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, July 26, 2008

Ghosts of Princes in Towers: See Spot Eat

We recently had a major celebrity sighting at Wildwood BBQ. To me, one of the biggest stars we could hope to draw. Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ who is the pitmaster/chef behind the food at Justin Timberlake's Southern Hospitality, came in and spent a few hours the other night. It was great to see Ray and he, as always, was gracious and friendly. He is a great ambassador for bbq, a straight shooter, and someone I like to call a friend.

I had dinner at Peter Luger about two weeks ago and it was one of the best meals I have ever had there. I've been going to P.L. for 30 years or so and this really was a meal that transported me through time, matching the highlights of so many meals. The Porterhouse had all of the mineral beef flavor tones and was buttery moist and tender. The Ribeye was equally glorious.

Despite the exultant meal we had at Peter Luger recently, I still felt like cooking some steaks at home the next time I was burning some wood and cooking some 'que. I saw some nice looking shell steaks that were about a pound each, so I cooked them for me and The Wife. These had what was left of my brisket rub for the day on them. It was salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika and some other spices.

We had the steaks with the grilled corn, cherry tomatoes marinated in aged balsamic vinegar, and oven fries tossed with parmesan cheese and fresh oregano.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

That's Really Super, Superman: Eating three ways

My schedule at work has changed again. Starting this past Tuesday, I have been working from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. or so. I am being transitioned to being the 'Receiver' or 'Steward' of the restaurant as well as the Pitmaster. In the morning, I check in deliveries and inspect the product while getting the meat for the day into the smokers and oversee the prep workers in production of ingredients and recipes. In the afternoon I review inventory and prepare the day's orders, except for Thursdays when I have to do the orders through the weekend and into Monday.

On Monday, all of the physical inventory has to be manually counted-- every piece of shredded cheese weighed, all of the cases of garbage bags in the basement counted, every packet of ketchup accounted for. Inventory gets reconciled with sales and purchasing to make sure there are no discrepancies between what was purchased and what has been used or entered into inventory (a.k.a. making sure no one is stealing or wasting excessively).

There's a fine line to be discerned between having enough inventory and being too well stocked-- cost, waste and efficiency all must align. So there's that stress when ordering for three days at a time, and, of course, the physical aspects of moving in and organizing 1,200 pounds of raw meat, a few hundred pounds of produce and a few hundred pounds of dry ingredients and paper products. Not to mention managing a staff.

So, I get tired and, yes, sometimes discouraged, but I always find time to eat.


Ancho and Smoked Paprika Rubbed Chicken Breasts that I butterflied and then seasoned and grilled. These went into burritos that included asiago and cheddar cheese, sour cream, bibb lettuce, and a fresh salsa with roasted sweet corn.

Ice Cream Sandwiches that we made with chocolate fudge cookies, coffee ice cream and a hazelnut-chocolate cream filled pirouette cookie.

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