My biggest cook to date

This week's cooks started off with the first road trip for my “little red kamado” - after seeing loads of Instagram posts of other people taking their juniors and mini maxis to the park, camping or to the beach, I’ve been itching to take mine out. So my mother-in-law's birthday was the perfect opportunity. Susan had asked me to cook a chateaubriand and there was only one way in my opinion - reverse sear. So we packed up the car and found out the junior is much bigger than it seems once in a car boot, but luckily my childhood years (and one or two of my adult years too) spent playing Tetris apparently didn’t go to waste. Once there and after a couple of drinks I fired up the junior and got it settled at 275F. Using my Meater probe I set it to medium rare and left it alone. Whilst this great piece of meat was cooking I got the other bbq lit for my wrapped Camembert 2.0. Rich, my brother-in-law, had requested cranberry sauce on the next one I cooked so that’s exactly what I did. A thick layer of cranberry sauce directly on top of the cheese and then wrapped made such a difference. The other thing I changed this time was I used half prosciutto and half parma ham to wrap and I thought that made a difference too. I think we have a winner!

Next up - Tomaporks. Once again these were from Sherwood foods and another great piece of meat. They came as a two rib rack so I cut them into two to make the cook quicker. Covered in some lemon salt and a small amount of olive oil was all they needed. I will definitely be getting them again. We hadn’t really planned any meals this week so walking home we decided to have kofte kebabs as it had been a while since I last cooked them. When we got to the shop they only had beef mince so thought I’d try that over the traditional lamb mince. They tasted great but they were difficult to keep in kofte shapes as I think the beef mince is much more course than lamb mince. They went very well with some charred peppers.

As I have written before I like to keep my daughters involved with my cooking as we find it keeps them eating most of the foods we eat - making meal time much easier. My eldest chose a tandoori masala rub for the chicken kebabs. So I mixed some of the rub with a little bit of greek yoghurt and left in the fridge overnight to marinade. Served with some rice and vegetables, both girls ate everything and even asked for more!

Now for the big one. Due to Covid-19 we - like many others - obviously didn’t have a Christmas party. So as soon as restrictions began to lift we set a date for a BBQ and my name was put forward to cook. I have to admit I was pretty nervous having never cooked for that many people before (on the way to 30!). I wanted to cook something relatively easy and fairly forgiving if I messed it up so there was only one choice - a boston butt. Having read a lot of recipes online, I took a few ideas from all of them and made up my own. I made my own rub consisting of onion granules, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, cayenne pepper and a good helping of salt. Then I covered every inch of the pork shoulder and left it in the fridge overnight. When I got home from work I gave my egg a good clean down. This was my first overnight cook so I wanted to make sure the air flow was perfect. I filled it with Alderline charcoal and lit it. I was aiming for 200F and when I was happy the egg had settled I placed the shoulder in, shut the lid and tried my best to forget about it. I thought I had set alarms on the two Meater probes for minimum and maximum temperatures but for some reason I wasn’t alerted to the temperature creeping up and it maxed out at 280F, so a fair bit hotter than I had intended. After a frantic 5:30am google session I found that many people cook theirs around 275F so I was hopeful I hadn’t ruined a huge piece of meat. Not to mention the near thirty angry people all staring at me and questioning if I can actually BBQ! At around 8:00am that morning I wrapped it in foil and took the internal temperature up to 200F, this was around 1:00pm. Then I took the pork off the bbq, wrapped it in a towel and placed it in cool box until 4:00pm when we ate. So a disaster was averted, the weather was fantastic and the beers flowed. Brisket burgers and sausages to go with the pork and many happy people. It was great day and I really enjoyed cooking for everyone once the nerves and the heckles had subsided haha!

Stuart - Bbqfestu