TasteeBQ is a superhero who shares short stories and recipe articles. He is on a mission to defeat the villainous BorenG'Food in pursuit of Making the World a Better Place to Eat. His day gigs include SpokesHero for BBQ Caterer- Tastee BQ Grilling Co. in Los Angeles and he is the iconic label model for the new California Gold BBQ Rubs (now available on Amazon.com). Blog creator Chef Mick Brown also writes BBQ Catering Confidential on Wordpress. He recently won Champion Grill Master on the "Grill or Be Grilled" Episode of Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen. His newest project is "BBQ RESCUES!"- an interactive blog about Grilling and Recipes. There are also plans for BBQ RESCUES! Videos and Podcasts in the near future.
Oops I did it again… To recap, I am somewhat new to Blogging and am definitely a Freshman to the world of Crowd Funding and to Indiegogo.com. It could just be “the jitters”. However, completing the list of suggested Tasks to properly launch an Indiegogo Campaign is about as doable of making your video go Viral. Not to mention, my “day job” is getting a new product out for Memorial Day and preparing the Catering company for BBQ Season.
My jaws are so wide open, I can’t even bite. Let alone chew all of it. [A deconstructed recipe for “Biting off more than you can chew.”] With 2 Weeks in and 17 Days to go, here are the highlights of:
“A Beginner’s Guide to Crowd Funding (on Indiegogo)”:
1. Software is Easy to Use- If you can do WordPress, the software is quickly usable to set up the Pages of your Indiegogo Campaign.
2. Launching is a Process. Don’t expect to press “Launch” and have the Campaign go Live. Be ready to spend some time to gather all of your Links, as well as Company Legal and Banking Info.
3. Fundraising. I object to “Fun” being in any part of the word. Somehow I missed the part where they suggest that you plan to raise (at least) the first 30% of your goal from “inner circle supporters” Again? As if I haven’t already asked my friends for enough .
4. Don’t think “If you build it they will come”. Of course, this is in the Indiegogo material I studied after launching the campaign, to see how to give it a boost. Though, it was glanced at before, the info doesn’t “stick” until after you are in it. People aren’t out looking for Campaigns to support with open Check Books. [Or, at least I haven’t found them yet]. Be ready to Promote your Campaign everywhere.
5. Hired Guns? From the position of looking back at the starting line, I’d suggest before you launch a Campaign, seriously consider vetting and hiring a professional or firm to help with promotion. There are PR Firms and Marketing Companies that specialize in Crowd Funding. It is best to add them to your Goal $$ amount before launching the Campaign.
I am not saying doing Indiegogo was a mistake, but it would have been better with even more time to prepare. Maybe doing it in the Catering Off-Season would have worked smoother. Anyway, it is going OK for me so far. We were at just over 30% of our Goal last time I checked. I have also hired some professional help. So will let you know how it goes. Stay tuned, the Blog will be getting back to Food soon. Next Topic: Paella. Until then, Eat and Be Well.
Sounds strange doesn’t it? Turning Ham into a Superfood… You may be surprised to hear that many of the delicious Spices that we traditionally use with Ham are thought to pack extra nutrition. Cinnamon is used as a Medicine is some cultures for it’s antiseptic and blood healing properties. Nutmeg and Allspice are also supposed to good for pain relief. Cloves are said to be endowed with high levels of natural antioxidants. The Fruit we use for Glazes can also be of the Superfood variety: Pomegranate, Orange, Raspberries, Cranberries, Pineapple, etc…
Ok let’s face it. Ham will never be considered a Superfood. But it tastes Super Good to those of us who can eat it. Because many Hams already come pre-cured with plenty of Salt, there is no need to add a lot to your seasonings. Also, by marinating it in Natural Fruit Juice, you can avoid recipes that call for tons of Brown Sugar. POWER Rub by California Gold BBQ Rubs contains very low levels of Salt and Brown Sugar. It also includes the luxurious flavors of Ginger and Cocoa. HEROIC! is All Natural and comes with No Added Salt or Sugar. Feel free to add your preferred form of Sugar or Sodium to the level that you like.
EASY SUPERFOOD SMOKED ORANGE HAM
The nice thing about this recipe is that marinating Ham in Natural Fruit Juice eliminates the the need for added Sugar. You can use Homemade, Organic or Low Sugar Preserves for Glaze.
1 Ham (Precooked, Spiral Sliced or Uncooked-thawed)
2 Cups Orange Juice (May Substitute Pomegranate, Pineapple, Cranberry or your Choice)
2 Fresh Sliced Oranges
3-6 Tbsp. POWER or HEROIC! Spice Blend (depending on size of Ham)
1 Cup Raspberry Preserves (May substitute or use in combination with Orange, Ginger, Pineapple, or Cranberry)
Salt, Pepper, Brown (or Raw) Sugar to Taste
Grilled Pineapple, Cloves (Optional)
Mesquite or Hickory Wood Chunks (if Grilling with Charcoal); Chips if Gas/Electric Grill
1. Day Before Cooking- Marinate Ham with 1+1/2 Cups Orange Juice and generous sprinkling of POWER or HEROIC! May add additional Salt, Pepper or Sugar, if desired. May apply Cloves every 2 inches apart and finish with Thin Slices from 1 Orange (peel attached) before wrapping in foil. Refrigerate overnight.
2. Next day, pre-heat Oven to 375 (or as directed by supplier). Pre-cooked Hams are easier to use if you are doing a big variety of dishes. For uncooked Hams, add an average of 3x Cooking time. For Grilling, set up unit for Indirect Smoking and soak Wood Chunks in water. Once Grill is ready, use 3 to 4 Chunks over Coals for every 60-90 minutes of cooking. For Gas/Electric, heat dry Wood Chips in foil or small pan over high heat. Either way, Ham will cook on the far side away from heat source.
3. Make a quick Glaze by gently heating 1 Cup Raspberry Preserves with 1/2 Cup Orange Juice and 1 Tbsp. HEROIC! or POWER. Also, slice one Orange for garnish. Add sliced ends to Glaze for more flavor.
4. Whichever method you use, Pre-cooked Hams should be warmed through for about one hour wrapped in foil, then open and glazed for second hour. Raw Hams cook in foil for 4-5 Hours (depending on size), then finish final hour open while Glazing. May also Grill Sliced Pineapples, then let them smoke on top of Ham.
5. Serve garnished with Parsley or Mint and Orange Slices. Happy Holidays.
HEROIC! BBQ Popcorn with and without Nuts. Tasting held at Los Angeles Economic Development Committee Meeting in March 2014.
Some will say “It’s about time”, but how do you sum up your life on one page? Still, I finally got around to adding an About (me) Page for BBQ Catering Confidential. It is still a work in progress, but is good for now. In other news, we recently decided to have a go at Indiegogo.
Indiegogo what? Some may ask. [It was me (asking) about six months ago]. Of course, most people have heard of Kickstarter.com, where Celebs go for help funding their movie projects. Indiegogo is supposedly the second most popular crowd funding site. It gives campaigns the advantage of collecting any pledged funds, even if they fall short of the specified goal. If anything, Indiegogo may be good practice in case we decide to do the big Kickstarter show in the future.
Can a gluten free, all-natural Superfood Blend with no added Salt or Sugar actually taste better than two of the top national brands? Come try the blind Taste Test and find out.
[LOS ANGELES] You are Invited. We are putting the new HEROIC! Blend by California Gold BBQ Rubs up against two of the leading national BBQ Seasoning Brands in a Blind Taste Test. Our YouTube camera crew will be there for anyone would like to “do it” on video. Only those who sign permission sheets will be taped.
It looks like the Sun will be shining for the event, which will happen from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday- March 8th at Baller True Value Hardware in the Silver Lake (Los Angeles) area. We will also be offering Free Food Tastings from our Grill. See You There!
Location: 2505 Hyperion Ave. Los Angeles, CA. 90027
5 Super Easy Grilling Recipes to Make You a SuperHero
What a difference a year makes. This was the very first episode of “The Adventures of TasteeBQ”, released on BuzzFeed in January 2013. We are happy to bring it to WordPress, in an updated edited version. For the past year, the original article/short story has been shared almost everywhere. It is being used as a language learning tool across the world, like in the Bengali-to-English Dictionary. Hope you enjoy.
Our hero TasteeBQ was called to the Rescue by Jill, a Damsel in Distress. Tired of frozen burgers and salty hotdogs for Super Bowl, Jill was determined to do something more exciting on the Grill. Plus, some of Jill’s expected guests were from the Tribe of Vegan. On a lifelong Mission to defeat his longtime archenemy Boren’GFood, our Hero is always happy to lend a hand. TasteeBQ flew to Jill’s lair immediately and was amazed to see her Pantry, which contained everything needed. With an assist on the Grill from her husband Jack, Jill was able to make 5 Super Easy Super Bowl Recipes for the Grill.
5 SUPER EASY SUPER BOWL RECIPES FOR THE GRILL
1. BARBEQUE CHIPS
General Supplies: BBQ Grill (Gas or Charcoal), Wood Chips (Hickory, Mesquite, Cherry, and/or Apple), Grill Tongs and Spatula, Metal or Foil Pans and Aluminum Foil.
For Recipe: Chips, BBQ Rub or Seasoning
It’s not really a recipe, more of a Neat Trick or Technique. Use any flavor Chips you like, sprinkle with BBQ Rub (optional) and put them on the Smoker for 8-10 minutes. Use Indirect Heat Method to add a fresh, delicious Grill Smoked Flavor. This works especially well with Chips for dipping and served warm.
2. SMOKED NACHOS
Supplies: Tortilla Chips, Cheese, Salsa and a variety of Toppings which can include: Chopped Onions, Tomatoes, Jalapenos, Black Beans, Sour Cream, Guacamole and Bean Dip. For meat, add Taco Seasoned Ground Beef, Cooked Chicken, Steak Bits or Crispy Bacon.
Layer the Tortilla Chips evenly across the bottom of Foil Pan. Sprinkle Chips with one layer of Shredded Cheese (helps prevent the Chips from getting soggy). Next, spread Black Beans (or Bean Dip), Chopped Tomatoes, Onions and a final Topping of Shredded Cheese. To the Grill! The Chips are smoked on Low Indirect Heat for 12-15 minutes. Guests can top their own Chips with Sour Cream and Guacamole. A choice of Mild Salsa, Jalapenos and Cholula (or Tapatio?) Hot Sauce would also be nice.
3. GRILLED CAESAR SALAD
Supplies: Romaine Lettuce, Olive Oil, Caesar Dressing, Croutons and Parmesan.
Rinse and dry heads of Romaine Lettuce, then chop in half. Drizzle 1/3 portion (of all Lettuce) with Olive Oil and grill on Medium Heat for about 5-7 minutes (until lightly caramelized). Then chop both Fresh and Grilled Lettuce into 2-3 inch squares. Toss in Caesar Dressing, (optional) Croutons and Parmesan. Add Chopped Fresh Basil and Cherry Tomatoes for even more flavor. Super Bowl Twist- Substitute large cracked Fritos or Doritos for Croutons.
Re-season the Precooked Wings with Dry BBQ Rub/Seasoning. Then grill Wings on Low Indirect Heat for approx. 15-20 minutes. Use Wood Chips for smoked flavor.
For Buffalo Wings- Toss wings in Franks Hot Wing Sauce, garnish with Celery and Grilled Carrot Sticks.
For Barbecue Wings- Toss wings in your favorite BBQ Sauce, garnish with Grilled Texas Toast.
For Teriyaki Wings- Toss wings in your favorite Teriyaki Sauce (Asian Sesame Dressing is also OK), sprinkle with Chopped Green Onions.
Serve Wings with Bleu Cheese and/or Ranch Dressing on the side for dipping.
For Fresh Chicken Wings, season overnight with BBQ Rub. Grill for 40 Minutes to 1 Hour before Tossing in Finishing Sauce.
5. BISTRO SLIDERS
Supplies: Ground Beef, BBQ Dry Rub, Salt, Pepper and Worcestershire Sauce. Mini Hamburger Buns; optional Condiments- Cheese, Tomatoes, Lettuce, Onions, Pickles, and Jalapenos. Sauces- 1000 Island Dressing, Herb Mayo (Mayo mixed with Dry Garlic/Italian Seasoning), BBQ Sauce, Stoneground Mustard and Ketchup (for the kids).
Use 1/5 to 1/4 lbs. Ground Beef per Burger. Season with Salt, Pepper, BBQ Rub and Worcestershire Sauce. Make small Patties and Grill on Medium High Heat for 8-12 minutes, depending on thickness/desired doneness. Flip Burgers at 4-7 minutes, then add Cheese halfway thru second side.
Success!!! At no point throughout the Super Bowl Party did the villainous Boren’GFood dare rear his ugly head, to dampen the Fun. Those Burgers made Jack the King of the Hill. He and Jill celebrated with a Touchdown Dance after bidding “Farewell” to their guests. TasteeBQ did the Moonwalk, as well. Going back faster and faster, gliding backwards until he was Out-of-Sight(!). That is, until Valentine’s Day…
Stay Tuned for more of The Adventures of TasteeBQ…
Rub A Dub Dub, You hear a lot nowadays about Spice Rubs. They are being cooked up on The Chew and other popular daytime TV programs. Of course, every team on those Competition BBQ Shows is using a secret Rub. I hope to compete one of these days, under the right conditions. Would love to have the next “Award-Winning” Rub. But that’s a different article.
The terms Rub, Dry Rub, BBQ Rub, Spice Rub, etc… generally refer to a pre-measured mixture of seasonings. The word “Rub” is quite literally a noun and a verb. Most Rubs are used to marinate meat overnight. With gloves (preferably), you literally Rub the dry mixture evenly over the meat, using the natural meat juices to create a wet paste. This technique is used for Grilling, Smoking and BBQ all over the world. You can use it for Baking, as well…
[Note This is an Update to Article originally released in December 2013.]
‘Tis the Season of Giving, Joy to the World, Chestnuts Roasting… Yada, Yada, Yada. Our superhero TasteeBQ doesn’t begin his Holidays Celebrations in September (Like many Retailers. Next year they will be starting in August). Like many of us, the Holiday Spirit doesn’t usually take him over until the final shopping weekend before Xmas. This year he was planning to gift- to family and friends- his favorite, most essential Grilling accessory: Coal. But something told him that it wouldn’t be received in the spirit intended. So TasteeBQ had to come up with another plan.
He was sprinkling BBQ Dry Rub on his Deluxe Mixed Nuts, and preparing to cook them on his sunny California Smoker. Then, TasteeBQ got Zapped with a sudden burst of inspiration. He began to think about all of the unfortunate Boys and Girls throughout the World who are not privileged enough to live in California and have access to Grills from Webber, Char-Broil or the Big Green Egg- yearround. Some people even live in Apartments. While others may not be able to excavate their BBQ Rigs from “Let it Snow” Land. More interactive than those screechy Musical Holiday Cards, he decided to bestow the Gift that keeps on Giving: The DIY Stovetop Smoker (STS).
HOW TO MAKE A DIY STOVETOP SMOKER-[STS] FOR .99 CENTS
Here’s all you’ll need:
1- Large Pot or Dutch Oven/ with Lid (Heavy Bottomed or Cast Iron will work best)
1- Steaming Tray or Rack (to fit inside of Pot)
1- Bag of Mesquite of Hickory Wood Chips from the .99 Cents Only Store.
Before you run out to grab a Whole Hog or 50lb. Chicken, bear in mind that this technique works best for small portions of Prepared Foods. Stovetop Smoking is a quick and easy way to infuse real Natural Wood Smoked Flavor, without leaving your Kitchen. Chefs have used similar techniques for decades doing indoor Tea and Herb Smoking, with Fish, Potatoes and other Veggies. TasteeBQ has just began to experiment with translating it to BBQ. So far the results are simply delicious. [Others have also discovered this technique, see Links].
1. Put Pot on Stove, with small foil pouch of dry Wood Chips (no more than 1/4 Cup) placed in the center.
2. Place Rack inside Pot with the Food to be Smoked
3. Cover Pot with Lid (leaving small vent) and turn burner to High. You should start seeing smoke in 3-5 Minutes. From there it depends on what you are Smoking. Let’s experiment together. Maybe we can compile 100+ DIY Stovetop Smoker (STS) Recipes in time for the next Super Bowl. Many of you will still be in the snow, so it should work out nicely.
Here are some Suggestions to try, followed by our first 2 DIY STS Recipes.
For Precooked Snacks, Pasta, Nachos, Nuts, Popcorn, Pretzels:
Place Food on open foil tray, preseason with BBQ Rub, or seasoning mix of your choice. Once lid begins to smoke, close lid. Cut heat to medium for 2-3 Minutes, then cut off. Leave food in closed chamber for 10-15 minutes (until smoke dissipates. In case of emergency, always have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and pre-clear a path to an outside door or window where you can release smoke.* An built-in intake system is even better.
*This shouldn’t happen if you stick to less than 1/4 Cup of Wood Chips and turn off burner in regular intervals while cooking, or every 15-20 minute Smoking Cycle.
For Pre-Roasted, Baked or Smoked Meats, Bacon, Fish and Vegetables, Pizza, Rice, Pre-cooked Baby Back Ribs, Hot Wings:
Start with above instructions. The idea is to warm it through on your DIY STS. Pre-warmed or room temperature food will absorb smoke faster, so it could be good to go after only one Smoking Cycle. Cold leftovers may take 2-3 Cycles.
For Uncooked Meats, Potatoes, Root Veggies
TasteeBQ has recently learned that he is not the first, or only one to think of this Stovetop Smoking technique. A quick web search found blogs as old as 2012. Most of them suggest to STS the meat on low for up to a couple of hours, then finish in the oven. This will also provide a milder flavor. The other way is also fine- cook Meat first, then set it in the STS for a Smoke Cycle or Two. Links to referenced Articles appear below.
Recipe #1- Stove Top Smoked Mixed Nuts
Great for Holiday and New Year’s Gatherings. Also works with Cashews, Pistachios, Almonds, Walnuts or Peanuts.
1. Season Assorted Mixed Nuts with your choice of Spices, Seasoning or Herbs (we used HEROIC! Rub.)
2. Place in Foil Pouch, then into your STS.
3. In only one Smoke Cycle, Nuts will come out tasting warm and delicious. Won’t last long, at all.
Recipe #2- Stove Top Smoked Salmon
This a great “Next Day” Recipe for leftover Grilled, Baked or Smoked Salmon. We served ours over a bed of Cheesy Garlic Fettuccini.
1. Place Portion of Salmon on Foil. Spritz with water or Citrus Juice to help maintain moisture.
2. Re-season Salmon with BBQ Rub or Spices and Herbs.
3. Cook on STS for 1-2 Smoke Cycles until warmed through. Finish with Tzatziki Sauce with Dill or Garlic Herb Seasoned Butter.
Fill out this Brief Contact to receive STS News , Updates on 100 DIY Stovetop Smoking Recipes or if you’d like to share STS Recipes.
Early risers were greeted with a Norman Rockwell type of scene. A fresh blanket of Mother Nature’s finest quality precipitation had arrived overnight. It was the type of snow that clung to everything and anything in its path. The type of snow that breeds snowmen. The kind of snow that sledders dream of.
Old friend stood tall, however, taking everything thrown at it, as if it knew that such harsh weather demands hearty food, perhaps grilled. And today, there would be no arguing that fact.
Gathering ingredients that can only be readily available after a recent fall holiday, the choice was made to prepare a piping hot, Turkey Pot Pie on the grill for our dinner.
The vessel of choice was a nine-inch cast iron skillet, of course. And the first task at hand was to press a bottom crust into this pan. Pot pies, as far as this griller…
As Caterers, we can’t get all of our inspiration from Googling Recipes. Sometimes we need to travel around, in search of new flavors and techniques. Without creative new Chefs, food would be pretty boring. ROOT Restaurant in New Orleans is a perfect example. Thank you to Michael W. DeVidts, a chef from New Orleans School of Cooking, for recommending that I try ROOT during my current visit to the Big Easy. Tomorrow, I will have a chance to Sous Chef for Michael during one of his ever-popular Cooking Classes. Will share more details a future blog.
During our visit, the Chef at ROOT sent several complimentary amuse bouches, or tasting plates. Didn’t get to meet him in person, so I can’t credit who was cooking that Thursday night. Can tell you that Phillip Lopez is the owner and Executive Chef of ROOT, so we send him our “Thanks”. The first tasting course was this pickled Cauliflower in Cauliflower soup. Cool, clean and refreshing.
Next came one the restaurant’s most popular dishes, Menage a Foie. That’s Foie Gras three ways (Top photo). A very playful dish, the first part is a Foie Gras flavored Confetti, anchored by pine nuts and colorful mixed veggies. Next, there are house-made “Funyons” mixed with rich Pickled Onions. The Star of the plate of course is the Foie Gras Cotton Candy, not too sweet with a smoky sesame-like flavor. This is molecular gastronomy at it best, and tons of fun.
We tried the Korean Style Short Ribs, which are hopefully a work-in-progress. They came out over-seasoned with too much gristle. Were sent back to from whence they came. But then- Hello! We got to encounter the Glazed Pork Belly. Amazingly tender and flavorful- accompanied by a perfect variety of Roasted Vegetables and delicious sauce.
Another amuse bouche arrived with house-made Sorbet, Berry Sauce and a Candied Cucumber on top. An embodiment of refreshment. Though sated, I had to scan the Dessert Menu for something different, lest I miss out on the chance to have a treat that we could never find anywhere else. Think I found it.
The Yorkie came with a house-madeChocolate Covered Cookie, Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, house-made Coco Puffs. They pour a Minted Milk into the bowl at the table right at serving. I am running out of superlatives for this dish. A truly tasty treat garnished with fresh Mint. A once in a lifetime experience, until we make it back there again. For sure we will- to try ROOT’s ever popular Charcuterie Menu.
ROOT is located at 200 Julia St., near the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. Phone is (504) 252-9480. Website http://www.roootnola.com.