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iGrill and Beer in the Butt Chicken

May 27, 2013

Quite a few years ago I heard of a fantastic way of cooking a chicken whole on a BBQ (or in a oven) which required minimal preparation time, perfect for the busy lifestyle we now seem to endure. Basically Beer in the Butt Chicken (or Chicken on the Throne) meant taking a can of beer, cracking it open, and drinking half of it. Then (if you want to be fancy you added herbs and spice into the remaining beer in the can), place the chicken on the can (can up the bottom for want of a better explanation). Onto a BBQ with a terracotta pot over the top, or if you have a covered BBQ, lid down. Cook at about 180 for an hour and a half, job done. The malt in the beer permeates the skin of the chicken and gives it a lovely crisp brown colour, and the flesh is tender and juicy. Even as leftovers the next day, the chicken is still moist…we rarely cook chicken any other way.
Of course I am always looking for new and exciting ways to cook food, or for things that making cooking easier. And I found two products that do just that. The first is a cheap way to make the cooking safer (handling hot chicken balancing on a can of super-heated liquid is not child’s play), $20 gets you the Chicken Beer Roaster Deluxe. This neat device allows you to cook roast vege on the BBQ as well keeping all those smells outside (they are good smells!), it also provides a much more stable platform for you to be able to move the chicken around especially important when taking the chicken off the can to carve it.

Chicken is well supported, and there's room for the vegetables

Chicken is well supported, and there’s room for the vegetables

The second product is a recent purchase, cooking a chicken (or any other meat) on a BBQ or in the smoker can sometimes be a bit of a guessing game. And every time you lift the lid or open the smoker door, you lose precious heat. This is where a temperature probe really comes in handy, they’ve been around for years in various forms. But recently the electronic ones have become a lot more affordable. I own several types, including Bradley Smokers version, however the best one I’ve used so far is the iGrill. This neat device connects to your iPad/iPhone or Android based device via Bluetooth. It has the ability to run two probes independently, great for doing two cuts of meat in the smoker.
All you need is an iGrill and the free App downloaded from the App Store (or Play Store on Android), pair the device to the iGrill and you are good to go. You can select from one of the many built in meat presets, or add your own custom one. You can track progress via a graphing tool which is useful in helping predict when the meat will be ready.

Testing the probes, one inside and one outside

Testing the probes, one inside and one outside

Before you know it you’ll be cooking the perfect roast safe in the knowledge that it will be cooked perfectly to the correct temperature.

Smoking Wild Duck

May 23, 2013

Around this time last year I decided to purchase a Bradley Smoker. This was a fantastic purchase, now I could smoke fish, cheese, make bacon, ham, did someone say BBQ ribs? With the Bradley, the sky is literally the limit.
Last week I was given three wild ducks to smoke, I did a bit of research on wild duck, but there isn’t a lot of info out there on cooking/smoking methods (there is plenty of info on domestic ducks which have a lot more fat content…and therefore smoke very easily). The Bradley iOS app had a recipe, so I decided to use this as the base.

1 litre of water
1/2 cup of salt
1 cup of raw sugar
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon of Paprika

Mixed all the ingredients together and placed ducks in Ziplock bag, fill with Brine then remove all air from the bag. Into the fridge at 2-4C for three days. Remove ducks from brine, discard brine and give a quick rinse inside and out (reduces the salty taste). pat dry and stuff with newspaper, return to fridge for another 12 hours to dry out. Remove from fridge and allow to come up to room temperature, brush lightly with Olive oil (or any vegetable oil you prefer)

Heat smoker to 60C and hang the ducks vertically so the smoke enters the body cavity as well. Dry the Ducks at this temperature for at least one hour.

Hanging the Ducks vertically allows the smoke to penetrate better

Hanging the Ducks vertically allows the smoke to penetrate better

I used Special Blend for this recipe. Smoke the ducks for 2.5-3 hours at 60-70C, then finish in an oven on a rack to the fat drains away at 180–190C to crisp up the skin, if using a probe, ensure the temperature reaches at least 77C (I take them to 80C)

Final product, beautiful colour and crisp skin.

Final product, beautiful colour and crisp skin.

Enjoy…a colleague of mine took home one of the carcasses and made a soup with it. Apparently tasted fantastic

Delicious soup from a smoked duck carcass, with maori potatoes, carrots and coriander

Delicious soup from a smoked duck carcass, with maori potatoes, carrots and coriander

Norte Photoblocker

May 23, 2013

With the explosion in online photo sharing sites such as Facebook, Instagram and flickr (to name a few), it’s become important to protect yourself from ending up online in a compromising position. Of course the easiest way to avoid this is not put yourself in that situation, however if you must…then this just might be the tool for you. Might help with those job prospects further down the line.

PR Summer Camp 2011

January 18, 2011

Wow, so it seems I committed to posting a little bit more often….back in 2009….so given the title of this post, it looks like I’ve failed on that front.So why might you ask am I back in here now posting now? Back in 2007 I attended a course on Social Media 101 where I set this up for the practical exercises. Today, I am in a PRINZ workshop on PR…it seems Social Media has now crossed over into the PR realm so here I am again, setting up a blog to see how it all works. Now given I already had this one setup…no point reinventing the wheel, so I’ll just write this post while everyone else sets up their post using Blogger which I’m not a big fan of.

The course in Melbourne was interesting, I attended it with my colleague (who has subsequently left Vodafone), his WordPress blog as a little slower to get off the mark than mine, however he kept up with it and did indeed win the race to 1000 views (he’s well over the 20000 views now, but it seems he’s lost interest as well with the last post well over  a year ago….perhaps it is a fad after all?

Long time between drinks…

February 11, 2009

Well, just checked my last post and it reads posted 9 January 2008…wow, that’s well over a whole year ago…time for me to pick up the pace a little! Hopefully I can make it on here a little more often and we’ll finally get that in-depth review of the Perfect North Island Bush Rifle…


January 9, 2008

Well, back into the new year, 08 is almost two weeks old and this is my first post in over a month! Tis the season of slackness I guess. I swapped the workplace attire with beach attire, the mobile and laptop for a book and a cool beer, damn, I wish I was back on holiday!That aside, the week has been pretty quiet, always takes a couple of days to get up to full power, so enjoying the lull before the storm.  Thought I’d share a video with you all, no doubt you’ve all heard of the Lol Cats phenomena which has swept the online world…check out the history below.Update: Can’t embed that type of video, but you should be able to find it at the link below

History of LOLCATs

First Impressions of the Perfect North Island Rifle

December 9, 2007

Well, the new rifle arrived last Monday, but I’ve had to wait until today for the first shot (I doubt the neighbours in Takapuna would appreciate 240 grain slugs flying into the mangroves!). Rifle shot really well, it’s been a few years since I’ve used a .44 Magnum, and that was in a single shot break open rifle with a 20 inch barrel. Firing the .44 slug out of a 13 inch barrel certainly increases the noise! Somewhere between a shotgun and .223 Remington in the decibel ratings…as for the kick, it gives a good shove, probably a bit more than a .223 as there’s a larger heavier bullet leaving the barrel (albeit at 2000 fps slower), feels a bit like a 410 or 20 gauge shotgun, definitely doesn’t feel like a rifle.As for use in the bush, well shooting of the deck of a house doesn’t give you a feel for how it’s going to preform in the bush, however, it’s short, light and easy to point. Will fit in the pack, making it easy to walk into the huts, over the shoulder (if I fit a sling) it won’t even rise above my shoulder so won’t snag on the bush…I reckon I might have just found the perfect North Island bush gun.