Archives for category: Introduction

I love BBQ. There is something primitive about cooking meat over an open fire, especially when you are cooking ribs. After the meat is done and I am holding the rib with my bare hands and ripping the meat off with my teeth, I feel a connection with hunters and foragers from hundreds of thousand of years ago, who probably ate the same way that I did.

As primitive as the idea of BBQ sounds, a bit of science still comes in if you want to make good BBQ. Temperature control and time are the two biggest factors in BBQing. Good BBQ takes time to cook, so it’s very important to be ready early in the day if you want to eat in the evening.

Temperature control on a charcoal grill is unpredictable, and every time you start a fire, it’s different from the previous fire. Also outside factors like wind, weather, humidity all comes into play when you try to build the perfect fire. If you are using a gas grill, cooking temperature is a lot easier to control and maintain for long periods of time. There is a lot of debate out there over Charcoal vs. Gas grills, some say that the charcoal grills have better taste, others like the convenience of gas. I really wanted to learn how to grill on a Charcoal grill so after we moved to Austin, I purchased a Weber Kettle Grill.

Since I bought the non-premium grill without a built in thermostat, I took my candy thermometer and stuck it through the round vent holes on the top of the grill.  My method of cooking is indirect heat, which means half the grill is lit for a slow fire, and the meat is placed on the cooler half not directly over the coals. You want your meat cooking temperature to be around 220F-250F. It is very important to place the thermometer/vent opening directly over the area where the meat is so you can correctly gauge the temperature of cooking. If you measure 220F in your thermometer, but your measuring over the coals, that means your meat cooking temp is lower than 220F, and your meat will take longer to cook.

There are a lot of good information online on how to start and maintain a fire, direct and indirect cooking, and smoking meats. I would recommend bbqrevolution.com, since they have a lot of step by step guidelines.

For this BBQ I decided to smoke two types of spareribs ribs, total cooking time would be around 6 hours. I also decided to make some corn cakes, baked beans, and green bean salad to go with the meal. It’s not a BBQ without some sort of pie, so I finished off the meal with a Banana Cream Pie.

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I love to cook, and I cook a lot at home. I cook a wide variety of food and I tend to cook new recipes each time. I’m starting this blog as a food diary of all the dishes I’ve made, but also share my experience with other cooks, and people who like to eat but think cooking is challenging.

Many people view cooking as a chore, others get frustrated and flustered by recipes. With all the recipes available online, it’s hard to know what’s a good recipe, and if what you cook will end up looking like the magazine photo. With this blog, I want to show people that with proper planning and good organizational skills, cooking isn’t nearly as intimidating as it may seem. Cooking may not be for everyone, but this blog will be my ode to cooking.

I started to really get into cooking around 2006, and it’s one of my favourite hobbies. For me, I love every part of the cooking process: the menu planning, grocery buying, figuring out the cooking order, chopping, dicing, waiting for the water to boil, even dish washing (which I usually do by hand, because taking good care of your dishes and pots is like oiling and sharpening your sword after battle, you will be better prepared for next time). But the thing I love most about cooking is the social aspect of it.  Cooking a wonderful meal is only half as fun as having some one, or a party to share it with. Food brings people together, and a good meal usually puts people in good mood (and even better with alcohol).

I initially started cooking for myself, but once I started to invite my friends over, I realized that the more mouths to feed, the more dishes I can cook. Eventually I got to cook a 6 course tasting menu for a beer tasting party that my boyfriend was hosting for 32 people. It was a lot of work but it also was one of the best cooking experiences that I’ve had.

Every time I cook, I always learn something new, and I never get tired of cooking. I also travel quite often for work and vacation overseas, so my cooking is always inspired by the most recent place I’ve been.

Hope you enjoy my blog!

Weijiaofdeath