Category Archives: Food

BBQ

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14 large pork shoulders. Rinsed, patted dry, trimmed, scored the fat cap, coated in olive oil and covered with a more mild version of my Redrub. This is off to a great start.
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The pork shoulders went on the grill at Midnight… Low and Slow… Temp set to 275 degrees. We’ll let this go for about 10 hours.
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After 5 hours, I wrapped them in foil, and splashed a bit of pineapple juice on them… And let them go another 5 hours. After lots of watching of the temp… They came off the heat, and allowed to rest for another hour.
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The results were incredibly moist and tender and delicious. If you zoom in, you can see the pork is very moist… Many folks in the Carolinas take the pork and chop it up into a fine mince while splashing in large amounts of NC style Sauce which is basically apple cider vinegar and red pepper flakes. I don’t do that. I pull the pork into shreds and chunks and let the pork speak for its self. I only serve sauce on the side. My bride has made excellent sauces at home. Nothing store bought. We serve Eastern Carolina, “Carolina Red” which is basically Eastern but mixed with ketchup, and South Carolina Mustard based sauce. You don’t need a sauce but some people just have to splash sauce on everything. That’s fine too.
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This was enough to feed my entire ward at my church, with left over to spare for those having hard times at home… and for those that just wanted more. Those that tasted it – said it was the best they ever had. Considering how seriously people from the Carolinas take their BBQ, I consider this the greatest of compliments. I’m thinking about getting my own BBQ Trailer and getting into Competition. Or maybe doing Q for special events… Such as at a Shooting Competition or special shooting class maybe. Catering for special events. I don’t know. I’m considering this.

Armchair Quarterbacking: McDonald’s

The Big Mac Promise
The Big Mac Promise

McDonald’s is in a financial crisis and is bleeding money.  And another report has the CEO saying that they are needing to evolve.  I agree.  McDonalds has been one my least favorite Drive Through’s for about 30 years now.  In fact, the only time I stop in a Mickey D’s is when I’m road tripping… Not to eat though.  Well, maybe sometimes.  But mainly just for the clean restrooms.  They may have the cleanest Men’s Rooms going coast to coast.

But let’s talk about that brand.  Yeah.  It needs to change.  First off, Ronald McDonald is a Clown.  Everyone hates clowns.  Clowns need to go away forever.  Seriously.  Every time I see a clown, I think “Rule #2”.  When McDonalds started out – there was no Clowns.  McDonald’s started in the 50’s, but the clown didn’t show up until 1963.  There was no need for that other than an attempt to market to children… and really kids don’t need a clown to inspire them to chow down on fatty salty and sugary foods.    Kid’s don’t drive the car that pulls into parking lot and kids don’t have the Plastic to pay for an order.  Market to the folks that do.  The Child-Adults with cell phones that could do a space launch and an attention span of a Gold Fish and the life ambition of apathetic Person Of Walmart.  Or the guy with kids that doesn’t have time to cook.  Let’s look at that second guy.  Dude’s busy, has some kids in the car and want to get them some food because they are hungry and cranky and hey, he could use something to eat as well.

The Big Mac Reality
The Big Mac Reality

The Menu’s Flagship Burger – The Big Mac.  It’s pathetic.  It’s not big.  The meat patties are tiny and tasteless and if you are lucky you have a decent amount of shredded lettuce to at least keep the buns apart.  I generally like burgers that have something between the buns.  You have something called the Big Mac, it needs to be substantial.  The Quarter Pounder has a good patty… How about you use 2 Quarter Pounder patties in the Big Mac?  Forget everything else and think about that for a moment.  Look at what everyone else is doing… Big Thick Juicy Burgers.  McDonald’s, your burgers have not been thick or juicy for some time.   Forget your Specialty burgers that come and go – I’m talking about your core menu items.  The staples that have been around for as long as I can remember… Your patties suck.  They are too thin, and too small.  Seriously, I’ve had thicker patties from White Castle.    And when they get served they are generally cold and dry.    Get some meat in there.  The whole Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef?” series of commercials, they were talking about you, McDonald’s.  And you didn’t do anything about it.

Five Guys... Enough Said.
Five Guys… Enough Said.

The problem with McDonald’s is that you lost your Soul.  That clown stole it.  Go back to the source.  What you started out being.  Be that again.   You’re trying to be all things to all people and it’s just not working.  Outfits like In & Out Burger and Five Guys are smoking you.  Why?  Because they are giving their customers what they want… Something they want to eat.  They’ve embraced the fact that they are a fast food burger chain.   They decided they want to offer the best burgers that they can.   You guys?  Your gourmet specialty burgers are generally pretty dang sad… because they are made by the same non-engaged Min-Wager Clowns that don’t care about or even know about what a good burger is.

In & Out Burger.
In & Out Burger.

This is for the CEO of McDonald’s personally… Jump into a car with a friend that is truthful and honest with you.  And you guys go on a Road Trip.  Go to In & Out.  Go to Five Guys.  Go to the other top burger joints in the country and really look at and taste the food.  And then ask yourself why you can’t do that.  And all those reasons you come up with as to why you can’t make a damn good burger like that…. FIX THAT.  All those reasons should become your action points.   This isn’t Rocket Surgery… This is Burgers.

Your chicken sandwiches are not that bad… Not that great, but not bad.  I’m no judge of chicken though.  You’re fish sandwiches suck though.  Same reasons your burgers do now.  But that’s something else… You need to get back in touch with the burger.  Do that, everything else can fall into place.

Does this patch look familiar, McDonald's?
Does this patch look familiar, McDonald’s?

We’ve got a saying around here.  “No Clown Shoes”.   Get rid of the clowns… Relearn what a good burger is.  Get your soul back.   And while you are at it – get rid of the garish bright red and yellow.  Tone those colors down.   That will let people know you can be taken seriously.

Your fries are great.  Don’t touch them.

 

At the Meat Mountains of Madness

Rumors have it that Arby’s has a sandwich called The Meat Mountain.  It is all their meats piled into one sandwich.

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The rumors are true.  I have been to this Mountain of Meat Madness and I have climbed it.

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The fact that I ordered two of them, caused the employee at Arby’s to get very nervous.  “No one has ever ordered two of them before.”  He said.  Then he saw my eldest son, and breathed a visible sigh of relief.   It’s a daunting sandwich to be sure.  But that wasn’t the bad part.  See… Eating the sandwich was one thing.
My son said it like this, “I kinda feel sick… but in a good way.  Like I have a food baby inside me now.”
That was pretty much it.  But you see, I made the mistake of getting a couple Milkshakes to go with the sandwiches.  That crossed the line from “Kinda feeling sick”, to the “I’m uncomfortable with this, and I forgot my safety word.”

It was good, in a novelty sort of way.  Having had it, experienced it and returned from the experience, changed, but surviving… I don’t think I’d order it again.

Considering teaching 3 new Courses.

I’ve been thinking about three new firearms courses.   Let me bounce this off you guys and see if these would have some traction.

1.  The Lever Action Operators Course.   This course would be a focus class on the Lever Action Rifle platform, specifically Winchester 94’s, 92’s, and Marlin’s 1895’s, 336’s, and 1894 rifles.
The course would start out with the introductions, history and development… and then move to disassembly, cleaning, repairs and modifications, and then moving on to tactical applications within the weapon’s performance envelope.

2.  The 1911 Intensive.  So many Shooters have commented that they are “Not Familiar” with the 1911.  This course would fix that.  Taking someone who’s never fired a 1911 before, and turning them into someone who is both familiar and confident with the pistol.  This would start out with of course the history and development of the 1911 pistol from 1907 to present.  We’ll cover a detailed breakdown of the 1911, to full disassembly and reassembly.  Every single pin and part.  Students would bring their 1911’s and we’ll tear them apart, inspect each part, clean and lubricate each part, and reassemble.  We’ll talk about common modifications, things to avoid, things to look for, and how to make the 1911 fit you the best.  Then we’ll cover the application of the 1911 in a defensive role.   Classroom in the Morning, Shooting in the afternoon.

3.  The Grilling While Armed Tactical Grilling and Shooting.  We’ll combine two of my favorite things in one course.   We’ll start out with how to set up your grill, how to cook direct grilling and smoking on your Weber (or other) charcoal grill.  Once the coals are lit and the meat and heat are set, we’ll do a defensive pistol course.  During the breaks from shooting, we’ll cover Pro Level, Champion Grade cooking techniques so you get the most out of your Grill.  Then we shoot some more.  And then once the smoking and grilling is done – We FEAST.  So you come away from this course, full and satisfied with grilled and smoked foods, and with the knowledge to grill and smoke your own, and with some improvement to your defensive shooting.  Okay, really this is just a day of hanging out at the range with good people and good food and enjoying the Freedom Lifestyle.

A Good Burger in North Carolina?

There was this list online some place… that listed the BEST BURGERS in the NATION.  Every State had some entries…. And one of the ones for North Carolina was El’s Drive In in Morehead City.

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Right off 70 in Morehead, right next to some big old hospital.  I’ve heard their advertisements on the Radio a bunch of times… and then this list shows up.  I decided I had to try it.

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This is their Double El’s Special with Slaw and Chili Sauce.  Supposedly their best burger.  Ordered a Coke and some onion rings to go with it.  The onion rings were pretty good.  The Coke was in a freaking can… and that Special Burger… It was… Special.  The chili sauce and slaw – was on so thin as to only serve to make the bottom bun soggy as hell.  You couldn’t really taste it.   The bottom bun was like a wet napkin about the third bite.  The beef – there were two paddies, yes… But they were flavorless and dried out.  So I had a Dry and Soggy burger.  You know how you burn a paddy on a grill really bad and then slice off all the burned layers?  THAT is what these paddies tasted like.   Dry flavorless meat.   Quite seriously, this was one of the most disgusting burgers I’ve ever had in my life.  At least I had a 2 dollar can of Coke to wash it down with.

All is not lost at El’s though.  I did also have an Oyster Burger.  Maybe it was good?

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Nope.  What you can’t see was that it was drowned in ketchup under that flaccid bun.  The oysters were fried waaayyy too long in the deep fat frier, and were about has tender as charcoal with bits of crust as hard as granite.  You could break your teeth on these things.  Oh, and if it being rocklike wasn’t enough… the oysters were filled with sand… and small chunks of gravel.

Overall, El’s Drive In was a most unpleasant place to eat.  Unpleasant meaning, flat out nasty.  The service was good though.  The lady was prompt to my vehicle and very nice.  But as nice as she was for a 50 year old Car Hop, I don’t think I’ll ever go back.   In fact – I really wish I didn’t go in the first place.

 

North Carolina’s BBQ sucks

When it comes to Beef.
They have the Pork BBQ Down.  I don’t think anywhere else is Pork BBQ on point with NC.  You can go anywhere  and get good BBQ Pork, but in NC, you can go anywhere and get great BBQ Pork.

Now, when it comes to Beef BBQ, I just gotta say NC falls short.  I’ve gone around Coastal Carolina and have sampled beef BBQ… and you know there the best I’ve found was?

Dickey’s.

Dickey’s a chain of fast food BBQ joints that all tastes the same wherever you go… And it’s good BBQ in the sense that a Big Mac is a good Burger.  Good when you’ve not had a burger of any sort in a long time.   But compared to others – it’s weak.  That’s Dickey’s.   I had a rather small Brisket Sandwich the other day at the Dickey’s in Raleigh, NC.  Man, it was the best Brisket I’ve had in NC.  Honestly.  The meat was tender and the Sauce  was tangy and spicy… it was good.   Compared to everywhere else I’ve tried Brisket at in NC.  The meat was flavorless… Didn’t taste like Beef.  It tasted like it was boiled or something.   Tasted like dishwater.   Actually, on it’s own, and anywhere else in the country, it would have been freaking disgusting.  But in the context of NC Beef BBQ, it was good.

That right there should enlighten you as to the state of Beef BBQ in NC.

Dickey’s does a good Pork BBQ too… I’ve not had any bad in NC.  Even at a chain like Dickey’s, which is over priced, mediocre and stingy on the portions.    Now, don’t be offended if you like Dickey’s Beef BBQ.  You just don’t know how good real BBQ can really be, and it’s probably not your fault either.  Because in NC when you say BBQ – that just means Pork BBQ.  Specifically pulled pork.  BBQ = Pulled Pork in NC.   It just does.   And that’s fine… for NC.  But really NC needs to learn to take Beef BBQ seriously.

And Dickey’s Ribs?  3 Ribs for 7.50?  That’s an insult.   Ribs should be served in 2 sizes.  Half Rack or Full Rack…. okay, 3 sizes – All the Racks.   Because when you eat Ribs and are 99% done, you should be thinking “OMG, I’m going to die from Stomach Rupturing Rib Over Dose.”  And the next thought should be, “But I got one more rib left, can’t let it go to waste.”

 

Grilling While Armed

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GRILLING WHILE ARMED.  It’s a officially a thing now.  We’re on Facebook, and we’ve got the actual website coming in a few days.

We’re going to be posting Tips and Tricks and Recipes… we’ll do some video… we’re going to make you a success.  Guns and Grills… Does it get any better?

We’re going to be selling the most incredible Rub you’ve ever tasted.  This stuff is amazing.  We’ve got some different Blends for different cooks.  We’ve got shakers of Steak Season that you can throw on your steaks and burgers to put them over the top.  We’ll have other stuff too.  It’s coming.

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Check our FB Page, as we are going to give 5 lucky Grillers sample packs our our Rub, 3 different flavors.   And hopefully come Monday, the rest of you guys will be able to order it.  This stuff is made for especially for us by TexasBBQrubs.com, so if you have any doubts about how good it is – this stuff is award winning.  Seriously.  It’s been winning awards at national competitions.  You think your BBQ is good?  I’m sure it is.  This will make it better.  I could eat this stuff with a spoon out of the bag.

Edit:  I’ve deleted a couple comments about some other company’s Rub and how good it is and I should try that stuff.  Namely because I’m selling a competing product here.  And you can’t say that any other stuff is better than this stuff – if you’ve not actually tried it.  Especially if this stuff has won awards at grilling/BBQ competitions and the other stuff hasn’t but is from a popular company that specializes in a completely different industry/business.

 

Sriracha Sauce

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People are discovering Sriracha.  A spicy, flavorful hot sauce from Asia… Originally only found at Chinese Buffets and the like.  But it’s broken out of the stereotypes and now it stands on its own.  I’ve heard it called “Thai Ketchup”… which is a fairly accurate term.  As anything you might put ketchup on – you can put Sriracha on and it will be better.  This started a new Spice Trade… The factory in Asia couldn’t keep up with demand so they built one in the US as the tasty sauce has really taken off.

Here’s the problem though.   The US factory that makes Sriracha has been declared a public nuisance because of the smell.  At the same time it’s becoming more and more popular.  People are hording.  In some places, it’s hard to find.  In fact, I couldn’t.  We had run out and the local stores didn’t have any.  One thing we really like at The Ogre House – is Hot Sauce.  We use it all the time.  The more different varieties, the better.  And one of the House Favorites is Sriracha.  And we couldn’t find any.  This was a problem.   But I did find an alternative.
Because of the threat of the US Sriracha factory being shut down, Texas Pete stepped up and made their own version of it.   Texas Pete is a North Carolina tradition… so I had to buy a bottle to try out.

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Oh, it’s good.  It’s very good.  If you can’t find the original.  Which I couldn’t.    In fact, I like it.  It does very well on Burgers and Dogs and Steaks and noodles and Pizza… Everything I tried it on.  The above image was posted on FaceBook as I was showing off my Lunch – because that’s what Facebook is for.  To make sure all your friends know what you are eating.
Then yesterday a mystery box appeared on our door step.

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The box contained 6 big bottles.  The real deal.  There was no note.  No return address save for the Factory.  My wife declared it a “year’s supply”.  I give it a month.  A tasty tasty month.

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So the question here is how does Texas Pete’s version stand up to the original?  (The 6th bottle of the original goodness could not be pried from my oldest son’s hands.  Even just to take a photo.)

It looks almost identical in the photo.  But it’s not.  The vehicle for this test was a simple scrambled egg.   Half the egg was covered in the “Rooster Sauce” and the other in the “Cha”.

The Flaming Cock wins.  Hands down.  The flavor is richer, fuller… while the Texas Pete seems to have a little more watered down taste… more Vinegar.  In the original, you can really taste the peppers. The Texas Pete just doesn’t stand up.  It’s not quite as hot either, so maybe it’s good for Beginners and it’s just fine if you can’t find The Good Stuff.  It’s not really a HOT SAUCE per say.  Because it’s not really “HOT”.  It’s warmer than Ketchup.  Maybe on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being “Insanity Sauce” (Just throwing that out there), then Sriracha is about a 3.  But it’s not about the Heat.  It’s about the Flavor.  It tastes GOOD.

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Here’s the thing – they both have their place.  If you are preparing something that asks you to mix the Sriracha in something or put it in your cooking… You can use the Texas Pete.  It will be fine for that.  Save the original Sriracha for pure topical applications where your sauce isn’t diluted.  And you can put it on just about everything.  And it makes everything better.

Why Sriracha?  This explains Sriracha quite clearly.

Seriously, guys… But it on your Burgers and Pizza.  Use it generously.  On a burger – use it like you would ketchup.  On a pizza, drizzle it all over it, or dip it.  It really adds tone and flavor.   If you don’t try it – You Are Wrong.

Good Eats.

I do not have expensive tastes when it comes to food.  I have eaten in the finest of restaurants, and I’ve eaten food prepped by the finest chefs.  And quite often I find that I would rather be eating something else… something simpler, and something more ordinary.  My Death Row Meal – Will be one of these:

Hot Dogs.  Good old fashioned dirty water dogs with steamed buns.  Top that with mustard and kraut and I could eat that all day.  Mustard and ketchup and chili… give me three and I can call that a meal.  Love hot dogs.  The simplicity of them, the versatility, all delicious.  If you don’t like a good hot dog – there is something wrong with you.  Best Dog?  Anywhere, but if I’m buying for me – I’ll buy Smithfield’s cheese filled dogs and some good spicy brown mustard.  (Classic yellow French’s if I’m doing a chili dog)

Burgers.  The Bacon Double Cheeseburger is the pinnacle of the Burger, but there are so many variations you could eat burgers for the rest of your life and never have the same one twice.   It’s such a broad spectrum that Burgers are it’s own food group.  The best Burgers?  The Buffalo Burger at the Bohemien Brewery in Salt Lake City.  Can’t get that? Five Guys.

Stew.  Beef Stew, Chicken Stew… whatever stew you have, I’ll have some.  I’m not talking Soup.  Soups are good – but Stew is a whole new level and they can be absolutely exquisite when done right.  The best stew?  My wife’s.

Tacos.  Now, the taco has some controversy to it.  Flour or Corn on the Tortillas.  Well, there is no controversy – it’s Corn.  And if you think flour – you are wrong and should fix your nasty self.  Take a flour tortilla and FRY IT.  Don’t microwave it.  Fry it.  Throw some meat on it, some diced onions, cilantro, some salsa or hot sauce… maybe some cheese and tomato, that’s fine.  But keep it simple.  So delightful.   Especially if you get them from some place that is not Taco Bell.  Now, those T-Bell Crunchy Tacos… That’s fine if you are in the mood for the crunch, but they do not hold a candle to the pure joy of a hot corn tortilla filled with spicy meat. I could eat tacos every day.  The best Tacos?  My wife’s.

Fish and Chips.  English Style “Fish and Chips”.  Beer battered, doused with Malt Vinegar. Maybe a little black pepper and salt on the chips.  Any time there is Sea Food or Fish on the Menu – I look for the Fish and Chips.  I want thick fillets, with a fried crust that’s golden brown.  And I don’t want anything else.  The best I had – was at a little Roach Coach in Richmond, VA.

Enchiladas.  If you like flour tortilla enchiladas, we can’t be friends anymore.  Corn, again.  And Fried.  Never green sauce unless it’s chicken.  Do not – DO NOT put green sauce on beef enchiladas.  Ever. Red.  Red sauce on everything – even chicken sometimes.  Lots of cheese.  Oh man… That’s Sunday Dinner stuff.  But the problem is that they take too long to prepare and there are never enough left overs.  If you make any – make 4 pans worth.  At the least.  2 pans – you are way short.  Only 1 pan – Why do you hate your family?  You only made enough for me.  The best Enchilada’s  Mine, when I make them.

Pizza.  There is Pizza, and then there is “New York Style”.  New York Style is fine… But I prefer a little bit thicker crust – like a “Hand Tossed” Papa John’s crust.  I don’t like the thick bready crusts like Pizza Hut – those oil sponges.  And I like toppings.  New York Style is too dang thin.  I needs a lot of toppings.  I like lots of flavors that work together – vegetables and meats have to harmonize.  A Spinach Pizza can be wonderful.  The most important element in a Pizza, after the foundational crust – is the sauce.  You can have everything else right, but if the sauce is lame – you have lame pizza.  And you have to have enough sauce.  I hate the pizzas that have almost no sauce on them.  They are missing out.  And I also hate the pizzas that lay down the cheese and then the toppings.  If you are going to do that – lay down some more cheese to hold the toppings on!  I don’t like just a pepperoni pizza.  That’s tired.  I need more to it… and less grease, please.  Default favorite? Papa John’s.  And I get the pepper.

The Breakfast Burrito.  The Holy of Holies of Breakfast foods and one I could eat at every meal.  I want the Burrito to be fat and heavy.  The filling – no RICE, damn it.  I hate burritos that have more rice than everything else.  That’s cheap.  That’s a dodge.  That’s a half-assed attempt at a Burrito.  The Breakfast Burrito should be filled with eggs.  Going in there with the eggs, some hash browns, some sausage, and some cheese.  Maybe some jalapenos. Maybe some tomatoes.  The tortilla here can be flour.  But it needs to be thin and chewy, not thick and bready.  It’s got to be strong enough to contain the filling.  I don’t want it breaking open mid bite.  I also don’t want to be chewing a mouthful of tortilla.  So the size of the tortilla verses the filling must be in balance.  I’ve studied the art of the Breakfast Burrito for decades.  And I’ve had it all across the country.  You know where the best one I’ve had was?
Just off I-95 at a Sheetz.  I was in Breakfast Burrito Nirvana.  I ordered 3 for the road and the only regret I have on that decision was that I only ordered 3.

Chili.  Like Burgers – this could be it’s own topic.  A good Chili is a work of art.  You can argue Beans or No Beans… But if you don’t have beans in your chili – you have Hot Dog Sauce.  Other than that, there are so many ways to make a chili, and none of them wrong.  All good. Unless you screw it up.  First off, it needs to be thick.  It needs structure.  It needs to be able to hold a spoon straight up.  Anything less and you have soup and should be beaten.  Thicken it up and live.  A good chili can be hot, as hot as you like.  But don’t make it sweet or tangy.  It needs to be spicy.  At the very least it should warm your mouth.  At the most – maybe causing spontaneous human combustion is too much.  My last chili – I made women, children, and shaved men cry.  It was heroic chili.  It was chili for bearded men only.  It was the best chili I had ever made.  The best chili I had ever had someplace else?  I had a bowl of chili at the Pelican Lake Cafe 15 miles out of Vernal Utah.  That was some fine chili.