Friday, May 26, 2017

Getting ready for lots of smoking!


Every three day summer holiday Lowe's marks down their Kingsford charcoal and wood chips and chunks for smoking.  And they were kind enough to put the charcoal packs (40 lbs) in my cart and in my car.  They were all out of wood chunks so I stopped by Home Depot to get those.

I've never smoked with the chunks before.  They should last for an entire smoking without having to replenish like I do with the chips.

I had big plans to smoke baby back ribs this weekend but it looks like it is going to rain most of the time.  YUCK!  I wonder what it's like to stand over the smoker with an umbrella for several hours???

Monday, May 22, 2017

Poor Baby


It's tough keeping things stirred up around here but I work at it.

Bailey will soon be two years old.  Although she has calmed down quite a bit from the rambunctious puppy stage, she still has her moments!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The very best bbq sauce

My kitchen smells wonderful right now.  I'm making a "first of the season" batch of bbq sauce.  I've tried dozens of recipes over the years and this one is my favorite.  I use it on chicken and baby back ribs on the grill and sometimes on left over roast beef.

It is taken from "Smoking Meat" by Jeff Phillips.

Memphis Barbeque Sauce #2:

2 cups ketchup
1 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/4 tablespoon dry mustard

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Use a whisk to thoroughly combine.

Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour.

I store it in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a lid.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Old lawn mower finds a good home!

Life is funny sometimes.  I was mowing my lawn one night this week with my 20 year old Toro lawn mower.  It has served me well.  Other than routine tune ups, I have never had to spend money on it.

Less than half way through mowing the lawn, oil starting flying everywhere!  Never had that happen before.  For a few seconds, I was kind of in a daze with what happened.  Then I recovered enough to turn it off.

I didn't want to spend money on a 20 year old mower and the shop owner agreed.  So I bought a mid-range mower, another Toro.

Now what to do with the dead one?  I put a post on our neighborhood facebook page stating that I would be putting it out by the road and it was free for the taking.  In less than an hour, it was gone!

An older gentleman loaded it into the back of his pick up truck and then came to my door.  He asked about it and I explained that as far as I knew, the motor was still fine and that it had spouted oil when I was using it.  He knows someone that likes to tinker with old things.  Maybe he can breathe new life back into it.  If nothing else, he can retrieve the gas from the half filled tank!

Around here, if you want to get rid of something quickly, put it out by the road.  A few years back, I had an old rickety step ladder.  It was left behind when I moved into this house 20 years ago.  The last time I used it, it was the same as standing in a rocking chair.  I put it out by the road and it disappeared!  Now why would anyone want a totally unsafe step ladder???

Monday, May 8, 2017

The decline of Sears

It's not the first retail giant to go into steep decline.  But this one kind of rattled me, you could say.

The famous Sears Roebuck Catalog that most older Americans grew up with, began back in the 1800's.  In rural areas, the General Stores of the day could not stock the variety of merchandise that the Catalog brought to your doorstep.  If you had asked me back in my childhood, I would've told you Sears Roebuck would be around until the end of the world.

The news is reporting Sears is all but shutting down.  In a downward spiral over the last couple of decades, a string of upper level managers have made poor business decisions, unable to bring the retailer back into the glory days it once knew.

My first job was working in the Sears store in downtown Pensacola, Florida the summer after my sophomore year in college.  I have often said that I learned more that summer working at Sears than anyone could ever learn in a Psychology 101 class.  I learned to smile and be courteous to customers no matter how tired I was from standing on my feet all day or no matter how rude they were to me.  I learned when there was down time from waiting on customers, I needed to find something to do to keep busy, such as straightening merchandise on shelves.  I was awe struck by the number of people who would shoplift right in front of you and then deny it.  That was the summer I learned to "read" people!  You know, this woman is likely to cause trouble, but that one is not!  This one is trying to distract me and that one is not.  Same went for fellow employees.  If you were waiting on a customer that involved a commission sale, an older employee knew how to push you aside and take over your customer.

As a temporary summer employee, I was bounced around from one department to another.  After I had been there a few weeks, I found that two particular departments, Jewelry and Boys Clothing really liked me and vied for my time.  That was an ego boost, for sure.

It wasn't just poor management that has brought Sears down.  Times have changed.  Most of us today shop primarily on the internet - myself included!  It has become popular to shop online with easy return policies and expert customer service.  So why bother to drive to a store, many times paying to park your car, when you can sit in the comfort of your home and shop and compare with your computer?

Who knows for sure?  Maybe by a stroke of genius, someone in the hierarchy of Sears will manage to turn things around. . . I doubt it.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

A new tenant in my bird house!

Two weeks ago, my son took down the old (over 20 years old!), rotting bird house and attached my new bird house in its place.  Now this was no ordinary new bird house.  It is made of cypress and very well constructed.  The squirrels should have no interest in chewing this one to destruction.

Every day I eagerly checked to see if new inhabitants had taken residence.  Nothing.

I was really getting discouraged.  Maybe it is the human smell on it.  But with all the rain we have had, surely that has been washed away.

This afternoon I was drinking a glass of water and staring blankly into space at my kitchen sink.  My idle gaze was interrupted by something flying near the bird house.  It was a real live bird that just flew into my bird house.

Now I have baby birds learning to fly to look forward to! 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Dinner tonight

Hot off the grill!  I grilled chicken thighs rubbed with Crazy Good Chicken Rub from Stuart's Spices here in Rochester.  Delicious!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Smoking a brisket today

Today I smoked a brisket in my Weber Smoky Mountain Smoker.  It turned out DELICIOUS!

Most of you already know how much I have enjoyed my Weber smoker.  I enjoy sitting by the smoker, enjoying the outdoors. . . people walking their dogs, the Cardinals and Robins coming by for a visit (when Bailey and Morgan are not in the backyard!) And when the dogs are in the backyard, watching them chase each other and fight over sticks (as if that is the only stick in the whole world).  It is a time when I can put aside the craziness going on in the world and look forward to a great tasting piece of meat at the end of the day.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

New Bird House


My new bird house just installed yesterday.  As I sit at my kitchen table I can watch the birds go in and out of it. . . now all I need is for a mother bird to come in and build a nest!



Thursday, April 13, 2017

Recipes for smoking meat

I belong to the Weber Smokers facebook page and someone asked me for recipes.  Here are two of my favorites:

Marinade for Brisket

1 pint orange juice
juice from 2 limes
juice from 1 lemon
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1 T. black pepper
1 cup oil

Just before smoking rub with:

3 T. paprika
2 T. black pepper
2 T. salt
1 T. sugar
1 T. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin

After the above preparation, I let the brisket sit at room temperature (about 45 minutes), while I prepare the smoker and get the charcoal heated.  The last half of the smoking, I spray with apple juice about every hour or so. 


The next recipe for Mesquite Smoked Roast is another real crowd pleaser!

Brine:

1.5 to 2 gallons water
1 cup kosher salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Worcestershire
2 T. garlic salt
2 T. molasses


2 to 3 large roasts

Seasoning:

3 cloves chopped garlic
coarse ground pepper
McCormick's Sweet and Smoky dry rub
Garlic powder or salt

Set aside two cups of the brine

Soak roasts overnight

Remove from brine and rinse

Coat roasts in chopped garlic and pepper

Coat well with dry rub

Use reserved brine and inject the roasts

Let stand at room temperature at least half hour

Place in smoker (225 to 230 degrees)

Smoke about 5 hours.

Let stand about 30 to 45 minutes covered in foil to allow juices to redistribute.