Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Posts tagged “cajun

Joie de Vivre: Cajun Burgers on Grill

Location: Pond-side Pit

Temperature : 42 Degrees F

Time: Dusk

What a pleasure it is, on a crisp Autumn’s eve, to be favored by a beautiful stack of coals, maturing pit-side, whilst the celestial curtain is pulled clear 20131101_173818_edit0on the first stars of the night. Wisps of wood smoke curl into the cool air, and the heat from the fire feels just right on your hands. The dry rustle of scattering leaves, and the quaint company of the little pit radio, tuned to the local oldies station, regaling thee in a soft, acoustic wall paper via it’s single, tinny-sounding speaker. All the tweety birds have snuggled down now, content, and the old woolen smoking jacket is well-placed tonight, collar turned up, and undeniably cozy. The French have a wonderful saying.  “Joie de Vivre”, which means, joy of living. A concept easily appreciated it seems, pit-side in November.

The Cajuns are no strangers to the joy of living, and on the pit tonight, a little homage to their fun-loving spirit, and joy of good eating. A little spice. A little pepper. And a whole lot of fun, patron to the pit, with Oak Smoked Cheddar Cajun Burgers. And they’re real easy to do.

Cajun peppers

First order of business is to dice up some bell pepper and onion, which comprise two-thirds of the world re-known Cajun culinary trinity of: onions, bell peppers and celery. I am sorry, but I we cannot bring ourselves to put chopped celery in our hamburgers. Just can’t do it.  Some body else will have to try that. The next step, is to gently fold the chopped onion and bell pepper into patties of 80-20 ground beef, sized in-turn to match your appetite. Our patties came out rather large, go figure. Then we dashed them over with some Cajun seasoning – for to give them that spicy kick, and hence, after a tip of the hat, brought them out to the grill.

Cajun flame

You all know how to cook a burger. Go henceforth with your plunder and do so. And do it with a grin. For this is what every pit keeper longs for, is it not? Just a wee quiet spot of grilling in the freshened air, neath pastel skies, where the breezes murmur sweetly through the trees. And where the wood smoke gently curls, there also you will find our twinkle over the crackling coals. Oh, we could I suppose do our burgers in a frying pan over the stove, but why…We would at once miss out on the great smokey flavors patron to the pit, the fellowship of the flames, and dare I say half the fun in the first place.

I tossed a handful of oak chips into the coals, and gently turned the burgers over. Hands back in my smoking jacket, I digressed some, standing over the pit.

There is nothing quite so fine, I thought, as putting meat to flame, and hearing it sizzle there. It is at once a simplified moment in a complex world. A hallowed parcel of clock in which for a moment, and maybe even longer than that, we are doing precisely that which is well with our souls. And that is no small thing. It is also highly infectious. If there are other men within a hundred yard radius of thee, neighbors peeking tip-toed over the fence, sniffing the air, do not be surprised if they are drawn to your pit too, and the smoke which rises there. For a good grill is a man-magnet, we all know that, and a pit master is every bit as important as the town mayor. Nay, more important than that. And so manly conspiring may frequently occur where sizzling meat is concerned. Impromptu communal loitering, if you will,  over a hemorrhaging bed of coals. The art of the grill is one thing, but sharing that joy with others, in fellowship, is something even better, I thought.   It is Joie de Vivre. And I think it just happened again. Thanks for reading.

Pass the mustard please!

Cajun burger cover

Oak Smoked Cajun  Burgers, packed with peppers and onions and spices, topped with cheddar cheese. And of course we toasted the buns.


Bean Muck!

MUCK       /mək/

Noun

Dirt, rubbish, or waste matter.

Dirt….Rubbish….Waste Matter?? I’m slightly appalled at this definition of the word “muck”! Bean Muck is far from that. Though, the effect of eating too much of it could leave you feeling mucky, the dish itself is at best genius. Let me explain.

There was a time, a few years back, my Patron and I were up in the Northern bearings of the SHT. No, this is not a misspell for a foul word, it’s simply an acronym of the Superior Hiking Trail. The Superior Hiking trail is a footpath that extends the northeastern ridge line of Lake Superior for about 275 miles. It’s decorated with pine, birch, aspen, fir and cedar. On occasion you will hear the chickadees sing, the squirrels squawk and the lonely wolf howl. The breeze whistles through the pines in an airy lullaby at night, and you can get lost for days without running into your own species. Back to my point… It was the end of September, early October, and we had the itch to get out alone into the woods. Had a name for our trip, and we decided on the selfish title of Camp Glutton. We title our small adventure because we realized we had enough food to feed ourselves along with 10 other hikers that might cross our trail. So there we sat, 3 long, relaxing days cooking over a campfire. The air in our camp was thick with the odors of brats, steaks, a couple of loaves of French Bannock (story to come) and onion. My patron and I rarely go anywhere without a fresh onion. We cooked eggs for breakfast and soups for lunch. We often retreated to our camping chair and hammock, our guts full and domed high to the heavens waiting for the next round of meals.

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We had made it to our last day of camp. Waking up as the sun hits our tents, stretching to the skies and hungry as bears out of hibernation.  We knew we didn’t want to leave camp with food still in our packs so we got creative. I had one large can of Baked Beans and a couple of Apple Gouda brats left. My Patron pulled out of his pack an entire onion. We decided to get creative. So, over the fire the brats went. The onion diced up into small squares and the beans simmering over the flames in the pit. Once all three were done, they all ended up in the same pot. There is nothing pretty or attractive about this dish. There is no right or wrong way of making it. Why in Bean Muck you can add really whatever you want. Its Bean muck! We have flirted with the flavors of peppers, spices, honey, syrup, ground beef, and rabbit meat. There is only one key ingredient that one needs to start with and I’m sure you figured it out by now, a can of beans.

Now, the POTP cannot take credit for inventing Bean Muck. We are sure many of you others out there have been creative with your own can of beans. So let us know what some delicacies you have added to your Bean Muck. Share your secrets and lets prove that muck isn’t always dirt, rubbish or waste matter.

**WARNING** When experimenting with Bean muck make sure it’s on a weekend when you’re not around loved ones. If you do, you may find life can be lonely for a week or two. Carry on…


8-Below Beef Po Boys On The Grill

Dateline: January 20, 2013

Temperature: -8 degrees Fahrenheit .

Mission: Po Boys on the Grill!

That is probably what the neighbors were thinking anyway, when they glanced out their dining room window this morning and saw me  yonder, tending my grill. Po boy. Poor boy indeed, having to BBQ when it’s eight degrees below the blessed zero mark. Who would be so daft to grill in temperatures so obscene, they ask, as they shake their head, and sip their fancy coffee. Clearly they have never made the acquaintanceship of this blog.

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The Po Boy is a shredded beef sandwich invented and forged in Louisiana, patron to my southern roots, where true BBQ is not only a given, but a way of life. We have been in a sandwich mood here at the pit lately, so why not pay homage to the homeland of my kin down yonder, and do up one of the finer culinary contributions of the south, the Po Boy sandwich, on the grill of course. Granted if a Louisianan were to have stepped out on my patio today, and felt that bone-stabbing cold, they surely would have locked their eyeballs to the tip their nose, and keeled over in a fashion suitable for a coronary thrombosis. Best to let us northern boys handle this one, mates, and show you how it’s done this side of zero. Life at the edge, of fire and ice.

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The journey began with a lightly seasoned 4 pound chuck roast, of which was dotingly seared over a hot bed coals, a couple of minutes per side.  Since it was colder than Frosty’s carrot out there, I made the fire extra big, and employed the minion method to boot, a tactic essential for this epic, arctic cook. Then get yourself a pot for the roast, (not your wife’s good cake pan) along with some lightly sautéed onions and garlic. Lastly, flood it with a rather copious quantity of beef broth, enough ideally, to cover the meat. Position the pot indirect, put on the lid, tip your hat to a job well done, and make way for your nearest beverage of choice.

The next step is not to be in a hurry. These big roasts take time. Time for the internal temps to crest high enough to start breaking down the connective tissues and collagen, and enter the food realm better known as savory. You want this meat to fall apart easily. In point of fact, old Po Boy folklore has it, the meat should fall apart with a” hard stare”.  And that’s easy to do if you take your time.  There is no haste in a pit master’s mojo. For we know the world spends fast enough as it is, thus let our meat at least, tarry back in the quiet eddies of life. Back with the slowly ebbing sun in a pastel sky, and the gentle smoke which rises serenely from our pits.

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Eight degrees below the zero mark ain’t exactly the optimal weather for loitering pit side, but it turns out if you can see your pit from inside the house somewhere, well, that’s good enough. And since the football playoffs were on the TV, it didn’t take much coaxing to take up residence in the man chair, and while away a few hours, whilst the grill puffed away in the deep, penetrating cold. Oh how I reveled at the intense labors of being a pit master, with my feet at the fireplace, swaddled in blankets, my eyes drooping on and off, and the football game bantering in the back ground. Eventually, after some fashion, I even woke up, with a trail of drool spilling out of my left lip pit. Glory, this is the life!

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After about 5 hours, the meat was done, and falling apart like an alcoholic at a moonshine conference. No hardened stare necessary. It was then time to toast the French bread. Apparently you will be frowned upon if you use anything other than French bread for your Po Boy, so be warned, less you stand at the receiving end of some unruly Cajun ridicule. So French bread it was. We put a little mayonnaise on the bread, and packed it full of the savory meat, and a little lettuce for good measure to suit the lady folk. Man! There are plenty of high-end sandwiches in the world, and let it be said, this is one of them.

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Next time you’re in the mood for something different, and have a little time, try grilling up some Beef Po Boy Sandwiches. Subzero temperatures optional.