Cowboy beans! Yeehaw!

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So I made some cowboy beans.

Actually, I’m not even sure what cowboy beans are, but this is what I imagine they may be. But they may not be this at all. Definitely do not tell your friends these are OG cowboy beans as that may not be fact. I would even go so far as to say there is a high chance it would not be fact. It could even be said that you pretty much just shouldn’t take any of the words on these here pages, or indeed those that pass my lips, as being fact. I’m pretty much a big fat faker. This is not gospel and I am not the lord. Onto those beans…

I feel they would be most authentic served from a big pot on the back of the chuck wagon. That is a fact.

Time for oven loving

Now it’s get into my face time


COWBOY BEANS

(For the family. Like the whole family. Like extended family, neighbours, stray kids and those carnie folk just barely clinging onto life in the cage under your back stair case… and then there will probably still be some to freeze down for later.)

500g navy beans, black beans or whatever the frick kinda dried beans you have floating about in the back of your wagon, soaked over night and then cooked until tender
500-800g whatever meat you have floating about in the back of your wagon. BBQ leftovers are the best for this – smoked brisket, pork ribs, actually any cut of pork or sausages… roast left overs… or just some nice smoky porky things from your local man
1 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder and hot sauce
1 tablespoon each American ballpark mustard and Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Big Red Rub or your favourite BBQ dry rub
½ cup tomato ketchup
3x 400g tins crushed or chopped tomatoes or something similar
Salt and pepper
Fried eggs (or crack them straight into the beans and bake for an extra 5 minutes for tasty-assed one pan glory), chopped fresh herbs, jalapenos and toast to serve

Chop meat/s into bite sized chunks.
Heat a splash of oil in a large oven pan over medium heat. Add meat/s and sauté until browned a little.
Add all other ingredients and cook out for 5 minutes.
Check seasoning and adjust if necessary (that’s what your salt and pepper is for).
Place into 180-200C oven for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Add a splash of water if mix starts to dry out – kinda saucy is kinda good I reckon. (You could finish these beans totally on the stovetop if you don’t feel like lighting your oven… or you just don’t actually have an oven… but they really do benefit from a little oven bubbly caramelized tomato bits. Jus’ saying)
That’s it. Serve it up – breakfast, lunch or dinner. Pretty simple, just how the cowboys would’ve liked it. Yeehaw.

Stalling on the smoked brisket

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bbq smoked brisket
This is one recipe that is pretty essential for anyone who is really keen on BBQ or in fact anyone who really enjoys any type of food-based, guaranteed STD free, pornography going on in their mouth.

It is also a recipe that I’ve taken my sweet time getting up here for your viewing pleasure.

Yeah, I’m heaps soz.

Anyhow, I need to keep this short and sweet just because I shouldn’t even be trying to entertain you folks (yeah plural. I know for a fact there’s at least three of you now) with this conduit of my love of food to the outside world and I should definitely be tallying invoices and dockets from our last week at the restaurant. Can you see what’s happened? I just opted for the more fun option… not very good at adulting at all am I?

So the one thing I feel I should bring to your attention is that the brisket does a little thing around the 65C mark that people in voodoo BBQ circles worldwide like to call “the stall”. The brisket may indeed stall at 65C for half an hour or so. It’s just what it does. Get used to it and we can all still be friends.

Nice.

Go smoke some brisket now.

Start with one of these or something else that is good for smoking meat

Start with one of these or something else that is good for smoking meat

Smoking brisket makes me smile

Smoking brisket makes me smile

Slice it up so many people may partake in the smoky briskety goodness

Slice it up so many people may partake in the smoky briskety goodness


COFFEE SMOKED BRISKET

(For a gathering of the hungry man’s club.)

3.5-4kg beef brisket (a bigger brisket will just take a little longer)
2 cups strong black coffee
Salt and pepper
Probe thermometer
Pretty much all of the other sides on these pages work with smoked brisket, so take your pick.

• Season beef well with salt and pepper. Proper well. A good handful should do the trick
• Get your smoker up to 110-120C and while your waiting around, get that coffee into a spray bottle
• Get the brisket into your smoker, making sure you keep a fairly constant-ish 110-120C. Give your beef a nice little spray with the coffee every 30-40 minutes
• After 4-5 hours the brisket should have an internal temp of 65-70C or so. This is when I like to wrap it
• Remove the brisket, give it one last spritz with that coffee and wrap it with alfoil. Return to the smoker for another 3-4 hours or until the internal temperature at the thickest point in the brisket is 92-95C. This is definitely as specific as I get with this whole cooking lark and there is a reason for that – this is how you make it really effing good!
• Once the brisket is at 92-95C remove from smoker and rest for one hour
• Make sure you let it rest for 1 hour as this is how it ends up really sexy
• Now and only now it is time to eat your brisket
• Get some sides together, get some sauces together and then get it into your face. Or get it on a burger with some BBQ sauce*, jalapenos, pickles and chopped white onion for my current favourite. Still, as long as it ends up in your face you will be happy

*I like 2 parts this BBQ sauce cooked out with 1 part maple syrup. 2 cups BBQ with 1 cup of maple. Simmer that out for 10 or 15 minutes over med-low heat. You can do that, right?

That's my bit

That’s my bit


All pics, except that one of the smoker, belong to my friend Bec Clark.

Girls vs Boys Southern Smokehouse Cook-off

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A man, a coffee and a smoker

It was to be another cook-off at foodisthebestshitever HQ. The teams were girls versus boys; the girl’s team comprising of my wife Jennee and her sister Liz (who can get an extra special mention right now because she flew in from the other side of the country especially for the occasion), while the boys team was made up of myself, yer ol’ uncle Grazza, and Jennee’s brother, Queenie. The theme was “Southern American Smokehouse” or something thereabouts. The esky was full of booze. The table was set. The competitors were ready. The Girls v Boys Foodisthebestshitever Cook-off 2016 was about to begin…

*The people in the story may be fictional, but the events are real.

The boys

We (the boys) felt there was a lot of smack talking from the girls. Like, a lot of smack talking. The girls were being particularly good at smack talking. In fact, I was walking down the street in a local town when I was approached by a young man who informed me that he had heard a rumor my man Queenie was very slightly hung. Now, Queenie may not be the manliest of guys names but I know for a fact that this brother is packing the equipment needed for the job. Well, I’ve heard he’s packing… don’t look at me like I’ve been sussing out my brother’s package. Holy shit you guys know how to contort a story… much like the women folk around these parts… great segue. That bloody smack talk.

A weaker boys team may have crumbled, but our resolve would not waver. We cleared our minds and our pipes, centered our chi and got the eff on with the job.

Our little tree motif was whittled by Queenie, made from 100% repurposed wood that was otherwise just laying around, taking up space and producing air and shit.

The rocks displayed our organic approach to our cooking and our lives, and the ebb and flow of the world we live in.

The plates were also repurposed old plates, which were recently introduced to their new life as, well, plates.

That was our story and we were sticking to it.

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Feel the emotion

Our Ode to the South was based on nothing more than a child hood obsession with KFC and an adult (or maybe more correctly termed; a 30-40 year old) obsession with smoked meat… and fried chicken… and an old Elvis 7inch. Still, it was our Ode to the South none-the-less, and it went a little something like this;

• Pulled pork finger, cheesy jalapeño crust, pickles, kimchi mayo
• Smoked rib, Big Red Rub, mustard sauce
• Tater tots injected with white trash heroin AKA cheese sauce
• Beer battered onion rings, ranch dressing
• Fried and then smoked and then fried again chicken, hot sauce, blue cheese sauce
• Smoked jalapeno popper
• Smoked brisket burger, crumbed (breaded) milk bun, slaw, barbecue sauce

The girls

The girls relied heavily on smack talk in an attempt to throw the boys from their game. But they did eventually bring some tasty and creatively produced treats to the table, ensuring a close competition.

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That layered salad was pretty special

The girls based their plate on a love of the hush puppy and 1980s layered salads. Happily re-jigged to fit with-in the guidelines of the “Smokehouse” brief, their entry went almost exactly like this;

• Layered salad with crumbled corn bread, smoked capsicum and corn, pickle and iceberg lettuce
• Smoked pork rib
• Smoked prawn, smoked Andouille sausage and smoked eggplant hush puppies

The result

Once the smoke had cleared and the gloves were un-tethered and removed to reveal calloused hands strapped crudely with ordinary house hold masking tape, the votes were tallied and the announcement of a winner was tasked to our youngest child, Obi. It was said around the table that both boys and girls had brought their A-games to the kitchen this day but unfortunately there could be only one winner – one team whose A-game was in fact a little A-er.

On this day of our lord, Sunday March 27th 2016 *drum roll please*… it would be the boys that would march away victorious from this cooking stadium, heads held high and then swiftly and smartly the victory was relegated to a distant memory, one that would not be spoken about ever again, as we were the men folk and we knew about the way of the world…

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That onion ring. Bangin’

A recipe for the WINNING BEER BATTERED ONION RINGS (enough for a few sides or maybe a Friday night on the couch watching midget wrestling)

2 med-large onions of your choosing
1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub or Cajun/Créole spice mix
1 bottle o’ beer… whatever you’re drinking will be fine
Oil for deep frying
Seasoning
Ranch dressing and extra Big Red Rub to serve

• Slice onions into 1cm-ish rings, popping the first 4-5 center rings out for something else you’re cooking that has onion in it
• Heat oil in a deep fryer or pot or plastic bucket if you’re not that smart. 180C is the go
• To make batter mix flours, oil and spice mix. Slowly whisk in beer until your batter is quite smooth and is thick enough to coat your finger nicely. Not too thick is the key here
• Coat the onion rings with plain flour and then dip them into the batter. Drag them out of the batter and ever-so-slightly drag them across the side of the bowl to remove excess batter
• Lower them gently into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until crisp and golden, turning half way through
• Drain on kitchen towel, season with salt and pepper and a little extra Big Red Rub, serve with ranch sauce on the side

Porkies Barbque, Bayswater, FTW

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porkies barbque bayswater
There’s bound to be a bit of spam coming your way after my recent trip to the grand old sheep station (state) of my birth, Western Australia, but first I need to take a moment to tell you about a little place called Porkies Barbque… and secondly I need some sleep. I really need some sleep. Booking flights back home and forgetting about the three hour time difference resulting in us actually arriving home at ridiculous o’clock, like actually almost the next day, like actually almost just drive straight from the airport to work and just cross a day off the calendar type shit is a very rookie error. Young players, eh.

Yeah, I’m tired. Cut a negro some slack would ya.

I could go on about my pain forever, but this folks is mostly about Porkies Barbque.

So much good shit to choose from

So much good shit to choose from


This place is a little jewel in the crown of the appeal of a trip back to Dubya (WA) and dare I say a shining light in the local barbecue scene. A scene that appears to be booming more than the mining explosion (now that was a pretty fucking worthy pun right there) of the last ten years, more than the high fibre, pre-biotic, legume heavy, dieters’ trouser trumpet, and possibly even more booming than the voice James Earl Jones. Yeah right?

Or maybe it isn’t booming at all and I am once again spoon feeding you ill-informed rubbish from the mystic void that is my brain. Mystic void… shit’s getting creepy now…

The viking banquette hall

The viking banquette hall


Walking into Porkies was like walking into a new age version of a Viking banquette hall… and me likey modern Viking banquette hall very much. Even though there was a very limited supply of drunken wenches to take advantage of, and even more limited tolerance of raping and pillaging in 2016, I found the many options of barbecued goodness and other good things to be a suitable consolation prize. Also, the place was a lot cleaner than a Viking’s banquette hall so there would be no need for a tetanus booster today.

Something I noticed really quickly was the rolls of paper towel on the tables, which believe me was more than a little surprising considering the dodginess of my vision on this day. I was not in good shape, feeling more than just a little bit ill. I blamed a less-than-fresh seafood pasta I had eaten the previous day, Jennee claimed she had not seen be consume any pasta dish on the previous day and instead pointed the finger of blame at the ridiculous amount of alcohol I consumed the night before. I reckoned whatever, I was still very impressed by the rolls of paper towel – this meant there was a good chance things were going to get messy.

No words

No words


And messy they did get. Not quite “giving birth messy”, but messy none-the-less.

We ordered the Sampler for 2 ($59.50) topped up with ½ kg Buffalo Wings ($13.80) FTW*. This platter came with a lot of things you might expect plus more; smoked brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, chicken breast, jalapeño bread, corn slaw and three sides of your choosing. FYI we chose crispy mac n cheese, baked beans and a mini salad.

Where shall I begin? (This is where I engage my point form skills)

Still no words

Still no words


• The smoked ribs, pulled pork and chicken were amazing. Truly effing amazing. That smoky meaty goodness definitely made my life better that day. The brisket was a little dry and not heaps smoky but still good once lathered in one of the sauces on the table
• About those sauces on the table; bloody fantastic! Sweet barbecue, mustard sauce and hot sauce for your face to get excited about
• The buffalo wings were fucking amazing, crispy little tasty flying things with a touch of spice
• The salads were a little under seasoned, as I’ve decided is often the case with barbecue meat joints (but lets face it, we were there for the meat… it’s not like you go to a brothel and critique the bedside decore is it?), but they had a big assed shaker of seasoning salt on the table so that was easily rectified
• The fried mac ‘n’ cheese was awesome. You can probably make it yourself if you take a look at this recipe from Paul’s Caul right here
• The baked beans were constituted of 4 parts porky goodness to 1 part beans. I see nothing wrong with that
• It came with jalapeno bread, which is quite possibly one of the most genius things ever. I want this stuff in my life. I will make this into my life. It was like I had finally met my long lost child. I will love this bread like it was one of my own… I realise I’m starting to sound a little desperate but I want this bread
• The place even has bottomless soft drink refills and iced tea to wash everything down, but if you like a more alcoholic version of something wet to have with your barbecue, you’ll need to pack that yourself

There you go. Porkies Barbque. Get on it!

The writing was on the wall

The writing was on the wall

*Is FTW an acronym for “for the win”? I asked a young person and they said it was but now I’m not really sure… I’m using it anyway. If it means something different in your world let’s just pretend you know it means “for the win” in mine

JR’s Smokehouse Barbecue – more than just a smokehouse barbecue… actually, it is totally just a smokehouse barbecue and a damn fine one at that

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jrs smokehouse barbecue coolangatta
This has been a long anticipated date for me.

I have been very excited since hearing that Gold Coast to Byron Bay caterer, JRs Smokehouse Barbecue, had moved into their own little shop front in Coolangatta, just an hour up the road from us.

The menu looks a little bit like this

The menu looks a little bit like this


Initially we ventured up here on the wrong days (this place being closed Sunday and Monday) but then we remembered we can actually find out everything we need to know about this place on the world wide interweb which, much like the climax of the female of the species, was no further than a well trained flick of the finger away. We looked at a thing called a web-site, which in turn told us when this holy church of wood smoked goodness would be open, and in turn when barbecue Jesus (AKA Joel) would be turn his body into smoky, smoky brisket, ribs, pulled pork and hot links, and of course his blood into Coopers ale.
All of the good shit plus a little pulled pork

All of the good shit plus a little pulled pork


So, the aforementioned web-site told us that this holy place would be open for lunch on Saturday and the opportunity quickly presented itself so we got our asses and the asses of our children and even enlisted the asses of Jennee’s brother, Queenie, and his family for this evangelical smoky awakening.
My dinner plus beer and home made condiments... you know I love home made condiments

My dinner plus beer and home made condiments… you know I love home made condiments

That chicken... I ate some of that

That chicken… I ate some of that

There's the volcano nachos on the right... I think I ate some of them too

There’s the volcano nachos on the right… I think I ate some of them too


I have point-formed the heck out of my meaty experience just to make this whole thing manageable for myself…

• The brisket was so soft it was melting in my mouth and out of my face and dripping down onto my boobies… well I don’t have boobies but I do have some strange assed fantasies that’s for sure. I am pretty sure I was dribbling a little when I ate the brisket. This was hands down, ripped of and fricking replanted, the best piece of brisket I have ever eaten. Better than mine, better than yours, just damn good.
• The ribs made me feel a little special on the inside.
• The pulled pork with mustard sauce was moist and melty and a little awesomely tangy from the mustard sauce. Mustard sauce and my family are two things I truly love about this world.
• The house recipe hotlink with jalapeno and cheddar was fricking amazing. This was seriously one of the best snags I have put in my face in a long while; popping in my mouth, spurting its cheesy goodness, with just a hint of jalapeno and a whole heap of smokiness. I’m pretty sure that sentence had words in it that are not allowed to go together.
• The chicken tasted like chicken but better because it was covered with smokiness and still moist and delicious on the inside.
• The beans were smoky and had a suspiciously porky looking product in them so they were born to win.
• I was looking for more dressing on the salads, but it would also be true to say that I was certainly not there for the salads. The pickles and home made condiments more than made up for any issues I had there.

This is a place that you should make an effort to get to if you are even remotely into barbecued goodness and with-in range… and when I say “remotely into barbecued goodness” I mean you have a mouth and are any kind of omnivore/carnivore, and “with-in range” is clearly referring to someone who has a mouth and is any kind of omnivore/carnivore (that’s not a typo). Maybe just call ahead or check the interweb for opening hours. Yeah, do that.

JR’s Smokehouse Barbecue, 39-41 McLean St, Coolangatta, QLD

Coffee Beef Brisket with Spicy Barbecue Sauce… and a month in the life of foodisthebestshitever

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coffee brisket with home made barbecue sauce
I don’t even know where to start about what has been happening in my life that is so damn important that I don’t have a free moment to say hi to you folks out there in Blogland. I know, I know… I should probably start at the beginning. Yes, that makes perfect sense… start at the beginning.

Well *takes a deep breath* you know how we opened a restaurant back a little bit? No? Well we did open a restaurant a couple of months back and that is well and truly sucking me dry of inkling of spare time I thought I might have had. Yes I am it’s drunkard seafarer and it is my two dollar lady of the night… except with minimal risk of venereal disease. We have been waiting for a restaurant to call our very own for quite some time now, and this restaurant was a very fortuitous opportunity indeed, that presented itself as we were in the middle of some pretty big house renos, oh, and we were already pushing extra hard to get these house renos done by the time of my fortieth birthday party… which was just last week.

*pauses for another breath*

*tries to work out what the hell the point is and possibly if there is a segue here at all*

Yep. Proper grown up now… well at least that’s what they keep telling me.

So, in rather a large “fuck off” to being old and permanently retiring my dancing shoes, we held a bit of a ho-down and partied just like it was 1998 again… minus the lollipops. Ah the lollipops. Definitely one of those stories best saved for another time, like possibly when you and I sit down with the colonel and enjoy a good stiff drink whilst wearing our brown dressing gowns… AKA not at all.

We partied like twenty year olds and then spent three days recovering, looking not at all dis-similar to a person with an acquired brain injury or possibly a group of incapacitated elderly minus the incontinence… well, mostly minus the incontinence. We certainly SHOULD have had carers but no one had the foresight to book that shit in so there we sat, verbally defecating all over anyone who was with-in earshot. We had defective head meat. My brain’s wifi was weak, very weak and there was no sign of the signal improving for a few days at least. It was like my brain was using one of those cheap and nasty service providers that give you reception nowhere… basically not even close to being able to perform the one task they were created for. So that was my brain. Got over it eventually but it was certainly not a pretty sight.

Also, just a little something I noticed this year about birthdays. Why does everyone tell you what to do on your birthday? Seriously, everyone I saw had something to say, telling me to do things like “enjoy your day”, and my social media was filled (yes filled. I’m hella popular in the virtual realm… not sure what happened in reality) with comments like “have a great birthday” – straight up just telling me what to do. Well you know what? You have a great day; I’ll do what ever the fuck I want.

Just a little something I noticed…

While my brain recovered I searched for a recipe past Graz may have had the foresight to stash for future hungover Graz so that he may appease the people and, much to his credit, past Graeme had done me proud. Here’s what that sexy bastard saved for me.

Cook some brisket

Cook some brisket

Make some barbecue sauce

Make some barbecue sauce

Put it into a burger with some 'slaw

Put it into a burger with some ‘slaw

Sit in the carpark

Sit in the carpark

Eat the shit out of that bad boy!

Eat the shit out of that bad boy!


COFFEE BEEF with SPICY BARBECUE SAUCE (for a gathering of the hungry mans club)

3-4kg piece beef brisket
2 cups strong black coffee
1 cup water
Salt and pepper
The home made bbq sauce down below
Rolls and ‘slaw to serve

• Marinate beef in coffee and extra water overnight or at least… well… overnight, just like I said
• Roast covered in 150C oven or simmer very gently on the stove top for 5 or so hours* or until very tender. If liquid dries up before meat is cooked add a little water, 1 cup at a time, until that bad boy is melting like your heart did when you first saw that young lady you now call your wife. This is also a grand opportunity to pull out your slow cooker and let the beef simmer away for the day in that. Do it, it’s feesable, don’t feel like you’re cheating anyone here
• Once that piece of sexy beefy goodness is done set aside and allow to cool for a bit
• Now slice it up (or shred it for a pulled beef type scenario) best you can and get it onto a bun of some description, possibly with a bit of ‘slaw and a little home made spicy barbecue sauce, and get it into your belly

SPICY BARBECUE SAUCE (adapted from Manfuel)

May I just say this spicy barbecue sauce certainly is the good shit.

1 cup tomato paste
4 cups water plus 1 cup water
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
½ – 1 cup chipotle chilli, depending on how much heat you like, chopped or pureed
2 teaspoon each smoked paprika, ground cumin, onion powder and garlic powder
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup corn flour (starch) to thicken

• Cook out tomato paste and brown sugar on a low heat until sugar is dissolved
• Add the rest of the spices and stir until mostly dissolved. Cook out for a minute or two
• At this point add in the 4 cups of water and apple cider vinegar
• While the sauce simmers a bit, combine the 1 cup water with the corn flour (starch) in a bowl and mix thoroughly until completely dissolved
• After letting the barbecue sauce come up to a simmer, add in the corn flour mixture and stir everything thoroughly
• Once again bring the sauce back up to a simmer and you should notice it thickening up fairly quickly. Simmer the sauce for 3 – 5 minutes more stirring as it goes. Don’t simmer too long with the corn flour in there or the thickeners could break down
• Put this all over your brisket burger so it drips down your shirt and you look like an animal. I really do enjoy a good sloppy burger

Smoky Beef Brisket and Potato Hash with the left overs from that BBQ Jennee cooked yesterday

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When you have a bit of brisket left over from your barbecue, and maybe a few of those coal roasted potatoes and the garlic butter that accompanied them, and possibly a bit of chopped onion, tomato and capsicum left from that salad, I feel there is but one thing a young man can do… and that one thing is not to make a weird sex film for the inter web super highway starring one man and his dinner. No, there are plenty of those about already. That one possible scenario I can take from this is to make brisket and potato hash!

What a breakfast!

This is certainly not going to be the kind of thing you will consume for breakfast if you routinely start your day with a cup o’ tea, shredded apple, muesli and co-yo (coconut yoghurt. If you haven’t heard of it you will… you will) and a skim read of the local newspaper, saving your real reading time for the supermarket pamphlets in the middle.

This will very seriously appeal to you though, if you spent the night previous drinking your body weight in alcoholic beverages and, on this morn, you are the proud owner of a sore gut, throbbing head and very low IQ. This food was born for hang overs… also, it would probably suit you if you were just down right keen on a meaty slap up breaky!

Done.

On with the cooking.

Mis en place? Check. Did that last night. Damn, I love left overs

Mis en place? Check. Did that last night. Damn, I love left overs

Time to sort this out

Time to sort this out

BRISKET AND POTATO HASH (for 4)

2-3 cups shredded brisket (or what ever meat you want to use/have lying about)
3 medium potatoes, cooked and cut into large chunks (I had a bit of sweet potato left over so that went in there too)
½ onion (I don’t care what colour it is), diced
1 tomato, diced
1 capsicum (bell pepper), diced
1 jalapeño chilli, sliced
Seasoning
Fried eggs, rocket or spinach, toast and HP sauce to serve
• Sauté brisket and potatoes in a little oil
• Once starting to get some colour add all other ingredients and season to taste
• Cook for another 2 minutes
• Serve with toast and eggs and sauce and shit
• Straight in your face hole!!

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