Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Pig Roast

So I wanted to roast a pig. Finding a Pig was easier then I expected. It sure helps to have a friend who works for a meat packing company!

Step one, Get some hardwood burning so you will have some good coals by the time you are ready to cook the pig!

I rubbed the Pig inside and out with salt and and pepper stuffed it with onions, garlic , apples and lemons and limes.

I then stitched it up with thick butchers twine.

This brings me to Important Tip #1
Make sure the pig you buy is not longer then the spit!!

If the pig is too long you may make a mistake like I did and try to make it fit!

This may seem like a good idea.
You will still be able to attach it to the spit (I used stainless steel wire)

Everything went smoothly.

When the pig was above the coals I realized why tip #1 was so important.
By squeezing the pig onto the spit it caused the spine to arch and made it very unbalanced.
This caused the rotisserie not to turn!

After some quick surgery involving a kitchen knife and a hatchet the pig fit much better on the spit.

Important Tip #2

Keep an eye on which direction the wind is blowing.
The wind switched directions and starting blowing from the ham side to the front.
This caused the front to be cooked while the end still needed more cook time.

I basted the pig often with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, apple juice, and sunflower oil in a spray bottle.

Eventually I was able to start cutting from the front as the internal temperature reached 170f

Thanks to everyone who took pictures! I may add more as they get sent to me.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Beer Soup: Don't Eat and Drive.

NOTE: If you don't love beer use less and replace with chicken stock.

Beer Soup is the perfect meal. Beer, bacon and cheese.
For this soup I used Kozel a Czech  beer. Why you might ask? Because that's what I like to drink.
For Cheese I used an English Cheddar, I wanted something with bite that would get lost in the beer.

I chopped onion, potato, carrot and celery and most importantly bacon into small cubes.
I placed these in a glass baking dish and roasted at 400 F for about 30 min.

After about 10 min it looked like this.

And after 30 min it looked like this.

I added the beer to the mixture and scraped anything stuck on off the edges and bottom.

Next I put together the soup. I start by slowly adding the flour to the butter making sure the flour gets cooked so you don't taste raw flour in the soup. Then I add the beer and gradually add the cheese mixing constantly to make sure it melts evenly. Then I add the rest of the vegetables and beer and bring the mixture to a boil.

To finish it off I sprinkled some smoked Spanish paprika on top!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Smoked Beef Sandwich!

Due to the positively balmy weather (-2C/28F) I thought it would be a perfect day to crank up the smoker and make a sandwich.

I wanted to make a focaccia style bread to put the smoked beef on. Normally you want to start the focaccia dough a few DAYS in advance but I had fairly good results starting it that morning and adding two table spoons of a secret ingredient.

In a bowl I mixed two cups flour with active dry yeast, two table spoons of buttermilk, two teaspoons of salt and half a table spoon of sugar.

Then I added two cups of water, mixed it and let it sit for 5 hours.

While This was sitting, I prepared the rub for the roast.

In the rub I put; cumin, onion and garlic powder, salt, pepper, paprika, brown sugar, ground mustard seed, ancho chilies and cayenne.

I used an eye of round roast that had a nice layer of fat on the top to help keep the meat moist during the smoking process.

I then rubbed the seasoning into the meat firmly.

I placed the roast on a very hot grill to sear the outside and help keep in the juices.

In the smoker box I used wood chips made from oak barrels that were used to age whiskey. I soaked them in water so they would generate smoke when they are placed on the coals and not burn quickly.

Next time I will get a full barrel and make chips out of it myself once the whiskey has been carefully disposed of :)
 I then placed  the roast on the smoker.

You can see the smoker box to the left of the main grill area. This lets you cook with indirect heat, and of course, smoke.

While the beef was cooking, I finished making the bread dough. I put the started dough in the mixer and added two tablespoons of olive oil.

I then added flour gradually until the dough pulled away from the edge of the bowl
I let the machine knead the dough for 15 min and then I covered it and left it to rise.
After about half and hour I rolled it out to about 1 cm thick.

 I then placed it on a baking sheet, brushed it with olive oil, and sprinkled it with salt and basil.

I baked it at 400F for 25 min.

 Using home made garlic mayo as a base (this will be the subject of another blog),
I made a horseradish sauce mixing horseradish, garlic mayo and yogurt.
Garlic Mayo
Horseradish Sauce


The beef had been taken off the smoker at this point. and had been resting for a little while to let the juices redistribute throughout the meat.

I then sliced the meat (I need to invest in a deli slicer, although my razor sharp carbon steel Peasants Chef Knife from Lee Valley worked quite well)

Check out the beautiful pink smoke ring, the result of 3 hours spent in the smoker.

I placed the beef on the home made bread spread with the horseradish sauce, and topped it with baby arugula and romaine lettuce.
Om Nom Nom

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!

Friday, 18 March 2011


Welcome to my food blog.  At the suggestion of some friends I decided to take pictures when I make food and post them in this blog. I am not a chef, just a guy who likes to cook. I am no photographer so the pictures are not great but will hopefully show the process.

I made ravioli. Fresh pasta is a wonderful thing but when you stuff it with mushrooms and cheese it is amazing.

First I made the dough.

I mixed (around 2 cups) flour with 1 tsp salt.

Next I made a "well" in the flour.

I cracked 3 large eggs into the hole I made in the flour

Then I mixed the egg whites and yolks together.

After that I stirred the eggs gradually incorporating more and more of the flour as I mixed.

At this point I also added two tablespoons of olive oil.

Eventually you will use up the flour and it will form a ball.

You will want to knead it for a good 10 min and then place in the refrigerator for at least 30 min.

NOTE: Making the dough can be done in an electric mixer but is not difficult to do by hand.


There are so many wonderful ingredients you can put in ravioli.

This time I used organic Crimini mushrooms and cheese.

I started by chopping up organic Crimini mushrooms, onion, garlic and cheese.

For cheese I used a mixture of Gruyere, Mozzarella and Romano.

First, I heated oil in the pan and then added some butter. The butter started to brown quickly so I added the onion and garlic and mushrooms right away. I kept the pan very hot so the mushrooms would brown a bit. This really brings out their flavor. At this pointed I add salt and pepper to the mushrooms.

I then added some red wine (maybe 2/3's of a cup)

I let the wine reduce a bit and then took it off the heat.

When it had cooled a bit I mixed it with the cheese.

Next I rolled out the dough. I used a pasta machine to roll out the dough but you can use a rolling pin if you don't have one.

After I had the thickness I wanted I began placing the filling on the dough. (Make sure you dust your board with flour or you will have trouble picking up your ravioli after.)

I tried a few different methods of filling and folding.

Then I cooked them in boiling salted water for 4 min and served with a simple home made tomato sauce.