Things have been weird lately. There's a negative vibe in the air. Maybe it's the weather, maybe the economy - but I've had enough. So I took the morning to bottle a Raspberry Wheat beer that's been in the fermenter for a month. The abv is 6.29%. That ought to do it!
Checking the final gravity. Transferring from the fermenter to the bottling bucket Mid-transfer. Getting ready to bottle. Some of the final product.
Now I condition the beer for 3 weeks. I'll let you know how it turns out.
I have been doing a lot of practicing with my off-set in order to find the most efficient way to burn wood. In the past I have made my fires like this: This is a flash fire and it is a good way to bring temps up fast. However, the temps spike quickly the fuel is consumed quickly. The result is a loss of temperature control and more effort loading logs.
I tried another method last weekend on a 24 hour cook and was really suprised how well it works. This is a compact fuel load.
The advantage of this type of log fire, according to www.woodheat.org (where I found these images) is as follows: Placing the pieces close together prevents the heat and flame from penetrating the load and saves the buried pieces for later in the burn cycle. Open the air inlets fully for between 15 to 30 minutes depending on load size and fuel moisture content. When the outer pieces have a thick layer of charcoal, reduce the air control in stages to the desired level. The charcoal layer insulates the rest of the wood and slows down the release of combustible gases.
I found that if I added a log every 45 mins the fire burned in a controlled manner with little to no need for adjustments.
This is all that was left over! Here's the birthday boy - with one of his brothers and a cousin Here is the hog after we wrestled it out of the cooker. The shoulders have been removed and pulled. It could have use more time as the hams were only 140* - after 24 hours!
We set up at 5 pm on Sunday and finished around 3 pm on Monday. This is a LOT more work than I thought. We learned a lot about all the things we don't know about competition cooking and have a deep respect for those who do this on a regular basis!
So here I am, sitting around watching the Olympics. As usual, watching other people exercise makes me hungry. Then I start thinking back to a fine summer day last year.
I had just received my WSM from Amazon.com and wanted to put something on the grill quick. So we pulled a locally raised chicken out of the freezer and thawed it out. After it was cooked my wife pulled it apart and made awesome chicken salad sammies.
So my mind is now fixed on those beautiful sandwiches and I crave them as much as Madonna craves being relevant.
No sammies for now - but the pictures will hold me over until I fire the smoker up tomorrow!
celery salt pepper eggs mayo blue cheese dressing smoked chicken.
My desire is to combat my own tendency to rush through life without considering the beauty of what is around me. So, food is a metaphorical battle ground where I have chosen to slow down and appreciate life to the fullest, and this is the place for me to pontificate without doing too much harm.
Our garden is producing in abundance and our kitchen remodel is finally finished. Life can't be all bad, can it? My wife and I have been "forced" by the remodel to eat outside with our kids every evening on a picnic bench. Meals degenerate into play time and then I load the monkeys into a trailer and pull them around town behind a lawn mower.
Tonight we were eating hamburgers in the yard when we realized we have a perfectly good table in the kitchen - and an island with bar stools, for that matter. We stayed outside...
Here's a basic rib rub - I'm taking this slow so that I don't hurt myself on the first blog!