The little red kamado sidekick

takes centre stage

My competition prizes have arrived and as I said in my last blog, this has made me so happy! I hadn’t actually seen a kamado Joe Junior up close before so I wasn’t sure on the actual size. It arrived on a fairly large pallet, which I opened like a child on Christmas Day. Once unpacked and put together I found it to be a bit bigger than I expected. So I got my wife to help me get the gazebo up so I could try it out (as it was still raining!)

I was a bit sceptical on how well it would hold the heat as it really didn’t take very much charcoal at all to fill. So this made me wrong on two fronts; the first, I got the temperature settled at around 200C and it sat at this temperature happily for about four hours when I shut it off. The second thing I was wrong about was the size. I decided to cook a whole large chicken and it was a perfect fit, with even some room for corn around the edge. I had originally seen the Joe Junior as a sidekick to my large Big Green Egg. After cooking the chicken I realised it would be great all on its own.

This brings me onto the ribs I cooked for my family. I like to order a lot of my meat from a company called Sherwood Foods. I have ordered ribs from them before so had no problem buying again and thought I'd up the game and go for their monster rib pack. When they turned up I couldn’t believe the size of them - on the way to 7kgs!

I cooked them two different ways so I could do a side by side comparison. On one rack I used some American mustard with a Memphis style rub, and the other I used a Mississippi dry rub and spritzed with an apple cider vinegar and water mix. I much preferred the dry rack, but my family didn’t really have a preference and loved both types. I cooked these on the BGE and did a side of mini jacket potatoes on the Joe Junior.

The only problem was I had done a whole Camembert wrapped in prosciutto as a starter. Wow this was a winner, but very filling! Check out the video on my instagram page.

Also since my last post its been my birthday. My wife very kindly bought me a new fire pit which I can’t wait to try out. Unfortunately the weather has been against us so I haven’t been able to yet. I'm on the look out for a grill I can put over the top and possibly a tripod so I can expand the ways I cook. So watch this space!

Then at the weekend I decided to tackle a full roast dinner. I’ve done this once previously and was very happy with the results. We had a wagyu roasting joint in the freezer so thought that would make a perfect Sunday roast. I did the roast potatoes beneath the meat as the fat that come off the wagyu is great to cook with, adding a whole cauliflower and broccoli as well. But the Yorkshire puddings really stole the show! My wife is gluten intolerant so usually misses out on them. We’ve had varying success making them ourselves but usually they fail to impress but this time the recipe we used was spot on. They were amazing! I'd actually challenge anyone to blind taste them and tell the difference. We will definitely be cooking them again.

Hopefully the weather improves soon so I can get back outside and cook. I think I need a BBQ shelter……

Stuart - @bbqfestu