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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Chad

  1. Thanks for the kind words. I wasn't sure how many people would get this one. I may have found a new sig. line. Chad
  2. Chad

    Oven Spring

    SethG's foodblog has some truely beautiful baking. It is just the latest in a long line of eG FoodBlogs detailing our users' cooking, dining and eating adventures. Simply click the red links. Chad
  3. Chad

    I Have Much Pork

    Hoo boy, a 16lb shoulder? Damn. I'll be interested to hear what Fifi and Snowangel have to say, but I'd plop that sucker in the brine Saturday morning before you go to work. At the latest, Saturday evening. One cup of salt for every gallon of water, maybe a cup of sugar for the whole thing and a couple of crushed pepper corns -- see Dave the Cook's course on brining in the eGCI for more details. You know this thing is going to take forever, right? Even a conservative 1.5 hours per pound puts you at 24 hours of smoking. Or 6-7 hours of smoking (until the meat reaches 140) and many more hours in a 225 degree oven. I would suspect that you'd have better luck cutting it in half. Two 8lb shoulder chunks will come up to temp a little sooner than one 16lb slab o' meat. Okay, we've reached the limits of my knowledge. I'll let the more experienced folks take over from here. Have fun! Chad
  4. Damn, and I thought my knives were cool. That's a great story. Chad
  5. From the famous Meat Generation poet Allen "BLT" Ginsberg: Oink "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the streets at dawn looking for bacon" Okay, it's not an aphorism, but I like it better than the original. Chad
  6. Haggis, you might want to check out the eGullet Culinary Institute's tutorial on smoking meat at home. Our very own Col. Klink's guide to all things meaty and smokey -- with examples of various types of smokers. Take care, Chad
  7. Chad

    Barbecue Sauce

    From my recent smoking blog. This is a fairly standard western NC/Lexington style BBQ sauce. I like mine a little hotter than most, so I use 2-3 tablespoons of crushed red pepper rather than the more usual 1 tablespoon. I also let the red pepper, salt, sugar and black pepper steep in the vinegar for several days. I can't be dogmatic about it, but I believe that infusing the vinegar marries the flavors better and leads to a smoother tasting sauce. Some folks add a dash of Worcesteshire sauce and a tablespoon or two of prepared mustard. This makes about a quart. If you need less than that, skip the white vinegar and just halve everything else. Chad
  8. Yep, butt is the same as shoulder. The picnic ham (sometimes called a picnic shoulder) is a different cut, though certainly close by. The shoulder is, well, the shoulder of the pig. The picnic ham is just below the shoulder, atop the thigh, picking up where the shoulder leaves off. Both are from the foreleg. The stuff just called "ham" is from the rear leg (and butt, confusingly enough ) The story I've always read was that Butts (the shoulder kind) are called that because they used to be shipped in large wooden casks called butts. A butt is equal to two hogsheads or 126 gallons. Dunno whether it's true or not, but it makes sense. Chad
  9. Missed this the first time around. Looks like the good rabbi has thrown down the gauntlet. McBees is a great start. What else does Greenville (or the surrounding area) do better than anywhere else? Best of the Upstate. Ready? Go! Best way to frighten your relatives from out of town and get triple your daily dose of fat? The Beacon in Spartanburg. Who's next? Chad
  10. At the end of my last barecue smoking adventure we had about a two pounds of chopped Q left over. New leftover food find: Pulled pork quesadillas. They were amazing. I was thinking of doing carnitas, but my wife talked me into the quesadillas instead. Good call on her part. Simplicity itself, just a very lighltly oiled and salted tortilla on a baking sheet, a layer of pork with some chile powder sprinkled on it, a little cheese, add another tortilla & repeat so that you have a triple decker. The top tortilla is also very lightly oiled and salted (mainly to brown and crisp it up a little). Pop into a 450 oven for about 10 minutes. I was skeptical about cheese on pulled pork, but it worked beautifully. Luckily I made two of the things. We finished off the first one in about five minutes. Give this one a try. Chad
  11. Reb Ribeye, I'm sorry we didn't cross paths when I lived in Greenville. There would have been much wine and friendly bickering over dinner, I believe. You make a good point. I was conflating quality of life with quality of cuisine. However, I believe Greenville has a good start on both. There's nothing wrong with Bob Jones University that a gallon of gas and a careless match can't fix . The man himself is, thankfully, long gone and his influence has waned considerably. And, yes, the County Council, at least when I was there, seemed hell bent on exhibiting every ugly southern stereotype to its fullest and trying to turn Greenville into a place that makes Mayberry look like Greenwich Village. I'm very sorry to hear that's still going on. This is why God gave us large caliber handguns. I can see your point, but I don't necessarily agree with it. Expanding the discussion beyond Greenville, there are brilliant chefs throughout the south celebrating -- and elevating -- traditional southern food into something of real significance (Louis Osteen, Scott Peackock, Ben Barker, to name a few). Soby's, at least when I lived in Greenville, was doing much the same. Why not show that side of southern food to the friends from out of town? Getting back to the upstate in particular, hell yes, eat some barbecue. But have it for lunch. Don't miss out on Bergamo or even Barley's just because their style is not unique to the area. It's still damn fine food. I think it will. Twenty years ago, Atlanta was a cultural backwater. The rising tide of economic development, cultural diversity and disposable income lifts all boats, Greenville's included. As for Charleston, feh. I've had some memorable meals there, but like all tourist-oriented cities, the restaurants in Charleston are over-hyped and overpriced. I may be conflating cuisine and experience again, but I have trouble separating them. A couple of years ago, during our annual trip to the beach, my parents arranged for my wife and I to get away from the kids and spend a romantic evening in Charleston. We had a wonderful room at the Elliot House and a lovely dinner at 82 Queen. It was a very sweet gesture, but we couldn't get out of the city fast enough. Like the French Quarter in New Orleans, Charleston has become a caricature of itself. The tourists can have it. Chad
  12. Might I add, since no one else has mentioned it, that the original poster picked a briiliant name for this thread. Alabama Getaway, before the Grateful Dead f*d it up, was (and still is) one of the best fiddle tunes of all time. I know a couple of national champion flatpickers (and a couple of Weiser-vet fiddlers) who rely on this tune to get them through the early rounds of contests. Nice reference!. After nearly 10 years of trying, I still can't play it worth a damn. Chad
  13. Is there any truth in this statement? In my (somewhat less than humble) opinion, that statement is completely asinine. Before I begin ranting, let me first cop to a charge of hypocrisy. I've more than likely said exactly the same thing about Wichita, KS, my home for the last seven or so years. Wichita, whose unofficial city motto seems to be Well, it's better than it was, is a culinary wasteland so far as I have been able to determine. But, as a non-local, I have different expectations based on where I have lived and eaten before. I'd suspect that whomever said or typed that last bit of nonsense was probably from somewhere larger, more cosmopolitan and with a wider array of restaurants. Note: For those reading along but finding themselves somewhat perplexed by the southern terminology, a Meat & Three is a diner or buffet style restaurant. From among the selections you are expected to choose one protein (meat) and three sides or vegetables. Macaroni and cheese counts as a vegetable, by the way. With that you also get a butter roll or biscuit and iced tea. A good meat & three can be a real joy. No, you can't compare Greenville, SC, with New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or even Atlanta. However, if you take it for what it is, a pocket of good dining and even better living nestled in some of the most beautiful scenery in the country -- well, I'd take it over any of those places any day. Yes, there are still vestigages of ignorance and stupidity, but those are not limited to the south. Depressingly, you can find them anywhere you go. To wcmckinney's point that Greenville's nature cannot be completely attributed to the raft of international executives who spend 3-5 years in Greenville as a proving ground before beging kicked up the corporate ladder, he's exactly right. But it certainly doesn't hurt to have the French, English, Japanese, Portugese and other nationalities represented, especially folks who are used to a high standard of living. The place kind of grew up to accommodate them. But all of that was based on the hard work of one visionary (some say hallucinatory) mayor, a guy named Max Heller. He's the man who tore out Main Street's four lanes and reduced them to two in order to put in sidewalks, offered tax incentives to retail shops and restaurants who would locate downtown, fought for performing arts centers and generally began to turn downtown Greenville into what is now (many years later), a place you can stroll with your family, have a wonderful dinner and take in anything from Pavarotti to some of the hottest bluegrass around. Is it perfect? No. Is it a hotbed of revolutionary cuisine or serious formal dining? No. But, if I may bring my personal life into this, I had a 3,500 square foot, 98-year-old house with a 30x18 living room, wood burning fireplaces and a kitchen the size of most bus depots. The mortage was just a little over $1,100 a month, and I was within walking distance of several fine restaurants and all the live music I could stand. Twenty-five minutes took me to the foothills of the Appalachian Trail. An hour and a half took me to Charlotte. Two hours took me to Atlanta. I had a rare book dealer who had my number on speed dial and a wine shop who could get me just about anything and everything my heart desired (TZ's for wcmckinney -- Hope Tzouvalakis is amazing at tracking down weird and wonderful wines). I have very little patience with those who would dismiss upstate South Carolina as a backwater, culinary or otherwise. Chad
  14. Pardon a little tourism from FM&N, but I thought y'all might enjoy this -- Neapolitan Pizza: Not Just Tasty, It's the Law. Especially since the Italian Ministry of Agriculture is setting standards for what is and is not Neapolitan pizza. Chad
  15. Just some opinions from somebody who lived in SC for many years. My parents still live there. I'll take Greenville over Charleston any day. The place is surpisingly cosmopolitan. Michelin has its north american headquarters there, as does BMW (well, in Spartanburg, 20 minutes up the road). BP, Fuji and Hitachi have a large presence in Greenville as do a couple of other international companies. Many of these companies rotate their high-level international executives through Greenville, so a culture has grown up to support their tastes and needs. There is a much greater diversity of restaurant styles in Upstate SC than there is in the low country. Tourists go to Charleston and want "southern" food (at ridiculous prices). They get it. But I'd argue that there are Upstate restaurants that easily equal many of the well-known Charleston places in quality. At least that's been my experience dining in both cities. Kathy is right. Supporting a thriving culinary scene takes disposable income, so you don't find the range of restaurants that you'd see in larger cities. The largest city in South Carolina would barely qualify as a suburb of, say, Chicago or even Atlanta. However, within the relatively well-off pockets I've eaten as well as I have anywhere else in the US. Note: I have not dined at Le Bernardin or Daniel or Ducasse. Not my style. So I'm not comparing Upstate South Carolina to 3-star NY or Paris restaurants, just good to very good restaurants in a variety of cities across the country. I've gotta tell you, living in Kansas really makes me appreciate what I had. Chad
  16. I know you've answered the same questions over and over again during book signings and demos. That's got to get tiring. The PR grinder sucks. But you're among friends here. Let your hair down (well, as much as you can, anyway ). Anyway, on to my question. In a recent eGullet post, Tony Bourdain talked about a book tour/promo moment that really woke him up. After getting all the usual fan questions (that he'd already answered a hundered times in a dozen different cities), somebody asked, "Dude, can you actually COOK?" He said it was a really refreshing question. What's the most honest, refreshing question you've gotten in your travels, interviews, etc.? How did you answer? Chad
  17. You also might want to check out our own eGullet Culinary Institute class on Knife Maintenance & Sharpening. It's a bit more thorough than the Professional Chef's Knife Kit, which is still a handy book to have around. Chad
  18. Oh, fine. Go ahead and get all precise and accurate on me. Chad
  19. I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned manioc/cassava. Made into tapioca in the West, it's a staple food for huge portions of the world. It is also deadly poisonous unless properly processed (boiling, I believe). Ya gotta wonder how people figured this stuff out. Chad
  20. First question: Alton, did you ever stop by the little hot dog cart on Lumpkin in front of Park Hall (English Dept.) and across the street from the Theater Dept.? I've often wondered if we crossed paths at UGA. I was the dog-guy twirling the tongs and calling the people who wouldn't try the Kosher knockwurst sissies. Follow up questions will have real content, I promise. Chad
  21. Chad

    I Have Much Pork

    Definitely do it the day before. If its pulled before it's put away, I've had good luck reheating on the stovetop, either in a double boiler or a heavy bottomed pan at low-med temperatures. If you just do it in a pan, it might need a little liquid. Whatever sauce you plan on using would be perfect, but you could also just use a little water or stock to keep it moist. Have fun. Chad
  22. Chad

    I Have Much Pork

    Woohoo! Good for you. I was thinking pulled pork carnitas for dinner tonight, but apparently my wife and kids really, really liked the barbecue. When I started talking about how carnitas are made, my wife said, "You're not making real carnitas anyway, so do you have to fry the meat? As a matter of fact, can't you just heat it up? And maybe put it on a bun? Don't mess with it." We compromised on pulled pork quesadillas done in the oven (a trick I picked up from a Bobby Flay book) and roasted corn soup with chipotle cream sauce. Mmmmm. Have fun with your butt! Chad
  23. Chad

    I Have Much Pork

    I find myself curiously flattered, yet disturbed Yep, I really miss southern barbecue. Not that the hot cow with red sauce they're so proud of here in Kansas isn't tasty. It is. It's just not the kind of barbecue I crave. Thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it. Chad
  24. Chad

    I Have Much Pork

    Here we go. [Fukui-san voice]Tasting and judgement. Who takes it? Whose butt reigns supreme?[/Fukui-san voice] Well, it was pretty damn good. The meat was still juicy, to the point of being wet. The slashing didn't have any adverse effect. Didn't do any good, either. Skip the slashing step. James Villas is wrong. Not worth the time, effort or mess. The Weber kettle performed spectacularly. Not a hassle at all. Once I got the ambient temperature settled down, I ran some errands, took a shower, read a little -- no worries whatsoever about the meat. Being the obsessive type, I did check it fairly frequently, but only to reassure myself that I was being paranoid. If you only have a kettle grill and haven't tried smoking, do so. It's no big deal at all. The pork had a very definite, but light, smoke flavor. Nice indeed. As good as any I've ever had. My wife and kids loved it, and none of them has had this type of barbecue before. WNC style sauce was done to taste at the table. It's the stuff in the upper right corner of the Sammich! shot. I ended up pulling the meat out of the oven at 185 (10 freaking hours), simply because the crew was becoming mutinous. I let it rest while Lisa boiled the corn and I toasted the buns over the remnants of the coals. It pulled pretty easily, but I ended up chopping it as well, mainly to get the crispies mixed in properly. First slice, just to show the smoke ring. Not bad at all. Sammich! Out of a 6-pound shoulder we got five sandwiches for dinner (yes, I'm the pig who ate two) and a little more than a quart of leftover meat. I'm thinkin' barbecue carnitas. Thanks, folks, y'all have been wonderful -- answering questions, putting up with my bitching, offering suggestions. I really appreciate it. Chad edit to get my Iron Chef character voice right, remove an unappetizing photograph and add praise of the Weber kettle.
  25. Chad

    I Have Much Pork

    Nah, no rub on this one. I'm a big fan of Memphis style rubs, but for Western North Carolina style, a rub would be out of place. The shoulder is still stubbornly hanging out at 171. Dammit, I'm hungry! Bumped the oven up to 300 to finish it off before my family finishes me off. Chad
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