Well…it has been a while. My wife and I have been busy with work, making wine and beer (will post more about that next week), and chasing around our two year old. I decided to break out the smoker as a test run for Christmas Day. The weather has been mild all week, except for the day I decide to use the smoker. I made some ribs, smoked mac and cheese, ABTs (Atomic Buffalo Turds…I will dedicate an entire post to these soon), and a fatty…get your mind out of the gutter!
A fatty is basically loose ground sausage (Jimmy Dean), fillings of your choice, and woven bacon. Yes, I said woven bacon. Below are some pictures and descriptions of our recent adventure in using our smoker. Enjoy!
For the sausage and pepper fatty I started the mixture with some red onions, butter, and beef bullion. I used roasted red peppers from the jar and added some portobello mushrooms. Next, Put the sausage into a freezer bag, roll it out flat, and cut the top off of the bag off. I then added some Italian seasoning and some cheese. Once you have your bacon weave set you put it together and toss it into the smoker. This sausage and pepper fatty had great flavor and a great mix of ingredients which blended well together. The ribs were also great and I post more about ribs and my homemade rub soon. Next week will be all about the homemade wine and beer that my wife and I make. Thanks for taking a look at this adventure in using our smoker.
The idea of grilled pizza came from a shop in Rhode Island. My wife and I have found that this is the easiest (and most economical) way of making pizza that tastes like it just came out of the brick oven. Living in Connecticut, the pizza capital of the US, it’s hard to eat anything that doesn’t come from Pepe’s. However, our two year old does not yet see the value of waiting in line for an hour and a half for a slice of deliciousness.
We have tried a few different methods for preparing the crust. Doing one large pizza is a bad idea. The large pie is hard to handle on the grill and may not cook as evenly. What we have found to be the best is coating one side of the dough in oil and placing it on the hot grill, around 500 degrees. When it starts to bubble and feel solid give it a flip. You have to be careful when flipping the dough because the excess oil will cause flare ups. This side only stays on for a few minutes…then it’s time to top the pizza.
Take the dough off of the grill to add your toppings being sure not to use too much sauce as this will result in a soggy pizza, unless you like that sort of thing. Once you have topped the pizza return it to the grill. This part of the cooking process requires constant supervision. Since the dough is basically cooked it can burn extremely quickly. We put the pizza on the grill until the cheese is partially melted and the bottom is beginning to get dark. We then move it to the top rack to complete the cooking process. This should result in a great homemade just like the apizza shop pie. Our two year old (who prefers her pies white with extra garlic) and friends go crazy for this pizza.
Back in January my wife and daughter purchased a Master Forge Smoker for my birthday. I have been itching to use it and recently found the time to do so. After seasoning the smoker we smoked two chickens, ribs, mac and cheese, and some beans. I used a rub that is a combination of some recipes that I have read and my own ideas. The rub starts sweet but ends with a nice kick of spice. The chickens and ribs were excellent. I usually am not a huge fan of chicken but this was moist and tender. The ribs were perfect…falling off the bone tender.
In a few weeks we were going to host our daughter’s second birthday party with over 60 guests. We were using a western theme for the party so I figured that this would be the perfect time to break out the smoker. I smoked 40 pounds of pork shoulder using hickory wood chunks, the rub I mentioned above, and homemade BBQ sauce from my wife for pulled pork. The entire process took almost 9 hours and we were up until 2am pulling pork…but it was worth it! My wife, daughter, and guests were very happy with the outcome. Even my neighbors were curious about the mouth-watering smells coming from the backyard. I have found that the key to good BBQ is heat control and low and slow. In the coming weeks we plan on trying more ribs using apple and cherry woods, respectively. Using the smoker takes patience but the end result is worth the wait.
For some reason I have always wanted to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. As embarrassed as I am to admit it the advertising got to me. Big screen TVs, sports always on, and wings. Well we finally got the chance to go there tonight and there were some definite positives and negatives. We were seated very quickly and they had a booster seat waiting for my daughter. As many people know dining out with a two year is a very sensitive thing which requires strategic planning. My wife is awesome at this while I still have a lot to learn. She is always prepared with things while I kind of take the let’s see what happens attitude…but I digress. My wife purposely orders our daughter’s food ASAP so that it comes with our appetizers or before our dinner. Our order was taken promptly and the drinks came quickly…good. The little one began to fuss and the manager brought her crayons and coloring paper…so far so good. After about 15 minutes of waiting we still did not have our apps or our daughter’s dinner…not good. About five minutes later we notice that people who came in well after us were getting their food…really not good. Our daughter who is really hungry at this point (35 minutes after we ordered) begins to fuss…really, really not good. After about five more minutes I am finally able to find the manager and ask him to check on our daughter’s dinner. After about another ten minutes all of our food is brought out to us at once. I really dislike when that happens. It defeats the purpose of ordering an app. My wife has a chicken wrap which was very good. It had the right mixture of chicken, cheese, and queso…great texture and taste. I had the Black and Bleu burger which was minimally average. I like burgers rare and they would only cook it well. I should have stopped myself there. It was well seasoned and had a decent beef flavor. The mess on top of it was unrecognizable as bleu cheese. My wife actually thought it was dressing but it did not have the right consistency. There is no mistaking the distinctive flavor of bleu cheese…this definitely was not it. The wings made up for the burger. I had the wings with Asian Zing sauce. It was a great combination of sweet and heat with a great soy/ginger finish. My wife had the Honey BBQ wings which she really liked. I thought they were okay. They were missing that bold BBQ flavor that you expect to come through the honey. All in all it was a good meal. I think our order was not entered and that is what caused the delay. We would give Wild Wings a try again, but I’m sticking with the wings.
Today my family and I were in the supermarket and my daughter started yelling, “my ball, my ball” as we walked past the strategically placed ball bin (she has like three of them at home). When we told her no she began stomping her feet. This older woman looks at the cashier and says, “I raised three kids and none of them ever yelled like that.” I’m gonna call BS on that one.
Abbondanza is the Italian word for abundance (I know that was met with a “duh” from some). When most people hear this word they think of things like money or material goods. In my case I have an abundance in my family and life…a loving and caring wife and a great and very active soon to be two year old. I would like to use this blog for…you guessed it…an abundance of things from sports to life to every day happenings. Feel free to share your abbondanza!