Live Fire Cooking: Pork Shoulder

This latest adventure in live fire cooking came about rather innocently. I needed a way to get a bigger fire out of this (double-sided) fireplace.

Bigger Fire

The grate was too low to keep larger stacks of logs from rolling out so I set upon building a cage to hold the logs in (see above). It’s made from steel and bolts I picked up at a local hardware store and measures 36″ wide x 18″ deep x 18″ tall. Continue reading

Weber-JohnGL Backyard Pizza Oven Prototype Test Drive

Posted by johngl

It’s actually been a while since I fulfilled my “innovative use of construction materials” calling, but this past week, between much-needed rains, I’ve made up for some of that.

This is the same unit as in my previous post only now it is sporting two coats of black heat-resistant paint:

Modified Weber Backyard Pizza Oven

It’s still not done yet as I still need to mount doors and more pins for racks so I can use it as a large capacity smoker, but it is certainly done enough to make a pizza!

It's a Pizza! Modified Weber Backyard Pizza Oven Prototype

And it did it beautifully even though I wound up adding a layer of pizza stones to mellow the excessive heat.

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Weber-JohnGL “Dragon” Pizza Oven Prototype

Posted by johngl

It was just over a year ago that I picked up and assembled my extra large Big Green Egg. One of the primary considerations in my decision was my plan to use it as a pizza oven. I’ve made a bunch of pizzas on the Egg, but it really isn’t a natural thing. There is just too much faith involved. I have to trust that the pizza isn’t burning because I can’t see inside. In addition, the very high heat involved in making pizza positively roasted the Egg’s felt seal and I wound up replacing it (no small feat) in less than two months.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Egg…though not necessarily for pizza.

Strangely enough, just over two years ago, I picked up a 26.75″ Weber Kettle in a step to avoid spending the massive quantities of money on the Big Green Egg.


I now introduce to you, the Weber-JohnGL 26.75″ “Dragon” Pizza Oven Prototype: DPO1.

Enter the "Dragon"

I “manufactured” that center insert in about two hours. And no, it’s not done yet. It’s a prototype.

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Big Green Egg: Cheesy Grate Be Gone!

Posted by johngl

The other day I got a call from my new friend Lane, an independent metal fabricator that can be found at Lane got right to the point: the grate for my Big Green Egg was done!

I was so excited, I stepped out of my office to spread the word to my long-time friend and co-worker Rob.  He laughed at me. WTF? Then he explained: You see, he gets all excited about geeky stuff. This guy gets juiced when talking about 16 gig of RAM in his home desktop. So when I was all jazzed about such a low-tech thing like a grill grate, it struck him as funny.

Fair enough.

Big Green Egg: Now with Real Steel (tm)

Now this is some Real Steel.  I believe I am going to have to do a trademark search on RealSteel™.

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Big Green Egg: Homemade Pizza

Posted by johngl

Regular readers will know that a few short weeks ago I christened my Big Green Egg by using it to cook a frozen pizza. It was time to see what it did with a homemade one.

Pizza Crust!

While the crust wasn’t quite as thin as I normally would like, that isn’t the fault of the Big Green Egg.  This peperoni and Italian Sausage pizza was really quite good and the crust had a nice crunch to it.

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Big Green Egg: Cowboy Ribeye Steaks

Posted by johngl

As many of you know, I picked up an eggs-tra large Big Green Egg a couple of weeks ago and I’m still putting it through its paces.  This time around, its bone-in “cowboy” ribeye steaks.

A perfect medium rare

For a first run (or any run for that matter) these came out PDG (pretty damn good).

This Egg (or BGE) may not be cheap, but it’s proving itself to be quite versatile. Whether it is working as a pizza oven, smoking bone-in roast of pork, or grilling steaks, the Egg is pulling its weight.

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Big Green Egg: Pizza Oven!

Posted by johngl

It was destiny: this morning’s newspaper (yes, the paper kind) had one of those annoying little sticky ads pasted over the headline. It was offering a $200 gift card with a purchase of $1000 or more at Barbeques Galore.

Uh oh.

As coincidence would have it, most glorious spousal unit and I were just in the Brodie Lane store less than a week ago eyeballing the extra large Big Green Egg. The Egg alone was priced at $999.99.  Accessories — stand, wing tables, ash scraper, something called a “plate setter”, charcoal — and tax brought the total to nearly $1500.  Eeee-gads. And a gulp.

Big Green Egg

Yet, there it is, in its big green ceramic glory, sunning itself on my patio kitchen.  How did that get there?

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Under Pressure: 90 Minute Chuck

Posted by johngl

Seemingly taking exception with my penchant for sous vide (under vacuum) cooking, most glorious spousal unit recently spat in my face (figuratively, of course) by purchasing an electric pressure cooker.

Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker

WTF? We already have a pressure cooker!  Of course, we already had a KitchenAid Stand Mixer when I went out a bought another (more powerful) unit so I can’t squawk too loudly.

Anyway, contrary to sous vide, which is generally hours and hours of cooking at low temperatures, pressure cooking is high temperature cooking for a short period of time.

You wouldn’t want to use pressure cooking for say, beef tenderloin, but it’s a great cooking method  for something like braised beef chuck.

Real meat and potatoes

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