The Hampton Smoker

What's up wtih what's going down? Does a tree falling on the ocean with no one around make a sound? Barbecue, BBQ, Bar-b-que. It's all in how you sell it.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Colder than a.....

5 degrees when I woke up this morning. With the wind, something like -20 or so. I have always said I could 'cue in any kind of weather. I'm rethinking that theory. But it's been weeks since I've had the smoker fired up and my withdrawl symptons are kicking in-- I mix rubs to keep the edge sharp, try out new sauce combinations. I may have to fire up the stovetop smoker again, just to smell the wood burning.

Hey, we're more than bbq around here, ya know...Introducing the BLOT: Bacon, Lettuce, Onion and Tomato.

The Blot

Tried some bacon from Burger's Smokehouse last weekend and it was pretty darn good. It'd be great on a sandwich. I might prefer Nueske's, but not by a whole lot. I do love that applewood flavor.

The in-laws sliced up a pepper-crusted, smoked pork tenderloin from New Braunfels Smokehouse and served it with some sharp cheddar cheese and Carr's Crackers as hors doeuvres at cocktail hour. Yum.

Pork Loin from New Braunfels Smokehouse

I really need to cook some ribs....

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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A solid dozen

Added a dozen new links today. You can find them in the links section on the right side of the page and down a little.

Thanks to my loyal readers (this means you, mom...) for your support, emails, and comments. There's alot more ahead, including the recipe for Chicken Ala '57 and the Wasabi-laced 'white' bbq sauce that accompanies it. Saratoga Garlic's Wasabi Aioli is the key to that one. I met them at the Troy, NY Farmer's Market, which is a real treat and worth a visit-- especially in the spring, when it is held right on the waterfront.

Chicken ala '57

Wasabi Aioli

Links added:
Dunkin Donuts Talk
Burnt Ends
Lost Nation BBQ Team
A Full Belly
Recipe Swap Ring
Blogs That Cook
Gourmet Sleuth
MacDaddy's Grill
Food Porn Watch
The BBQ Guy Blog
The HomeBBQ Blog

That oughta keep you busy.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Brunch on Harman

Hosted by

There's basically no place in our neighborhood within walking distance that serves a decent breakfast, so usually we have something at home.  Last weekend we grabbed a baggie full of pierogi from the freezer, made a quick beet salad and fried up some onions.  All in all, it was about 1/2 hour of work and was well worth it. 

To make the beet salad-- Peel and boil the beets until fork tender.  Shred or chop the beets (we were in a hurry-- and they do make a mess).  Toss them in a bowl w/ vinegar, salt, pepper, coriander and dill.  I added a pinch of mace to these and it added an additional, earthy sweetness.  We add all of the above to taste, depending on our mood.

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Friday, January 14, 2005

It's Lunchtime

I think this speaks for itself.

Plate of Mmmm

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Smoked Cheddar and Caramelized Onion Pierogies

Smoked Cheddar Pierogies

3 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for kneading
1 cup water
1 large egg, beaten
2 tsp canola oil
1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
6 oz grated smoked Cheddar (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
pinch of mace
1 medium onion minced and caramelized
1 large clove garlic minced and caramelized

Mixing Dough:
Put flour in a bowl and make a well in center. Add water, egg, oil, and salt and start to slowly beat together with flour. Once the dough forms, transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. It is a soft dough. Wrap in plastic and let stand at room temperature 1 hour.

Mixing Filling:
Peel potatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces. Boil potatoes until tender. Drain potatoes well, let cool then transfer to a bowl. Add cheese, onion/garlic, salt, pepper, and mace. Mix ingredients well, mashing the potatoes until the ingredients come together.

Shaping and Storing Pierogies:
Roll out half of dough to about 1/8 inch on lightly floured surface. Use as little flour as possible to ensure that the dough stretches rather than sliding around. Using a cutter (or the rim of a glass), cut the dough into circles. Place about one teaspoon of filling into the center of the dough circle and close it, by folding in half, creating a half-moon. Pinch edges together to seal completely. Place a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet and place pierogies in one level on the sheet and freeze. Once frozen, they can be transferred to baggies to create single servings.

Cooking the Pierogies.
Boil: Bring a 6- to 8-quart pot of salted water to a boil. Add half of pierogies, stirring once or twice to keep them from sticking together, and cook 5 minutes from time pierogies float to surface.

Fry: You can then toss them in a skillet with oil to crisp and brown. Reheat any boiled leftovers by sautéing.

Serve with more caramelized onions and sour cream on the side.

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Downright Neighborly

We walked out of the apartment and saw them hanging on a piece of twine that was tied to the bannister up one flight of stairs. Out in the open, right in the landing outside the door to the roof, were several strings of homemade sausage hung out to dry and cure. The hallway smelled vaguely of clove and garlic. One of the neighbors has been holding out on us. I was thinking of posting a note in the hallway offering to sample their wares, or smoke some up for them.


Living in a largely Eastern European neighborhood our appreciation for their food and culture continues to grow. This week, we tried our hand at making homemade pierogies. I'll post the recipe later, but it's a very simple flour dough and the filling we used is potatoes, smoked cheddar, caramelized onion and garlic, salt, pepper and a pinch of mace (not the blind-a-mugger type, but the kind that is related to nutmeg). Yum.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Short End

Short End

My friends, there are few things that satisfy like a piece of bbq from the pit that has been slow-cooked in wood smoke until the meat is redolent with the aroma of the wood and the food's own fat dissolves and renders the meat juicy and succulent.

Hiroshi and I pulled the membranes from the back of these ribs, slathered them with some cheap yellow mustard and then rubbed them down with a combo of brown sugar, black pepper, pasilla pepper, a little cumin, garlic powder, salt, etc... and let them rest for a few hours. We threw them in the pit when the temp. had hit around 280. The ribs went in, and the temperature of the pit settled in around 230 and stayed between 220 and 260 for the next 6 hours. When they were done, the spares were pulled out, wrapped in foil and set in a 225 degree oven for about an hour. I opened the foil, squirted these with some honey and let that go for about 1/2 hour.

In the meantime, I made a slightly modified "Struttin' Sauce" from the book "Smoke and Spice" and thinned it a bit with cider vinegar, honey, and some rendered rib juice, then brushed that on the ribs and let them go until the sauce was sticky, but not runny. Mmm-mmmmm.....

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Friday, January 07, 2005

What Ales Ya?

Firebox up close

We like beer...Here's an informal list of things you might find in our hands when we're cooking or no particular order. What do you like to drink?

Stella Artois
Brooklyn Brewery
Sam Adams
Samuel Smith
Tsing Tao
Fat Tire
Turbo Dog
Blue Point
Magic Hat
Anchor Steam

We drank Stella with these:

post mod ribs

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Spring Ahead

Carvel Cones

The grey days are here. It's strange how they come at the beginning of the year when we are all supposed to be looking forward to making a new start, refining the current version of ourselves. The ice and the wind and the wet keep coming, knocking down trees and people. Everyone wants to curl up and hit snooze a few more times. It's hard to not to feel crummy, to turn inwards on yourself. To all those who are struggling right now, I know you will break through. The seasons will change and the sun will return. The skys will be clear again. I promise.


Here is a hearty fall/winter soup that works well as a meal when paired with a loaf of fresh, crusty bread. For presentation at a dinner party, consider ladling this into a bowl alongside another hearty soup (like black bean) for a striking 'two-tone' presentation, or for a real 'gourmet' presentation, scoop the flesh out of a smaller squash and use that as a soup bowl (you may need to make a thin slice to create a flat bottom). Be careful not to cut through the skin, or remove too much flesh, or the bowl will leak. Vegetarians can substitute plain water instead of the broth.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Olive Oil
1 2-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
2 cups (approx.) chicken broth
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 cup nonfat milk

Preheat oven to 375°F. Using a heavy knife, carefully halve the squash- they are very dense. Scoop out the seeds. Grease a 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish with olive oil and wipe some on the cut side of the squash. Season the squash with salt, pepper and a few pinches of fresh thyme or other herb of choice. Place squash cut side down in prepared dish. Pierce each squash half several times with toothpick or skewer. Bake until squash is tender, about 45 minutes.

Using a large spoon, scrape squash meat into the food processor or blender; discard peel. Add 1 1/2 cups broth and nutmeg and puree until smooth. Transfer puree to heavy large saucepan. Mix in milk and enough broth to thin to desired consistency. Stir soup over medium heat until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper and another small pinch of the herb used to season the squash earlier. Ladle soup into bowls. Top with dollop of sour cream and chives, scallion or a sprig of fresh herb if desired.

Option: Add a clove or two of garlic to the roasted squash before pureeing for a little more bite. Roasted garlic adds a nice sweetness.

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Thursday, January 06, 2005

Smokin' in the New Year

Good hello again…

Happy new year to you all. All the best to you in 2005. Sorry to have been away so long.

Pro In Snow

At the stroke of midnight I was standing in front of the Smokin’ Pro smokin’ away with my wife and my brother. The weather was mild, though windy and cool. We had a chicken in the smoker that I had injected and marinated w/ Paul Kirk’s Italian Dressing Marinade from Championship Barbecue Sauces. The recipe was super easy to put together and it is delicious. Highly recommended. It is basically wine vinegar, sugar, some herbs, some oil and salt and pepper and spices. Not much else to that. The bird marinated about 2 hours and then into the smoker over oak, hickory and apple. We used mainly Kingsford this time because lump charcoal is scarce around us this time of year.

When we finished, we closed the inlet on the smoker and went to bed. We had some baby backs, spares, and brisket planned for the next day. When I got up to get started (9 hours later) the fire in the basket was still around 125 degrees. Hiroshi scooped out the ashes, split some sticks into kindling and started building the temperature back up. We usually use a mustard slather on our ribs, but this time, we decided to try something different. On the baby backs, I just put the rub on, and on the spares, I used the slather. We wanted to see if we got different color or bark on the ribs. We also did no mopping on anything we cooked that weekend.

Ultimately, there wasn’t that much difference. The bark on the baby backs had a little more crunch, but not much. The color was still the deep red we’ve been getting. We’ll have to experiment more. They were the best ribs we’ve ever cooked, though. We used some maple mixed in with the oak and hickory—sweet, mild, and deep smoky flavor. Cooked the ribs about 6 hours and then let them rest at about 200 in the oven and squirted them with just a little honey. They were dribble down the chin juicy. Once again, we closed down the inlet, and went to bed.

The next day was salmon and kielbasa. Same deal, we just stoked up the fire with what was left of yesterday’s burn and got down to business. We got something like 30+ hours without having to start a fire from a cold start. Nice. I wish there was always a coal bed in the smoker. An eternal bbq fire.

Dbl Smoked Kielbasa

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