Tag Archives: BBQ

Travelling for food – USA the land of BBQ and the ultimate pulled pork

Travelling for food  BBQ

Did you know that over 40 per cent of travellers aged 18-34 have chosen a holiday destination specifically because they wanted to try a certain type of food? Good news, wouldn’t you agree?

According to an ICE survey more and more young people are indulging in food tourism. The numbers are reversed as the age of those surveyed goes up; only 11% of people over 65 let their stomach do the decision making for them.

It’s a shame that our older population isn’t so adventurous but it is nice to see that young people are willing to try and discover new things, food included.

We love new foods and would be happy to take a trip just with food in mind. One of our dream destinations is USA, the land of real BBQ. Yes, seeing the Great Canyon, Niagara Falls or driving on Route 66 would be awesome and a once in a lifetime experience but visiting USA BBQ hot spots would give us much more pleasure.

You might think “Hold on a minute, really, travelling to USA just to have a BBQ?” Yes, we would. Mainly because USA BBQ has nothing to do with blackened half burnt sausages that are still raw in the middle or poorly looking shop brought burgers, which tend to dominate UK BBQ parties. USA BBQ is a full on trip to flavour town that has elevated the humble BBQ to an art form; be it a pulled pork from Tennessee, hickory smoked brisket from Texas or glazed ribs from Missouri and please don’t even get me started on spicy chicken wings or any one of the variety of handmade burgers. USA is truly the chosen land in regards to BBQ.

Travelling for food  Primo

Mark and I like BBQ but we simply can’t afford to be travelling to USA every time we feel like having a pulled pork butties, so we decided to learn how to cook it ourselves and invested in some pieces of real BBQ equipment of our own. We bought ourselves a Primo. Primo is the USA’s most popular barbeque / smoker used for home or in a small industrial setting. No, you can’t buy it on the continent, if you want one you will have to import it from USA, but we have something similar over here called a Big Green Egg (we never considered buying it or used it and I can’t speak as to how good it will be comparing to our Primo). The main difference between your standard BBQ and a Primo is that the Primo works like a barbeque / smoker, so you get the best of both worlds, depending on what you cook and what you are trying to achieve. You can cook on an open fire, just like your standard BBQ or you can smoke stuff in it for hours and hours… We love it and use it all year round. Being ceramic in construction it is not scared of the winter rains or even snow and it is always ready for action.

I would like to share with you a recipe for one version of the perfect pulled pork, not roast pork as it usually ends up being when sold in the UK but proper fall apart, melt in the mouth meat that just makes you smile – yes, it involves our Primo but not to worry you can simply do the same in the oven; obviously just skip the part where you would add wood chips to make the smoke – this wouldn’t be advised in the oven. If you really want to have some smoke taste on your pulled pork, on one oven cook we put some tea leaves in a tinfoil boat that we shaped and placed on the stove in an empty saucepan, when heated some lovely aromatic smoke will come. With some tongs carefully take the tinfoil boat of the heat and pop into the oven next to your meat.

Ingredients:

1 whole pork shoulder (bone included)*

For dry rub:

  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • 1tbsp garlic powder
  • 1tbsp onion powder
  • 1tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tbsp ground pepper
  • 1tbsp paprika
  • ½ cup brown sugar

For brine solution:

  • ½ cup salt
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3tbsp of dry run
  • Water to cover the entire shoulder

*You can’t buy it from your local supermarket; you will need a trip to a real butcher. Decent size pork shoulder will cost between £30- £40. It might seem like a lot but it will feed a lot of people, or a few people for a long time. Though it is worth remembering that once people start eating the finished dish; the concept of sharing does tend to take a holiday for most of them.

Method:

Rinse the pork shoulder and place in a large container, pour in the brine solution, and add water until it is completely covered. Leave in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (brining overnight 12+ hours is best). Remove from the fridge and pat dry with paper towels. Place it in a baking tray and begin coating with your dry rub. Your entire shoulder is supposed to be covered in the rub, massage the spices into every part of the shoulder until all mixture is gone. Remember to place your meat so that the fat layer is upper most before cooking. If you have a meat thermometer this would be a perfect time to use it. Place it in the thickest part, close to the bone but without touching it. It will help with assessment later on in regards to the readiness of our meat.

Travelling for food  --- Pulled PorkTravelling for food  -- Pulled PorkTravelling for food Pulled Pork

Now you are ready to cook it. I would put it into my Primo and leave it for about 16-18 hours, cooking low and slow at 110C and adding wood chips every few hours for the additional smoke. You can place it in the over on a shelf. Make sure you can easily see the thermometer. When it hits 93.3C (the internal meat temperature) turn your oven off and leave it inside to cool a bit, this will allow for the meat to relax and all the juices to flood back to the outer edges of the joint. After a couple more hours or so, when the internal meat temperature has dropped to 75C remove from the oven. Place on a dry, large and clean work surface, remove the crust and begin to shred. It should come apart with easy just by using 2 forks. If you are going to use your fingers I recommend some rubber gloves, it will still be very hot!

Travelling for food - Pulled Pork

If you cooked it well you should have a large amount of liquid / fat at the bottom of your cooking pan – pour it onto fat separator. Let is separate and reserve the juices for tomorrow, when you want to reheat the left over pulled pork just throw a hand full into a frying pan on a medium heat and add a splash of the juices. Cook for 2-3 minutes covered, and you can relive the awesome experience all over again … unless you have an army of hungry people already waiting to be fed 😉

Travelling for food  --- Pulled pork.

That’s it; nothing less, nothing more.

We made our first pulled pork in the oven. We loved it so much but we just couldn’t understand how the same piece of meat from a smoker could taste any better, but believe me the difference is huuuuuge. A proper BBQ / smoker takes it to a totally new level, it’s the smoky taste it speaks to the inner caveperson, it satisfies some primal craving, it is the best way to enjoy cooked meat.

pulled pork 2

Have you ever been on a holiday that was based around the quest for a particular food or dish?

In a few weeks time we are going to Poland to sample some local Bigos 🙂

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

Weekly Photo Challenge Summer Lovin’

Challenge set by The Daily Post

***

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How to hold a successful garden party

How to hold a successful garden party

Summer is here, which means a perfect time to open our windows and bi-folding doors and connect more with the nature on our door step.

Bi-folding doors or patio doors are the perfect connector between the indoor and the outdoors part of your house. Once open they will allow your garden to flow indoors creating the illusion of one huge open space. They are the perfect solution for creating an airy and light environment to live in; an almost perfect solution for enjoying the summer time to its fullest.

It is summer time so what could be better than a party full of friends and laughter to share in this huge open space you have just created?

A garden party!

They are always so much fun. They provide us with endless opportunities to do something different, to entertain our loved ones and to change an ordinary day into a potentially unforgettable one.

I have a list of things to consider when planning a garden party… here it comes…

Party spot

As it is the UK and the weather is quite temperamental it would be wise to pick a spot in the garden which has some cover above our heads. This will protect us from the sun and keep us cool (or cool-er) and when the worst comes to the worst and Mr. Rain decides to join us, it will help keep us dry. One of those big garden umbrellas should do the trick. If you happen to have a large garden and own a gazebo or a garden tent then of course set the main tables inside them.

Party furniture

Chairs are the key. Yes, it is a garden party and so your guest will most likely be either running around and playing or standing and mixing in the garden but at some point they will all want to sit down and relax and have something to eat and drink… make sure that the chairs have soft covers on them and are comfortable. It is really not very pleasant to sit on hard, uncomfortable chairs for hours and this can kill the good mood around.

Tableware

Whatever the theme or the occasion of your party do not use the best family china or even the silver, there is always an increased possibility that something will get broken. A garden party will tend to relax people a bit more than a standard party and thus we are prone to being less careful. Use your everyday tableware set or even better use disposable ones or even a plastic picnic set. Now a day’s disposable tableware can be so pretty; no more of that boring white all around… they can be purchased in a variety of different colours and patterns.

How to hold a successful garden party

Food

It is BBQ time! I am not joking, a garden party is meant to be coupled with a good BBQ, but you will need some more things to round out your feast… Make sure that you have plenty of light fresh dishes, which are easy to eat and do not require you to sit bolt upright and use a knife and fork. Salads, finger foods, fresh fruits and of course some veggies are always a good choice… oh and remember to do some vegetarian options just in case one of your friends has converted 😉

Drinks

For a garden party you will need plenty of them especially if it is a hot day. Keep them cool but not freezing cool and make sure that there is a lot of water. If you serve alcohol, serve some water just next to it… alcohol will speed up the dehydration process so your guests will need to drink a bit more. Keeping drinks on ice in hot weather is not very practical but pour some cold water into a bucket, place in a shaded spot and put your drinks in… They will stay nice and cool and all you need is a cloth to dry them out before serving.

Decorations and light

Make sure that the surroundings are all neat and tidy and all surfaces are clean. Cut the grass the day before, hide all the gardens tools, remove any dry or “dead” plants… this all helps to make the space look nice and presentable and will help save you time and money on additional decorations, sometimes a lovely looking garden is all you need.
Like with most parties we never know when it is going to finish, so be ready for an evening / night time. Prepare some lampions, garden lamps or just a bunch of candles, ready to light up when the sun starts to set.

Fly’s / Wildlife

Summer time equals a global invasion of fly’s, wasps, mosquito and tons of other little creatures which are out and about and will want to join in, pretty lights attract them. Protect your food with covers at all time. Buy some insect repealing candles or smelly sticks and keep them burning.

Noise and neighbours

If you neighbours aren’t invited then be polite inform them about your party. It is the nice way to be with your neighbours, and who knows it might just help to avoid that two hour long session with his chainsaw he had planned for that day. Give them fair notice that this day / evening will most likely not be as peaceful as usually and the noise level may well be much higher.

I think that’s all.

Now that all the basics have been covered – go invite your friends… and I mean it… friends. No one enjoys those parties that are full of guests who were invited because it was the polite thing to do… These parties are never as much fun as the parties with your friends, people you trust and love.

So have fun!

And if you have any further tips for a successful garden party, please do share.

* Post written in collaboration with expressbifolds.co.uk.

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What’s Cooking – BBQ Basics – Pork Belly Kebabs

#MorrisonsMum BBQ Basics  Pork Belly Kebabs.

This is one of those cheap and cheerful recipes, which can be adapted to suit your taste.

Pork belly is a cheap cut, which a lot of people will skip over while making dinner plans. You can pick them up when on the special offer for around £5 per kilo; and it is perfect BBQ meat. The fatty parts will reduce and baste the meat while on the BBQ leaving you with a tasty, juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside meat pieces.

The ingredients list in not set in stone so you can mix and match depending on your fridge and cupboard contents. If you are not a huge fan of peppers replace them with a baby corn or maybe a lovely chunk of courgette. You can always add more veggies into the mix… the more the merrier.

Pork belly kebabs is a simple and fairly quick to make recipe; and it is extra tasty too 😉 It will serve well as a self standing meal or make a perfect addition to a party platter.

Ingredients:

  • 350g pork belly
  • 350g cherry tomatoes (£0.95 at Morrisons)
  • 150g button mushrooms (£0.65 at Morissons)
  • 2 large peppers
  • Handful of small onions or shallots
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Wash your pork belly, remove the skin it and cut into chunks.

Wash all the veggies.

Cut your mushrooms in half (or 4 if you got a biggie).

Cut onions and peppers into large chunks (make sure you don’t over cut onions as they might fell to pieces later on; they need to stay fairly big – we just cut one in 4).

Take the skewer and start placing your ingredients. Important tip: do not place them to tight together. They need to be close but not rammed one on top of each other.

Use salt and pepper to add some flavouring… or if you feeling adventurous add some chilli flakes or a hot paprika into the mix; garlic powder will work well too.

Now that your kebabs are all ready it is time to cook.

#MorrisonsMum BBQ Basics  Pork Belly Kebabs#MorrisonsMum BBQ Basics Pork Belly Kebabs

We used our Primo BBQ / smoker for making our pork belly kebabs but any BBQ should do the job as well.

If you are going to grill it directly on the BBQ shelves you might want to oil them a bit just to avoid any food sticking into it…

BBQ them for about 20 minutes and do not forget about turning them over every 5 minutes or so… you will see when they are ready… they will “speak” to you when the time is up 😉

Serve hot… or not…

#MorrisonsMum BBQ Basicsmy my Pork Belly Kebabs

They go very well together with our Baby Potato Salad with Onion and Mint I shared with you earlier.

#MorrisonsMum BBQ Basics Pork Belly Kebabs.

Enjoy if you are going to try them out… and if not… why not?

Don’t you love a good BBQ?

*“This post is an entry for the #MorrisonsMum Summer Recipe eBook Challenge sponsored by Morrisons, which has recently cut prices on over a thousand every day products. Find out more here price checker tool”.

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Shed me happy, please

We all have hobbies and things we love to do, we Mark loves to cook, especially using our BBQ or a smoker (I crossed out the “we” as I am more of an eating than the cooking type).

Most people use their BBQ in summer when the weather is nice and they have a bunch of friends over, we use it all year round. Mark would love to take his BBQ skills to the next level and he has already catered for 50 guests. All this is good but being a huge BBQ buff means a lot of accessories, tools and extras which you wouldn’t even imagine. Our kitchen is drowning in wood flakes needed to achieve smoke, different racks, 100s of spices necessary for mixing to create the perfect rub depending on the cut and type of meat or fish we are cooking and tons of other things which apparently are essential must haves, I don’t complain though as usually what comes out at the end of the process is mouth-wateringly awesome. All this stuff though which is used solely whilst BBQ-ing all take up valuable space.

Shed me happy, please - our BBQs

Two different types of BBQ require a double amount of accessories, apparently. Very often a rack which can be used on our open top BBQ is not suitable for the closed up smoker, so we need two of them… and the story continues…

Shed me happy, please - accessories

Accessories, tools and all those additional things needed for a good BBQ is one thing, the other problem is a prep area. Our kitchen is not huge and at times we really struggle to find enough space to do all that needs to be done.

So I plea to Best Sheds: please shed me happy to save my sanity and my kitchen from being overrun by BBQ accessories and help us create an outdoor prep and storage area.

Shed me happy, please - Dream Shed

The 5×4 Pent Shed would be perfect for us. It is not too big, so it will easily fit in our back garden and it is not too small, so there will be enough room for a small prep area and a lot of storage.

And you know what? If we win we might even prepare a nice BBQ for your arrival, so you can have a nice nosh up whilst delivering the shed 🙂

Beastsheds Blogger Competition Badge

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How to save a starving cat

So weak ...so very very weak...

So weak …so very very weak…

Need BBQ before I expire from hunger

Need BBQ before I expire from hunger

Light it.... LIGHT IT NOW!

Light it…. LIGHT IT NOW!

GIVE MEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAT!

GIVE MEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAT!

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