Sunday, July 27, 2008

Teriyaki Drumsticks

Slight change of plans here. I was going to make teriyaki pulled pork, but then I got invited to a poker night. I thought it might be easier to play hold em with chicken drumstick in hand as opposed to trying to tackle a pulled pork sandwich, generally a two handed job. However, I stayed true to my mission of making it teriyaki style.

25 skinless chicken drumsticks
3 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 teaspoons alt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 bottle thicker style teriyaki sauce

According to the label on the spice jar, Chinese five-spice powder is a blend of ginger, nutmeg, allspice cloves, pepper, thyme and star anise. Now I'm noticing that this appears to be six ingredients, but maybe I am missing something here. I also found it amusing that Iron Chef has rolled out a line of sauces (pictured above). Good to see that they are finding some other revenue opportunities. Mighty fine sauce though so it looks like they are on the right track, but back to business here.

Put all of the spices into a shallow container or dish and stir together. Roll each drumstick in the spice blend and then place into the crockpot. Cook on low for 7 hours. After 6 hours open the crockpot (cardinal sin here I know) and pour about 6 tablespoons of your teriyaki sauce over the top.

Cook for one more hour and then transfer cooked drumsticks with a tongs onto a place. Drizzle with a little more teriyaki sauce and then put in the fridge for a few hours before serving. I really think these are best served cold because the meat is almost falling off the bone when they are finished cooking and a little time in the fridge allows the meat not only to absorb a little more flavor but also to reconnect to the bone so it won't completely fall apart while you are eating it.

All in all the drumsticks were a hit and I got third place which meant I got my $20 buy in back so I can't complain.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Getting Ready!

For cryin out loud will this heat just break already. This weather has really just gotten out of hand. I will not be stopped this weekend however. Mark it in your calenders I will be making some teriyaki style pulled pork this weekend. I know that the weather is not a good excuse, but it is hard to get motivated to cook anything when it is unbearably hot and your apartment has very little ventilation in general and no ventilation in the kitchen at all.

Enough of my whining though. Let's talk teriyaki. Teriyaki is a Japanese cooking technique that entails broiling or grilling foods in a sweet soy sauce marinade. I'm going to switching things up a little however. I'll be working with some pork loin with a Asian style spice rub topped off with some teriyaki sauce. Looking forward to hitting the grocery store and getting this show on the road finally.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Talkin about Spice Rubs

When it comes to crockpot cooking or any kind of cooking for that matter the use of spice rubs is a surefire way to ratchet up your meat without having to add any additional fat. There are plenty of great store bought rubs to be had, but there is definitely a cool feeling about making it yourself. The downside of this is that there will be a little investment up front to put together a spice collection that will allow you to create a variety of different and tasty rubs. I have compiled a quick list of spices that will help get you started and shouldn't set you back too much.

The Spice Rub Shopping list
Smoked Paprika
Chili Powder
Kosher Salt
Ground Black Pepper
Cayenne Pepper
Granulated Onion
Granulated Garlic
Brown Sugar
Dry Mustard
Dried Thyme
Dried Oregano

This list here will get you started and as you experiment with new rubs you can add more spices to your arsenal. The great thing is that spices have a pretty long shelf so you won't have to worry about spoilage. You may want to look through every year or so. Opinions vary a good deal, but the main thing is to check whether your spices still have a strong flavor and aroma to them. To get you started here is a solid recipe for a great Texas style dry rub I like to use on brisket.

1 tablespoon chili powder
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated onion
2 teaspoons granulated garlic

I would suggest finding a rub you really like and whipping up a good size batch so you don't have to remake every time you do BBQ.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Too hot for cooking today

Was hoping to make a new Asian style pulled pork recipe today, but this heat is really challenging my will to cook. I don't have central air conditioning in my apartment and not too much airflow either and while I love the smell of pork, it can really hang around the apartment for awhile, especially in the heat. I hope everybody's kitchen is a little more forgiving and inviting. In the mean time, I'm kinda getting into this new angle for my blog though. More new ideas and recipes and breaking away a little from the tradition. I made a little sketch using a basic paint program to express this revolution. It's a pig in a Merlin-like costume stirring up a pot. My friend and I brainstormed that I should be calling this blog "The BBQ Alchemist." In a way crockpot cooking is kinda like alchemy, turning tough cuts of meat into gold, or rather better tasting meat anyway. Really can't draw that well, but it will have to do. Look for the Asian style pulled pork recipe this weekend.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Washington DC Recap

Well, it wasn't the BBQ weekend I had planned, but a good weekend anyway. I had done a little bit of homework and found that while Washington, DC is not known for it's great BBQ restaurants, that there was one little spot in Chinatown called capital Q that I thought might have some potential. After carefully studying the menu, I decided that I would go with the brisket as the restaurant's website indicated that their focus on was on Texas BBQ, which is known for it's emphasis on beef.

I was looking forward to it all weekend, but made the regrettable decision of not checking the hours beforehand. Had I done so I would seen that they were not open on Sunday. However, all was not lost. My friend who I was staying with had a great book about BBQ with lots of different recipes for rubs, sauces and BBQ recipes. He gave me this book as a parting gift and I look forward to using to come up with some more interesting and exciting variations on BBQ cooking. So while I didn't to eat any BBQ while I was in DC, I did get some food for thought with a endless supply of new ideas to share.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Capitol City

Heading down to Washington DC for the weekend. Hoping to find some good BBQ while I'm down there. I went to college in the area and I recall going to a place called Old Glory in Georgetown which was pretty good. This was long before my days of making my own BBQ. I do remember that they used to call their sides "heaping helpings" and ironically the sides were ultimately served in a tiny little dish with a portion that was hardly heaping.

Nonetheless I do remember the food being pretty so I may go there one night unless anyone has any suggestions. Granted I don't work in the restaurant business but sometimes I don't understand why restaurants try to nickel and dime you at the risk of having you leave unsatisfied and not coming back or worse yet not recommending it to others. One of the great things about cooking at home is that you can make as much as you want for much cheaper than going out to eat and the portions are always heaping.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Independance Day Brisket

Well it does not get much more American than Beef Brisket on the 4th of July. This recipe is really easy and comes out tender and delicious. It was a great success at my friends BBQ and would be a welcome addition to any summer gathering.

I was a bit bleary eyed when I put in the crockpot (it was about 1 am), but the beauty of the crock is that you just put the meat in and forget about it and the crockpot will do all the heavy lifting for you.

5 lbs of beef brisket (trimmed of most of the exterior fat)
3 tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
6 tablespoons of you favorite BBQ rub
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce

Do not fear if you do not have any store bought rub in the house. You can make your own rub really quick using this recipe:

2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon crushed oregano
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon cumin

In a large bowl pour the Worcestershire sauce over the brisket and turn the meat over until it is evenly coated. Sprinkle your store bought or homemade rub evenly over the brisket and put in the fridge for 2 hours to marinate. Set your crockpot to 12 hours on low. No need to peek in the pot as the brisket will need the whole time to get nice and tender. Once 12 hours is up (which in my case was about 1 pm, but some of you earlier risers could probably make this same day) take the brisket carefully as it will start to fall apart as you try to lift it out. I use a tongs which seams to do the job. Let the meat rest for about 15 minutes and then use a sharp knife to slice the brisket into 1/4 inch think pieces.

Toss the slices onto a platter and you are good to go. I like my brisket on a roll doused with some of my favorite BBQ sauce. Dinosaur BBQ, where I went for dinner last week, makes a great sauce which is available at some grocery stores in NY and of course on line. Check my post for more details.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Brisket on the Brain

I have been dreaming of making some succulent brisket this whole week. It has been hard to concentrate at work as I am scheming different variations and spice combinations. Fortunately for me July 4th is probably the biggest day for BBQ of the year. I'm going my friends apt in Brooklyn with 5 lbs of brisket in tow. I think I'm just going to keep things simple and basic this time. In the end that is really what BBQ is all about.

Another funny little tidbit I picked up was apparently "Memphis style" means with coleslaw on top. So, a pulled pork sandwich served Memphis Style is just a pull pork sandwich with a big dollop of slaw on top. Sounds like a pretty good combo to me. Probably gives the sandwich a nice crunch.