Pretty easy, using up those Sunday BBQ leftovers, cassoulet.

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Today I realised I have not made cassoulet for quite some time. Sure, I’ve made pit beans and I’ve made cowboy beans, but I haven’t made a classic French cassoulet. And today I shan’t be making cassoulet either. Instead I shall be doing that bastardising thing I love to do so much and use a little smoked meat I have left over from the weekends cook to create my own little smoky assed, junk yard dog, mongrel cassoulet. And just like that junk yard dog, this dish is literally begging for you to give it more meat… give it all of the meat.

If I may digress just a little…

The cassoulet is basically a brothel. It has a big illuminated sign above it’s front door inviting more meat to the party. It does not care of the origin of the meat. It’s a “the more meat the better” type situation for the cassoulet… much like the brothel.

But as I said earlier, this is a mongrel version of said cassoulet so don’t go reporting me to the Traditional Cookery Police (TCP) because as we all know; dobbers wear nappies.

If you would like to make a bang up, bona fide, old school, full of fat and confit duck, Frenchy cassoulet, you can find a recipe by a great chef by the name of Guillaume Brahimi, right here.

I have also used tinned cannellini beans to keep it quick and easy. Tinned legumes defo have a place in my cupboard.

Cut the top off the garlic so it looks like this

Saute the meat and vegetables

The mongrel cassoulet sharing the table with some more beans. It’s a pretty friendly sort, really


PRETTY EASY MONGREL CASSOULET

500-750g smoky meaty leftovers (depending on how much you consumed or may have left over from that BBQ comp on the week end ) – start with pork neck or ribs and then add sausage, brisket, lamb and/or chicken – all chopped
2 tablespoons drippings from that meaty goodness
1 small onion (or half a large onion as I have used), diced
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
1 tomato, diced
1 bulb garlic, left whole, top sliced off to reveal a little garlic-y flesh
A few sprigs of parsley and thyme
1 bay leaf
2x 400g tins cannellini beans, strained
500ml chicken stock. Homemade is best but sometimes store bought might be all you have on hand and it will still work, I can guarantee that
1 cup breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 200C.
Lube up a casserole dish or cast-iron pot or something that you can put in the oven with the drippings and then sauté meat and vegetables over medium heat until vegetables are starting to soften and brown a little. Alternatively, you can sauté the meat and vegetables in a pan and then transfer them to an oven proof dish.
Add all other ingredients except bread crumbs, stir to combine and season.
Top with bread crumbs and place in oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until golden brown and smelling delicious.
Eat it.
Put it in your face with a little green salad, or maybe some green beans with onion vinaigrette if you want to be the same as us.

One last pic of the ingredients…

Nachos supremo

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This is a story about some really good nachos.

I am not implying that you don’t know how to make nachos, it’s just that these nachos are, well, probably better than yours. Soz.

And these nachos also involve one of my favourite sort of early week cooking scenarios – using up the inevitable pile of smoked meat or other random goodies I have left from my weekend of backyard experimentation (just to make it clear I have not been sewing chickens bodies to pigs faces or anything freaky like that, and I certainly haven’t been doing any of that your-turn-to-take-me-roughly-from-behind, keep it in the garden shed type experimentation either. Just above board, smoky meaty goodness. Thumbs up)

If you have the skill set you could defo make a pile of delicious smoked meat and awesome condiments, (which is something I do enjoy doing with my spare time and that is the truth) but the fact of the matter is that I am a cook and that’s what I do with my life and I am not so stubborn and/or dumb that I can’t realise that often times your kitchen skills may be borderline mediocre at best and you need a little help with a meal that may involve more than one pot and indeed a slew of ingredients.

So I guess my point is this – either a) make friends with someone who loves to BBQ and more importantly is quite decent at it, and clean up their BBQ leftovers after the weekend or, b) head down to your local BBQ joint of good repute and purchase some tasty meaty goodness from someone who can actually cook this stuff, and then it’s onto some kick-ass nachos.

In the words of the late, great Ramones – let’s go!

Still life featuring nacho ingredients

Heating my pork ribs on the ol’ Warm Ray

Choppy choppy pork rib

Nachos supremo


NACHOS SUPREMO (serves 4)

1 family pack of corn chips
1-2 cups chopped left over smoked or roasted meat (I had smoked pork ribs)
2 cup of pit beans or nacho beans
2 cups grated cheese
1 cup guacamole
1 cup sour cream
½ cup tomato salsa
Pickled onions and jalapenos
Coriander
Hot sauce
BBQ rub or some kind of nacho seasoning

Spread corn chips over an oven tray, sprinkle grated cheese over the top and then bake in a pre-heated 200C oven for 5-10 minutes until chips are warm and cheese is melted.
Meanwhile, heat your meat and beans (separately) and set them aside.
When chips are where you want them, slide them off the baking tray and onto something a little cooler to serve or, you know what, just eat them the heck straight off of the oven tray. I fricking love that shit.
Scoop beans onto the chips followed by meat, guacamole, sour cream, salsa, pickles, coriander, hot sauce and seasoning.
Eat that, drink beer and thank the dear sweet lord for BBQ left overs!

I would suggest the couch is a good place to eat these

Singapore noodles with smoked pork

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Sometimes I forget how much I love noodles. Especially Singapore noodles. Oh, how I love Singapore noodles.

This is pretty easy, mid-week (should possibly read; great for late evening after maybe one or two too many beers when you forget that a man, and of course woman, needs to eat) cooking that is tasty as fuck and can certainly be toyed with as much as your sweet little heart desires. This time ‘round I had some leftover pork ribs that I took all the meat from like a white man taking land in centuries past, but this could easily be made with pork, chicken or beef mince, or prawns that are cooked off at the start and then returned to the pan as per the recipe, or you could even crumble in a little tofu with the vegetables if that’s your scene.

But for now – less talky, more cooky.

Put all ingredients onto a chopping board to photograph them before you cut them up

…and then maybe cut it all up and take anther photo

High heat sizzle sizzle

Noodles and condiments is good times for my face

So much about this makes me happy to be alive


SINGAPORE NOODLES WITH SMOKED PORK (serves 4)

400-500g smoked pork (or some kind of meat or non meat substitute)
Rice vermicelli
1 medium brown onion or a few shallots (scallions), sliced
2 cups of chopped vegetables – today my refrigerator had celery and zucchini for me and then I found some sugar snap peas in the garden
1 thumb sized piece of ginger, grated or chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
2 tablespoons curry powder or garam masala
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Chopped chilli, crisp eshallots and fresh shallots to serve

Place noodles into a bowl that is big enough to fit them plus some. Cover noodles with room temp water for 20 minutes.
Now for another opportunity to impress your friends with your smoking hot wok antics. So yes, you will be needing a smoking hot oiled wok… or possibly a very large pan… or maybe even two regular sized pans.
Add the vegetables, garlic and ginger and give them a couple of minutes of fiery stir frying.
Now add all remaining ingredients plus the pork (or substitute meat or non-meat product) into the pan.
Give that a quick heat through and get it on the table… or possibly on a plate followed closely by onto the table, garnished with chilli and shallot.

Goodnight

Potato, roast carrot and corn salad… and its good friend, the BBQ sauce

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potato salad, bbq sauce, barbecue, low and slow
This is a damn good salad.

It’s good with heaps of different other things on the table too.

It’s also just pretty damn good to put a big fat bowl of it into your mouth late night after a little too much rehydration therapy.

It is a salad that has appeared next to some of my favourite meaty things over the past 6 months or so.

I guess now would be a good time to mention that this is not a story about how the little potato salad, the side dish, the supporting actor rose to glory and became the main event in it’s own right. Nope. This is not a win for the little man, this is really quite simply a recipe for a salad. A damn good salad… and it’s good friend at the BBQ table (or breakfast table… dinner table… burger feast… bedroom), the new and improved recipe BBQ sauce.

Read on.

That potato salad

That potato salad

Some other things we put on the table next to that potato salad

Some other things we put on the table next to that potato salad

POTATO, ROAST CARROT & CORN SALAD

With upgrade options.

(serves 4-6 as a side)

3 medium potatoes, diced about the size of the keys on your computer keyboard, boiled or steamed until tender
2 medium carrots, roasted and then cut a similar size to the potatoes
2 sweet corn, kernals removed from cobs, tossed in a pan with some oil for a minute or two
*1 chorizo sausage, sliced
*1 green capsicum (pepper), medium diced
3-4 shallots (spring onions), sliced
1 large handful parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

• Mix it all together. Effing simple as that
• *Add upgrade options if you’re keen
• Season to your liking with salt and pepper
• Fuck yes

That BBQ sauce

That BBQ sauce

I also enjoyed home  made pickled jalapeños on the table with my BBQ. Maybe we should make them together some time...

I also enjoyed home made pickled jalapeños on the table with my BBQ. Maybe we should make them together some time…

BBQ SAUCE

1.25 cups tomato paste
1.5 cups brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup (just like cocaine, the pure stuff is best but if the cheap stuff is what you can afford then I’m sure you’re going to buy it anyway)
125ml apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons each onion powder, garlic powder, cumin
1 teaspoons each dried chilli flakes and ground black pepper
scant ½ cup corn flour, whisked into 1 cup water to form a slurry
¾ tablespoon salt
1lt water

• Dump all of the ingredients except cornflour slurry into a large, heavy based pot
• Simmer over a med-low heat for 45 minutes or so, stirring often to avoid burning and fusing to the bottom of your pot
• Stir in corn flour slurry and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly
• Right now you could put it into your smoker at 110C for an hour or so for a little smoky love because we all need a little smoky love in our lives from time to time or you can let it cool, stirring from time to time, and then pour it over just about anything that’s going to end up in your mouth
• Did you notice how “stirring constantly”, “stirring often” and “stirring from time to time” are all use in different points in this recipe? That’s because they are all different things! Work it out!

Pork ribs, truffle mac cheese, chow chow (can be found on these pages somewhere), that potato salad, jalapeños and that BBQ sauce. this made my face happy

Pork ribs, truffle mac cheese, chow chow (can be found on these pages somewhere), that potato salad, jalapeños and that BBQ sauce. this made my face happy

Girls vs Boys Southern Smokehouse Cook-off

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IMG_6214

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.

SAMSUNG CSC

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

Pork Ribs in the Ghetto Smoker

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smoked pork ribs
Last week I got into a big jet plane… all the while never ever being able to get the song of the same name by Angus and Julia Stone out of my fricking head… they owe me money for that for sure. Anyway, I get into the plane and in turn that same plane took me from Brisbane in Southern Queensland as far as it could travel west to the worlds most isolated capital city; Perth, Western Australia.

The people on the plane were very nice. They even fed us while we were in the air.

But what gets me is, well, even on the same airline, for the same money, a flight from one destination may have some pretty average food and not much of it, yet when you head back the other way the food is almost bearable and it just keeps coming. No consistency… it’s like the meals are produced on rotating roster by the local Women’s Auxiliary Crochet Society, the Hospital canteen and possibly even the local footy club, using whatever was in the fridge and looking like it was getting close to it’s use-by date… and yes, I am seriously critiquing airline food.

I am learning to move on though… step by step… one day at a time.

So… it may or may not come as a surprise to you, but I do not carry a barbecue where ever I travel, but oft the occasion does arise where I find myself donning someone else’s kitchen apron – usually with something novel on the front like bare bosoms or “cooks do it in the kitchen” – and getting saucy with whatever barbecue apparatus it is that they may have.

How though? What if you want a bit of smoky goodness but what they have is the barbecue equivalent of a Lada Niva, what are you gonna do? Ghetto Smokehouse to the rescue! What the fuck is Ghetto Smokehouse, you ask? Also, you’re probably curious to get some kind of evidence that I have shown some kind of commitment to being permanently off the “glass barbecue”. For the answers to these questions and more you will need to read on my friends… read on…

Porky riblets rubbed down with the red stuff

Porky riblets rubbed down with the red stuff

In the Ghetto Smoker. That's the wood chip parcel on the right

In the Ghetto Smoker. That’s the wood chip parcel on the right

And then the pork ribs go into the belies of the people

And then the pork ribs go into the belies of the people


GHETTO SMOKED PORK RIBS WITH BIG RED RUB & CAROLINA MUSTARD SAUCE

• First you need to procure yourself some pork ribs from your favourite butcher. We got the nice man/lady/lady-man to leave a bit of extra meat on a few little pork riblets , but you can use this same method for whatever it is you would like to smoke. Unless it is a cigarette, you will need a mouth to smoke one of those
• Give your ribs a good coat of Big Red Rub* or your favourite BBQ spice rub. Set them aside to marinate while you get your “Ghetto Smoker” sorted
• To get your “Ghetto Smoker” up and running you need a barbecue with a lid, woodchips (hickory is good and also available at just about every barbecue store or the larger hardware stores, but there are heaps of other woods you can use – google “smoking wood” to suss a few… actually “smoking wood” is not a good thing to put into the big search engine) and a little alfoil (aluminum foil)
• Wrap a few large handfuls of wood chips in a little foil basket/package. That little package goes over a low flame on the grill bars until it starts smoking, and then your ribs or whatever it is that you want to be smoking go on the hot plate or grill bars just next to it. Once again you want to have little to no heat at all directly under your ribs – they are going to get most of their heat from the smoker flame once the lid goes down. If you put the heat up things can go pear shaped pretty damn quickly and your shit will end up looking worse than Anakin Skywalker after he decided it would be a good idea to head into the Jedi temple and start killing younglings… so yeah, low heat
• It’s going to take 2 ½ hours or longer for your ribs to be cooked and delicious, but if they are not quite ready when you check them (and you will mutha effing check them) you will put them back in for another half an hour or so
• NB. YOU NEED TO TAKE A PEEK EVERY HALF HOUR OR SO. You want the temp inside the chamber to be 150-160Cish. If it’s getting a little cool turn the in direct heat up a little (not the heat under the ribs… remember Anakin). If the wood chips burn out put some fresh wood chips back in to ensure your smoky satisfaction. If you need your dinner in 20 minutes head down to Micky D’s drive-through for a bagful of guaranteed disappointment
• Once ready slice ribs, brush with a little Carolina mustard sauce* and serve
• Bam. Effing bam!

*I know I said I don’t take a barbecue travelling but a man needs his condiments. Sending home made condiments to friends who reside in your holiday destination (best sent to peeps you are reasonably sure won’t use them so they remain unopened until you arrive) is also a sound way to ensure your homemade goodness is ready and waiting for you.

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

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