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Saturday Night's Alright For Commenting: BRB Food Open Thread (05/19/12)

Son of Bum.  Just because.
Son of Bum. Just because.

A couple weeks ago, DreKeem was nice enough to grace us with his presence with a music open thread. I thought I'd do something a little different, as well, with tonight's open thread. Now, don't let me stop you from celebrating Chelsea's win today (EnglishTexan, that's for you, brother) or the merits of turtle stacking. Yes, this is fully an open thread. But I thought tonight would be fun to talk about food, as well. Before you stuff yourself to the point where movement is no longer an option, jump with me, won't you?

As we all know, last Sunday was Mother's Day. I spent the day grilling and smoking for the family. Here are a couple tidbits for y'all as to how my cooking has evolved.

1. Rub: My rub used to be composed of about 12 different ingredients. I have since cut that back to four, and I'm extremely happy with the results. Even my dad, who's a BBQ snob like myself (it's genetic), said my brisket came out favorably to Louie Mueller's in Taylor. Quite the compliment, obviously, but I still struggle with getting it rendered perfectly (mostly, it's due to heat spikes from my smoker as I use all real oak). Point being, I think it's because of how my brisket rub as been simplified. At this point, it's about 40% coarse black pepper (always fresh), 25% granulated garlic, 25% seasoned salt, and 10% ancho chili powder (note: not a blend). I brick the brisket with yellow mustard, apply the rub liberally, and smoke that baby. Sometimes, staying simple is the best solution.

2. Grilling: If you don't have a grill with a searing flame, you are definitely missing out. Sure, you can crank a basic grill to high, but it's still not the same without the insane heat. My favorite is taking a piece of meat, searing it like a beast on both sides (chicken, flanks, and skirts all work great), then sticking the meat on the far side, away from the heat, and letting it render to completion. The meat comes out extremely tender and tasty.

I also love roasting and grilling veggies on my grill. Among the things I've roasted in the past month: red potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets (my personal favorite), kohlrabi, and cauliflower. To be clear, when I roast, I wrap something tightly in foil, often topping with olive oil, salt, and pepper (not the foil).

Things I've grilled: asparagus, okra, squash, zucchini, carrots, radishes, bananas, apples, and fennel. I'm pretty sure I'm leaving items off this list. Basically, whatever I get from our local CSA, I grill it if I can. It's so much better than getting the house hot with the oven.

3. Fermented foods: My wife and I have been on a huge fermented foods kick recently, as well. She started it by getting us hooked on kombucha, which I've grown to love. A couple weeks ago, I made a batch of kimchi, which is wonderful to have around. Eating my brisket leftovers last week, I was making sandwiches including kimchi, and they were incredible. However, my prize experiment has been the horribly named kkakdugi.

CSAs can really challenge your culinary skills, and a couple weeks ago, they sent us a scary 16" long daikon radish. Nobody in the house is big on radishes, and one can only make so many banh mis with so many daikon slivers. So, what the heck do you do with such a monster? Well, when life hands you a daikon, make kkakdugi. It's become like a snack food for me, and I eat several pieces of it daily.

That's been my culinary life lately. What kind of exciting things have you been up to in the kitchen?

Barefoot and pregnant,