tasty. So I figured what the heck, even though I don't own a flat top or have access to those giant buns, I'd try and crank one out to honor the old place. So in tribute to the Hipp family, I present the Bacon Cheeseburger for Four.

First, I readied eight slices of Buckboard bacon,made from pork shoulder rather than bellies. It's much leaner and more flavorful. This was made them into a weave, pre-cooked on a comal, drained and set aside for later.

Next I took 1.5 lbs of ground chuck, and added my seasonings to the meat. You never want to mix fresh ground meat too much, as it will make it tough. This I divided into two very large but thin patties. I trimmed my bacon weave to a bout an inch smaller than the burger meat, and placed it on one patty.

These two patties were then stacked and had the edges crimped together securely. A final round of seasoning, and off to the Weber it went.

Once done, it was topped with sliced cheese and peeled Hatch peppers. The bun was split and grilled as well for a bit of crunchiness. Adding a little catsup & mayo, sliced onion and cilantro, and we were ready to roll!

Note: That little dot on the plate below is a quarter, just for an idea of scale.

Here's the presentation pic - with a clear view of all the goodies and the hidden bacon. The bread loaf I chose for this effort was a multi-grain one, and was a little chewy and heavy. Probably a home made pan frances type of loaf would make a better bun.

Friday, April 2, 2010

MOINKS & Grilled Asparagus

Most of you may not know what a MOINK is. It is a treat that was created by BBQ Grail, a frequent and skilled poster on the BBQ Brethren online forum. Basically, a MOINK is is an all-beef meatball (the "MOO") which is then wrapped in bacon (the "OINK"). Put them together, you have MOINK.

These were done on a Weber grill, but I usually do them in the smoker. Either way, tasty stuff! Here are my ingredients: pre-made beef meatballs, fresh bacon, some Hog Waller rub, and a BBQ sauce I created from tomato sauce, honey, Worcestershire sauce, Sriracha, and a few other tasty goodies.

Each MOINK was made up using a half-piece of bacon, pinned around the meatball with a toothpick.

The MOINKs were put on the grill with indirect heat from an offset fore in the Weber kettle.

Once they were flipped, I added the fresh asparagus coated with olive oil, salt and cracked pepper.

Finished MOINKs!

Plated MOINKs, along with grilled asparagus and Bernaise sauce.

Different? Yes. Tasty? You bet!

Monday, March 15, 2010

First hot-fast brisket - amazing results!

I just finished my first hot & fast CAB choice brisket today on the WSM 22 at about 300 degrees. It was an eye-opening experience (thanks, Konrad!). One thing I tried which was a bit of extra work was to separate the point and flat and trim of all the excess fat. These I panned separately. I flipped them over and foiled the pans as each got to 165. In the pans was the au jus that the brisket had created to which I added some water and flavoring liquid.

Without having to heat up all that fat must have made an immense difference! The panned point was at 200 after only 3 hours, and the flat was at 185! Half an hour later I checked the flat at 200, and pulled it as well. They rested for an hour in a 170 degree warming oven, swimming in the juices. Doing the pieces separately made it easy to control consistency without it being a compromise. Both had a great smoke ring as well. I saw no issues from having removed all that fat cap and the stuff surrounding the point. It was still very juicy, very tender and had a great flavor.

That's going from into the pit to into the stomach in less than 5 hours, including resting, for a 14+ lb. brisket.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pomegranate Glaze/Sauce

Here is a terrific glaze for chicken and pork. Using the base of pomegranate juice makes for a tasty but hard-to-identify flavor that makes you want more. This recipe is easily doubled for more glaze/sauce. See note at the end of the recipe about the listed hot sauce. For use as a glaze, double the brown sugar and glaze the meat 1/2 hour before removing from the smoker. For sauce, use as-is.

6 T pure Pomegranate juice
4 T ketchup
2 T Búfalo jalapeno hot sauce
2 T brown sugar
1/2 T apple cider vinegar

Add all ingredients to a saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk together well.
As bubbles start to form, reduce to a slow simmer and let reduce by half, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. It will thicken into a delicious sauce.

The hot sauce listed is one of Mexico's best-kept secrets, and is the best selling sauce there. It is very thick, like ketchup, and doesn't run all over the place like the more popular sauces do, and it isn't overpoweringly vinegar-tasting. It is widely available at H.E.B. stores and Wal*Mart, and get the sauce with the red plastic safety seal around the cap - it has carrots listed as an ingredient.

Pork SmokeLoins

Another BBQ treat for those of you who want a good, fast, tasty meal from your smoker. They can be grilled as well, but won't have the great smoky flavor.

2 pork tenderloins, each around a pound
8 slices of regular bacon
BBQ rub mixture, your own or store bought.
Pomegranate sauce (click for recipe)

Open the tenderloin package(s) and rinse off the loins. Trim off any silver skin. Cut each tenderloin in half, so you have two loinettes about 6" long form each.

Next, coat each loinette lightly in your favorite BBQ rub. This doesn't need to be very heavy, pork tenderloin is a very mild-flavored meat and you don't want to overdo it. Next, you'll notice that one end of each loin tapers to a point. You'll want to fold that over so it cooks evenly with the rest of the meat. It is easily done, starting like this:

...and finishing like this:

Next comes the bacon. Using a toothpick, secure one end of a strip of bacon to the meat near one end. Wrap it in a spiral around the meat - it ought to go about halfway:

use another toothpick to secure the end and start another slice of bacon. Continue spiraling around the meat until covered and finish with a third toothpick. Two slices of bacon ought to to cover one loinette. Repeat this wrapping for the for other loinettes.

Here I put them on the smoker alongside a panned brisket point. The smoker is running about 300 degrees, you can choose to do them down around 225 if you like.

Finally done! They were smoked to an internal temp of 140, with carry-over heat taking them to 145. Before you get all riled up, I know the USDA says to cook pork to 165, but that would ruin the tenderloins. That old bugaboo trichinosis is killed by 141 degrees, so not to worry.

Here is a loinette sliced through with a nice pomegranate sauce. You can see the light smoke ring just inside the bacon layer. Very tasty!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chicken Myronnaise

People gain inspiration for new dishes from many sources, and sometimes they aren't sure where it comes from. I must think about cooking all the time, because this one came to me in the shower! The name comes from two sources - Myron Mixon, a master BBQ pitmaster who uses muffin tins for his competition chicken, and the Bearnaise sauce used in the dish.

I started out with six large chicken thighs. I selected thighs over the more oft-used breasts, because they stay much more moist and have more flavor. I skinned and de-boned them myself, removing as much fat as practical.

Then I went to my inside freezer and pulled some compound butter I had made a while ago. This particular butter is combined with cilantro, lime juice and garlic. Killer stuff! I put about 1/2 tablespoon of the compound butter in each muffin well.

Next, I formed the boneless thighs into a nice smooth ball and wrapped them with bacon. These were placed upside down in the muffin wells on top of the butter. You can run these either in the smoker or the oven, but count on about 45 minutes at 275 degrees. These I had to cook in the oven, as the weather was not conducive to running the smoker, unfortunately. Remember, thighs won't turn white like breasts, so you can't go by color - a good instant thermometer is your friend here.

I then selected some nice slices of home made smoked Canadian Bacon and brought the slices up to room temperature. Okay, there actually were more than six, but I sampled a couple for quality control purposes.

Now comes the most challenging part of the dish, especially if you have never made Bearnaise sauce before. It can be very challenging if you aren't good with a whisk. There are many different recipes for this delight, so I'll leave it up to the reader to find one they are comfortable with. If you absolutely can't do it, Knorr makes a packaged mix that can be substituted, but it won't be quite the same. Either way, this is a very rich sauce and definitely not low-calorie - about a third of it is butter.

Now to plate it up. I used well-toasted English muffin halves as a base, and applied a "light" layer of Bearnaise followed by a slice of Canadian Bacon.

Next I removed a wrapped chicken thigh from the muffin tin, inverted and drained the butter from it, and centered it on the Canadian bacon. Although not shown below, another coating of Bearnaise was spooned over the final product.

I didn't get any finished and sliced pictures, as we were hungry and they disappeared before I thought of it. These were very delicious, and although very rich will by popular demand be on the regular rotating menu here at Casa Gordita!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Can You Be?


1995 - 2010

I've had worse days in my life, but I can't recall when the last one was that was worse than today. Our beloved Keeshond, Pogo, has been having serious problems the last several months. He had lost most of his hearing, could not see for the large cataracts in his eyes, and has spent most of his time sleeping. We went out of our way to care for his needs and pay attention to him when he was up and around. Of late, however, he began to worsen and was having balance and bowel control issues. Finally, he decided that he wasn't interested in food anymore like he was. Kathy and I knew the day would come when he could not function any more, and that we would have to put aside our wants and desires in order to do what was right in terms of his daily suffering. Today was that day.

At 10:00 am this morning at the Bandera Veterinary Clinic, Pogo departed this world for whatever follows for beloved pets and family members. He left without pain and is suffering no more. It has been an exasperating and tear-filled day here at Casa Gordita, and I expect that to continue for some time to come.

Pogo was found as a young dog wandering in the country, wet and mud-coated, with no clue as to his origins. After a trip to the vet and a good cleaning up, several attempts were made to locate his owners, and then to find him a good home, as we already had a dog. None of these efforts panned out, and so we decided that he would make his home with us. He was a smart, active and playful guy, and a source of much pleasure and love for our family.

I encourage any of you who knew him to remember him fondly for who he was, and know he is better off now than he has been of late. In response to the question posed in the title of this piece:

"Can you be the kind of person your dog thinks you are?"

Monday, January 18, 2010

WSM Short Ribs & more

Another piece of heaven from the 'Black Capsule'. I happened to see some particularly meaty short ribs at the store the other day, and couldn't pass them by. Although there are but two of us, I figured that 7.5 lbs. was a reasonable amount!

I gave them a good rub down with olive oil, and then applied some kosher salt and fresh ground pepper...

I used 8 lbs. of charcoal, and 3 hunks of mesquite, lighting it off with a half-chimney of lump. After getting the smoker up to temp, on went the ribs. There was a little extra space, so 4 bratwurst and a couple of kielbassas hit the grid with the ribs.

Finally done! I used the hyper-accurate green Thermopen to make sure they were right where I wanted them - rare to medium rare.

It was really difficult not to just dig in, but I let them rest in a warm oven a bit.

Here's the sausages that accompanied the ribs - nice looking group!

These came out just the way we like them - tender, juicy and no where near overdone.

Hope you like seeing them as much as I liked eating them!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year from the Family

Years back, I fried my first turkey, and DW told me that she didn't want to do any more turkeys in the oven. Well, after today, she doesn't want those either. Looks like it's smoked turkeys from now on! I did my first turkey smoke today, with a couple of 12 lb.'ers on the WSM. Kinda gutsy as all the kids and grandkids were going to be here for chow. The birds were brined overnight, and run at 275 degrees until the breast was at 170. They were very juicy and quickly consumed!

Loading up the Black Capsule:

Ready to go:

Finished, and peeled back some skin to check the goodness:

Nothing but smiles from the "customers":

We also had mashed baby red garlic potatoes, sweet potatoes, cornbread casserole, and a big pot of fixed-up black-eyed peas.