One thing we love to do is fuse BBQ onto other cuisines. Take this Rib Tip Calzone as an example. We had some pizza dough and we had made some ribs the day before so we took the dough, some cheese and some BBQ sauce and created a calzone.
Calzones and Pizzas are the easiest things to play with. Just create your base and add whatever BBQ you want. We have made brisket and pulled pork calzones and the kids love pulled pork pizza with asiago and monterey jack cheese.
Remember BBQ is only the start of the food you can make.
Chili. It is the single culinary word that elicits the strongest reaction. Can beans be in chili? What about corn? Does it have to be spicy? Can it be vegetarian? To be honest I believe chili is whatever you want it to be. It is a stew. Pure and simple.
My chili is a bit different. Yes it is kid friendly. No heat at all. It includes corn and beans. It is sweet. It uses ground meat. If you talk to a chili purist I am sure at least two of those items will get you on some super secret “not chili” list but it my recipe has always worked for me.
I serve the chili with hot pepper flakes for the adventurous but the majority of people just sprinkle a little shredded cheddar and perhaps some green onion on it and chow down.
One of the best things about Esther is her ability to handle so much food. She can handle a dozen briskets or 20 pork butts with ease. That is enough food to feed over 100 people and she does it without breaking a sweat. I might sweat a little from tending her fire but she does not complain. She is completely wood fired. No gas assist or charcoal is used when she is cooking. Just get the fire going and she will chug along as long as wood is in her fire box.
There is something beautiful about cooking with fire. It takes patience and there is a lot of respect the pit master has to give the fire and the smoker. You need to know when she is hungry and when she needs a little extra time to calm down. It is a dance of sorts.
Esther has been such a happy girl since we acquired her from her builder. She was used sparingly before she came to us and now she is doing what she loves much more often.
Esther is a beast and beasts are slow to get moving but once they are awake they can just bounce along all day. When we start her up we get up at 5:00 AM and light her up. It is a peaceful time of the day. The sky is dark and the awakening Esther from her slumber requires a gentle hand. Filling her fire box with wood and kindling to get her chugging along takes patience. If I was a coffee drinker this is where I would talk about my morning cup of joe but in reality this is a time that I sit and enjoy the quiet as I listen to the wood catch and pop. I get the vents set just right and cajole Esther up to the perfect temp. We commune for a good hour before anythings hits her grates. it may be my favorite time of a cook.
Esther has arrived. She was named by her creator and we have decided to keep the name.
We drove down to rural northeast Pennsylvania on a Sunday to pick her up from the farmer who built her. She was everything we were hoping she would be. She is a wood fired reverse flow offset smoker that has the capacity to handle over a dozen briskets or 24 pork butts in a single cook. She has a built in warming cabinet above the fire box for sides. She is mounted on a trailer and is mobile to be brought to events. She can be converted into a stand alone grill as well. Pretty versatile for a custom made smoker.
We now have to clean her up and get her registered so she can hit the road and get to work. We can’t wait to see what she can do.