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The Virtual Gourmand 19: Hot’n Fast Baby Backs on the Weber

DSC00305By now (if only from the number of articles I’ve written on the subject), I’m sure you’re aware that I am not just a casual fan of barbecue. Barbecue is probably my favorite food group, and would likely play a part in my last meal should I ever face the misfortune of being on Death Row.

Even though I have all manner of specialized equipment that I use to barbecue, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend untold dollars on such specialized equipment to achieve the same results. In fact, a humble grill can turn out fantastic baby back ribs. And you won’t have to spend the whole afternoon tending a fire, either.

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The Virtual Gormand 18: A Squash Dish Even Squash Haters Will Love

DSC00226I'm one of those people who generally hate squash. Crookneck, zucchini, spaghetti – to me they are all disgusting. Cool weather like we’ve been experiencing this past winter all across the country puts people in the mood for soups, chillies and stews. And I have found a recipe for a butternut squash soup that is hearty, filling and will tempt the palate of even the most vehement squash hater.

I have two girls and a boy attending college. And at various times, they all request this soup. They say they hate squash, too. The fact that the soup is very easy to make on a weeknight only adds to its appeal for the home cook.

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The Virtual Gormand 17: Double-Smoked Ham

DSC00346Be it on Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, ham represents a traditional holiday feast dish. Any decently sized ham will serve a lot of people at the holiday table without breaking the bank. Plus, ham usually tends to be on sale just before holidays.

The commercially processed hams that we enjoy today bear little resemblance to the hams of old. Of course, there are relatively few family farms that raise pigs for slaughter for those families’ own consumption, and then prepare the hams using recipes and techniques passed down from one generation to another. Today, the retail market for ham has multiplied many times from what it was in the past, and consumer demand for ham is a now year-round phenomenon.

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From The CW Vault-Making Bacon!

The Virtual Gourmand 14: Makin' Bacon!

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: This article was originally published April 2011 in the CW Magazine. With the recent cold weather, it is the ideal time to try this technique if you like. In fact, BigJohn and I put 30 pounds of pork shoulder into cure just last weekend.

I don't think there's another more universally loved food in America than bacon. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone (even among those who are forbidden by religious or dietary practices) who won't admit to liking bacon. There's just something about the salty-smoky-unctuously fatty taste of bacon that is unique among flavors.

A few months ago, I decided I was going to try to make some artisinal bacon. Christmas was on the way, and I wanted to (and always like to, as a matter of fact) make unique food products for friends and family as gifts for the holiday season. Who wouldn't like to get a package with a vacuum-sealed bag loaded with yummy bacon? I sure would.

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The Virtual Gormand 16: Something Different

Monday October 6, 2014

I want to be clear about something. I don't like barbecue. I LOVE barbecue!

Smoky. Spicy. Saucy and tangy and sweet. Pork, chicken or beef. From the grill or from the smoker. I love it all.

My wife, the Nurse, swears my blood type is barbecue sauce. Barbecue is the one food I never tire of, and the one thing you can always find in my home.

Whether it's a dry-rubbed brisket, a batch of mustard-sauced chicken quarters, a pulled pork shoulder or several racks of ribs - if there isn't any in my icebox, then check my grill. I grill or smoke three times a week, no matter what the weather. Six inches of snow and winds 'blowing' the temp to below zero? Fire up the Weber or the smoker!

For me, barbecue is like sex. Even if it is awful, it's still pretty good.

DSC00172Pork prices, while on the upswing (due to the Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus or PEDV for short, increased costs of feed and the weakened dollar), have been moderate of late. Knowing that pork is going to become increasingly expensive and therefore a lesser part of our future diet, I've been indulging in it this summer while it is still affordable. Consequently, I found myself last week with three racks of baby back (also known as loin back) ribs in my fridge that needed to be used.

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