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First Fatty

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OK… first an apology for not posting for a while. Truth is I got a new phone and it’s taken me a while to figure out how to get the photos off it!

Now, onto the Fatty… for the uninitiated (i.e. me a few weeks ago) a Fatty (or Fattie, AKA Bacon Explosion) is a smoked roll of sausage meat, wrapped in bacon and which may be stuffed with other cholesterol troubling items such cheese, cream cheese, BBQ sauce or more bacon….

Now I’ve hopefully whet you appetite (?!) onto business:

So the Fatty fundamentally consists of a lattice of bacon (I used an unsmoked streaky bacon, as the smoking was going to give plenty of flavour)…
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Onto the lattice goes a thick layer of well seasoned sausage meat (I got this at our local supermarket and then added some extra black pepper and nutmeg)…
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For the “filling” I went with some chilli cheese, a bit of BBQ sauce and some baby spinach leaves (to convince people it was one of their “five-a-day”)…
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All wrapped up it held it’s shape pretty well, ready for smoking:
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I went for a nice low and slow smoke (whilst also smoking a rack of spare ribs), about 3 hours at 230F or thereabouts:
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After a couple of hours I glazed it with some more BBQ sauce, which helped seal it and give extra flavour. When ready It looked and smelled great…
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Cutting in I was hoping for more of an oozing cheese effect but in hindsight I should have probably grated the chilli cheese and mixed it in with some cream cheese – but the taste combination of the smoked pork, bacon and cheese still did it for me!
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A cheeky grill

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So I know that the point of the blog is to talk about Low’n’Slow Barbecue, but sometimes there just isn’t enough time to get organised for that, and a cheeky grill has to do instead. The great thing about the Brinkmann (and probably a number of other offset smokers too) is that you can drop a grate into the firebox and grill directly over the coals.

With a small fire going I prepared some chicken wings with a bit of rub and a squeeze of lime juice, and also some spicy lamb sausages that I’d picked up at our local farmer’s market.

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To still give them a little of that smoky flavour I added a couple of handfuls of some whisky barrel chips I picked up in our local DIY store:

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You could still really smell the whisky on these chips (even through the plastic bag!) so I decided not to soak them in water, but they just went into a little stainless steel box with holes in the lid for the smoke to slowly escape…

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These went over the glowing coals in the fire box and with the lid down took about 5 minutes to start producing some great smelling smoke!

At that point the chicken went on, and the sausages about 10 minutes later. They cooked really well with the lid down… no flare ups or burning.

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Served up with a little potato salad and ‘slaw they were a tasty meal and probably only took an hour from start to finish…

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Feeling Saucy?

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So I figured you can’t have BBQ without sauce (well you most probably can, but I don’t want to!) so what better way to “personalise” my food than with my own sauce recipe?!

I decided to go for something fairly traditional (Tomato, cider vinegar, molasses etc), but add a couple of flavour “twists” including some orange rind, some all spice and some cassia bark and a couple of other bits just to make it my own. Then to give it that smoky flavour I resisted the urge to use chemicals and instead smoked it in a tray over Hickory chips for about an hour. Bottled and labelled up I think it looks pretty good, but I’ll wait to get someone else’s opinion on the taste!

Rainy Day Chicken

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Just because the weather’s rubbish here isn’t going to put me off my BBQ… today was one of those days, one minute sunny, and the next absolutely heaving it down. However, I like a challenge, and don’t mind getting a bit damp in the process, so pressed on with some smoked chicken for dinner.

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2 corn-fed chickens were cut in half and then marinated in some lime juice, cumin and a couple of teaspoons of my rub. The fire was set and a few lumps of hickory added to get the smoke going. The chicken went in at around 4pm and smoked away at around 150C/300F for around an hour and a half (while I went to the shops).

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When I got back the temp had dropped a little (due to the rain and wind I guess) and as I didn’t want to eat too late the chicken went down onto the grill above the fire box for 45 mins so to cook through. Meanwhile I made a potato and apple salad with chorizo, gherkin and sage, and a bit of torn romaine lettuce.

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The chicken came off and rested for a few minutes before serving…

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It had a great smoky taste, but still very moist and succulent… worthwhile persisting with, despite the weather!

 

 

First Cook

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So with the pit seasoned I couldn’t wait to get started on my first “Low’n’slow” cook. There was only one thing I wanted to cook first and that was ribs.

Ribs, for me, are the perfect BBQ food, any meat that’s on the bone tastes great in my book, and slow cooked ribs, just coming away from the bone take some beating. I’d been told about a local butcher (Castle Meats) that were worth checking out, and I’d bought 4 racks of baby back ribs that were sat in the fridge. Some people may prefer the meatier spare ribs, but I’m sure I’ll be trying plenty of those out too in due course!

So next I needed a rub – there are plenty of options here but I’m a “make your own” kind of person and I wanted to try out making a blend that would become my own… (I’ll refine it and post the recipe some time!). The ribs were rubbed, now just a bit of smoke… the BBQ gods must have been smiling because as I’d walked into town that morning there was a large branch that had blown down from a cherry tree – perfect!

So with the new BBQ warming up, my cherry branch cut into logs, and the ribs marinating I was all set for some cooking… slow cooking… just as well it was a sunny day, plenty of beer in the fridge, and not much else to do!

The ribs went in at 2pm, with a cherry log on the fire, the pit running at 240/250F, and plenty of coal to keep things ticking over nicely. I was going for a 2 hour smoke, with then a  further two hours wrapped in foil. This gave me a great opportunity to make some sauce.

One of the things I really like about the design of the Brinkmann is the flat surface above the fire box – it’s perfect for simmering a pot of BBQ sauce slowly while the meat smokes. Again I wanted to have ago at making something from scratch so I assembled my ingredients (recipe for another day) and got the pot started inside on the gas before bringing it out to slowly bubble away and reduce down over the fire – I’ll swear it even picked up a bit of the smoky taste along the way!

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After 2 hours the ribs were smelling great, but still along way from ready…

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They’d picked up some good colour from the smoke and rub, and were ready to go into foil. Smothered in sauce and wrapped tightly in foil they went back in for another two hours. Unfortunately the temp was dropping a little and I was around 225F …when they came out the internal temp wasn’t quite where I wanted it (around 140F rather than the 165 that I was aiming for) so back they went, unwrapped just to finish off.

45 mins later we were finally there!

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Served up with a home made ‘slaw they were well worth the wait, and a very satisfying intro into proper BBQ!

Seasoning

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I had never appreciated the need to season a BBQ, but my research into the world of smokers had taught me this is an essential step in order to get the best from ones “pit”.

The reasoning being that any impurities/traces of chemicals from manufacturing will be burnt off, the inside will be protected against rust etc, the paint finish will cure properly and not blister, and the “character” of the pit will begin to develop.

I duly rubbed the insides with peanut oil, lit a slow fire and waited…

New arrival

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So the Brinkmann Trailmaster was ordered and the anticipation was building!

From the reviews I’d read I knew that there’d be a few leaks so I ordered a tub of Stove Sealant to use when I put everything together.

The box arrived on Saturday…

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Fortunately everything was included …except the instructions!

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again… thanks to the wonders of YouTube… I was well resourced to put the thing together, a couple of hours and plenty of sealant later I had a fully built BBQ:

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The whole thing is about 1.7M long and weighs around 80kg. The build is pretty sturdy, and I love the fact it looks like a small train (must be the latent model railway nerd in me!)

Even Em (my other half) seemed to quite like the look of it, so I know I must be doing something right…

Couldn’t wait to fire it up, but with a party to organise for that was something that was going to have to wait until the next day!