Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Review: Green River Barbecue

Every year I have to perform my husbandly duties and go apple picking with the wife. It's not something I thoroughly enjoy but I don't mind it either, and it makes her happy and that's the point right? This year we went to Sky Top Orchard, so we decided to find a new BBQ restaurant to try on the way.

We found a couple of different places, but just our luck, most weren't open on Sunday. The one that was in the final list and actually open on Sundays was Green River Barbecue. It had good reviews and Dawn said that she had eaten there before (probably with some dumb guy before me). 

It actually worked out perfect for us, because Green River ended up being a few minutes away from the orchard, and the gps took us down some neat back roads. 

I ordered the small pulled pork plate ... yes, apparently this is the small ... with green beans, mac n cheese, and fries. As you can see from the picture, the pork was a little soupie. I'm not sure where the liquid came from, or what it even is. Minus the liquid in the pork, everything else was good. The sauces were really good.

Dawn got the brisket plate with hush puppies, baked beans, and sweet potato crunch. Unlike the pork, the brisket was a little dried out, but she still like the flavor. The beans came out the temperature of the sun, but once they cooled off she really enjoyed them as well. 

This is a good place to stop and have a good beer and good food if you're wanting to take a little cruise through the mountains. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Things Worth Being Thankful For As A Cook

If you have Facebook (I would assume Twitter as well, but I'm not on there to know), I'm sure you've seen the "Day 14 - I'm thankful for ..." posts. My news feed has been cluttered all month with everything from children to jobs to health to Reese Peanut Butter Cups (my sister). 

This year I thought I would put together my own "Thankful List", but things that I'm thankful for in the outdoor cooking world. 

1. I'm thankful for non-rainy days. Nothing is worse than trying to cook while battling the elements. 
2. I'm thankful for Jessica Lang. Dawn got her something shinny, so I got my something flat black, and I think we both still secretly look at them from time to time and just smile. 
3. I'm thankful for Bullet Bill. As great as Jessica is, Bullet Bill is perfect for the short/small cooks for just Dawn and myself. 
4. I'm thankful for my Pit Bulls "Mean Green" Meat Injector. I haven't mentioned it much on here, but this is one of my favorite "toys". It makes life a million times easier. 
5. I'm thankful for my grill. I haven't come up with a fancy name for it, but that doesn't change anything. This bad boy has put how some amazing food in the year and a half that we've had it.

6. I'm thankful for good meat. There's a saying in the computer world, "GIGO", which stands for Garbage In Garbage Out. The same thing works for meat. If you start with garbage meant, nothing is going to make it taste better. 
7. I'm thankful for great rubs. Maybe not a good item to be thankful for immediately following meat ... but yeah. The Rub Co., Simply Marvelous, and Plowboys fill out my top 3, but we use so many mixes and brands, I'm thankful for them all. 
8. I'm thankful for BBQ Brethren. When I first decided that I was interested in Qing, I googled bbq message boards. BBQ Brethren was one of 2 that I signed up for, but since the Brethren had the same set up as the sports message board I'm on, I leaned toward it more. Over the past 3 years, I've learned so much from those guys and gals, and definitely wouldn't be where I'm at today if it wasn't for their help.
9. I'm thankful for BBQ Pitmasters. For the same reasons I'm thank for BBQ Brethren, I'm thankful for BBQ Pitmasters. I enjoy watching the episodes that have meats that I haven't cooked before, or meats that I'm planning on cooking, and see how "the pros do it."
10. I'm thankful for Myron Mixon's cook books. I've used his recipes for food, rubs, and injections, and everything we've ever made from them has been great.

11. I'm thankful for my injection recipe. Might be tooting my own horn a little, but my injection recipe that I got my tweeking Myron's, has really boosted the flavor in my pork. 
12. I'm thankful for Clorox Wipes. Cleaning up after trimming, injecting, and rubbing down 80lbs of meat is a task of it's own. Clorox Wipes, are amazing because they help speed that process up a bit. When you're ready to crack open that first beer ... this is crucial. 
13. I'm thankful for meat thermometers. I love my digital remote thermometers. On the days that you have to cook, but have other things you really need to be doing too. It's nice to be able to set up the thermometers, and just be able to walk over and look to see what all of your temps are. 
14. I'm thankful for my super duper ultra fast red Thermapen. Nothing beats having to check the temp of your meat, but not wanting to leave everything wide open so all of the heat escapes. 
15. I'm thankful for latex gloves. This is a trick I actually learned from watching BBQ Pitmasters. There's nothing worst then having to wash your hands 100 times a cook. Throw some gloves on and when you need clean hands, just pull them off and throw them away. 

I'm also thankful for everyone that views this blog. It's not the pretties blog, it's not the best written blog, it's not the most updated blog, but it's something I enjoy doing and it would be pointless without each and every one of you checking it out. The goal is to provide recipes, tips, reviews and whatever else for regular people. Nobody stacks their food on top of each other or wipes their plates clean before they eat dinner.

Most importantly, I'm thankful for my amazing wife. When we cook inside, she's the head chef and I'm her sous chef, but when I cook outside the rolls are reversed. Without her support none of this would be possible. I think she's ok with the outcome of all of the food, so it's not like she's suffering or anything. But when a new box of rub comes in, or when I show up with 4 butts because they were on sale, or when I start looking a new grills/smokers "just cause" ... she never complains. I have to say, I'm pretty lucky. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Look Out, She Knows How To Shoot

What happened to the days that if you upset your wife you only had to worry about a frying pan flying at your head?

We went this past weekend and took our CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit) certification class. Before Monday, Dawn had never shot a gun. I had, but not a whole lot (unless we can count Call of Duty. If that's the case, then I'm a deadly assassin). 

Note to self: never do another "man" event with Dawn. Not only did she do better on the written test (by 1 question), she did better than me on the shooting. 

I would like to note that during the "shoot 2" part I only shot once and then had to rush the 2nd shot causing the "misses". Neither of us actually missed a single shot, but I had 4 land outside of the 9 point circle and she had none. If I want to make myself feel better, I did however, have a LOT more in the bulls-eye section than she did. 

For her to have been as nervous as she was, she did really well and I was/am very proud of her ... now I just have to make sure I'm never the blue guy. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Review: Del's Twisted Kitchen

Dawn got a Groupon (or one of those things) for Del's Twisted Kitchen, and since it's across the street from the movie theater, we thought we'd try it out beforehand. 

Del's is in the old Jack In The Box/Metro Burger location. The sign is very poorly lit, and kind of hard to read/understand what it is. We had passed by it numerous times, and never realized it was a restaurant that we'd want to try out. 

We sat down around 5:30 and the place was empty. Literally, we were the only people there till 2 other guys walked in. I've always heard, you can tell how a restaurant is depending on how many customers they have, so I was very scared about this ... but hey, we got it on discount. 

Dawn got The Philly Dip with sweet potato fries, and as it came out, it smelled amazing. Before we even started eating, the other guys that walked in asked across the restaurant what she had gotten because it smelled and looked so good. 

The sandwich was "yummy" as she said, but she said the sweet potato fries were some of the best she's ever had in her life.
(Note, check out her reflection in the gravy haha)

I decided to go with Del's Twisted Mac and Cheese. When the plate came out, it didn't really look like I had expected. I was a bit skeptical, but once I took that first bite ... wow. The chicken had just enough spice so you got a little heat, but it wasn't hot enough to make you cry. You smelled the heat more than you tasted it, so it was really good. I kept telling Dawn that I was waiting on the bite that was going to light me on fire. It never came, so I all but finished the plate. 

When the check came, the prices were very reasonable even without the discount we had. I think the problem Del's is having is due to the restaurant being kind of in a "hole" and their signs are very hard to tell that it's an open restaurant. 

I think if they can get some people in the door, they have a really good chance of having a successful business. Right now they're in an old fast food restaurant building, it's hard to see there's anything there, and nobody has heard about it. 

If you're around Woodruff road, and looking for something new and good ... give it a shot.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Movie Review: Last Vegas

There hasn't been a whole lot of movies come out lately that we've wanted to see, but we've had our eye on Last Vegas for a few months. I've heard it referred to as the "old peoples Hangover", but I didn't think that at all.

The movie begins in the 1950s, and shows how the group originated their bond together. It starts in a general store, the owner's son starts bullying Billy, but then Patty steps up and knocks him out. As they run out of the store, one picks up a bottle of whiskey and the group unites. 

With just an hour and 44 minutes, there isn't a lot of time to kill. Each section of the movie builds the story, and really has something to add to the movie.  

To go back to the Hangover reference, in the Hangover movies, everything is taken to its extreme. The only real stretch in this movie is how the group acquires their suite. To not spoil anything, I'll just say that I believe it would take a lot more to have a casino offer you a free room.

With a cast like DeNiro, Douglas, Freeman, and Kline it's easy to forget you're watching a movie. Towards the end of the movie as they're all giving their goodbyes I actually felt how much they were going to miss each other. Then it hit me, oh yeah, these guys are just actors pretending to care about each other. 

This is a can't go wrong movie. If you need a good laugh (and maybe a little choke up or two), check this one out.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review: Ria's Bluebird, Atlanta GA

We went to Atlanta a few weeks ago, and before we went to the Zoo, I looked up places to eat for Breakfast. We ultimately decided to go to Flying Biscuit Cafe, but I saw a lot of very good reviews for Ria's Bluebird. To our surprise, we actually passed Ria's Bluebird on our way to the Zoo. As we turned passed it I spotted their smoker on the side, and told Dawn that we were definitely going there on our next trip to Atlanta. 

Fast forward to the next trip to Atlanta, and true to my word, we had breakfast at Ria's Bluebird. 

A word to those that may not be familiar with it, Ria's has a very small parking lot, so if you may want to rent a smart car ... or a bicycle. Nah, it's not that small, but it is very snug in there. Plus, you can always park on the side of the street if you need door space (just watch out for crazy Atlanta drivers). 

It was also odd that they had inside and outside eating areas, and although there were 4 empty tables inside once we were sat, others waited outside (on a fairly cool morning) for another 5-10 minutes before being sat. From what I could see, the waitresses were also the hostess, so that may have slowed the seating down a bit. 

Although the smoker drew my/our attention, shockingly enough, neither one of us got anything from it. The only thing on the menu (that we saw) was the Brisket Breakfast. It comes in a tomato broth with 2 eggs poached, so I passed. 

Dawn went with the Early Bird Special with sausage, grits, and an english muffin. She enjoyed everything she got, but really loved the sausage. I actually snuck me a bite and agree, it was very good. 

I had the biscuits and gravy with a side of bacon. I actually ended up crumbling one of the pieces of bacon and adding it to my gravy biscuits. The biscuits were delicious, but the pepper gravy as they call it, was very pepper heavy. I'm talking it was close to being returned because it had so much in there. 

If you're ever in the Atlanta area and looking for another hippie breakfast restaurant (apparently that's all that town has), Ria's Bluebird is another good stop. They even offer vegan options with their "soysage" and spicy tofu cubes as well.