Sunday, August 26, 2007

Operation Sauce Drop

We've had a lot of military customers at the Carolina Sauce Company. We've shipped hot sauce all over the world. Evidently, many web sites won't take on the hassle of dealing with the Post Office to send to an APO. We've always thought that was wrong, and even though it's extra work, we've always cheerfully done it, and thrown in an extra bottle of something along with a message thanking them for their service. We think it's the least we can do while sitting here safe and sound in our homes while the troops are out there defending us.

Lately, we've heard stories of how the troops feel when they hear about us pulling out of Iraq. The media isn't doing the morale of the troops any favors. That's a shame, because no matter what your political leanings are, pretty much all of us appreciate the troops and what they do for us.

Gloria had a brainstorm and came up with Operation Sauce Drop. She has set up a donation page that we civilians can use to pool our resources and purchase gift boxes for the troops. And she's set up a sign up page that active duty military personnel stationed abroad can use to request a gift box.

The gift boxes are going out at no charge to the troops, and the donations are being converted to sauce at wholesale prices. There's no uplift on anything, and the Carolina Sauce Company is donating the labor to pack up the boxes and get them to the troops. The discount is the best bang for the buck you can get if you'd like to send something. Better yet, you can send any amount. We can all afford $5 as a message of support to our troops, can't we?

If you can't afford $5, you can still do your part. Spread the link to Operation Sauce Drop around on forums and blogs you know. Email it to your friends. Bookmark it on social sites. If you know a someone on active duty overseas, send them this link so they can sign up for their free gift. This is a great cause and we need to get the word out.

The pages have only been up a few hours and Operation Sauce Drop has already generated over $100. Let's show them our support!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Waiting for Service

Wow, I wish I had thought of that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

USB Powered Barbeque

Check out techeblog for their wrap up on a USB powered barbequeue. Some engineers decided that if you have enough cable and interface cards you can generate enough heat to cook low and slow. There's even a YouTube video.

Proving once again that some people have way too much time on their hands.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer

This is another gadget that you've got to have in your bag of tricks. When you're cooking a steak on high heat, waiting an extra 20 seconds to get a temperature from a cheap thermometer can be the difference between a perfect medium rare and medium. Don't cut your steaks in half to check the doneness! This Instant Read Thermometer will give you an accurate read within 5 seconds, and you don't have to mutilate the food.

Once you get pretty good at it you can tell when a steak is done by pressing it and seeing how it responds. If it's medium rare, it will still be springy. But until you've got that skill mastered, an excellent instant read thermometer is a critical tool.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Load up on Hot Sauce!

Matouk's Hot SauceHurricane Dean is barreling right through the Caribbean, and many great sauces come from that area. Brands such as Matouk's are hard enough to get with their erratic shipping schedules. They are, shall we say, a bit laid back when it comes to delivery schedules! No Problem, Mon!

The hurricane is sure to cause some dislocations in the supply chain. Load up while you can.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Roasted Garlic on the Grill

This one is so easy and excellent tasting it's embarrassing.

Take several bulbs of garlic and cut in half, against the grain. Lay them out in an aluminum tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, and then wrap in tin foil. Put these on your grill when you're cooking something else so that they're in a low heat zone. They need an hour or so at 250 degrees. They're done when you can pick up a bulb and squeeze out the garlic like a paste.

Serve with bread. People can squeeze out small portions right onto their bread. It's amazing.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Big Fine for Smithfield's in Raleigh

Smithfield's Chicken 'N' Bar-B-Q SauceThe city of Raleigh handed out a $17,000 fine for over pruning their trees to Smithfield's Chicken N Bar-B-Q.
The owners said they were trying to make the restaurant on Jones Sausage Road look nice after employees noticed some limbs were browning among the nearly 40 trees on the property. They said they did not even know the city had an ordinance governing pruning.

“I think we do a fantastic job on keeping our landscaping nice and neat,” manager Scott Booe said.

The city disagreed.

"$17,000 — it's a lot to deal with,” Booe said. “I mean, that is your bottom line for a month."

City inspectors said the cuts to the trees hurt branch formation and bud placement.
One asks themselves why there even is a city department that inspects for pruning. It's their land, they should be able to maintain their own property as they see fit.

And how the heck did they come up with the amount of $17,000? Is pruning a few trees really the equivalent crime as 170 speeding tickets? There's only one place these fines can come from. Smithfield's either has to reduce its expenses and cut jobs, or raise its prices. That $17,000 fine could be better utilized as a job for a Smithfield's employee than lining the coffers of the city.

Perhaps we should all send a bottle of Smithfield's Chicken & BBQ Sauce to the Raleigh City Council to show our displeasure with their policies. You can also drop Mayor Meeker a quick note:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Boar and Castle Sauce

boar and castle sauceDo you remember Boar and Castle Sauce? If you're from North Carolina, the chances are that you do.

Back in the 1980s there was a great steak sauce you could find in local grocery stores in NC. It had been around forever and everyone knew about it. As time wore on, its distribution contracted and recently it has only been available in local stores in the Triad area.

Which is a real shame, because it's a great sauce. It's a mustard-tomato based sauce that's a bit reminiscent of A1, but much better.

We've had several requests for it over the years, but have been unable to find a source. But in the last couple of weeks fate smiled and it has been added to the store. Now,
Boar and Castle Sauce is only a click away!

At $3.95 it's a great buy, so go try some right away.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Big Hot Sauce List

If you're like me, you collect hot sauces. I've put every hot sauce I know of (and have at least a bottle of around) into my Hot Sauce spreadsheet. The link goes to a Google spreadsheet that I've made available to anyone interested. If you know of some that I haven't found, leave a comment with the info and I'll add it to the big list. Be sure to leave a url where we can see a picture of a bottle of the sauce.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Signolia's Balsamic Vinaigrette

Signolia's Balsamic VinaigretteSignolia's Balsamic Vinaigrette is an extremely versatile marinade and dressing. It's named after the maid that worked for a family that enjoyed her dressing. It's all natural, and has a slightly nutty taste that complements most anything.

One of my favorite sides to serve at a barbeque is Signolia's Balsamic Vinaigrette on green beans. Take a bag of frozen beans and portion it out into gallon sized ziplock bags. Pour a modest amount of dressing into each bag, shake well, and then defrost in the refrigerator.

Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil, then put the beans into a steamer basket and steam until al dente -- it only takes a few minutes. Serve hot.

People that claim to not like green beans love these.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Ceramic Whetstone

Have you heard the story of the rookie lumberjack that showed up for work with a new axe? The first day he worked 8 hours and cut 10 units of wood. The next day he worked even harder, but only produced 8 units. He redoubled his efforts but came back with only 5 units. By the end of the week he had completely exhausted himself but only produced 2 units. He was bemoaning his lack of productivity around the campfire when an old lumberjack asked him a simple question.

When is the last time you sharpened your axe?

How often do you sharpen your knives? If you're like most people, only after you start to mistake them for butter knives.

One of the keys to knife safety is to always use a very sharp knife. A dull knife requires force to cut, which always increases your danger of bloodletting.

There are dozens of electric knife sharpeners out there, but frankly, nothing beats a good whetstone in the hands of someone that knows what they're doing. The W├╝sthof Ceramic Whetstone is an excellent investment -- I've still got the same whetstone set that I've had for 25 years!

Just spend about five minutes each week with your knives and you'll always have a razor sharp knife at hand to do the job.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Family Fights Off Store Robber With Fish Sauce Jar

See, there's lots of uses for sauce.

Check out this article: - Family Fights Off Store Robber With Fish Sauce Jar
Ross says his son grabbed a bottle of fish sauce and hit the gunman on the head as Ross swung him to the floor. "My son, he just reacting. He keep hitting on the head until I told him, stop it because he was gonna kill the guy."
The robber should be glad that the son didn't grab a bottle of barbeque sauce -- it's much heavier.
The gun the suspect flashed during the robbery turned out to be a BB gun but Ross and his family didn't know that. Police planned to charge the gunman with robbery when he gets out of the hospital.
To paraphrase Sean Connery in The Untouchables -- don't bring a bb gun to a sauce fight!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Venison - The New Seafood

There's an amazing true story on Snopes about a Deer Caught by Fisherman in Chesapeake Bay.

I've seen deer swim very long distances, but you've got to wonder how it could get so far out. Pulling it out of the water is pretty scary -- a deer can kick very hard and their hooves are quite dangerous. They're lucky that buck didn't have a rack yet.

Imagine night fishing and hooking into that!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

I'm an Artist

I can't draw. I can't paint. I can't sing. I can't dance. Trust me on this, you don't want to see or hear any of that.

But I am an artist.

My canvas is a smoker, and a nice hunk of meat is my paint. I cook barbeque.

A neighbor took a fall and was having difficulty cooking dinner, so I threw a couple of butts on the smoker and brought her over several pre-wrapped, frozen packs of barbeque. I did it because that's the neighborly thing to do. But it's also my art.

I really enjoy the act of cooking. Getting the fire just right, pulling the pork when the internal temp is just right, and setting out an eye pleasing plate is a lot of fun. It's relaxing. I'd never open a restaurant, because that would turn my art into work.

Are you an artist?