Homemade Gifts for Barbecue Enthusiasts

Originally at: http://barbecuebible.com/2017/12/15/homemade-holiday-gifts-barbecue-enthusiasts/

Before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, before the average American began budgeting $1000 for holiday shopping (up from $289 in 1985), there were homemade gifts.

Resurrect the tradition—or start a new one—by spending some time in your kitchen making one or more barbecue-related gifts for the deserving people on your list. Below are just a few of your options. All come from Steven’s latest book, Barbecue Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades (Workman, 2017). Hey, come to think of it, this book, with more than 200 recipes, makes the ultimate homemade gift.

Lone Star Steak Rub: This lean, mean, big flavored seasoning packs some serious heat thanks to cayenne and pure chile powder. Corral in attractive jars and suggest the recipient use it on steak, brisket, tri-tip, or other red meat. Bundle with some premium steaks for a gift that will really be appreciated.

Smoked Venison Jerky: Last year at this time I was holed up on a beautiful ranch south of Livingston, Montana, testing recipes and helping with final edits on the aforementioned book. Deer and bison were plentiful in the region, but I used beef top round when making this recipe. Believe me, you can never make enough jerky. (For our best jerky tips, click here.)

Sweet and Smoky Barbecue Sauce: Ask most Americans to describe the perfect barbecue sauce and they’ll invoke a sweet red ketchup-based sauce with the tang of vinegar and a whiff of liquid smoke. In short, the sort of sauce Kansas City barbecue buffs have slathered on ribs and briskets for decades. Jarred and refrigerated, the sauce will keep for several weeks.

Bacon Jam: Okay, Santa. Cookies or Bacon Jam? I think we know what the man in red would pick. This stuff is seriously good. Steven teased the recipe from the chef-owner of Smoke Woodfire Grill, Erik Reynolds, in barbecue-obsessed Tulsa, Oklahoma. You likely have all the ingredients to make the jam on hand. (Always a plus.) Potential uses? As a topping or stuffing for burgers, pork chops, salmon steaks, or chicken breasts. Killer when spread on a grilled cheese sandwiches.

For more sensational homemade gift ideas, check out:
6 Homemade Holiday Gifts from Your Grill or Smoker
Homemade for the Holidays—Barbecue Rubs
Homemade for the Holidays—Beef Jerky

Have you ever sent or received a great homemade barbecue gift? Tell us about it on the Barbecue Board or Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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Merry Christmas from Miami: Cuban Roast Pork

Originally at: http://barbecuebible.com/2017/12/12/cuban-christmas-roast-pork/

On December 24, the air in Miami will be fragrant with the scent of roast pork as Cubans prepare for La Noche Buena—Christmas Eve.

From Coconut Grove to Hialeah, intoxicating cooking smoke will waft from countless backyard barbecue grills, cinder block pits, and charcoal-fired pig roasters called Chinese boxes.

It is the most important holiday on the Cuban calendar, a celebration of food, family, and faith that was outlawed by Castro’s regime from 1969 to 1997. The socializing, eating, drinking, and dancing traditionally begin in the early evening and end with midnight Mass (for those folks who are sober enough to be trusted with candles) or the opening of gifts.

Earnest preparations will get underway on December 23 when the pork—a suckling pig, whole hog, fresh uncured ham, or pork shoulder, depending on the number of guests expected—begins its long soak in a tangy citrus-garlic marinade called adobo.

In their native Cuba, first generation immigrants to Florida recall digging pits on that day to roast the lechón asado—imagine adding that task to your holiday chores!—but South Florida’s coral bedrock and meager blanket of topsoil discourage that practice.

My recipe for Cuban Christmas Eve Pig, published in The Barbecue! Bible is a distillation of several shared with me over the years by Cuban friends and cooks.

I call for a whole fresh bone-in ham, easier to acquire and roast than a porker that weighs 60 pounds or more. But you’ll also find directions for pork shoulder and loin. (Buy the former skin-on, if you can find it. They’re common in Miami, but could be a special order in your area.)

The adobo marinade and mojo sauce are both simple to make. They contain scandalous amounts of fresh garlic, but don’t be tempted to scrimp. Sour orange juice, from naranga agria oranges, can be approximated using fresh lime juice cut with regular orange juice.

Like Thanksgiving, La Noche Buena has a roster of must-have side dishes, including white rice, soupy black beans, yucca, plantains, a green salad, and an array of sweets like deep-fried bunuelos and Spanish turrone. Beer usually accompanies the meal, but you can get the party started with a mojito or two.

Get the recipe for Lechon Asado (Cuban Christmas Eve “Pig”) here.

Want to try Lechon Asado for yourself? Tell us about your experience on the Barbecue Board or tag us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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Ten Great Grilled or Smoked Appetizers for Entertaining

Originally at: http://barbecuebible.com/2017/12/08/great-grilled-appetizers/

Sometimes they get the party started. Sometimes they are the party. I speak, of course, of those festive finger foods that are easy—almost too easy—to eat.

Whether you’re hosting your own holiday get-together or have been asked to contribute an appetizer, you’ll want your food to be the life of the party. Let other people serve circa 1980s-style cheese balls or boiled shrimp with jarred cocktail sauce.

You’re going to bring down the house by firing up your grill.

My staff and I compiled a list of our most popular live-fire party-worthy starters—stunning to look out, explosively flavorful, cocktail compatible to be sure, and able to be eaten with one hand. Many can be prepared ahead of time or in mere minutes, limiting your exposure to cold and snow if you happen to be grilling in the frost belt. (Not that a little cold or snow will stop you.)

Lemon Sesame Chicken Wings
Wings are a perennial favorite at parties, and these deliver a blast of flavor thanks to a marinade of Worcestershire sauce, beer, sesame oil, and lemon zest.

Smoked Shrimp Cocktail with Chipotle Orange Sauce
The heat-seekers in your crowd won’t be able to get enough of these succulent shrimp. I call for smoking here, but the shrimp can also be direct-grilled, making them table-ready in minutes.

Smoked Pecans
Salty foods just taste so damned good with drinks, meaning these nuts, coated with a sweet-savory spice mixture, will disappear fast. And if the weather outside is frightful, they can be prepared on a stovetop smoker.

Coffee-Crusted Pork Tenderloins with Redeye Barbecue Sauce
People coming to the party straight from work or a hectic day of holiday preparations will appreciate having a more substantial option than the usual cocktail nibbles. Thinly sliced pork tenderloin served on slider buns fits the bill. A bonus? The pork can be cooked a day ahead of time and served at room temperature.

Smoked Snapper or Salmon Dip with Smoked Vegetable Chips
I’ve been making variations of this dip for years; it’s become a Raichlen family favorite. Customize it to suit your own tastes. The fish (snapper, salmon, mahi mahi, black cod, etc.) can be up smoked up to 3 days ahead.

Dungeness Crab Jalapeño Poppers
Luxurious lump crab meat stars in this unusual popper. If possible, buy it fresh from a fish monger. Alternatively, use frozen crab or a premium canned brand.

Plank-Smoked Camembert
Planking is one of the coolest ways I know to serve cheese. Here, Camembert (or brie) is topped with red pepper jelly and sliced green jalapenos—seasonally appropriate colors—and dramatically served on a singed, smoky cedar plank.

Fire-Roasted Red Pepper Dip with Feta
The health-conscious and crudité crowd will appreciate this tangy dip, which is also great with grilled pita wedges. I like to char the peppers directly in the embers, caveman-style, but they can be roasted on a gas grill, too.

Tiki Beef Kebabs
If you’re still carrying a tiki torch for the tantalizing beef skewers that were the star of pupu platters back in the day, we’ve got you covered. December 10 is even the late Victor Bergeron’s birthday; he founded one of America’s first restaurant chains, “Trader Vic’s.” Read more about him here, and learn how he tapped into America’s fascination with the South Pacific.

Hay-Smoked Quail Eggs
Bronzed with smoke from either hay or wood chips and served with a piquant vinegar sauce, these diminutive eggs were inspired by those served at Copenhagen’s Noma, a restaurant (sadly, now closed), that was named the best restaurant in the world four times by San Pellegrino. If you can’t find quail eggs, I have provided directions for chicken eggs.

Have you ever grilled a cocktail party? We’d love to see pix: share them with us on the BBQ Board and on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Party on!

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Smoke-Roasted Goose for Christmas

Originally at: http://barbecuebible.com/2017/12/05/smoke-roasted-goose/

When I was a child, goose was the centerpiece of the Christmas Day table. Ordered in advance by my grandmother from a local farmer, the freshly plucked bird was liberally seasoned with salt and Watkins-brand pepper, packed with bread stuffing, and roasted slowly in her largest speckleware roasting pan. It always reminded me of my favorite scene from A Christmas Carol:

There never was such a goose. Bob said he didn’t believe there ever was such a goose cooked. Its tenderness and flavour, size and cheapness, were the themes of universal admiration. Eked out by apple-sauce and mashed potatoes, it was a sufficient dinner for the whole family…

In Dickens’ time, clubs were established so people could save all year for the holiday bird. Not a bad idea in hindsight. Today, a visit to the modern equivalent of the poulterer’s for goose could set you back $100.00 or more. (Whole Foods appears to have one of the best prices on goose this year at $6.99 per pound. By comparison, turkey there goes for $2.49 per pound.)

Why so pricey? I spoke by phone to Jim Schiltz, a South Dakotan, whose family is the largest producer of geese in the country. Geese, he explained, are more difficult to raise than turkeys and do not thrive if confined. Eggs are hatched in the spring and the young goslings then spend the next several months foraging for grass and weeds. (In fact, some organic farmers use flocks of “weeder” geese in their fields instead of herbicides.) They mature in the late fall which makes them a natural choice for the holidays.

Goose meat is dark, lean, and very rich with more in common with red meat than turkey or chicken. Like duck, the breasts can be served while still pink; they needn’t be cooked to 165 degrees, the USDA recommendation for poultry. Also like duck, geese throw off an incredible amount of fat as they cook, fat you’ll want to capture for roasting potatoes or other root vegetables, making savory baked goods, or even popping popcorn. Goose leg quarters and breasts can also be confited, i.e., cooked slowly in fat until the meat is silky and fall-apart tender. (Goose fat, which has a relatively high smoking point of 370 degrees, can be frozen for up to six months.)

But it’s wood smoke (hickory, pecan, or fruitwoods) that really takes these birds over the top. You can smoke them from start to finish at temperatures between 225 and 275 degrees. Or you can smoke-roast them—a term Steven coined—at higher temperatures to achieve cracker-crisp skin.

• Start by removing any giblets from the main cavity of an 8- to 10-pound goose, thawed if previously frozen. Discard the giblets or reserve for another use; goose liver makes an especially luscious pate.

• Trim any excess skin and/or fat away from the neck or main cavities.

• Using poultry shears, remove the first joint of the wings.

• Prick the skin all over with a large needle, the tip of a knife, or the tines of a fork (avoid piercing the meat). This helps the fat drain off.

• If desired, brine the goose, refrigerated, for up to 24 hours using 1 cup of kosher salt for every gallon of water. This helps keep the goose meat moist.

• Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan and refrigerate, uncovered, for up to 24 hours, to dry the skin.

• Stuff the main cavity with apple or orange wedges as well as onions and fresh herbs, such as sage, bay leaf, or thyme. Season the outside of the bird with salt and pepper.

• Set up your grill for smoke-roasting (indirect grilling) and preheat to 325 degrees.

• Arrange the goose (still on the rack in the roasting pan) on the grill grate. Add a handful of soaked smoking wood chips to each pile of coals. Replenish the wood chips and coals as needed.

• Smoke-roast the goose until the temperature in the thigh reaches 170 degrees when read on an instant-read meat thermometer, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices. Begin checking the temperature after 2-1/2 hours. If the goose browns too quickly, loosely cover it with foil.

• Spoon off the accumulated fat, strain, and refrigerate or freeze.

• Let the goose rest for 20 minutes before carving. Serve, if desired, with Steven’s Red Currant Port Sauce.

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Nominees for the 2017 BBQ Person of the Year

Originally at: https://grillingwithrich.com/nominees-for-the-2017-bbq-person-of-the-year/

Here are this year’s BBQ Person of the Year Nominees, voting ends on January 1, 2018!

Don’t forget to share who you voted for using the hashtag #BBQPersonoftheYear2017!! Good luck!

 

Take Our Poll
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Ready Your Charcoal Faster with FiAir

Originally at: http://barbecuebible.com/2017/12/01/ready-charcoal-faster-fiair-portable-blower/

This post is brought to you by FiAir, which provided advertising support.

For charcoal grill owners, the necessary first step for any grill session (and on every favorite recipe) is to light the charcoal. . . and then wait. Wait for the ideal glowing coals that finish perfectly white, their delicious smoky scent wafting through the air. If you’re like us, the wait time leaves you wishing for a magical instrument you could use to speed the process along.

Short of a genie to grant your wish, there are few inexpensive, easy-to-use tools that will aid you in your quest to speed up the charcoal lighting process. Enter FiAir, a handheld blower that will shorten ready time to 8-12 minutes. This simple, battery-operated equipment will save you valuable charcoal prep time, and have your meal ready faster than ever before.

FiAir taps into a natural fuel for fire: air. The portable device circulates air over the coals and “feeds” them to ensure they heat faster naturally.

See it in action here:

You can use FiAir for more than just coaxing lit coals to life: accelerate hot spots, rapidly increase cooking temperature for a quick sear, spread flames to evenly consume fuel, and stoke waning fires as new fuel is added. You can even create a blazing wood fire in 2 minutes!

Sure you can manage your grill without a blower like FiAir, but do you really want to?

Learn more about FiAir in our store.

Try these recipes on a charcoal grill — the food absorbs the flavors of the charcoal with outstanding results:
Grilled Octopus
Honey and Spit-Roasted Chicken Wings
Grilled Pizza
Salsa on the Coals

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