Kitchen safety

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In my second career I’m learning a whole whack of new skills and I’m also getting a really good insight into how a REAL restaurant kitchen is operated. I kind of had an idea from all The Food Network shows I’ve watched over the years but nothing prepared me for the hustle and bustle of what really goes on behind the scenes.

Usually what one see’s in a restaurant is the host or hostess, the servers and the cooks if you happen to be in a place that has an open concept kitchen so you usually don’t think beyond that to the dishwashers or the prep guys. At least I didn’t until I started to work behind the scenes and boy am I glad I spent so much time in my kitchen here at home and have the kitchen gadgets that I do. Prep work is fast and furious and you need to know what you are doing.

Which brings me to the point of this particular post…. Safety in the kitchen.

One of the leading causes of injuries in a kitchen, whether it be a home kitchen or a restaurant kitchen is poor knife skills and although they do say that practice makes perfect, practicing poor knife skills will inevitably lead to perfect poor knife skills and more and more cuts. One of the people I work with is constantly cutting themselves due to poor knife skills and the sad part is that they don’t seem to retain the information on how to correct the problem. They seem to be destined to lose a digit at some point….. I just hope it’s not on my shift.

If you look at my hands, ESPECIALLY THE LEFT ONE, you will see how the fingers are curled back towards my thumb and if you look close enough you will see that the knuckles on my left hand are acting like a guide for the knife blade. Holding your product (whatever it is you are chopping) in this manner ensures that you WILL NOT cut yourself and with practice you can actually be looking at someone while chopping and still not cut yourself. This is called “cat hand” because it, well, resembles a cats hand when the claws are out.

The other thing you need to be comfortable with is the knife you are using. It doesn’t matter if it is a Paring knife, Boning knife or Chef’s knife if you are not comfortable with it or just plain scared of it you will cut yourself. You need to, literally, shake hands with your knife in a firm but relaxed manner and in doing this you will be in control of the blade at all times and if you practice the proper techniques your knife skills will become very good in no time at all.

So the thing to remember when you are creating “simple but tasty recipes for the grilling season and beyond” is to always practice kitchen safety.

Until next time………

            BON APPETIT

Pulled Pork

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One of the great things about having a backyard Smoker is I can do so many more things than if I was just using the propane grill. Besides smoking I can direct grill and I can offset grill or do a combination of both but for this post we will stick with smoking and we will visit direct grilling and offset grilling in a future post.

One of the most popular items to smoke, if not THE most popular, is PORK BUTT and no this does not refer to the South bound part of a North bound pig (that would refer to its bum folks) but it actually refers to the shoulder oh and— don’t ask me why it’s called the Butt because I simply don’t have any idea. What I can tell you however is that when it is done right it makes one of the tastiest meals you could wish for.

Now in the BBQ/Smoker community there are three camps  when it comes to doing a pork butt:

Camp one:  Do it LOW. All sides agree on this point and the low is no more than 250 degrees otherwise the pork will get ruined.

Camp two: Bone in versus no bone. While I have never tried doing it with the bone in I can attest to the fact that “bone in equals added flavor” and one day when I find a bone in pork butt I will try it that way.

Camp three: This particular camp is the most contentious as it deals with “time” because after all the mantra for the smoker community is “Low and Slow” and when I first started smoking meat, especially pork butt, I was dead fast that the longer the better and so I would monitor the smoker for 14 hours to make sure the butt turned out just right. Now I didn’t mind but my wife was ready to shoot me so I set out to find a faster way to do it and guess what? I found it!!!!

The Ontario Pork Producers Marketing Board (the place I am proud to say my DAD worked at for 40 years) has their saying “Put Pork on your Fork” and now I am happy to say so do I—- “INJECT YOUR PORK AND SAVE TIME”. That’s right you did read that correctly I did say” inject your pork”. By doing this you can smoke a 6 pound pork butt in just 5 hours and get the same results if you smoked it for 14 without injecting . Here’s how.

Ingredients:

–          One 6 pound Pork Butt

–          4 Tablespoons Kosher/Sea salt

–          2 Tablespoons Granulated Garlic

–          2 Tablespoons Granulated Onion

–          2 Tablespoons Ground coriander

–          2 Tablespoons ground Cumin

–          2 ½ Tablespoons ground Pepper

–          ½ cup Brown sugar – separated in to two batches

–          ¼ cup Apple juice

–          ¼ Apple Cider vinegar

–          Wet apple wood chunks (the amount will vary on how much smoke flavor you want). We use wet so that the wood smoulders and gives off more smoke in the smoker chamber.

Method:

–          Mix all dry ingredients in a non- reactive bowl.

–          Mix the wet ingredients in a measuring cup

–          Add half the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well

–          Using a Meat Injector, inject the wet mixture into the pork making sure to hit as many places as possible.

–          Liberally rub the remaining dry ingredients on the pork and let sit for approximately 20 minutes

Put the pork in the smoker and monitor the temperature for the next 5 hours adding wood chips as you like(charcoal as needed).

Let cool slightly and then shred, add your favorite BBQ sauce, sides and enjoy!!!

And there you have it……. a simple but tastey recipe for the grill

 

Bon Appetit