Backyard hops soaking in some record rainfall and cool temps. Hopefully they will be ready to pick in the next week or two. These are some of the largest buds I’ve ever seen. Oddly enough some of the other plants just down the fence have really really small ones.

Made Lair’s classic zucchini boats with the first zucchini from the garden. Made this round with no meat…really doesn’t need it as the zucchini provides plenty of meaty texture.

Rough recipe:

Cut stem off and slice one large zucchini in half and scoop out seeds making sure to make a trough that will hold liquids like an oblong bowl.

Poke holes in zucchini with folk, this will allows liquid to penatrate when it bakes.

Sprinkle on seasonings, like salt and pepper, maybe an Italian Blend. For this round I used Savory Spice’s Wash Park mix and Nature’s Seasoning.

Cut pads of butter and place all along zucchini. Use plenty of butter. I used 3/4 of a stick. I’m sure olive oil would be a good substitute.

On a baking sheet lined with tin foil place them in a 350 oven. Check after 30 minutes. Baste the boats with the liquid that should now be accumulated in the trough. Place back in oven for another 30 minutes, repeat. I like to rotate the baking pan here to ensure even cooking.

The length of time to bake these will depend on the ripeness of the zucchini. This round took 90 minutes. The zucchini “meat” should relax and become very soft, much of the liquid should be absorbed.

While the boats are in the oven you’ll want to prepare your favorite pasta and sauce. This will need to be done by the time the boats are ready.

When the zucchini reaches desired tenderness spoon pasta, sauce and parm cheese over boats and place back in oven until cheese melts.

Was served with garlic bread. If everything goes according to plan the zucchini’s skin should be so tender you can cut it with a fork and eat it along with everything else. No worries if the skin is too tough, just scoop out all of the tender zucchini and pasta goodness. Adding some extra sauce doesn’t hurt either.

This is a great way to use up those monster squashes!

Summer Sunday afternoon activities. Visit to the farmer’s market and predinner Moscow Mules.

My first pork shoulder on the Pit Barrel Cooker.  I’d done pulled pork on my old smoker many times so was interested to see how the
PBC would do.  Long story short, I’d say this was the best pulled pork I’d ever made!

The cook went very smoothly.  This 5lb chunk of meat took around six hours.  I followed the instructions on the Pit Barrel Cooker website.  Made a rub and hung the meat.  The barrel temps held in the 270-280 range for most of the cook.  After about 3.5 hours, when the internal meat temp hit 160 I wrapped it in foil with a little New Belgium’s Ranger IPA.  I put it back on the PBC until the internal temp got to 195.  This took just under two hours.  I let the meat rest for 30 minutes, pulled it apart and put on just a little homemade BBQ sauce.  Served it with baked beans and the first round of Olathe CO sweet corn.  Wonderful!   After about twenty cooks on the PBC, not sure shy I waited so long to cook pork shoulder.  That will not happen again!

Made another round of tri-tip dip sandwiches.  Pretty much the same routine as last week’s as far as cook, with onions and au jus.  We did fresh green beans and baked beans for sides.

Made “steak” tacos the next night with the leftovers.  Sauteed up some green pepper and onion and added the beef.   Really good!

Another round of chicken and potatoes on the Pit Barrel.  Made a custom rub.  Lightly brushed the potatoes with olive oil and sprinkled on some rub.  Served with corn on the cob.

Backyard hops coming along nicely!

Here’s my third tri-tip on the PBC. I made tri-tip dip sandwiches. I was in Phoenix for business last week and a coworker turned me onto the Barbecue Co. down there. I had their Tri-tip Dip. Best sandwich of the trip! I had to try replicating it. So I got a 2.5 pounder from my butcher, rubbed it with a custom dry rub. Did the charcoal chimney lighting method. Starting temp did well, but did have to crack the lid for a spell as usual (for me). Added an onion and Brussels sprouts to my Ugly Great Grate. Also, made an Au jus dipping sauce with beef broth, red onion, garlic, shallot, fresh thyme sprigs, red wine and butter. (had to try making it extra savory since I could not collect the drippings from the tri-tip). When the tri-tip was done, at 135 degrees after about 45 minutes, I sauteed the onion, toasted the buns (spread on some horseradish before serving). Served the sandwich with homemade fries. It was National French Fry Day afterall! You didn’t know?? LOL The tri-tip sandwich (and fries) were a home run! Brussels sprouts were a swing and a miss. Usually when I grill them (a fave side dish around our house), I microwave them a bit first to help tenderize them. I wanted to see how they’d hold up to 45-50 minutes on the PBC. Only the smallest ones were close to being done. Live and learn. However, will be making these sandwiches again for sure!

Fourth of July, 2014.  Did a turkey for the first time on the PBC. I have turkey down pretty good on my old upright smoker, so I was interested to compare the results. Well, the results are in and gull dang if it was one of the best turkeys I’d ever made! It was a 20 pounder, and according to the PBC demo was supposed to take around five hours. Mine took over six, but it was worth the wait. We got a down pour right in the middle of the cook that dropped the barrel temp for a while. I made a custom dry rub and pretty much followed the instructions in the video for prep and hanging. Since the bird took longer and delayed our dinner and I was busy hosting a party, (grilled burgers and dogs too) I didn’t get any pics of the bird coming off the PBC, but here’s a few. I think you can see how juicy the meat was in the last photo.

Made about two gallons of smoked turkey stock with the carcass.  Mmm mmmm good!

Burrito casserole with avocado and homemade salsa.

Burrito casserole with avocado and homemade salsa.

Pork spare ribs on the Pit Barrel Cooker.  Made my own BBQ sauce using Myron Mixon’s recipe.  Only thing I did different was add some XXX Hot sauce.  Also, used his rib marinade.  Was the first time marinating ribs.  Very good!

Did up another whole chicken and potatoes tonight using my Ugly, but works great, Great Grate. Rubbed the chicken with olive oil and Memphis Rub. Taters were brushed with olive oil then rubbed with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. I put those on the same time as the chicken. Overall, took about 2 hours 30 minutes. Pit Barrel performed fine. Cracked the lid a couple times. No biggie. Served with cucumber salad. Ah, Summah time!

Kicked off the first day of summer doing some country pork ribs (the real deal ones this time, thick, some with bones). One guest said they were the best ribs he’d ever had. Not my opinion, but maybe they did rank up there with the best country ribs I’ve ever done. Yes, sir. Served with homemade potato salad and local corn on the cob.

Look.  A salad!  Every once in a while I get the craving for the classic Korean salad, which is chocked full of veggies; spinach, bean sprouts, mushrooms, green onions, red onion and cherry tomatoes.  Oh, there’s a bit a bacon too.  For this round I made the Catalina dressing using this recipe.  Very good!

Happy Fryday!

Happy Fryday!