Do you make Pizza at home? Do you want to? Looking to up your Pizza making level?

When our buddy David D. Wronski (of Wronski's Wramblings blog fame) was a lad he tells us he would make a Pizza Pie from scratch every Saturday evening, consumed while watching the Jackie Gleason Show.

With the de rigueur signature pan, of course ...

His preference for the Cheese/Pepperoni toppings continues to the present era. And, he's still not a stickler when it comes to the Cheese. Mozzarella, of course. But, fancy Importado Buffaloto Supremo Especialito ... he prefers to savor the best as is. When, for melting, get the best Motz you can afford; just don't overdo it. He confided that once in a pinch, slices of a hot dog filled the gap. Moral of the story: always have some Pepperoni on hand.

So, let's say you want to make it at home, and really want to get it done right. You're tired of settling for some poor imitation of what you can get at any corner Pizzeria. Not to mention the works of art turned out by those artisanal, locally sourced, organic, hand crafted, small batch, wood fired brick oven joints currently in favor with the crowd wearing skinny jeans and ironic t-shirts.

So here is the Cooky Cat treatment. If you are the sort that needs a hand holding all along the way ... well, that's what an Internet search is for. You do know how to do that, we pray.

These tips will get you a long way to making a Pizza you can stack up next to anything out there. Got that, buddy? You'll thank us, you better believe it!

Here is the skinny ...

1. The Pan.

Use that tin pan you may have been using to serve with. For a proper crispy, blotchy seared crust you need either a heavy cast iron Pizza pan, a Pizza Steel, or a Pizza Stone. For any of the aforementioned you heat them up in the oven to 500ºF before baking your Pizza. More on how to manage that sitiation later. 

We use a Lodge Made in the USA 14" Cast Iron Pizza Pan. Arguably the heaviest pan out there. Heft means heat retention. A good thing.

There are other makes out there, some enameled on the underside. Pretty. But, we want the option of using our pan on a charcoal grill sometimes. 

There are also Pizza Stones and Pizza Steels. The word seems to be that Stones can break. Be advised. Pizza Steels are probably the very best. But ... they are heavy. Some so heavy manufacturers caution about making sure your oven rack can handle the load. And, not so easy to remove when not in use. You can leave it in all the time; just remember the heft. Also, because of the way we handle the Pizza making process, we come back to the cast iron pan. You'll soon know why.

2. The Dough.

The Dough is arguably the prime factor. We favor the thin, crispy crust type. But, suit yourself. If you know about Bread baking, you know there are infinite variations. If you don't know, then you'll have to get your hands in there and get some experience. 

When it comes to the Dough for Pizza there are a) the ingredients, b) the mixing, c) processing and d) the shaping. We're not going to get into the granular details of all that. Remember, Cooky Cat points a paw in the right direction. There's plenty of detail in an iSearch. 

Aw, heck. We added a recipe below.

Ingredients-wise, you need to have Flour(s) with enough Gluten to build an elastic yet pliable dough. And, tender. "Love Me (Pizza) Tender." No Cake Flour (ever!); it has no Gluten. Bread Flour is good. We also like a 50/50 mix of All-Purpose and Doppio Zero Flour (00). Or 100% 00 Flour; just to be sure the brand has the Gluten level you want. Here's some information on the subject. You'll find your preference with experience.

Ingredients Measured: (Source — Dough, Simple Contemporary Bread by Richard Bertinet, page 84. Modified*.)

Yield ... 2 -14" rounds. 3 - small approx. 9 to10"

Water — 12 oz. / ¾ Cup. Plus 2-3 Tblsp. to activate dry Yeast.

Bread Flour —  18 ounces. (= 3¾ - scant 4 Cups)

Time to AUTOLYSE (see instructions below.)

Yeast — Fresh — ½ oz.; 7 tsp. Dry Active — ¼ oz. (1 small packet; 2 1/4 tsp.; 7 grams.)

Sugar — 1 tsp. (Add to feed yeast bloom)

Salt — 2 tsp.

Olive Oil — 4 Tblsp. / 1/4 Cup.

Wheat Gluten*— 1 Tblsp. (Optional)

Fine Semolina — For dusting/shaping on counter top.

Mixing-wise, here we have a world of options. One word to learn: Autolyse. The cognoscenti claim it gives a Dough that's easier to work and shape. Better texture and flavor. Something about building a nice Gluten structure. In a nutshell it's simply about mixing only the flour and water together first, letting it rest (1 hour); then adding in the yeast + sugar, salt, and Olive oil.

Here's the A to Z on Autolyse: (*Notice the water goes in first.)

You do have the option of kneading the dough, or not. Once ingredients are combined you can mix in a blender with a Dough hook, or hand knead. If you look there is probably lots of discussion about the merits of each approach. Even, in a food processor. You're on your own on that one, pally. 

Here's a treatment on no-knead Pizza Dough. It'll also deal with using Parchment Paper for easy to and from the oven.

Processing-wise. Dough has to rise. We like the idea of the cold ferment. Mixing and kneading (if, at all) the dough, then letting it slow proof in the refrigerator. Over night, or for a few or more days. Look it up and decide for yourself. The cold ferment is said to produce better flavor and texture. Very Important: Do not attempt to knead dough proofed in the refrigerator right away. Let it come to room temperature. Or, you'll be dealing with rubber.

Shaping-wise. Oh boy! Even more options. Here's a video we follow. You can take or leave our Eric's pizza stone approach. More on our's in a bit. A key point from this video is to use fine Semolina Flour for turning out your proofed room temperature dough ball. Do that!

If'n you don't already know from about shaping the Pizza, it's the same as how to get to Carnegie Hall: Practice ... practice ... practice.

3. The assembly. So now you have your dough stretched out all round and all (it doesn't HAVE to be round, really) and ready for some toppings. 

Toppings-wise. Have them ready to go. "Mise en place". 

If you are adding Pepperoni, consider cutting it into quarter bits.

See our excellent treatise on that fine point here.

As for the Pepperoni itself. Our Pepperoni junkie friend David D. Wronski (of Wronski's Wramblings blog fame) is known in his locale among the purveyors of such as always insisting on aged Pepperoni. The drier the better. And, if you want to try some of the very best, here's a source where you can order Ezzo Pepperoni online. If you have a Salumeria near you making their own homemade, better still. 

If you lika da spicey, try adding some Nduja. It's a Calabrese dried spreadable sausage incorporating roasted hot red Peppers. Here's our source.

Cheese: As previously mentioned, Mozzarella is de rigueur. We don't think it's necessary to use the very, very top of the line variety. That's best eaten as is. For melting, get what you want. A finishing dusting of grated Pecorino Romano is a must here in New Jersey. We've also been adding a block cheese to the mix. Recommended is a white type like Monterey Jack or Colby, or a blend of the two. A world class most excellent purveyor of Pizza (Buddy's Rendezvous in Detroit) we understand uses only Wisconsin White Brick Cheese. Delicious. If you want to really get the flavor up, one word: Gorgonzola. But, not by itself, in combo with the others. Maybe also, try some Gruyère?

Sauce: To your taste. We suggest using top quality whole (which you chop to dice) or diced canned Tomatoes. The presence of Tomato pieces adds that extra level of taste and mouth feel. Check out Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted.

And, that's it for the sauce. If you want, maybe some ground Black Pepper and/or Oregano.

4. Baking.

It can get tricky. The crucial decisions seem to be about  a) where do you assemble the Pizza Pie and b) how do you get it into the oven.

You will need to consider this for yourself. Do like the Pizzeria's do and transfer into the oven on a peel? You first have to be sure there's something in there like a steel, or a stone, or a cast iron pan preheated. Getting it off the peel ... that could be a skill unto itself. In the link above for no-knead dough they recommend using parchment paper to facilitate easy transfer to the oven. (Then there's the matter of whether to leave the Pizza Pie on the parchment paper for the entire bake, or remove it as soon as the bottom is set. Seems there's no difference.)

Here's what we do. We take the 500ºF preheated cast iron pan out of the oven and place it on the stove top. THEN, we place the formed dough, followed of course by the toppings. Sauce first, nuggets of whatever you choose, then the cheese. Do this quickly, but carefully. You got a hot pan there, pay attention! Lately we are even putting the heated pan on a flame on the stove top to keep the temperature up. Nice results, crispy-wise. 

Bake for how long? 8-10 minutes at 500ºF. Done. Maybe a little longer, to your preference.

5. Eating. The issues just keep coming. First, though, take the pizza off the hot pan after it's out of the oven. The great debate seems to be over just how you handle your slice of Pizza. In Bella Roma, they dig in with a knife and fork. Here in God's Country we eschew such fussiness. The real argument is over whether it should be a) folded one-handed or b) kept flat using two hands. Here's something on that from Wronski. (That'll be David D. Wronski, of Wronski's Wramblings blog fame.)

Probably more than you were bargaining for. Yes? But, we only [Cooky Cat] scratched the surface.

Let us know how you're doing. 

In case you might ask, no we're not getting into all the kinds of ovens and oven contraptions out there. Seriously, if you make a lot of pizza for a lot of people, then sure, get a wood fired brick oven. Our thinking is keep it simple. No need for heavy investment if you make 1 or 2 Pizza Pies a month. 


The Secret to How to Stop Crying When Peeling Onions ...

Don't Form an Emotional Attachment


It's Called "Chrzan"

Condimento Perfecto!

Completed Wild Horseradish with Beets. 


I Got Your Snack!

For when you want something fast. Have these on hand at all times:

You can stop right there. Warm a Tortilla. Just heat the beans, sprinkle some hot sauce, wrap ... enjoy.

If you want to go further ...

Make Refried Beans. Saute minced onion and garlic, add beans with liquid, heat over medium until liquid is mostly evaporated. Salt and pepper, of course. Cumin, maybe some chili powder too. Mash beans. Serve.

Options: Add some melty cheese. Even some scrambled eggs. 

Oh, Salsa! In a food processor: fresh Tomato, sweet Onion, Cucumber, Cilantro leaves and stems, Jalapeno (tamed — deseeded/deveined —to your taste). Lime juice and Olive Oil to balance. Charred Tomatillos, Avocado, and fresh Cilantro chopped together make another great Salsa.

PS: Don't overfill the Tortilla. Tortilla buying guide: as big as your head. Hot sauce-wise, it's the "broth of your own desire"; No end of options. Bean-wise, any bean'll do ... in a pinch. Put in what you got, what you like. Just smallish on the filling. Keep the filling texture soft and cuddly (as opposed to big and chompy).


Chow Chow

It's Whatever You Want It To Be

Here's the recipe: 

[Makes about 2 Quarts, tightly packed.]

Ingredients ...

Medium sized Cabbage 

2 Red Bell Peppers

1 Large Onion, 

2 Green Tomatoes or 4 large Tomatillos

Kosher Salt 2 tbsp.

Brine ... 

Apple Cider Vinegar 1 Cup

Pure Water 2 Cups

Sugar 1 Cup (Brown, White, in combination)

Yellow Mustard Seeds, 1+ tbsp.

Celery Seeds, 1 tsp.

Mustard Powder, 2 tsp.

Turmeric, 1 tsp.

Ground Black Pepper, 1tsp.

Preparation ...

Thin slice vegetables, then coarse chop. (Small enough to be a garnish on a hot dog.)

Toss with 2 tbsp. Kosher Salt.

Let stand overnight, refrigerated. (Room temperature seems to be acceptable as well; maybe starts a little fermentation.)

Drain and rinse. (Some recipes don't specify the rinse, but it does tone down the saltiness if you do.)

Combine Brine ingredients, bring to boil.

Low cook Vegetables in Brine until just tender (10-15 minutes)

Options ... 

Go and search around other Chow Chow recipes. Some only have a minimum amount of Cabbage proportionally. Slivered Carrot, Green Bell Peppers would be obvious options. Our brine ratio 1 Vinegar : 2 Water* is sour enough for us. Adjust yours to taste.

Cook to your own taste. Seems Chow Chow is what ever you want it to be.

* Brine Ratio: Vinegar:Water — 1:2 
This has proved to be an ideal ratio for anything you might want to brine for "Refrigerator Pickles". Careful, a lot of recipes call for vinegar full strength. Pucker up if you do.


Pickles 101

Being raised in a Polish family, naturally pickles are a part of this Kitty's culinary vocabulary. This is not unique to the Poles, but there is such a thing as "Polish Dill Pickles". So let's not quibble. The home you are born into is your world, and my world was distinctly Polish; in a Polish neighborhood. So Polish, my part of town was called Poletown. Alas, no more. They paved paradise and put up — in this case — a Cadillac car plant. Anyhow, pickle-wise (which I unashamedly am) you could say pickles of all types were part of my vaccination regimen. It's in my blood. Vampires seem to stay away. Too sour. Now, don't you wish you were Polish too?

So I know from pickles ...

There are two types of pickles: 1. Fermented. 2. Refrigerator.

Please learn the distinction and you will forever sing my praises. Not the least of which it the pure fact that you will be enjoying some really good and tasty homemade pickles.

This is an overview. At the bottom of each section is a link to the full spiel to get you going on the road to Pickledom. 

1. Fermented Pickles are fermented. Raw vegetables in a saline brine left to ferment and sour. Easy as pie once you crack your pickle cherry and just go ahead and do it. 

The secret is in the brine. The proportion of salt to water. 2 Tablespoons per quart of water. That's around 3.5% salinity by weight. And — CRUCIALLY IMPORTANT — the kind of salt and the kind of water. Salt with no Iodine. Pickling salt, or Kosher. Water without Chlorine. Spring water, or boiled tap water (removes the chlorine.) Those two elements will retard/fail the fermentation process. 

Remember too, fermentation is an anaerobic process. Pickles (any vegetable) being processed with fermentation must be kept under the brine liquid.

2. Refrigerator Pickles are made in a vinegar based brine. If you search the Internet you'll see lots of recipes. And, the use of lots of vinegar. Too much for even this Kitten's taste. Here's all's you ever be needing to know about vinegar brine: Brine Ratio ... 1 Cup Vinegar : 2 Cups water. 

Memorize that.

Refrigerator pickles are just about any vegetable or hard fruit processed in a hot brine flavored to your liking. Boil brine, pour over vegetables, let cool. Put in the fridge. Next day ... enjoy. Depending on the type of vegetable being processed you may want to par boil in the brine to tenderize. 



I bet you can't even eat one:

Some good stuff on how the heat of chili peppers is measured.


Food ... CLOSE UP!

We watch the occasional cooking show. Currently Pati's Mexican Table is a fave. 


Someone has been messing with her show. Probably, in their mind, improved things. Added some "production values". Just like what happened to Daisy Martinez and her original Daisy Cooks delightfully demonstrating the Puerto Rican Caribbean cuisine. 

Daisy and Pati originally produced homey simple shows, expertly and unpretentiously presenting the cuisines of their forebears. 

When Daisy moved to Food Network the art directors moved in to up those "production values". Daisy got a new kitchen, a new hairdo, a make over. And the original aesthetic was sophisticated-up for a wider audience. More gloss. The essence was lost.

Now we're seeing Pati with what seems to be a new format. She's still pretty much as before, just that someone has decided to zero in on every shot. Close. Up. CLOSE. UP. Not a bit appetizing.

We are not amused. There seems to be an aesthetic strain in the world of cooking shows where the camera is directed to get ever so close for a look. Especially when performing the most mundane tasks; like, peeling an onion. Hey! I think we got that one pretty good.

The only shows we appreciate the close ups are Nigella's and Giadda's.

But, please. Seriously. Do we really need to see everything close up with lots of quick cuts? The term "food porn" comes to mind. Like strapping a camera to a chef's knife so we can see the exquisite juicy details of slicing into an onion. Or, penetrating a melon.

If you want to see it done right, see anything with Jacques Pepin.


Elephant Ears

Now is the season!* Any way you say it — patra, aluchya, vadya, patra patrode. It’s a great snack dish made with colocasia, the leaves of the taro plant. You may know it as elephant-ear, taro, cocoyam, dasheen, chembu, or eddoe.

The leaves are layered with a savory paste, rolled, steamed, and sliced. Or, as I prefer, steamed, sliced and fried to crispy in a little vegetable oil. I’m in the kitchen as (if) you read this. If you want a recipe, I can provide.

*[But, when is it ever not so.]   


Vegetarian Pepperoni Pizza

David Wronski writes . . .

Every Saturday evening for a long time in my formative years I would make a pepperoni pizza from scratch using the Chef Boyadee Pizza Kit. I am a lifetime committed pepperoni junkie; and, to me, pizza and pepperoni pizza are interchangeable.

I know that some of the legion of Cooky Cat followers abstain from eating meat, so here is a vegetarian alternative. No, Ms. Marcella Hazen, we are not suggesting tempeh here. (In a prior post on Borlengo Cooky Cat suggested using tempeh as an alternative to pork bits in the piece on Borlengo and Ms. Hazan commented in a separate message, and in typical direct authoritative fashion, ". . . Very tasty. Forget about tempeh, please.")

I should also mention that I am arguably THE or (grudgingly) one of THE originators of what is now so commonplace, so called "Fusion Cooking". You know, mixing ingredients from the various world cuisines, mixing menu items in the same way. It was in the Brooklyn years that me and a neighbor friend, Stan Mongin (RIP) formed the Polish Pavillion. It was a weekend catering venture. We like to cook and Stan had the largest Garland restaurant stove, so we thought it would be a fun thing to do as a sideline. (In this entry there is another reference to the Polish Pavillion; specifically, how we cooked up that name.) Stan had an in at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), and we did a few gigs there. There was some talk of taking over the in-house catering there, but I wasn't interested in a full time career change into food service. (I did a stint at Whole Wheat and Wild Berries, a Village healthy food restuarant, and I am completely disabused of that typical fantasy of running a restuarant.)

I know I am digressing a bit. But, that is what I do. Check out Wronski's Wramblings to get a snoot full.

Seitan Pepperoni http://fooddoodles.com/2011/04/04/pepperoni-seitan/


This from Our August 31 Birthday Boy, David D. Wronski ...

Here I am today on my birthday ... in the heart of New Jersey. 

You know, I used to live in Arizona. There, there's a Taco stand on just about every corner. Here, in "Joyzee" that would be ... a Pizza Parlor on every corner.

On my birthday I chose to treat myself to Pizza. Make that a righteous, oily cheesy New Jersey style Pepperoni Pizza. 

At one of our go-to's Ritacco's in Nutley, New Jersey.

I don't think it gets any more Italian in New Jersey than that great Pizzeria.

But, this is not a restaurant review. The food's great. Alright? Check out the "Monster" 20" pie. 

So, here it is:

Seems a friend of mine has recently come out. 
[Got you! Not what you thought I was talking about, was it?] Come out ... on the question of how to eat a slice of Pizza. 

Seems the gentleman insists that any proper human being eats one's slice with the kind of respect and dignity only two hands can confer. 

His wife, I believe, is of the fold-your-slice persuasion. I do hope they can work their differences out. Time is the great healer. And, as I myself have learned, one learns to adjust to the lady's way of thinking.

Me? I have to say, even with the prospect of my friend's disapproval lurking in the forefront of my consciousness, I am of the fold-it type. Hey, it's a Pizza! I can get it about two hands if it's a Blini Beluga Canapé. But, to me, as wonderful as it is, Pizza is a casual eating experience. My friend will argue that it being casual is no excuse for lowering your standards.

De Gustibus non est disputandem. That should settle it. That phrase is, after all, from the Italians. Classical as it may be. Here in New Jersey the Italians have the Pizza eating rules down.

Witness the bro's reactions to my eating with two hands. Lucky to have gotten out of there in one piece. And, I don't mean piece of Pizza. Which, by the way, we took three pieces home for later.

(That is NOT my tongue! So ... no comments!)


Kitchen Secrets

We just hate it when the cook arrives at table with the meal and then proceeds to spark everyone's appetite chatting on about how difficult it was to prepare, and what crucial ingredient was left out. Or, what crucial ingredient was accidentally put in.

[Word to the wise on that latter point. DO NOT substitute — EVER! — anise oil for vanilla. Even if you confessed, it would be noted. Just don't.]

Things go on in the kitchen. Or, in the example we're sharing, near the kitchen.Things that should not be discussed with the guests. Even the family. Things, even, that should be put out of mind forever. Just what is in the "secret sauce" the cook keeps bragging about?

A story to elucidate the point: 

A Grand Lady and proud Daughter of the American Revolution, whom I once had the honor to call my mother in law, told this story. All guest were seated for the Thanksgiving feast in the dining room awaiting the what promised to be a splendid roasted Turkey to arrive from the kitchen. On cue the cook appeared from the kitchen through the swinging door, and forthwith dropped the masterpiece right onto the floor. Without a pause the hostess simply instructed to, "Take that one back to the kitchen and, [wait for it] ... bring out the other one".

That is how it's done. 

As my sainted mother herself would so often say, "No one's the wiser."

This is not to encourage mistakes or, heaven forbid!, sloppiness in the kitchen. Like I said ... things will happen. 


The Birds and the Bees
... and a Bakery

David D. Wronski, our old friend and long time collaborator, sent us this review. When in Montclair ... (DDW is reputed to be THE Doughnut Editor At-Large for the WSJ. We don't vouch for that, but we hear it gets him entrée from time to time.)

David Wronski shares:

You know how you can live next to something great for a long time and discover it only when you do? Here in historic (and colorful ... CLICK to view my "Colorful Montclair") Montclair, New Jersey there are some pretty nice bakeries. 

One that made up a special order for us a few years back for a conference we hosted specialized on the healthy side of the street. That would be Walnut Street, in case you wondered. Almost directly across on that street there's another bakery, Gina's; which isn't unhealthy, but they don't specialize in the whole this, or the organic that. Great for our favorite Apple Turnover and Baguettes and Pain de Epis. That last one. So adult. You have to watch out not to get impaled when you eat one of those things.

Which brings me to the Montclair Bread Company, circa now. New owners since the time we did business with that shop. Now it's a community owned and operated bakery. Per them, "We strive to make the highest quality baked goods for everyone to enjoy." 

And ... Doughnuts!

You had me at "Doughnuts".

So we tooddled on over this morning. Early bird catches the worm. In this case for the elusive Jelly Doughnut. Maybe an Almond Croissant. Danish? And, how about a regular Cake Donut? And a cup of the local brew.

So here's the deal.

Scored all in all four categories. Jelly (Raspberry) Donut, Cake Donut (Blueberry ), Pain aux Raisins, Almond Croissant.

Top grades all around. Rich, delicious, moist. Goldilocks would approve. (BTW ... We prefer a little more Marzipan in the croissant than in our sample, and the more creamy moist type. Just a quibble though.)

But, hey! We came for the Jelly Doughnut.

Hand to heart. Going in my position was, they better be good at $3.00 a pop! And, they were. I asked the server if the Doughnuts were "heavy". She got my meaning straight away. Yes, there was a lot of jelly inside. Hurdle #1 cleared. High quality, tasty Rasberry jelly. The the Doughnut crust and crumb? Crust nicely fried brown; a little edge, but not crisp. #2 ... passed. The crumb moist and fresh. Lots of sabor. #3 ... Bingo! Verdict: One great Jelly Doughnut. Yet, at $3.00 ... you know you're in Montclair. That $36.00 dollars a dozen to put things into perspective. Hey, they're great. But, how great can a doughnut be? Alright. So buy a few. It won't kill you.

[Remembering: My Uncle Phil was a Baker. He made the jelly donuts we Poles called Pączki — say "Poonchkey". His were great when first made, going south to staletown really fast. I worked for him part time while in high school, you might like to know. And, I made sure the Pączki were, as I said, heavy. Read the rest of this review, then CLICK to read about my own days as a baker.]

And, oh yes, the Coffee at Montclair Bread Company. Grrrreat! Not your sock you in the mouth with a jolt of FLAVOR Starbucks experience. Just deep, smooth, well roasted flavor. Excuuuse me, but my verbal palette concerning my palate has its limits. It was a good cup of coffee. As for notes and overtones, give me a break. My partner Michele poured a self-serve large with Guatemalan and a dose of something called "Hair Raiser". Not so much to raise my hair. But, my eyebrows lifted, for sure. Great cup of Joe. And, the sides of my mouth curled upward too.

By now — did you get this far? — you may be asking what about that "Birds and Bees" reference at the beginning?

Seems the neighborhood birds are totally clued in to the outdoor scene at Montclair Bread Company. Bold enough to circle under foot. Not so brave (yet!) to light on the table. Sorry, birdies. No crumbs.

But, the bees. Here's the story. Enough said.

We had several buzzing around us. Shown above is me sharing with one of those critters. We're friendly to bees. No problemos.

Montclair Bread Company. Great place. 


Barbeque News Flash ...

Just got wind of a proper contraption that is designed for slow smoking with your Weber. It also acts as a hot spot for more control in grilling.

We still stand by our original DIY setup for slow smoking (CLICK for that article). The Slow'n Sear, however, looks like the next step up. A good measure of convenience plus important added options.

CLICK for the Slow'n Sear at the Adrenaline Barbeque Company website. 

Besides being a Made-in-America product (as in, Made Right!) its design offers a large contained charcoal hopper for a long smoke without needing to refuel. Plus, a proper water jacket, which acts as a heat shield and moisture source.

We're going to get the Slow'n Sear Plus which features a bottom grate for the charcoal and an extension lip for stability. The bottom grate is supposed to prevent lit coal chunks from falling down. We think it'll also be good for saving any unused coals for the next use. 

Slow'n Sear Plus is pictured below.


Taco Time ... Step-By-Step

 1. Warm Corn Tortilla

 2. Sour Cream

 3. Pork in Chili, Guacamole, Queso Blanco

 4. Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

 5. Shredded Cabbage

6. Scallion & Cilantro

7. Enjoy


HASTY BAKE ... THE Charcoal Grill

If you are looking to buy a charcoal grill for the back yard, this is it. Stressing ... THIS IS IT! 

The Hasty Bake has been around since 1948. We saw it used on a Simply Ming episode, grilling Texas steaks with chef Dean Fearing.
Made in the US of A kind of well made, practical, straightforward functionality. Built like a tank. Powder coated or Stainless Steel. Several size models. All with the same functionality.

This is the one to own. Grilling, of course. But, also smoking; even baking. 

There is a lot of engineering in this baby. Most obvious, how you can crank the fire box up or down to modulate the temperature. There's even a heat shield for you really Low-and-Slow types. An easy clean up grease drain system to avoid flare ups. A straightforward vents system to control temperature. Built to last.

Check them out! Click this.