Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer's here...Wheres your BBQ?

Photos and blog post by Your Eyedea

Well, it's summer here in NoMi and you know what that means! BBQ! One thing that all of us here in NoMi have in common is the greatness that is a BBQ. Nothing smells better then chicken skin getting caramelized with some homemade BBQ sauce or ribs being smoked with hickory chips and a Kansas City rib sauce with a Northside kick to it. What you do to make these finger licking, lip smacking, many napkin using ribs is......

Brine the ribs. It may sound strange to some of you but it's the first thing you should always do when BBQin' ribs, chicken ect. Or at least that's my mothers motto and I have NEVER not listened to my Mama when it comes to food.

The Brine Follows :
1/2 cup kosher salt Or 1/4th cup table salt
1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar (if ya like it sweet. But I'm already sweet enough)
Gallon of fresh water
10-15 Peppercorns crushed
Few dry bay leafs and crushed
Fresh or dried thyme (1 teaspoon)
Chili flakes (Go light on these because the sauce has kick)
Mustard seeds (Don't go too nuts with them, these are strong lil buggers)
2 sliced lemons (I like to twist them to get all the juice and oils out, same with the orange)
1 sliced orange
1 large onion chopped

Bring water to boil, turn off heat. Add EVERYTHING and let stand until cool.

Take a 3-5 gallon bucket and clean well. Place meat in bucket. ( Be sure to wash hands) Pour brine over meat. I like to put a plate on top and weigh it down with cans or even a clean brick. Cover and put in the fridge over night... DO NOT let it brine more then 24 hours... It will be VERY salty and over power the delicate flavor of white meats. Take the meat out and pat dry with a paper towel.

If you would like to use a rub by all means do so. This is my rub, I like to make big batches of this and put in jars and spread the love..

6 tablespoons mustard (yellow)
2 tablespoons ketchup
3 medium cloves garlic , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Next thing we do is soak the wood chips in COLD water (the hot water will draw out the flavor of the chips, you need the flavor in the chips, not the water). Let them soak for no longer then an hour. Start your grill. (I tend to use a good amount of coals being that I cook a lot when I use my grill.) If you are using a gas grill I suggest getting a small metal smoke box. Try not to overcrowd it as it will not work properly.

Once the grill is started I bust out my sauce (Pre-made the night or even weeks before hand)

Recipe follows:
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cloves garlic, minced

(I like to smash the garlic with the side of my knife, add a little salt and scrape the knife while pressing down to make a paste. It tends to blend better and I know not everyone likes chucks of garlic like I do.)

1 teaspoon cayenne (feel free to add more, but beware!)

A shot of Sriracha
A splash of red wine, brandy or whiskey. ( I tried Bison Grass Vodka... VERY good flavor)

Squirt of mustard (any kind will do nicely)

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes until thickened. I put my sauce in a squeeze bottle I get at a restaurant supply shop.

Once you have your coals/grill ready and everything is set up, this is called Mise en place (everything put in its place). If you are using coals we don't want them too hot so once they turn white spread them and wait 10-15 mins.. drain and put your wood chips on the coals or in the box.. Close lid and get your meat.. When you come back there will be a lot of smoke; don't be alarmed, we need this smoke. So work quickly. Ready?

Open the lid and be sure to turn your head away from the grill to not get smoke in your eyes... Place meat on the grill skin side down leaving at least 3 inches between each piece. Close lid. Now we need that smoke to stay in there so only leave a sliver sized opening on the vent. I can't tell you how long it will take to fully cook the meat, It all depends. American test kitchens Says " They usually are done after 4 hours at 220-225 degrees. The way to tell if there done is the meat will pull back a little from the ends of the bones, and there will be a bit of give if you give one of the bones a twist. I know some people like …" And I tend to agree with them cause they are a very reliable source for cooking instructions.

If you are smoking chicken wings then I would suggest only smoking them for 30-40 mins checking on the to insure they will not burn. About 20 mins in I start to slather the BBQ sauce on to get that nice charred skin.

One of my mother's famous side dishes made on the grill is her balsamic spiked zucchini. Cut three to four zucchini into four pieces the long way, place in a zip top bag with a cup of balsamic vinaigrette, seal the bag and shake (kids LOVE to do this so if you have some around, put them to work!) I also like to add some fresh garlic and more pepper. Let them chill in the bag for a half hour to an hour. Then grill them to your liking. I like them crisp so I cook them for 5 mins each side..Garnish with parsley or fresh thyme.

Now for one of my boyfriend's favorite is my sweet potato pockets. I chop two large sweet potatoes or yams and place in many layers of foil. I put about a stick of butter in the mix, then again, that's just me. Chop the butter into chucks and toss them with the potatoes. Add 3 tables spoons of brown sugar plus salt and tons of crack black pepper. Sprinkle with chili powder and wrap it up and place in on the grill flipping a few times. Takes about 20-40 mins depending on how hot your grill is. I like to garnish with more chili powder.

So now we sit down to eat... But wait... We need something sweet! Another favorite of my boyfriend is grilled peaches with ice cream. Can't go wrong with peaches in the summer right?

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. If your feeling fancy I like to use fresh vanilla beans by cutting them the long way then scraping out the seeds with my knife, mixing it in with the sugar)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
(if your using the vanilla bean then I'd use granulated white sugar)
fresh peaches (not fully ripe)
grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil) (or BUTTER!)
vanilla ice cream

In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut peaches along the seam all the way around and twist halves off the pit. Brush cut sides with grapeseed oil or vegetable oil. Cook, cut side down, on a hot grill until fruit has grill marks, 3 to 4 minutes. Brush tops with oil, turn over, and move to indirect heat. Sprinkle cut sides with cinnamon sugar. Cover grill and cook until sugar is melted and fruit is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream (sprinkle on extra cinnamon sugar if you like).

Julia Child said it best. "Dining with one's friends and beloved family is certainly one of life's primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal."

So get out there and cook!!!

Note to readers:

All food items in the photos were purchased from So Low. Just sayin....


veg*nation said...

just to point out that not EVERYONE in NoMi is incapable of enjoying a meal unless they can rest assured that it's served with a heaping side dish of animal cruelty (

Your Eyedea said: "One thing that all of us here in NoMi have in common is the greatness that is a BBQ. Nothing smells better then chicken skin"

Johnny Northside! said...

I was recently reading a book called "Baa Baa Black Sheep" about the life and times of Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. (Re-reading it, actually, since I read it in 9th Grade)

Right after he was released from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, having won the Congressional Medal of Honor for his role in downing 28 enemy aircraft, Boyington was filmed by a movie crew for the old "Movie Tone News" media, and Boyington looked at the camera and said to his oldest son, "Son, when I get back, we are going to go hunting."

When Boyington returned to the states, some lady had written him a letter--on kitty cat stationary, yet--and said to him, "Going hunting? That is TERRIBLE! Hasn't war satisfied your blood lust?"

My point is:

There's a time and a place for this "meatless" discussion, and a way to go about promulgating one's point of view that is more persuasive than other ways. Years ago, I was on a sidewalk in Seattle and, in a gentle way, a young Hare Krishna explained why it was I should "Choose the lowest life form on the menu" and avoid beef. He was so persuasive that his words influence me almost every day of my life. My word, I'm eating some "mock duck in rice" this very moment!

But I don't think your post, Veg Nation, will persuade me, our 400 plus readers a day, or the person who contributed this blog post to do anything but have an extra helping of turkey.

veg*nation said...

i understand that it is of utmost importance to this blog to explain that anyone in NoMi who doesn't eat meat is considered to not be a "real" resident of NoMi, and is not welcome to participate in cleaning up the neighborhood.


NoMi Passenger said...

John, I have to disagree with you, I think this is a perfect place and time for Veg*nation to raise her vegetarian-animal cruelty position, and she did it well and respectfully.

She is just raising the voice of those in NoMi who don't eat meat.

And Your Eyedea's post and pictures are great, too.

JNS=virtual community center :-)

Your Eyedea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Your Eyedea said...

veg*nation: You have the right to not eat meat just like I have the right to post about how much I LOVE meat...

This is America man.. How about you spend your time doing something productive like revitalize your neck of the woods.

Also BBQ involves meat most of the time, and this is what this post is about.. So I really don't understand your point in posting that comment. You don't see me hatin' on blogs about vegans. Even though personally I think its the most unhealthy thing around and it has turned into a trendy choice instead of a life-style choice.

And YES I should have said "One thing MOST OF US have in common ect..." But I didn't and I have no plans in changing it to make some stranger happy.

Another thing is, how does one kill an animal with no cruelty? With a smile on my face? or just kill it with a Nerf bat?

Johnny Northside said...

I'm glad the issue is being raised--and look how much discussion it has caused--but, really, my original point was there is a way to persuade and I didn't find that very persuasive. And I'll say so. But I'm not trying to squelch the discussion. Veg Nation is a prolific and respectful poster. She should discuss what she wants to discuss, but that doesn't mean everybody is going to AGREE.

Hans said...

I don't think anybody cares about the diet of would-be Nomi revitalizers.... except perhaps veg*nation. Do you want me to stop participating in "cleaning up the neighborhood" because I eat meat? Nobody said you aren't a "real" resident of NoMi... just that your comment is not very persuasive.

Why all the angst towards an informative post about how to prepare kick-ass meat on a grill?

I happen to know that Your Eyedea could write another post entirely about preparing vegetables and fruits on a grill... but that wasn't the point of her article.

What's your point? Do you expect a post about BBQ to respect the sensibilities of vegetarians? It just seems like you're trying to cause trouble...

Anonymous said...

Ever get the feeling that vegetarians consider themselves morally superior to you? Like they think that not eating meat makes them so special that their shit doesn't stink? As if when someone stops eating meat, they suddenly become holy and dignified and it excuses them for the years of inconvenience and frustration they inevitably inflict upon their friends, family and co-workers who just want to go to a restaurant and order a damn steak without constantly being reminded that they're going to hell for eating an animal that spends most of its life shitting in a field. There are those of us who don't have a hyperactive sense of guilt and we don't give a shit about your mixed up self-righteous moral vegetarian agenda.

"I can't eat meat." The four worst words to hear when you're going to a restuarant with someone. I literally cringe every time I hear those words because I know it means that we have to drive around the city for 2 hours looking for some restuarant that serves "friendly" burgers, which ironically look and taste exactly like hamburgers--which vegetarians object to eating because it's either A) gross or B) murder. If it's so gross, then why go out of your way to eat something exactly like it, asshole? It's funny how vegetarians suddenly stop bitching about murder as soon as you point out their fancy leather belt or shoes, or that they drive a car and use electricity which contributes to polluting the earth and contaminating everything including the precious animals that they refuse to eat.

Well I'm tired of it. So what I've decided to do is sponsor a vegetarian! It's easy and spiteful, and we all know how much fun spiting people is! I'll explain..

What does it mean to sponsor a vegetarian? It means that you have to find someone in your life who's a really big pain in everyone's ass every time you want to go out to eat, and then you commit yourself to eating THREE times the amount of meat you'd normally consume to make up for all the meat that your vegetarian buddy isn't eating. It's that simple! That way, you can reverse the guilt trip that they've been laying on us for years by not only neutralizing their cause, but making it actually worse by eating more animals than would have ever been eaten had they not chosen to become vegetarians!

Your Eyedea said...

I will be making a post about all the dishes I have made from my garden. And I also did include three dishes that were mainly veggies. You can use oil instead of butter or get dairy free ice cream..

I would like to state that I do eat more veggies than meat, If I don't eat veggies I feel ill..I'm not saying that your not trying to clean nomi up. I'm just saying you should do something better with your time than leave comments on blogs about your life choice and make me feel like the bad guy when I'm just trying to freely express my opinion about my love for a BBQ.

The Green Lantern said...

This is hilarious.

All you "NoMi" "revitalizers" are so self righteous that you start attacking each other over culinary practices.

Which one of you is going to "shut down" the other one?

Maybe you guys should just agree that you all love to get sauced up on booze and hate "butt" glass and quit attacking one another?

Anonymous said...

This might be a little elementary for some but i will give it a shot.Friday night at the Fights brings you the bout you have all been hungry for...pardon me....In the Red corner weighing in at a slim 3 pounds we have the peoples champion, Mr Steak.In the Green corner weighing in at cost per pound lets hear it for Vegnation.Okay, i say let's not hear it for either of them since they both are abusing water supplies throughout towns and communities across the country in the name of Profit.I will bet anyones sweet ass that neither one of you have a problem with bottled water or how much water it takes to produce your food of choice.Mr. vegetable 'bout those pesticides?Choice is a human value that we in the Western Civilization take for granted and try to impose on others that do not share any one persons individual view whoever That person may be.I think there are alot of children and adults going hungry tonight in the TwinCities that would say that you are all full of shit since both industries utilize shit to manufacture their respective poisons...i mean products.As the musical group Kra ftwerk sang"We Are The Robots" Boat hopes the local issues take back center stage.Good Evening.

emma. said...

veg nation,

bbq doesn't have to include meat. you can bbq vegis and fruits just as often and easily. i guess that point has already come up in other comments. and i suppose eyedea did say something about 'chicken skin' and maybe that was a little yucky to some, but my point is bbq should not be only associated with meat. some of the best bbq i've consumed is fruit and vegi-centered.

mm... i could go for some right now... :) bbq pineapple gets me everytime. may i also suggest hallowing out an orange, mixing it into cake batter, putting it back into the orange peel and eating it when done - and warm! mmmmm.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Frankly, the animal cruelty angle doesn't register with me one bit. I grew up on a small family farm and was accustomed to eating cows, pigs, and chickens that I had seen running around days or even just hours before a meal.

I do remember seeing a picture once, though, of a farmer standing on a literal mountain of carrots. I mean the dude seemed miniature in comparison. And all of these carrots were going to feed livestock that would then be killed for food.

If I could be persuaded to reduce (sorry, simply not going to eliminate) my meat intake, about the only angle that might work is the social responsibility angle that much of this food and farmland could be put to better and more efficient use feeding people if the veggies went directly into our diets.

That being said, I do love me some meat.

Your Eyedea said...

Yep. I'm over it....

la_vie_en_rose said...

As much as I love vegetables, I love me some good BBQ, too (and Eyedea, that picture you posted has made me hungry).

I respect vegetarians and vegans, but you need meat in your diet (especially me as I've got several deficiencies), and I'm not going to stop eating it (in fact, my doctor has told me not to do so).

I was raised around farms, and I've also been hunting. While I think it's cruel to keep calves caged up in order to make them tender meat, animal cruelty is one of those odd terms. Is it animal cruelty for one animal to tear up a smaller one in its quest for food? Do we stop carnivores as well?

There's a "food chain" for a reason, and there's always someone above you on the chain no matter what you are.

That said, Happy Fourth, everyone!