I meant to post this on Friday, but was having too much fun making the pizzas.
Food & Drink
Contrary to expectations, a McGill University researcher has discovered that seeing meat makes people significantly less aggressive. Frank Kachanoff, who studies evolution at the university’s department of psychology, had initially thought the presence of meat would provoke bloodlust, believing the response would have helped our primate ancestors hunt. But in fact, his research showed the reverse is true.
I smoked these beautiful lemons at 220° for an hour using a mix of charcoal and pecan and then we squeezed them to make an amazing lemonade that held a richer flavor, without losing any of the bright citrus tang. I’ve included a straightforward lemonade recipe below, but there are many great recipes out there that you can use as a base.
Five lemons will give you about one cup of juice, resulting in six servings of lemonade when all is said and done. The steps below are built on this estimate.
- Cut lemons in half and place them in a pan(s) that will fit in your smoker. . Disposable pie pans work well, as it may be easier to position them around the meat in the smoker. I placed some cut-side down and others cut side up to even out the amount of smoke they would absorb.
- Smoke them for about an hour at 220°, reduce the time if you’re already cooking at a higher temp.
- Pull them from the smoker and let them cool.
- While they cool, make a simple syrup by heating 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Squeeze the now-cool lemons into a pitcher
- Pour the syrup into the pitcher along with 3 cups of cold water (you can add more later if it’s too strong, but you’ll likely add ice too).
For an added adult-only twist, you can add bourbon, either in the pitcher or per-glass, to your taste.
Hat tip to Leesa for the inspiration!
If you follow me at all you know that I love bacon and quite recently acquired a pound of Preservation Bacon, which is made from bellies from local (Austin), naturally raised hogs and curing salt. As my taste buds can attest, this is some impressive stuff, and it looks good to boot, as you can see in the photos at the end of this thread. The bacon is cut nice and thick (he’ll cut it to your desired width) and the individual bacon slices maintain their shape beautifully.
If you’re interested in getting a pound or two for yourself, sign up to receive the Preservation Bacon newsletter (the site is a placeholder at the moment). One note – the bacon is only available in Austin at this time.
I can’t wait to try another dish and order a second batch down the road.
Here are some pictures to get your stomach grumbling:
[flickr album=72157613798623992 num=10 size=Small]
Here’s my method for producing flavorful and juicy barbecue chicken in my smoker.
If you don’t have a lot of chicken, you can reduce this to a half or quarter of these amounts, as long as the chicken is fully surrounded by the brine. Typically you want ¼ cup of salt and ¼ cup sugar per quart of water.
- 1 whole chicken (more if you want and your smoker has room)
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup salt
- 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
- Fresh rosemary
The Night Before
I like to cut the chicken in half as it ensures more even cooking, and makes it much easier to move around the smoker when/if you need to rotate or move the meat.
- Prepare the Brine: In a large container, mix the water, salt and brown sugar. This is much easier with warm water as it wil absorb the salt much more quickly. Just be sure to let it cool before you put the chicken in it.
- Cut the chicken in half, along the breastbone. The result should have one wing and one leg on each side.
- Place the chicken in a large ziplock bag (my preferred method) or a suitably sized container, add the rosemary (I’ll usually add a few stems) and pour in the brine liquid. If you split the chicken into more than one container, you may need extra brine. Make sure the chicken is fully immersed
- After sealing the container, put it in the fridge if you have room. Alternately, I like to put it in a cooler full of ice so the refrigerator isn’t jam-packed and in case the bags give way, the mess would be contained. Luckily I haven’t had any brine leaks.
The actual smoking process will be about 4 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the brine an hour or before it will go into the smoker.
- Rinse the chicken thoroughly. Missing this step will result in a slightly too-salty chicken
- When the smoker is at 235°, place the chicken halves on the grill. I place the thicker, breast side towards the firebox; you may need to find the best layout for your smoker.
- Maintain the 235° temperature.
- Rotate the chicken after two hours (half-way through the cooking process) so the meat is evenly cooked.
- After the fourth hour, check the internal temperature of the meat in the breast of one of the halves to ensure it is fully cooked. You’re aiming for 165°, though you may want to pull it out a couple of degrees sooner, as the meat will keep cooking after being removed from the smoker.
- Wrap the chicken in foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Don’t skip this step! It’s tempting to dig right in, but this resting period will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat.
Carve and Enjoy
Hopefully this will prove tasty and give you a foundation for playing with different flavors. I didn’t cover the woods I use to smoke the meat, but I highly recommend using a bit of apple wood if you have access to it.
After the first glass, you see things as you wish they were. After the second, you see things as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, which is the most horrible thing in the world.
Absinthe, the mysterious green liquid of lore and mystique can be distilled and served once more in the U.S.
The Urban Cup Holder by Up to You is an amazing idea that transforms your environment on the go. In a large metropolis, it could shift the usual travel patterns, hopefully slowing life down by encouraging people to use the space around them and communicate. Or, as one commenter noted, it could be a nice way to extend the footprint of a cafe, something that could prove important to smokers as more and more cities enact non-smoking ordinances.
I think it will get the most usage (at least here in Austin), as a beer holder. Whether you need a spot for your brew when you’re on a party barge, or on the patio at one of your favorite night spots, the Urban Cup Holder would be pretty damned useful. The built-in hook would be handy for jackets or grocery bags, though I’m not sure how much weight it could hold.
I can’t find a product page, nor any photos beyond the one I snagged from swissmiss, so I have no idea if this is anything more than a concept. I’m going to contact Up to You in order to learn more, as I’d love to see these in use.
Se the comments for an update.
How to Taste Single Malt Scotch has some good advice for those of us who enjoy single malts.
Bunnahabhain is hands-down my favorite single-malt Scotch. Hailing from Islay, an island off the western coast of Scotland, it is smooth with just a bit of peat. It’s great to see that they have a Web site and mailing list now. I’d love to see screensavers and/or desktop backgrounds made available for download as well. For now, I’ll just content myself with a finger or two of the golden liquid.
A nice recipe with an option for either Gin or Vodka, the Gimlet sounds like a tempting beverage.
2 oz. Gin (or Vodka)
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
Mix in a shaked with some ice.
Shake it up.
Strain into a chilled glass.
Serve it with a squeeze of lime.
A scanned in version of the 1950s Ground Meat Cookbook which has “204 Intriguing Recipes”. Mmm!
This recipe for Mulled Cider (Spiced Apple Cider) sounds delicious!
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Photo taken from Engadget
I love the Voodoo Knife Rack made by Viceversa. They have taken a rather utilitarian tool (an object to hold knives) and designed a fun, yet useful piece of working art. Granted, I’m not keen on the exposed blades, but perhaps the danger of cutting oneself is part of the fun. Hrrrm, perhaps not. Either way, it looks cool, even if it isn’t something I would choose to use.