Ham


Ham.

Now, there’s going to be a lot of different stories floating around the world wide super-web at the moment all tell you how to cook a decent ham… well, in actual fact that may be more applicable to the couple of weeks prior to Christmas but, as we all know, I am not the most talented at being super organized for this sort of thing so for now I shall just be pretending I am super organized and on the program (and not just the methadone program for a change).

So, about that ham…

Like I said, there is a lot of different ways to cook a ham much like say, skinning a cat or pleasuring a lady-man. I am not here to tell you my method is more righteous and will light the path to the heavens for you, but let me tell you it is pretty damn good and I am feeling more than just a little enlightened right now.

Hallelujah!

The other thing about what I did is, well, I cooked the ham from scratch which automatically gets you 300% more kudos than just glazing a store bought smoky leg o’ pig. Also smoking a ham is not nearly as hard as you think it might be, as long as you have a smoker (Bullet/barrel or off-set is what I have used) and a probe thermometer.

You will also be needing a brined (or pickled) leg of pork for this exercise. You should be able to hook this up from your local decent butcher if you give him a little notice.

This recipe is for 9kg of pure porcine glory. If you have a smaller leg, or even half a leg, the cooking time is going to be reduced. Just keep an eye on that internal temperature and hoist it when it hits 170F.

You’re gonna need a smoker
This is a very sexy sight
Get the skin off it (but save it for something like baked beans at the end of the week), glaze it up and get it back into your heated barrel
Carve it at the table like a boss because let’s face it, you are definitely a boss

SMOKED HAM

(serves a small village)

1x 8-9kg leg of brined (pickled) pork
A smoker
Lump charcoal
A few bits of flavoursome smoky wood. I used ironbark

Get your smoker on and get it up to 225-250F. The ham will take somewhere in the vicinity of 8 hours to cook, so bare this in mind when you are setting up your pit.
Add a piece of smoky flavour wood.
Get that leg of pork into the smoker, insert temperature probe into thickest part of the leg and put the lid on so it may do its thing.
Drink a beer.
If you are happy your pit is going to hold its temp for a few hours you could go and have a nap or watch I little bit of that carnival folk pornography I know you love so much.
Now it’s all about keeping that temperature and chucking a bit of smoky flavour wood on the coals every hour.
Once that internal probe tells you it’s 170F in the middle of that leg it’s time to pull it out.
Now you have ham.
Rest the ham for half an hour or refrigerate for a later date. Remove skin, leaving as much of the fat as you think you like (I like to leave it all for flavour and moistness), score (I gave it 10 out of 10 ;)), place in a baking dish and glaze with something sweet and sexy – this year I used 1 cup of honey and a little rosemary.
Whack it back into the pit or a suitably heated oven for another 1-1.5 hours, reglazing with the pan juices every 15 minutes.
Carve that thing at the table like a boss.
Amen.

Enjoyed by parents and children alike

Sexy corn AKA. corn porn


Just like any other story that may be attached to anything porn-esque, I am going to keep this one short, sharp, concise, moist, yellow, wrinkly, lubed up and to the point.

Firstly, you know about the standard – buttered corn.

The entry-level corn for those amongst us who think they don’t like corn or who have not tried it previously. It is for the corn virgin. It is the missionary position of the corn world. Sure it still tastes really damn good, but sometimes after eating the same corn for the whole of your life thus far, you need to spice it up a bit… try something a little more adventurous… invite other corn into the bedroom… what the fuck am I talking about now…

If the buttered corn is the standard, the mayonnaise-y, herby, chilli, cheesy corn is definitely the glory-hole-manning-swinger-tending-towards-sexual-deviancy. Next level. Give it a bash at least once in your life type shit…

Or not.

On to the corn!

Sexy corn looking all sexy and shit.

SEXY CORN (per person for as many people as you like)

1 cob of sweet corn
1 tablespoon mayonnaise – home made or kewpie would be good choices
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 heaped tablespoon of finely grated parmesan or pecorino
1 handful of chopped mixed herbs (coriander, parsley, oregano, chives)
A little finely sliced spring onion (scallion)
¼ lime zest, lime reserved to squeeze over corn
Salt and pepper

Grill or boil the corn for 5 minutes or until it is just cooked. This should be pretty easy for you by now.
Squeeze over or roll corn through mayonnaise, douse with hot sauce and lime, and then layer with all of the other goodies.
Eat it.
Change your knickers.

Winner winner, smoked chicken burgers for dinner

smoked pulled chicken burgers
This week my eldest son Seba, informed me that he thought it was about time he got the hang of smoking.

I could’ve have been concerned and demanded that he stopped hanging out with that tough crowd down the street because they were obviously leading him astray, but I was pretty confident that wasn’t the type of smoking he was talking about. You see, around foodisthebestshitever HQ the main type of smoking we talk about is the smoking of meat.

Once again I could understand how this could be misconstrued, but believe me when I say there is nothing biblical nor quick-cash-earning about this type of smoking of the meat. Also, you should just get your filthy mind out of the gutter, this is my kid we’re talking about here…

So at this point, this 10 year old product of coital union between myself (I think) and my dear wife Jennee almost has me in tears. The lad wanting to follow in the foot steps of his old man, manning the pit and feeding the hoards who desired the smoky goodness. I was damn well impressed. This was definitely a proud dad moment for me.

After a little light reading of a few of my favourite BBQ books Seba declared he thought he would like to spatchcock a bird (his words not mine) and smoke it for a few hours.

Sound idea… except the butcher was sans whole birds today, so I suggested we may need to settle for some chicken breast, possibly pulled and sauced and made into burgers.

Seba was agreeable, so we purchased said breasts and the rest, as they say, is history.

Big Red Rub, butter and breasts... sounds like my kind of party
Big Red Rub, butter and breasts… sounds like my kind of party

Smoker, Fiskars X25 block splitter, beer brewed by the Coopers family and a full watering can just because safety doesn't take a holiday
Smoker, Fiskars X25 block splitter, beer brewed by the Coopers family and a full watering can just because safety doesn’t take a holiday
Seba get's that chicken in the smoker. The task seemed pretty easy for him...
Seba get’s that chicken in the smoker. The task seemed pretty easy for him…
Seba rolling those boobies through the red butter
Seba rolling those boobies through the red butter
Starting to turn into some really sexy breasts
Starting to turn into some really sexy breasts

Loaded as fuck
Loaded as fuck

SMOKED & PULLED CHICKEN BURGERS

(serves 4)

3x 200g chicken breast (free range, yeah. Give the little chooky a half decent life at least)
1 tablespoon Big Red Rub
1 tablespoon butter
BBQ sauce
4 burger buns (I like a slightly sweet milk bun, but I’m sure what ever you choose will be fine)
Lettuce leaves, tomato, cheese, mayonnaise and sliced jalapeno to served

• Rub chicken boobs with butter and then Big Red Seasoning
• Set aside in the fridge to marinated for an hour or so
• Get your weber or upright smoker or whatever it is you use to smoke things ready to go. Somewhere around the 110-120C is the temp I like for this sort of thing
• Smoke chicken on a tray for approximately 2 hours or until cooked through. Turn the chicken and baste with juices every 30 minutes
• Rest chicken for 10 minutes
• Shred it, pull it, do your thing
• Check seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper if necessary
• Moisten chicken with 2-3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce and pile onto burger buns layered with the other ingredients. I shouldn’t need to hold your hand through this one by now, but if I do… well… I’m just not going to. Here is a picture of my 10 year old son sorting it out all by himself. That’s all

Honestly. This is Seba just rocking the "I got this pops"
Honestly. This is Seba just rocking the “I got this pops”

This was seriously one of the fucking best
This was seriously one of the fucking best

Paul’s Caul – Bexhill catch-ups and a cracking roasted cauliflower, chorizo and black pudding salad

cauliflower, chickpea, chorizo salad
Bexhill catch-ups 2016

For all those playing at home, I don’t have red hair and a beard and I’m not G-bags Mcfilthy mouth… no, I am not the father of this blog, I’m perhaps best described as this blogs estranged brother that likes to drop by unannounced and expects every thing that’s great about writing a blog whilst having no responsibility at all… yes that is me in a delicious nut shell, I’m simply a man called Paul who has a shit load to say about food and anything even slightly related to it, like travel, drinking and eating of said food.

I’m a chef that has been cooking for over 20 years all over the place and I have been extremely fortunate to have known G-bags for all of that time. We share a love of food, swearing and most importantly telling the whole fucking world about it, so a blog seemed inevitable. I’m honoured he allows my scribbling’s to be part of foodisthebestshitever and I hope you enjoy them just as much as we love bacon, but lets face it that’s asking quite a lot. Paul – Paul’s Caul

Nothing much excites me as much as a good old fashioned cook up, add to this equation one of my best mates and his awesome family a location in the majestic hinterlands of NSW, and what you have is a formula for some effing good times. So with many weeks of anticipation building and dreams of roasting pork on an open fire pit whilst laughing so hard your cheeks hurt (not in a keep dropping the soap kinda way). The day finally arrived for Lauren and I to visit the Stockdale’s in Bexhill and we were rife with excitement. What’s more we weren’t alone in this feeling, word had gotten to me via many forms of modern tech that the Stockdale’s had some come down with a bad case of happiness anticipation, only known cure was a full dose of us.

We arrived at ‘Bangalow Bowlo’, home of ‘The Stockpot Kitchen’ thanks to lift from Lauren’s brother in law Marty, and after a awkward start of me introducing myself to a complete stranger thinking he was someone of importance in the Bowlo (he was literally a nobody) I spotted a large bearded man discussing a large hole that had just been dug. Now the scene did make me think of numerous gangster movies where all we needed was some lime and a few dead bodies, but with that aside I realised said bearded man was in fact my dear friend ‘G-bags Mcfilthy Mouth’ and the hole was soon to be a new fire pit with spit. It goes without saying that the following embrace and greetings all round were nothing short of magical. Graeme gave a brief tour of his kitchen and we headed off to see his beautiful wife Jen, she was playing soccer so we picked up his boys Seba and obi, before heading back to their home to kick off festivities.

Pork belly over the coals is always a good idea... especially when in the company of charred prawns and green papaya salad with nam jim
Pork belly over the coals is always a good idea… especially when in the company of charred prawns and green papaya salad with nam jim

Let me clarify exactly what festivities means on this particular occasion, for us it always seems to start by hitting up the bottle shop, Graeme’s drink of choice was a carton of Coopers ale and for us it was a bottle of gin. Next it doesn’t matter what you have planned as all that will ever happen is we get really drunk, laugh heaps, eat heaps and somehow (and we literally have no idea how this happens) cook dinner. The day panned out exactly like that finishing with a mouth watering piece of Pork belly accompanied by green papaya salad and some BBQ’ed prawns for good measure.

What makes meals at Casa Stockdale always exponentially better than your average cook up is the wealth of produce produced right there, whether it be from their papaya tree or herbs from garden or pig meat from their local farmer. It truly is a chef’s playground and boy do I like to play in this place, Graeme seems to always bring out the best in me, we wax lyrically about food and before you know it we are conjuring ideas in our heads that excites the bejusus out of us. We scurry off to the shops to source what’s needed in said creations, whilst never loosing sight of the alcohol that is required in such a process.

Nam jim cam
Nam jim cam

Day two kicks off with breakfast out at a new fancy Eco resort in Byron Bay, and quite frankly it was exactly like any other breakfast in fancy Eco resort (or as I like to say Ego resort) anywhere in the world, but the company was banging and the coffee was good so never a bad start to a day. Whilst driving home doughnuts some how appeared in a bag in our hands, then as quickly as they appeared they mysteriously vanished, leaving nothing but a cheeky smile on Laurens face as evidence that this did just happen. It was most likely the guilt of this occurrence that spurred on the idea of going for a quick run before the day once again got away from us. Unfortunately this run did nothing other than turn my ankle into an orb so large it had its own gravity, so all of a sudden I was out of action and had to call upon my sous chef extraordinaire… Lauren ’got mad prep skills’ Alley.

With a vantage point on the veranda and well lubricated by alcohol mixed with painkillers I instructed my sous chef step by step how to create a salad worthy of the Stockdale’s table. This couldn’t be any normal salad I felt it needed balls. If in fact it were a human it wouldn’t just have balls it would most likely have a big fuck moustache and cut wood down with its bare hands all whilst smelling like oak and freshly cut grass. Layers is what we needed, components and layers, flavour building bricks so impressive it would house all three little pigs and that hungry wolf would have to find another avenue to appease his swine cravings.

Lauren's mis en place was more like mis en place plus
Lauren’s mis en place was more like mis en place plus

Lauren’s prepping over the next few hours was nothing short of impeccable, never missed a beat and when I saw how neat her prep station was at the end I nearly cried. Everything cauliflower floret perfectly cut and cooked, black pudding blended and fried until it looked like crispy black gold dust, ginger yoghurt seasoned with a chef’s touch and all this whilst making me Gin and tonics every 40 minutes. If I hadn’t already proposed to this amazing lady, this day was enough to get me over the edge, in fact I should of proposed by asking her to be my sous chef in life, but alas I missed out on perhaps the corniest thing I could possibly of said. But lets face it we all know there will be many more ridiculous things I will say to this very special lady, so no point worrying about lost moments in time, back to layering of metaphorical flavour bricks.

This particular salad was a great example of my theory of what makes a good dish, basically because every one of the numerous ingredients was treated differently. If you were to grab all of the ingredients and toss in some oil, season and roast then whack in a bowl with some yoghurt and ginger, I’m sure it would of tasted nice… Nice! Who the fuck is happy with nice? Not me that’s for sure and certainly not while cooking at Casa Stockdale… nice is a jumper you get for Christmas, nice is someone letting in a lane whilst driving, nice is having enough water left in a kettle to make a cuppa… I hope with all of my heart that nice is not a word used to describe my food.

Black pudding getting the love it deserves
Black pudding getting the love it deserves

So when trying to achieve food better than nice a little respect for the produce is all that’s needed, I want you to think about exciting the produce, making it happy to give its life for a cause of such magnitude that they literally jump into the pot kamikaze style. Ask your Spanish onion out on a date and whilst you gaze into his eyes chop him up and whack him in a pickling liquid and don’t just use vinegar and sugar like some sort of pickling gypsy with the imagination of a blind mole with no legs. Fill the pickling liquid with many flavours as only remnants of this flavour every make it to people mouths, the love you put in is for the onion (or whatever you are pickling) if the onion is happy, this happiness will rub off on other ingredients and people can taste happiness… this is a fact!

Food is a lot like people, if you treat everyone the same and never see people for what they are and what they are best for, then you will not get the best from people. Same with food, yes I want to roast both cauliflower and chickpeas but they will not roast together evenly and I reckon the cauliflower will pick on the chickpeas not allowing them crisp to their full potential. So I separate them like naughty school kids and low and behold they behave. Then I come to wanting to add some sausage to this many-layered beast, and I look at the chorizo and black pudding that I have plucked from the depths of ‘The Stockpot Kitchen’ cool room and I think to my self I want your flavour but don’t really want massive chunks of sausage kicking back in the salad. As the black pudding had already been smoked in ‘Thomas the meat engine” I decided to blend it up into a chunky crumb and fry it until crispy, and the chorizo was raw so we removed the skin and rolled into small meatballs and fried also… this is a huge part of my dish creation process, changing produces size and shape changes its flavour and ways you can incorporate it into dishes.

So we have now wined and dined our produce and basically showed them all a great time on their last day on this sweet earth, so its now time for them to shine in the final hoorah… Lauren now only had to build the beast and with 10 plus delicious ingredients this was extremely easy, like everything she touched this day it turned to gold and her job had come to an end. Graeme in the meantime had been busy roasting ribs on the fire pit along with potatoes, carrots and onions… but don’t for a second think you can even imagine how good these vegetables tasted after being roasted in foil on the ashes, they rose like the proverbial phoenix onto the table freshly drizzled with olive oil, salt and many herbs.

Pork ribs and coal roasted vegetables are good times
Pork ribs and coal roasted vegetables are good times

So the table was set, by whom I have no idea as by now I was completely off my tits, thanks to my consumption of many different painkilling remedies. By now our good friend and word witch Gitana had joined the festivities, so we sat and gazed at the wonders that lay before us and regaled each other with the highs and lows of the day just gone. I couldn’t help but think how god damn lucky we are to be able to share the love of food with people that mean so much to us. Supposedly that beautiful notion was all in my head, as I was so far gone I just sat there and spoke gibberish whilst swearing heaps in front of the kids. But I like to think that it’s all about what you recall the next day more than what actually happens that counts.

Day three was the day Lauren and I got to finally eat at ‘The Stockpot Kitchen’ and my god was it worth the wait. Not one thing we tried was anything but amazing, flavours that pack a punch and combinations chefs can only dream of creating. Graeme’s love for food has been an incredible journey that I have had the privilege of watching happen, but sitting in his and Jen’s restaurant that night made me as happy as I can remember being. Thank you brother for your continued inspiration and friendship.

Salady highlights. This little bad boy is definitely worth a bash
Salady highlights. This little bad boy is definitely worth a bash

CAULIFLOWER, CHORIZO & BLACK PUDDING SALAD

I’ve explained this salad in the many layers used to build it… nothing is hard to do so I’ve left the explanation simple ☺

Basically get all of this ready and build in the order below.

• Ginger yoghurt- grated a little ginger into yoghurt and season

• Rocket

• Beetroot dressed with pickled onions (explanation underneath)

• Black pudding, crumbled and fried

• Chorizo balled and fried

• Brussel leaves blanched and refreshed ice-cold water.

• Cauliflower florets, olive oil, salt, baked in the oven until crispy

• Chickpeas drained, washed with oil, salt, curry powder, Gary my sailor, baked for longer until crispy

• Shaved fennel, half lemon and generous pinch salt

• Spring onion & coriander fresh & chopped.

*Pickled onions – apple cider vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, love, bay leaves, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, dried chilli or flakes. Few hours.

*Beetroots – Rosemary, garlic, orange simmer until tender. Skinned. Cut into halves & 4-6 wedges each half.

*ADD PICKLED ONION TO BEETS TO DRESS BEFORE ADDING TO FINAL SALAD.

This is Jelly the dog
This is Jelly the dog

Flood goals #2: roast chicken with fruity nutty stuffing

roast chicken with fruit stuffing
The rivers and creeks that have swelled more than Gina Reinharts chin banks will eventually subside. The waters shall recede like George Costanza’s hairline and the semi rural vista shall become apparent once more. It shall sink to depths lower than teenage despair, it shall become shallower than last years prom queen and as weak and feeble as my famous person analogies. That’s what the water will do…

Until then we shall relax and enjoy this forced hiatus from the outside world. At a town meeting we shall decide that we actually prefer this cessation of ties with the outside world. We shall talk about forming our own government and who should be in charge. We will be divided through our options, heightened with a splash of cabin fever. Alliances would be formed. Weapons would be made. The townsfolk will become angry and fights will break out. Oh no, Piggy got smashed with a rock.

Maybe we just need to hope and pray for these waters to subside a little quicker…

While we wait I will take that chook I spoke about last post – you know, the chook of noble upbringing and reputable past – and I shall make a stuffing worthy of being rammed into it’s butthole. And then, my friends, I will indeed ram that stuffing into the chook’s butthole and then we shall roast it and eat it in our bellies.

That’s what I’m going to do.

Stuffy stuffy stuffing
Stuffy stuffy stuffing

Nah, that chook's stuffed mate
Nah, that chook’s stuffed mate
I do believe this would be called the money shot
I do believe this would be called the money shot
Oooh. Nom nom nom
Oooh. Nom nom nom
I told you braised greens were a good side...
I told you braised greens were a good side…

It was really good
It was really good

FRUITY NUTTY CHOOK STUFFING

1 thick slice sourdough bread, diced nice and small
2 dried figs, chopped,
1/4 cup almonds or cashews or whatever your favourite nut might be right now or a mix of the lot, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each onion powder and garlic powder
A big handful chopped herbs – parsley, sage, rosary and thyme (yeah, sing it)
A splash of white wine or apple cider to moisten slightly
1 chicken to put the stuffing inside of
Oil
Butter
Salt and pepper

• Pre heat oven to 180-200C

• Massage all of the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl (Yeah massage. Get right in there. But probably leave the essential oils out of this one…), season with a little salt and pepper and then leave to soak up the love for a few minutes

• Get the stuffing into the chicken. I do not believe there is polite and tidy way to do this so I just stuff it in there best I can

• Rub the chicken with a little oil to get it’s sweaty bald man sheen on, and then season with salt and pepper

• Into the oven for 1hr 20mins or something thereabouts – until the juices in the leg joint run clear is a good indicator. After 1hr rub chicken down with a little butter to get that all over tan going on. Once that sexy bitch is cooked rest for 15 minutes and then carve. Pan gravy and braised kale from the garden was a damn fine side for this delicious bird

When the water was at it's peak it would have been close to 2m up that cactus in the fore ground
When the water was at it’s peak it would have been close to 2m up that cactus in the fore ground

Flood goals: all I wanted was a cheese and kimchi toasted sandwich

cheese and kimchi toasted sandwich
To be absolutely honest, a cheese and kimchi toasted sandwich is something I think about quite regularly. The only problem with my cheese and kimchi toasted sandwich dreaming is that it doesn’t always hit me at the most practical of moments. Sometimes I will be driving my car, other times I will already be in bed and damn near falling to sleep and other times I will be midway through beating my carnie sex slave: all very inconvenient moments I think you would agree.

Today I woke up thinking about a cheese and kimchi toasted sandwich which, as it turned out, was to be very convenient timing.

I quickly discovered that today I would not be leaving the house. Housebound. Placed under house arrest by the unstoppable force that is Mother Nature. My case was unappealable, my sentence unquestionable: I had indeed been put on lock down by the powers of Mother Nature through broken river beds, submerged bridges and the formation of vast inland lake positioned exactly where I vaguely remember yesterday was a field containing a few cows, an old tracker and a farmer who was doing something very strange with his Lismore Agricultural Show Society blue ribbon winning crop of root vegetables…

This is our back yard. The river is normally chilling at the base of the tree line in the back ground...
This is our back yard. The river is normally chilling at the base of the tree line in the back ground…

So yes, we were indeed flooded in. I took this rare moment of incarceration to take it upon my own self to make said cheese and kimchi toastie* and it was bloody delicious. As I ate my toasted bread bound treat I pondered what it would be that I would be cooking for our dinner – as is often the case on any given day of my life but certainly personified when I am house-bound – and I quickly remembered I had stashed a chicken that was gifted to me by my friend Andrew who grows chickens** in a field in the hills behind Byron Bay.

But that’s up next. Here’s your cheese and kimchi toast for a rainy (really rainy) day.

Get on it.

Load it up. Pretty simple eh.
Load it up. Pretty simple eh.

Golden brown is a pretty good colour for a toasted sandwich.
Golden brown is a pretty good colour for a toasted sandwich.

CHEESE & KIMCHI TOASTED SANDWICH (per sandwich)

2 slices of your favourite bread – I used a cheese and jalapeño loaf I get from Jordan’s Bakery in Mullumbimby
2 slices of your favourite cheese – I used jack cheese but anything cheddary works very nicely
1/2 cup kimchi (recipe here if you’re keen to make your own. It’s pretty bloody easy and tasty and really offing healthy I’ve heard)
Olive oil and butter to cook
Tomato ketchup to serve because I pretty much have tomato ketchup with every single toastie I have ever eaten ever

• Put one slice of cheese down on your first slice of bread, cover it with kimchi, put more cheese on top and cover with the other slice of bread to form “a sandwich”

• Heat a splash of oil in a frying pan on low flame. Add sandwich to pan and brush a little oil over the bread on the top side of the sandwich. Fry sandwich for 2 minutes or so each side

• When sandwich is starting to brown rub top side with a little butter, flip and repeat process on other side. i do believe the butter helps it brown more evenly and also makes the sandwich extra tasty with it’s amazing buttery powers

• When sandwich is browned and cheese is melted it’s time to eat that bad boy. Usually I like eat my toasted sandwiches with a splash of tomato ketchup and you best believe that’s what I did today

*Toastie. Also a very feasible name for the toasted sandwich around these parts.

**He doesn’t grow them like people might grow corn or marijuana crops, but I still feel I can use the term in this instance. He does let them live in large enclosures though, which I think is pretty good because then they get to eat bugs and grass and shit which is stuff that chickens like eating.