Thanks to the father of Lee Ann Whippen (of Woodchicks BBQ), and founder of the Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival, Jim Tabb. BBQ Pitmasters will be filming one of their episodes for Season 5 at the festival in Tryon, NC.
One of the most important parts to cooking is internal temperature. The main reason that's important is so you don't kill yourself or someone else with raw food. (kind of kidding, kind of not)
The best way to make sure you're not killing anyone, to make sure your meat is exactly where you want it (and to keep eye on your temp from the couch when it's 20 degrees outside) ... is to get a digital remote thermometer.
I have 2 Maverick remote thermometers and love both of them. The first one I picked up at Bed Bath and Beyond when I first started, and haven't had the first issue with.
My second thermometer is the ET-73, which comes with a meat probe and a temp probe. This is perfect to hang through the grate, so you can read the cooking temp near your meat too.
If you want to find these or more thermometers you can go to Bed Bath and Beyond or visit Amazon.com
This week's Throwdown is titled "I'm Absolutely Stuffed". The rules are simple, you cook and post a food/meal that after you eat it you're always saying "I'm absolutely stuffed" ... get it?
Now, we tend to make some pretty delicious meals, and more times than not, I eat way more than I should. However, there's one thing that we make that is 100% impossible to eat and not be miserably STUFFED afterwards, our homemade pizza.
The only problem is, this is for a TD, and you have to smoke or grill all entries, and we've only baked pizza before. I've seen on the Brethren where people would grill pizzas, but I've never given it a try ... until now.
That's not the only new thing we tried for this TD. To also make a little play on words, we decided (ok, it was Dawn's idea) to attempt making our own stuffed crust.
Our full ingredients (minus the bacon that was thawing out)
As I was cooking the bacon and sausage, Dawn rolled out the dough and started the stuffed crust with slices of mozzarella.
She then rolled the edge over the slices of cheese pressing the dough together to hold, and then sprinkled some parmesan on top.
It was then time to add sauce and herbs.
Once she had the base ready, it was time for assembly. I put down a layer of Canadian bacon slices, spicy turkey sausage, bacon, turkey pepperoni, and then covered with fresh and shredded mozzerlla.
Some how moisture built up between the dough and pan, and with the weight of the pizza, we weren't able to slide it off directly onto the grill. Every attempt to move it almost tore the whole thing apart.
After 15 minutes on the grill at 400, it was time to eat. However, due to the moving around trying to get it on the grill, some of the crust came apart and didn't stay rolled up all pretty like.
We were both shocked at how different the pizza really tasted versus cooking it in the oven. Having it over an open fire really gave it that brick over style taste (now, I'm not saying it taste just like a brick over pizza).
We both have been converted to grilled pizzas ... now to just figure out how to get it off the stinking pan, or to just use our pizza stone next time.
Tom's BBQ is located in a little strip mall on the corner of Woodruff Rd and Garlington Rd (Opposite side from Lowes).
When you first pull into the parking lot, you can't help but notice their smoker that's sitting in one of the parking spaces smoking away. I can say, there is no more welcoming smell when going to a BBQ joint, than the smell of pork smoking away.
As you walk in you can't help but notice the back home theme/feel. If it was any other type of restaurant I'd probably say it was outdated, but when it comes to real BBQ, the atmosphere works just fine. Not to scare anyone away, when I say outdated I only mean they have older (better) NASCAR driver cut outs, Cheerwine drink fridge (absolutely no complaints here), and swing door cafe style trash cans ... again, nothing wrong at all. It's just a more ... simple place to eat. Your perfect example of "don't judge a book by it's cover."
We've been to Tom's 3-4 times now, and every time we've gone it's been delicious. As usual, Dawn always tries to mix it up, but no matter what she orders she loves it (and I do too when I get my sample). I tend to stick to the pulled pork, since we're usually on a deadline, so I haven't been able to try their ribs yet. Each and every time I've gotten their pork it's been amazing and juicy.
Tom's is a BBQ restaurant that lets the meat do all the talking. I'm not sure what rubs/injections they use, but I can tell they do more enhancing than flavoring. It's not a bland flavorless pork that they want you to completely cover in sauces before you're able to eat it.
Speaking of sauces, Tom's has a TON of them (probably around 5-6) ... and I've tried nearly them all. They're a vinegar based sauce place, but they have plenty that are thick so it doesn't just run all over the place. If you make it by, you HAVE TO try the Cheerwine sauce. It's one of the best BBQ sauces I've ever had ...
The major facts, in my opinion, that make or break a BBQ joint are their pulled pork, ribs, and sides. Tom's has really good fries, and some of the best mac'n'cheese I've had in a restaurant. Dawn love their hush puppies, but they have onions all in them so I'll pass.
For more information, go check out their website here.
I had Dawn proof read this post, and now we're going to Tom's for lunch ... come join us.
I will be picking a winner for my first Rub Sample Give-A-Way tomorrow. You have approximately 19 hours left to like the One Nine 3 Facebook Page and/or share a post from the page for bonus entries, or simply comment on any post here.
At the start of the new year, my goal for 2013 was to reach 20,000 page views. I don't remember the exact number, but I sitting somewhere between 7 and 8k. That means, I would need nearly 3,000 more hits in one year than I had the previous year and some change on the blog.
So far, 2013 has provided some insane numbers. A few weeks ago YOU demolished the previous page views in a 24 hours period record with 651 views.
This weekend, with the help of the Jack Daniels post, YOU have once against reached a milestone. One Nine 3 has hit 10,000 page views.
To show my gratitude, I'm going to give away a Free Rub Sample. All you have to do is LIKE my Facebook Page then share a post this week, or comment on a post (here or there).
I will be out of town the second half of this week, but will announce a winner Monday February 18th.
EVERYONE IS ENTERED BUT YOU WILL RECEIVE EXTRA ENTRIES FOR EACH SHARE OR COMMENT. THE WINNER WILL BE SELECTED RANDOMLY OUT OF A HAT. (I'm old school like that.)
(In the voice of The Rock) FINALLY, CACK HAS COME BACK, TO THE THROWDOWNS!!!!!
With it being Basketball season, I'm gone 3 nights a week, and more times than not, I have 6 games on Saturday. To say time at home is slim or that I'm tired the rest of the time ... is an understatement. Therefore, I'm not able to really put a lot of thought towards cooks for ThrowDowns on The Brethren. Although I always keep an eye on the forum to see what everyone else is doing.
Well, since the season is winding down, I figured it was time to get back into the action. I had my eye on thread for the theme of "Musical Food". I had no clue what I would do, or even what anyone else would do, because I couldn't figure out how you could make food make music (although when I eat delicious food I hear angels singing in my head).
After a few entries I realized that instead of making the food make music, it was actually about food related to music ... DUH!
I still had no clue if I'd have a chance to make an entry for this TD, and then it hit me like a Batman punch on the old TV show ... POW!!! I can use Eric Church's song Jack Daniels as my theme and do a Jack Daniels inspired dish ... perfect.
Or is it? Nope, not perfect enough. After a day or so discussing, Dawn and I decided that we wouldn't be making a Jack Daniels inspired dish, we were going to make a Jack Daniels inspired MEAL!!!!!!!!
It started with the Flank Steak. We picked up this pack of 2 from Sam's and threw the other in a bag and put it in the freezer for a rainy day.
The other we let marinate in our smoked salt and pepper and Jack Daniels ... wait ... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
It's ok ... we have back up (excuse the roughness, we were also in the middle of cleaning house).
As the Flank Steak marinated in the fridge (and after we cleaned the house) it was on to the Jack Daniels and bacon brownies (yes, you just read that correctly ... however, you can go back and reread it if you'd like, I won't blame you)
As I was cooking the bacon Dawn started pealing the sweet potatoes for the Jack Daniels and Pecan Mashed Sweet Potatoes.
This is bacon ... it's delicious. If you've never had bacon ... stop reading my blog.
Once the bacon is finished and cooked, we broke it up and added it to the brownie mix. Just a little tidbit about me, and why we do brownies in muffin trays. The greatest part of a brownie is the edges. After Dawn made me brownies for the first time and I expressed how much I LOOOOOOOOVE the corner pieces. She surprised me the next time by making brownie "muffins" so "every piece would be a corner piece." And you wonder why I'm marrying her ...
It's time for the main event. I have to be honest, this was my first time cooking flank steak, so I wasn't sure how to cook it. I had to be THAT GUY, and watch a couple of videos on Youtube. It seemed like everyone was saying to cook around 450 for 4 minutes a side and it'd come out medium rare. We tend to like ours a little closer to medium, so I had the temperature closer to 475-500 and cooked it just a bit longer than 4 minutes each.
If this doesn't make you want to do the Tim The Tool Man Taylor grunt then I don't know what will.
I pulled the steak and let it rest while Dawn started the sauce. It's a mix of Jack Daniels, butter and whirshirshisrisirishirer sauce.
One of the perks of getting married is getting to register. We went to Bed Bath and Beyond and they had some kind of deal that if you registered for a certain amount of Calphalon product you receive a free knife ... you don't have to tell me twice. It came in the mail a few weeks ago, but we made sure to save it for a special occasion. I don't know a better time than a return to the TDs.
The steak came out a little pinker than I normally like, but it was delicious. The simple marinade we did really just enhanced the beef flavor, but the sauce gave it that extra kick and you could really get the Jack Daniels flavor with it.
It's a good thing that the alcohol evaporates during cooking, because I might have been drunk for weeks if it didn't.
It may be too late to order for Valentine's day, but it's not too late to order for March 14th (that man's version of Valentine's ... if you haven't heard about it you should Google it. Warning: it's for adults).
So, you're sitting there trying to find that last item to get that special cooker in your life and have no clue what to get. I put together a list of 5 simple/inexpensive items that will put a smile on anyone's face.
1. Team Spatula - From the NFL to MLB to the Collegiate level sports, you can find all types of cooking instruments with your favorite team on them. One of my favorite is my South Carolina Gamecock spatula, and who can go wrong with an additional bottle opener on the end?
2. Rubs - If you've seen me rave about how great our steaks have been recently. The Rub Company's Santa Maria Style rub deserves all of the credit (for the flavor. I deserve all the credit for cooking them perfectly, GO ME). If you want to make your cooker happy, buy them some that will make their tummy jump for joy ... and something you get to enjoy as well.
Pick up an individual bottle or a sample pack on their online store.
3. Meat Thermometer - Whether you're a rookie or a pro, you don't want to kill anyone. A meat thermometer is a great way to make sure your friends and family get their meal exactly how they want it. If you're Qing, a thermometer is great to help calculate cook time as you're going. The thermometer pictured below has 2 separate probes, one for meat and one for air/cooking temp (I love it). It's a Maverick ET73.
There's a huge range of thermometers from classic to digital to laser. You can look on Amazon to find whichever you like most.
4. Apron - If you've ever been working with meat and it slid and you had to catch it with your stomach, or if you've injected food and the injection found a secret passage through the meat and catapulted through the air directly onto your shirt, you know that you need an apron.
You can get an apron anywhere, but what's better than an apron with bacon on it? Zazzle.com has a full line of mens aprons with a little twist of humor.
5. Cutting Boards - No, you don't have to get anyone a pig cutting board, but it sure is funny. As important as a great knife is, a cutting board is as equally important. The worse thing you could ever do is go out and buy a nice, fancy, expensive knife and then take it to a glass cutting board. Every time someone uses a glass cutting board ... a little soft kitten dies.
Parmesan Crusted Chicken is one of those dishes that look like you really know what you're doing, but really doesn't take a whole lot of work to prepare. We watch Trisha's Southern Kitchen all the time and she always talks about how she likes dishes that look and taste like they took hours to make, but are really simple.
Dawn prepared the toppings (since she's the only one that eats it) while I was banging out the chicken. She took the tomatoes and seeded them and chopped them. Then mixed them with some EVOO, salt, pepper (not pictured) and basil.
I put 2 chicken breasts in a bag and hammered them out. You don't have to have them paper thin, but you want the breasts to be close to even and tender throughout.
Once they're even in thickness, lay them out and sprinkle some EVOO on top with pepper, then give a good layer of Parmesan cheese. (flip and repeat)
Let the breasts sit for a little while like this to give everything time to set. We normally let them sit around 15-20 minutes.
Preheat your pan at Med-Hi then add your chicken. Your cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken, but these we let cook for around 7-8 minutes then flipped. After both sides had cooked, flip back to the first side to make sure both sides are evenly crisp.
Once these come off, make sure to let them rest for 5 minutes. This resting time will not only allow the juices to rest in the meat, but it'll allow the cheese harden and give you a better crust. It's best to let rest over a wire rack with some paper towels underneath to allow the drippings to, well, drip. If you don't let it rest, the second you cut into it, the juice will go everywhere and the crust will become soggy. You don't want soggy cheesy chicken.
This is a simply, quick dish that you can throw together, and put with any side (including instant rice), and look like a hero in front of your friends or family.
I'm not sure what ingredients they went with, but from the sound of things, these were a home run. Chris said the flavor was awesome, and liked the crispiness of the top with all of the goodies baked on. Unfortunately for Heather, she had a bug this past weekend when they made them and wasn't able to give them a shot.
A friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook the other day with a Groupon deal for a 3 hour cooking class at Bucky's BBQ. Ironically, after he sent me that message, I had 3-4 others send me texts or messages asking if I had heard about it and was interested in doing it.
The class is supposed to give you the basics on how to prepare and smoke meats. It's also supposed to teach how to make basic rubs and sauces. Which is why I agreed to pick it up, and even got Dawn to go in and do it too (she's going to be my note taker ssshhhhhh).
I haven't found any information on this class, other than the Groupon they had for it.
I've booked the class on March 4th with Dawn, Chris, Luke, Josh, Jimmy, and another of Jimmy's friends, so we're going to pack the place out. I will definitely return with how it went, and maybe sneak in a picture or two as well.
This week's special is one that I don't know I could do with out now. When cooking with raw meats, cleanliness is extremely important so you need to wash your hands every 5 seconds to keep from contaminating everything. However, if you use Latex Gloves, you can just toss the glove and go on with your business.
No, you don't HAVE to use latex. You can use rubber or anything else, but unless you have a latex allergy this is probably going to be the easiest, cheapest way to go.
Without gloves you'll have to unpack your meat, wash your hands, (can't let anything jump over to the other knives) grab a knife, wash your hands (just kidding here), trim your meat, wash your hands, (can't get messy hands all over the bottle for the next time) add rub, wash your hands, (can't get gew all over the door knob) carry your food out to the grill, wash your hands again.
Do you really want to go wrist deep into a raw chicken cavity?
Now, using latex gloves you can simply toss the gloves as they get dirty, and then throw on another when the time comes. If you're covered is pork guts and need to add rub. Pull one glove off, grab the bottle of rub and go to town while using the other hand that's still covered to rub it on. Once you're done, take the other glove off and you're done (I usually wash here just in case). When it's time to take the food to cook, put on a new set of gloves and go to work. I'll normally take one glove off to open the door to go back in, using the other hand to carry the cutting board or whatever I'm using. Once everything is put away, toss the gloves and wash up one more time just in case.
Washing your hands once or twice instead of 5 to 10 times a cook will save your hands and a ton of time.
I mean, doesn't this look a LOT better?
No more chicken gunk all over the place.
Heck, you can even use the latex gloves for the wienies that are scared the hot wings will burn their fingers.
You can pick up a box of gloves from your local Walmart, Target, or Pharmacy, but if you need a specific size, they're on Amazon starting out around $9 for a box of 100.