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Everything posted by jmcgrath

  1. You can replace the Weber water pan with a Brinkman charcoal pan for greater capacity. I guess cross posts are against the rules so you will have to find your own source. Jim
  2. There is probably not much difference. For a long time, there were just cheap, annoying bullets and the Weber, so many of us ended up with Webers. There is a web site dedicated to cooking with a WSM. Jim
  3. The advantage of the "side box" usually referred to as an offset is cooking area. An offset is a lot more labor intensive and has a higher learning curve. There are bullets and there are bullets. Most people consider the Weber Smoky Mountain aka WSM to be the best in class. It retails for around $180. The very cheap bullets have no means of temperature control. Avoid them. The same goes for an electric bullet without a thermostat control. Look for a bullet with adjustable vents on both top and bottom if you go the charcoal route. I've never used an electric bullet, but have heard they can not keep up with winter time temperatures. You can cold smoke fish in a charcoal bullet. You need to minimize the amount of fuel, and keep the vents throttled down. It's easiest during the Winter. A thermostaticaly controlled electric bullet is your simplist to use option. However, barbecue purists sneer at them. Jim
  4. Solea is new to me. I will certainly check it out. Have you been to Dali In Somerville, MA? How do the two compare? Jim
  5. I made a Costco run today, and picked up a rack of lamb for the go-go on Sunday. I'm just starting to think about how I will cook it. On the charcoal grill of course, maybe a crust of panko, garlic and rosemary. Butter or evoo? Perhaps some mint. Mint, garlic and rosemary are too much. Still thinking. They were sampling mango chutney. Excellent! Thanks to whoever mentioned it. Of course, I bought a jar. Jim
  6. Boston suburbs. With just Linda and I at home now, Costco vegetables are going to be problematic. The minimum quantity I can buy is just too large. That leaves me two options, do a half assed job using only Costco meat and vegetables from elsewhere, or team up with others from the area. I prefer the second option if anyone is interested. I already have plans for Saturday, so the dinner would halve to be on Sunday. I can host, and it would not be unreasonable for folks from parts of NH, RI and CT to attend. I'm also willing to travel if someone else wants to host. Jim
  7. Mark Bittman in one of his "Minimalist" columns pointed to saffron source. I ordered from them and must say it is the most briliantly colored and fragrant saffron that I have ever run across. Jim
  8. We had a neighborhood block party on Sunday in the park at the end of my street. There were about 30 families, with ages running from mid eightys down to two year old toddlers. People brought their own meat and sides to share. I made curried chicken breast kebobs. Everyone else brought burgers and dogs, with a few steaks thrown in. Some of the sides were quite good. A lot of people brought home made cookies, but I'm not a big cookie fan. Beer and soda, of course. Interestingly, not a single bottle of Amstel light was touched. The Sierra Nevada and Heineken were hit pretty hard. Corona was the third most popular choice. On the soft drink side, the IBC root beer and cream soda were the first to go. Minute Maid pink lemonaid got cleaned out next. Jim
  9. jmcgrath

    I Have Much Pork

    I haven't found that whole shoulder take significantly more time than a butt. A shoulder has a lot more surface area than a butt. Cutting a shoulder into a butt and a picnic doesn't add that much surface area. If you have a small pit, it may be convenient to cut the meat into two pieces, but I don't think much else is gained. Jim
  10. There is an intestine running along the top of the tail. There is also a strip of flesh covering the intestine that can easily be peeled away to allow cleanout. Jim
  11. The East Coast Grill is not a good place for barbecue anymore. They do turn out excellent seafood, and I highly recommend them for that. A while back, they ran a little joint next door called Jake and Earl's that had very good Q. They expanded into and closed that spot. The Jake and Earl's on Moody St. in Waltham is not associated with ECG as best I can determine. Jim
  12. Redbone's in Somerville, MA (especially pork iterations). Their chopped BBQ beef is excellent. Never seen burnt ends, but never asked. I think Redbone's is overrated. In order to say something nice about them, they do have a very good selection of beer. I'll second gallygirl's recommendation of Blue Ribbon. Unfornutately they are mostly takeout, and not a place where you can sit down for a meal. I also like Jake's Boss BBQ in Jamaica Plain, across the street from English HS. Firefly's in the western suburbs is good. Jim
  13. In the NJ Pig Pickin' thread, galleygirl asked about a barbecue contest in Lowell, MA that I mentioned. I'm starting a new thread to discuss that. Barbecue in New England is alive and well. By barbecue, I mean tough cuts of meat lovingly cooked for hours and hours with a wood or charcoal fire. I don't mean burgers, dogs and steaks cooked hot and fast on a gas grill. I'll first start by introducing the New England Barbecue Society web site. For a list of our activities, click on "Upcoming Events". To answer the original question, the city of Lowell has a number of festivals throughout the year to attract people to the downtown area. The "Rib 'N Brews" festival is one of them. The Massachusetts State Barbecue Championship on September 11 and 12 is part of that festival. There are two contests, a grilling contest on Saturday, and a barbecue contest on Sunday. The barbecue contest on Sunday has been sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. Jim
  14. You can grow artichokes in colder climates, they just need to be treated as an annual. Start from seed indoors, move to a cold frame, transplant. It's a bit labor intensive, but seeds are cheap. Jim
  15. That term was around at least 50 years ago during my childhood. Our definition was "Lettuce alone without dressing" followed with a snicker. Jim
  16. Steam gets significantly hotter than water. Ever hear of the Steam Engine? Geothermal Energy? I thought the power of those was because it is steam UNDER PRESSURE. Think "pressure cooker" -- it's the pressure that tenderizes the meat faster, not heat. The temperature of the water and steam are pretty much equal at any given pressure. It is pressure that determines how hot water will get before it boils. It is the higher temperature within a pressure cooker that cooks things faster. Jim
  17. I love gravlax. I was introduced to it many years ago by Pepin's "La Technique". Jim
  18. Really good seafood doesn't need a recipe. Grilled hot over a charcoal fire is all it takes. For dinner on Thursday, I had wild Alaskan king salmon flown down from Sitka, AK, courtesy of a friend of a member of my sportsmen's club. I hardly remember the sides. Asparagus with hollandaise and rice pilaf, but they were so inconsequential compared to the salmon. I wire brush my grill, but never use soap and water. A well seasoned grill is a thing to cherish. If the grill is greasy, the fire may not be hot enough. Jim
  19. I'll give it a try as soon as things warm up enough. Temperature control on my pit is good enough that I should be able to hold a steady 150F. Because of airflow through the pit, I may have to foil the meat part way through the cooking process to prevent dehydration. 137F is a safe temperature for pork and I normally cook loins to 140 to 142F. It will be interesting to see if I can get collagen breakdown in a shoulder with a long hold at 150F. Common wisdom is that it starts at around 165F. Jim
  20. You have really started me thinking. Would medium rare beef brisket be a possibility? You mentioned above that pork shoulder needs to go to a higher temperature. I take it to around 200F for shreding, but is this really necessary? Jim
  21. jmcgrath

    Gas water smokers

    If you are soaking the chips, don't. Anticipate the current load of chips burning out and start a new load before it does. Remember that most smoke flavoring is going to occur early in the cooking cycle. Use more chips then, more than you are currently using. Don't use chips after the first few hours, it is a waste of money. Jim
  22. jmcgrath

    Favorite condiment

    I saw no mention of Bufalo Chipotle sauce. Also, horseradish sauce, not horseradish mayonaise or prepared horseradish. Blues Hog barbecue sauce. Jim
  23. jmcgrath

    Leftover bread

    Bread holds quite well in the freezer, and doesn't take long to thaw. For some reason, it does not hold well in the refrigerator. Jim
  24. jmcgrath

    Backyard Iron Chef

    How do people see this working? It could be a single team from each region, or regional contests composed of many teams leading up to a national championship contest. It is early enough in the New England BBQ season that I could add an Iron Chef category to one of our contests. We have done this a few times in the past and it has worked well. Jim
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