Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Outdoor Cooking

Outdoor cooking? But, but, but... it’s like the middle of September and you live in Chicago, and shouldn’t this be a late May topic?

Well... I do cook outdoor year round, so I guess talking ‘bout it now is as good as anytime. However, the bigger controversy is the outdoor cooking thing.

Am I grilling? Or, BBQing? Who’s toes do I want to step on. I’m a graceful sort of guy, by the way (my loafers are indeed, light), and would be crushed to actually step on a toe! And yet, this is a place where few would voluntarily tread.

OK Delk, what in the hell are you yammering about?

I use the “Umbrella” term of ‘Outdoor Cooking’ to sidestep all the inherent craziness. Right? BBQ people get bent out of shape when grillers say BBQ. BBQ people get bent out of shape over wood chips. Pork shoulder with or without bone? Dry rub? Mop? Smoke?

Headache? Yes...

Okay, then there is the charcoal versus propane debate.

Experts: nationally known, award winning, local, self proclaimed all have some sort of say in this.

What does the forward thinking home cooking newbie do?


God bless the Internet, but the more you read, the more inadequate you feel.

So at this point, I say, “My condo board will only allow propane grills.”
Should I feel straight jacketed? Or should I make the most of it?

I, unsurprisingly, opt for the latter.

So I grill, and I enjoy it. But a part of me yearns for smoking...

Purists will scoff, but I only have my trusty Weber Genesis, so do I lay down, or make an attempt? I attempt.

In the back of my mind, I imagine dark clouds of smoke billowing out of my grill and my neighbors outraged, so I vow to pull the plug on the experiment at any given moment. I read more on the ‘net and get more confused/discouraged.

Anyway, I toss out all I read, head over to Peoria Meat Packing and score a three pound pork shoulder (with bone). The Dominck’s on Halsted only has Mesquite chips, so thats, that.

I rub the meat with a combination of: Paprika, Cumin, Chile Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic and S&P, and let it sit overnight.

Front two burners off, back burner on low, temp at 220, chips in foil, drip pan with water and about four hours in...

Took about nine hours and was worth it. The best? No, but the best I made, and that alone made it worthwhile. Had I listened to the experts, I NEVER would have attempted. It was an awesome meal.

Barry took a chunk with some leftover pasta for lunch and was content. The last got chopped up and scrambled up in some eggs for a kick ass brunch.

So, the moral of the story is to just give it a try, you might be surprised!

(remember, click any pic to see it bigger!)

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