“To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;” William Shakespeare

I’ve been putting together rub concoctions for a project and thought I would share some of them with you.

As always, recipes are like stop signs. They’re just suggestions.

Have fun with these.

Rubs 

Memphis Dry Rub (Pork or Ribs)

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. dry oregano

1 tsp. brown sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. black pepper

Carolina Dry Rub (Pork or Ribs)

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

2 tsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4-cup paprika

Texas Rub (Chicken. Beef, Pork)

1/2-cup chili powder

1/2-cup brown sugar

1/2-cup salt

1/2-cup fresh ground pepper

1/4 cup dries mustard

1/4-cup ground cumin

Cayenne to taste

Rosemary Garlic Dry Rub (Chicken)

1/4 cup dried rosemary

2 tbsp. dried oregano

1 tbsp. dried sage

2 tbsp. dried garlic flakes

2 tbsp. kosher salt

2 tbsp. black pepper

Jamaican Jerk Rub (Chicken, Pork, Fish)

2 tbsp. kosher salt

2 tsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. ground all spice

1 tsp. crushed dried hot pepper

1 tsp. dried chives

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

Dry Pork Chop Rub

1/3-cup paprika

1/4-cup sugar

2 tbsp. dry mustard

3 tsp. black pepper

2 tbsp. salt

2 tbsp. cayenne

1 tsp. white pepper

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“We feel free when we escape – even if it be but from the frying pan to the fire.” Eric Hoffer

paella

Creating something from scratch. Remembering the toil and feeling the satisfaction of the results is what I get from cooking. Especially over open flame. We have a tendency these days to feed our bellies and our brains with what ever is at hand or popular for easy gratification and instant fulfillment but is it rewarding? When you think about the amount of time we spend staring at our cellphones or on the Internet deviling into and scoping out things and other peoples lives for momentary indulgence it stands to reason that our concept of food and eating has adopted these habits. The slow and rewarding process of learning a book from cover to cover or building something from its basic components has been lost to us. Immediate results, at hand knowledge and the need for on-the-spot contentedness has made us into fast fix junkies.

So now that I have that off my chest, let’s talk about creating something that takes time, forethought and some effort. Paella. The Valencian dish that some see as a task while others see as a meld of cultures. The word itself means pan. In this world what is simpler than bringing into existence a meal that encompasses meat, chicken, shellfish and rice all in one pan? Doesn’t that feed our need of immediacy and simplicity?

Paella, stews, soups and casseroles fill that voguish need for everything but in a traditional and satisfying dish that takes time to create.

This one is a simple take on the traditional. Assembled for 4 people and cooked on my #BGE over hardwood. Inside is good but outside adds that smoky kiss and sends a salute to Bacchus.

Needs:

1 Chicken breast or 4 thighs (or combination of both) cut into 8 pieces of equal size

1/8-cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 Spanish chorizo sausages cut to same size as chicken

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

½ Spanish onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped, reserve some for garnish

½ can whole tomatoes, drained and hand-crushed

Or 8 small cherry tomatoes diced

2 cups short grain Spanish rice

2 cups water, warm

1 cup white wine

Generous pinch saffron threads

8 scrubbed littleneck or pasta clams

8 jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined

1 handful of sweet peas fresh or frozen and thawed

Lemon wedges, for serving

Special equipment:

12-inch Cast iron fry pan or your outdoor pan. This works in this size pan, anything smaller will overflow.

Chicken rub:

1-tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1-tablespoon onion powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to preference

How:

Rub the spice mix all over the cut chicken, cover and place in the fridge for an hour or so to incorporate the flavours.

Outside, get your grill (charcoal or gas) ready with a medium heat.

Heat oil in your pan over medium-high heat. Add the chorizo to the oil in the pan and sauté. If you are using cooked chorizo, you’re just browning it. If it is raw you are cooking till ¾ done. Remove your sausage and add the chicken skin side down to the oil and now chorizo-seasoned pan. Brown the chicken on all sides till ¾ cooked. The chicken and chorizo will finish cooking when the paella is assembled in the hot pan. Salt and pepper to your needs. Remove from pan and reserve.

Now using the same pan make a sofrito (fancy word) by sautéing the onions, garlic, and parsley on medium heat for 2 or 3 minutes stirring occasionally to get the onions translucent. Then, add tomatoes and cook until the mixture comes together and the flavors unite. 2 or 3 minutes should do. Add your rice and stir-fry to coat the grains. You will see them start to give up their hard pale colour. Pour in wine and stir to coat all the rice. About a minute. Add the water and bring to a simmer for 10 minutes, gently moving the pan around so the rice cooks evenly and absorbs the liquid. Distribute the chicken and chorizo evenly throughout the pan. Sprinkle the saffron over the entire contents of the pan. Add the clams tucking them into the rice hinge side down. This way you will see them open and cooked . Give the pan a good shake and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. No stirring from here on. Check the rice for al dente during the last minutes of cooking, when your rice is fluffing up and beginning to take over the pan, tuck in the shrimp as you did the clams. The shrimp will take about 8 minutes to cook. When you’re shrimp is pink, you’re clams are opened and you’ve checked the rice by sampling it, turn up the heat on your grill for 1 minute. You should be able to smell the rice on the bottom toasting.

Now take off the heat and let it rest, covered with foil for 5 minutes. Add your peas and parsley and tuck your lemon wedges into your creation.

Pull any unopened clams from the paella and discard.

It’s best and easiest to serve this family style in the pan in the middle of the table and let everyone help themselves.

Scott’s notes:

In traditional paella the rice on the bottom toasts and firms up. You can impress your friends by telling them it’s called the socarrat.

Make sure the shrimp and clam count matches your family and feeders. You want everyone to have an equal portion.

If you want to serve a gathering, double up the recipe and use a bigger pan.

Be well and eat well.

Scott Tait

“Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works. Anything that’s invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. Anything invented after you’re thirty-five is against the natural order of things.” Douglas Adams

I love Douglas Adams. The man, his works and his philosophy on life. I like the fact that his hero was John Cleese. He wrote based on his vision of the world, absurd as it was, but still fitting into a sensibility that that made sense to him. It didn’t matter if others didn’t see it. Eventually they would come around.

I feel for those that see life and living in this world as effort. Effort to work, pay bills, live to others standards. There are only the few, (and I see myself as one) which look to the wonderment of all that is around. Politicians, TV Evangelists, reality TV personalities, and the throngs of others are put in front of us for our amusement. After all, they can’t be real.

Stopping and smelling the roses is now done watching TV. Sit in a coffee shop and watch how many people don’t look up from their phone and iPads. The world is in front of them but they only see what their Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter “likes” puts in front of them. They don’t notice the person with two different socks or the lady with the 2-minute dissertation to the barista on how she wants her coffee, (if you could call it that) prepared. And when did we start preparing coffee? You pour coffee; you don’t concoct it like a high school science experiment.

This world offers us so much visually, sensually, and intellectually but we are drawn more and more into directed knowledge and market driven information that we don’t see what’s around us. Have we become that self-centric and lazy in thought that we let others tell us what to watch, like, dislike, and feel?

We live in a hilariously wonderful world. Each person is a unique creation. Every day offers new things to look at and find wonderment that are actual and not directed to us on our digital devices.

Go out and sit in a coffee shop. A local one that someone has invested his or her soul and personality in. Order a coffee not a half/cafe, half foam, buffalo milk, wonton flavoured, cinnamon sprinkled formulation that has no provenance to its origins.

Douglas Adams conceived “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” while lying in a field outside Innsbruck. He was broke, drunk, and really bored of Innsbruck. He had a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Europe” with his belongings and thought, if they have one for Europe, why can’t I write one for the Galaxy? Adams looked around his world and decided to put down his foresight and absurdity down on paper. “After all” he said, “Have you ever been to Innsbruck?”

I look around my world and see humour and delight on a daily basis. I decide to see these things and they show up. If I look for pain and depression, I’m pretty sure they will show face. It’s my decision. I don’t ignore the other stuff but if that is your constant focus then that’s all you’re going to see. I prefer to smile and laugh.

So if you haven’t read any Adams, I highly recommend it. Buy a book not a file. Hold it in your hands, smell the ink, fan the pages and listen to them ripple. You can’t do that with a file on a screen.

Look around at the world and the people that surround you. Find wonderment, bewilderment and humour.

(In honour of Towel Day 2015)

Be well and eat well.

Scott Tait

The Artisanal Grill

theartisanalgrill.com

BBQ sum, ergo sum!

Forgive my Latin. If you don’t know it says, “I BBQ, therefore I am.”

Everyone defines himself or herself by an action. You play sports, your career, or community service. Maybe being a parent. But you define yourself.

I’ve worn many hats, (I like hats) and I still do, but I define myself with food. Specifically BBQ.

I’ve been busy over these past few weeks, on and off my grill and smoker. I hold a part-time job, write, and cook. I thought I’d share a few of my creations that have come to life over the months and days that have been.

2015-04-19 12.23.30

Curry Rubbed Smoked Lamb.

Curry is one of my secret passions. My father introduced it to me when I was young. His favourite came out of a yellow can in the form of a chicken curry. It was hot, spicy, and burned my mouth. At a young age I couldn’t figure out how anyone could eat it. At this time in my life I have to tame back the spice and heat if I expect anyone else to eat it. The rub is a standard medley of spices, mixed with yogurt and let brake down the meat. So good and so warming. I can’t understand people that shy away from it. Served with toasted coconut rice to add some sweetness.

2015-04-19 19.36.28

2015-04-19 17.27.04

Spiral Shrimp Dogs.2015-04-21 18.01.30

Ok, a little weird but these days’ people put anything on their hot dogs. Why not grilled shrimp?

I spiraled the dogs before grilling so they opened up and created nooks and crannies for your condiments to hide and hold onto. You also open up new surfaces to create a crust to pop in your mouth when you bite down.

Additional toppings added were bacon (of course) and a Jalapeno/Avocado dressing to add a little heat. Don’t mock, try.

Bacon Sushi?2015-04-05 16.59.37

Ok really Bacon and Sausage Maki. Everything was slow smoked on the BGE.

Stuffed with Italian sausage meat, diced onion, sundried tomatoes, and provolone. Think of it as a junior version of a Fatty. Sliced up and presented as individual slices.

It looks like sushi but tastes like BBQ.

Tonight?

Andouille Burgers with grilled onions. Hungry yet?

Be well and eat well!

Scott Tait

The Artisanal Grill

“The problem with the future is that it keeps turning into the present.” Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes)

So the year is over and the new one has started. Hopefully it was a wonderful one for you. You embraced family and friends and possibly made resolutions.

hobbes

I’ve learned in life that resolutions are easily broken and we forget the changes we wanted to make or the challenges we set before ourselves to conquer in the days before us. But I have set a simple goal for myself and maybe, just, maybe you will want to follow suit.

My life has changed drastically over the past 365 days. New digs, new philosophies, and a better understanding of myself. For years I have read or listened to self-improvement pieces and while not adopting everything, I have found certain words and statements that have stuck in my mind. Norman Vincent Peale wrote the doctrine on positive thinking and one story that he shared was about the man who was “just being realistic.” He listed off all the things that had happened in his life that he thought were realistic. At the end Dr. Peale repeated everything that he had said and showed him that everything he had said was negative. Being realistic means looking at both the positive and the negative. He had only listed off the bad things that had happened to him. I do this, we all do this. We classify negative experiences and events with the word realistic.

There is so much good n this world but we choose to look only to the bad. What about the person that held the door for you today while your arms were full, the amazing dinner that was create with love by your partner, the song that came on the radio just when you were thinking about it. Maybe just the feeling that you are loved! These are all good but we overshadow them with the bad or negative and they disappear from our thoughts in an instant.

So here is my resolution. Find the good in life. Look for that person or thing that brings a smile to my face and shield the bad away. Be happy to watch the birds at my feeder, hug instead of shake hands, and find new ways to influence others around me to find the good.

Here are some of the things I will do:

Smile at strangers

Count my blessing and not my debts

Be aware of the little things and find wonderment in them

Love passionately

Read a book, not a website

Live without fear

Forgive-Hold no grudges

Take a different route to see what’s there and what happens

Eat something I’ve never tried before

Say I love you everyday to my family and myself

So there is my resolution. Simple and easy to follow.

Happy New Year world! It’s going to be an adventure!

Be well and eat well.

Scott Tait

The Artisanal Grill

Turkey on the Smoker? It must be Christmas!

So since Christmas is just a week away, I thought it appropriate to share instructions for brining and smoking your bird outside.

stooge dinner

 

 

 

 

 

Brining.

Brining brings out the best in your bird and keeps the meat from drying out. Using a cooler, bucket, or whatever you have to hold the bird and totally cover it with your brine is what you need. If you can’t source anything, go to your favourite restaurant and see if they will sell you (give you is better, they just throw them out when they have too many piled up) a bucket that their fry oil comes in. Thoroughly clean and wash the bucket and make sure your bird fits. Best way, try it when it’s empty. That way you can fill it with water and see how much brine you’ll need to make.

The brine is easy and lets you embrace your creative side. Fill a stockpot with 2 gallons of water. Add your flavor profile. Or try this for a 12 to 25 pound turkey

2 pounds of kosher salt

2 cups of brown sugar

4 tbsp. black pepper

1 head garlic

1 coarse chopped onion

3 bay leaves

1 bunch of sage (dry is ok)

2 tbsp. oregano

1 quartered lemon (or orange)

Bring the water to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and salt but don’t bring it to a boil. When all the ingredients are combine, turn it off and let it cool.

Place your bird in the container and pour the cold brine over top. Add ice to keep it cool.

The bird will need at least 6 hours in the brine so this is your Christmas Eve project. After 6 hours, take Mr. Turkey out of the brine and wash your bird well under cold water. Place in the fridge overnight. Throw out the brine!

Butter bath!

Make a flavoured butter. This is another creativity opportunity and should be done the day before.

 Combine

½ lb. room temperature butter

1 tsp. granulated garlic

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. thyme

1 tsp. oregano

¼ cup fresh sage (fine chopped or dry will suffice)

Smooth all the flavors together. Place in the fridge till you need it but bring to room temperature just before you need it. It has to be soft.

Turkey Day rules!

Know how big your bird is and how long the smoking (cooking) process is going to take!

Own a thermometer!

Know when dinner is being served!

Prep and know how long your accompaniments are going to take!

Get as much done ahead of time as possible!

Make sure you have enough fuel for the smoker or gas BBQ!

Have your wood chips soaked, pouched and ready to go!

Build a schedule and work it!

Prepping the bird.

Separate the skin from the meat by working your fingers gently between the breast and the skin starting at the cavity opening of the bird but being careful not to break the skin. Gently work the soft butter into the space you just created. This flavored butter will melt into the breast basting it in butter and all those flavors you added to it. Take the extra butter and rub it all over the outside of the bird. If you ran out of butter, massage it with olive oil. Season your bird with salt and pepper. Now stuff your bird with additional sage, quartered onions, garlic cloves and some lemon or orange slices.

Your stuffing should be done separately.

At this point your bird is brined, washed, dried, seasoned, and stuffed with aromatic. You’re ready to go.

Smoking.

Set-up your BBQ for offset cooking and smoking. Meaning if you have 2 burners, only light one of them, if you have 3, keep the center on off and light the outside ones. You want to set up a cooking environment that has no direct heat underneath the bird. Think about it. In your oven there is no direct heat source underneath the bird. Hot air circulates around it. This is what you’re doing outside. If you’re using charcoal, place the lit coal to one side so none will be under the bird. (Note. You’ll have to add more to keep the temperature constant so have a way to light more to add to the coals and minimize the open lid time.)

Pick a suitable wood for the smoke, like oak, pecan, or maple. If you use cherry or apple it is tasty but can create a pink ring under the surface and if you family doesn’t know smoke, they might think it’s undercooked. Soak your chips and make a smoke pack with one part soaked chips and one part dry. The dry will start early and the wet will smolder after the dry is done. Make two or three packs so you’re ready when one is done with a new one.

Place a pan on the unlit area to catch the drippings. Tin foil roast or baking pans are great for this. This gives you a drip pan. Add water, wine, and whatever else you would place around the bird in the oven. This gives you the base for your gravy.

Place your smoke pack on the heated element or on the coals.

Bring your grill to 400 degrees f. Smoke and roast for about 1 hour then turn the temperature down to 325 f. An 8 to 12lb unstuffed bird should take between 3 to 4 hours cooking time, subsequently an 18 to 20lb bird should take about 5 to 6/12 hours. Time can vary by 30 minutes so have a thermometer ready to check internal temperature (you want 165 degrees f) and always from the thickest part of the thigh. . Place the bird breast side down on your greased grill and over the drip pan.

Rotate your bird every 45 minutes or so to brown and cook evenly. Every grill and smoker will behave differently so pay attention and remember if you’re looking, you’re not cooking. Take some of the juices that have accumulated in the drip pan and baste. To minimize open lid time, you can create a secondary baste liquid of heated chicken stock with sautéed bacon, sage, and onions. Have it ready to go. So open the lid, turn the bird, baste the bird, and close the lid.

Pay attention and follow your bird’s path. Outdoor climate will affect the overall time but with patience you can create a Christmas turkey that will astound your family.

The classic French rules say that your cooked bird should stand as long as you cooked it for. I can’t do that but I will let my bird stand for at least 30 to 45 minutes after it’s out of the heat. Cover with tin foil and let the juices work their way back through the meat. If you do this and don’t turn off your grill you’ll have plenty of time to cook your veggies, stuffing, and make your gravy on the BBQ.

Remember planning is everything! Post a picture to my Facebook site of your wonderful accomplishment. But most importantly, have fun with it! I’ve been smoking our Turkeys for 10 years and I’ll never go back to the oven. It makes the difference.

Be well and eat well this Christmas and every day!

Scott Tait

The Artisanal Grill

https://www.facebook.com/TheArtisanalGrill

 

BARBEQUE COMES TO THE BEACH!

So the weekend that was was spectacular!  For the 6th year straight, the air smelled of smoke, the grills were sizzling and the beer was flowing. Music transcended the days and night, and community and visitors occupied Woodbine Parks grass and grounds.  It Beach BBQ and Brew Festivalwas a great way to spend the Father’s Day weekend.

Teams from the US set-up their massive rigs and started burning cherry, hickory, and mesquite woods to begin the low and slow process of everything that is true BBQ. This year the CSBBQA sanctioned the Amateur Ribbers contest. It was wonderful to see dedicated Canadian teams entering the arena and offering up their versions of traditional BBQ.

Friday started with the Firefighters Command Cook-off. Each team was given a t-bone and a beef strip loin. The T-bone had to stay pure to judge their grill technique. Grill marks, taste and tenderness were the key. The loin however was free form and whatever they wanted to create as their side accompaniments was limited by their creative minds. I had the pleasure of being one of the judges and quite honestly, the competition was so close that there was no clear run away from the pack. The four teams represented the North, South, East, and West from the Firefighters community. Every team produced amazing plates, but as always, there needs to be a winner. The West pulled it out with Vlad’s clean and smooth presentation,flavours, and his grilling skills.

Saturday was Grilling Tent time. Ted Reader, Tonia Wilson, and I took to the stage to offer technique, ideas, and advice on how toLet's talk Fatty add some creative twists to the grilling scene. As always, Ted took the crowd through his unique and entertaining recipes and showed why he truly is the King of the Q.  Tonia brought creative sauces and a how to on transforming a boring flank steak giving it life, flavour, and taste. Me, I decided to introduce the crowd to a Fatty. Sausage meat, stuffed with cheese and rolled in a weave of bacon.  Everything disappeared!

Last day, Sunday, were the 2 competitions. The CSBBQA Amateur Ribber Competition and the North American Ribber Competition. I had the pleasure of judging the NA group. All the vendors that there present during the 3 day presented, served ribs, and this year an additional twist. They were asked to serve something out of the box but still utilizing the grills and their BBQ skills. Burritos, sliders, flat bread and pizza creations were all outstanding, not to mention their ribs. Bernie from Camp 31 MC’d the event and showed not only his BBQ knowledge, but his fun and skills at entertaining a crowd.  Ribs and the alternate were served every hour for 6 hours and I was looking for a place to crash as my food coma started kicking in. The winner was Swine Fellows with Jamie and Zack earning the trophy. Honourable mention to all, Bibbs, Hawgs Gone Wild, Camp 31, and Sticky Fingers. Your skills and food were off the cuff!

Chef ToniaThe first Beach BBQ and Brew Fest CSBBQA Ribbers Competition winners were White Bread BBQ. I wished I could have tried your stuff but I was a little full from the rest of the day. Congratulations guys!

I haven’t mentioned the music, the crowd, or the craft beer because if you weren’t there, you missed it. It was all phenomenal!

At the end of the day you realise what the BBQ is all about, community, good food, and fun. The phrase there is no bad BBQ came up during the day and I completely agree. If you like it, if it makes you feel good and you’re having a good time, then its good BBQ.

Kudos to Jen and Jeremy for the organization and the weekend, well done!

Hope to see you hear next year!

Be well and eat well!

Scott

 

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