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Root Beer BBQ Sauce

15 Aug

A real simple sauce for us root beer lovers.

Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Root Beer BBQ Sauce



6 cups root beer

1 cup ketchup

1/4 cup molasses

1/8 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cinnamon stick

3 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp black pepper

2 TBS worcetershire sauce

1 tsp yellow mustard


Add the cinnamon stick to the root beer and boil it on high heat until it is reduced to about 1/3 of it’s original volume.  Reduce heat down to a slow rolling boil and remove the cinnamon.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients except the vinegar.  Boil for ten minutes.  Add the vinegar and reduce heat to a simmer for another ten minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken.


Pork Chops With Crumbled Bacon

15 Aug

While making my bacon wrapped sweet potatoes I decided to use the left over bacon bits to add to my smoked pork chops.

Smoked Pork Chops With Bacon Crumble

Smoked Pork Chops With Bacon Crumble

After the first layer of bbq sauce I just crumbled up the bacon on top and then added more sauce on top of that.  The pork chops were pretty thin to be smoking and I didn’t decide until today that was what I was going to do with them so I didn’t brine them like I usually would a piece of pork this thin.  Because of that they didn’t come out quite as juicy as I would have liked but they still tasted really good.  I used root beer bbq sauce on this batch of chops.  The wife wasn’t crazy about the sauce but she doesn’t love root beer like the boy and I do.  That and she’s really spoiled.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potatoes

15 Aug

So many ways to make sweet potatoes and I haven’t found one yet that I didn’t like.  These ones are simple and delicious.

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potatoes

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potatoes


3-4 sweet potatoes

1lb  bacon

1/2 cup  maple syrup

1/4 tsp   cayenne

black pepper



Set your smoker up at 225 deg.  While that is coming up to temp peal and rinse your sweet potatoes.  Slice them into pieces the same width as your bacon.  Wrap your potatoes with the bacon one time around until it overlaps.  Pin the bacon on with a toothpick and trim off the excess bacon.  Place your potatoes in a tin foil pan and sprinkle a little black pepper on the top.  Place your pan in the smoker and cook until the bacon is done and the potatoes are nice and soft, around 2 hours.  While that is cooking take your bacon trimmings plus the slices that were left over and chop them up into 1/4 pieces.  Fry those up nice and crispy.  You don’t need them for this recipe but just add them to whatever you want to make it 100% better.  Take a tablespoon of the bacon grease and add it to the maple syrup, along with the cayenne.  When the potatoes are about 15 minutes from being done.  Pour that glaze over the top of them.  When your potatoes are done take them out and let them stand for 15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

If you don’t have a smoker, this recipe still works on the grill with indirect heat.

p.s. be careful when eating these, the bacon makes a nice insulator and will keep the sweet potatoes hotter than you think.

Drum Smoker

11 Aug

All the home improvement projects that the wife has assigned me just isn’t enough.  So I have decided to start a new project of my own.  While looking around trying to gather the various parts I needed to make my drum smoker I stumbled across Big Poppa’s website.  After seeing how nice their stuff looks, and at a reasonable price, I decided not to use a bunch of mismatched hardware like I had originally planned and to use their much prettier stuff instead.  Now I just need to get my hands on a food grade drum.  Luckilly there is a drum supply house just down the road in Roseville if I can’t find one second hand somewhere first.

On second thought, this project looks so easy maybe I’ll have my 13 yo build it to hone his redneck fabrication skills a little.

Bigg Poppa’s Smokers Drum Smoker Kit

Drum Smoker Kit

Drum Smoker

For those who don’t care what it looks like and want to just gather some parts at the local hardware store, this is the other option.  DIY 55 gallon drum smoker

It’s time to step up your game.

8 Aug

If you’re good with a grill and have decided to take the next step and start smoking, I would highly recommend starting with this book.

Backyard BBQ: The Art of Smokology

Backyard BBQ

This is an excellent book if you’re just learning how to run a smoker, and it’s still my go-to book for smoking recipes.   I have a large stack of cookbooks for grilling and smoking and find myself coming back to this one all the time.  Along with his great recipes, he explains the basics of smoking for you.  There are bigger and fancier books out there, but Richard W. McPeake’s recipes are just plain good.

My bacon and bourbon bean recipe started with a recipe in this book that I modified to give more bite.

His twice smoked recipe for pulled pork is the best pulled pork I have ever had, and I’ve had a lot.

Smoked Bacon & Bourbon Beans

8 Aug

I remember when I was growing up my grandma was famous for her baked beans.  They were a staple at every family reunion and in high demand at functions she attended.  I love baked beans and have tried hundreds of different kinds in my lifetime but hers were the standard that none other lived up to, that is until I discovered a recipe and modified it to this.  I have to admit, this recipe is cheating a little bit.  Unlike hers, they start with beans from a can so there is a lot less time just getting the beans ready, but I think she would still be proud of the result.

Adding the finishing touch to the beans.

Adding the finishing touch to the beans.


1 lb.           bacon sliced into 1/4″ pieces

1                large onion

4                jalapenos, seeded

1                28 oz. can Bush’s Country Style Baked Beans

1                small can pinto beans (drained)

1                small can great northern beans (drained)

1/4 cup    molasses

1/2 cup    brown sugar

4 TBS       plain yellow mustard

1/4 cup   BBQ sauce (I tend to favor Carolina style sauces with lots of vinegar)

1 tsp        paprika

1 tsp        garlic powder

2 tsp        cayenne

1 TBS      BBQ rub



Fry the chopped bacon until the fat is mostly rendered out.  Without draining, add the onions and jalapenos.  Continue cooking until onions are translucent.  Stir in the brown sugar until everything is nicely caramelized.  Transfer to your dutch oven.  Stir in all other ingredients except the bourbon.  Place your dutch oven, with the lid off, in your smoker.  If you have a vertical smoker put the beans right under your smoking meat so the juices drip down into your beans.   Doing this with different types of meat just adds a little variety to your recipe.  I’ve done it with both beef brisket and pour shoulder and it’s just a slightly different flavor of delicious.  Because the recipe uses canned beans it will be ready much quicker than if you started from scratch, 1-2 hours depending on how thick you like your beans.  I like mine nice and thick so they get the full 2 hours.  When your beans are almost done, add some bourbon to taste.  It doesn’t take much, a TBS or two.  Take your beans out of the smoker and let them cool and thicken a little before serving.

If you don’t have a smoker, or just want to cook some beans when you don’t have your smoker going, just dump all your ingredients in a crock pot and add a couple drops of liquid smoke.  They won’t be quite as good as if they were smoked, but still damn tastey.

Matambre a la Pizza

2 Aug

Not your ordinary flank steak.

Two of the foods they love in Argentina are beef and pizza.  In matambre a la pizza they have found a way to combine these two favorites into one delicious dish.


Flank Steak

Whole Milk

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Pizza toppings of your choice

Pizza Sauce

Parmesan Cheese




The trick to grilling flank steak is not making it tough.  To overcome that you can just boil your steak in milk and let the enzymes break down the meat.  In a pan large enough to hold your steak, bring some milk to a low boil.  Be careful or the milk will scorch to the bottom of your pan and it’s a real bitch to get clean.  Boil your steak for about 45 minutes.  Remove the steak from the milk, rinse it off, pat it dry. This wasn’t included in the original recipe but I found that when you boil the steak it kind of shrinks up so it’s smaller and thicker.  So what I like to do is just carefully slice it into two thinner pieces.  On a grill that has been preheated to high cook your steak on one side for about 5 minutes.  Flip it and reduce heat to medium.   Lightly salt and pepper each side as it’s cooking.  After flipping, cover your steak in pizza sauce, fresh mozzarella, and your selected toppings.  You already have plenty of meat that is going to be your crust so I generally just add some veggies.  One of my favorites is sun dried tomatoes, minced garlic, onions, peppers, and some fresh basil.  From this point it’s just like cooking any other pizza, close the lid and cook it until the cheese starts to brown up around the edges.  Remove from the grill and sprinkle some Parmesan on top.  This is a great recipe for when you’re trying to keep the carbs low but still have a craving for some tastey pizza.

The next time I make this I’m thinking of trying something a little different and instead of boiling it in milk I will throw the steak in a crockpot with some marina before grilling it.

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