Grill, Smoke And Pekin Duck


SMOKY DELIGHT AND COVERED PITS,
GRILLING IS SLOW AND DUCK JUST MAKES IT BETTER

Barbecue: Noun, verb and adjective? All three. It is considered an outdoor cooking event, as in “going to a barbecue”. It is the covered grill/pit we cook on/in, as in hole in the ground, grate over coals, Brinkman, Weber or Big Green Egg. It is the food itself as in bbq pork, beef, lamb, duck, quail, pheasant, chicken and of course any shell fish and fish.
There are several kinds of wood used for barbecue where each has a specific purpose for seasoning the meat with smoke and heat. Bbq is cooking with heat and smoke, not fire. If you are cooking over fire then it is grilling, and even then you really only want the heat, not the flames. If any pork or beef states that it is “flame kissed” it means that the flesh is scorched, which leads us to understand that burned is not barbecue, no, no, no, burn and scorch ruins the meat. Any discussion of barbecue will bring out regional arguments as to which it is that has the best method, and what constitutes barbecue meat. Anything can be barbecued, but for Georgians a barbecue is pork. We use beef and chicken only under duress to satisfy Texas and Midwestern cattlemen, and to use the bird for something other than grilling or frying. Heat and smoke only, no flame.
The debate about which wood is best for any particular kind of barbecued meat depends a lot on personal choice, but there are ideals or forms of charcoal wood to which we appeal and they are:
Alder very nice for fish, pork and poultry.
Apple, great with pork and poultry, and I almost always use this for pork. I don’t use it with beef but some do.
Cherry is a good general wood for anything you’re smoking.
Coconut burns very hot with little ash and a nice clean taste. I have always been happy with coconut charcoal.
Hickory simply is what makes beef taste more like good pork and is THE wood for most barbecues.
Maple, good with pork and poultry.
Mesquite, strong smoke/high heat, used a lot but for some the taste is too strong. I rarely use mesquite.
Oak, great with red meat, game and firm fish.
Jack Daniels Oak Barrel, now this lump charcoal is the guilty pleasure in that it imparts the sour mash flavor in addition to the power of oak.
Pecan, a good general wood that imparts a special nutty but not overpowering smokes to the food. The smoke matters a lot in barbecue, as it is what keeps the sauce from overpowering the meat. Wood chunks is best for slow smoke, the chips are best for adding smoke and flavor during the last quarter of cooking time. When you are doing a slow smoke keep the temperature under 190 degrees. If you are baking breads or pies then have the temperature at 450 to 500 degrees.
I use Red Oak or Big Green Egg Lump to get the wood chunks going strong. Red Oak and BGE lump is the same. Wicked Charcoal and Cowboy Charcoal are both top of the line lump charcoal. Do not use seasoned briquettes in a Big Green Egg, Primo or Komodo ceramic as the lighter fuel in the products ruins the ceramic and imparts a near eternal nasty gasoline flavor. Stay away from the matchless briquettes or lump precisely for this reason of bad flavor. Electric inserts work the best for guaranteed fire.
One of the little recognized American masters of barbeque is Bobby Seale, of the Civil Rights movement, Black Panthers and Chicago 8 infamy. Somehow he found a way to relate the American struggle to barbecue! Barbecue is what he talked about most during the time between trials. Food is culture and we know our culture by our food. Why bring a 1960’s radical and intellectual into a conversation about BBQ? I mention him because we all come together at the barbecue. He even wrote a cookbook called “Barbeque’n With Bobby”, and it’s actually very good. There are millions of Barbecue books, speaking of “Bobby” even Bobby Flay has a great bbq book. Is there such a thing as a bad BBQ book? All people are equal over the pits and smoke of a well seasoned and rubbed rump, shoulder or back rib. We are one by the fire.
Barbecue speaks to the power of marinades and searing, of hickory and oak, of basting, and of keeping sugar off the meat. For some there is no barbecue without hickory, but then again, there’s this need to seek out other flavors, other smokes and heat that are available today.
Pit masters demand hickory because hickory is what is the overall best for slow smoke and heat. Mesquite is too hot and too much for pork and beef, but is perfect for oily fish. In Georgia we grow up with pecan, peach, apple, plum, poplar, oak and hickory. We use more hickory, oak, pecan and maple because that is what has always been around in the Georgia woods.
We know barbecue when we go out to eat because there is that unmistakable taste of real smoke throughout the meat. Smoke and heat. Anywhere in the world where there is slow cooked meat over seasoned charcoal smoke you know that something good is waiting. You have to be able to taste the meat all the way to the bone, throughout the meat, it must be tender, otherwise it was either not smoked in a covered state or worse, an imitation with smoke seasoning. Liquid smoke products should be outlawed.
Purity of the pit is what makes barbecue philosophers such great thinkers, whether radical to the left or radical to the right, barbecue philosophy is about one thing, and that thing is heat, smoke, meat and togetherness at the pit, the barbecue pit, togetherness. But there is something about barbecue that brings out the extremist in many of us. Why is that? Think of it as maintaining the integrity of something, something dear to the red hot center of a passionate heart.

Now a pit can be a hole in the ground, a kettle, a bullet shaped tube, a pile of bricks and stones, and even an egg shaped ceramic beast. What makes the pit important beyond the smoke is the baste. Barbecue baste is not barbecue sauce. Barbecue sauce is something done after the fact of being barbecued. Basting is what we do to the meat during the marinade and during the cooking. No sugars during the cooking process. None. Chinese bbq is done with smoke and heat, marinades and rubs, and then of course the sauce that comes after it has cooked, if a sauce is needed at all. Hawaiian pit barbecue is right on the target, bury the pig over hot coconut coals, and then cover it with banana leaves and wait. I highly recommend banana leaves over the meat for slow cookers. I really don’t know what they do in the North and Northeast.
Tomato, hoisin and soy, mustard or vinegar does not have an emotional context to me, but to some it is sign of a possible fight. I like all types of smoke and baste, and even sauce. My Mother and my Aunt both refused to eat a slow smoked pig because it had vinegar baste and not a dry rub hence the smoke was hidden. I didn’t hear much of the reasoning; I was buried ear deep into a side of delicious smoky and vinegary country leg. Does it mean I’ll eat any barbeque? Yes. Just that some true barbecue is better than others because that is what we are familiar with. I prefer Georgia tomato and Chinese soy based sauces for my barbecue. I will never turn down a pig because of vinegar or mustard, though I will refuse based on being too full.
Prejudice aside, lamb, beef, chicken, pork, duck, salmon, game, tofu, bread and all beans can be cooked on a high quality smoker. Baste/marinade, heat/smoke type and sauce are what characterize barbecue. Any of the listed woods will give you a good smoke, a sacred pit of fire.
Smoked Duck is always welcome. It is one of my favorites. Thaw in the refrigerator. Marinade for 24 hours. Smoke for 6 hours at 175 degrees. Once it is in the smoker do not lift the lid until after 3 hours. White Pekin or Long Island Duck (spelling is correct as the name of the duck breed is PEKIN) is the one we use the most for smoking. The other kinds of duck farmed in America are Muscovy (cross of pekin and moulard), Moulard and Mallard (the original farmed duck in America. All domestic descend from Mallard except muscovy). Use hickory, apple and Jack Daniels wood for the grill.
MARINADE
1 White Pekin Duck, rinse cold water
10 ounces Blueberry-Pomegranate juice
4 ounces Dark soy sauce
6 ounces Sorghum or Sugar Vinegar
2 ounces Ginger, thin sliced
4 cloves Garlic, mashed
1 teaspoon Allspice
1 teaspoon Black Pepper, coarse grind

SAUCE
10 ounces Marinade
2 ounces Black Strap Molasses
1 ounce Dark Brown Sugar
½ ounce Mint, stems and leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon Roasted Thai Chili peppers
3 ounces Sour Mash Whiskey
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
3 ounces Cold Water
Combine all except cornstarch and water. Bring to boil, turn down to simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Combine cornstarch and water. Stir into sauce. Heat for 10 more minutes.

Combine. Using a tea pitcher or a deep container submerge the duck in the marinade. After minimum 24 hours, maximum 3 days, prepare your smoker/grill with hickory and apple wood. Adjust baffles so that the temperature is 175 degrees. Place the duck back side down. Smoke 3 hours. Turn it over. Baste. Smoke 3 hours. Paint with sauce. Cook 1 hour.
At service you can slice it up and garnish with sliced green onions, mint and chopped pineapple and pear. Chinese pancakes/crepes are wonderful for wrapping the sliced duck and garnishes. Merry Christmas and may all your loves and friendships be blessed with purity of intention, unconditional heart and full of conversation, understanding and warmth.
We gather around the fire
And tell stories of life
As it was, now and yet to be,
Feel the chill evening
Warm up rich with smoke
And the smell of spice,
A handful of water soaked
Pecan shells ready
To be nestled under the grates,
A book full of loves gone
And treasured, a love now
Held high into the stars,
Trailing along in wisps
Of steam, like a happy comet
Sailing into the December sky,
Christmas songs and prayers
Offered and shared,
Smiles and hugs,
Our eyes sparkling
Reflections of Yule lights.
Our hearts pure
Our passions real
From Advent to New Years
Every day is sacred
Every night together
Is like the first,
All wish is for Peace
For a world that learns
To love and to cherish
One another.
Learns to love all Life,
Just like this,
This moment here
When we touch and are alive.

Learning the Charm Of Crock Pots From Kitchen Sink To Cassoulet


LEARNING THE CHARM OF CROCK POTS
FROM KITCHEN SINK TO CASSOULET
Happy New Year and Hello 2011! The black eyed peas and collards have all been eaten and it is time to keep the crock pot out for more great food. We owe a lot to the crock pot or slow cooker. Slow cooker dishes are made for families of one to full sized classic family of five. One pot is good for a week or a big Sunday. They cook smoothly, evenly and by keeping the top on they recycle the liquids. Since no stock is lost to the room it all stays in with the vegetables and meat. By simmering for 6 to 10 hours the meats become very tender and full flavored. Crock pots are excellent for short ribs. There are people who live by the crock pot, and this is dedicated to all of you who love or will love the beauty of a long simmered pot of navy beans/black beans/pinto/, okra, chicken and pork, and the elegantly peasant staple of cassoulet.
When I was getting ready for this I called my friends Don Chambers, Jarad Blanton and then Bryan Redding. I asked what they thought of crock pots. Immediately each said they used them all the time and love ‘em; and of course added that it is in high favor by all Mothers. Enough said. I had to do it. But the problem was how do I make it unique? I do not. The recipes here are classic French cuisine with the cassoulet and classic Southern as in gumbo variations. While shopping I saw that crock pots are now being sold in dual units. Side by side in the same console for optimized slow cooking! This is the way to save money and labor while putting together either a big family meal or a weeks worth of base for one or two people.
Purists put your heavy hand aside as this cassoulet recipe has smoked duck instead of duck confit in the recipe, nor are there copious amounts of thick cut pork belly or fatback, just hickory bacon and olive oil. I have adjusted for a slow cooker style. The rest of the dish is fairly standard in relation to the history of the dish. It is family food, farm food, a celebration of harvest. For us here in the South, crock dishes and cassoulet are festive enough by the very nature of the happy unity of flavors that takes place in the cooker. Winter demands we have big pots of something cooking from venison chili to cassoulet.
STANDARD PANTRY CROCK POT
Here we have the standard “there’s nothing to eat” emptying of the pantry and refrigerator. I know this because I have done this, and what fun it is to find jewels where we thought there were none. Not enough praise can be lain upon a cooking tool like a crock pot. I use a Cuisinart one that is all ceramic. The dual ones that I saw in the store were stainless-aluminum alloy in a polycarbonate cabinet. Pretty impressive stuff and well worth owning if your family needs require that much on going cooking.
The ingredients are not unusual. Everything is seasonally appropriate and if not fresh then dried is always there on the grocers shelves. I use guajilla pepper because the hot background to the fruity aroma adds a good even spicy heat to the dish. The peanuts and dried cranberries came as an after thought. On my second helping I thought that something was missing. This thing is crunch and the citrus sweet of peanuts and cranberries. Call this a gumbo if you want to, add fried crawfish tails to garnish and there you have a salty, crackly, smooth and earthy plate of goodness.
Cook pearled barley ahead of time and add to pot with other ingredients. Cook time for this recipe is 1 hour on high to bring it to a stable 300 degrees, then turn to low, 140 degrees, and cook for 7 hours. Cook a total of 8 hours. You can cook it for up to 10 hours if you want to really intensify the flavors. There are recipes requiring 16 hours time in the slow cooker. Keep covered except when adding ingredients. When using ground meats like our sausage then brown it first, pour off the grease and then add to the crock pot. Thick cut vegetables go into the bottom of the pot. Add fresh herbs and seafood add during last 60-45 minutes. Vinegar based seasonings like Tabasco and Cholula will get bitter so stick to the dried and fresh peppers. Do not uncover, between seasoning, just let the crock pot do the job it was made to do.
There is no “reducing” of liquids in a crock pot because the liquid recycles back down into the pot. Do not fill more than two inches from the top. Every time you lift the cover add an additional 20 minutes to your cook time. Do not stir after it starts cooking. Slow cooking is that sensitive! It is not merely mix and walk away, there really are techniques. Do not think of the crock pot as a place to empty straight from freezer to pot. Do not do it. Adding frozen foods to an already cooking crock pot is one of the things that causes intestinal discomfort, i.e. food poisoning. Best solution is to use fresh vegetables only and if you are using frozen meats then thaw thoroughly and sauté before adding to the cauldron of deliciousness.
A CHICKEN AND A HOG WALK INTO A BAR
Ingredients are listed in the order you should put them into the slow cooker.

1 1/2 quarts Chicken stock
1 1/3 cups White corn kernels
10 ounces Chicken, skinless, thigh and breast, thick dice
4 ounces Bacon, chopped, cook with sausage
6 ounces Ground sage pork sausage, browned and degreased
1 cup Pearled barley, cooked
2 cups Okra, sliced
1 cup Chayote squash, thick dice
1/2 pound Red potatoes, thick dice
½ pound Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, thick dice
6 stalks Green onion, sliced
4 cloves Garlic, crushed
Add during last hour of cooking
1/3 cup Cilantro, fresh, stems and leaves, chopped
15 fronds Rosemary, crushed
3 Bay leaves
1 tablespoon Guajilla pepper, dried, seeded and sliced
1 tablespoon Coarse black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons Coarse salt
¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
12 ounces Dark Beer
At Service
2 tablespoons Peanuts per plate
1 tablespoon Dried cranberries per plate
4 ounces cooked basmati rice per plate

Garnish with whole cilantro leaves.

Serve over a plate of basmati rice with basil and olive oil. Cornbread is required.

A HUNGRY SOUTHERNER WALKS INTO A SUPERBOWL PARTY
This is a five ingredient slow cooker dish but the beef and potatoes do not count. Perfect for a base for chili.
1 pound Beef sirloin, cut in thick cubes
1 ½ pounds Russet potatoes, cut in thick dice
2 cups Cooked red beans
1 teaspoon Tony Chacheres Original Creole Seasoning
1 tablespoon Coarse Black Pepper
12 ounces Beef stock
12 ounces Good pilsner like a Terrapin brew
Combine and cook for 10 hours. Garnish with chutney or chow chow. Think chili. Serve over thick pasta like fettuccine.

SONOMA TO CLARKE COUNTY, CASSOULET IS HERE TO STAY
My best day with cassoulet was at St. Jean Winery in the early 1980s. We sat outside at a long wooden table under a huge magnolia in front of the main house. They treated the staff of St. Orres where I was working to a day at the farm. It was magnificent. The owner and his wife, Jean, were regulars at St. Orres and loved our food. What is not to love about any foods all fresh from Mendocino and Sonoma Counties? I sat next to the wine master. I did not know it at first and as I raved about the cassoulet, rye bread and Chardonnay he began to laugh and introduced himself. I felt honored and humble. The Coast and the Valley was vibrant with the rush of New American Cuisine back then, when Chefs worked together and Alice Waters was discussed at every meal, when farm to table first began in 1979 and still today seems like something new. Farm to table should never be a memory, it should always be now.
The smoker here is the Big Green Egg, Weber, Lil Indian, Brinkman or whatever brand you have for smoking the turkey and duck. I smoked a whole duck seasoned with rum, sweet soy, sambal and ginger for 6 hours with hickory wood. I seasoned the turkey with a traditional thyme, sea salt, black pepper, oregano, rosemary, sage and white wine rub. Let it stand overnight and then smoked with cherry wood for 12 hours. Crispy skin and smoky smooth meat. Cassoulet is a farm, home, peasant dish that originally used duck confit (duck cooked and chilled in duck fat) and haricot beans as the base. If you do not want to cook outside then roast the duck and turkey in the oven. You can cut the turkey in half and thus reduce the cook time. Internal temperature for duck should be 150 degrees while the turkey should reach 180.
The basic definition is “mixed bean and meat stew” so a lot is left to the particular bias of the chef preparing the dish. As I learned cassoulet from German and French Chefs it was duck, lamb, turkey, pork fatback, cranberry beans, white beans, white wine, tomatoes, wild rice and chicken stock.
As time goes by our tastes change a bit and the weather demands a nice day in and out by the smoker. Cold weather is perfect for grilling out in the South. Our cold weather is thankfully mild. If you have a Big Green Egg or other kind of ceramic smoker/grill and it is still hot from smoking the turkey you can make the cassoulet inside of it. Use an iron pot with lid, put the ingredients in and use hickory wood and apple wood for the smoke. Set it so that the temperature is at 200 degrees and leave it inside to cook for seven hours.
When using a standard slow cooker/crock pot you will cook the cassoulet for 10 hours, 1 hour on high and 9 hours on low. Add the duck during the last two hours of cooking. Start with all the other ingredients. When using dried herbs use flake, not powder.
10 ounces Duck, boneless, skinless
2 Turkey wings, skinless, cut in fourths
10 ounces Turkey breast meat, thick chopped
10 ounces Summer sausage, cut in thick cubes
4 strips Hickory bacon, dice, sauté, add all to pot
2 cups Navy beans, cooked
1 pound Red potatoes, large dice
1 cup Carrots, peeled, large dice
1 cup Turnips, peeled, medium diced
1 cup Onions, diced
1 Green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons Tomato paste
1 cup Tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 ½ quarts Chicken Stock
1 pint White Cooking wine
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 teaspoon Rubbed Sage
½ teaspoon Oregano
1/3 cup Parsley, chopped
2 tablespoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Coarse Black Pepper
Garnish:
2 cups Spinach leaves, chiffonade cut (thin strips)

While it is cooking you can make a favorite rice or even mashed potato dish to use as service for the cassoulet. I have even had it in hollowed out bread bowls. Just take a thick crust round bread and heat it to very warm, cut out the top and remove the bread leaving a half inch to the crust so that it does not leak. Then spoon the cassoulet inside of the bread. Place a duck leg and turkey wing section on top of each serving. Garnish with thin sliced spinach over the whole serving. This is a rich dish that is good for any cold weather afternoon or evening.
If you don’t want to use the slow cooker for this dish you can cook the beans on the stove and roast the meats, then combine the ingredients in a roasting pan and cook again so that the ingredients are more distinct. After you remove the ingredients from the roasting pan pour the juices into a sauce pan. Add a cup of chicken stock and cook on high heat, stirring infrequently, until it has all reduced to one cup. Arrange each portion on a plate and pour the sauce over the cassoulet. Decorate with the chiffonade spinach. To really take this to the next stage you can then place a grilled lamb chop or pork chop next to the duck leg and turkey wing on the plate. This is as hearty and hardy as food can be.
This marks a great time for me. My book is finally in print and available in bookstores, Amazon, the publisher (Lummox Press) and from me at book events. This has been a labor of love for so many reasons and most of all it is a love letter to World Cuisine. The world is such a beautiful banquet of hundreds of cuisines and each as important as the next. Southern Distinction is where these recipes are first expressed beyond home or restaurant, and I am thankful to Bryan for his photography and inspiration, to Cindy and Keith for publishing such a great magazine and most of all to the cooks and readers here. It is all for you:
“Ginger, Lily & Sweet Fire: A Romance With Food”
At The Gates
Reading the Song of Songs
The way I have for years and years,
This little book,
The greatest love poem,
It goes beyond one man one woman,
It goes into the scope of life,
Of how to love
To hunt to harvest and enjoy,
To live upon this earth,
To simplify the seasons
Into the grace
Of doves and deer,
The sweetness here
Of almonds and figs,
The kiss of the Sing-Shulamite,
Of all things beloved,
We learn what is a grace
When we awake to being loved.

A MAN AND HIS GRILL


ALL THINGS CONSIDERED,

A MAN AND HIS GRILL NEVER GO OUT OF STYLE.

A LIFE WITH DUCK, SALMON, AND CHEESEY BEEF

Every five years or so things change in subtle ways where we wonder what happened and how come this or that no longer fits the scene described in magazines and talk shows. Food fads change faster now than ever before. I watched and worked through the dark hours of the culinary world when nouvelle and cuisine mincuer ravaged the landscape of the collective unconscious of chefdom and left the diner curious as to where the food went and why what remained was so high priced. That’s what prescribed fashion will do for you when there is no firm basis to hold the image for more than the flash of a celebrity chefs smile. The restaurant, as champion of taste, was almost run over by corporate downsizing as a result of the backlash to the way food was handled from the late 1980s until the last five years. In honor of the history of food we will celebrate around the grill with duck breast, salmon steak, and a tenderloin of beef.

We are in a boom time of dining now and it is the task of every cook, chef and home cook to test, taste and experiment wisely because if we are not careful then the closings, corporate takeovers and general rip off for the consumer will surely ensue. What to do? Be honest. That’s all it takes. Just be honest to your plate, to your customer, to your family and friends and the best of the new foods. Fashion and flash will rise to the top and we will again be on a culinary adventure as wonderful as the one set forth by California cuisine in 1980, and then again by Fusion in the late 1990s. That’s what fashion does for us in the culinary world, it takes us on an upward spiral of curiosity and conquest where the best of our challenges become new standards and the worst becomes a joke about ‘what were we thinking.’ Even the dishes that don’t work out so great can still be fun. Remember, live to eat, and do so with full heart. OK, so let’s go stand around the grill and think about foods that last and things that bind our world together.

The duck breast and salmon will both be marinated. The beef tenderloin will be rubbed with garlic and coarse sea salt and finished with melted Gorgonzola cheese. This is a low carbohydrate delight of a meal… almost. It is all only meat but we will have fruit juices in the marinades. The duck is a new recipe, the salmon is a new standard, and the beef is as old as country clubs and dirty martinis. If you do not drink don’t be afraid of the alcohol in these marinades. They are only marinades for the flavor, the alcohol cooks out on the grill and all you have then is the refined flavor of sour mash corn and aged grapes.

DUCK BREAST

We are using the more familiar Pekin duck, which has a low fat content and is lighter colored meat than the huskier, fattier, and burgundy flavored Muscovy duck of fine restaurants. You can find whole ducks in the frozen section of all the grocery stores. Ask ahead about duck breasts to see if the grocer can get it in for you. If this is not possible then buy the whole duck, cut it in half and then in portions of breast, leg and thigh with the bone intact. Marinade the same as with boneless breasts. The cook time will be a little bit longer. The good thing about duck is that you can cook it to temperatures the same as with beef. Medium rare duck grilled this way is a very, very tasty treat.

If you are ever in the mood for some of the best Hong Kong style duck you can eat in Athens then contact Fooks Market on Baxter Street and ask when she is getting it in. Usually it is Thursdays and there are a lot of requests for this kind of Chinese Barbecue duck so get your order in early so that they can have it ready for you to pick up after work.

2, 8 ounce                                     duck breasts, boneless

1 cup                                                cranberry-raspberry juice

1/3 cup                                    soy sauce

1/3 cup                                    Chianti

1/3 cup                                    sesame oil

2 tablespoons                        allspice, ground

1 tablespoon                                    ginger, ground

1 tablespoon                                    cinnamon, ground

1 teaspoon                                    cayenne pepper, ground

Combine liquid ingredients and spices. Place duck breasts skin side down in glass dish. Pour marinade over the duck breasts, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.

SALMON

When this marinade first appeared twenty years ago it was considered radical. Funny how time changes things. The salmon really does have to be Pacific Ocean King, Coho, Sockeye, Silver Bright (chum), and Pink salmon. These fish are part of what made the West Coast possible and their value to nature is matched on a level with shrimp, sardines, krill and on up to the mighty mackerel family. Wild salmon is to be cooked to any desired temperature from rare to medium. If you should cook the fish over medium it will lose the moist texture and taste of the sea. Well-done salmon has that chalky and fishy texture that unpleasantly lingers around. Try not to go over medium with fresh salmon that is labeled sushi or sashimi grade. Most frozen wild salmon is immediately frozen when it is butchered so it is safe for rare and medium rare temperatures. Did you know that salmon in sushi restaurants is almost always from frozen stock? The freezing kills off a lot of bacteria and retains the moisture and fat necessary for the best tasting sushi. Unless you are right on the water or the fish is no more than two days old this is the best way to have it for sushi. I have eaten sushi salmon right out of the ocean and it tastes the way you would expect velvet to taste. The miracle of air transit, UPS and Federal Express really do make it possible for the home cook to get seafood of the same grade as restaurants.

Hint, wild salmon does not have dyes or injected hormones and antibiotics as do the farmed Atlantic variety. Also, wild Pacific salmon is a vital part of our oceans whereas Atlantic salmon farmed in the Pacific Ocean is a threat to our oceans. You will also notice an extreme taste difference between the wild and farmed species. Farmed is cheaper and more readily available, and that is the only advantage over wild salmon. Georgia used to have Atlantic salmon in our rivers but that is a story long ago before the Savannah River plant. Sometimes the plight of our oceans and rivers seems bleak, but with studied and optimistic approaches to preserving and renewing the life of our waters we can see a revitalization of our waters. After all, Australia recently declared the entire Great Barrier Reef as a preserve. This means that the living coral can be protected from commercial and recreational destruction. Also, the rivers of Northern California, Oregon, Washington Western Canada and Alaska are all being marked for greater protection from chemical plants and irrigation runoff, dams (from being overheated and the addition of water steps for the salmon to make it upstream), and with seeding inland areas of the rivers with salmon eggs so that they have a greater chance of filling our oceans and tables with this highly necessary part of our diet, the wild salmon. Wild salmon swim up waterfalls. What is great than that in the fish kingdom?WHERE TOSHOP? Earthfare, Publix, Kroger, and I have even seen whole sockeye salmon (frozen) at Wal-Mart. Ask your grocer when it is coming in, and if they can reserve the best for you. They will do what you want; all you have to do is ask.

2 pounds                                    Pacific Ocean salmon

1/2 cup                                    Kentucky Bourbon

1/3 cup                                    Molasses, unsulphured black strap

1/3 cup                                    Leas and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce

1/4 cup                                    corn oil

2 tablespoons                        Cracked black peppercorns

Combine the liquid ingredients and the pepper. Place the boned salmon into a glass dish. Pour the marinade over the fish, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours but not more than six hours.

If you want to add a more island and vacation style feel to your Pacific salmon then pierce it with rosemary stalks and grill on top of thin slices of pineapple. Even if you don’t want the pineapple part try out the rosemary.

It’s one of my favorite additions to grilled salmon.

BEEF            THE AMERICAN PROTEIN KING

Next up in our protein feast is beef. Not chicken and not pork (they are for later summer grills), but beef, king of the West and the engine of our trail blazing manifest destiny. I use two kinds of beef, grass fed drug free and lean, which comes from various ranches in the US and Australia. The other is American grown Kobe. Kobe is the greatest of all possible beef and is raised in an environment of being corn fed, taken for short walks, no drugs or hormones, and is the richest beef you will ever eat. The Kobe that I buy is raised at a ranch by the name of Wagyu. There are other Kobe ranches in the US but this is my favorite. When buying beef, as with all foods read the labels and ask questions. Not all foods that are good for you are overly expensive, you just need to shop well and shop often for what you want. When the demand is there your grocer will meet that demand without overcharging you.

Meat thermometers are relatively inexpensive and readily available on the market. Buy one or two so that you always have it around. To set the thermometer to correct temperature insert it into a glass of ice with just enough water to cover the ice. The temperature will be 32 degrees.

Here is a temperature scale for red meat:

VERY RARE:            115, red cold with just a little brown on the edges

RARE:                        116 to 120, cold red center, light gray edges

MEDIUM RARE:   121 to 13o, warm red center

MEDIUM:      131 to 145,warm, bright pink center

MEDIUM WELL:   146 to 155, pink hot center, mostly gray

WELL:      156 to 160, gray all the way throughout the meat

MEAT AND THE MARINADE

4 six ounce                                    beef tenderloin filets

3 tablespoons                        coarse sea salt

2 tablespoons                         ground black pepper

2 tablespoons                        ground garlic

3 ounces                                     extra virgin olive oil

4 ounces                                    Gorgonzola cheese

(Melt the cheese on steaks during the last three minutes of cooking)

Mix the salt, pepper and garlic with the oil. Rub the filets in the oil and let them set for thirty minutes. When it is time to grill make sure that there is still pepper and garlic on the steak.

ABOUT BLUE AND GREEN VEINED CHEESES

Cheese production is one of the more interesting conventions of the food trade that is prominent in our diet yet also little understood. There are three primary ways of ripening cheese.  Keep in mind that the process of making cheese is like that of certain grains and grapes, in that cheese is made by a system of controlled and limited spoilage. The simplest way for me to present these ways of incorporating the penicillin are cheddar, blue and Brie. Blue and greened veined cheeses become what they are by the injection of penicillium roqueforti into the center of the cheese part way through the aging process. Cheddar and Swiss type cheeses are cured with a mold mixed in with the starter, and Brie style cheeses are cured with the bacteria from the outside of the formed cheese. So, blue from inside, regular throughout, and Brie from the outside for the bacteria in the curing process. If Brie has a slight ammonia scent that means that it is over-ripe and should not be purchased.

We are using Gorgonzola for the beef. Gorgonzola is a green veined cheese. It is softer than traditional blue cheese, and the way it crumbles is in larger chunks than blue or feta cheeses. There is salt in cheese so if your diet is strict about salt then limit your cheese intake. Cheddar cheese is salted from the beginning in the started curd. Swiss type cheeses are salted in brine for up to two weeks during the curing process. Feta style cheeses are heavily salted (pickled actually) so that the microbe growth is almost halted, hence the chalky and salty texture of dry feta. Parmesan is salted by rubbing it on the outside of the rind, and if it is overly salted and allowed to cure too long in the salt it will dry out. I have this problem of too dry Parmesan just a few times where I was unable to cut through a 30-pound block because it was simple too tight and dry as a result of inattention during the curing process. I tried to explain the problem to my purveyor and he had no idea what I was talking about. Again, it is good to be informed so that you what is wrong or right with your food and what to do depending on the condition of the product. The best Parmesan will be slightly salty and just moist enough to stick to your fingers when grated. That’s all the information today on cheeses.

The grill and the charcoal used. I mostly use hickory. Hickory is the standard for slow, smoky, full flavored grilling and bbq smoking. Mesquite is the most popular for fish and chicken because it cooks at a higher temperature and the smoke flavor is less defined than hickory. Fruit tree charcoals like apple and cherry are excellent for smoking and for water smoke grilled meats like poultry and game. I have used coconut charcoal for really fast high heat grilling, which is great for oily fish like wild salmon and mackerel varieties.  Pecan is great mixed with hickory chips. If you are looking for mixing it up with grilling and smoking by raising the grill screen and closing the lid during cooking then use mixes of charcoal and wood chips. Soak the wood chips at least five hours or overnight for the smokiest and slowest heat.

Use hickory for this combination of meats. If you have a banana leaf, or need to buy one do so at Fooks Market or Wal-Mart (strangely enough!). Cactus leaves are available in just about all the markets. Why do I mention these leaves?

You can lay the banana leaf over the duck and salmon while they cook to hold the smoke in while keeping the meat moist. The cactus leaf is great for putting over the beef while it grills to add extra seasoning to the meat, and also to set the beef on after it has cooked to keep it from burning on the grill. Cactus leaf is tasty and there are no pins and needles in the ones in the grocery store sold for eating so don’t fret about that sticky problem. Banana leaves can be reused so don’t throw it away.

Remember that you have to keep each area of the grill clean and distinct from the other so that the meat flavors do not interfere with each other. Nothing worse than fishy tasting beef and that can be avoided by keeping the grill clean with a grill brush. The fastest to grill is the salmon so cook it last. Duck is the slowest at 20 minutes and one and half-inch to two inch thick meat is in between at about fifteen minutes.

You will need a pound of hickory charcoal, and a pound of hickory chips soaked in hot water. Oil the grill screen with corn oil by rubbing a corn oil soaked towel on the grill screen/rack. When the charcoal has turned gray add the water soaked chips. When the coals have started to turn color put the duck on the grill. After ten minutes turn on the duck, place the beef tenderloin filet on the grill and cook for five minutes, turn both meats. Add more hickory chips and then place the salmon on the grill. Cover with the banana leaf, or close the grill and let it all smoke for a few (three) minutes. Raise the cover and check to see that the heat is not too hot by holding your hand five inches over the grill screen. You should be able to hold it there for about thirty seconds, if longer then the coals are too cool, if shorter then they are too hot. All of the meats will have been turned 3 times for complete cooking. Remember to put the cheese on the beef for the last three minutes of cooking so that it melts into the meat. Check the meats with your thermometer so that the meat is cooked to your desired temperature.

If you want grilled vegetables with this meal think corn, peppers, onions, and squash. After it has all cooked divide the meats among the plates and dig in for a fun bbq in the backyard or on the deck. What’s more fashionable than being friends or family and just having a good time being together in the early evening?


GRILLING MY LIFE AWAY

Sometimes a warm summer night is all we need

To see how beloved this Southern life can be,

For me it’s how I cherish, how I care and prepare,

For others it’s just the way the day crawls by,

How we sit and chat and watch the flowers in the breeze,

And any way you slice it there’s no better way to live

Than passing the time on a sun porch in June,

It’s one of those things my Mother taught us all,

To love the life we live and to share this love with everyone.

And if you don’t believe, well, gather round the grill

And start talking about the world,

Pour a tall glass of sweet orange pekoe tea,

And tell me, can you feel the urge to tell history and myth?

Can you feel the desire to hold your loved one?

Can you tell her she is beautiful in the glow

Of a hickory smoke fire at sunset?

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

proletaria

politics philosophy phenomena

Poems for Warriors

"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain..." 1 Cor. 15:10

LUNA

Pen to paper

Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha

Musings and books from a grunty overthinker

Sircharlesthepoet

Poetry by Charles Joseph

susansflowers

garden ponderings

𝓡. 𝓐. 𝓓𝓸𝓾𝓰𝓵𝓪𝓼

𝙳𝚛𝚎𝚊𝚖 𝚋𝚒𝚐! 𝙻𝚒𝚟𝚎 𝚋𝚒𝚐𝚐𝚎𝚛!

Flutter of Dreams

Dreaming in Music and Writing by Mel Gutiér

RhYmOpeDia

Immature poet imitate...but the mature one steal from the depth of the heart

hotfox63

IN MEMORY EVERYTHING SEEMS TO HAPPEN TO MUSIC -Tennessee Williams

My Cynical Heart

Welcome to my world.

Discobar Bizar

Welkom op de blog van Discobar Bizar. Druk gerust wat op de andere knoppen ook, of lees het aangrijpende verhaal van Harry nu je hier bent. Welcome to the Discobar Bizar blog, feel free to push some of the other buttons, or to read the gripping story of Harry whilst you are here!

the poet's billow

a resource for moving poetry

MY TROUBLED MIND

confessions are self-serving

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