Monday, July 26, 2010

A Delicious FAIL.

First off today, I would like to thank all of you following my blog post here and on FaceBook. The thought of someone actually reading some of my nonsense will make me a better writer...eventually.

On to the show.

My friend Larry Gaian at The BBQ Grail has been promoting a contest of sorts. A contest to come up with the best and most appealing dish containing MOINK Balls. For those that don't know what a MOINK Ball is, visit

I have brilliant ideas in my head about what to do with MOINK. Ahh, yes. MOINKaroni and Cheese. Not just any Moinkaroni, but smoked Moinkaroni. This means doing some stovetop cooking. Remember what I said earlier about comfort zones? Yeah, talk about leaps from a comfort zone. I had to develop my own recipe for the macaroni and cheese, too.

So, I set out and buy elbow macaroni, cheddar, mozzarella, and monterrey jack cheeses. I cook the pasta, set it in three quart pans.

Now, for the cheese sauce.

Knowing that I needed to use the double boiler to avoid scorching the cheese and milk, I was feeling very sure of myself. Very sure, that is until the cheese sauce had been melting for quite some time without having the consistency and texture I envisioned.

What went wrong? Do I scrap the whole thing and start new using an easier blending cheese? If Velma finds out I toss twenty dollars of cheese and mess up the kitchen for naught, this macaroni may very well be my last supper. Not an option.

I proceed to simply place the coagulated mess of dairy product over the noodles. Place more cheese and crushed fish crackers over the epicurean nightmare to cover any evidence of wrongdoing.

No one will know.

I placed it on the smoker hoping that the Good Lord would make it edible as company was coming over to serve as guinea pigs. Then, it dawns on me.

I took no pictures, and forgot to add the key ingredient. MOINK!!

Well, too late now. I go on to prepare the rest of the meal, with grilled squash and zucchini. Pork and beef are sizzling their familiar sounds on the grill while the bubbling mass of ill repute quietly cooks away on a drum smoker. For two hours it taunted me as I knew that the rest of the splendid meal would be ruined. Ruined by a side dish of badly prepared pasta.

When time for dinner comes along I set out each dish for buffet service as if I knew exactly what I am doing, placing the macaroni disaster last in line in the hopes no one would have a spot on their plate.

Enter the guests. They scan the line of food picking and choosing what they will try, when the first person dips into the Great Pasta Debacle. Much to my surprise, they didn't pick up the whole pan while trying to dip out a serving. Instead pulled a perfectly cheesy, steamy and bubbly, portion of smoked macaroni and cheese. (Insert OOHs and Ahhs here)

What happened? I stepped far away from my comfort zone without a clue, and came away a winner.

Was it fun? Not at first. But we all have to start somewhere, right?

Thanks for reading.


Friday, July 16, 2010

A Renewed Passion For BBQ

About three years ago I entered into the exciting world of catering. Not for the money, not for the prestige. Just another outlet for my interests. OK The money didn't hurt. Then, about a year and a half ago I got the great idea to vend roadside. It looks good on paper. The money's there. I cook nonstop. I am the local BBQ guy as seen by the locals.

Between a full time job, catering, and vending, I was booked solid. No time to do anything else but cook. Soon, cooking became drudgery. I had to pry my butt off of the couch and "do the deed", so to speak.

It never really hit home until I was coaxed (read: coerced) into taking a weekend off at the lake cabin by my wife. Needless to say, I didn't want to go back to the real world of a working man and business owner. But, that's not what hit home. It was looking at the photos of me and my family. We spent quality time together. We did it while we were cooking. The cooking was enjoyable again.

It was then I realized I was cooking myself out of a lot of memories. Ones that I want back badly.

Yeah, money isn't everything if you have to sell your soul to get it. Just goes to prove that there can be too much of a good thing.

So, the trailer sits idle. The smokers go only for small catering gigs and family meals. People ask "What Happened?

I realized God gave me a gift. Not to make money, but to make my life a memorable one.

Ok, so here I am sitting in my office wondering what to cook this weekend. The usual brisket or pork butt? Of course. MOINKS? Yep. But, What about something out of the ordinary for a change? Huh? Step outta my comfort zone and tackle a meal without the use of an outdoor cooking device maybe? Maybe.
I guess I really am in a rut cooking wise. Maybe that's the reason for the new blog. Maybe it will heighten a new experience in my cooking.

Yeah, I know. It's raw right now. Gimme some time. I'm new to this. I'm not quite comfortqable.

Wow. Did I just step out of that rut?

Amazing. Follow me as I step further away from my comfort zone in cooking, and ramble on about other stuff.