Smoking/BBQ

Spicy Jalapeno Cheddar Burgers and Smoked Goodness!

My girlfriend’s family came in to visit us on Friday night. A weekend of cookin’ was planned for both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, we grilled, and Sunday we smoked. Despite the weather calling for thunderstorms (nothing happened), we were all in.

Kurt Halls and Caribeque released the brand new rub, the “AP Rub” (All Purpose) on Father’s Day. I’d been wanting to try it and mentioned to my girlfriend’s dad, Eric, that we need to try it soon. The thing about mentioning something to Eric is, he’s going to want to do it, 100%, all in the very first time. I felt guilty after I mentioned to him, because he said, “Guess I’ll order some”. As you can see in my previous post, I’d ordered three Caribeque Spicy Calypso Kick seasonings from Caribeque. I gave one to him, as well as an extra container of McCormick’s smoked sea salt.

Yep… not only did he hook me and the little lady up with the all-new Caribeque AP Rub, he got us two more bottles of Caribeque Smack Sauce. Listen, if you haven’t tried Smack Sauce on some French fries or other potatoes, you are missing out, folks. That should be on everybody’s bucket list. That stuff is amazing. We only have a little bit left from our first bottle, but that’s only because we were trying to stretch it out and make it last! We almost finished that bottle in the first couple of days of using it. It is that good.

Happy as hell, running on five hours of sleep. Saturday morning (July 1st).

That morning, we went grocery shopping for the weekend feast!

That evening, I busted out my STOK drum grill for burgers and a slew of smoked sausage. We had a pack of Johnsonville jalapeno cheddar and a family pack of Johnsonville “Beddar with Cheddar”. Everybody fell in love with the “Beddar with Cheddar”. I don’t have pictures of either, but they were awesome.

The burgers, though, man oh man were they good! I was eager to try out the Caribeque AP Rub. For three burgers (for me, Eric and family friend/my quasi-brother Robert), we took a big ass amount of 73/27 ground beef and added Kraft jalapeno cheddar cheese, Mrs. Renfros ghost pepper salsa and sprinkled AP Rub inside and on the outside. To say it was incredible would be an understatement.


The burgers were so flavorful and juicy! We grilled more burgers for our crowd, but these were over the top in flavor! I would love to do these again.

On Sunday, our smoke featured a variety of things. I didn’t take pictures of everything, but we smoked: trout, a pork shoulder, bologna, chicken quarter and bacon-wrapped jalapenos.

I can’t rave about the bacon-wrapped jalapenos enough.

We took another package of Kraft jalapeno cheddar cheese and stuffed it in there along with ground pork sausage. We smoked the jalapenos longer than usual to ensure the pork sausage would be done. This was all Eric’s idea, and holy hell it was good. The reason we get along so well is because we are food fiends. We appreciate damn good food, and I appreciate his ideas!

The 11 lb. pork shoulder was smoked for about five hours before we threw it in the crockpot and made a modified Mississippi roast with it, using a little bit of vinegar and pepperoncini peppers. It wasn’t ready until the next morning (for breakfast), but it was just as awesome.

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Happy Independence Day!

It’s the fourth of July, and today we celebrate the birthday of America and our independence from Great Britain.

Is there anything more patriotic in the realm of clothing that isn’t over the top than wearing a Grunt Style shirt? (I love their tees; they fit better than any other that I have, so much so that I have zero desire to order from another veteran owned/supporting company for fear of the shirts not fitting as good as Grunt Style’s; my only complaint about Grunt Style is that too many of their shirts are black… I have way too many black shirts.)

I don’t think so.

This was taken yesterday evening after shooting some basketball outside with Dana; she said the sweat stain on my shirt looked like a weird Batman logo!

I have more posts coming in the next few days. I was lucky to have spent the weekend with family (including hers, which is pretty much mine by default). We grilled burgers, sausages along with peppers and onions on Saturday and we smoked on Sunday.

The best part about it all was being together and enjoying each other’s company.

That is lost on many these days. As somebody who has been through more loss than most people through 26 years of life, I understand that it’s easy to become either cynical or lost on the fact that times are not timeless and that nobody is going to be here forever. However, living in the moment, laughing and having a good time with each other, with our loved ones… I don’t think anything is better. I’m happy to have done that this past weekend, and I’m grateful to live in a country like America, one that has afforded me the freedom to have made memories over the weekend.

To everybody reading, I hope you have a great, safe Fourth of July.

Spareribs, Baby Backs, Pork Shoulder, Chicken Thighs, Mac’n’Cheese, Oh My!

I finally had the chance to smoke again on Tuesday. It was heavenly.

I received my Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks on Monday. I’m still undecided about it. I’ll write more about it in a future post.

I smoked two racks of spareribs, two racks of baby back ribs, a 4.5 lb. pork shoulder, bologna, chicken thighs, mac and cheese, corn on the cob and cabbage.

A couple of the pictures aren’t great, but I never claimed to be a professional photographer!

Uncle Yammy’s Memphis style chicken & rib seasoning was sprinkled liberally on all the racks of ribs except for one, which I used the KC Masterpiece habanero rub… dry rub that could have also doubled as a sauce if I would have mixed it with beer. I’m not much of a sauce guy, so I used it as a dry rub by default. It was OK… I’ll give it another shot. It tasted like the Lays barbecue potato chips, something I crave every now and again, and reminds me of summer school from my elementary school days.

Tony Chachere’s Creole was sprinkled on the bologna. So good. Don’t write off smoked bologna until you’ve tried it. It’s fantastic.

Garlic Jalapeno by Weber on the chicken thighs. I’m just about out of my favorite — Garlic Habanero — so I went with the jalapeno option. I may have slightly overcooked them, but they were still juicy and flavorful, so it wasn’t the biggest deal in the world.

I used Caribeque Honey Heat on the pork shoulder. I love that stuff. I ordered some Calypso Kick seasoning from Caribeque the other day, and I can’t wait to hot’n’fast smoke some wings seasoned with it on my Weber Smokey Mountain.

Nothing but salt and pepper on the corn on the cob (not pictured). It was a favorite.

I added butter and Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning to the cabbage.

The mac and cheese was pretty good, though that needs some experimentation in the future. I only left it in the smoker for a little over an hour.

It was a successful smoke, albeit I’m still learning the ins and outs of the Weber Smokey Mountain. It ate up my Royal Oak charcoal (briquettes) pretty quickly, but the guys over at TVWBB (The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board) said that I didn’t use enough charcoal to fill the ring completely, and to try a different variation of the Minion Method. Their points were noted.

I used applewood for this smoke.

BBQ Myths: You Have to Season Your New Smoker

Credit to @aguyindallas (Instagram handle)

When I first received my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker, I posted about it on a page on Facebook, excitedly writing about my enthusiasm for my first smoke on the ol’ “WSM”. A few comments were from people saying to season it to “get remove any of the manufacturing materials inside”.

Every day or so, I see people on the same Weber Smokey Mountain page asking about what food to use to season the smoker with, and there are guys and gals wasting a chimney or two of charcoal to season their new smoker. I even saw one guy asking what food to season his smoker with, and that he’s only going to throw the food away when it’s done. What a waste of food and a time smoking!

My first smoke on my Weber Smokey Mountain was two racks of baby back ribs (pork loin back ribs), a bacon-wrapped pork loin, a medium sized tube of bologna and a family pack of chicken thighs. That is how you season a Weber Smokey Mountain for the first time. Each and every bit of the food was consumed rather than thrown out and wasted.

Oh, and the manufacture residue? It’s going to be burned off and replaced with grease during your first cook, anyhow.

Bottom line: The idea that you have to run a quick smoke session with charcoal to “season” you or “burn off the manufacture residue” of your Weber Smokey Mountain cooker is complete hearsay and a myth. If you want to, then by all means do it, but at least eat the food you ‘season’ it with or accept that you are wasting charcoal if you are running a load without food.

There is no reason to season. Repeat after me: “with my new Weber Smokey Mountain, there is no reason to season”. You’ll develop a natural seasoning in your smoker over time… y’know, by smoking food that you will eat and not wasting charcoal.

Baby Back Ribs (And More) On My Brand New Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker!

I was born in eastern Tennessee and raised in southwest Virginia. I’m a mountain boy! So it is fitting that I am now cooking with a smoker called the “Weber Smokey Mountain”. This is a huge upgrade over my previous smoker, where I had to constantly babysit the temperatures all day. I’m also now going to be a Weber fan for life, because their customer service is out of this world fantastic. The lid is kinda “out of round” where I have to force it down onto the top of the smoker, and Weber is supposed to send me a new one, free of charge. Can’t beat that kind of customer service.

I watched game one of the Warriors/Cavs NBA Finals last Thursday night, went to bed past 12 and woke up at 4:30 Friday morning because I was so damn excited to smoke some meats on this thing. Whenever I smoke, I like to stuff the smoker full of food. I smoked a bacon-wrapped pork loin, two racks of baby back ribs, a family pack of chicken thighs, some chicken drums and bologna. I didn’t take pictures of the thighs, drums or bologna, but I’ll try to (particularly with the awesome smoked bologna) next time.

But I was most excited about the ribs. I didn’t foil them. Just used a dry rub (Uncle Yammy’s Memphis style chicken & rib seasoning). I spritzed them with a cranberry-apple juice I had (didn’t have any apple juice) a few times during the cook. The small rack came off about four hours in. The larger rack took about six hours! I didn’t want them fall-off-the-bone tender; I like a little bit of a bite and pull to my ribs, and they came out pretty great!

I used apple wood from my apple tree I pruned back in late February along with two little chunks of hickory. Yeah… I used the factory Weber temperature thermometer. Everybody says it’s crappy and that it’s “between 30-50 degrees off”, but it will have to do for now. Everything came out great. Dana loved it at first bite (the ribs).

A couple of people on the fans of WSM Facebook page kept advising me not to do a pork loin first since it was supposed to run hot in the beginning, but I wanted to play around with it, with a shorter cook before doing a pork shoulder. It came out perfect; juicy as all get out. I was going to pull it at 145-150 but according to my thermometer it got to 159, which is when I pulled it. I coated it with a thin layer of mayo and seasoning before I wrapped the bacon to, I guess, “protect it” and give it an extra layer of fat and flavor.

I still haven’t even installed the side handles, because I was too excited to get my first cook underway!

Baby back ribs! The one on top was near its completion. The bigger one took about two more hours to smoke!

Bacon wrapped pork loin. I used McCormick Molasses Bacon seasoning on it before wrapping it up in bacon. I also coated it with mayo before doing any of that to add a shield of protection from the fat since it’s a lean meat.

The finished bacon wrapped pork loin!

One rack of baby back ribs out!

Check out that smoke ring! Call me a braggart, but I nailed it!