Sunday, May 22, 2011


It used to be a joke between Randy and I that he collected barbecues like I collected purses.

For many years, I was on the quest for the perfect purse.  Over time and painful shoulders, I finally came to the conclusion that I did not need to be prepared for every single crisis that I could possibly dream up.  Isn't that why there are CVS and Walgreen drug stores on every corner in America?

Thus, I have whittled away at what I do carry in my purse to probably one third of the weight I used to lug around.

My shoulders, while still a bit angry at me at times, do appreciate the effort.

Randy, although he doesn't give himself the credit he deserves, is very accomplished when it comes to grilling, barbecuing and smoking.  From a Pyromid portable barbecue where he cooked many a Thanksgiving turkey in our camping days, to a regular Weber Kettle, to a propane infrared grill to a fancy Backwoods Smoker and more, Randy has, with the exception of a Big Green Egg, owned practically every outdoor cooking device that was within our budget.

We, and I use that term very loosely, cook outdoors all through the year, sometimes in weather that isn't that pleasant to be outside in.

One of my favorite barbecue stories is when we were living in the house in the Puyallup valley.  It was either Thanksgiving or Christmas - I can't remember which - the family holiday was going to be at our house.  Randy and I planned to cook the turkey on the rotisserie on the barbecue.   Never having done this before, we decided to do a test-run-turkey about a week beforehand.  

I don't know if the weather was nice enough to have the patio door open a bit or what, whatever the reason, the sliding glass door was open.  The turkey had been spinning around on the rotisserie for a while - it wasn't like it was an outlandish amount of time.  Randy and I were in the kitchen talking about how much longer we thought it needed until we put a thermometer in Tom Turkey to test him for doneness.

It dawned on both of us at about the same time that the consistant sound of the rotisserie motor had had a slight shift to it.  We went out to the patio, opened up the barbecue and there was Tom in the coals.  He had fallen completely off the bar thingy.  There was really no need to dig out the meat thermometer at this point.

We looked at each other, drank a few beers and glasses of wine while we fished Tom out of the coals.  The extra bit of ashes really helped in thickening the gravy.  The family was none the wiser.

Kidding ~

Randy rotisseried the real turkey to perfection.

Anyway ~

We use a lot of rubs as seasonings when we cook, not only for cooking outside.  Rubs make good, all purpose seasonings for just about any type of cooking.  Randy and I have been talking about concocting our own rub for quite some time.  Yes, one can buy practically any type of rub at the store.  It can get a bit expensive trying them out to find the one that suits your taste.  It could be too hot, too sweet, and not only to you pay for the spices and herbs, you also pay for preservatives and artificial colors.  And sugar.  Many rubs have sugar in them.  Not only do I not want the extra sugar, they also make the meat burn.

A bit ago, Dad sent me a recipe for Magic Dust.  I thought that it would be a good basis to start, I could make it and then tweak it to suit our own taste.  Our heath food store in town, Nature's Way, sells herbs and spices by the ounce and for about thirteen dollars, I was able to make not only a batch of Magic Dust, but a batch of another rub that Randy had found on the Weber Bullet site, called Sugarless Texas Sprinkle Barbecue Rub.

Randy dug a chuck roast out of the freezer and I thought that I would give the Texas Sprinkle a try.  The roast was about 2-1/2 pounds and I dried it off a bit before I rubbed and patted it down with the rub.  I measured out one cup of red wine together with one half cup of water and tossed in a spoonful of beef bouillon granules.  I put the liquid in my dutch oven and put the rubbed roast on top.  I set the oven on 250°, covered up the dutch oven and let it cook for about 2 - 2-1/2 hours while Roxy and I hunted down hummingbirds and bugs with my camera.

Sitting time, I have come to understand, is very, very important when one is cooking meat.  I was told the technical and scientific reason why this is such an important step, but really, all I remember from the lesson is that sitting time allows all the juices to go back through the meat.  If you cut into the meat without any sitting time, all the juice will run out.  And that isn't good.

I got over worrying that dinner would get cold while the roast is resting.  I use that time instead to cook our veggie.  Last night, I found some mushrooms in the refrigerator that needed to be dealt with.  I scrubbed them down and sliced them up.  I melted some butter in my cast iron skillet and sautéed the mushrooms over medium heat.  Partway through cooking them, I tossed in a pinch (or two) of the rub.  Right at the end of cooking, I poured in a dash of the red wine and let that cook down.

Then I drank the rest.

Kidding.  It was red wine and I don't do red wine.

Anyway ~

At this point, I am feeling quite pleased with myself, splashing wine and resting meat all decked out in my Christmas gingerbread apron.   I actually looked over my shoulder to see if the Food Network cameras were getting all of this.

I have to say that it was one of the best dinners I have cooked in a long time.

Here is the recipe for the rub I used ...

Sugarless Texas Sprinkle Barbecue Rub
~ 1/3 cup Table Salt
~ 1/4 cup Paprika
~ 3 tablespoons Chili Powder
~ 2 tablespoons Black Pepper, gound
~ 1 tablespoon Cumin, ground
~ 1 tablespoon Granulated Garlic
~ 1 tablespoon Cayenne Pepper (*)

Combine all and mix thoroughly.  Makes about 1 cup rub.
(*) I used only one teaspoon of chili powder.  Ahhh, the beauty of making your own rub to suit your taste.

Have the BEST day ever!
~ Dorothy

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