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.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Shattered Good

In times of trouble, eat. When you feel down, dig into something that makes you feel better. Why not, what could be wrong with that. Oh, it's ok. I admit I'm an addict. I love junk food, fast food, fake food and candy/sweets. I keep bags of candy within reach of the bed-- well, not as much as I used to, but pretty frequently.

When I was trapped in Chicago in the days following September 11, 2001 I really freaked out. That day was the day I was supposed to check out, but I tried to stay because I had no place to go, and the hotel threw me out. As I was ranting to Amy on the phone and shoving stuff into my bags, I realized my supply of candy was running short and I blurted-- "(Littany of things)...and I'm running out of candy! Where am I gonna find more candy now. Everybody has probably already stocked up."

So, while the BYC has been banged up, I made some candy. I had a sudden craving for peanut brittle. I came across an old family recipe that I mucked with, and it turned into an easy, dangerously quick treat. When dealing with cooked sugar mixtures always exercise extreme caution-- it's easy to get burned. Whatever you do-- resist the urge to lick the spoon or whatever you mix with-- the mixture and the spoon stay hot for a long time. It may spit a little when you add the vanilla, so watch out.

Microwave Peanut Brittle

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup peanuts
1 tsp butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 lightly greased cooking sheet

Microwave the sugar and the corn syrup on high for 9 minutes. Add the peanuts and microwave three minutes more. Add the vanilla and butter and cook for 1.5 minutes more. Slowly stir in the baking soda until the mixture foams and turn it out on a greased cookie sheet. Let it cool 30 minutes and shatter into bite-sized pieces. Note- My microwave is way old and is probably lower powered than yours, so keep an eye on things and adjust cooking times as you need.

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Barbeque Abuse

Click the picture for a bigger view of the scratches and horribly twisted handle, and/or click the link below to see a slideshow of pictures documenting the injuries to my smoker that were inflicted during its botched delivery. My baby is on the way back to Houston for medical attention. Hopefully it will all turn out to be superficial stuff that can be quickly touched up. We'll see.

  • My Poor BYC

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    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    Hello Stranger

    East Lake in Flushing again. Went with the family- Mom's out of the hospital after two months.

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    Maps and Legends

    Yo, kiddos. This is my first week at the new job and so far, so good. Unfortunately, that's been taking up alot of my attention BUT, the BYC will be delivered on Monday or Tuesday and I can't hardly wait. For those just joining us, the BYC is the Klose Backyard Chef model barbeque pit-- more than a ton of pure cooking excitement hand crafted in houston, tx. I plan to be burning it in by the evening of the 21st.

    In the mean time, I encourage you all to keep yourself occupied over at the BBQForum Member Map-- it utilizes some Google beta software and shows peoples' locations. If you click on the little flags for people's locations, you can see their info and, in some cases, pictures, too. Pretty cool.

  • BBQForum Map

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    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Curses, Foiled Again

    Here's the first brisket for which I ever used foil as part of the cooking process. I will definitely experiment more with this in the future. I stirred a little passion over at using the term 'crutch' to discuss foil, but no harm done.

    In other news, I tagged WhiteTrashbbq, the BBQ Junkie, Rookery, Ole Smokey, and The Bacon Show. We'll see what they come up with.

    I'm very proud to announce that I just wrote my first post on My column will be profiles of the BBQForum members and I've already received one suggestion of someone to profile and I'm looking forward to getting that going (please keep the suggestions for other BBQForum members coming!). I'm adding links to as well as the BBQForum Podcasts-- two invaluable resources, so check them out. The podcasts feature some of the better known members of the bbq community including Paul Kirk, Danny Gaulden, Dave Klose and others. Highly informative and fun.

    I whipped up my first batch of homemade sausage today-- sort of a fresh Kielbasa-type. Ground pork, herbs de provence, some seasoned salt, minced garlic, accent and black pepper. I'm making patties since I don't have a stuffer. I'm feeling like I need to buy some more ground pork already, as 1lb just doesn't seem enough-- this is goood stuff!

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    Sunday, October 02, 2005

    A Hit

    So, I got tagged by my fellow blogging friend, Mona, of Mona's Apple which is in my links section on the right side of the page-- you should check her out if you haven't already.

    This is my first tag as a blogger and I'm touched that she picked my lazy ass to participate. She picked me on Sept. 26 and since I've been in and out of town, this is my first opportunity to take action--it's not really because I'm lazy that this took so long. Anyway, here's the deal:

    Here are the instructions/reference for whoever I tag next :

    It's the 23/5 meme. The blogger tagged has to go to their 23rd post, find the 5th sentence, and then write something interesting about it on their blog. So:
    Delve into your blog archive.
    Find your 23rd post (or closest to).
    Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
    Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
    Ponder it for meaning, subtext or hidden agendas...Tag five people to do the same.

    Without further's my longwinded take on this perfectly unassuming sentence taken from a post from November 2004 about making Country-Style Ribs in my oven. The link for the post, artfully titled "Country Style Ribs = Yummy" is:

    Sentence #5: "I foiled them and refrigerated about 8 hours."

    Woah, dude. First of all, the post was about making the ribs in the oven, and then I break the rules again by talking about foil, a bbq purists no-no. Man, I'm 0-for-2.

    What's really interesting to me and resonates is the awkward way that I said "and refrigerated about 8 hours." It sounds like I chilled myself-- that's something I don't do often enough. The reason I was cooking in the oven that day was because I didn't have the energy to fire up the pit-- I had just been diagnosed with high blood pressure-- severely high. I don't know for how long that was the case, but I do know I could've damaged my heart. I also have super high cholesterol, so, I was pretty down about it all and feeling pretty blah. People don't often have symptoms from High B.P., but I was having some and the doctor knew before he even checked me out what was going on.

    Since then, I've started on medication, quit smoking cigarettes (just over a year and G-D do I miss those lil' bastards!), started exercising and trying (trying....) to eat better. It's all hard, especially for a meat and potatoes person, and to be honest, scary.

    When my doctor picked up the high blood pressure we talked alot about stress and it's effects on the body. It totally cracks me up to remember how he bluntly just sputtered, "You need to find a new job." He was right. Since then, some things have changed and others not so much. Here I am almost a year later waiting to start my new job on October 10, digesting some of the 'que I cooked over the last days, feeling stiff from splitting oak and hickory logs-- enjoying the sore muscles and the 'work'/'play' of cooking outdoors and wondering how else my life will change in the next few years-- will there be kids....a house...a new city and a new start...will we stay in NYC...will the job work out? Will I be able to find a balance, and refrigerate (or at least relax and learn how to take it all a little less seriously)?

    Who knows? But, I hope so. And, boy, I can't wait to find out-- and I know that just a few years back I never thought I'd be here now, blogging, q'ing, helping my mom recover from cancer, putting the ashes of my cat, Caesar, on the shelf, or being 'grown up' and married and wondering about kids and houses and all this 'grown up' stuff....or even knowing people like Mona....

    Life has a way of doing that to you-- the minute you think you know where you are and you like it, watch out, because change comes whether you want it or not.

    So, look out WhiteTrashBBQ, Rookery, Bacon Show, and others, I'm coming to tag ya. And thanks, Mona, for the chance to look back. I'll let you know who the five are a little bit later-- after I post some pics and whatnot from the last few days.

    Backyard Chef, out.

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