Cooking Stories

My wife and I always laugh at our cat Rocky when I bring my latest smoked meats off the smoker, and into the house. He definitely has a nose for meat, because he only shows a slight interest in the veggies, nuts, or whatever else I’m smoking.

In fact, he’s long since associated the noise of the tupperware lid popping off the container with the opportunity to devour some meat. These pictures don’t do justice to show how crazed he gets over meat, so I might just have to do a video next to give you the full flavor of his level of excitement. So check back from time to time.

He’s absolutely nuts!

This morning my wife said; “Who needs bear claws when you have cat claws!” And this story was born!



All Day Pork Butt

July 18, 2011
by Curt

Low and Slow, that’s the way to do it. Looking at the pictures tells you that this is one very juicy and tender pork butt. You’ll have to take my word for the fact that it was very tasty too!

So, here’s how it was accomplished. The night before, I injected it heavily with my Orange & Honey Pork Injection. I put it into the refrigerator to soak all those juices up overnight.

After 11 hours in the refrigerator, I pulled it out and poured off the juices that seeped out of the pork butt. I would say that it held about 70% of the injected juices.

Now for the rub, I rubbed it heavily, covering the entire butt with my favorite rub for pork. I then put it back into the tupperware container and left it sitting on the counter for about 45 minutes to come closer to room temperature.

I got the fire started in my 18.5 Webber Smokey Mountain, (WSM), and let that sit for about 15 minutes until just enough of the lump charcoal on top was burning white. I put the cooking chamber on and then I like to mount a thermometer near the  top grate where I will be smoking the pork butt. I’ve found that on my WSM, the gauge mounted in the top of the dome reads about 20 degrees cooler than the actual temperature at the grate. I could just compensate, but it also seems to be undependable as it fluctuates. At times during the cook, it’s been almost identical to the near grate temperature, and at other times, it’s been 35 degrees cooler.

Once the temperature has settled in around 250 degrees, I put the pork butt on the top grate, and just checked on it from time to time, tweaking the vents as necessary to maintain 250 degrees.

Here is how it looked after 3 hours into the cook.

Specific details of the cook:

1)  I used lump charcoal in the fire along with 70% (fist sized) chunks of pecan, and 30% apple chunks.

2)  I maintained, or tried to maintain 250 degrees throughout the cook. It fluctuated from 230 to 275 degrees, as I am still learning my new WSM. No doubt as I learn to start with the perfect fire, and find the right vent tweaks near the beginning of the cook, it will do less fluctuating.

3)  I won’t bore you with all the details of what I did while this was cooking, the total time for the cook was 9 1/2 hours. I pulled it off the smoker at an internal temperature of 201 degrees.

4)  I put it immediately into a tupperware container and closed it up tight. I let this sit on the kitchen counter for 45 minutes to let the juices redistribute nicely inside of the pork butt.

Last but not least, time to carve it up. I never have to do this part alone, because my eager, hungry little helper named Rocky is always there to help.

The pork butt turned out extremely juicy, tender and very tasty! I don’t speak cat very well, but I’m pretty sure this is what Rocky is saying also. That, or he’s say Gimme Gimme!

What a guy, that Rocky Boy!

Great Beef Sandwiches Tonight!

July 17, 2011
by Curt

I smoked a chuck roast yesterday. I cooked this one low and slow at 230 degrees. It took 8 hours to bring up to 190 degrees. I should have left it a little longer to take it all the way to 200 degrees, but it was getting very late.

I injected it in the morning with my Orange and Honey Beef Injection, and put it in the refrigerator for 4 hours. Then I rubbed it with “Honey Rub” made by Butcher BBQ, and then left that sit out on the counter for about a half an hour before putting it on the smoker.

Speaking of smokers, I was using my new 18.5 Webber Smokey Mountain, (WSM), which my wonderful, and thoughtful wife gave me for an early birthday present.  This was the Webber’s maiden voyage. That baby is a breeze to use!

Anyway, I pulled it and have it ready for sandwiches tonight. These will be some damn tasty sandwiches. The beef tastes great on it’s own, but will also taste great with a little Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce mixed in.

Sorry you can’t join me. But you’re welcome to drool over the picture all you want!

A Texas Boy’s Bean Burger

July 15, 2011
by Curt

Man do I miss stopping at Johnny Ringo’s and ordering one of their super delicious bean burgers. Growing up in San Antonio, there was a place near my buddy’s house I hung out at all the time. We would stop at Johnny Ringo’s and sit outside on the picnic table with a bean burger and fries.

So, since I can’t go back in time and have one of those, I’ve brought it to the present and have come up with my own rendition of the bean burger. Now you can make this on the stove if you’d like, but I’ve taken it to the grill. After all, this website is about smoking and grilling, right?

So, I would like to introduce:

A Texas Boy’s Bean Burger


1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/4 cup refried beans (homemade or canned)
1 TBS picante sauce (Pace Picante – not that stuff from New York City!)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt and pepper to taste


Take the ground beef and make two even patties out of it. In a small bowl, combine the refried beans,  picante sauce and cumin together, and stir it all up. Put the refried beans mixture on top of one of the patties, and then lay the other patty on top of this like a sandwich. Press the edges together all the way around, until it becomes one nice big fat burger!

Fire up the grill. You’re going to want a nice hot grill, but don’t forget to keep a cool spot off to the side so you can slow down the cooking.

Take the salt and pepper, and lightly coat both sides of the burger. (Don’t get carried away now!) Using a spray oil like my favorite, canola oil, very lightly spray both surfaces of the burger to keep it from sticking to the hot grill. You can lightly brush oil on it also if you prefer that.

Time to throw it on the grill and get this show on the road! Rather than repeating what I’ve already written, take a quick jump over to my Grill Tips article, and read the section on burgers. If you’ve gotten the grill a bit too hot, then once you’ve seared the first side and thumbed the center of the second side, move the burger to the edge of the cooler spot  to slow things down a bit. This should only take about 5 minutes to get the meat cooked, and the goodies in the center all nice and warmed up. You know how well done you like your burgers, so I’ll leave the judgement and decision as to when it’s done enough up to you.

Tip:  Something I like that adds just that extra to a burger, is to lightly butter (real butter) the buns and toast them up real nice on the grill.

Alrighty! Take the burger off the grill, put it between the buns, let out a big ol’ Yeeehaaaaaw, and eat it up!