Easter Brunch at 5 Horses Tavern

So Jacob talked me into coming to this place, and I am glad I tried to.  He told me about a item on the brunch menu that is a biscuit with fried chicken, two sunny side up eggs and the whole thing is covered in sausage gravy.  How could I say no?

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It was pretty good, the gravy has quite a bit of thyme in it and enjoyed it.  The biscuit was a little tough but with the sausage gravy the whole thing was fantastic.

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CJ had the Paula Dean which was crispy pork belly over cheesy grits with a sunny side egg and toast.  We also ordered the hash as well.

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The hash is in the middle, I do think it is pretty cool they serve it in an individual cast iron pan, unfortunately I didn’t think it was very good, it had kind of a sour taste to it that I care for.  I also ordered and ice coffee and maybe I am spoiled by True Grounds down the street but most places make the coffee way too weak for when they mix it with ice it becomes too watered down.  The waitress was great and the food was very reasonably priced.  I would recommend it, but with Highland Kitchen just up the street I would only go here if that wasn’t an option.

SuperBowl Brisket Pics with the New Camera

God Damn Ravens.  Congrats Laura!   I cooked a brisket with the new smoker accessory I got which is basically a fan that attaches to the vent on the smoker and controls the temperature.  It was really fantastic because I really didn’t have to check on it.  I set the whole thing up and then checked on it once every 4 hours instead of once every 35 minutes, it maintained the temperature for about 14 hours with a full bag of charcoal.  This was a massive 19.7lb brisket, I bought the biggest foil pan I could find to take it off the grill.

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This was almost too big for my massive cutting board.  It came our really well and it is amazing the difference the camera makes in the quality of the pictures.

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Here is a picture of a few slices of the flat.  You can see these pieces are upside down, the strip of fat is at the bottom.  I like to trim the brisket just so there is a little strip of fat after it is cooking.  I think I am doing a pretty good job in that.  I need to work on how to trim the point better.

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This is that giant pan full of slices brisket.  I am still amazed at how detailed you can see in the brisket with the new camera.

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This was part of what CJ made for the superbowl.  This is a sourdough loaf that she cut up and stuffed with cheese bacon and a mixture of butter and a packet for ranch dressing seasoning.  It was incredible!  This was almost the last of the bacon I made so we are going to need another batch pretty soon.

Damn Ravens…

Real BBQed Chicken

Alright so I have been working on ways to use chicken legs and thighs mostly because they are really really cheap, and it is a nice change of pace from chicken breast.  Anyway I have found the easiest way to make pulled chicken.

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So I took the chickens and put about a 1/2 a tablespoon under the leg skin and another under the thigh skin, I also sprinkled lightly on the back of the chicken pieces.

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Throw them on the smoker about 300 degrees for 3ish hours, I placed them like this on purpose because I think the edges of the grill tend to be warmer because the water pan doesn’t protect it as much.  So putting the thighs on the outside I would think they would cook more evenly.

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This is what they look like after around three hours.  Don’t go by time though you have to get a digital thermometer.  You can go by the flexing of the leg, if it is done it should just tear off very easily.  But really you want to find the biggest thigh put a probe thermometer in it and cook the thigh until it reads 180.  Remember there is plenty of fat and connective tissue in these so you want to cook them more like a brisket and less like a steak which is why I like the quarters for this.

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Unfortunately the skin is useless and really just needs to be discarded.  I pull the chicken off the bone and serve it like it is pulled pork.    The other down side is this recipe really isn’t much of a looker.

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I can’t believe I didn’t take a shot of it on a sandwich but I seem to have left that out or deleted or something.  I treat this exactly like pulled pork, a little coleslaw a very small amount of BBQ sauce and a cheap white bread hamburger bun.  It is terrific.  It is also a great way to try smoking meats, because the meat is cheap it is only 3ish hours long so you don’t have to keep a fire going for 12 hours of a pork shoulder or brisket.

New Camera expect more pictures…

Right near my house is Tufts university, it is an amazing campus and it is on a very tall hill.  If you hop on top of the library you can get some amazing shots.  I just got a new camera from my work bonus program.  It is a Cannon Ti4 and it takes some pretty bad ass pictures.  Unfortunately I have no idea how to use it.  There are going to be a lot of amateur photo galleries coming up.  I have some other plans to hit up a fort tower along 93 and Mount Auburn cemetery is suppose to have any excellent view of the city.  So I am going to go around and try to find the high ground and take some pictures this year.  There also are going to be some disc golf pictures once it warms up.

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View from the top of Tufts Library.

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Going to take a beginner DSLR camera class coming up in the spring.  I can’t wait!

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I like this shot except I didn’t center it quite right.

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Taking advantage of a super windy day.

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And here is CJ’s beloved cat Pooch.  He is very annoyed because I took a about 14 shots of him in a row with a pretty bright flash.  He is probably somewhat blinded at that moment.

Smoked Turkey Legs

Smoked Turkey Legs

So I have gotten way behind in my posting, this is going to happen from time to time as I have a love hate relationship with the computer.  Spending all week in front of it sometimes I really don’t want to pick it up on the weekend.  So I wanted to smoke something different and I saw that Stop and Shop had turkey legs on sale for some really cheap price, I think it was $1.99 a pound.  First thing is first you have to put the turkey legs in a brine, I made a simple one equal parts salt and sugar.

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I put them overnight in a brine and then let them out on a wire rack for a few hours in the fridge.  The fridge will get them nice and draw which will allow the rub to really stick.    2012-12-02 09.15.28

1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Rub with the above spice rub and oil.

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Throw it on the smoker I did 275 but next time I am going to try 300.  After about 2 hours it will look like the below.

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Pull them after the thermometer reads 180 be careful you do not hit the bone when gauging the temperature if you hit the bone it will read much hotter than what the meat is.

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They came out pretty good, the meat was perfect but the skin was very chewy and leathery.  I think possibly basting with oil half way through might also help get a crispy skin.  Over all they were pretty good but not quite perfect.  Next time I am going to increase the temp and hope that helps the skin.

Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes

CJ found the coolest little recipe a year or so ago–basically, you take a wonton wrapper and shove it in a muffin tin, then fill it with something awesome. Add cheese, put in another layer of awesome sauce, and then more cheese.  Bake for a while at 350 and you get savory cupcakes.  The idea came from Emily Bites and I decided to make buffalo chicken cupcakes because I personally don’t have enough buffalo chicken in my life.

Take some shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, celery chopped fine, and blue cheese and mix them all up.  Then you press the wonton into the muffin tin. (Be sure to grease the muffin tins well.)  Put about a tablespoon of stuff in the bottom of the wonton, add some cheese, add another wonton, another spoon of stuff, and more cheese–repeat as many times as necessary.

Bake these bad boys for 20 minutes at 350 until the corners are light brown and the cheese is completely melted.

Wait a few minutes for them to cool before popping out of the muffin tin, they are going to be unbelievably hot.  Check out the Emily Bites website, she has a bunch of different ideas.  CJ made the French Dip cupcakes and they are amazing.  It also is cool because you can freeze these and then pop them in microwave for a few minutes and you are good to go.

Pulled Pork for Week 8

I decided that since it was so nice out I was going to do something with the smoker, and CJ requested I make pulled pork.  I hadn’t done it in a long time and figured it would be pretty easy.  I got the two pork shoulders below on sale and made a rub with raw sugar and some store bought Texas smoky BBQ rub.  You want to use about twice as much sugar as BBQ rub, at least that is what I like on pork.  Make sure to take the skin off before adding the rub.  Try to leave as much fat around the pork as possible.

Make sure to apply rub on all sides to coat it. Another trick is that you really have to make sure the meat is dry before applying the rub.  If the meat isn’t dry a lot of the rub will “leak off” the meat.  I know it was a step I was always tempted to skip.  Please do not.   Another step I like to do is to make sure to stab the roast a 8-10 times each to puncture some of the membranes in the pork and help the natural fat baste the meat.

Toss that in the smoker for about 18 hours and you get the below.

I started this about 4:30pm Saturday night with apple wood. I have really found that apple or apple and cherry really work well with the pork.  I pulled it out of the smoker at about 8am Sunday morning and it was about 190 degrees which I think is perfect. Wrapped it in foil and held it for about 3 hours until it was almost game time.  The meat just fell apart–it was very tender. I pulled out the bones for the neighbors’ dog (he is a giant husky who is a big baby, a perfect combination).

After pulling it came out really well, like I said the meat was so tender it really wasn’t too hard.  Just had to remove the bones and break it up.

CJ made a wonderful spicy rum based BBQ sauce and it was awesome. Put a little coleslaw on the cheapest most supermarket white bread hamburger rolls you can find, and I give you heaven.

So you caught me, I didn’t take a picture of my first sandwich.  OK, it wasn’t my second sandwich either, and no I am not telling what number sandwich this was.  Now I have to decide what to make with all of this left over pulled pork.  I might bring it to work, I might freeze some. amd I might make some sort of chili. (CJ is actively hoping for the last option. It is getting to be chili season!)

Hope you had a great weekend.
Nate