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Entries in Tip (6)


Recipe: Grilled Pork Tenderloin Appetizer


Awhile back, we attended a social gathering where they served drinks and appetizers.  One of the appetizers was toasted baquette pieces topped with a small piece of beef and horseradish.  I filed that away as something that I wanted to try to put a BBQ spin on.


So last Saturday night, I had a chance to do just that.  I grilled a couple of pork tenderloin on Saturday morning.  I then wrapped them and placed them into the refrigerator to chill.  It's much easier to slice them thin when they are chilled than it is when they are warm.


I then placed a piece of tenderloin on toasted baguettes, and topped each with a slice of a Harvati Dill cheese that my bride is fond of.  They make a great finger food and were a big hit at the gathering that we took them to.

Feel free to experiment with this.  I think these would be good with a dollop of a spicy or flavored mustard or something simialr as well.



BBQ Tip - Freeze the Scraps

If you're a serious backyard BBQ cook like me, you probably cook at home.  In my neighborhood garbage pickup only happens once a week, and to make it worse it's on Friday.  That means this time of year, rib or brisket trimmings can sit in a garbage can in 90 degree heat for an entire week before the trash truck comes.  Trust me, they can get pretty ripe in that time.

So I picked up this tip from some folks I know who are serious boaters.  They have much the same problem when trying to manage garbage while underway for a few days at a time.  It turns out, that all you need to do is make room in your freezer for the garbage that is likely to spoil or smell before it can be disposed of.

I've taken to double (or triple) bagging the trimmings and storing them in the extra refrigerator in my garage.  Works like a champ, and now all I have to do is remember to put them in garbage on trash day.  




Now That's a Knife!


Whether you're just getting started or you've been BBQ'ing for awhile, there comes a time when you need to evaluate the knives you're using.  After all, they're a pretty important tool for the BBQ chef.  I spent the first few years just using whatever fell to hand in the kitchen.  But a few years ago, my wife presented me with a nice set of knives for Christmas.  The difference has been night and day.

So here are a few things to consider if you're in the market for knives.

  • Consider the type of blade and the maintenance.  Some blades are harder to sharpen and some require professional sharpening, like serrated blades.
  • Like buying shoes, you need to try it on.  Pick it up and feel how it fits your hand.
  • Buy individual knives rather than a set and buy the best knife you can afford.  Buying a set is certainly acceptable, but you may find that there are knives in the set that you don't use much.

And here are the knives that I'd recommend you start with.

The Chef's Knife - This is a good all purpose knife that can be used for dicing, mincing, and slicing.  Just be sure to buy one that's comfortable in your hand and not too long.


A utility knife.  This knife is longer than a pairing knife and used for miscellaneous cutting.  Typicaly these knives have blades in the 4-6" range.

The pairing knife.  A short knife typically used for peeling or coring vegetables and smaller food items.  These knives typically are 3-5" long with a straight, sharp edge.

The only other knife that I'd add to get started is a serrated knife for slicing.  Unfortunatley mine is MIA, but that's a whole other blog post.

Sharpening Steel - Sharp knives are the most useful, so make sure you have a sharpening steel or some other tool to keep a good edge on whatever knife you use.

Remember, even when the world is at peace, a gentleman still keeps a blade by his side.



BBQ Tip: How Not to Trim a Brisket

After spending last weekend surrounded by awesome pork shoulder at the Kentucky BBQ Festival, I was ready for some brisket this weekend.  So I was up and at it early on Saturday morning, trimming 3 packer cut briskets for the Backwoods cooker.

Just as I was finishing up the last one, the knife slipped and got into my left thumb.  Now I'm not saying that I "sliced" my thumb, it was really more of a chopping blow when the knife slipped.  I jumped up, said a few choice words, and thought, "I'm sure it's just a flesh wound".  But when I bent my thumb and saw the gaping wound, I knew I was headed for the hospital.

A quick double-check with my wife to confirm my own diagnosis and a panic text to my neighbor and fellow pitmaster to finish up the brisket, and I was off to the ER.  I walked into the ER slightly before 7:30 in the morning and by 9:00am, I had 4 stitches and a tetanus shot.

So here's my advice to all you BBQ'ers.  Slice "away" from you when trimming your BBQ meats.  Here's the proof that I know what I'm talking about.


Before treatment During treatment The final result

 The good news is it was a sharp knife and a clean cut.  I should be healed up and ready to cook for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately my career as a hand model is over.



The Most Important Ingredient for Great BBQ

While I've always appreciated good BBQ, I haven't always been able to create good BBQ.  Over the years, I've tried my hand at it with a variety of different BBQ pits.  My failures usually left me thinking that it was an equipment problem.  Finally, after going through a couple of ECB's (El Cheapo Brinkman water smokers) and an off-set cooker, I finally decided that maybe the common denomenator was the guy running the show.

I began to read a lot of the BBQ forums on line and decided to give it one more shot.  My folks had a gas powered, bullet smoker that they'd never used.  I pressed it into service and applied the techniques I'd read about and much to my surprise, I turned out some awesome pulled pork.  I finally realized the most important ingredient that I'd been missing in my previous attempts.

You see, I'd been following the FDA guidelines regarding safe temps for food preparation.  You know, those numbers printed on the back of meat thermometers and such.  I'd always pulled pork shoulder off of the cooker when it reached 165 degrees.  What I failed to realize is that while no one will die from eating pork cooked to 165 degrees, that doesn't mean it's done.  In fact, the magic is only starting when pork shoulder hits 165 degress.

The ingredient that I'd been missing all along wasn't a rub, a sauce, or a cooker.  It was patience.  It turns out that you can't rush good BBQ.  You can't cook by your watch.  You have to cook by temperature (for the most part) and pork shoulder isn't done at 165 degrees, it's done at 195 deegrees.

So grasshopper, now that you know the secret.  Be patient, cause great things come to those who wait!




Tip: Avoid burns from the Bubba Keg

I must be in the slow class, cause I only burned myself about 3 times before I learned this technique. The last couple of times I've cooked on the BKCG, I've burned my forearm when opening the lid straight up. I finally discovered that you can avoid the rush of escaping heat if you stand to the side of the grill and open it from 3:00 to 9:00 (or vice versa). Opening it straight on from 6:00 to 12:00 exposes your arm to that rush of heat that can (& will) burn the heck out of your forearm.

I've had a couple of close calls and been left with a slight burn a couple of times, so use this tip and my experience to avoid a nasty burn on your forearm.