Les Noiracochon - The Black Pig BBQ
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Les Noiracochon - The Black Pig BBQ

Striploin Steaks

Strip Loin SteaksThe Other Half
of a T-Bone

The next of our series on steaks is the striploin steak. As mentioned above it is the other half of the T-bone steak. The T-Bone is made up of the striploin and the tenderloin muscles. This was my Dad’s favorite reward for his old weber kettle grill. While we were happy for hot dogs and hamburgers it was red meat for my dad. I remember the ½ quart of BBQ lighter fluid squishing out under pressure and the fireball of flames that followed. How we had to wait ½ hour for the Kingsford charcoal briquettes to go all white and then the meat to hit the sear of the grill. While dad grilled I  ran for a stubby of Labatt's 50 for him and the neighbor. At that age, I didn’t “get it” but I do now; a cold beer, a good steak and some hot coals. I’m not sure why this is such a guy thing but it is, so all you Weekend Grill Masters prepare to perfect your skills as we enhance your steak grilling wizardry.

Yes we can all salt and pepper a steak and throw it on a grill. However, this time we are going to enhance what you already have. There is two thoughts I have about this and that is a dry salt brine and a Citrus Marinade.

Dry Salt Brine

All that seasoned meat I have been telling you not to buy is pumped full of salt water, other than adding a lot of unnecessary weight it actually does tenderize your meat, salt brining is a good thing, I just do not like the method that is used commercially. A good salt rub will do wonders for your steak.

I am a firm believer in Montreal Steak Spice as a go to rub, it has it all. This is one of those times when a ¾ inch steak will not do 1.5 -2 inches is the way to go, they are monsters on the grill.

Striploins salt rubbedGive your meat a light coating of oil and then a generous coating on both sides of salt rub and let the meat rest for a few hours in the fridge (4 hours is even better or even overnight if you can wait that long).


I can hear the whining now; “but Mike the steaks will bleed the juices out of the meat and it will be too dry”. Again I call POPPYCOCK, yes salt will bleed moisture out of your steak but something magical happens after a little bit of time. In about 45 minutes, it will create a salt brine and then that brine will mix with your rub this will then draw the moisture back in along with all the other flavours. Thus your seasoning will penetrate into the cell structures throughout the steak, this will tenderize it deep inside. When you're ready to grill wash off your steaks and give them a “lite” seasoning and they are ready for the grill.

Marinade for Beef

In order to tenderize a steak you need to break down the fiber of the cells and one of the best natural ways to do this is through an acid. Unfortunately an acid alone will tenderize the surface contact but not deep into the meat causing a mushy surface. The introduction of oils will penetrate deeper into the meat thus this is an excellent medium. Taste is the last component of a good marinade, so let’s think. We have salt which will create an opening of cells, oil for deeper penetration and a citrus, which adds a a delightful flavored acid. Let’s add some garlic and herbs and we have a winner. The best steak I ever had was a flank steak marinade in lime juice for 2 or three days. My good God I was converted and my pursuit of the perfect steak through marinades was initiated.   

Mike’s Marvelous Mexican Meat Marinade

Lime Citrus Marinade
2 cups olive oil,
½ cup fresh lime juice,
1 head of garlic pealed,
2 tablespoons of kosher salt, 
Cilantro to taste. 



Place all ingredients into the blender and allow them a quick whirl. Put the mixture into a zip bag with the steaks and rest overnight, turning a few times. When the time comes to grill no need to season them just pull them out and straight on the grill.

So back to our striploins, these are the easiest to cut from the whole muscle, slice to the desired thickness and if you like you can trim the fat cap off.

Striploin steaksStriploin Roast









My family likes it off, I keep a few for me left on I don’t mind a nice grilled piece of fat, there is something savage about it. I not going to debate fat on or off, it’s a personal choice. While I don’t want to call it genetics it’s a girl thing most of the time, they are trained to not touch any fat, so I always go back to “it’s all about the girlies”.

Next week we slow smoke and reverse sear


Cheers From the Big Dog

Filet Mignon, A Cut Above All Others

filetBeef Tenderloin

The Ultimate in Beef Steak


If there was ever one steak that rules supreme, it is the filet mignon. You can find this steak at the centre portion of the beef tenderloin and it is by far the daintiest of all steaks, hence it name “mignon”. This wonderful steak has been credited for our world championship win not to forget countless other competitions. Ours was a brie stuffed bacon wrapped filet mignon with a red wine reduction and micro-grilled onions. I do not expect everybody to go to that extent but with a little fire on the grill you too can be a weekend grill master.


Tenderloin is one of the least worked mussels in the cow and thus very tender. That trade off is that well worked mussels are tasty, well beefy flavour tasty. Expect to Beef Cowpay top dollar for your filets, excellence is costly. To be price effective, I recommend that you go to your local wholesale club warehouse and pick up a tenderloin, it’s going to run you $70 - $120 depending on the sales. This is where sometimes an “AA” will do but remember to make sure it has not been seasoned. DO NOT be afraid to trim this down, yes there will be some waist but when compared to a “PSMO” fully trimmed, peeled centre cut that will set you back $120-180, a little work is ok.

beef tenderloin untrimmed
There are three muscle groups to consider in the tenderloin. The “Chain is the long slender side muscle, some people discard this. I personally think they are nuts, as it can easily be saved and served as a separate meal. The next portion is the butt and that is the double mussel in the end.



Beef tenderloin trimmedFirst step is to trim the chain off and that can be done mostly by hand with the occasional help from a sharp knife. Put the chain muscle aside, trim the fat and silver skin off the roast, there a dozen of videos on trimming silver skin so I will not repeat. Once you trim down your loin (yes it is painful but it has to go otherwise you will be flossing your teeth with it, silver skin simply does not break down).

tenderloin broken down
Repeat the trimming of silver skin with the chain muscle, don’t worry it will be worth it. If you are going for maximum steaks, trim off the butt and reserve with the chain, otherwise save it for a nice roast (which is what I usually do).

Slice your steaks about 1.5-2 inches and you should get 6-8 steaks. As for the chain and the butt think Carne Asada and that will be another blog.

Putting heat to the meat is an all other matter for these babies, grilling, hot and fast, or pan sear and finish in a hot oven are the top two methods. There is also sous-vide reverse sear, slow smoke which what I think delivers a whole new aspect. Nonetheless, we will deal with the top two methods as they are the most popular and I will forgo the charcoal in favour of my propane Crown Verity Gas Grill.


With either method, you need to get some spice on them, salt and pepper will do. However if you want to go with a little more flavour then I would recommend a Montréal steak spice. We have a Black Pig Steak Spice but that is not available commercially (yet!).

Rub your steaks with some oil; canola or peanut, I have been known to use olive oil from time to time. Notice I did not call it EVOO; that term drives me nuts as does the dim untalented bimbo that made that term famous (I digress). Hold the steaks for a few hours in the fridge then allow settling to room temperature. This is the usual time we hear people say “Ohhh salt will draw the moisture out of the meat resulting in a dry steak”. POPPYCOCK, this will season the meat deep into the cells, more on this next week when we do strip loins.


There are two mandatory tools you need to cook excellent steaks, a nice digital temperature probe and a good sturdy set of tongs. If you’re a hot shot chef you can squeeze the meat and tell when it’s done, I wouldn’t let the chef on our team do it, as I wanted a precise temperature read and not a guesstimate. In competition the judges do not send back a steak that isn’t cooked perfect they just lambaste your scores. GET THE PROBE.

Our first two methods are both high heat sear, not the best in my opinion but fast and convenient.


FIRST….  Pan Seared Steak


Yum, this is a favourite of mine and I classify as comfort food. If it’s just me and the boy we will grab a steak and pan sear it. The only additional tool you need is grandma’s old slick cast iron fry pan.

Heat your pan on high until it is smoking hot, and then give it a few more minutes. Meanwhile set your oven to bake at 500 (f) as a matter of fact, do that first, you can set your fry pan inside the oven and let it get rocket hot in there. With your element on high and your pan rocket hot, add some oil say a tablespoon and drop in your steak for 30-45 seconds then flip the steak….repeat this process 6 or 8 times. Again you may have heard old tales that you should never flip a steak more than once, who the hell made up these rules. Flipping more often allows an even heat to penetrate into both sides of the steak so you get a more even finish and a nicer sear. More on this when we do rib-eyes, there is just so much information to give you.


After 6-8 flips or about 4 minutes of cook time pop it in the oven until the internal temperature is 120 this may take just a few more minutes depending on how thick your steak is. Flip the steak every two minutes while checking the temperatures until you’ve done this a few times and you get use to the oven process. Insert your probe into the side of the meat and not through the top. Going in from the side will ensure you are in the middle of the steak and not overshooting the middle to the bottom giving a false reading.
 

filet mignonAt 120 pull it out of the oven, put it back on the element and drop in a tablespoon or two of butter, Mise en place, mise en place, mise en place, say it with me; “everything in place”. Don’t go searching for butter now; here it’s all about timing and that pan is rocket hot. Use a spoon and baste the steak with butter a few times flip and proceed this should be done without missing a beat and not over 90 seconds.

Remove your steak and allow resting for at least 5 minutes without touching, loosely cover with tinfoil if you like. “But Mike, 120 is too rare for us…” No 120 would make the steak blue, not rare; no matter this is where the term “carryover” comes in. As we were cooking the steak with so much heat the temperature will continue to rise for another 10 minutes, stick your probe in and watch if you like. If you pulled your steak at 120; the butter baste will increase it 5 degrees and resting another 5-10 degrees to a total target of 135 a perfect medium rare. My preference is 130 but I won’t send back 135. The worst thing you can do is over cook it. I always say if you like medium try going up one to medium rare. If you want well done, put it in the crock pot for a day and save some money and use eye of the round, otherwise how about a hotdog.

SECOND…..Grilled Steaks on our Crown Verity Gas Grill


This is number two in the popular cooking methods and certainly our favourite in the summer months, when you’re not filetfighting -20 snow storms.  Same thing, get your grill rocket hot on high for 15 minutes (500+), this will burn off all the crap from your last session as well, scrape down the grill, turn it off and then coat the grill with spray Pam, relight the grill. Unless you want a fireball to light up the night; turn the fracking grill off, seriously, I’m not responsible if you torch your gazebo yet alone your arm hair or eye brows.

Same thing here, 2 minutes on, turn the meat. If you want to see those fancy grill marks rotate your meat ¼ turn on the second pass. After 4 turns (2 per side) turn your grill off and close the lid for 2 minutes. Flip and close the lid for another 2 minutes; the grill will hold on to the heat for a few minutes, if your heat is falling too fast turn the opposite side of the grill on low, this is known as “indirect cooking”.

    

When your steaks hit 125 take them off and cover with tinfoil. If you want to take it another step; have a shallow pan with 2 sticks of butter and put in on the grill (indirect heat) when you are first putting the steaks on. When you are cooking without heat before you flip toss then in the butter and then return to the grill do this for the 4-8 minutes until the steaks are 125. This will give a nice glaze; just don’t let the butter burn.

Happy girls
Some of you Weekend Grill Masters may have that one person who will want their steaks medium, final temp of 140-150 so give them another set of turns in each process so start them 4 minutes early, (UGH).. Remember good steaks make the girls very happy.



So a rough guide to cooking high heat, 4 minutes to sear and then finish another 4 minutes indirect heat to come to an internal temperature of 125, rest to 130-135


Next week, New York Strip Loin

  

Cheers from the Big Dog             

STEAK 101

Steak 101It’s all about the Steak

My I.T. guy at work, Denis, is a big fan of what we do and thinks my food adventures is living the dream. Well I’m not sure about living the dream but we certainly get around. We got to talking about what a favorite topic, steak. He wanted to know what the best cut was and how was the best way to prepare it. Actually it all started on how you got those little black lines across the steak.  

We spoke about searing the meat, resting and how to tell when they were done. I started talking about internal temperatures and the difference in carry over and I had already lost him. Denis didn’t even have a meat probe; he goes solely by the clock. Sometimes they would come out perfect and sometimes not so much. While Denis is happy with his steak, I think he can be a lot happier.

While I can say I make one of the best steaks in the world, I can’t be in my friend’s back yard every other weekend. So this blog is for all of you weekend grill masters out there.

First and foremost you have to get two simple tools, a decent pare of tongs and an internal meat probe. Now choose your product, good product means good results. I can take a flank steak and marinate it for days but let’s keep it simple. The three steaks we are going to talk about over the next few weeks, starting from the top and most tender is the Beef Tenderloin, furthest from hoof, horns and tail this is the king of steaks. The second is the strip loin; on a side note a T-bone is ½ tenderloin and ½ strip-loin.  The third steak in my pick is a rib-eye which is the centre and boneless cut of a Prime Rib roast. 

Which is my favorite, well they all have different characters, tenderloin is the most delicate but the rib-eye has more flavor. The interesting thing the tougher the meat the more flavour.  

The next important factor is the type of beef, the first and my only choice is AAA Canadian Beef or USDA Prime followed up by (and only if necessary AA and USDA Choice). The difference is marbling, tenderness, colour and maturity. Also go with the Black Angus or grass fed.  Just do not ever buy seasoned if it is cryovac beef make sure there is no other ingredients like water, salt or seasoning. These are lessor cuts pumped full of salt water, not a good thing. Yes, AAA is expensive so what you want to do is go to the mega mart and buy the whole mussel part and you can butcher it yourself. 

Which leads us to next week's post, Beef Tenderloin, where I break down the whole tenderloin and show you how to get every penny's worth of such a great peice of beef.


Cheer from the Big Dog  

Haggis

Historical Evil Joke or
Ethnic Delight


January 25 is Rabbie Burns day and that being the closest thing to a national holiday that Scotts celebrate worldwide.  How pray tell would a Scott celebrate other than a single malt, with an address to a Haggis.

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,

Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race!

In order to address a haggis on must cook a haggis. That being the heart liver and lungs of a sheep minced with oatmeal and onions stuffed in a sheep’s stomach.  Boiled to tenderness, it is served with neeps and tatties and a wee dram.

Seriously, this is something that I look forward to, it’s better than Christmas morning black pudding. My first taste of this was 25 years ago when I was in Edinburgh visiting family and my blessed Aunty would ask me every date what I would like for dinner; my very first response was a classic haggis. Well that’s what we had and made to perfection. My girlfriend at the time, tasted it and could barely choke it down, whispering if that was what it was supposed to taste like. She thought it needed a sauce or maybe gravy and cheese curds, this should have been my first clue of her vacant francophone culinary aventurines.  Though I love her so much I still wonder why I married her.  

HaggisRegardless, Our little haggis will be boiled up in two days and likely just Samantha and I will partake in our Scottish tradition, Barb and the boy will like be eating Shepard’s pie.  Too bad I won’t be able to pipe this baby in, but I may get the kilt out.

But, if Ye wish her gratefu prayer,

Gie her a Haggis!



Cheers from the Big Dog

Spatchcock Turkey

Smoked Spachcock Turkey,
Not Just for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

If there are a 1,000 ways to skin a cat, there are at least 1,001 ways to cook a turkey. I'm not sure why anybody would want to skin a cat these days, but good Lord I know why I want to cook a bird. Some of my favorite ways to cook a turkey include deep-fried, smoked, brined and roasted the last of my top 5 choices is smoked spatchcock turkey, just frackin yum.

What pray tell does spatchcock mean, "Lord tunderin Jesus, people" if you are not a foodie then what the heck are you doing here, sorry I digress. Simply put its poultry that has been butterflied so it may lie flat in the pan. Why is this better and why does this make it to the top 5 way to cook turkey, well the bird can cook faster and more evenly as well as retain its juices. Is this a little boring, not a chance and much , much better then boiling your bird which is the most popular cooking method in a commercial or industrial eatery.

The premise is to cut the backbone out of the product which is an easy job with a sharp butcher knife or poultry sheers. Then your imagination takes the lead from there. Grill it on the Que with some light salt and pepper of even Club House Montreal Chicken Rub. If you want to add a little magic, then stuff the bird with some garlic buds and go for a 40 clove turkey. Put it on a raised pan and save the dripping for gravy. Slip some vegetables under the bird for some nice aromatics or even put a dressing under it for a more classic approach. Propane grill, charcoal or smoker even (ugh) cooked in the oven, apply heat at 325(f).

Now on to our project, the entire family loves turkey, dressing and gravy, no cheese curds are required or even asked for, however cranberries are mandatory with my crew. Today let's go with our basic root vegetables keeping with the classic theme, small onions, carrots, mini tatters with a sprig of sage. A few cloves of garlic never hurt anybody. A quick injection of lemon garlic butter and a light dusting of season salt with a hit of fresh ground pepper. On a pan and into the smoker for 150 minutes, (10 lb turkey at 15 minutes a pound) at 325 (f) internal tempatrure of the breast should be 160 and for the legs 180.

So you like smoked turkey sammies or old fashion club sandwiches maybe two 10 pounders should go on. I am a turkey junkie so I can come up with meals for days not including midnight snacks. Turkey pot pie, turkey soup, turkey enchiladas, the list could go on for days. Turkey Sheppard's pie, hot turkey sandwiches with gravy, turkey hoagies turkey, turkey a la king, turkey salad, turkey fritters


Cheers from the Big Dog

Pulled Pork & Dirty Rice


Variations on Dirty Rice with Pulled Pork

Pulled pork never comes in just one meal; it seems to linger on for a while, and I get asked all the time what to do with it other than pork on a bun. Well Dirty Rice is my newest answer.

Dirty Rice is a Cajun thing but the main ingredient other than rice is, how should we say, chicken innards. That’s right - chicken liver, or giblets, is what gives this authentic dish its tasty appeal.

Unfortunately, in my house I am the only person who enjoys chicken giblets. What could I change to satisfy my zest for flavour and still allow my family to enjoy their meal without picking through every little morsel? The boy can segregate a diced green pepper from even the thickest cheese coated pizza; going through a bowl of rice would not be a challenge. However the girls sort it out with a scoop to the garburator; nothing gets eaten and I get an earful.

The answer to my dilemma; Pulled Pork instead of chicken innards. Chickens everywhere are celebrating, as well as my family. I have pounds of Pulled Pork in my freezer as a result of summertime pig roasts and competition practice. I even cook pulled pork just to have in stock. This is a staple for anybody serious about barbecue.

Once you start playing with the main ingredients of a recipe you really have started down a new path. My sincere belief is that recipes serve more as guidelines or inspirations to your to creative juices. By the way, this is also why I suck at baking; I hate following the exact measurements.

So, without further ado – here is my path – follow it with an open mind and an adventurous palate.

Place into a heavy cast iron pot 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté 2 cups of onions and 1 crushed finely chopped head of garlic. And yes, I said a head and not a bud. We like garlic as does everybody in the house. Here is the easy part - 2 tablespoons of Cajun spice and 2 teaspoons of salt (or to taste). In goes four cups of long grain rice and oil so that each grain of rice gets evenly covered in oil. I also tossed in a pound of pulled pork. Once mixed and coated add 2 litres beef broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, covered, for 20 minutes. Some additional options are celery and bell green peppers but back to the boy thing of picking out green stuff. This will make a meal or three and last for weeks in the fridge.

Now back to the original topic: Dirty Rice and what does one do with it, now that its family approved? Think of it as filler in a super supreme beef burrito. GOOD LORD GOSH DARN it’s awesomest in a “big bastard double shell, stuff it till it hurts, beef burrito”.

If you are a sissy do not attempt this; don’t wrap it and don’t eat it. You do not have to be a trained professional but it helps.

Get two shells, beans, rice, beef, cheese, sour cream and hot sauce. Stay the course, you can do this, remember the path. The trick is to wrap it into wax paper like you would a sushi roll; the shell will never hold on its own. Now be careful you might think “Captain she won’t take it, the poor wee shells are going to blow”. Relax; the wax paper holds everything together, remember. “Scotty, give it all she’s got, full power, ramming speed”. The boys and a few adventurous girls will be well rewarded with your rendition of a “Big Ass Burrito” and that my friends is life well lived

So never feel obligated to stay in the lines, allow your inspirations to flow and build it big, because people never remember what they ate in Nouvelle Cuisine.
 


Cheers from the Big Dog

Back for 2013

What happened to 2012…


If you look back at the blog there is nothing for 2012. More then one readers send a email to me asking what was up and was the blog dead. Not really dead; but certainly in a coma, with over 50,000 hits in 2012 Les Noiracochon is an active resource and its about time we start getting some new projects, tips and updates on the site. Some people have come and gone from the group and lessons have been learnt about how to and how not to do some things. I will try to share what I can.  Unlike promises of diets and quitting smoking on January 1st, I hope this New Years resolution will hold for more then a few weeks.


2011 and 2012 was committed to two things, getting our competition profile up on the world stage and getting the Canadian Southern BBQ Association (CSBBQA) on some stable foundation. With both of those issues now on their way, which I will talk about in upcoming weeks, I can now spend some well deserved time with Les Noiracochon.



I’m going to try to target one blog every Wednesday, it’s a big task but there are loads of topics to chatter about and it’s time to get back on the preverbal horse. I originally thought that we had to blog about recipes or food projects but there is just so much more information to share and share we shall.




What happened in the last 18 months? Some highlights are the BBQ team had a perfect score of 180 at the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue for Cooks Choice. Followed up with a 5th place Whole Hog at Memphis in May beating out teams like 10 Bones BBQ, Jack’s Old South, Shed BBQ and Famous Dave’s. We were less then 1 point from making the finals. Finally the team ended our season at the World Food Championship in Vegas with a 6th place finish at the final table.

I also resigned from my position of president on the CSBBQA to allow others to take the lead of the administration for the association. New blood is always good and that will leave me more time for my first love.....Competition.


What’s on the agenda for 2013, another Memphis in May, or another World Championship event perhaps, time will tell. What there will be is some great food, great stories, some serious, some not so much. A revamping of the web site and better access to our recipes along with a really cool photo gallery of all of our snaps. We also want to start generating some video of what is important to Les Noiracochon.  

In the weeks to come I hope to get or monthly traffic up over 7,000 to 10,000 a month and break that 100,000 yearly mark.

Cheers from The Big Dog

Ghost Peppers - Naga Jolokia

Death
From Within.....



GHOST PEPPERS



Always on the lookout for interesting hot chili peppers, I came across a guy who was advertising fresh Naga Jolokia Peppers (Bhut Jolokia) or known more popularly by their street name, Ghost Peppers. These peppers were known for some time as the hottest pepper on the face of the earth at 1,000,000 Scoville units. Recent developments have shown there are hotter peppers out there but they are not readily available. To give an example there is a strain of hot peppers developed in late 2010 called the Naga Viper Pepper and then in February 2011 another strain the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Pepper at 1,464,700 Scoville units. The 1st place rank seems to trade back and forth but one thing for sure is somebody is going to get hurt eating them. No matter, any pepper over a millions Scovilles is going to be toxic to play with. For those of you non chili-heads, the heat of a pepper is measured by what we call the Scoville Scale. This is achieved by adding increments of sugar water to the pepper where you can no longer detect the presence of heat. A sweet green pepper would have no heat or capsaicin the active ingredient and thus have a 0 rating. A jalapeño is about 4,000 scovilles and my infamous wiri wiri pepper is about 200,000 scovilles units.

I had a lot of experience with the dried variety of the Ghost Pepper, but never a fresh one. This was something I want to test as there is so much of the flavour profile that you miss when you go to the dried powder. I was given the opportunity by Kyle Hayward from the Ottawa area to get my hands on the elusive fresh Ghost Peppers in relative close proximity to me, awesome I was excited. Somebody’s butt was going to be burning, and I mean burning bad. I emailed Kyle but the season had finished but he would keep me in mind for the next year. Time passed and next season arrived, June 2011, Kyle called and asked if I was still interested, just in time for my chili developing season. Are you kidding?

The plants would not be ready until late fall but there was plenty of time for me to see the plants develop. While the Ghost Peppers were being nurtured along, I got to chat with Kyle about his background as mine is an open book or in reality an open blog. Kyle was also excited to have his peppers get intertwined with the Black Pig BBQ.

Kyle first became interested in growing peppers a few years ago when he realized the variety of species that existed and the possibility of creating his own cultivars. Always being a bit of a horticulturalist, he ventured into hot peppers with his first two pepper species, Scotch Bonnets and Cherry Bombs. After a bountiful harvest his neighbors and friends were the beneficiaries of his work. Kyle ventured to create his own crop of fresh, hot and chemical free Jolokia peppers. After a laborious 5 months of indoor growth, the plants went outdoors to gain their characteristics’, flavour and of course heat. Utilizing a custom soil mix there was no need for chemical fertilization, pesticides or herbicides. All that was need was sun and loads of water. Kyle sent me a few photos of the ongoing progress of the plants and it was all I could do to contain my excitement. Imagine when Kyle sent out some Ghost Peppers to be taste tested by friends and family, everyone who tried them said they were the hottest they've ever tried.

The flavour has a hint of citrus and does not have the typical watery taste of a hot pepper. Out of the 250 fruits that ripened, 15-20 had a deep purple coloring. The will be very exciting for him to use for breeding stock over the next couple of years. With Kyle’s success this year he is starting “Hayward’s Custom Produce” while attending college for horticulture, duh go figure. This winter he will be fruiting plants indoors with hand pollination so that I can supply clients year round by the fall of 2012.

Now what I got in early October was about 250 little globes of death. Yes in the name of science and knowing your ingredients I tested one. Holy “what the hell was I thinking” moment. I hit the can of whipped cream and drank a quart of milk; that was just a ¼ slice. There was that euphoria moment and the endorphins were in full rush, WOW pay dirt. Then the moment came upon me, Good Lard Tunderin Jesus I’m hoping for a little less pain on the way out. Half of my stash went to sauce and the other half went to the dehydrator to sample another day. I wanted to compare what Kyle was producing to what I have sourced from the internet. By the way, the same heat that went in was the same heat out… Oh God this was a spiritual moment if there ever was one; why oh why do I do this to myself?

Most of the sauce is still fermenting but I have taken some out and provided for some taste test and those citrus tones and fruity underscores and a serious after burn. Good Lord this is not your store bought Tabasco Sauce, they should have called these Holy Ghost Peppers as every time you taste them you will have a spiritual moment. I dared tried some of my new Gost Pepper Sauce in a bowl of chili and does it skyrocket the taste beyond belief.

Good Job Kyle; I know where I’m going for my peppers next year. Call them Bhut Jolokia, Naga Jolokia or just plain Ghost Peppers they are top shelf eats. You can reach Kyle at

Kyle Hayward  ksrhayward@gmail.com
Haywards Custom Produce
613-875-6535

If he’s got them, you can get them.

Cheers from the Big Dog

Memphis in May Video

Memphis In May
from the Black Pig BBQ

We spoke a little while back about the Black Pig Team going to Memphis in May for 2011 and if you saw on my Facebook account that the team was very successful with hitting the podium for 1st place beef in the anything butt category. We were thrilled beyond speech, so here's a little video to pass the time away all about what we saw in Memphis.





Cheers from the Big Dog

Pit Beef

It’s testosterone replacement therapy

Brisket in the BBQ world rules, as does a slow Prime Rib Roast and even a reverse sear Strip Loin steak; we’ve done all of these here before and where does it end. It doesn’t, thank goodness, but what can I grill that has a little profile of all three hunks of cow, a man’s man cut of beef.

May I introduce to you the one step above it all, “Pit Beef”.  This is a big chunk of cow, high heat grilled over lump charcoal for pure flavour and texture. Cooked to medium rare, sliced ultra-thin and served on a large man bun with sweet onion and horseradish mayo. Good lord this screams testosterone to me, served with some killer potato wedges twice fried and a cold beverage of the malted kind. I’m talking a full pound of beefy flavour with a tangy sauce with just the right bite… ARGHHHH  

My research led me to Baltimore Maryland where pit beef is as common as hamburgers and fries. They use outside round about a 3-5 pound roast. Hit it with some salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and paprika. Throw it on a high heat grill and char it on all sides until its 130 degrees or med rare and slice thin. Easy enough but is it Black Pig quality for my buddies. Nope I can do better; the round roast is a well worked mussel and is somewhat tough. While you can get over this by slicing very thin across the grain it may still be a little dry. For me its top sirloin, this has just the right amount of marbling to taste. Get a few 3 pounders 3-4 inches thick, it might be overkill for steaks and it’s not quite a roast, but its man size meat.  

In place of the traditional spices, I decided to use my brisket rub which has the same flavour profile as the above spices but a little sweeter and a little more kick. Into some vacuum bags or large zip locks and allow to mature for two days. This is the toughest part of the whole recipe; to have the discipline to do these two days in advance is just heart breaking but well worth it. Really you have to wait two days for the spice rub to do its magic. The salt will tenderize the meat very similar to a marinade and you will be rewarded.

Two days later, it’s grilling time. I loaded up the Primo Grill with Basques Hardwood Charcoal and made sure I had a full bed of coals (about 450 degrees), now if you do not have a charcoal grill go ahead with the propane gasser but when was the last time you heard your buddies say, “Hey Big Dog, those sure are great propane grilled steaks”, I’m not judging, just saying Basques Hardwood Charcoal eh.  Onto a hot grill, flames and all for 5 minute a side, every side not just top and bottom. A three pounder will take at least 20 minutes so don’t sweat it, close your lid and let the grill do its thing.

Bring your manly meat up to 125 and pull it from the grill, the carry over will raise the temperature another 5-10 more degrees. Don’t, don’t, don't overcook it, if you don’t like medium rare then go buy some hamburger and cook it to 185; for these babies medium rare is the only way to go.

Once off the grill, you have to let them rest for at least 15 minutes, it will not slice as thin when they are rocket hot. Do yourself a favor; give it the time they need for the juices to redistribute. If you have a meat slicer, then this is the time to bring it out. You can hand slice but the slicer will do it right, each and every time, top to bottom. That $99 slicer is really starting to look good, if you don’t have one then fill your boots with a sharp knife.

Up to now you still have just a roast beef sandwich; you have to add the thinly sliced onion and the horseradish mayo, (1 cup mayo, ½ cup horseradish and a tablespoon of lemon juice). Hit the sauce on both side of your bread just like butter, an onion on each side and a pound of thin sliced “Pit Beef”; AWESOME, just frackin awesome.

My first bite of this beefy monster and I was hooked, it was just the right amount of everything. If the old spice guy was eating this sandwich, he could be your man, which this would make it his sandwich. Now look at him, now look at me, I’m eating your sandwich because I’m a man, not your man, but your man could be like me, or not. One thing is for sure, this is pure testosterone; I should caution you that it may induce a nap and eventual meat sweats, this is not a girly girl sandwich it’s a Pit Beef sandwich.



Cheers from the Big Dog