Archive for Food/Recipes

The Bee Bee Furter

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Bee Bee DairyOr the epitome of “disgustingly delicious.”

Bee Bee Dairy in Mystic, CT during the 80’s and 90’s. There were a few in Southeastern, CT but the Mystic one was the kingpin. Bee Bee’s restaurant was a home away from home for myself and my parents. My folks would go there two to three times a day, sitting at the “horseshoe” counter with any number of locals shooting the shit and smoking cigarettes. You know, back when smoking cigs was really, really cool.  Bee Bee’s was known for its extremely yellow booths and greasy spoon food. It also had amazing gray faux wood paneling and a bathroom that everybody and their brother used.  Their ice cream wasn’t bad and they forged a real nice sundae with jet black fudge and real whipped cream topped by a leaky red maraschino. In fact looking back I think the sundae was a strong point on the menu, they produced a pretty good one.

During the eighties I loved that an arcade was right across the street from Bee Bee’s. Gauntlet, Joust, Punch-Out and Dragon’s Lair were a few of my favorites. I’d go down there and spend all my quarters (or most, since nearby Sunrise Farms housed all kinds of general store delights such as Smartfood, Jolly Ranchers, Hostess Cup Cakes and century-old Pigs Feet with a thick layer of dust on the lid). Once I ran out of cash, I simply crossed the street to Bee Bee’s and begged my parents for a few more dollars. It was the perfect set up. I lived less than a quarter mile away from downtown Mystic so it’s safe to say this happened really often as a kid.

One of the gnarliest things on the menu was the Bee Bee furter. I loved this thing, well sometimes. I think my love of their Patty Melt was greater. The Bee Bee furter was no slouch though.

Basically a foot long hot dog on a toasted New England style hot dog bun, topped with bacon and American cheese. Ketchup was a must. I know, I know, no self respecting dog enthusiast endorses ketchup, but I actually hate hot dogs. Well, except for Bee Bee furters, then I will make an exception.

Hot dogs are ludicrous things. There’s no telling whats in them, I mean truly you could ground up spider eyeballs, goat gonads maybe a sprinkle of slug feces… you could put any or all of this in a dog and nobody would really know.

New England bun panSO basically I just do up a foot long dog, at the same time I get a New England style hot dog bun… however these don’t exist in local supermarkets in the south. I have to make them instead with the New England style hot dog pan from King Arthur Flour. It’s expensive, it works, but it’s slightly flawed: the buns are a little bit too thin. I circumvent this by not following the ridges exactly when I cut them and thus making them slightly bigger. Only downside is it nets less of them in a batch. I use the recipe it comes with to a T but I add one tablespoon of canola oil. That little bit of oil makes them somewhat soft rather than crumbly. I butter one of these suckers on both sides and fry it in the pan til it’s toasty-roasty.

Next I take the hot dog, place it in the bun and then I put a slab of bacon on top. Tip: cut the bacon in fourths, that way it doesn’t fall the hell off in one bite. Finally I top with American cheese over the bacon to “hold it in place” like a yummy, ooey gooey glue … that’s right I said ooey gooey. I put them in the oven at 350 for a few minutes just to warm everything and slightly melt the cheese.

So wrong but it's soooo right.

The Bee Bee Furter in all its glory.

Ketchup is a must. It just works, trust me on this one.

There you have it, a Bee Bee furter at home. Disgustingly delicious. It lives, it lives on.

After all, what is a legacy, when there’s no one left to remember it?

  Categories : Food/Recipes

The Nuka Smoker – Weber Smokey Joe Mini

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
nuka cola smoker

The Nuka Smoker

The Nuka Smoker is a great little cooker for smaller cuts of meat and smoking cheese. It’s also a little known artifact from Fallout 3, I swear I saw it in a post-blast supermarket somewhere on the map. I happened upon this idea in the Smokey Joe Mini WSM Project forums. In fact I should go register to show my Nuka Smoker there soon. Sitting by the Nuka smoker with a fresh Nuka Cola is not a thing to miss, in June under the stars, not if you care for such things.

So far I’ve done a small turkey, a nuclear pork bomb, chicken wings and bone in chicken breasts on this thing and it works very similar to the 299 Weber smoker. On a much smaller scale mind you — filling the smaller charcoal ring to the brim, then pouring some hot coals in the middle (about 1/3 of the weber chimney) gets me about eight hours of cooking time. Maybe more if your coal grate is even larger, mine came out a little narrow. Also, the temperature fluctuates just a little more in the smaller version, for mine at least. I usually have to mess with the bottom dampers once or twice during a cook.  One of the biggest keys to this project in my opinion is the clay pot for a diffuser.  Your food is a short distance from the coals so you must diffuse that direct heat.

nuka smoker fallout

Ready to smoke a nuclear pork bomb — or bacon.

For “cold smoking” something like cheese I place about four charcoal nugs together in the bottom of the Nuka Smoker and just blast them with a blowtorch in the middle for a few seconds until they start to whiten on the inner edges. Next I put a piece of hardwood on top and it creates just enough heat to smoke without melting the cheese. Have to be careful on really hot days though, one to two hours usually does the trick.

All the information to build one starts here, here’s another good example I quickly found. I used the Vasconia pot. I was able to find two locally at Wally World. 24-29 bucks seems to be the regular price for these. It cut real easy with a jigsaw blade made specifically for metal. I used a little aluminum drawer pull for the top chimney and a long piece of stainless threaded rod with an acorn nut at the end for the bottom vent. I only did one rack on the top of mine, you can see where the nuts are on the sides of the graphics in the middle. High heat engine paint and custom vinyl stickers were used for the logos.

One last word of caution, if you’re going to paint it with high-temperature engine paints you may want to use this cooker as a smoker only. That’s what I’ve been doing and the high temp paint has only browned some on the bottom. I have another smokey joe griller for high temp grilling only. I love these little Weber grills, they’re only 29 bucks most places. I used the silver version, but the gold version works too, it just has different vents.

nuka bottle opener

A real Nuka bottle opener built in.

As someone who is accustomed to using gas grills, I really only use charcoal now. Not as simple, but better flavors.

Update: After a year of use: just the bottom where the charcoal burns has turned grey.

Update: After a year of use: just the bottom where the charcoal burns has turned grey.

  Categories : Arcade/Gaming, Food/Recipes

Nuclear Pulled Pork and the Legend of Harry Soo

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

I started smoking shit years ago using those cheesy little electric bullet smokers, even tried a cheap 89.00 chimney style smoker …

I did OK with these, but the units themselves absolutely sucked balls. I could only use the electric one on a hot day since it didn’t go above 210 degrees. The chimney style smoker required tons of charcoal and constant tweaking since it wouldn’t hold a consistent temp.

Enter the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker:

Weber

Weber

I wish I started using one of these years ago. At 299.00 it’s worth every penny and it’s arguably the best entry level smoker out there. The multitude of positive reviews on Amazon are legit and one reviewer stands out from the rest: The Great Harry Soo.

I consider myself to be a disciple of the Soo. I’ve learned much from him without taking a single one of his cooking classes. His website SlapYoDaddyBBQ has a lot of good cooking advice and recipes. Harry Soo is a big fan of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker and has won over 27 Grand Championships. His team also won the first season of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters show. What’s cool is that Soo and his team actually use the 299-399 Weber smokers in their contests.

Pork Butt Rub ...Gonna do a pork butt here, starting by rubbing one out, I mean rubbing it out. Then I’ll inject it with apple juice, brown sugar, paprika, and garlic powder. Next I’ll rub the outside with the aforementioned spices plus pepper and a little chili powder.

Here is an example of how the unit works. First, you fill the bottom up with charcoal, I’m not going too crazy here since it’s a smaller pork butt, so I’ll just fill it about 2/3 of the way. I’m probably looking at 7-9 hours at 225-240 degrees, filling it to the rim with charcoal would tack many more hours on. I throw a few hunks of hickory on the edges. Next, I get about a half a chimney of coals going. The Weber Chimney is like 14 bucks, made from mostly aluminum and it’s held up for well over a year now. I started out using the newspaper and olive oil trick to get it going. Screw that, making your own fire-starters by simply dipping cotton balls in paraffin wax is better in my opinion, buying the cheap ones Weber makes is best–they burn a little better and longer.

The coals get white-hot and I chuck them on top of the charcoal in the bottom of the unit. I made a small well in the middle for them, these will burn outward and slowly ignite the hickory and charcoal over many hours. The middle piece of the smoker goes on top followed by the lid. That middle piece is perfect to use as a stand for the chimney starter. Just like Harry Soo, I don’t fill the water bowl inside with water, I just cover it with aluminum foil.

Now that it’s fired up the chimney hole on the lid stays wide open as well as the three dampers on the bottom. Once the temperature reaches 200 degrees I close the bottom dampers leaving them only a little more than 1/8 open. If it were a windy day, I may completely close the damper facing the wind.

That’s it. Now I wait about six hours until the internal temperature is 160 or so. I did not have to mess with the smoker once during this time. One thing to be cognizant of while its smoking is leaving the lid open–don’t do it for more than a few seconds. The coals will burn much hotter–possibly igniting the wood chunks–and then you may have to mess with the chimney/dampers until it chills out. The top chimney always stays wide open, that is unless you have a huge temperature spike–usually from the lid being opened for a while. However, closing down the bottom dampers in addition to the top chimney will bring the temp down fast.

Once the nuclear pork butt reached 160 I decided to foil it. I did not foil the past two pork butts and they were absolutely excellent. They were also bigger and had more fat on them. This butt seems leaner and looked a bit dry on the outside  at 160 degrees so I decided to “steam” it within its own juices in addition to some apple juice and brown sugar. Buy the larger style Reynolds aluminum foil and get a tight seal on it before putting it back on the smoker. Choosing to foil or not or to spritzer with water or apple juice or not comes down to “feel” as the great Harry Soo says. If it looks more dry, give it a spritz. If it doesn’t just leave it alone. Harry Soo also says do not spray anything at all on the meat until it forms a crust on the outside that you can’t quite scrape away with a fingernail. That’s usually at the 160 degree mark I’ve found but not always. You want to form that crust before you do any foiling or spritzing with shit.

Christ, I was thinking of putting up a quick post about a friggen pork butt and it’s turned into an essay.

You might notice these cool Thermapen thermometer probes that cooks use, well they also cost 89 bucks or more. There’s a cheaper version I just got called the ThermoPop and it works great. Five seconds and you get a correct meat temp. Comes in handy for brewing beer too.

Falling off the Bone

Falling off the Bone

Once foiled, I let the meat go two hours more and the temperature was now 195. Perfect? Well not so fast. As a disciple of the great Harry Soo I learned to try and cook by feel and not temperature. When inserting the probe I noticed a little bit of resistance, there should be none when its done. I let it go another hour and it the temperature only raised two points. No resistance this time, it was done. Absolutely ready to fall off the bone. Tender, juicy, phantasmagorical, effervescent strips of pork tender juice pork, pork.

Tearing into this butt is easy.

Tearing into this butt is easy.

I couldn’t believe the amount of meat on this rather medium sized pork bomb. The meat piled up so high I needed another plate to continue harvesting with two forks. I put its fatty/applejuice-y drippings into a pan with about a cup of water, two tablespoons of apple cider (I think I added one more) a little brown sugar, paprika, salt, garlic powder and pepper. A couple squirts of ketchup too for a nice dipping sauce.

Like Butter...

Like Butter…

Now I have more &^*&ing pork than I know what to do with.

Let’s see, pulled pork sandwiches, pulled pork tacos, pulled pork calzones, pulled pork burritos, pulled pork chimichangas, PORK…PORK-PORK–PORK PARK?? PARKK PORKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Enough pork to feed a village. Or to last many days. Too much pork, really.

All Mounded Up

All Mounded Up

My advice to anyone that wants a solid entry level smoker, one that should last twenty years or more is to go with the 299.00 Weber and check out Soo’s informative review. It will probably be forever locked at the top left of all the reviews on the Amazon product page. In the off chance you found it sucks you could always sell it locally for near its full value or make a pretty decent black R2D2.

Also, if you want to do some pretty good smoking in a similar style and can’t swing 299, I have one more smaller, cheaper option I want to talk about coming in my next food category post.

  Categories : Food/Recipes
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