Thursday, August 16, 2007

MIT BBQ & Tailgating Prep

Today when I was walking around outside work I noticed that someone had set up a BBQ stand in the plaza next door. Actually I think its been there most of the summer but I've never wandered over and checked it out. Today I walked past and noticed that the sign says its run by I Smell Smoke, a BBQ team name I recognized from various other BBQ-related blogs. Unfortunately I didn't have any cash and assumed they weren't equipped for debit card. Looks like the menu was primarily pulled pork sandwiches with chips and soda. I'm going to have to make this stop next week.

Tomorrow Cassie and I are going to a night time Patriots preseason game versus the Titans. Should be a great evening. The best part about August preseason games is the warm tailgating afternoons and the lack of pressure on winning. Last year we went to a game about this time, but this year we're going to do it right and head out earlier in the afternoon.

I'm starting to put together a menu for the afternoon and thinking it will center around a slow smoked encore to the ribs I did on vacation.

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Posted by Nat Tarbox. 1 comments

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Seasoned Skewers

On a trip up to Maine to see my parents this past weekend we celebrated my upcoming birthday a little early. True to past form, bbq equipment played a heavy theme this year. Rather then one round up of the fun new grilling widgets, I thought I would examine one at a time. First up, the interesting Seasoned Skewers: naturally flavored wooden skewers for infusing flavor and aroma into kabobs.

Seasoned Skewers

The box came with three different flavors: citrus rosemary, garlic herb and mexican fiesta. For tonight's trial we were making kabobs out of chicken jalapeno sausages, mushrooms and peppers, and I chose the garlic herb skewers to go with it. My assumption was that the flavor wouldn't be able to compete very well with the flavored chicken sausage, and that the peppers have so little contact area with the skewer that there wouldn't be much transfer to those either. The mushrooms however have a nice neutral flavor, absorbent flesh and abundant contact area. The next time I experiment with these skewers I plan on using a more neutral ingredient combination such as some slightly seasoned chicken or shrimp.


The skewers come with a small recipe book and some nice packaging. The aroma after opening the vacume sealed plastic pouce that each flavor comes in was quite strong but appealing. The skewers are wide and flat, presumably to help transfer the flavor via more surface area. The instructions said to let the kabobs sit for 15 minutes before grilling, so I went out and lit up ol' Smokey Joe.

Smokey Joe

The chicken sausage comes precooked, so we're really just heating things up and adding some nice grill color. Because of this I let the veggies, particularly the sensitive mushrooms, define how long the kabobs stayed on the grill. We were having some corn too so I let that cook by itself for awhile before adding the kabobs. Total cooking time was roughly 20m, probably only half of that actually involving the kabobs. I'm not going to embed the photo here because some people might find it incredibly gross, but while the grill was working its magic Cassie and I observed an enormous, lepoard spotted slug emerge from a hole in the pavement. If that sounds like something you'd be interested in seeing a good macro photo of, click here and here.

Corn n Kabobs

When we took the food off the grill the aroma garlic herb aroma was noticeable and pleasent. It didn't seem artificial as I had assumed it would. When we sat down to eat my expectations regarding how the ingredients would react to the flavor was pretty accurate. The strong hot pepper flavor of the sausage dominated, the peppers didn't have much flavor to them, and the mushrooms were strongly flavored. What I hadn't counted on was the actual aroma that the skewers delivered to the kabobs. Even the sausage had a deliciously interesting aroma to it. I'm looking forward to trying the other two flavors, and hopefully tailoring some more interesting combo recipes to their specific qualities. Overall I would say that despite appearing to be slightly gimmicky on first pass, these skewers can really add some aromatic presence to the proper kabob ingredients.

Chicken Sausage Kabobs

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Posted by Nat Tarbox. 2 comments