Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tired pups!

Young puppies play hard for 15 to 20 minutes, then they collapse!  One of these will be Bailey, the one I will bring home soon.  I truly feel sorry for someone who has never had a Lab in their life.  It is their personality.  It is the way they can talk with their eyes.  It is their keen sense of perception.  They are just one of a kind.

Monday, July 27, 2015

New puppy coming soon!

Yesterday I drove to the Cleveland area to meet with a breeder of Labrador Retrievers.  Here is a short video of what I observed while there.

Three yellow Lab puppies, 7 weeks old, and full of energy.

I will be bringing my new puppy home in two weeks.  Yes, I am excited!  

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Beef ribs on the grill tonight!

Beef ribs on the grill tonight.  Great tasting.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Time to mix up more bbq sauce

I really don't have a favorite bbq sauce.  I have several that I like.  If I'm using it on pulled pork, then I like my Carolina style sauce.

This one is tomatoey and just downright delicious on bbq chicken.

It comes from my Barbecue Bible by Steven Raichen, copyright 2000.  I think he has come out with a new version since then.  But this one is filled with many great recipes.

6 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups ketchup
coarse salt to taste

Combine all ingredients except the ketchup in a large, deep, heavy, nonreactive saucepan and bring to simmer over medium heat.  Cook uncovered until all the ingredients are dissolved, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the ketchup and bring to a boil, stirring well, as the ketchup has a tendency to spatter.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat slightly and gently simmer the sauce, uncovered, until dark, thick, and richly flavored, about 30 minutes, stirring often.  Use right away or transfer to jars, cover, cool to room temperature, and refrigerate.  It will keep for several months.

Makes 5 cups.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

It's a double paddle canoe!

Someone that saw my post below asked, "You look like you are sitting on the floor of that canoe."

I am!

That is a Hornbeck Boat,  It is 12 feet long and weighs 12 pounds!  There is a foam pad installed in the boat and a foam backrest, even foot braces like a kayak has.  This model is known as the New Trick.  They come in varying lengths up to 15 feet.  The 12 foot is the most popular.

The way you get in and out of it is easy and unique.  You stand in the water with the top of the canoe resting behind your knees.  Then you simply sit down and land on the foam.  Next, you swing your legs around inside the boat and you are all set to take off!  It is easier than getting in and out of a kayak.

I love the ease in which it handles and tracks.  It is a real joy to paddle.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Paddling on Black Creek

My friend, Nancy, and I enjoyed a nice paddle on Black Creek today.  This section of Black Creek meanders through dense wooded land with a lot of wildflowers and birds from ducks to herons.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Last minute dinner plans

About 3:00 this afternoon, I realized I hadn't checked my phone since earlier in the day.  Hmm. . . Robert Lauterbach had called but didn't leave a message.  So I called him back.

"Yeah, I got my new smoker and wondered if you wanted to come over for dinner?"

It didn't take much to convince me!  Nancy had told me he was looking at smokers and I told her I highly recommended the one I have.

Now most people who are new to smoking meat would start with a chicken.  It is the easiest to prepare, one that any novice can handle.  Not Robert!  He used both racks of the smoker and had a pork shoulder on the bottom rack and a rack of ribs on the top!

It was an enjoyable evening and our conversation ranged from everything to the validity of taking down the Confederate flag to the crazy things I said as I was coming out of surgery several weeks back!  

Nancy and I have plans to go paddling tomorrow.  Robert is welcome to come along and use my kayak if he wants.

Nancy and Robert and I go back a long way. . . decades actually.  I have always valued their friendship.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

You have seen me mention grass fed meat on my blog several times over the years.  I believe you can have a healthy diet that includes beef, poultry, and pork. . . grass fed meat.

I eat a lot of vegetarian meals, not just for health reasons, but because I really like the recipes I make for myself and guests.  (I will be happy to send you my favorite recipes upon request)

A number of years ago, I was fortunate to find a farmer near Rochester that is a grass fed farm.  He took the time to explain to me what grass fed means and why it is important.  I visited the farm.  Upon driving up, I saw these strange, approximately 8 ft x 8 ft, wooden boxes that were maybe 18 inches high.  Inside were chickens and they were eating grass.  This "box" is moved twice a day.

Some people can tell a difference in the taste of grass fed beef over grain fed.  I really don't see that much difference.  But I can tell you, if I eat a strip steak from "my farmer," I am comfortably full.  If I eat a grain fed strip steak, I feel stuffed and bloated when I finish eating it.

Due to the medication I am on, I have to check in with my doctor every 4 months. My numbers have been great since eating meat from this farm.

If you go to, they explain better than I can, the health benefits of eating grass fed meat.  I encourage you to check out this website.

My farmer is Autumn's Harvest Farm, near Romulus, NY.  They are a young couple with small children running this big farm, almost entirely by themselves.  I got to know them as people and have developed a tremendous respect for the work they do.  When I buy a side of beef from them, I drive over and bring the meat home myself, with one huge cooler that fills my entire back seat and another medium size that goes in my trunk.  Their farm and property seems so peaceful and charming, although I understand the enormous hard work that goes into what they produce.

They come to Rochester two Fridays a month which is a big convenience to me.  When I order a side of beef, the cost comes out to much cheaper than buying a few packages here and there and I get to choose which cuts I want.  Oh!  And I must tell you what I get when I ask for soup bones!  Folks, you will never see soup bones or ham hocks like this in the grocery store, I promise!  They are bones COVERED in meat!  I make a lot of soup in the winter months.  After using the bone to make stock, I cut the meat off the bone and throw it back into the soup pot.

Bottom line, don't think you have to give up meat to be healthy!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Out of this world delicious brisket!


I have never cooked/smoked a brisket before.  Matter of fact, I don't think I've ever eaten this cut of meat.  My loss.

I scoured my cookbooks to find the right recipe to use in my smoker.  As you might expect, there were quite a few to choose from, and depending on which cookbook you looked at, there were a variety of ways to prepare it.

Big Bob Gibsons' BBQ Book had my final choice.  I made his Bare Naked Brisket on page 91 of the edition I have.

Here is the recipe (I'm modifying it to match the weight of my brisket)

I used hickory wood in the smoker.

It took 6 hours in the smoker.

Before I placed it in the smoker, I made a paste of:

2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced (you can never use too much garlic)

My brisket weighed 5 pounds.

I spread the paste on the meat and then placed it in the smoker.  During the smoking process, I replenished the wood chips (which had been soaking for hours in water) about every 30 to 45 minutes.  After two hours in the smoker, I began using "Jeff's Mop Water" every hour:

1 cup water
1 stick of butter
2 tablespoons of Creole Seasoning

This recipe came from my "Smoking Meat" book by Jeff Phillips.

Once you remove it from the smoker, let it sit for an hour, covered in foil.

The results?  Just DELICIOUS!

I have a handful of smoking cookbooks.  The two I used here, are among my favorites and ones that I have numerous pages bookmarked.

From Bob Gibson's book, try the Memphis Style BBQ sauce.  And from Jeff's book, the Big Bald BBQ Rub is the one I use most.

Regular readers will know I began smoking meat last summer.  I've never had a failure yet!  It is something I love to do and found that I have a talent for.

I only use grass fed meat from my farmer, Autumn's Harvest Farm.  There are no additives or hormones in their meat (except that their bacon, by NYS law, must contain additives).  It is healthy and great tasting meat.