Monday, November 28, 2011


Warning:  These pictures may be disturbing to some viewers.  

     Ever have those moments in life where you challenge yourself to do something that some people view as outrageous?  I'm not talking about jumping out of airplanes or bungee jumping off bridges.  I'm thinking of feats in the kitchen (or backyard) that few will conquer.  After much research and contemplation, I decided I was going to roast a pig back in 2007.  5 years and 4 pigs later, I think we have THE PROCESS down.  

     Below are some pictures from this past weekend's pig roast.  My hope is these will challenge you to think outside the box and try something new this week.  Whether it be another culture's cuisine or your neighbor's nachos, get out there and eat something you might usually pass up!       

the tools

43 pound pig.  note: you have to cut the backbone in order for the pigs to lay flat

cutting the backbone.  Place the knife on the vertebrae and gently hit it with the hammer.  Follow this all the way down the spine. 

For this pig, I used a mango/habaƱero injection 
Be sure to inject this stuff all up inside the pig
post injection, I used a garlic/oregano/cumin/salt/pepper rub to seal in the juices

      After your pig has been injected and rubbed down, give it some time to soak up all the flavors.  My pig sat in an ice-chest on top of some freezer packs for approximately 18 hours.  The freezer packs work really well because- unlike ice- when they melt, they do not get the pig wet and soggy.

     Our family celebrated Thanksgiving in Baton Rouge this year.  So we packed up the family van (pig and all) and made our way east.  My cousin Margaret cooked the food and it was good; just wish we had more!  It was a blessing to spend time with the relatives!
stuff...but no stuffing :(
       Once the family meal was over, my next set of business was upon me; ROAST THE PIG!  Pictures continue the story...
using the leftover rub, I created a basting sauce with mostly butter and some other secrets...
sorry for the dark pic, but here is our cinder block pit.  It has been adjusted over the years, but this seemed to work the best
Barton made me this cage to hold the pig while it cooked.  it eliminated the need for a grate and worked really well as a double sided grill top/holder
Coals underneath and coals on top.  we transferred the coals from the top to bottom while flipping the pig; every 2 hours on average.
this is the pig after 9 hours of roasting. We tried to get it out to the tailgate in one piece, but it completely fell apart.  Exactly what we set out to accomplish.
good job was a true pig hunt!
Andrew, Barton and Me.  Pig head on a stick- Lord of the Flies style...this created quite a buzz!

      Overall, the pig was by far the best one we've cooked.  Weekend in a nut shell:  Thanksgiving celebration, successful pig roast, LSU dominated after a 14-0 start, celebrated Biscuit's birthday, watched a lot of football, and enjoyed the small things in life.
the weekend tired him out!
Happy Plates!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You're Sweet But...

     If you're looking for some good, daytime television, look no further than the Cooking Channel (but stay away from anything Bobby Flay).  The pictures below were inspired by Alton Brown's show titled "Good Eats".  You can find the recipes by google-ing "Alton Brown Sweet Potato Pie Recipe" or by clicking the link I inserted for you.  Don't be afraid to be creative with recipes.  A quote for you today: More than half the mistakes in the kitchen are successful.  Below as examples of this, except I don't call them mistakes, I call them enhancements.  The one with pecans was drizzled (awkward word) with fresh bee honey instead of maple syrup.  And the one with marshmallows was inspiration from one of my historian friends.  Her name is Sarah and this is her shout out.


With the left over sweet potato mash, you can create a stuffed Mam Papaul's King Cake!  
CAUTION:  Make sure you have people around so you don't eat the whole thing!

I think I need to bake more often....

So I need to work on my presentation....once you bite into it you forget what it looks like anyways, right?

Big thanks to people for checking out my blog.  Keep on keeping on. 

 I leave you with a song/video.  New Radicals "You Get What You Give"

Happy Plates!

Monday, November 21, 2011


     Here's a dish I made last week called a Courtbouillon.  Usually prepared with seafood, I used chicken and sausage to show my cousin in Nevada how to cook it.  They are skeptical of seafood over there (not everyone, just a few).  
     Serve this dish over rice.  Its best when the weather is cold, but delicious all the time.
Thanks for checking it out!

Happy Plates!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What happens in the oven...

     My blog is by no means sponsored by Kroger; however, I find myself realizing how nice of a store it is when i cook on a regular basis (Mostly because it is close to home).  Last night I cooked a pizza on bread.  Really simple.  Here is a picture walk through so you don't have to read me talk about nothing.  Put it in the oven at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes (But be sure to check it often).

Happy Plates!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Deal Breaker

     Looking for something that's easy to make and quite delicious?  Look no further than breakfast tacos with eggs and sausage.  First brown the sausage in a dutch oven.  I used 3 packaging of Jimmy Dean.  I thought all three were "Original"; However, one turned out to be Maple flavored.  The syrup smell woke us up and screamed breakfast!  Next add a ton of eggs.  We used about 60 for this pot.  Put the lid on, heat to medium low, and let the eggs cook.  It should take about 15-20 minutes for all the eggs to cook.
     A Dutch oven is an essential cookware to every kitchen.  After cooking, the lid can be flipped over on the burner and used as a skillet to warm up the tortillas.  This dish was perfect for an early tailgate and just as easy to prepare!

     Next we fired up the grill to finish cooking our pork shoulders.    I woke up at 6:30am to put 29 lbs of pork into the oven.  They rest there at a temperature of 250 degrees for 3.5 hours.  Pulled Pork is easy to prepare with a dry rub (let marinate for at least 3 hours before cooking).  Just be sure to be patient and give yourself plenty of time to cook.  Slow and low is the trick; usually about 7-8 hours.

It fell off the bone and everyone was extremely satisfied.  I'll be cooking another one or two this Wednesday for our weekly youth group gathering: JAM.

     I would like to take this opportunity to apologize for not blogging as much as I had envisioned.  I've been somewhat busy with work (understatement) and even though I have been cooking, I haven't taken the time to take pictures.  I'M SORRY!  Here are some more photos from my recent trip to Baton Rouge for LSU's Homecoming Game against Western Kentucky.  It was Nicki Rivers' first LSU game!  Geaux Tigers!

She made it in!!

oh yeah, and Happy Plates!