I enjoy a good piece of grass-fed, dry-aged beef as much as the next food snob, but if given my ‘druthers, I’d take a properly cooked peice of lamb-leg, or lamb chop over cow, any day of the week.
Here’s a favorite recipe of mine, for grilling on top of La Caja China. Makes a great snack while the pig’s roasting!
8 rib lamb chops, 1 1/2 inches thick 1/4 C fresh lime juice 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon black pepper 3/4 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Brush both sides of chops with lime juice, and sprinkle the spice mixture over the chops, rub it evenly all over the meat, and chill the chops overnight.
Prepare La Cajita China, or grill, with glowing coals. For a “high-heat” sear, I like to use my Weber charcoal chimney set directly on the Cajita ash pan. Fill the chimney 3/4, light, and allow to burn down to half full.
On the oiled rack of the grill or on a broiler pan in the broiler, grill or broil the chops 4 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium rare, rotating halfway through for grill marks.
When I pull the chops off the grill, I let them rest for 10 minutes, then serve with rosemary roasted potatoes and sweet green peas.
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Coming up on one of my favorite barbecue holidays…Presidents Day!
Oh sure, you can have your Memorial Day, and Independence Day, and Labor Day, but the problem with those are, everyone else is barbecuing as well! It can be hard to get enough folks over to justify a decent pig-pickin’ when every Weber on the block is burnin’ dogs.
Besides, Presidents Day has such a fine history or barbecue…
“When George Washington “went in to Alexandria to a Barbecue and stayed all Night,” as he wrote in his diary for May 27, 1769, he won eight shillings playing cards and probably ate meat from a whole hog, cooked for hours over hardwood coals, then chopped or “pulled.”
By the early nineteenth century at the latest, a sauce of vinegar and cayenne pepper (originally West Indian) was being sprinkled on the finished product. This ur-barbecue can be found to this day in eastern North Carolina and the adjoining regions of South Carolina and Virginia, virtually unchanged.” (Adapted from Holy Smoke: The Tar Heel Barbecue Tradition, by John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and Will McKinney to be published by the University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming 2008.)
Says Steven Raichlen, author of “Planet Barbecue” and host of “Primal Grill” on PBS, “Our presidents were known to be big fans of the laid-back pastime as well. George Washington’s diaries abound with references to barbecues, including one that lasted for three days. George Washington was a major barbecue buff, and when Abraham Lincoln’s parents were married, their wedding feast was a barbecue.”
Lyndon Johnson built his campaign around Texas-style barbecues, a variation on an old tradition: In the 19th century, roast pig and whiskey were staples at political rallies. Having combined generous amounts of Kentucky bourbon and slow-roasted pork on occassion myself, I can say with some authority that this is a wise political tactic…after several hours you would passionately cast your vote for the pig, if someone put a ballot in your hand!
In fact, President Johnson had a full-time barbecue chef, Mr, Walter Jetton, employed on the LBJ Ranch full time. I have his cookbook…it’s highly amusing.
Ronald Reagan engaged the BBQ catering services of Wayne Monk of Lexington for the 1983 Economic Summit in Williamsburg.
Even President Obama, who, having grown up in Hawaii, is likely to have an undeniable love of pork…I mean bbq of course…got into the action with Iron Chef Bobby Flay, grilling up some fine looking steaks at the White House for the Young Men’s Barbeque in 2009. (Hope they were good…we payed for ’em! lol)
So, in tribute to my favorite bbq holiday, here’s how you can prepare some fantastic, White House worthy pulled pork barbecue of your own on your gas grill or La Caja China (click links for recipes.)
And, of course, if you can get a herd of hungry revelers over, you can go whole hog…but I’d put the bourbon away first, if I were you.
And here’s my favorite “traditional” bbq sauce recipe, from …which is probably pretty similar to what Ol’ George sunk his wooden teeth into, at those all-night poker parties!
Perk’s Tradition BBQ Sauce
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine the white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using so that the flavors will blend. Shake occasionally.
May all your holidays be filled with the blessings that life can bestow. And though, for all of us, in different ways, this has been a tough year, try to remember something my father taught me. Something I reflect upon that occasionally has helped me through a tough time…
At your moment of greatest suffering, when everything seems it’s darkest, somewhere in the world, some unsuspecting turkey is about to have a fistful of stuffing shoved deep into his eviserated body cavity…
In other words, things could be worse. Happy Thanksgiving!” – Bon Saget
Here’s the Burnin’ Love BBQ Plan…
Appetizer 1: Mojo Shrimp Skewers
Grilled seafood makes a great appetizer before a big dinner because not only it it a light, tasty snack that won’t dull the tastebuds, it’s also quick and easy grilling for a chef who’s in full-bore production mode.
Sweet chili sauce might be my all-time favorite condiment, and brisket is definitely in my top 3 favorite meats. So, a thought stuck me the other day, out of the blue, Hey, those two would be awesome together! And thus, this recipe was born.
Not just cookbooks, though I can spend long hours on the couch perusing those as well, but books about food, food history, and food culture.
Books like The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola, and The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen by Jacques Pepin have changed the way I look at food, and the respect I have for it, and the process that get’s it to my table.
The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain (regardless of what I think of Tony, personally, it’s a fantastic book) and The Whole Beast, by Fergus Henderson, have sent me on a culinary adventure (usually flying solo, lol) far beyond the walls of sterilized, saran-wrapped “stuff marts” into a Wonka-esque world of offal wonderfulness.
Q:Regarding dieting, healthy eating, and shopping…I’m curious if you find special challenges on this endeavor since your a chef or if it your knowledge of food helps. I’m not a chef, but I do love food and my knowledge of nutrition has been very slowly expanding since I had my son. I find myself often wishing I knew more about the taste dynamic of different herbs, spices and foods that would help me to come up with more tasty versions of healthy dishes.
A: Excellent question. I would guess that I actually have less temptation than most, as I have a very detailed shopping list to follow each week, to plan menus for our subscribers. I try to shop late at night, and eat dinner just before going to the store, so I’m not shopping hungry.
Be adventurous…there are tons of great fresh produce, meats, etc along the outside of the grocery store that you can experiment with. Try new fresh herbs, and unusual fruits. If you see something that looks interesting, write its name down, and Google some recipes until you find one that sounds good, then add that item to your next shopping list!
I’ll tell you, a handful of chopped fresh Thai basil will rock just about anything! Sample some cilantro (you’ll love it, or you’ll hate it), and find a good recipe for roasting your own garlic. Any of these will turn something as pedestrian as a Cup O’ Noodles into a satisfying repast, and turn a good recipe into a next-level one!
Personally, I think that, in terms of a general style of cooking, it’s hard to beat a great “traditional” (not Americanized) Italian cookbook for finding healthy, exiting new things to try (disclaimer: yes, I am Italian, and totally biased.) Greek cooking is pretty amazing, as well.
Brass tacks…if it’s something you love to do…DO IT…just find a way to do it right. I think the biggest deal-killer to most folk’s healthy eating, is that they believe that they have to deny themselves to eat healthy. We are, all of us, narcissists and hedonists by nature, and a deprivation mentality is a one-way ticket to a binge session. I speak from personal experience, lol.
Make learning, exploring, and experimenting with healthy eating something you love to do…and then indulge yourself! Try something new at the grocery store…take a field trip to your local farmer’s markets…throw a “healthy (country of choice) dinner” for your friend’s or family.
Make it fun…make it something you want to do…and you’ll do it!
Just one guy’s opinion.
PS – Drop by our hautemealz.com blog for some great healthy (and free) recipes that are a little “haute-er” than you might find elsewhere, lol. – P
Yesterday, I had the honor of sharing this amazing device with none other than my grilling guru, Mr. Steven Raichlen, (author of “The Barbecue Bible”, which is my gold standard for bbq/grilling cookbooks) who had posted the following message on his Facebook page:
“Yes, I’ve used caja chinas & they give you amazingly moist tender pork. Drawback is you don’t get a wood smoker flavor.”
Well, you know I couldn’t let that go…so I (very politely) replied that you could, indeed, get great smoke flavor in anything you roast in La Caja China, and pointed him to our review of the AMNPS. This morning, the awesome Mr. Raichlen posted the following…
“This in from Perry P: a smoker device you can use with a caja china. I stand corrected & and we all stand to eat like kings!”
Well, needless to say…my hat doesn’t fit too well this morning!
In honor of my 5 seconds of fame, the equally awesome Todd Johnson, over at A-MAZE-N Products, LLC (owner and creator of the AMNPS) has generously offered to donate a brand new A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker, as a prize for the best barbecue photo posted on our Facebook page.
1 photo per person. (G-rated, must be your photo, preferably with no minors in the shot.)
We’re looking for finished foodie shots of meat on the grill, in the Caja China, in your Weber, your pit…you name it. Show us what you would add smoke to, with your free A-MAZE-N Pellet Smoker, the next time you barbecue!
Contest ends Wednesday, February 29 (‘cause that’s leap-day, and I thought it was cool.)
Please do not post contact/mailing information, we’ll contact the winner.
Oh, and just to tease you…in June, I’m going to give away a MAJOR PRIZE here on Burnin’ Love BBQ (no, not a leg-lamp) for the best photo taken using the AMNPS! Seriously…this is going to be a biggie!
Mmm…piping hot pancakes, drenched in your favorite syrup, dripping hot sweet cream butter, loaded with delicious blueberries that burst in your mouth…a haystack of apple-wood smoked bacon on the side…oh, baby!
“Typically occurring in late January or early February, it is considered a de facto national holiday in the United States. On Super Bowl Sunday many people gather to watch the Super Bowl. Such gatherings are known for the large amount of food that is consumed by attendees.” Wikipedia
Okay, SuperBowl Sunday is coming up, and what better time to get our smoke on?
A quick confession (before my friends rat me out anyway)…I’m really not a spectator sports guy (I’m not much of a participatory sports guys either, but let’s not open THAT can of worms…)
However, the annual Superbowl party is my exception to the rule.
A bunch of my best friends, tons of great food…sure, I have to watch some football…but there are some great commercials to break THAT up, so…three outta four awesome elements…I’ll take that percentage any day!
As much as I’d like to think that I get invited to these parties every year for my witty banter and cutting-edge heckling of the event at hand, I know the truth…it’s my food that gets me in the door. I’m okay with that.
So, I thought this year we’d take a look at three specific ways that “Game Day” can play out, and how we can do some grilling and/or Q for each.
Most parties, where we would be offering our goods, fall into one of three categories:
1. Party at my place! – Hosting a Superbowl party at you own home offers the most flexibility in what you can prepare and serve (‘course, it also means cleaning bean dip off the ceiling, finding wing-bones behind the couch next summer, and two-weeks of lethal dog flatulence because your best friend won’t stop feeding ATB’s to Rover …).
2. Invitation to the pot-lick. – My personal favorite, lots of new dishes to try, and my place stays (moderately) clean. Watch the game (commercials) in comfort on my pals cushy garage home-theater. Nice!
3. Pull in & Pig out! – Ah, the pièce de résistance for armchair quarterbacks everywhere. It’s a ball game, it’s a picnic, it’s a camp-out…it’s the Tailgate Party…how can that be anything but awesome?
Over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to take a look at each of these game-day favorites, some killer bbq and grill recipes adapted to each, and some tips on how to participate as a pit-master. Oh, and I have a great homemade cleanser for getting out those bean-dip stains…
So, let’s take a look at three next-level recipes for hosting a Pig Skin party at your own crib…
Party at My Place
Hosting the party at your own place allows for a lot more freedom in recipes and preparation. All of your own toys, spices, and gear, are close at hand. This is your pit-master backyard…awesomeness should be a given!
For the main dish, let’s go all-out with Luau Party featuring a whole Kalua pig, or pork shoulder, with a Big Island Luau Party!
Kālua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu, or underground oven. The word kālua literally means “to cook in an underground oven” and also describes the flavor of food cooked in this manner – e.g. the kālua pig, kālua turkey (Hawaiian puaʻa kālua) which is commonly served at luau feasts. – From Wikipedia
Traditional Kalua Pork
8 pounds pork butt
4 tablespoons liquid smoke
4 tablespoons Hawaiian salt
8 to 12 large ti leaves, ribs removed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After scoring pork on all sides with quarter-inch deep slits about an inch apart, rub with salt, then liquid smoke.
Wrap the pork completely in ti leaves, tie with string, and wrap in foil.
Place meat in a shallow roasting pan with 2 cups of water and roast for 6 hours.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon Hawaiian salt in 2 cups boiling water and add a few drops of liquid smoke. Shred the cooked pork and let stand in this solution for a few minutes before serving.
Man…that’s makin’ me hungry!
If you’re lucky enough to have a La Caja China, and want to take this recipe to the next level, knock the socks off your party guests with a Whole Roasted Kahlua Pig.
Hawaii plate-lunch-style macaroni salad.
The beauty of macaroni salad is that it is quite forgiving and welcomes a wide range of personalization and experimentation. It’s a casual dish that easily adapts to any type of food or occasion—it is, in other words, quintessentially local.
Island Mac Salad
To make a basic macaroni salad, you don’t need a recipe; just follow these guidelines:
The pasta: Cook 1 pound macaroni (for really local style, cook until soft and fat, but you can go al dente if you prefer).
The flavoring: Stir in ¼ cup very finely grated onion. Not minced, chopped or sliced—grated. It should be liquidy (this is how they do it at Diner’s, a local eatery in Kalihi).
The mayo: At least 2½ cups for real local style. But there are no rules, so use less if you like. Or more.