Contact with Kingsford

I've wondered about the safety of using smoking chips, e.g., the ones from Kingsford and went to their site to contact them about it. Here's our exchange:

Me: I have a concern with your chips for smoking. I thought wood needed to be preburned (like lump charcoal) to be used for smoking. Otherwise, if you burn fresh wood, like those chips, you add a ton of volatiles to the food as the wood begins to smolder. Can you explain a bit more about the way your wood chips are treated and address the safety of smoking food with them?

Kingsford Guy: Thank you for your recent e-mail about KINGSFORD wood chips. The information you requested will require further research. Unfortunately, it may be several days before we will be able to provide an answer to your question. Once we have the necessary information, however, we will provide it to you by e-mail as promptly as possible.

Having thought about this exchange for the weekend, I'm actually kind of shocked at the Kingsford guys response. I'm more than a little surprised he didn't have this information immediately available. Should be interesting to see what he comes up with researching their own product! Good thing Dr. B's here for an authoritative opinion.


It's not about the bling

Do what you love and the . . . I forget the rest.

The other day a small crew from Picture Show Films and a marketing person from Weber came by for the shoot. Sixty something degrees in Columbus - in February! What a day to take a break from the grind and cook some ribs low and slow. While the rest of the family frolicked in the sun, took care of the kid (thanks my love!) and made sides for the end of the day rib fest, a couple guys stood in my yard and we talked barbecue ALL DAY LONG. I think I might have to crawl back to the church and tell them I made a mistake.

Anyway, many asked me "how much did you get?". Well, they did force me to use a shiny new kettle (but I did get to use the lump charcoal of my choosing). The new kettle and I bonded pretty quickly (don't know if my old kettle will forgive me) and then they just left it behind and said I could have it and I might also get a Weber Smokey Mountain™ out of it as well. It's a smoker I've wanted for a long time. My yard's small and can't easily accomodate one of those huge rigs; the Smoky Mountain™ is a pretty nice rig and has a small footprint. So, I got some nice stuff but I would've paid twice the comps for the fun we had.

As they filmed, their editor kept collecting feeds in the dining room and was already beginning the editing. They're going to make a short commercial for tv and going to run longer streaming video spots on the Weber site beginning in April. I'll keep you posted and give links.

Grilling Details: Royal Oak lump charcoal, maintained a temp of approximately 225-deg-F for 5 hours beginning at about 7:20 am (with a few spikes because I kept playing with my new toy). Monitored only the dome temperature only throughout the session. Used a pretty typical dry rub and did two moppings with cider vinegar during the cooking. The meat was also warmed to RT prior to tossing it on. Let 'em rest about 20 minutes wrapped in foil and boy were they tasty. The ribs themselves were pretty variable with respect to the amount of meat. Some were really meaty, others not as much. They were all pretty lean.

How were they? The image shows what remained. It's a pretty crappy image but it was a busy day and didn't get to take too many pics. Well, this is the last post for a long time about this. On to meatier episodes.


Valentine's Day, A Good Day to Rub Ribs

Tonight the gang will pile over to our house to briefly stay and watch the rubbing of the ribs in preparation for tomorrow's barbecue fest. I'll use a rib rub similar to that reported previously. Then they get out of my kitchen and we proceed with the bath, watching of Nemo, bedtime and get ready for tomorrow's shoot. Looking like good weather. Potentially rainy but warm. And, I'm not sure if the butcher pulled off that little membrane on the ribs. Got 7 half racks ready to go. We'll be serving them around 1-2 pm with (ham-hock flavored) black-eyed peas, greens and corn bread. If you happen to be driving by, stop in to say hey.

'Que specifics: I'll be using a Weber Kettle, burning Royal Oak (Naked Whiz gives it a 4.8/5) and relying on the native smokiness of the lump itself rather than tossing in too much extra smoke. Probably shoot for 5 hours at 225F.


Prep: To Do List

Next Tuesday, Picture Show Films will be here for the day. We'll be preparing Ribs. We'll be giving them a rub the night before, wrapping them up, warming them up the next morning and tossing 'em on the faithful Weber at about 7 am Tuesday. They'll be done by 1 pm. After an hour rest, we'll feast with the crew with Ribs, greens, black-eyed peas and Cornbread. The Prep:
a. prepare ingredients for rub
b. buy ribs (about 7 half slabs, baby backs).
c. buy a new foil drip-pan
d. check fuel supply of lump charcoal; be using Royal Oak for this round.
e. calibrate thermocouples
f. clean out Weber
g. buys lots of extra fruit/coffee/juice for the crew to munch while waiting
h. buy cornmeal stuff for corn bread and greans
i. polish the rig (no smart ass the rig refers to the infamous Weber)
j. remove dog poo from yard since there's no snow to cover it

If you're in the vicinity, feel free to drop by, just be prepared to disapper temporarily at 1 pm because that's Frankie's naptime.


Meatballs: Recent Findings

Photogenic? Hardly. But, there are few foods that give me a more comforting feeling than meatballs in tomato sauce. When we have them with pasta, you can hear Frankie chanting "more meat, more meat". Music to my ears. She also eats ten times the weight of these little delicacies in fruits and veggies, so I think her diet's balanced.

I've spent some time recently talking about meatballs. In the past I've made them from ground turkey and cracked wheat (I was quite proud of that innovation), ground sirloin (my Mom's preference) and now I'm using the holy trinity of meat: beef, pork and veal. In less fancy circles, it's called "meatloaf mix". I heard about it many times but not many supermarkets have it. The other day, I found it in a local market. If you find this delectable mixture, use it.

My Meatballs, makes about 10 small ones
ground beef, pork, veal (equal weights), ca. 1/2 lb.
bread crumbs, 1/2 cup
parsley, finely chopped, bunch
garlic, trace or garlic powder
onion, small, finely diced
egg, 1
milk, enough. add milk and bread crumbs to get a mixture that's not too wet or dry.

To cook, plop 'em in sauce raw and simmer tomato sauce (tomatoes, salt, pepper, basil, bay leaf) for a couple hours.

I could eat these for breakfast they're so good.