Friday, July 20, 2007

Summer Fun & BBQ

I hope your summer has been as event filled and enjoyable as ours. We have fired up the BBQ pit almost every weekend since school let out and now I have become the family caterer. I really can’t complain because I get to practice on someone else’s dollar. Plus I have really been able to play with my recipes and rituals. Today, I have started to cook for a party my mom is having tomorrow. On the pit as we speak is a 14 pound brisket and a couple of 8 pound bone in Boston Butts. I don't have time to give you the details now, I have to prep a few chickens and 1/2 dozen racks of ribs.

Anyway, and more importantly, if you have a chance check out Panda Curry a great blog by a cool guy- Eric Patnoe.

I'll be back later with some pics and ideas about today’s BBQ.

...Ugly Gourmet

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Forth of July Recipes

Well I have been away from the bolg for quite some time, so I thought I would ease back in slowly. Here are couple of recipes that have become two of my family’s favorite side dishes. I promised my emial subcribes that these would not be posted on the site anytime soon, but i don't think they will mind if I share them here.

These two recipes have been taken from one of my all time favorite BBQ cookbooks. I don’t sell books at, but if I did Peace Love and Barbecue by Mike Mills and Amy Mills Tunnicliff would be first on my list. For me cooking has always been about celebrating life with family and friends and I think Mr. Mills feels the same way.

As with any recipe that comes into my backyard I have changed them- I just haven’t recorded my changes yet. This being said, the recipes below have been taken from Peace Love and Barbecue and have not been altered (I think).

Mike’s Crunchy Cole Slaw

1 head Napa cabbage (original recipe calls for green cabbage)
¼ head of read cabbage
1 carrot shredded

2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups sugar
1 ½ tablespoon canola oil or other mild vegetable oil
½ cup chopped onion (I use red)
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper (I use a whole yellow or red)
¼ teaspoon celery seed
½ teaspoon finely ground kosher salt (I don’t grind it)
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon chopped garlic

***I never measure seasonings and use more garlic and onion than the recipe calls for I just don’t know how much more???

Toss the cabbage and carrot together in a large bowl.

Make the dressing in a different bowl, mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add dressing a ¼ cup at a time and toss well until it tastes the way you want it too. I never use all of the dressing and you don’t want to add too much. You can save left over dressing for up to five days in refrigerator-- Tastes great on garden salads and fresh vegetables.

17th Street's Tangy Pit Beans

2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard (like French’s)
3 cups ketchup
1 cup diced onion
1 diced bell pepper
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
½ cup honey
1 to 1 ½ teaspoons BBQ rub (I often forget)
1 large can 28oz pork and beans (like Campbell’s)
1 19 oz can large red kidney beans (rinsed and drained)
1 15.5 oz can chili beans (like Bush’s chili starter)
1 15.5 oz can large butter beans (rinsed and drained)
1 15.5 oz can of a 5th bean of your choice (rinsed and drained)
4 to 5 slices of bacon or a few cooked ribs or some shredded pulled pork

*** I always use different beans. It doesn’t really matter use what you can find!!!

Pre heat oven to 350°

Mix mustard, ketchup, bell pepper, sugar, honey, and BBQ rub in large bowl. Be sure to work out all of the lumps of brown sugar. Add beans, stirring gently just enough to evenly distribute the mixture. Don’t over mix because the beans will break and you will have a big pot of bean mush (tasty, but not pretty)

Pour into a 13 x 9 inch pan. Lay the bacon, ribs or pulled pork on top. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minute. Remove foil bake another 15 minutes uncovered or until bubbly.

Will keep for a week in refrigerator and can be frozen for a month.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

How I learned to BBQ...

My first experience with barbecue was about 4 years ago. My father-in-law had a tiny bullet style water smoker hidden away among the treasures in his dragon’s lair of a basement. He had always wanted to try it. However, he had no idea of how and even less of a notion as to what to cook in it. That’s when I came into the picture. I am one of those guys that can never admit not knowing something. So, when he asked me about it I offered to teach him how to use it. Truth be told, I had never even seen a water smoker before. Needless to say, I wasn’t about to admit that my knowledge of BBQ was solely based on Food Network’s coverage of Memphis in May.

Anyway the next afternoon, after stopping at Barnes & Noble, I went to the Shaw’s (a local supermarket) to buy a Boston butt to barbecue the following day. To my dismay nothing in the meat chest was labeled Boston butt. All I could find were pork loin roasts. They looked like what I saw on TV, they were a good size and they were pork. How different could a pork loin roast be from a Boston butt? Obviously I was not very observant because I ended up buying a 7 pound pork roast thinking I was going to turn it into pulled pork.

With absolutely no idea that I had purchased the wrong cut of meat I happily headed home to prepare what I thought to be my first Boston Butt. I figured, how hard could it be? According to the directions that came with the smoker all I needed was charcoal, a little BBQ wood, dry rub and water. Charcoal was easy enough to get, the water smoker came with a few chunks of hickory, and I had grill seasoning. After washing it thoroughly, I carefully started to trim some of the fat off. This took all of 30 seconds, considering there was very lean. Soon after I applied the dry rub (grill seasoning), wraped the pork and placed it in the refrigerator for the night. I was ready to go, in 24 hours I would be eating my very first homemade pulled pork sandwich.

My alarm sounded at 5AM. It was a beautiful Saturday in June and I knew that if I was going to serve Boston Butt for dinner that evening I had better get a move on. I pulled myself out of bed, made a pot of coffee and headed outside to preheat the smoker and soak my hickory chunks. I had read the smoking instructions over and over again during the night and was confident that this was going to be a breeze. After prepping the smoker I returned to kitchen to retrieve my prized cut of meat. I figured a quick shower would allow the pork butt time to loose its chill and get the smoker up to temperature.

I grabbed the roast, a huge cup of coffee, my new book and headed for the backyard. The instructions that came with the smoker claimed that no thermometer was necessary on the smoker because the water pan would never allow the heat in the smoker to rise above the boiling point of water. I tossed two or three chunks of soaked hickory onto the burning coals and put the pork on the smoker at approximately 6.30AM. Still confident and still with no idea that Boston Butt and pork loin roast were two completely different cuts of meat I set my timer for two hours and went to find a chair. The instructions warned not open the smoker for any reason during the first two hours of cooking, unless of course the coals went out. Who was I to doubt the wisdom of the instruction book?

I grabbed my coffee and took a seat right next to the smoker. With one eye on it and the other on my new [first ever] BBQ cook book I began to enjoy the quite of my backyard on an early Saturday morning. Just to put things in perspective I was living directly across from the emergency room of Melrose Wakefield hospital. With my first sip of coffee I began to page through the book. The sweet smell of hickory smoke wafted by (surprisingly pleasant for 7AM) and my mind filled with images of St. Lois style ribs, smoked brisket and cornbread. I flip the page, only to reveal a butcher’s map of a pig. Ham, back ribs, spare ribs, tenderloin, whole shoulder, picnic and Boston butt.

The book went on to explain the different parts of the hog and why certain cuts were so great for BBQ. Pulled pork was made from Boston butts or picnics which were both cut from the shoulder. The vast marbling and connective tissue along with the heavy fat cap make shoulder cuts ideal for long and slow cooking. BBQ is all about keeping the temperature low and cooking the meat slow. Thus converting what would generally be considered uneatable cuts of meat in some of the tenderest and flavor food one could ever taste.

I never did admit my error.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

I'm Still Hear...

Hey out there in BBQ land. Wow! I didn't realize how long I have been away. Things have been crazy. We finally got the new up and running. There are still a few bugs to work out and some editing to do, but we couldn't be prouder. If you have a chance sneak on over and check it out. We would love any feedback... good and bad.
We are also looking for contributors to our Blog. If anyone is interested in writing reviews, recipes, and news for our humble little readership, let me know. The BBQ season is here I can't wait to get started.

Lastly.... The New England BBQ Society hosted one of it's first BBQ competitions of the 2007 season you can head over to and check out the winners and results.

Best Regards,

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

19th Annual Fiery Foods & BBQ Show

Is anyone out there??? I know I have been remiss in my blogging duties. To be honest there hasn't been a heck of a lot of barbecuing going on for me. I am in the midst of getting my new and improved version of up and running. Trying to take new pictures, write new copy, figure out how I am going to get people to visit it. It is all very exciting and nerve wracking to say the least.

Anyway, I wanted to remind everyone about the annual fiery foods & BBQ show going on this weekend in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Sandia Resort and Casino Events Center. I personally will not be in attendance this year. If you are one of the lucky one's who gets to attend we would love to hear about it...Pictures are welcome too!

Don't forget to check out over the next couple of weeks. The new design is fantastic. Let us know what you think....

Eat Ugly,


Friday, February 16, 2007

Every BBQ Needs Dessert...

What do you say when some asks what they can bring to your BBQ? My first reply is always beer. In fact, my second reply is usually beer and then when the third and fourth person ask I remember that I don't bake and ask them to bring dessert. A good BBQ always needs a tasty treat to finish things off and since I have yet to figure out how to barbecue a chocolate cake I more often that not need someone to bring it to my party. I have never had much interest in baking, the actual process that is, I am quite fond of eating baked goods. And just for the record I can make a mean habanero pecan pie. However, when I host a backyard BBQ or plan a tailgate party I always leave dessert up to someone else. Today’s tailgate contest recipe comes from one of my more “sensitive” friends. He is really a good guy. He would just rather bake than BBQ. His recipe for "Liberry short cake follows. Enjoy!

“Liberry” Cake...

INGREDIENTS: In the rare case that you are unble to find liberries, strawberries work fine.

The Filling:

  • 1 quart strawberries, rinsed, hulled, sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
The Short cake:
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • melted butter
  • whipped cream, sweetened with a little sugar if desired


Place strawberries in a large bowl; sprinkle with 1/3 cup of sugar. Let stand, covered, for at least 1 hour before serving.

Sift dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening and butter until mixture is fine.

Add milk; stir with a fork until all flour is moist. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently for 20 seconds. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Gently roll out or pat each portion to fit a 9-inch round cake pan. Place each portion into a lightly buttered pan; press edges to form a slight ridge. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 450° for 12 to 15 minutes. Brush each layer with butter. Spoon sweetened strawberries and juice between layers and on the top. Serve warm, cut in wedges, with whipped cream. Serves 10, (or two Social Studies Teachers on their prep)

If using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Barbecued Corned Beef...

I want to thank everyone again for joining in the tailgate fun. Dom I hope you enjoy your prize. I know I promised to post a picture and list of the winning prize, but I forgot my camera at home and have not had a chance to upload the pictures.

Anyway, I don't know about you, but now that football is over it seems more difficult to find excuses to BBQ. Tailgating is always the perfect excuse to spend a couple of days in front of the smoker. My wife finds it odd that I am willing to brave frigid temperature and snow just to BBQ, but is more willing to deal with it during football season. I figure for now at least I have all these new recipes from the tailgate contest to try. I mean what kind if a person would I be if I didn't try each and every recipe a few times. That would just be wrong. It is my responsibility to honor all my talented contestant by grilling and barbecuing their tasty entries. This weekend I am going to try smoked corned beef for the first time... Thanks, Al I can't wait for Saturday.

Al & Natasha's Smoked Corned Beef...

Corned Beef:
  • Al prefers a 3-4 pound round cut of corned beef as it contains more fat, but the flat cut works fine.
The Rub:
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon course ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 finely crushed and ground bay leaf
How to cook it:

Apply the rub the night before. wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. Do not add any salt the meat has plenty. Remove the beef from the refrigerator about thirty minutes before you are ready to put it on the smoker.

Prep and preheat the smoker

Smoke at 225 to 240 degrees with your choice of wood for about 2 hours. Al only adds wood for the first 2 hours of smoking and only use 2" by 2" chunks as not to overpower the meat with smoke. He adds 3 chunks every half hour for the first two and prefers mesquite wood for this recipe.

After smoking for 2 hours he wraps it tightly in heavy duty foil and returns the meat to the smoker for 2 to 3 more hours. The longer the better. He also recommends you be careful when wrapping the meat as the foil collects the juices and make a great gravy.

Remove the meat from the smoker and open the tasy package in a bowl to catch the gravy. Slice thin, return to gravy and serve hot. One 3-4 pound corned beef will shrink by 30% after cooking and serve about 6 people. Enjoy!!!

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