Clay Pot Cooking, not a crock, yo. word. Shaddap Biggles.

The flavors are still on my tongue. Am attempting to bring you some word, some phrase or metaphor that can describe what the last 12 some odd hours were like. Please click on the image and just sit with that for a moment while I collect my thoughts.
Over the past month I’ve been monkeying around with this clay chicken cooker thing. The last dish I made was exceptionally proud of, for several reasons. Not only was it a winner in the chicken & rice casserole flavor department, but it cost just under 5 bux total. This is the dish where I learned that an entire, diced onion is too much. How did I find out? Ask the boys as they dove out the car’s windows the following morning, heh. I still got it.
All along, been wanting to do a pork roast of any kind in the thing, duh. Sunday afternoon found me at Joya de Ceren, visiting Omar and seeing what tasty treats I could find in his meat cooler. Pork shoulder baby! 3.5 pounds of a really great looking hunk of meat. I grabbed the ingredients I thought I needed and expected to have that sucker in the oven within an hour or so.
That didn’t happen. Too much relaxing and one too many naps, the day was gone. There’s always Monday!
Man, I got home Monday and was in no mood. I could tell where this was going, the days would slide and so would the pork. Nope, I had to make it work and it had to be now. All the ideas of making my own Mexicanny dry rub went right out the window. It was just after 4pm and had only just jacked the oven to 300, I had to move.
Wash, dry meat and let the chill come off. Rub with extra virgin and grab Scott’s Survival Spice. This ain’t just some old premade nothin’ blend. Scott put a lot of time and effort in to this rub and it shows. If I don’t have any of mine laying around, or no time to make one, this is the one to grab. And brother, or sister, I’m glad I did.
Sliced a white onion in to rings and laid on the bottom of the roaster. And maybe 8 cloves of garlic, whacked once with a knife, peeled. One thing I’ve noticed about cooking in the clay oven, I’m far more thoughtful about moisture. That is to say, what you put in there, even an onion, will add moisture that doesn’t escape, much. So, just the little amount of onion, garlic and the moisture in the meat was enough to cook this thing for 9 hours.
Here it is in a nutshell, onion, garlic, dry drubbed meat, 300 for 4 hours, down to 250 for 5 hours. Pull, let rest for an hour or so and refrigerate. Total cost is about 8 to 9 dollars, not counting 9 hours of natural gas pouring in to my range. I know I may be going out on a limb here, but I’m putting the flavors, texture, juice factor and pully apartyness at the very top. I would say this roast could very well be the best pork shoulder I’ve ever received from my oven.

I have spoken.

ps – I didn’t soak my cooker because the inside upper and lower lid are glazed. Not sure soaking it with water would have done anything positive.

Creamy Chicken & Rice & Poblano Casserole (clay pot)

Where have I been? Off having a good time doing other things, tee hee.
Well, I had a hankerin’ for a good ol’ American casserole a while back. Something rich with juicy flavors that satisfies down to your toes. Hip to that? Had planned on the standard chicken, rice, creamy condensed soup with a few additions recipe. It’s easy and would satisfy.
Wanna come see what I came up with instead?

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The Biggles Method – Simple Pot of Beans – add that rack of ribs

Editor’s note: Hand still really hurts, doing this post in batches. TCB baby!
Who here likes a good pot of beans? Excellent, me too. Who here has screwed up a pot of beans badly enough to just toss the batch? Hmm, yeah. Me too. Beans are an odd lot, even with a recipe it can head south at any given moment. Just because they’re dried, doesn’t mean you can get an old, nasty bag full. If one little ingredient is added and found to be too much, or not enough? You’re a goner. Please click through to read about my little bean adventure, you’ll be glad you did.

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flat seared pork steak – Highland Hills strikes again!

Here’s the pork steak I was talking about earlier this week, procured from Ted of Highland Hills at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market. Keeripes man, what great meat!
He said something about it being Country Style Pork Ribs and it does look like it now, it didn’t when I brought it home. See, it looked like a morass when I got home, but when I finally started playing with it, it all came in to place. Wanna know something funny? It’s the same cut that I came home with the other day after visiting Omar at Joya de Ceren here in Richmond. Wait until you see what I did with that one.
Kinda makes sense now, eh? Since it was Monday night, I didn’t have time for anything fancy, apply kosher salt for an hour and a half before.
Preheat large cast iron skillet, oil it a little. Bacon, goose or duck fat is preferred. And by preheat, I mean get that sucker smoking hot. Install meat to pan and rest a decently flat somewhat heavy object on meat. I used a lid from my camp 10″ dutch, a perfect match. Your first side is the presentation side and give it the longest sear. Flip when all caramelly, cook to 138F and rest for 8 to 10 minutes.
The pure, succulent pork was absolutely amazing. The hard sear really brought out the flavor of the pork and nothing else. Such a treat for a tired ol’ Monday evening. It makes frozen peas with butter taste good. Errrr, edible.
xo, Biggles

hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil

Alright, so I knew I was going to be late in to work this morning because I had to wait for the phone guy. Tiny E showed up sick on Sunday and knew Monday would be at home, okay. Z and I got up and were ready to hit the road at 6:45 and I decided to clean my glasses, like I do every morning.
Ping! Why do I have my glasses in my left hand and a lens in my right?
Sigh, no driving for Biggles this dark and early morning. Fine, I’ll just cruise the net. No, the screen was a complete waist of time. Okay, I’ll just watch tv! No, even with a 36″ tube that didn’t work either. Dammit! See, I’m nearly legally blind in my left eye and my right isn’t much better, glasses bring me back to ‘normal’, at least my vision anyway. Do I have a spare? Sure, at work!
The sun came up and wore my prescription sunglasses to go get them, yay. No yay, the prescription is so old I’m nearly typing this by silhouettes of the letters. Grrrrr. And speaking of prescription, the phone number of the place where I buy my specs has been disconnected or is no longer in service. Phlesbsbsbsbsttt !
Mondays, right?
What didn’t suck? Last night’s supper, that’s what. I procured me a top sirloin beef steak from Ted the Rancher (Highland Hills Farm) at the Berkeley Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. Ted’s herd is the true organic, grass fed, heritage breed situation. Usually I find grass fed beef not to my liking, the grain does give a distinctive flavor that I adore.
Pulled it from the fridge Sunday, let it sit out for an hour with a kosher salt rub.
The cast iron griddle with grills up, super heated. Rub bacon fat all over steak.
Grill hard until done, a rare medium will do nicely, thank you very much. Wow, and double wow. I really have to admit Ted’s top sirloin was absolutely divine. I’m going to do this again soon, I can hardly wait. I apologize for any illnormal writings or editing of the pictures. I had to do it based upon feel and silhouettes, I can’t see worth a pinch of moon poo.

Smoky Day, Smoky Oven – A Wedgewood Smoker Adventure

Not sure really, on how to start this one. So, I think I’ll do it this way.
Oh yes I did.
I had a little rack of ribs all ready to go. It was too icky outside, the wildfires are way out of control and makes being outside just plain miserable. Um, but I had a rack of ribs to cook. I sat around the house with the air filter going, attempting to come up with something simple, good and smoky. Wildfires are kinda inspirational that way.
What if I put the ribs in my kitchen’s gas oven, at 250 or so and put a smouldering pan of hardwood dust in there? Jack the exhaust fan way up and let’er go for a few hours?
Oh yes I did. Didn’t think Wedgewood made a smoker, did you?

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Got Wood? It does make a difference, you know.

CherryGrilled01.jpgI feel about as inspired as a white 3×5 index card. With nothing on it. Not even a stack of cards, just 1 card, laying in a pile of clutter. Yeah, just like that. Sitting down at Meathenge is about as easy for me these days as ridding the world of all known diseases at a glance. Heck, at this point I’d be happy with just curing cancer, ya know?
Well, ol’ CB stopped by the other day and said I should either go on a Meat Adventure (regular gas is at about $4.50 for 9/10ths of a gallon as of 7:14 am this morning), so that’s out. Or fire up the grill?
I can do that, I know how.

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Crawdad Boil – Meathenge cooks mudbugs! – a review

On March 25th contacted me and asked if I’d like 10 pounds of mudbugs for ‘review’. Oh, let me think, YES. Remember them? They were the ones that sent Meathenge Labs a Turducken, yeah that’s them.
The little guys come delivered to your door alive, moving, and making this clicking sound like rice crispies in milk. The party wasn’t until Saturday, said crawdads arrived on Friday, not a problem. Hose them down, toss into cooler with a bag of ice (drain open), easy enough. But it didn’t say whether to leave them all tied up in their sack or not, I decided to let them out in to the cooler. Free range crawdads … dumb Californian. Wanna come see how it turned out?

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Food Pr0n – Sharing is Caring

How could I possibly take this photograph last night and not share it with you today. I mulled it over for 4 or so hours and decided, “It’s going up!”.
The boys and I have taken our local Joya de Ceren market to heart lately and added some kind of taco dish at least once or twice a week. In the past we’ve used their premade meat/pepper/onion mixes, they’re all really good. But they have a chile powder and related in them (yum!). And unfortunately Z ain’t hip to them flavors, so I decided to make my own, sorta. Sure I’ll be compiling my own lime based marinade soon, but a bottle of La Lechonera Spanish Marinating Sauce did just fine for last night.
Check out the picture of a fat little piggy, in a sling, with the marinade also in a sliing, getting the piggy all ready. Priceless.
We ended up eating 2 pounds of flank steak for one dinner. A little excessive I know, but it was really good. Especially with corn tortillas that get all puffy when you heat them, so good. I’ll make up my own marinaddy for next week and see how that goes.

Chicken Creole – A Family Circle Recipe Meathenge Style

Um, this recipe actually turned out really tasty. I pulled it out of a 1968 Family Circle Great Chicken Recipes book, see?
Yeah, that one. I had originally wanted to do a recipe from a recent Food & Wine issue. But after nodding off while reading the list of ingredients I decided this book would do just fine for a Saturday evening. Come see, the pictures are quit tastee.

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I got pork, I got chop, I got gravy. It’s a Richmond thing.

Been spending more and more time at Joya de Ceren market, it’s close, it’s happy. Plus, when shopping for dinner, I really have to work at spending over 10 bux for everything I need. Crazy, huh? I made my way back to the meat counter and had planned on their marinated meat action, always good. But noticed these crazy little center cut pork chops. They had fat and most importantly, they had plenty of bone in there (best flavors to gnaw on). So, I had Omar toss in 4 of those, just in case.

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Pork Chop Roast, via Fatted Calf. World’s best mashed taters, via me.

I’ll be honest with you, this post went around a few different poles before landing here. I was heavily armed with most certainly one of the best pork chops within 1.2 million miles, the technology to bring it forth and an absolutely sure fire way of making the best mashed potatoes ever, easy.
Good thing Meathenge is here, with his camera. To capture it all and lay it down so you can run home to play. Don’t you love me? Don’t you care?

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