You heard that right, myself, Chilebrown and Ms. Goofy will be officiating this food related event. How’d we get to hold such a position? We were asked, that’s how. We’ve never done such a thing, so we’re really looking forward to it.
Our day starts early, but you don’t have to. I think the judging starts about noon, so you’ll wanna come by a little earlier than that to see what all the hubub is about. Where?
The general vicinity of Texas and Jefferson Streets (and surrounding areas), Fairfield, CA. Comon by and enjoy yourself, there’s tons of stuff going on, tomato festival, vendors, games & clamato.
ps – Am writing this at 4am and not quite right with the world yet. Am taking the boys to the mountains, 8600 feet up! Whar’s muh coffees foo?
For the last 10 years I’ve dreamed about making a cold smoker. Bacon, ham, sausage, pork chops, fish & chile peppers oh my! Cold smoking ain’t quite as straight forward as hot smoking, plus the equipment is different. This coupled with being dead lazy, I’m only now taking the project on.
The cold smoking thing all came together when Salvage sent me a link to a Cold Smoke Generator on ebay, I bought it that moment. The wheels spun and I posted last week about making a cold smoker out of a 55 gallon drum. I thought I had it made, but I was wrong. The drum was “lined”, that means it’s bad for food related craft projects. The protective coating keeps organic solvents from attacking the steel, good for them, bad for us. You want an unlined, clean, steel drum for such things and this was not it. And then? Creepy E took the week off so it was going to be 9 days before the new drum could be ordered. I have an attention span of a gnat and I needed satisfaction, needed it like now.
I figured I could use my hot smoker and talked to Salvage about it. Sure, not a problem, but you have to be very careful about Ptomaine and Botulism. See, with a hot smoker you got fats/juices all over the darned place and they’re generally cleaned up by a good hot fire. But cold smoking rarely goes above 120 degrees F. This means whatever nasties are there, they incubate. Here’s what he has to say on the subject.
Ptomaine is the enemy you can smell. Botulism is the real culprit in this realm. It wants 3 things, the spores, absence of Oxygen, and temperatures between 70 deg and 140 deg F. You are building the Botulism incubator. Hmmmm It is odorless and tasteless. The good thing is that Botulism and Ptomaine do not get along at all. So, if it smells rotten it will only make you very sick. If it smells good it can kill you dead. Heat botulism to 265 deg F and the organism dies, but the poison remains and you still die. So the moral here is to never grow Botulism. Like genital warts, you have to catch it from somewhere.
Saturday morning’s ToDo List:
Clean up a few grates, drill a hole for the generator and find some smokable food stuffs.
Cold Smoking. Most of you already know, but for those of you who don’t? It’s simple, you smoke your food at a temperature of about 90 to 120 degrees F. It’s how smoked sausage, bacon & hams and chile peppers are done. Oh, don’t forget CHEESE, MmMmm smoked cheese.
Years ago I went through my own trials of cold smoking my own chile peppers and onions. They were the best ever, but it just about killed me. Maintaining temperature & smoke for 24 hours isn’t exactly a love trist. I knew then I needed a smoke generator, a device that would combust wood bits for up to 12 hours without reloading. Heat is easy, an electric hotplate does the trick in a pinch. Combine the two and you have a cold smoker that will run unattended for maybe 12 hours, this is what I knew I wanted and needed.
Well, yesterday Salvage pointed me towards a device that would generate hardwood smoke for 12 hours, cost about 1/3 to 1/4 less than anything else I’ve seen, and it is made by hand by some person I’ll introduce to you later (once I find out who exactly he/she is).
What you see here is my prototype. It’s a 55 gallon steel drum with an old weber kettle lid on top. This will give me a nice domed lid (promotes good heat/smoke distribution) with an adjustable exhaust that looks good and works great. Multiple horizontal racks will be installed near the upper portion of the drum so we can put slabs of bacon & acres of chile peppers for the most awesome smoking adventure of all time! Each rack will have some type of thermometer so I can see what each level is up to.
Ultimately, I’d like to get an industrial heating element that will allow me to put the temperature adjust on the outside of the drum. And as soon as the ordered smoke generator arrives, I’ll let you know.
ps – Please don’t leave any comments about Alton’s cold smoker in a cardboard box. That is so what I don’t want.
They aren’t easy to find, you have to really look and even ask around to find them. But when you do? There’s nothing like fresh pork spine grilled over a real fire.
How best to grill thine spine?
On March 25th CajunGrocer.com contacted me and asked if I’d like 10 pounds of mudbugs for ‘review’. Oh, let me think, YES. Remember them? They were the ones that sent Meathenge Labs a Turducken, yeah that’s them.
The little guys come delivered to your door alive, moving, and making this clicking sound like rice crispies in milk. The party wasn’t until Saturday, said crawdads arrived on Friday, not a problem. Hose them down, toss into cooler with a bag of ice (drain open), easy enough. But it didn’t say whether to leave them all tied up in their sack or not, I decided to let them out in to the cooler. Free range crawdads … dumb Californian. Wanna come see how it turned out?
Oh, which item to tackle first? The Rotal Barby or the Tofino style pork shoulder? Before we do either, I want to make it perfectly clear that I most certainly did not use the word Barby to be cheeky. Personally, if someone says to me, “Let’s put another shrimp on the barby.” I’ll cleave them in twain, like right now. No, the name Barby is actually imprinted on the rig directly. Not only that, they trademarked the word Barby, they can have it. So, it really is a Rotal Barby. Ever heard of one? Seen one?
Click through my good fellow or fellee and come see this fancy pork shoulder and a new grill for Meathenge Labs.
Jeffrey and I have known each other now for about 22 years. We email and talk once in a while, meat up from time to time and reminisce when visiting Jack. This last weekend was Jeffrey’s turn to host a meal, he was hesitant. See, all he has is a little gas grill. He knew it came dreadfully short of adequate and mentioned something about picking up a weber kettle.
Nice offer, but those rigs are $130 and up. There must be a better (less expensive) way. Come with me on a little adventure wherein Biggles totally kicks a gas grill’s ASS with a hole in the ground.
Yop yop, it’s coming up on the busiest grill day of the year. Some of us have been at it for mumfs already and probably won’t gain much from this post. However, if this isn’t you and you’re considering inviting friends over for an afternoon of merry & meat, it’s time to start getting ready, foo.
Such a nice introduction to a new year. It’s been icy cold in the mornings, the excitement of the holidays has past (thank goodness) and the new year is … well new. A great time to sit back, relax and see what happens next.
Uh, that would be in invite from Chilebrown to an afternoon of fresh pizza made in his new wood fired oven. It’s a gift from his wife Ms. Goofy, nice huh? Interested to see more? If not, click through anyways ya foo.
Psyche !!! No post here. Nope, see? Look around, do you see any article for today? AHAHHAH, I totally had you. Face!
Well, okay. I did write a fancy article, but it isn’t here. It’s some place else. Robert from Get Your Grill On has kindly invited yours truly to join the Well Fed Network. So, during the coming months you’ll find me over there laying down the meaty love.
But Biggles, you have Meathenge! Why diversify and spread yourself out all thinny?
I accepted the offer to get out farther on the net and broaden my daily walkies. I could use the exercise and am shooting for some more inspiration. I figure, this inspiration will not only make the world a better place, it’ll improve Meathenge too. Years ago a good friend Murdock observed that Ed is like the rock in the center of the river, solid and unchanging. Himself is like the water, moving effortlessly through life, one with the universe. I however, was the guy in the kayak, upside down, broken oars, banging in to every rock and branch on my way down.
Here’s my first article written just for them,
It’s cold, it’s windy, it’s December. Let’s cook outside!
Wish me luck!
What is a DOG? It’s a Dutch Oven Gathering, foo. A gathering of people who enjoy cooking with a camp style dutch oven. These fancy ovens are just like the ones we use in our kitchen, but they have 3 little stubby legs that allow coals to be layered underneath and a large lipped lid that assists in the same. And since you’re using coals, this is all done outside. You know? Where the bugs and leaves are? There’s even a Dutch Oven Society. It’s a club type thing you can join and get newsletters and they sanction events, such as the one in La Pine Oregon where Abram and E took 2nd place in early August. Heh, they’re winners. And I’m lucky because they live in the next city over and they mentioned some interest in getting together for some fun. Shuna wanted to come too, but ended up with tummy problems and wasn’t able to attend, feh. As soon as Chilebrown heard of the news, he was in. And his wife Ms. Goofy wasn’t to be left out. This put us at 6 adults for 5.5 hours of cooking, eating and relaxing. How’d it turn out? Click through to be stupified and drawn through about 16 images of mad craziness. It’s taken me 2 days to get my appetite back!