Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Finding that next great bbq recipe.

In today's busy world it's not always easy to find the time or money to practice cooking barbecue or find the time to experiment to get the next great marinade/sauce/rub combination. So what's a guy (or gal) to do ? My solution to this problem is to use chicken breasts. They cook quickly, they're fairly inexpensive and they really have a very neutral flavor so you can taste how your marinade, rub, injection sauce all work together.

I recommend that you try each component by itself and then mix and match your marinade, rub, sauce etc... That way you really learn to understand what each component does to flavor or enhance the meat. This will also help train your taste buds for future recipe ideas.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

March 12th kicks off the New England Competition Season

It's SNOWSHOE time ! Woot Woot ! The annual Snowshoe competition marks the beginning of the New England Competition BBQ season. I believe this is the 18th year for this event, and I think I've competed in at least 14 or maybe even 15 of the 18 years. While this is actually a grilling and not a bbq event it's still a way for teams to clear the cobwebs and get back into competition mode. I think there have been more disqualifications over the years due to late entries at the Snowshoe then any other contest I have attended (except maybe the Royal).

This years categories are: Strip Steak, Pork Tenderloin, Sausage Fatty and the always challenging Chefs Choice (no dessert). Believe it or not this is one of the most difficult competitions to win because teams have had all winter to practice and perfect their recipes for this contest. Of course that's not my teams style. The competition is a couple of weeks away and we haven't even discussed what we are going to cook. I guess it's time to start skimming some cookbooks and the intertube for some grilling inspiration.

If your interested in competing or just visiting the Snowshoe you can find all the info on the NEBS website.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How I used my Bacon and Pancetta

I couldn't wait to try the bacon and pancetta that we just cured even though the pancetta hasn't dried for the required amount of time. That's ok it was still darn good !

Pig Candy Ice Cream

The first recipe I tried I found on David Lebovitz blog. I followed the recipe as is and even included the cinnamon since I'm a fan. The original recipe is called Candied Bacon Ice Cream but in the BBQ community we call candied bacon 'Pig Candy' , there are several recipes out on the net, Google is your friend.

The basic steps are Candy the bacon, make a custard, and throw it in your ice cream maker. Here are some pictures of our effort...

Later this week I will be making an apple crisp to pair with the ice cream.

Sweet Potato Hash with Pancetta

This Recipe came about today because this is what I had in the house and I couldn't wait to try the pancetta.

Ingredients: 1 Large Sweet Potato peeled and cut into 1/4 inch squares
1 Small Onion finely diced
dried basil (to taste)
2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 inch slice of pancetta

Salt and pepper to taste
pinch of cayenne pepper

Place the sweet potato pieces in a bowl and season with olive oil, basil, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes or until fork tender. Flip the pieces after 15 minutes


In a non stick skillet brown the pancetta. When fully cooked drain the pancetta reserving the fat in the pan. Set the pancetta aside and when it cools finely chop it.

Add the onions to the pan and cook until they just start to brown. Add the chopped pancetta and the sweet potatoes to the pan. Salt and pepper to taste. I think hash is good with a lot of freshly ground black pepper.

When the sweet potatoes are nice and brown serve as a side dish with eggs or if you can't wait like me just dig in.

Bacon and Pancetta

Who knew that making Bacon and Pancetta at home could be so easy ? Not me that's for sure.

Last week I purchased an eight pound pork belly from Northeast Family Farms a division of the Dole & Bailey Company. The goal of Northeast Family farms is to provide a supply chain between local farms and the professional culinary community. All of their products are locally raised on small to medium sized family run farms. The Pork Belly that I purchased was raised by the Lucki 7 Livestock company in Rodman New York.

I cut the pork belly in half making bacon with one half and Pancetta with the other. Both recipes can be found in the book Charuterie by Michael Ruhlman. The Bacon Recipe can by found on Michael Ruhlman's Blog.

The Bacon was the easier of the two. You simply rub the bacon with a basic cure and put it in a ziplock back in the fridge for seven days. Every other day you turn the bacon over and make sure the cure (which by the second day becomes a brine) is well distributed.

After the bacon was done curing we smoked it in our pellet smoker for 2 hours at 200 Degrees.

And that's it presto chango it's Bacon !

While I say Bacon was the easier of the two that doesn't mean the pancetta was difficult to make. It just involved a few more ingredients and the added steps of rolling and tying the belly after it was cured and finally hanging the pancetta to dry for several days.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Making Bacon and Pancetta

Here's a little preview of our Bacon and Pancetta efforts. We're cutting it close to the Charcutepalooza deadline but we will make it !

Friday, February 04, 2011


In an attempt to revive this blog and the pleasure of trying new cooking techniques I've decided to join a blog challenge called CharcutePalooza. The Challenge is hosted by Mrs Wheelbarrow and the Yummy Mummy. The rules or Ruhls of the challenge as they like to call them are:

  • Let’s celebrate the age-old talents and skills of charcuterie with contemporary takes on techniques, flavors and presentation.
  • Let’s agree to use humanely raised meat, sourced as close to home as possible.
  • Let’s write about our experiences. Not just how the charcuterie is made, but how we use it, serve it, flavor it.
  • Buy a copy of ‘Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing’ by Michael Ruhlman.
  • Cook along as often as practical. There’s no obligation.
  • Post about your experiences on the 15th of the month.
I hope you'll follow along and Join in on the fun.

Monday, January 24, 2011

BBQ Class

Brendan Burek the pitmaster of Transformer BBQ and Steve Farrin (that's me) pitmaster of I Smell Smoke are teaming up to teach a Brisket and Pork Butt class. Two meats taught 2 different ways. The date of the class is Feb 26th and it's being held in Canton Massachusetts at our Catering and Retail bbq location. Please contact Brendan at for all the details. Space is limited so sign up ASAP

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

American Royal BBQ

The highways and byways of America are littered with thousands of bbq enthusiasts all on their way to Kansas City MO to compete in or judge one of the worlds largest bbq events. American Royal here we come !
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