I've been on a bit of a chile kick lately. You can blame Mexico I think since it started the minute I got back. In the past few weeks I've stuffed Bells, make sweet pepper cream sauce, stuffed poblanos for Chiles en Nagoda and yesterday made Chile and tomato rice to stuff my chimichangas with. Today I continued that trend and made an Ancho (my favorite) and Anaheim marinade spiced with canela, cloves, Mexican oregano and garlic. Half was spread over the country style ribs and let marinade overnight. The second half was laced with mint honey and used to baste the ribs as they braized. I paired this up with bright orange mashed sweet potatoes. I laid the ribs on a bed of lettuce and served them. I personally felt the flavor was very very good and I'll be playing with this some more in the future. My kids however weren't that thrilled. I'm perplexed as to why and they couldn't tell me either. I'm sold on using rehydrated chiles blended with garlic and apple cider vinager as a marinade. I'm not sure why I didn't do this earlier.
There's a restaurant in Kirkland WA called Cafe Veloce thats a pretty cool place with old Italian racing motorcycles placed sporadically around the restaurant and the walls plastered with racing memorabilia. It also serves some decent food including one not so Italian dish - BBQ Chicken Pasta. I skimmed over that menu item quite a few times without ordering it because I'm in an Italian restaurant and I'm pretty sure that Kansas City is nowhere near Rome so the idea of putting BBQ sauce on pasta makes little sense. However, one day I did my normal routine and asked the Waitress to just bring me her absolutely favorite thing on the menu and this is what showed up. She was spot on the money. Considering that BBQ sauce is just tomato sauce with a little molasses added the Italians only missed it by that >< much. Had they thought a bit more about this (and a few other situations in the last 100 years, namely a couple of wars) they could have been on the winning team.
I suppose a shout out should got to the Mexicans since most great foods in the world require ingredients originating from that area which gained global distribution soon after their illegal immigrant problems got really bad (1521). If it were not for them the Italians would still be eating wheat porridge three times a day and tomatoes - the Italian Love Apples would still be unknown.
I'm not sure why people (myself included) are so against BBQ Chicken Pasta because we'll rip apart a BBQ Chicken Pizza and then when there's nothing left snort the crumbs with a straw to get our fix. I'm to the point that I don't eat pizza unless it has BBQ Chicken on it, why would I? Tomato sauce and pepperoni? Can you get more boring?
I don't have a recipe for BBQ Chicken Pasta even though it's a favorite in our house and I make it often just because I'm not happy with it yet. For the most part you just swap out one starch - bread for another - pasta. However, I've found the sauce to be a much pickier thing with the pasta because there's so much more of it. You don't want a smokey/tart/hot or very sweet sauce with this dish which leaves me experimenting on it. I've come to the conclusion that excessive heat is out and so is the amount of vinegar that a lot of BBQ sauces have. I lean more to a honey BBQ sauce with the dominant flavor being tomatoes and a hint of molasses. As soon as I'm satisfied I'll be uploading the recipe.
The other components are grilled chicken breasts, onions and sweet peppers grilled until caramelized and cilantro. I serve this with either a Penne or Farfalle noodle because both hold the sauce well. Four cups of sauce, two onions, two red bell peppers and 1 lb of chicken works well for 1 lb of pasta as a general rule.
This is what I get for going through old food photos. I was looking for a photo of Boniatillo - a dessert made with sweet potatoes. The further I dug the more I saw photos of dishes we used to make but have embarrassingly forgotten.
BBQ Chicken Pasta is one of those dishes. I don't know why I stopped making it but I did. It's been long enough that nobody remembered eating it. While I was nearly finished with the sauce and had the noodles boiling Jade asked what the noodles were for and then in response to my pointing to the sauce he asked "They're going in there? That's weird". I'm not sure why it seemed weird, maybe because he already has the categories in his mind as to what's allowed or not. The way I look at it we eat BBQ Chicken pizza so why not replace the crust with another starch, in this case noodles.
So the pasta goes something like this. Combine a tomato flavored BBQ sauce with roasted red peppers, carmelized onions, chopped tomatoes and cilantro, add grilled chicken and toss over pasta. It's a very fresh vibrant dish that takes you a bit by surprise. The BBQ sauce you need to make because virtually everything in the store is going to either be too sweet, hot or smoky. Even a little bit of smoke will ruin this dish.
On first bite Jade gave me two thumbs up and Natalya said she really liked it too.
This was on Craigslist today. I started chuckling at how well taken care of this "smooker" is but the text is funny too. I'm not sure what a charcole smooker is but it sure looks like they've taken great care of it. It's not rusted ALL THE WAY through like the others.
smoker/charcole grill - $75 (olympia)
Date: 2010-09-04, 3:11PM PDT
well taken care of char-griller smooker if interested call me at [number deleted] obo thanks
When I'm in Paris I eat croissants, baguettes and escargot. As soon as my plane lands I eat a Philly Cheesteak or a Cheeseburger. How much more American can you get? When in America do what the Americans do. In this same vein I'm tring to learn to BBQ. This may sound silly as anyone can light a fire and throw meat on it right? I know how good BBQ can be but I rarely get to experience it because what happens is I go to someones house and they throw some ribs on the grill and you spend the rest of the night trying to get the meat off them and finally give the job over to the dog who has no better luck.
This is NOT what I'm talking about. I'm trying to learn to do it right. Take one cut of meat and cook it until I've mastered it and then move on to the next. Once I have a cut of meat down I can then justify buying Prime or Choice but until then it's Select for me. I've found a couple of sites that seem to be pretty good in helping the helpless BBQ and I've added them to the Food links.
People who use store bought Matchlite quicklite charcoal and douse it with lighter fluid are not quite who these sites are aimed at. Lump charcoal (with no added fuel) is about the best but not all is created equal. The first site reviews lump charcoal for temp, burn time and ash buildup. As soon as I find one of the reviewed brands locally I'll post a note. The other two sites are about all things BBQ. They have reviews of smokers and grills.
I will probably be buying the Weber Smokey Mountain smoker and the Char-Griller grill because of reviews on both sites. I'll have modifications to the Char-Griller to do which are also outlined. Because I plan on getting the WSM I may change my choice of the Char-Griller to something else without a smoker attachement if it means a better grill. I'm not sure, I'll let you know later.
Seattle temperatures nearly reached 60 degrees yesterday so I felt it time to fire up the smoker red hot and burn the living organic matter from it that accumulated during the wet winter. Once the inside was nice and clean and my bricks had lost their green fungus overtones I loaded the offset chamber with mesquite lump charcoal and brought the temp to 250. Once the temp
had stabilized I loaded it with a heavily rubbed point beef brisket and smoked it with hickory fairly heavy for about 4 hrs at between 250-225 degrees which is longer than I usually do but I felt adventurous. To be honest after this winter I think I just missed the smell of the smoker running in the back yard. The Brisket was then double wrapped and put in the oven at 225. I probably should have pulled it at 8 hrs but it still turned out really great. The fat cap was mostly gone, the texture like melted butter and after resting very little juices ran off. It has a great layer of bark and the flavor nice and smokey.
The photo to the right is cut against the grain. You can see the substantial bark and the looseness of the muscle fiber.
There are rib racks that do a great job with baby back/loin back ribs. In a pinch they may even work with St. Louis style spare ribs but fail miserably when they attempt to hold up a full rack of pork spare ribs. While digging around in the garage looking for a solution I found a wire basket I bought to grill vegetables in. Inverted this did nicely to solve my problem. I laid down one rack of pork spare ribs and one rack of beef ribs then the basket and draped a second rack of pork spare ribs over the basket. This allowed plenty of smoke travel above and below all three racks. It was fairly easy to rotate the meat as well since I just pulled out the basket with the ribs on it, rotated the bottom ribs and then put the basket in 180's opposite how it came out. The only negative to this setup was the door thermometer which was too long keeping the door from closeing. I popped it out and things went fine after that but I didn't know how hot the smoke chamber was.
I've been wanting to move away from all processed foods and one thing I've been eating for 20 years is frozen burritos for breakfast. It might be weird to think of burritos as breakfast food but I've always liked them and they're convenient. Once I became poor (my current income category) I started looking at making my own burritos for cost reasons but it's really really hard to make them less than 30 cents each which is what I buy them for. Granted they'd be better for me and taste better but oh the agony of labor.
A few weeks ago I boiled about 5 lbs of pork loin with onion, garlic and some other stuff. Once it was just falling apart I shredded it, seared it along with some onion, added pureed roast tomatoes, chilis and garlic then Mexican tomato rice and black beans and wrapped them in a large tortilla. These were surprisingly good and have convinced me that it's worth the effort.
I'm not satisfied with the flavor of the poached pork so this time since I was home working anyway I put the loin in the smoker. It was also an experiment in how long many hours I can get out of it on each chimney of charcoal. I placed bricks from the front yard in the belly of the smoker, started a charcoal chimney of lump charcoal and using the minion method dumped it over a layer of unburned charcoal. I apparently choked the air down too much because 4 hrs later the temp had dropped below 200 degrees. Lump charcoal seems to want more air than brickettes as the firebox was half full of unburned charcoal. I started a half chimney of brickettes to throw on top of the unburned lump and let it go. I returned from the concert tonight to find my smoker still at 200 degrees! Not bad, I replenished once in 11 hrs and the temperature never fluctuated more than 50 degrees always staying between 200 and 250. Next time I'll give the lump more air to keep it alive and see how long I can go without replenishing. Keep in mind this is all being done with a $99 offset smoker picked up from Wallmart. Ok so it has a few modifications but still.
Tomorrow I'll shred it, combine it with grilled onion, a little sauce, my black beans I cooked today, some roasted tomato and pasilla salsa, my classic tomato Mexican rice and maybe some cheese and throw it in a burrito. I'll let you know how it turns out. The smell is awesome so far.