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.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo: Where does the time go?

My peoples, I'm still out here.

Demolition has begun on the restaurant and I'm still cooking at a restaurant in Union Square. I'm so tired, burned and cut up. This is fun!

I've had the opportunity to learn nearly every facet of running a restaurant-- I've worked at the grill, the saute' station, the deep fryer, the prep kitchen, the butchery station....done the paperwork (not fun, but interesting), calculating the price per plate of a dish, placing and receiving orders for merchandise.....and I'm only in my third week. Wow.

I leave you with a tune from Swedish pop genius, Jens Lekman. His name may not be familiar, but the musical genres he hopscotches will most likely ring a bell. The lyrics are romantic, clever and refreshing.

Jens Lekman: Friday Night at the Drive-in Bingo

Read more!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Do Anything You Wanna Do: Of life and cheffery

Ahhhh, a day off. When I was in the kitchen, I didn't want to leave, but now that I'm home, I don't want to go back. This is the tension that I've noticed-- the two lives cannot mix-- kitchen and outside the kitchen. I become absorbed, enmeshed in the activity and the rhythms and sounds of the kitchen...the smells.

I'm learning so much and running so much. Lifting so much. Bending so much. Carrying so much. Moving out of the way so much. Falling behind so much. Doing everything slower than everyone else. So much. Standing around and looking like a lost much.

I'm learning it, though. I'm understanding much more of the language that once seemed so foreign; the blur of bodies moving now seems to have much more purpose. I know many of the techniques and skills that I need, but now have to make them more confident and expedient. That will take time.

All of this is to say that, as much as I was confident about my bbq and knowledge of cooking, I had never worked in a professional kitchen, let alone one that puts out this high volume of food, so I was uncertain about giving up my day job and whether I could make this transition. It's starting to seem like maybe, just maybe, the gamble (so to speak) was worth it. More than I imagined.

Click Here to hear Eddie & The Hot Rods: Do Anything You Wanna Do

Read more!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Early Morning Cold Taxi: Cold Smoke

These posts have been more and more sporadic, huh? Well, I'm afraid it might be that way for a while-- just a few posts here and there but, most likely, not daily....I'll do my best. This one goes out to my buddy, Gary, from the venerable PigTrip.Net where he blogs knowledgeably about just about every and any bbq joint or event happening in the Northeast.

I start 'cooking full time' for the first time in my life on Monday. I put cooking in quotes because, although I've catered and cooked barbecue for a long time, this is my first restaurant job and there's much to learn. I'll be doing a fair amount of training for the next month or so, as we lead to the opening of the restaurant. I think they're gonna really make me earn my duckets...

In the meantime, I went out to breathe in the smoke from Wubby and while I was at it, I cold smoked some cheese, garlic and (yikes!) tofu. It was a nice, cool and breeze free afternoon which was a big help.

I tried to keep it on the lower side and, when needed, I could open the vertical door entirely and within seconds the temp would drop to a more desirable point. I choked the stack as needed to reduce flames and keep the wood barely smoking, or with the tiniest flame possible.

Loaded Up:

I started a very small fire of a few nuggets of lump charcoal and split and sawed some logs of cherry down to kindling and chunks, inserted the steel baffle between the horizontal and vertical (where the goods were placed as you can see above) sections of the smoker. I cleaned the shelves, but they weren't pristine, so I used a few layers of cheesecloth (doh!) underneath the product to limit the grease marks. They were in the smoke, and rotated occasionally, for about 4+ hours at a temperature between 40-80 degrees at any variable moment. If the cheese 'sweats' try to bring the temp down and gently blot the moisture away.

Chugging Along:

I like to wrap the cheese and let it rest for about a day before using it, but we sliced up a piece of the sharp cheddar and used it on top of some yellow rice that night. We packed the rice into little molds with some olive oil and put the cheese on top, then put it in the broiler for a few moments. It was so tasty. The little kernels on top got toasty and married with the cheese and the rest was moist and steamy underneath.

Read more!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Each Coming Night: New Year's Blessings and more

Good hello again, my hearties. Happy new year's blessings and wishes for a wonderful, healthy and prosperous 2008 to you all.

I, for one, am glad to close the book on 2007 and look to the new year. So, I was excited to cook a nice meal for The Wife and Horoshi for New Year's Eve.

We had shrimp and asparagus with white wine, shallots and garlic for a starter. Honestly, you can't see any asparagus in this picture, but it was there...honest!

And that was followed by a beauty of a prime rib that was marinated for about 24 hours or so in a mixture containing mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Soy Sauce, smashed garlic cloves and some additional herbs and spices. It was smoked over cherry at 350-375 until it hit 120 internal, then it was removed, loosely tented with foil and rested for about 1/2 hour. We served it with roasted root vegetables.

The next day was spent cold smoking some cheese, which will be the subject of my next post. Oh, and we also cooked a 15 pound brisket and feasted on some burnt ends. The extra crusty and moist cubes cut from the fattier piece of the brisket.

This past year turned toward the new leaving me and my family and many of our friends in a slightly reflective mood. As we felt the pull of 2008, it slid the rug out from under our feet and we were listening to a sound very much like this song by Iron & Wine I leave you with. In fact, I think it was this very song we listened to as we sat in front of the fire waiting for the ball to drop.

Click here to listen to: Iron & Wine: Each Coming Night

For more on this recording click here:(Our Endless Numbered Days, Sub Pop Records)

Read more!

Your Gateway to Barbecue Information
A service of
netRelief, Inc.

This site is a member of The Smoke Ring
A linked list of BBQ websites

Next - Skip Next - Next 5 - Prev - Skip Prev - Random Site

Join the ring or browse a complete list of The Smoke Ring members

If you discover problems with any of The Smoke Ring sites,
please notify the Ringmaster

[ Previous 5 Sites | Skip Previous | Previous | Next ]

This RingSurf Food~n~More Ring Net Ring
owned by Backyard Chef.

[ Skip Next | Next 5 Sites | Random Site | List Sites ]

More blogs about bbq.
More blogs about The Hampton Smoker.