You Gotta Have BBQs on Sunday!

Wellllllll, I’m gonna have to disagree with that bit of truism.  Yesterday was Saturday and I picked up a couple of slabs of St. Louis ribs and a whole chicken.  Since I was heading out of town early Sunday morning, I figured I’d leave Sweetie and Bunny with some good eats so they don’t starve before I get home.  LOL

Anywho, I got my ribs ready by removing the membrane on the back of both slabs, dusted with salt, pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar and then squeezed a little yellow mustard on them, drizzled a very little bit of molasses and finished off with a dash or 3 of Lea and Perrins.  Then I rubbed it in good and let them sit for an hour.  I split the chicken and sprinkled it with Tony C’s seasoning and let it sit, too.

I started my pit using my IQ110 again and the Smokenator.  Low and slow at 225 degrees F.  I was determined to do the 3-2-1 method with the ribs.  3 hours in the smoke, then wrap in foil with a little liquid, 2 hours on the smoker, unwrap and brush with sauce and a final 1 hour on the pit.  I put my chicken on after the 3 hours and let it go until the ribs were done.  The ribs came out great!  The chicken?  Wellll, it took a bit longer to cook.  Quite a bit longer.  I have come to the conclusion that trying to do chicken halves like my Dad did is not gonna work for me.  I had the thermometer in the chicken but it wasn’t going to go over 160.  I ended up cutting the chicken up into 8 pieces and finishing it on the pit.

One thing new that I tried was using my 2 level cooking on the Weber Silver.  Remember I showed how I used another grill and some bolts and washers to make a grill that sits about 3-4 inches above the regular grill?  I did the ribs on the top for the first 3 hours, measuring the temp on the top grill, set to 225.  I can get 2 full slabs of ribs on the bbq now.  After the 3 hours, I wrapped the ribs and put them on the top grill.  I laid the 2 chicken halves out on the bottom grill and let them go for 2 hours.  Yep, 2 full slabs of ribs and 2 chicken halves on a Weber Silver.  Yeehaw!  After the 2 hours, the chicken was barely brown.  Bummer.  I unwrapped the ribs and put them on the bottom and the chicken on the top.  I measured the temp on the bottom grill and it was almost 30 degrees cooler than on the top grill.  Drat!  Anywho, after an hour, the ribs were done, but the chicken wasn’t.  I fought it for another 1/2 hour and then said to heck with the halves and split them up.  It took another 30 minutes for it to get to 165 with them on the top grill.

Along with the ribs and chicken, I did some fresh corn on the cob in the microwave.  I whacked off the bottom (nope, didn’t shuck it or anything), then put 3 ears in the microwave for 9 minutes.  When the microwave dinged, I took them out (using oven mitts!) and squeezed the top hard.  They just slid out of the husks,silk all left behind.  Great way to do corn!

I finished off with some dirty rice.  Yep, we feasted.

No pics on this one.  You’ve already seen what the grill looks like and what ribs and chicken cooking looks like.  Gonna save a little bandwith.  🙂

Tonight, I’m in Chicago and just finished a couple of pieces of deep dish pizza from Giordano’s.  OMG!  That stuff is awesome!

Have a great week, ya’ll.

Kajun

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Why No Posts Lately

Sometimes  “Real Life” (you know, the stuff you do daily that brings in the $$ so you can do what you really want to do!) just gets in the way.  That’s what’s been happening with me.

First, trips for work, then weekend trips with Sweetie for pleasure, then more work, then another trip to visit my Bro and his family in Tucson, AZ and our 90 year old Mom who lives with him (he’s “Da Man” for getting her over to his place!  He and his wife and family treat her like a queen.  Thanks, Bro!!  Hi, Mom!  *waving*  LOL) and now back to work.  Sheesh, where has the time gone?

No time for bbq, so I’ve decided I’d start a page on some of the neat places I’ve been and great restaurants I’ve dined at.  That’ll be on a separate page, coming soon.

Take care, ya’ll!

Rainy Days

It’s been kinda strange  here weather-wise.  We’re in SE NM, the desert SW, but for the last few days we’ve had rain, rain and more rain.  In fact, today we’ve been under either a flash flood watch or, for most of the day, a flash flood warning.  Sheesh!

Needless to say, with this weather I haven’t been doing any bbq’ing.  Drat!

 

Sweetie Is A Genius!!

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For quite a while now (ok, since about a week after I got my Weber Silver (WS) bbq), I’ve been acquiring accessories.  First was the rotisserie.  Then the charcoal holders, then the Smokenator, then the Pizza Oven, then the hinged grates, then the IQ110 temperature controller, then the remote dual thermometers.  Sheesh, it seemed like the draining from my wallet would NEVER end!

All these accessories, while really nice, didn’t address my main complaint about the WS.  It only has 363 sq. in. of cooking surface.  Put on a slab of ribs cut in half and you’ve pretty much filled up the cooking area.  NOTE:  I prefer either St. Louis style or flat ribs, not those wimpy baby back ribs.

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See?

Now at our house, we’re not exactly a 1 meat per cookout household.  If I’m gonna do some decent bbq, I want at LEAST 2 kinds of meat.  Ribs and chicken, chicken and pork chops, chicken and steak, brisket and ribs, hot dogs and burgers and chicken…..you get the idea.  Sooo, I bought a second WS.  Great!  Now I’m up to 726 sq. in.!  Hooray!  Now I can do a slab of ribs and a split chicken.  Or a small brisket (REAL small brisket) and a slab of ribs.  Or a split chicken (split in half) and a small brisket.  Whooppee!!

Well, not exactly big whooppee, though.  What if I want to invite our friends who have 4 kids plus the parents?  Yeah, I can cook in 2 batches.  Burgers and hot dogs for the kids first, followed by the “real” bbq for the grownups.  Only thing is,the kids usually really like my ribs, too.  And I cook the burgers and hot dogs high and fast, but everything else low and slow, so I’ve got to let the grill cool waaayyyy down.  What to do, what to do, what to DOOOO?????

After looking around, I found a cool accessory named the Rib-O-Lator that consists of 4 pans that attach to the rotisserie and go round and round ferris wheel style, cooking like the bbq joints cookers.  Excellent idea!  But, after reading a lot of reviews for it, it seems like unless you have the thing adjusted juuuuuuuuust right, it’ll flip your food out onto the coals.  BUMMER!  (Yeah, I grew up in the 60s and 70s with the hippies!  LOL)  Plus I’d need to get another rotisserie.  Plus 2 sets of the pans (which are $100/set + shipping).  I don’t think so!!

There’s another accessory that sits on top of the regular grill and is basically another complete grill rack.  It gives an extra 247 sq in. cooking surface, for a total of 550 sq. in cooking surface.  Now we’re getting somewhere!  Only problem is, it’s almost $38 with shipping included.  YIKES!  Two of them, one for each of my WS grills comes to $76!  OUCH!  Plus, it only sits 2″ above the regular grill.  You ever measured how thick a piece of brisket is?  Or a half chicken?  2 inches?  Heck, that’s nowhere near enough height to let smoke circulate!

OK, I looked around my bbq extra goodies and I had 2 old round charcoal holders from my old keg grill that were 19″ in diameter, but a bit rusty.  That works out to 254 sq in each.  Hmmmmmmm, they’re 19″, the WS is 22.5″, so they do indeedy fit on top of the regular grill with a bit left over.  OK, but how to get them to fit on top, a minimum of 3″ above the grill?  After looking around online, I saw several folks who had welded legs onto a similar grill and were using that.  Outstanding idea!  Only problem:  I don’t have a welder.  Drat!

I considered several possibilities.  Bending some wire to hold it up.  Flimsy, would probably fall over and dump my food  Buying a little welder.  More expensive than buying the HoverGrills.  Using pieces of brick?  Hmmm, not too bad an idea, but they’re only 2″ high. OK, 2 would give me the 4″ height I’m looking for.  But I only have whole bricks.  I’m not really good at splitting bricks evenly, so that was out.  What to do, what to do, what to DO??

I mentioned what I was thinking to Sweetie late this morning.  She thought for about 30 seconds and said “Why not use some long bolts?”  BINGO!!  4 1/2″ carriage bolts, some 1 1/4″ washers, a few nuts.  WOOHOO!!  Sweetie’s absolutely BRILLIANT!

So off to the nearest hardware/lumber yard.  I got 10 ea 4 1/2″ X 5/16″ carriage bolts, 30ea 5/16″ X 1 1/4″ washers, and 50ea 5/16″ nuts.  Looked like this:

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I got out the dremel tool and sanded off the grill and got it nice and shiny.  Then I took a bolt, screwed a nut on all the way to the head, added 2 washers, another nut screwed almost to the washers, then I separated the washers, put one on the top of the grill, one on the bottom of the grill then screwed the bottom nut down, sandwiching the grill grate wires between the washers.  I squoze the wires together a little to make a better fit between the washers.  I did that 4 times, once at each “corner” and once again in the middle.  After all, we don’t need the top grill to sag onto the meat on the bottom grill, do we??  Of course not!  LOL

Then I put another nut on the bottom of each bolt, screwed it on about 1/2″, then slipped on another washer.  Just one this time.  Then another nut and tightened it against the lower washer.  Did that for each bolt.  What I ended up with was a grill that was held up almost 4″ above the bottom washers and adjustable in height using the bottom nuts.  I slipped that on top of my grill on my WS and voila!!  There it was!  My very own GrillTopper (pat. pending!  LOL)! Yep, I did 2 of them, one for each grill.  🙂  🙂

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These puppies give me a total cooking area of 617 sq. in. per grill and adjustable height of 1″-4″.  That’s a total of 1234 sq. in. of cooking space if/when I use both of the WS grills.  Now we’re talking!!  That’s enough for 4 slabs of ribs or 4 whole chickens (split in half) or 2 slabs of ribs and 2 whole chickens (split in half) or a couple of small briskets and 2 slabs of ribs or a couple of small briskets and 2 whole chickens (split in half) or 4 whole chickens (split in half) or a ton of chicken leg quarters or enough wings to feed an army or heat buns on the GrillTopper and burgers and hot dogs underneath or garlic bread on the topper and anything else underneath or…………..ok, you get the idea.  🙂

And I spent a whopping $14.50 for the parts to make my GrillToppers.  WOOHOO!

Finally, if I want to use only one of my WS grills, I can put on the rotisserie extender (with or without the rotisserie??  Hmm, gonna have to check.) and stack the 2nd GrillTopper onto the 1st GrillTopper and have 3 surfaces to cook on.  That’d be great for smoking stuff only, because I don’t know if the heat would circulate enough.  Hmmmm, sounds like I’ll have to experiment a bit.  Darn the luck!!  LOLOL

Thank you Sweetie!

I Think I May Be Overthinking This BBQ Thing!

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OK, no pics today, just a thought or 3.

Sweetie and I went over to a friend’s place on Saturday evening.  He was having a little get-together and was going to do burgers and hot dogs.  When it was time to get started, he brought out a frozen package of pre-prepared hamburger patties…..the name is kinda like what you’d call a “good ol’ boy” and can be found at Wallyworld…sprinkled them with some generic off-the-shelf grill seasoning (remember, they are still frozen!), fired up his gas grill (yep, gas NOT charcoal!), let it go for about 5 minutes, then  put the burgers on, still frozen.  He closed the top, gave it about 8 or 9 minutes, took a peek at them, waited until the juice started flowing out of the top, then turned them over.  About this time, he put on some hot dogs fresh from the ice box on the cold side of the grill.  After the burgers started oozing juice on the second side, he waited until the juice turned mostly clear, put on the buns to warm for a whopping 3 minutes, turned the hot dogs once, then took everything off, served burgers and buns, hot dogs and buns, some nice cheese, a slice or 3 of tomato, mayo and mustard, catsup, a little salt and pepper and some relish for the hot dogs.  From start to finish, he was done cooking and preparing in about 20 minutes tops!  Geez!!  Tasty??  Yes indeedy!!  Sides were potato chips and potato salad.  Sheesh!  It was freakin’ DELICIOUS!!!!

I’ve been grinding my own special blend of meats to make my hamburger, then seasoning it up and letting it sit for 24 hours, getting my fire juuuuuuuuuuuust right, doing a reverse sear, warming the buns so they are almost, but not quite, toasted, making some homemade sauce for the burgers, slicing tomatoes, lettuce, onions, using special jalapeno cheese, and serving up the burgers and hot dogs (hot dogs come from the package, let it warm to room temp, turn every 2 minutes for about 20 minutes total cooking time for the hot dogs) with all homemade ‘tater salad, deviled eggs, bbq baked beans, and maybe a nice dessert like my home made pecan pie or lemon meringue pie.  It takes me a total of about 2 full days to do it “right”.  And it took him 20 minutes.  20 MINUTES!!

I hate to say it, but his burgers and hot dogs were darn near as good as my 2 day prep burgers.  😦  Major wake-up call, though!

Is his way better?  It for sure is quicker!  Is it easier?   Darn tootin’!  Will I give it a try?  With the exception of using my Weber Silver instead of a gas grill, you’re darn right I’m gonna give it a try!  In fact, on the way home, Sweetie and I stopped off and got a couple of packages of the “good ol’ boy” (remember, this is a kind of nickname for the real name since I don’t have permission to use it on my blog) ready to cook burgers!

Yep, I’m thinking I may be overthinking this bbq thang.

Kajun

July 4th Definite BBQ Heresy!!

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OK, I know that July 4th is supposed to be THE bbq day here in the U.S. of A.  It’s been drilled into me year after year after year.  BBQ or else!

Well, this July 4th, I did NOT bbq!  But I DID cook  outdoors…..without fire!!  Impossible you say?  I say nay nay nay!  Eminently possible…especially if you’ve got one of these:

SunOvenStart

This, my friends is a true solar cooker.  Uses nothing but the sun.  And it works even if it’s partly cloudy, like today was here in SENM.  🙂

It unfolds sunovenopen and has a cooking chamber just right for medium sized dishes and pots and pans.

Today I did a beef round roast.  I used carrots, onion, potatoes, the roast and a couple of bay leaves.  Roastrawingredients  The roast had been seasoned with Montreal Steak Seasoning before it was frozen (froze it several months ago, packed in a food saver vacuumed bag).  I whacked up the ‘taters, carrots, celery and onion, stuck them into the pot and slipped a couple of bay leaves into it.  Then, out to the Sun Oven which had been heating for about 15 minutes, slip it inside, close the glass top after putting in my thermometers, and let ‘er rip.  RoastinOven-1  The oven only got up to a high of 275 today due to the clouds.  Usually it’ll get up to almost 400!  WOWZERS!!

I let the roast go for 4 hours and turned the oven to keep it facing the sun.  During the cooking, towards the end, I made some of Meathead’s Garlic Mashed Potatoes to go with the roast and veggies.  See his site at www.amazingribs.com for the recipe (let him know I sent ya!  LOL)

When the roast was done, I took the pot into the house.  Here’s what it looked like:

Roastinpandone

Slice the meat:  RoastSliced  put a piece or 2 on a plate, add the garlic mashed potatoes, some of the veggies, a little gravy over the roast and ‘taters, some butter on the veggies and chow down.

RoastFinalPlating

For a non-bbq 4th of July, we sure ate well.  Definitely heresy, but what the heck, right?  As long as it comes out good!

Happy 4th of July to ya’ll!

P.S.

Our DS and I bought a few fireworks and after the city fireworks, which were awesome…first time they did them to music,,,we had a blast setting them off.  🙂

Missed Posting Last Sunday 6/30/13

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It’s been a crazy busy week, so I haven’t been able to update my blog since I did some dynamite pork chops on the bbq last Sunday.  Seems our local chain grocery store had them on sale, buy one, get one free.  These little chops were about 1″ thick and really looked good, so I got a couple of packages (2/package), took them home and started getting them ready.

First was a dry brine, using some kosher salt.  Nothing else.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Just a nice coating of kosher salt, then let them sit for a few hours.  Image

After the brining, a rinse, pat them dry and then a bit of Cajun Seasoning made by a popular company down in Louisiana.  Looked like this:

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After letting them sit for a few hours, they went onto the WS, using the Smokenator with a small chunk of hickory, then cooked at 250 for about 20 minutes.

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Time to flip, then cook to internal temp of 145.  At 145, I stuck them over the direct heat and did a bit of reverse sear.  Final product in overflowing pan:

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I figured I’d go ahead and throw on the hot dogs from my last Kids Meal cookout, got them done, sliced in half and they were NIIIICE!  Image  I got a recipe for hot dog chili from Meathead’s Amazing Ribs site and whipped that up while the pork chops were cooking.

I also decided I was going to cook some extra dishes so I wouldn’t have to cook this coming week, at least before July 4th.  I did some ravioli lasagna, some regular ravioli and a rather large sweet potato.  The end products, including the hot dogs in the chili sauce in a pan at the left rear, looked pretty decent.

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Once it was all done, put a bit of everything on a plate and feast time!

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Our DS had a buddy over Monday night.  The ravioli and lasagna didn’t last until Tuesday!  Sweetie and I had smoked pork chop Sunday night, but Monday night I got some mushroom gravy ready and heated the leftovers in the gravy.  Serve with rice and totally yummy but different.

So, for July 4th, I plan on doing a little beef roast, but with a twist.  Stay tuned!  LOL

Some Kid Food For Sunday

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You know, bbq doesn’t have to be all about steaks and chops and rotisserie cooking and all that fancy stuff.  Sometimes, getting back to basics is a nice treat.  On Sunday, I decided to do what I consider “Kid Food”…..burgers, hot dogs, beanie weenies and mac n cheese.  Needless to say, our 16 yo DS was tickled pink!  LOL

I had 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck and 2 packs of hotdogs, one regular bun length and one all beef.  The Mac N Cheese was the old faithful, Kraft and the beanie weenies were made with pork and beans, 3 weenies I cooked in an iron skillet and sliced about 1/2 inch thick, some catsup, mustard, grape jelly, salt and pepper, brown sugar all added till it tasted right.  🙂  Yeah, I’m not real big on official measures when I’m cooking.

I got the grill fired up Image

and then set it up for indirect cooking with the coals against the back of the WS.  I cooked the burgers at about 250 for 10 minutes, flipped them and basted with melted butter, cooked another 10 minutes, flipped and basted again and put on the hot dogs.  I cooked everybody for another 10 minutes, then took off the burgers, slapped a slice of cheese on 2 of them cuz I like cheeseburgers, finished the hot dogs directly over the coals, moved them back to indirect and started toasting up the buns.  It looked like this toward the end: Image

When all was said and done, the burgers and dogs looked like this: Image

The buns looked like this:  Image

The Mac N Cheese:  Image

And finally, the beanie weenies:  Image

A burger dressed with lettuce, tomato,onion, mayo and mustard (cheese burger for me), a hot dog with mayo, mustard and catsup, a big spoon of beanie weenies, and a nice helping of Mac N Cheese.  Truly, a meal fit for a kid……no matter how old they are!  LOL

Enjoy doing it your way!  Then it’s bbq!

It Came Out GREAT!!

Like I said yesterday, today was gonna be a bbq day.  WOOHOO!!

Got my slab of pork baby back ribs rubbed last night and ready to go.  This morning, I got up about 8:30, fixed up the old Weber Silver (WS) with the Smokenator and the IQ100 and fired that sucker up, set at 250 degrees.  I took the ribs out when I started setting up and let them warm a bit.

When the WS was at 250, I slapped the ribs on.  Now, ya’ll gotta realize that I’m getting into some kinda high tech (at least for me) bbq techniques.  I am using the IQ110 for temperature control.  It has a nice little probe that goes into the pit and attaches to the grill to monitor the temp of the grill and work with the fan on the IQ110.  Also, I’m using a Maverick thermometer which has a probe for the grill plus a probe for monitoring meat temp.  Add in the Smokenator and it’s an awesome bbq system (no, you don’t have to have all this stuff.  It was combined birthday, Father’s Day and Christmas presents to me.  I’ve cooked outstanding ribs without all the gadgets.  So can you!).  Here’s what it looks like with the ribs just starting: Image

About a week before I started my blog here, I tried cooking a couple of slabs of ribs, using the WS and the Smokenator.  Six hours later, they were still kind of tough, so I finished them in the oven.  When I had my old Outdoor Kitchen keg cooker, I was able to get them done in about 2 hours.  Tender, juicy, high and fast.  I did a bit of research and talked with a friend and co-worker and came to conclusion I needed to “foil” the ribs (aka Texas Crutch) to get them really tender and juicy.

Today I put them on the WS, meat side up, for 1 hour after getting the Smokenator and IQ110 going.  Then I flipped them and let them go another hour after adding more water to the Smokenator.  I got a double layer of foil for each of the 2 mini-slabs and put the ribs in (of course, something had to go wrong.  I didn’t have any wide foil nor did I have any apple juice, but Sweetie went out and braved the insanity at our local supermarket and came home with both of them.  Thanks tons, Sweetie!  Love ya!).

I squirted a little Sweet Baby Ray’s regular bbq sauce on top and folded it all in the foil and closed it tightly except for one end.  I poured in about 1/2 C of Apple Juice into each through the open end and then sealed the last end good.  I put both rib sections back on the WS for an hour and a half (more water in the Smokenator).  I checked them at 1 hour and they weren’t quite as tender as I wanted, so I let them go another 30 minutes after adding water to the Smokenator.

After 90 minutes in the Texas Crutch, I took them out and placed them back onto the grill, yep, more water into the Smokenator.  I flipped them at 15 minute intervals for the next hour.  No additional sauce was put on them.  The water in the Smokenator kept the humidity inside the WS high and the ribs moist.

While the ribs were finishing off, I got my 2nd WS ready for indirect grilling and put on a few links of my pure pork Cajun smoked sausage, a seasoned chicken breast, a ribeye steak with Outback seasoning, and 4 kaftas.  Kafta is a middle eastern dish, usually made with ground lamb and Middle Eastern spices.  I used regular ground beef instead of lamb.   I flipped all the stuff on the 2nd WS at 15 minute intervals, too.  I put the kafta over the coals to cook.  The rest was laid out all over the cooler part of the grill.

Just before the ribs came out of the Texas Crutch, I fixed up a little bowl of bbq baked beans, some dirty rice (used both ground beef and chicken livers since it was my day!  LOL) and some deviled eggs.  I also sliced off a hunk of French bread, sliced it about 1/2″ thick and buttered and garlic powdered a little over half of it (Sweetie doesn’t do butter), wrapped it tightly in foil and set it aside.  When the 2nd WS stuff was about 15 minutes from being done (3 flips), I put the bread over the coals on top of the kaftas.  I did the steak and chicken via reverse sear.  The sausage I just let warm up and cook.  I didn’t have a thermometer to see how hot the 2nd WS was, but it was probably medium heat…400 or so.

When all was said and done, the ribs looked like this: Image  and the rest of the meat looked like this:  Image 

Plated out with the beans, dirty rice, deviled eggs and garlic bread, it looked like this:  Image

Sweetie only had one critique, “Don’t you change a THING!  This is PERFECT!”  Wow!  That blew me away.  Then I tried some.  Sweetie was absolutely right!  The ribs were juicy and so full of flavor they didn’t need any bbq sauce.  The steak and chicken were juicy and tender.  The kaftas were nicely spiced and a good addition.  The sausage…..well, the sausage is outta this world, even if I say so myself (yeah, I make it myself and cold smoke it myself.  LOL)

The beans, dirty rice, deviled eggs and garlic bread were the perfect sides for this meal.

Oh yeah, we finished off with a home made Cajun chocolate poke cake with home made icing.  Took about 45 minutes, start to finish.  Oh my goodness!  We never did get around to putting the Blue Bell ice cream on the cake, though.  LOLOL

During the cooking, which lasted from 9:30 AM to almost 4 PM, the temp outside went from 80 degrees to 108 degrees.  That called for a bit of Johnny Walker Red Label scotch on the rocks with a splash of water, of course.  OK, it called for several of them.  🙂

All in all, it was a darn good Father’s Day.  And it wasn’t heresy this time!  It was just darn good bbq.

Tomorrow Is Father’s Day So You KNOW It’s BBQ Time!

Awright!  A very special day for all us Dads.  The perfect time to bbq and do it your way!  🙂

I’ve got a slab of baby back ribs all seasoned and marinating in the ice box overnight.  A few pieces of my home made pure pork Cajun smoked sausage thawed out and ready, some ground beef for burgers and to go in my dirty rice, a few chicken livers for the dirty rice, some leftover ribeye and chicken breast I cooked at a friend’s place tonight and had leftovers, and maybe a pack of hot dogs if I can find them in the freezer.  Some deviled eggs and bbq baked beans will round out the main courses with a nice home made Cajun-style home made chocolate cake and ice cream (Blue Bell, of course) for dessert.

More tomorrow!