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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Our Amazon Store is Live


Greetings, Legion of Dragon Knuckle.

Big news. Amazon has allowed us to create a store page for our Dragon Knuckle brand. We put together our best pictures and videos. It went live today.

Check it out.

We know the best way to convince people that our gloves are the best is to just reach into the fire. Yet Amazon does not allow most retailers to use anything other than images and text on their product pages. We're so glad to be able to grab handfuls of coals and show our audience.

video

So remember: the word is like butter so spread the word. Our fans are the best. We see so many happy Dragon Knuckle owners on Instagram cooking and hooking up their families and friends. Follow us as DragonKnuckle_Jana and DragonKnuckle_David.

Keep it up and thank you.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

More Pork Shoulder Tips from Woodrow


Just after we posted Woodrow's BBQ rub and sauce, he passed us some more cooking advice. Some is shoulder specific and some is about life in general. I considered adding it to the first post, but it has enough gold to stand on its own.

Remember to follow @bits.bytes.brews on Instagram.

Put this on your grill and smoke it:

Here are a few tips that have helped me or still do to this day.

- Don't EVER get discouraged. It may seem like all is lost; but never give up. The last thing you want to do (especially as a beginning Pit-master) is compare your cooks to that of the folks you see on TV or in competitions you go to. More than likely they have many years of experience under their belts... But don't fret! With perseverance you can get there!

- THE STALL IS REAL! Don't let that dumb hunk of meat let you believe that it's done when it stays at 160 degrees for an hour or so and doesn't move. Kinda like how an athlete sweats to cool him or herself off; the meat does the same thing. As it cooks, it sweats and as it sweats, it cools (not so much as dropping temp, but as not climbing any higher. Just keep your pit at a steady temp and wait till it hits that magic 203 degrees.

- Branching off on the last tip. BE PATIENT! Good 'Que can't be rushed... They call it 'Low and Slow' for a reason.

- If you're going to inject your Pork Shoulder; be careful on what you use. If you go to say a major chain store and buy your meat there - more than likely it's going to me injected with a salt solution already. If that's the case inject it with 4 parts apple juice, 2 parts apple cider vinegar, and one part whiskey (You need to try it. Whiskey adds such an outstanding flavor... especially when you smoke with maple or oak).

If you got your shoulder from a reputable butcher; add a cup or so of kosher salt to the injection.

- Always be willing to learn. If you find that a good cook is going to give you advice, take it. Even if you already know the stuff.

-Have your family take part. Barbecuing is more than just cooking stuff to eat... It's a time of bonding, friendship, and just plain fun.

- Lastly, never 'Que without a good beer!

I've never thought about THE STALL before, but now I feel I'll see it everywhere. I've also never thought about my pork shoulder as an athlete, but the image fits. As for injecting, I've not tried that trick but I will.

(No, Sweetie. The whiskey is for the pork.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pork Shoulder Rub and Sauce by Bits.Bytes.Brews


Instagram has become our office space. Without guilt, Jana and I both spend much time and energy exchanging pictures, ideas and sentiments with people around the world as @dragonknuckle_jana and @dragonknuckle_david. We've become those dorks who can't eat without posting it first.

Don't be disappointed. We're building a brand. If we weren't truly artistic spirits who love people and food, we'd be fake.

One of the more interesting cats I've run into is @bits.bytes.brews. He asked me about our gloves and we got to talking about pork shoulders. It's Pork Shoulder Month. I've been asking everyone for their shoulder technique.

So Woodrow (that's his government name) sent me some background along with his recipe for pork rub and barbecue sauce.

How universal is barbecue? Woodrow builds competition-speed computers that run zillions of computations per second, then goes home to cook slow and low. Don't think your PC guru doesn't know his way around the smoker, too.

Here's a little piece of him:

My passion for BBQ started many years ago. In a small town called Charlestown (in the small state of Rhode Island). I was very young, maybe nine years old when I really started watching my Dad work his magic on the ‘Que. In all honesty – it was very rare that my Father wasn’t barbecuing something. Mind you, his pit was nothing spectacular – but he made it work. From burgers to wings, ribs to chops – he did it all and I fell in love…

Fast forward a couple decades – I found a cheap offset smoker at a local department store and figured; why not? I’m married and have a beautiful daughter with one on the way. Why not start doing something that I loved when I was a small boy? Well… This purchase ignited something big. I barbecued nearly every single day until my cheap offset just wasn’t doing it anymore. My wife and I hopped in the truck, drove 2 hours to a small town in New Hampshire and picked up my current pit – A Yoder Loaded Wichita.



Barbecue is an amazing thing. It builds attention to detail, teamwork and brings people closer together when it’s time to finally reap the rewards you worked so hard on. If it wasn’t for my father, my long days of trial and error and for my wife for helping me get what has become an essential part of family gatherings – my life in barbecue wouldn’t be where it is today.

Pork Rub
The base of my pork rub (mainly for my pulled pork) is roughly a 50/50 blend of kosher salt and table grind black pepper. I truly recommend pre-ground pepper due to the fact that it’s a bit lighter in the bite, but still has a great flavor.

For a 8-10lb shoulder
1 Cup Kosher salt
1 Cup table grind black pepper
3 Tablespoons of paprika
3 Tablespoons garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon Cayenne pepper

When applying the rub; use a shaker with large holes and let your wrists do the work. Salt is MUCH heavier than the rest and tends to settle.



Wood’s Killer ‘Que
¾ Cup finely chopped onion
1-2 Habanero Peppers, seeds removed (Or Jalapeno if you’d like it less spicy)
½ teaspoon of Ghost Chili powder (If you’re feeling brave)
2-3 Cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
32oz of natural ketchup (homemade is the best!)
1 Cup of apple cider vinegar
1 Cup of brown sugar (I prefer the light stuff)
¼ Cup of agave nectar (or honey if you’d prefer)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire
1 teaspoon of cumin
¼ cup of Brisket or Pulled Pork drippings

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and heat until nearly bubbling. Use immediately or let it cool and store for up to 5 days.


When it comes to cooking, everyone's machine is different. You know your smoker. Cook without hurry and you'll be fine. Pork shoulders are forgiving.

Next time, give Woodrow's sauce and rub a try. I find it unique that his rub has no sugar in it. For mine, turbinado sugar is the #1 ingredient.

The more you share with people, the more you learn. That's your barbecue lesson for the day.

And when it comes to pulling apart that shoulder, we suggest our own claws. Not just because we sell them. We tried multiple variations and found this aggressive curve dug in best and caused less hand fatigue. They're tough and clean up well. That's why we chose this design:



Pulled Pork Month barrels on. Currently I have a shoulder in my Three Shadows brine. I'll be cooking it overnight on Wednesday. Stay tuned.

Until then, keep it slow and low.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Brahestad Butt by Arctic BBQ

Image via ArcticBBQ.com

Perhaps "butt" is a funny word in Finland, but I don't get it.

Johannes at Arctic BBQ begins his post on pulled pork by stopping everyone's giggles. He explains that "butt" refers to barrel, as in the barrels used to transport pork shoulders and hams during the American revolutionary war.

I'd read that the term came from Old English, meaning "the widest part." My widest parts are my shoulders (for now) unless you count the distance between my self image and reality, which is spacious.

In classic Arctic BBQ style, Johannes takes a thoughtful, controlled approach to his 4.5 pound shoulder. He removed it from the fridge 2 hours ahead of time. He seasoned it with 7 tablespoons of rub composed of black pepper, paprika, onion, thyme, ginger, lemon and 23% smoked salt (he probably counted the grains).

He built a briquette snake and added some apple wood then monitored the whole affair with his iGrill2 iPad app.

His temp was 192ºF after 6 1/2 hours then he let it rest for an hour. That's faster than I do it. It's always enlightening to see another's take on a classic meal.

He used a couple of other tricks and techniques. What was he spraying it with in the picture above? Read his complete pulled pork study here and tease him about his non-Dragon Knuckle claws in the comments.

Image via ArcticBBQ.com

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Chef Martin Lopez's Carnitas de Michoacán


When I was sixteen, I needed a job. I went through the classified ads and found a gig bussing tables at a Mexican Bar and Grill.

My life changed forever.

Not only did I realize there was good money to be made earning tips in the restaurant business, but I got to be around different people all the time. I listened to them, talked with them, watched them interact, saw how they ate, observed how they ordered and picked up on the many fascinating details of being human.

And I fell in love with Mexican flavors. Cilantro, chilis, lime, cumin, avocado, pollo borracho, carne asada, tequila and anything wrapped in a tortilla are close to my otherwise suburban gringo heart.

So for Pork Shoulder Month, I had to think about Carnitas. I was so glad Chef Martin Lopez shared his recipe with us.


Chef Martin grew up in Mexico City in a large family run by his hardworking, dedicated Mother. At the age of seven he was already a big part of feeding the family. He earned a degree in Tourism and Languages in Mexico City in 1988 then went back to school for a degree in the Culinary Arts. He has travelled all around Europe and South America, adding multicultural elements to his style that he calls Mexican Novelle.

He is a professional chef, food writer, blogger and culinary ambassador for the Hispanic and Latin community.

Here's his version of the classic Carnitas recipe:


There is nothing better than to take a walk around the plazas in Mexico for lunch or dinner and smell the amazing aromas coming from all the food vendors.

One dish that you will see almost in every corner is the amazing Pork Carnitas. This delicate tender meat is used to fill tacos, and every one claims they have “the best secret recipe” as these recipes and cooking methods are passed from generation to generation.

I am bringing you a small taste of Mexico with my version on how to make slow-simmered pork, with a quick fry at the end. Carnitas!

Carnitas are easy to make, but do take some time so plan accordingly. They are the perfect dish for a family event as you can have it ready and let your guests assemble their own tacos.

So have a big fiesta and serve Carnitas!

Your friends will remember them for years to come!

INGREDIENTS:

Half a white onion peeled and coarsely chopped

1 1/2 cups water

6 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 stick of Mexican cinnamon

4 whole cloves stems removed

1 tablespoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste

1 cup of pork lard

4 to 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt cut into 4-inch chunks, fat on

1/2 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt

2 bay leaves

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice and half of a whole orange

½ cup of sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS:

Place the water, onion, garlic cloves, marjoram, thyme, black pepper, cinnamon, stemmed whole cloves and 1 tablespoon salt in a blender and puree until smooth.

Set a large Dutch oven or heavy casserole over medium-high heat. Add the lard and once it has heated up, add the pork chunks and sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Brown the meat on all sides, stirring and flipping as each side browns, about 10 minutes.

Pour the onion mixture over the meat, let it come to a simmer and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Pour in the orange juice, the half orange and sweetened condensed milk, add the 2 bay leaves, and give it a good stir. Let it come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low to low and cover. Cook covered, stirring and scraping the bottom of the casserole a couple times and until the meat is completely cooked and coming easily apart if you pull one piece, about one hour and a half. Remove the lid, cook for another 4 to 5 minutes on high heat to give the meat a fast high heat fry.

Turn off the heat and let it cool down, scoop out the Carnitas with a slotted spoon, leaving any fat behind, and serve the meat in a bowl or platter. Shred with a fork, if desired, before tucking into tacos. Serve with warm corn tortillas and chopped cilantro, fresh onion, pickled jalapeños, carrots, guacamole, Pico de Gallo and salsas on the side.

Enjoy!

Humongous thanks to Chef Martin and John Schell for sharing this. I'll put this together for my family soon.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Happy Pork Shoulder Month


I just started messing around with pork shoulder. It has rapidly become one of my favorite cuts of meat. It's very versatile, takes other flavors well and is very forgiving.

All you need is prep and patience. You can't cook it fast, so plan ahead, hence my Saturday Night Shoulder technique.

Around the world, from Carnitas to Kahlua Pig to classic American Pulled Pork, everyone has their own way of cooking the shoulder.

So I said to myself: "Self, let's feature the pork shoulder for a month. Maybe next month we'll do something different."

So I'm reaching out to you and other great cooks I know for your favorite pork shoulder recipes and techniques. There are no wrong answers here. Please share with me at David at Dragon Knuckle dot com and I will post it here.

Let's Get to Know the Cut


You might not be a real butcher, so let's look at the pig part we're talking about.

Image via Shop Latin Touch
You can get it with or without the skin. You can get it bone-in or boneless.

Image via Flickr by Key West Wedding Photography
Image via WorldTradeDB
I've only worked with the bone-in skinless variety. I like the square shape and nice fat cap. It's tough to dry out but requires a along patient cooking time.

This is the Pork Shoulder Month into. I will soon be sharing my own style of making pulled pork. I have a fantastic Carnitas recipe from a well known chef. I will also bring the Hawaiian take on the pork shoulder.

What else can we do? It's a big porky world out there. Give me what you got.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Knuckling Up at the Pomona SoCal BBQ Bash




The Rub Life BBQ Team is going to battle in Pomona this weekend with Dragon Knuckle Gloves on their fists.

Yeah, that sounds a bit dramatic. It's not about the gloves. It's about heart, stomach, palate and skill. But there will be gloves and our logo on their banner, for which we are flattered and grateful.


This Saturday at the Pomona Fairplex from 11am to 6pm, it's going down. Lots of barbecue with games for the little kids, beer for the big kids and music for everyone.

Competing together in the Amateur category will be Fern's Semi-Famous BBQ, Krillyz Backyard BBQ and Sycamore Street BBQ. Smoking Ray's Backyard BBQ will be competing on his own. 7 Sins BBQ will be competing in the Professional category.


The Amateurs will be cooking chicken and ribs. The Professionals will be doing chicken, ribs, pork butt and brisket.

Here we are over a thousand miles north missing out on the whole thing. While not fit to compete, we are certainly prepared to eat and have fun. Too bad. We need a road trip.

Get your tickets here if you'll be in Southern California this weekend.

Friday, May 12, 2017

What Kind of Fool Grills a Banana?


Grillin' Fools grill bananas. That's who.

Scott Thomas, who is leader of the Grillin' Fools team along with his father Greg and Tom Jones, notes that no one ever grills breakfast or dessert.

I'll start, man. I promise, especially after seeing this Grilled Banana Split recipe.


Image via GrillinFools.com
Who are the Grillin' Fools?
Scott, Greg and Tom are active and passionate outdoor cookers based around St. Louis. They are dedicated to sharing their mistakes and triumphs in order to teach others. They don't cater, will never own a restaurant and they don't cook competitively.

They do host an annual Charity BBQ Competition, however, and can be talked into doing Grilling Classes.

Scott loves cooking together with his dad, but admits "we never cooked anything together until I started the website. I never cooked with him as a kid. He manned the grill and I watched. The running joke is I was sent to college with a suitcase and a grill. While we didn't cook much when I was young, we cook all the time together now and it's really special to have my dad around and doing this as a business together. Most people get those, 'pinch me, am I dreaming,' moments a few times in their lives. I get them dozens of times a year being able to cook with dad so often as well as the other BBQ related events we are able to do together."

Catch Scott cooking Bacon Pineapple Ribs with his Dragon Knuckle Gloves:


The way Grillin' Fools does recipes is unique and very detailed. In a narrative tone, they describe each step including products used and mistakes along the way. Then they finish with a printable recipe card you can easily save and store.


The Banana Split recipe caught my attention because it reminded me or a Brûléed Banana dessert I once served at a restaurant. That dish used a torch to caramelize sugar on bananas. Then came vanilla ice cream, berries, chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Scott's take on this dish adds smoky flavor from the grill and that little kick of spice. Sweet and hot always go well together.


Image via GrillinFools.com
Lots of fruit goes nice on the grill. Peaches, apples, strawberries or anything firm enough to stay together. Just make sure the grill's not too hot and don't take your eye off it. Things can go wrong in a hurry.


Next time you step to the grill, try this one: Cut a pineapple into 1" rings. Cut off the peel and the core. Sprinkle it with sugar and put it on the grill until both sides are charred a bit. Then stick that on a plate and put a scoop of vanilla right in the hole in the middle. Berries, syrup and whipped cream couldn't hurt here.
Get out there and get foolish. Grill new stuff and don't be afraid to make mistakes. Find Grillin' Fools on Instagram and learn something.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Is Your Mama a Dragon Knuckle Woman?

Image via Flickr by Marcelo Cantarela

What have your mother's hands done for you?


  • Cradled you as a baby.
  • Wiped the tears from your face.
  • Tickled you until you giggled pink.
  • Put bandages on your boo-boos.
  • Made you many, many meals.
  • Held your hand to keep you safe.
  • Waved good-bye when you flew from her nest.

What are you getting her for Mother's Day? Cut flowers that will die in a few days? More perfume or lotions? Chocolates made by somebody else? A card stamped out in a factory?

Image via Flickr by edwardhblake

Why not do something good for the hands that have done so much for you?

Protect her with Dragon Knuckle Heat Resistant Cut Resistant BBQ Gloves.

You may look at the bold red flames and think it's strictly a masculine product. You might think the grill and the smoker is a man's world. You'd be wrong.

Image via ArcticBBQ.com
Women dig the smoke, the sizzle and the slow & low. Everyone male, female, alien or whatever loves barbecue once it gets in their veins.

Get your mama a Mother's Day Gift Set of Dragon Knuckle BBQ Gloves and Meat Shredder Claws.

Let her lovingly coddle a pork shoulder for sixteen hours. Then watch her eyes light up when she sinks her new claws into it, yielding pounds of succulent, smoky goodness.

She might even let you have a bite.

Don't just give her a thing. Give her a new passion. Open the door to the barbecue world. She'll never be the same.


Get Dragon Knuckle BBQ Gloves and Claws together for only $29.99. Slow smoked pork shoulder not included.

Use code GETCLAWS or DKGLOVES. But don't delay. You only have a couple days.

And please don't make her cook on Sunday.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Cinco de Mayo with Finnish Pulled Moose Tacos



The first restaurant I ever worked at was a Mexican joint in Napa Valley, California. I still have a soft spot for those flavors.
Tequila. Cerveza with lime. Cilantro. Cumin. Roasted chilis. Chips and salsa. Moose.
Moose?
You know my man Johannes Leppihalme from Finland is slow cooking moose while everyone else is stuck on pork, beef and chicken. When I first wrote about his moose experiments he said he was going to do pulled moose and I mentioned "fusion tacos."

He took me seriously. How seriously?

Image via ArcticBBQ.com

I've been shredding pork shoulders and found that with the nice fat cap, the Boston Butt is very forgiving. But wild game is notoriously lean. Drying it out is very easy.


How does Johannes do it? I'll let him tell you:


Yesterday was a great BBQ day. I got inspired by your vision on "fusion taco" and took a shot on pulled moose. Great success!


I had 5lb moose roast to cook. Low and slow.

Image via ArcticBBQ.com
I rubbed the meat with black pepper and placed it on the upper level of my Weber Smokey Mountain.Temperature inside the chamber was 180F in the beginning. No smoking this time.


It took 4hrs sharp to get internal temp up to 165F. Chamber temp varied between 210F - 250F during the process, I wrapped the moose in foil when temp was 130F and then continued cooking.


I was afraid that meat would get dry as it is very low fat. However, once rested in foil for 30 minutes, I started pulling it apart and it responded well. It was not as easy to pull as pork shoulder, but I can confirm it was moist, even juicy and pulled apart nicely enough.

Image via ArcticBBQ.com
Dinner was served with pulled moose tortilla "boats", chili and nachos. Excellent!

A couple of things will always be true for me regarding food:

- Mixing cultures and styles yields delicious results.

- Things wrapped in tortillas are good.

So Feliz Cinco de Mayo everyone. Keep being creative with food.



Oh, and next time you're shredding moose or anything, we suggest a pair of these:





Get your Dragon Knuckle Claws at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XY7XCV9

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fern's Semi-Famous Solar-Powered Satellite BBQ



Image via FernsBBQ.com

Barbecue enough and you'll never stop smiling.

This is Fernando Martinez: San Diego BBQ lover. His passion pushes him to constantly get better. Not only can you taste it, you can see it.

"I started a very long time ago on a tiny grill that I propped up on bricks. I experimented with several different types of grills and cooking styles which have lead me to where I am today."

Where he is today is catering from a custom-built trailer featuring solar panels, two smokers, four 6V deep cycle batteries, a fridge system and satellite TV.

Yeah, they're watching football up there. Here he is cooking before Super Bowl LI:


In order to cook for his co-workers he used to load his Traeger in the back of his truck and drive it to work.

"There's got to be an easier way," he said. He says that a lot.

He wanted to mount his barbecue gear on the back of a trailer so he could easily tailgate and entertain. He found a $100 trailer for sale and headed down to see it, prepared to play hard-ball and offer $50.

When he found out a battered women's shelter was selling it, he paid $200.

When he outgrew that trailer, he bought a bigger one and aspired to cook as green as possible. His solar array and batteries allow him to barbecue off the grill for up to 43 hours.

Just because the barbecue is smoking doesn't mean the power plants must do it also.

He's a member of the Rub Life crew of BBQ enthusiasts, a bunch of skilled and down-to-earth slow-and-low meat lovers based in the South West.

Image via FernsBBQ.com


To me, chicken is one of the trickiest meats to cook. All of the parts are different sizes and shapes. So easy to over-cook, under-cook and burn.

I've asked him a couple of times about chicken cooking tips. So far, he's kept that to himself.

It's not a secret recipe if you tell everyone.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

May the Moose be With You

Pork, chicken, beef, whatever. As Jimi Hendrix would say: "Blah blah woof woof."

Shoulders and briskets. Ribs and wings. Let's do something new.

Image via ArcticBBQ.com

Bang. That's a moose roast, Son.

My man Johannes Leppihalme from Finland has the hook-up on the fresh Bullwinkle. It takes a certain touch to cook it with success, but he's been working at it.

I'll let him tell you:

Moose is dark and mild flavored meat. Younger the animal, tenderer it is. It is also low fat so you have to pay attention when cooking it. Moose cuts are very similar to beef. You can get great steaks, boneless rib eye, roasts, sirloin and tenderloin, you name it.

I don’t use much of spices on moose. As the meat is mild, black pepper, salt and sometimes mild chili go well with it. Bay leaf and juniper are also typical seasonings. Some people use garlic and ginger, but I don’t.

Most important on cooking moose is temperature control. You need to keep inner temp between 130°F - 140°F. Otherwise it will get dry.

Steak is always a steak. Good sear first and then cooked to medium rare. However, I prefer roast and it is always cooked low and slow. Another slow food I like is a good stew.

So far I have cooked moose only five times. Once I did nice ragú from minced moose. I cooked it almost 8 hours in a cast iron pot in red wine with root vegetables and tomatoes to get it right. That experience was a success and I served the ragú with pasta and ciabatta.

Four times I have tried to get the roast right. I think once the cut was not very good quality and the end result was chewy. On that dinner I got quite many guests to feed. Unforgettable evening. Still get nightmares.

On other three times I have followed instructions strictly and also the meat has been top quality. One time I smoked moose roast with apple wood. Twice I have just cooked it low and slow, without any smoke. When you do it low and slow (210°F - 220°F), keep it medium rare (130°F) and let it rest well after cooking, you can’t go wrong. Moose is not difficult to BBQ. Beef rules apply.

For cooking I have always used my Weber Smokey Mountain. Even for the ragú. I have perfected temperature control by some 100 times of cooking and I always use remote thermometer for monitoring.

Recently I have learned about pulled moose. That sounds interesting and might be my next experiment.

Image via ArcticBBQ.com
I think that is one of the most beautiful pieces of meat I've ever seen. A nice mahogany bark on the outside. Fresh and red on the inside. Not often do you see a digital picture you can smell.

He said he'll be cooking moose again this weekend and I'll certainly get you an update.

I'm looking forward to a pulled moose experiment. That has "Fusion Taco" written all over it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Saturday Night Shoulder

How did I get "Stayin' Alive" stuck in my head? I respect the BeeGees, but I'm not truly a fan.



Oh yeah. I pondered a re-write of the song for a spoof of "Saturday Night Fever" as I got a pork butt in the smoker.

My new barbecue revelation? Hunger is the enemy.

I used to think the only good reason to set an alarm and get up early was to put meat in the smoker.

Now I realize not even that is a good reason. I have a new strategy.

Load the Q at night and go to bed.

(If we had lawyers, this is when they'd advise you not to turn your back on a fire and go to sleep. You might wake up in the middle of a ginormous fire. We'll leave that decision to you. A smoker at a steady 225-ish should cause no threat of burning anything other than charcoal. If you want to be cautious, get a Bluetooth thermometer that will send you an alarm message if the temperature gets too high.)

Legal disclaimer done.

Barbecue takes time. Nothing tests your patience like a hungry family asking: "Is it done yet?"

The first time I did a pork shoulder, I brined it for about a day then smoked it for 8 hours before letting it rest for 45 minutes.

It was great. We ate it a number of ways, including tacos and finally soup. Yet I think it could have cooked for a couple more hours.

So this Saturday, I'm putting it in at night.

Once the temp is cruising at 225º, I'm closing the vents down to a minimum and going to sleep.

Ten or twelve hours later, the Easter Bunny is delivering me a perfectly cooked chunk of pork ready to be shredded. From a Big Green Egg, no less. Appropriate, eh?

That's long enough for one post. I'll get you pictures, recipe and more soon.

[Well you can tell by the way I smoke
My butt is nice and it ain't no joke
I'm a barbecue man, no time to waste
So Easter morning, enjoy the taste
Now it's okay, and it's alright
To smoke a shoulder overnight
We can try to understand
The slow and low effect on a man]

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Jen's Roasted Brussels Sprouts



Tell her or don't tell her. Maybe I will. But my mommy was right:

Vegetables are good for you.
Why do people hate vegetables or maybe eat them only because they have to? Because you're cooking them wrong.

People either overcook them until they're colorless and mushy or they murder them with butter and cheese, which pretty much kills the healthy aspects anyway.

No veggie has been boiled until brown and mangled more than the world's cutest cabbage: the Brussels Sprout.




Image via Flickr by Nick Saltmarsh

My friend Jen from CareerCoachJen.com and DiscoverHealthyFood.com has the right idea. Keep it simple and roast them.

(She also had the spelling right and I had to edit myself. It's "Brussels sprout" like the city and not "brussel sprout.")



Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients:
2 cups Brussels sprouts per person
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, which is about 180 degrees celsius (had to figure out conversion between Fahrenheit and Celsius while cooking in Spain!).

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. If you don’t have, bake directly on the baking sheet.

Cut off ends of washed Brussels sprouts, then cut in half. Place into a large bowl. Toss with 1/4 cup olive oil. Add more OO if serving more than 4 people.

Sprouts shouldn’t be super wet, just a little drizzle. Spread sprouts evenly on baking sheet. Sprinkle salt and black pepper over Brussels sprouts.

I use very little salt, or use non-salt instead. (One of my favorites is Costco’s Organic No-salt Seasoning).

Bake for 20 minutes or until edges are brown and some sprout leaves are crispy.

Serve immediately with meal. Great with couscous and green salad, as shown, for full dinner. Extra sprouts make great leftovers, but these taste so good it’s rare to have any left over!


Is it a complicated recipe? No but the good ones rarely are.

Take away a few things:
  • Roasting brings out flavor in everything. When you boil vegetables, flavor and vitamins end up in the water. Roast them and everything stays inside.
  • Simple seasonings let the flavor shine through. Pepper and a little salt may be all you need. I'd add a little spice, but I do that to everything.
  • Mix it up. You can roast squash, carrots, onions, garlic and nearly anything with this. Make sure the other ingredients are cut in the right size so they cook at about the same speed as the sprouts.
Helping people both young and old enjoy healthy vegetables is perhaps the toughest of cooking challenges. Making chocolate delicious is easy.

What's your secret for getting your friends and family to love vitamins and nutrition?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

GearWeAre.com Knows How to Make Fire



Yeah, you know where to find the best Heat-Resistant Gloves around, but what good are they if you have no heat?

We pampered 21st Century kids certainly take fire for granted. Push the striker on the grill. Turn the knob on the stove. With the right app, I'm sure you can get flames to shoot from a smart phone.

But out in the woods, especially if the weather is non-Bahamas, staying warm and cooking food is no longer automatic.

It takes the right gear.

That's what the people at Gear We Are specialize in: helping you buy the right stuff for all your outdoor adventures.

From tents to kayaks to dog toys, they have you covered.

But the categories that put the twinkle in my eye all relate to fire.

No, nothing is wrong with me.
Image via Gear We Are
I have a couple of camp stoves but none are as cool as what they've reviewed. I'm personally charmed by the simplicity of the portable Grilliput. Up in the woods and cooking over gas? No thanks. We're grilling over coals.


No spark, no dice however. I used to hike in fear my matches would get wet and it would be game over. Fear no more if you have the Polystriker XL by Exotac. Then you can harness the inferno-causing power of 5500Fº molten globulars.



Image via Gear We Are

I'm not sure what molten globulars are exactly, but I'm sure I don't have enough of them.

The Gear We Are people are dedicated outdoors-folk serious about separating the good stuff from the junk.

You can learn it from them or you can learn it ten miles up a trail.

The choice is yours.

Friday, March 10, 2017

When is "Barbecue Weather" in Finland?


Johannes' outdoor cooking setup in Hyvinkää
Image via ArcticBBQ.com by Johannes Leppihalme 

It's been a long winter here in Eastern Washington. It snowed on Monday. Again. It's March already.

I'm itching for Summer. Or Spring, even. I want to take my kids for a walk without spending 15 minutes getting dressed.

But waiting for Barbecue Weather? Silly, in my book. I eat in the winter, therefore I barbecue and grill in winter.

I won't let the weather tell me what I'm going to eat or how to cook it.

You know who else cooks outside whatever the weather?

This guy:



Image via ArcticBBQ.com by Johannes Leppihalme 

Meet Johannes Leppihalme from Hyvinkää, Finland. Up at the 60th parallel winter days can be less than six hours.

If you're waiting for a long sunny day to cook some meat outside, you'll be eating a lot of canned beans in the dark.

We met on Twitter and I realized we had a lot in common. We'll both cook outside whatever the weather. He doesn't like to lean on sauces or glazes, and neither do I. And we're both launching new things into the BBQ and Grilling world.

My wife and I have Dragon Knuckle.

He just launched his website Arctic BBQ today.

Is Hyvinkää the Barbecue Capitol of Northern Europe? Not exactly, but I'll let Johannes explain it.

"I live in Finland, which is not considered as the heart of the world's BBQ scene. However, there are a few BBQ enthusiasts here who are pretty damn serious about it. I have cooked outdoors since 2011 throughout the year, rain or shine, cold or warm, storm or calm, about hundred times a year.

"In my blog I try to share my experiences of BBQ near Arctic Circle through four seasons. I will share some of my favorite recipes, give insights to various BBQ equipment and accessories and share data on my grill and fuel performance. Data is something I would have benefitted from in the early days but I could not find it anywhere. I hope this will help new hobbyists to get started.


Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Image via ArcticBBQ.com by Johannes Leppihalme 


"Most importantly, I try to get connected with other BBQ enthusiasts around the world and learn new things. All feedback on improving my blog is warmly welcomed."



What are his favorite things to cook? He cooks a lot of fish, especially smoked or grilled salmon. He loves to do chicken, pulled pork, pork tenderloin, ribs, brisket and tenderloin steaks.


He says he's particularly well known for his grilled Christmas ham.


He's working on his moose technique. He's had success with smoked moose ragout, but this four pound moose roast was a challenge:



Image via ArcticBBQ.com by Johannes Leppihalme 


I imagine, like deer or elk, it's very lean and tricky to keep juicy.


He's going to two different BBQ Camps in May and will have a lot to share.


Check out his site. He's a Dragon Knuckle kind of guy.


Image via ArcticBBQ.com by Johannes Leppihalme