Closing Down 2014…

Time to play catch up. The last few weeks have been really crazy on all fronts. Work has been completely frustrating and for the first time in my 9 years as a Sales Rep I have found myself not enjoying this as much as I once did. Lots of reasons, none of which I want to put in writing. Let’s just say that over the last few years it has become harder and harder to stay positive about the companies that I represent. Our little family of Road warriors remains stronger than ever as you will see further down.
BBQ in our house is taken seriously as the title of this Blog would indicate. Its a very fitting fascination for me because the entire process involves a little science, heat and experience to obtain the desired results….kind of like my line of work. I have been working on a new BBQ sauce and I seemed to come up with the correct combo a few months back and am now on to another version that I think is a little better. More on this later.
A few weeks I decided to cook some Baby Backs with a new approach to getting the meat a little more like competition quality. Having never taken a class on what the folks that actually know good comp quality BBQ, it’s a shot in the dark. I have spent some time reading on what constitutes good quality BBQ and I think its too subjective. One day, I might give cooking in a comp a shot but for now I would rather make it taste how I like it.
The regular Costco offering above.

See…Everyone gets involved in our house! Sam helped prep and trim these slabs. He even helped with the mustard and rub. 
Some people in the BBQ world frown on a temperature controller and at times I think it could be a bit much too. However, with all the other variables that come into play such as the preparation, spice selection, fuel choice, weather, time and meat quality…It likely is a dumb argument. For some, the argument could be that it takes away from the actual event of a long cook….Sure I could sit next to the smoker for 16 hours, drink a 12 pack and constantly adjust the dampers to maintain the temp but why? If you cooked it in an oven, do you regulate the temperature by constantly opening the door? Don’t think so. 

The one down side to a 18″ Weber  cooker is that most slabs of ribs can not be laid flat. Never fear, there is a solution to everything in life. A cheap rib rack will allow for this problem to be eliminated. With the two level racks in the Weber and snaking the slabs in the rack you could theoretically cook 8 racks of ribs in one of these…6 would be more manageable however. 

Here is a pic of some of one of the variables mentioned earlier…even with a temperature controller, if you have air leaks, the controller can’t really compensate for the increase oxygen that may stoke the fire. Took me a while to figure out why even with the fan and module, the temps would not stay stable. The solution for me is simply sealing the leak with some foil. A better solution would be to buy a new middle section but I am pretty cheap these days.
The Mid Point of the cook….Ribs have taken on most of the smoke they will absorb, the connective tissue has started to break down. 
Here is the tail end of the cooking process. Allowing the Ribs to “Dry Out” a bit before putting on the final sauce.

The final 20 minutes or so, the sauce is applied.

The final product above. The Ribs get a Quick blast of direct heat to caramelize the sugars in the sauce…the trick is to not let them burn during this process. 

As you can see….no messing around in our house!! 

 A few weeks ago we also got our first snow of the season. For some reason, I think we will have an even worse winter than last year. If that does come true….it’s going to be hell. 
LAS VEGAS…..”A WORK TRIP”.
Our little office over the last 5-6 years has morphed into more of a family. Its a damn good thing too…I know what its like to be on the other side of things. The whole “Vegas” thing started a few years ago with an annual trade show that we are involved with. We have expanded on this to include trips that have nothing to do with work to Vegas, yet include work people. Hence the family aspect of it. While the activities there (heavy drinking and horrible eating) are not exactly healthy, the idea of being together without the topic of work is very healthy. We even share rooms. Its a blast! Its funny how things have changed in the short time we have been going there. All our old spots seem to be drying up and being changed into yet another shitty boutique hotel. 

 Big Elvis….Another CKC Tradition. 

The photos above are were the Vegas obsession started with our office. The Imperial palace Karaoke Bar…or what once was. This was one of those spots that we stumbled into one night after being at a the Power Gen trade show all day. Cheap drinks and endless people watching.  It forever changed our view of Vegas. Now as you can see its a storage room (that we had to sneak into). The old sports book and OTB room is still there and while it was depressing in operation….its really depressing now. 
The Pictures below now represent at my favorite corner of Vegas. This last trip we spent considerable time at this little gem. Rated one of the best Dive bars in Vegas, its a hangout for the local Iron Workers and a favorite spot to meet the real locals. No judgement is in this place, no marble floors or over priced drinks. In fact for 3 bucks you can get a long-neck and possibly one of the best hot dogs you can find West of the Mississippi. No Fru-Fru Drink menu or Bar food. Dollar Michelob bottles, and cheap shots. Cash only. Connected to the Bar/Casino is a very well stocked convenience store and an Italian Restaurant, Batisstas Hole in the Wall. We even had dinner there…All you can drink house wine and no menu. Just look on the wall. 

Turkey day also has come and gone…as you can see we smoked our meal. It looks like a meteorite when it’s finished but I can assure you its good. 

 How do you remove a 250lb couch from a second story loft without asking anyone for help or taking chunks out of your walls? Easy….you cut it up in to sections with a sawz-all and throw it over the balcony! Despite being extremely well made in Italy, according to the tag, the couch looked horrible. 8 years, two kids and a 120# dog all took a heavy toll on the leather. 

Thanksgiving weekend also offered I think one of the last nice weather days for a while. It was near 70 and we took advantage it by enjoying the neighborhood park for a while.
 And….. finally the Las Vegas Inspired Christmas light display. Its officially the holiday season. 

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