Review: Cooking with the Woo2 Raised Grid

My only complaint with the Big Green Egg ceramic cooker is that grilling directly over the lump can be a little challenging. The standard direct setup puts the cooking grid right on top of the hot coals. The heat can get plenty intense and the angle makes it hard to get at the food to move it off of the hot spots. After losing a prime ribeye to immolation after a sear-gone-wild, I decided to investigate some options for remedying this shortcoming.


The Woo2 (now Woo3) from The Ceramic Grill Store is a stainless extender that solves these problems by raising the cooking grid. The grid is moved up about 4 inches so it’s almost level with the bottom edge of the cooker, creating 8 inches of clearance above the firebox. This makes handling food a lot easier and gives you much better temperature control. Continue reading “Review: Cooking with the Woo2 Raised Grid”

Earth Day – Eat Locally

Eat Locally

In celebration of Earth Day, I’d like to take a break from talking about grilling meat to talk about, well… grilling local meat.

Becoming a localvore – a person dedicated to eating food grown and produced locally – is one of the best ways you can contribute to a healthier environment. Eating locally:

  • Creates less pollution – fewer fossil fuels are burned getting the food to you.
  • Benefits the local economy – a dollar spent with a local farmer generates twice as much income for the immediate economy.
  • Is more sustainable and self-sufficient – when our community can grow its own food, we are less vulnerable to being manipulated by the big guys who don’t always have our best interests at heart.
  • Is healthier – locally grown food is fresher and requires fewer preservatives.

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Grill Fried Chicken

You’ve heard of chicken fried steak? Well this is grill fried chicken. The long cook over indirect heat renders the fat out the skin so you get the crispy goodness and a juicy inside of traditionally fried chicken plus all the smoke and spice of the grill.

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Bacon – Buckboard and Canadian-style


Who doesn’t love bacon? Smokey, salty, crispy – it’s one of the best things to ever happen to a pig. But lately I’ve not been very impressed with the quality of the commercial brands, or the price of the specialty bacon, so I decided to try my hand at making it myself. I wanted something a little leaner than American streaky bacon, so I started with a small 7-pound pork butt (shoulder roast) and a 5-pound loin instead of the more traditional belly meat.

First I needed to cure the meat. I went with a combination of a 1/2 cup plain white sugar and a 1/2 cup Morton’s Sugar Cure. This made up the dry cure. I put the butt and loin into their own large freezer bags and coated them with two tablespoons of the dry cure for each pound of meat – so the butt got 14 tablespoons and the loin got 10.

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Beef Tri-Tip


Tri-tip is a very fine cut of beef that all too often ends up as stew meat or hamburger. Too bad, because it’s one cheap, tasty hunk of meat that takes well to grilling. The muscle is triangular in shape (hence, tri-tip), weighs in at between 1-1/2 and 2-1/2 pounds, and comes from the bottom of the sirloin. It has great flavor while still being pretty lean.

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Tuna Confit

I got the idea for this dish after having some truly exceptional Portuguese tuna that had been canned in olive oil. It had a great rich flavor and a firm texture that was very moist.

To recreate this at home, I decided to go with something a little more complex and earthy. I started with 2 tuna loin steaks that were about 3/4 of a pound each. I seasoned them with kosher salt and a little fresh cracked black pepper on each side and sat them in a earthenware baking dish.

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Review – Maverick ET-73 Wireless Thermometer

Maverick ET-73The Maverick ET-73 Redi-Chek® Wireless Remote Smoker Thermometer is the perfect tool for barbecuing.

Big cuts of meat require low heat and long cooking times to be transformed into that smoky, tender fare that we crave. And those long times mean that the pit master is often chained to the cooker. That’s fine if it’s a sunny afternoon and there’s a ready supply of company and adult beverages. It stinks if it’s just you and your bunny slippers crawling out of a warm bed in the middle of the night.

The ET-73 has two sensors that monitor the temperature of both the meat and the smoking chamber and transmits them up to 100 feet to a portable receiver. So instead of having to go out to check on the cooker all the time, you can just check the display on the receiver. Continue reading “Review – Maverick ET-73 Wireless Thermometer”

Puerco Pibil

Puerco Pibil TacosThis is my version of the classic slow-cooked pork dish that we’ve enjoyed many times when visiting Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. I’ve adapted it to work well on either a smoker or on a grill set up for indirect cooking.

This dish relies on achiote paste for a lot of its flavor. This blend of annatto seeds, Mexican oregano, garlic, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, black pepper, allspice, and salt is available online or in the ethnic food section of larger grocery stores.

1 pork butt (shoulder roast), between 5-7 pounds
1 cup orange juice
Juice of 1 lime (2T)
Juice of 1 lemon (2-3T)
1/4 cup achiote paste
3-4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup canola oil
1 dried ancho pepper, seeds and stem removed, or 1-2T ancho chile powder
1-2T Adobo powder (or 1T of kosher salt plus 1/2t each of cumin and garlic powder)
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Baby Back Ribs


Baby backs are one of my favorite cuts of meat to barbecue. While not as meaty as their spare rib cousins, baby backs still offer a substantial bit of flavorful meat and don’t require nearly as much time or attention to prepare successfully.

I don’t really have a rib recipe per se. It’s more a series of steps designed to add layers of flavor and turn what is otherwise can be a tough piece of meat into a tender, almost falling-off-the-bone, comfort food.

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