Ernie Mellor

Quick Trip to the Fun Side of the Wall – Spring Break Baby!

Not sure if some of you are aware but Geranium has left me, she has left the dog, and she temporarily no longer living in Downtown Brooklyn.

Well that should get a couple of bites on my social media accounts. Those jokers are now saying “Whisky Tango Foxtrot Paul Allen/Carbunkle Trumpet!” What the Fuck did you do now?

Relax gang, Mary Louise is over in Switzerland for a month getting her company ready for a Bed Pan launch. It is easier for her to already be in the EU instead of a bunch of trips back and forth from NYC. She has been gone now a week and I am not going to lie one bit….. I miss the shit out of her! The dog……she is missing her too.

When it was official that Mary Louise was to take this month long trip we decided that we needed to get away for a couple of days and have some ‘us’ time. While we were upstate last month, I challenged our Travel Agent to come up with a couple of good All Inclusive Resorts for us. We were booking this thing in the matter of weeks so we didn’t have time to shop, find a deal or even mess with it. Jerre Martin of Prosper Travel knocked it out of the park for us. She recommended a Secrets SilverSands (not sure why there isn’t a space but that is the way everyone spelled it) Riviera Adults Only Resort in Cancun that was perfect for us. Seriously, and I don’t normally give props to resorts but if you want a small all inclusive adult joint with a nice beach, pool, and great staff…..This is the place for you.

We left New York Friday evening and got into Cancun around 11PM. We got to our room and went to bed because we were so tired promptly to the bar and made up for lost time while were. We were there till Tuesday late afternoon and returned on the 19:30 flight to Newark from Cancun. The food was good, the drink was cold, they had Kettle One for me and a wine that Geranium enjoyed. Now here is where you are going to say that we are getting old.

The entertainment team at Secrets SilverSands Riveria is top notch! They made sure that if you didn’t want to be bothered, the left you alone. If you played in the pool, they made you feel welcome. And if you were like our old asses playing Bingo and Blackjack, they had fun with you! Seriously if you want to make a trip with just you and the spouse. we found the All Inclusive for you!

Me – “Señor ¿cómo se llama una cerveza y una margarity congelada juntos?”
Bartender – We call it an “Ernie Mellor” Sir!
Oh Great all you two did down there was just drink and take pictures at the bar….
Hey RJ – They carried Hillbilly Ale too!
Last Pic of booze I promise…….
Here is a pic of the resort I stole off the internet. I was a fun resort that wasn’t too big. 3 to 4 days and you have done it all!
This was cool! This is a simple end table with a marble top and the melted wine bottles on top of it for like 4 months. The build up was huge and really made the entry into the French Restaurant. I could do this! But probably not in Brooklyn.
I was really cool and made a great statement in the room
Some Asshole Left the Dominos in New York (thanks Maya, you packed me) so we had to find some in the gift shop.
Hey Blue Water Grill in Belize! I got you taken care of for those plates.
Here are some of those Cancer Causing Windmills.
Maya didn’t miss our asses one bit! Carla is great and she had more fun with her than we do.
Last Meal out of Cancun at Jimmy Buffet’s Bar.

Seriously, we had a blast down in Mexico and it was a fun trip before Mary Louise Geranium’s trip to Switzerland. Again our travel agent knocked it out of the park for us. I gave her a list of our wants (Good Beach, Adults Only, Don’t want to spend an arm & leg, and age appropriate guest list) and she gave us a great recommendation. More to come in these past trips.

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Do this tonight! Don’t make me call your mother or punch you in the throat

Tonight is the “Memphis Style BBQ Edition”of Chopped Grill Masters. My good friend and owner of A Moveable Feast/Hog Wild BBQ Catering Company, Ernie Mellor, is competing against 3 other Pitmasters in a chance to win over 50K in prize money. The show comes on the Food Network and is 9 Eastern/8 Central Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

*Disclaimer – I don’t know any more than you do if he wins or loses. All I knew was when he came up to Manhattan back in early March.

Ernie Mellor ChoppedGet em Ernie! Do us proud!

Best of luck to him tomorrow. We will be cheering for you from Crime-Free Brooklyn.

What do you do for groceries?

You would be surprised how many times we get asked that question. I swear that some people think that just because we don’t have a car or Kroger in Midtown we are starving up here. Granted we do have a grocery store right across the street but I am not a fan of Anal Rape and don’t like paying 100 bucks for 4 items that should cost 20 bucks in the suburbs.

We do have Fresh Direct and Peapod food delivery services but they don’t carry everything so we are forced to go out to hunt and gather. The Morton Williams across the street is ok for things you need in a pinch but they cost more than Whole Foods or a bodega and I prefer Fairways Grocery. A couple of weeks back my former boss, Ernie Mellor, posted a Grilled Corn and Butter Bean summer salad that we used to enjoy. I was craving that so I decided on Sunday morning I would venture up to E86th Street to get provisions. Now the Fairways is about 18 blocks away and schlepping groceries isn’t the easiest in New York if you don’t have a buggy. I bought one a couple years ago and it is great for carrying stuff to and from.

I jump on the Q to E86th street and thankfully the store wasn’t mobbed as one would normally expect. I credit this to lots of people being out of town and that it was rather early in the morning. I get my groceries and lug my cart back to the apartment and get to work on grilling some corn and make the salad. Dinner was excellent by the way.

IMG_1172Here is the recipe for those of you New Yorkers who wish to have something different.

IMG_1179Here is my little Cart while we wait for the Sunday Subway schedule

IMG_1180Fairly Quiet on E86th Street this morning.

IMG_1181Front of the store on E86th Street

IMG_1182Prepared Fruits Section

IMG_1195I knew that the little clip I picked up at Home Depot would come in handy. I can hang my buggy on the shopping cart.

IMG_1196The Produce Section is killer here.

IMG_1197Anybody need 40 pounds of Garlic?

IMG_1198This joint has a serious Butcher and Fish Monger Station.

IMG_1199Not going to lie there are about 20 different species of fish that I am not familiar with when I come here

IMG_1200A Casino Clam?

IMG_1203Went with Crab Cakes in honor of some former Memphian’s that are now new Baltimorean residents

IMG_1202Oh Look, the Gluten Haters have their own section.  Yep, I am going to take some shit from UWS Holly for this one. I have always poked fun of Gluten Free people and or Vegetarians saying that they were the new Al Qaeda because people used it as the new diet. UWS Holly actually is gluten intolerant and can’t digest it. Personally that sucks because who doesn’t love Jiffy Cornbread? Oh yeah, I am getting a text message for this one.

IMG_1201They love some Goya Canned Vegetables up here. Would it kill you to carry the Glory Brand?

IMG_1210Joker is packed to the gills ready to head back to E71st Street.

IMG_1211Here comes the Q Train

IMG_1212Just one subway stop. There were lots of people heading to Midtown to the Pride Parade

IMG_1213Taking Stairs with this cart is a pain in the ass. Thankfully they have lots of escalators on the new Second Avenue Subway line.

IMG_1214Finished the Corn and Butter Bean Salad (used a different version of cherry tomatoes to give it a different color)

Note to self – You are a fool if you don’t use one of the grocery delivery services for having bottled water, mixers or other heavy ass items delivered to your door.

 

 

 

BBQ 101 for The Northeastern Pitmasters

I am going to send this link to some of my work cohorts as I hope to shed some light on a very opinionated subject…Barbequing. You see there is a lot of confusion on this subject and maybe this worthless dribble of a blog can educate my fellow friends who live north of the Mason Dixon line on how to properly smoke meats.  First, as always, let me give you a back story and my credentials as a half ass Pitmaster. Here is what is kind of funny about how I learned how to BBQ in that I am in no way on or have been on a competition barbecue team. With my last employer in Memphis I worked closely with some of the greatest pitmasters in the business while running logistics for my employer. My BBQ mentors include Mike Mills, Amy Mills, Cary “Peg Leg” Bringle, Heath Riles, Myron Mixon, Tuffy Stone, Big Moe Cason, Ernie Mellor, Mike Rude, Joffre DiSabatino, Chunky Rinehart, Colin Gage, and the countless others that I have sat down and visited with over the years. The two common important gems that I took away from all of those listed above is that BBQ isn’t about time and temperature but more of a “touch and feel” and that “BBQ is an opinion so have fun with it!”

Let’s start shall we?

  • Selecting the Brand – Duroc Pig, Smithfield Brand, Wagyu Beef or Farm Raised? Have you guys ever listened to car guys argue about Chevy vs Ford? Same thing. Find something you are ok to purchase and if you screw up you may have to throw in the trash. Personally I would be pissed if I overcooked a Wagyu brisket because that would be an expensive mistake.
  • Cut of Shoulder meat – Whole Bone In Shoulder, New York Bone Out Shoulder or Boston Butt. Shoulders are larger and need more pit time as compared to a Boston Butt which is a portion of the shoulder. I say start small and then work your way up.
  • Cut of ‘Pork’ Rib – St Louis, Spare Rib or Baby Back cut of Ribs? Again play around with this and find something you like and have fun with it.
  • Brisket ‘beef’ – Point Cut, Flat, Whole? I am not much of a brisket guy, but as you can now gather, play around with it and have fun.
  • Chicken – Whole Fryer, Split Breast, Leg Quarter, Drummies, Wings, Boneless Skinless Breast or Tenderloin. I prefer a whole chicken because it normally is cheaper and more forgiving. You also can cook this on a grill if you need to. Hell I cooked some up down in Belize on Soup Cans!
  • Exotic Stuff – Bologna, Spam, Beef Ribs, Lamb, Wild Game, Fish and Vegetables – I have seen it all. Some good and some bad.

IMG_1303Hey Kid, you want to eat ribs today? Then you need to rub some mustard on these shoulders for Uncle CBT.

IMG_3580_55_1

Here is when I did some Chicken for a contest down in Belize. Yes those chickens are sitting up on beer and soup cans. The faces were courtesy of Shuffles formally of Changes in Latitudes

To Trim the fat or not? If so, how much?

  • Definitely pull the membrane from the underside of the ribs.
  • For Shoulders I say you should pull that fat cap off but I know guys who don’t do it so it is your call.
  • For Ribs you can do as little or as much as you want to and again it is your call.

Pre-Smoke prep to marinate, inject or leave it alone?

  • Marinades can include juice based liquids, dry seasoning and even salt curing the meat. Depends on what you like and what you are trying to achieve.  If you are going for a tropical themed meal you may marinate it in a sweet citrus juice as compared to a apple juice based marinate. Just a word to the wise, citrus based juice can discolor the raw meat a tad so play around with it.
  • Dry Rub Marinades – the practice where you would sprinkle a spice mixture on the raw meat and allow it to soak into the meat before smoking it. Another word to the wise, be knowledgeable about the spice mixture because if the first 3 ingredients have salt in to you may want to wash the meat off before putting it on the smoker. Nobody likes salty meat. #twss
  • Injecting the meat – again there are schools for and against this practice. I hear that Trump doesn’t inject his meat while Hillary does and poor Bernie Sanders is a vegetarian so pick your poison. I will tell you that Bologna and Spam don’t inject well so be careful.

The Smoker

  • Stick Burner, Charcoal, propane powered, electric powered, stack, water bath, Firebox powered, Kamado Ceramic, Big Green Egg, Backwoods Smoker, 55 Gallon Drum or Bathtub? You can spend as little or as much as you want to. I can spend hours on this subject and there are tons of options. I will say that I know firsthand that if you are trying to smoke meat in a cold climate you better have something that is insulated. More on that later.
  • The name of the game is to practice, practice, practice and then go watch someone smoke on their smoker. Again this is a very debatable subject. I used to have a Big Green Egg and I loved it. I had friends swear by their Backwood Smokers and even had some killer smoked meat on a Weber Kettle so it is very opinionated. There really is no wrong answer here guys and gials.

IMG_1307Classic Stick Burner with a offset Fire Box

IMG_2421_11_1Here is another version of a off set smoker but this one has a rotisserie in it to evenly cook all the meat.

 

Firing up the smoker

  • Whatever your choice of heat charcoal briquettes, lump charcoal, stick of wood, propane or even electric it is paramount you have something creating smoke. You are cooking this meat via heat and smoke so it has to be consistent.
  • Type of wood is also another debate; some swear by Hickory, some prefer Pecan, there are those who love fruit woods and there are even some pitmasters who prefer  mesquite. The name of the game is that you pick one and keep on it. Ernie Mellor preaches “raw meat takes the smoke.” So if you start cooking your ribs in an oven you are defeating the process. Same goes with “par boiling” ribs in water, are you cooking ribs or spaghetti noodles?
  • I have seen some pitmasters who would put garlic bulbs or even onions in the firebox so play around with this.
  • Here is where I debate with a lot of pitmasters in that after the first or second hour of smoking the meat wont take anymore smoke. Keep adding wood to the box and all you are doing is wasting money on the heat source.
  • Editors DISCLAIMER – I was helping my friends in the Atlantic City BBQ contest last fall by being the overnight watch guy. The ambient temperature was in the low 40’s and the two smokers we were using are considered “southern smokers” because they are not insulated and require a lot of heat to keep them going. (Translation – the firebox was roaring but the chamber where the meat was had a big temperature variance) I literally had to burn all the wood in those smokers to keep the temperature hot enough in the smokers. Seriously I considered cutting down the mast off of one of the sailboats that was in the nearby marina for more wood.

IMG_9218NEVER EVER USE LIGHTER FLUID! Say it with me NEVER USE LIGHTER FLUID

Time and Temp

  • Low and Slow? or High and Hard? The biggest thing is that you want internal cooking temperatures that are recognized by health department rules. Pork should be 145 to 160, Beef should be a minimum of 140. Chicken at least 165. How you get there is up to you.
  • I know guys who cook Shoulders for 16 hours, Brisket for 12 hours, and Ribs for 5 hours. Here is where that “touch and feel” comes into play. I recall working with Mike Mills for a vendor sponsored event and the morning of the demo he 86’d the shoulder. “The Shoulder just didn’t get to where I want it to be so we are not serving it” was what he told me. While he was doing the demo I snuck back and stuck an instant read thermometer into the shoulder and the shoulder registered an appropriate internal temp. That is why he is a World Champion folks. The man knows what he is doing.

To Mop, Wrap, Glaze, or Just leave it the F alone

  • Many schools of thought here folks. I know guys who “set it and forget it” and I know guys who spend hours mopping and filling this bottom chambers of their smokers with all kinds of excess dripping. It is your call but again play around with it. The Asian Fireman and I were smoking some shoulders a couple of weeks back and he looked at me like I was crazy when I said I wasn’t going to mop the shoulders we cooked this past weekend. I also am not a fan of injecting the meat but that is why we differ on our choice of president too.
  • Wrapping ribs and shoulders is the practice of wrapping the meat halfway through the cooking process and pouring in some liquid before sealing it up to allow the meat to steam. Lots of different schools of thoughts here so find something you like and go with it.

Gumbo to BBQ Fest 2012 144Good Friend and Pitmaster Ernie Mellor leading a demo at WCBCC

Gumbo to BBQ Fest 2012 152Legendary Grand Champion Mike Mills giving a talk about Sauces

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One of the greatest places to ever smoke some meat. Here I am grilling some pineapple for my friends down in Belize.

Pull, Chop, Slice or Rip

  • I say to always pull the shoulder meat rather than chop and slice the brisket with the grain over rip it by slicing it against the grain rather than ripping it which means slicing against the grain. It’s your barbecue so you do what you want to do. There are no wrong answers here.

IMG_9118Boston Butt after slow smoking for 16 hours

IMG_9119I am a big proponent to long strands of Pulled Pork

Slaw, Beans Sauce and Fixins

  • Some will put slaw on their sandwich, some will put it on the side. There are no wrong answers here.
  • I would say that you need to not put sauce on the meat and let it ‘stand alone’. A common cheating method of food service places is to already sauce the meat because they have over cooked it. Let your guests decide.

IMG_9120Doesn’t that look good?

So when are we firing up the smoker?