Sunday, April 29, 2012

Road Trip To Dry Falls

The other day my wife and I decided to grab a picnic lunch and take a little road trip.  
This is why I love the area that we live in.  
There is no better artist than our dear Lord and His creations 
are beyond mesmerizing. 

This is dry falls lake, a popular fly fishing spot.

 This is a view from the bottom, 
of where we were standing in the first photo.

This is the country of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce` tribe.  
This was their land.  
Even today after many years of pioneers, farmers, and industry, this land is still an abundant hunting and fishing area.   

Looks like a scene from a western movie.  
I can almost see John Wayne riding across the desert.

Fly fishing only.  Dry Falls Lake at he base of these cliffs 
attracts fly fishermen, not just for the catch, 
but for the serenity of the environment.  

If you would like to see more photos of our road trip, 
you can see them at my wife's blog:
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pig Roast

I smoked this 220 lb (live weight) pig at an event to feed 160 people.  The construction crew starts very early so they have lunch at 9:00 am.  This means that my helper and I had to start cooking at 9:00 pm the night before.  Get ready to stay up all night with just a catnap or two for this cook.

This is the chuck wagon box I built that sits on the tailgate of my pickup.  
This is some serious tailgating.

Here is another view of the chuck wagon box 
and of the back side of my home built smoker. 

 I haven't said much about metal working on this blog 
but I designed and built this smoker myself.  

  The fire box is a 20 inch length of 30 inch diameter pipe with 
a piece of 1/2 inch steel plate welded on the top and bottom.  

I use the top of it to cook with my dutch ovens
 and cast iron skillets. 

The cooking chamber is an old air compressor tank.  
In this shot I have water heating on top of the fire box to wash dishes.

As you can see, the smoker is on a trailer 
so we are cooking on site.  

Here is where people miss out on the magic of BBQ pork.  They make the mistake of bringing the meat temp up to 160 degrees or so and calling it done.  But if you slowly, and I mean SLOWLY, bring it up to 190 degrees, something magic happens.  All the collagen in the meat melts and everything relaxes and starts falling apart.  We're talking pulled pork here.

 After 11 hours of cooking on an all apple wood fire 
at 225 degrees this baby is falling apart tender and smoky. 

Notice the stainless steel tray I built to cook pigs on.
 When they are done I can pull the whole tray
 out and carve them right on the tray.  

Have you ever tried to pull a hot falling apart pig 
out of a smoker? 

I had the pig skinned when it was butchered 
but left the fat on it.  
This not only bastes the meat throughout the entire cook but also protects the meat from any build up of carbon.

Before carving you simply scrape the fat off 
with the blade of your knife 
succulent smoky meat is revealed.

Am I making you hungry yet?  Hope so!
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 8, 2012

First cook on the Grilla Pellet Smoker

This is my brand new pellet grill called "Grilla" and manufactured by Fahrenheit Technologies.  This thing will cook all the way from 140 degrees to 550 degrees.  In actual practice, these temps will vary with different fuels and ambient temperatures.  I also have a "Louisiana Grill Whole Hog" pellet smoker so I am looking forward to comparing them.

Here is a link to the Grilla.

Here we are in my little outdoor kitchen, on the nicest day so far this spring, getting warmed up and using American Hickory pellets made by Bear Mountain.
When you choose the "smoke" setting, there are 16 different levels of smoke to choose from. Today is going to be a low and slow cook.

This hopper will hold a full 20 lb bag of pellets so you can do a lot of cooking without having to worry about running out of fuel.

My dry rub is equal parts course ground black pepper and dark chili powder with lesser parts (measured by eyeball only) of onion powder, granulated garlic, dried sweet basil, Cayenne pepper, ground ginger and kosher salt.

Let's stir it up and hammer these pork spare ribs with some spicy flavor.

I like to season both sides of pretty much everything I cook.

Our smoker is up to 200 degrees so the ribs go in. We will be cooking at around 225 degrees for most of the cook.

After 5 hours these babies are falling off the bone tender and not dried out.

My conclusions?
This machine is 2 or 3 steps above any pellet grills I've been around. It gets up to temperature very quickly.  I turned it and my Louisiana Grill both on at the same time, set on high.  10 minutes later the LA Grill was up to 150 degrees and Grilla was up to 450 degrees.  Also the LA Grill will not get as hot as advertised, but Grilla does.  The ribs we cooked today at 225 degrees for 5 hours came out ridiculously good.  I caught my wife (Little miss "I don't like ribs") in the kitchen chowing down on one of these smoky succulent ribs. 

In all fairness, I haven't cooked with every brand out there but I have enough friends and relatives using pellet grills to get a good idea of what some of the more popular brands will and won't do.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Happy cooking!

Posted by Picasa