This post is a guest contribution from Drtij.
The moment you decide to combine meat with smoke, it’s like somebody has informed on you to a committee of middle aged men who must specially convene to determine the worthiness of your endeavor. Everything from your choice of wood, equipment, and cut will be henpecked and ultimately dismissed by these self-appointed zealots. I find this discouraging attitude, pervasive in smoking culture, to be ultimately destructive and oppressive. Nobody can give you permission to smoke meats, for it is a right you have always held. For these reasons let me say this: the only bad smoked meats are the meats you were too afraid to smoke. “Do I need to buy a new smoker?” “What wood should I buy?” These questions serve to procrastinate and should wait until you have been smoking meats for awhile. Stop thinking and start doing.
One such “keeper of the flame” even told us that leaving the bark on would impart undesirable bitterness to our product. This bro probably removes the seeds from poblano peppers like a fussy child. Go to Franklin’s, go to Lockhart. Do you see 7th generation barbecue artisans carefully peeling bark from the cords sitting in the on-deck circle?… Read the rest
I just returned from a trip to Alabama combined with a stop in New Orleans, my home away from home, to work on some stories and also celebrate my 30th birthday. After conducting several interviews with food producers and hanging with my friends in New Orleans, I took the Amtrak to Birmingham, my Dad’s hometown.
It was my first trip to Alabama in fifteen years. My mom also flew in from Rhode Island, and we saw my father’s childhood house, as well as the house where my family had lived when I was an infant.
Birmingham is surprisingly vibrant right now! New restaurants are popping up everywhere, and residents are moving back to the city from the suburbs and fixing up old craftsman bungalows in formerly blighted neighborhoods.
What I was really looking forward to, though, was driving south towards the Alabama’s Black Belt. This isolated strip of emerald countryside, sandwiched between Montgomery and Mobile, stretches across the entire width of the state. It was Alabama’s economic powerhouse before the Civil War, but the region’s agrarian economy never truly evolved, so today it faces several challenges.
Boiled peanuts are sold all along the roads through the Black Belt
I planned to visit Union Springs– the rural town where my grandfather lived until he was 14. … Read the rest
So I’m back– after a hiatus. But I haven’t really been gone. You can catch up on what I’ve been working on here. There’s only so much someone can say about food. Even a food obsessed person like me, and I feel wrung dry of ideas (should I say that out loud?). I’ll be easing back into this blogging thing slowly– it’s so much easier to write about other people than about myself!
But hopefully my big trip will be changing that. We officially booked our trip to Southeast Asia! Traveling to that area of the world has been a dream of mine for many years. We’ll be flying into Vietnam, meandering through Cambodia, and then returning via Bangkok. We’re not going until December, but I’m pumped! Anticipation combined with watching endless episodes of Luke Nguyen, an awesome Vietnamese-Australian dude who cooks throughout the Mekong region, has me feeling inspired again.
During one of my sojourns to MT Supermarket, the biggest Asian supermarket here in Austin, I found a banana flower! Actually, it was a huge pile of banana flowers! Believe me, I recognized them immediately from the roach infested banana trees throughout New Orleans. But its not normal to eat the flowers or leaves there.… Read the rest
Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook: I checked out this book from the library to learn more about the food of Alabama. It’s about upscale restaurant food made with local ingredients. Even though this restaurant is in Birmingham, it’s sill not really what I’m looking for. I’m sort of getting sick of these lifestyle porn cookbooks.
Jerusalem: A Cookbook: I’ve been perusing this lovely book as a reference for the Johnson’s Backyard Garden newsletter. I guess it also qualifies as lifestyle porn, but the simple and unique vegetable recipes (along with the stunning photos) are inspiring me to cook again– even the dreaded kohlrabi.
Eat Drink Delta: This is the coolest book ever! I would really really love to write a book like this some day. Susan Puckett traveled the back roads of the Mississippi Delta from Memphis to Vicksburg collecting recipes, checking out restaurants, and documenting all the characters she met along the way. It makes me regret just breezing through the region on my journeys from New Orleans to Memphis. Published by University of Georgia Press, I fear that it won’t sell because it’s not lifestyle porn like all the other food books these days.… Read the rest
Earlier this year I made a great life decision. I ditched my lame day job for another, more interesting gig that is also fewer hours. My decision paid off, but now I’m busier than ever with writing stuff. Let me catch you up on why Biscuits of Today has felt a little neglected:
I kicked off 2013 with a guide to home cured charcuterie for Urban Farm. Thanks again to Bryan Butler of Salt & Time and Peter of cookblog for chatting with me!
I wrote a profile of Colby Smith of Smith & Smith Farms for Edible Austin. Colby did such a great interview that the piece pretty much wrote itself.
Each week, I’ve been writing part of Johnson Backyard Garden’s newsletter.
Two of my recipes (and a photo!) are in the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance cookbook, along with a blurb I wrote about Austin’s grocery store scene
I’m also writing regularly for Serious Eats as one of their Austin correspondents. I interviewed Paul Qui (omg!), Brandon Hunt from Via 313, and John Pennington of Winflo Osteria. I’ve also written about lots of sandwiches and did almost endless SXSW coverage. You can check out all of my Serious Eats stuff here.… Read the rest