Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gone But Not Forgotten

Many of you who know me know I don’t like a lot of clutter around our house. I have a loose rule: if I don’t use something for a year, it’s gone. Give it away, trash, or sometimes it ends up down at my shop. Like every rule, there are exceptions. This offset smoker was one of them. It sat outside, unused for a couple of years now. Lonely, rusting, and overlooked. But it wasn’t always like that. Five years ago when it was new, it was the center of Lakeside. Every weekend, weekday dinners, and every impromptu party, this cooker was cooking. Smoking ribs, and pork butt, or grilling chicken and burgers, it got plenty of use. When I discovered The BBQ Circuit, this smoker came with me. My first call ever was with food cooked on this cooker. It was the call that got me hooked on competition BBQ. If I never got that 3rd place chicken call would I have continued to cook on The Circuit? I’m not sure… This was my go to chicken cooker for the first two years, but it also served as my grill for grilling competitions. Kris’1st place grilled bananas, Bananas Boisvert, was created on this grill; that was also her first call ever. This grill has treated us great over the years and has helped us get to the stage many times. But, now it’s time to say bye, and that’s just what I did last week. A quick post on the internet and I got four reply's within an hour…it was a steal and I knew it. I was thinking about getting the cooker to a new home, not about making any money on it. So, the next day a guy pulled into my driveway and jumped out of his Ford F250.
“You must be Mike!” he said as he reached out his hand.
“Hey man, nice to meet you.” We shake hands and talk for a little while. Then we walked around the house and I showed him the smoker.
“Dang” he said with a southern drawl and everything.
“Where you from man?”
“Well, I live in New Hampshire, but I’m from Georgia.” He said without taking his eyes off of his future cooker. “Perfect, just what I’m looking for.”
“Cool, it’s all yours.”
I showed him how a few things work on the cooker, but I had a feeling he knew how to use it just fine. We both grabbed an end and carried it up to his truck. He strapped it in tight as we talked about BBQ, cooking, and the weather. We shook hands one more time and he drove off. As I watched my old smoker leave my life forever a smile crept on to my face. It made me happy that it was in good hands. It made me happy that someone would be cooking food in it once again.

Cooking chicken at our first comp

Summers at Lakeside

Brand new

Monday, April 27, 2009


Lately people have been asking us 'how's Maggie?' or 'where's Maggie?' Well, here she is, enjoying the absolutely beautiful New England weather. Kris is happy that her tulips are budding, Maggie is happy just to hang out in the yard again, and I'm happy that there are some new seasonal beers to sample. Ahh, spring!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

Shrimp and Rice
By Kris

This is a simple, fresh one dish meal.

1 1/2 lbs shrimp
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 cups white rice
1 small minced onion
1 tbl tomato paste
1 tbl chopped garlic
2 teas paprika
1/2 teas salt
1/4 teas pepper
1/4 teas crushed red pepper flakes
scallions or chives to garnish

Saute onion and garlic in oil in large oven safe skillet until soft. Add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add tomato paste and paprika and cook and stir for one minute. Add rice, cook for two minutes, then add chicken stock. Simmer for one minute then place shrimp on top. Transfer skillet to 450 degree oven. Roast for about 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Turn off oven and let skillet sit for about 15 minutes. The rice will turn brown and crispy around the edges. Garnish with fresh scallions or chives and enjoy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NEBS Hands On Cooking Class

On May 9-10, 2009 NEBS will be putting together a hands on cooking class in Maynard, MA. Anyone looking to see what it's like to cook in an overnight BBQ competition, here's your chance to find out. Some of the area's best pitmasters will be there teaching the class and answering questions all night long. The class starts at 1:00 PM Saturday and will continue until traditional turn in times from 12-1:30 PM on Sunday. NEBS will provide dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday. A full class description can be found here. And an application can be found here. Don't miss this event, I know I won't.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

Pan Seared Sea Bass with a Pineapple Glaze

Trying to eat healthy is very difficult for someone like me. I love food. I am surrounded by food in many aspects of my life. Cooking, competition BBQ, dining out, hanging with friends and family. The number one question always asked is: what are we eating? When we get done lunch...'what's for dinner?' After dinner I'm already thinking about what I'm cooking for the next day; and the cycle continues. It's not that we eat real 'bad' food, that's not the problem. It's just that we eat too much food. So, every once and a while, Kris and I stop gorging ourselves like gluttons and try to eat like normal human beings. But don't worry, these phases are usually brief.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

KCBS Fires New England Area Reps

The KCBS Board of Directors made the determination to remove Ken and Kathie Dakai as KCBS Reps and Ken as a CBJ instructor. The reason was listed on the KCBS Quick Notes from the Board 4/8/09 and was stated as: involved for conduct unbecoming the best interest of KCBS. This info can be found on the KCBS web site. Hopefully the upcoming minutes from that meeting will shed more light on the situation. Because, for the moment, it's a decision that is leaving many in the dark.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

Grilled Lamb

I have no idea why Easter is associated with lamb, but I'm glad it is because I love lamb. Roasted leg, braised shanks, or grilled chops, it's all good to me. Every Easter Kris and I go to my sister's house for dinner. She cooks a nice leg of lamb and a crown roast of pork. It's a good plan because not everyone likes lamb, so they get something else to choose from. But, this year, it all changes.
"Where do you get your prime rib?" She asks me on Monday.
"Several places...why?"
"I need one for Sunday."
"Oh, Sunday's Easter." I remind her.
"I thought I'd change it up this year."
"Beef and lamb?"
"No. Just beef, everyone loves prime rib right!"
Well, she's got a point, everyone does love a nice chunk of beef. But I love lamb and I'm craving it real bad right now. So all week I strategize on bringing my rotisserie home from my shop, getting a whole leg of lamb, and finding a few hours to cook it up...As you can see from the pics, this did not happen. But what did happen was simple grilled lamb chops. It took care of my craving, tasted good, and was done cooking in minutes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Can You Have Too Many Cookers?

When normal people see a stainless steel box do they think: I can probably cook food in that thing? Because that's what I thought when I first saw this one. It's all stainless, doubled wall, bulky, and showed up with bad timing. I was not looking for another project at the moment; and I sure as hell don't need another cooker right now. But mind can't seem to focus on anything but this stupid box. Needless to say it's at my shop, on my work bench, and is waiting for me every morning. I'm not sure if I will be working on it now, or set it aside for a winter project. In any case, I'll let you know...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Harpoon 2009

We're in!!
Click here for the 2009 team list.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday Night Food Porn

Raw Food

Planked Salmon

Beef Tenderloin


Rib Eye Roast

Pictures of uncooked food might not be considered 'food porn' to most. And if that's you, I apologize. But I know there are a few of us that enjoy looking at food in its natural state. Raw. Simple. Full of possibility. Sometimes the picture of the final dish will be pale in comparison to the picture of the food before I start cooking it. And then, other times, we end up eating the dish before I take a picture of it. In either case I end up with a bunch of photos of raw food. I usually forget about these pics and find something else for Friday Night Food Porn. But, the other day I was looking through these photos and came across the one of the raw tuna. I thought it was good enough to share. Not good enough for a stand alone FNFP but good enough to be part of a raw food collage. So, hopefully some of you guys like this, because I have lot more where these come from.