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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Getting smokey

Wow, 2 years since I did anything with the blog...I've been very slack in adding cooks and I hope to rectify that from now on. It won't be every week, but maybe once a month or so.

If anyone can remember way back in 2011 my post on ribs: 

The smoker I had was bought for me by Mum and it was a good intro into American BBQ. I have since retired that cooker and have actually built a smoker called a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker).

If you want to know more about these or how to build them, the best source of information is here: and here:

These are very fuel efficient, very versatile smokers and I have a lot of cooks under my belt with this one.

Anyway, I'll be doing a lot more smoking and will be sharing the cooks here, so here is the first one in this "series".

Smoked Meatloaf...yes, smoked. It's pretty much the same as your normal oven cooked meatloaf but cooked in a smoker for a really good flavour.


1lb ground beef
1lb ground pork
1/2 a green capsicum
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup bread crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup of ketchup and steak sauce combined (so, 1/8 cup of each)

Dice the capsicum and onion into about medium sized pieces.

Saute these in some butter over a medium/low heat for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and continue sauteing until the veggies are soft but not mushy.

While the veggies are softening, put the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl and add the veggies when they're done.

Mix well to combine, then put on a pan (I happen to have one that has holes in it to allow the smoke to get on the bottom of the meatloaf as well) and shape into a loaf. (You could also put it into a loaf pan) Cover and put in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to firm up. If you use a loaf pan, carefully remove the meatloaf before putting on the smoker.

While the meatloaf is in the fridge, get your smoker going. (These take a while to get up to temperature, so now is the time to light it.) I cook the meatloaf at about 310°F.

When your smoker is at temp, throw in the meatloaf, stick your temperature probe in it (if you have one...they're really a great thing to have to monitor the temperature of the meat and the cooker. This is the one that I have:, you can get these on Amazon.)

Now, with smoking, if you're looking you're not cooking, but this is about halfway through the cook.

When the temperature of the meatloaf hits about 130°F, I put on the glaze, which is another 50/50 mix of ketchup and steak sauce.

I keep cooking until the internal temperature hits 165° and it's ready to come out.

We had this with some brussel sprouts, peas and scalloped potatoes.

Here's a rundown on the scalloped potatoes.


4 cups of thin (3mm) sliced yellow potatoes
4 cups of thin (3mm) sliced onions
3 tbsp margarine or butter
3tbsp plain flour
1 1/2 cups of milk (we use 2%)
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Set your oven for 425°F.

Melt the margarine/butter in a saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the flour and whisk for about 1 minute.

Whisk in milk and salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently.

Reduce heat to medium/low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, for about 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in 1/2 a cup of the cheese.

Get a 2 quart/1.8 litre baking dish and spray some cooking spray around the inside. Layer the potatoes and onions alternately until the dish is half full.

Pour 1/2 the mixture over the potatos/onions.

Continue alternating the potatoes and onions to the top of the dish, pour over the remaining mixture.

 Put on the lid (or cover with alfoil) and cook for 30 minutes. When your 30 minutes are up, spread the remaining cheese over the top.

Put it back in the over for another 25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Here's the result...Chanin reckons this is the best scalloped potatoes she's had and maybe the best meatloaf too. Connor also like the potatoes, so they must be OK if he eats them.

Stay tuned for more BBQing and I'm also working on another type of cooker that I'm very excited about...uses fire and spins.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Mum's making a roast Lamb

Well, not Mum, but me. How many Aussies can remember the ad on telly with Nicole Kidman and winning dinner with Tom Cruise?

This is a fairly staple thing in Australia and New Zealand and is actually a very good introduction to lamb for any American that hasn't eaten it before.

I typically make a gravy for the veggies (here's a link to the how to from another post: and I home made some mint sauce.


Leg of Lamb boned or not
fresh rosemary
garlic cloves, sliced
root vegetables of your choice, we had butternut, carrots, potatos and sweet potato. 

Pre-heat your oven to 425F (220C)

Start by making small slits all over the lamb using a small knife and put a small sprig of rosemary and a slice of garlic into each.

 Place in your roasting tin and pop into the oven for 20 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350F (180C) for the rest of the cooking time. In last hour of cooking, you'll want to add your veggies, turning them after 30 minutes.

Allow a total roasting time of about 20 minutes per 1lb (500g) plus 20 minutes for lamb pink in the centre...that's how I always cook it. If you like it well done, do 30 minutes per 1lb plus 30 minutes.

Now for the mint sauce:

3/4 cup of finely chopped mint leaves (I use a small food processor)
2 tsp caster sugar (normal sugar here in the US)
1/4 cup boiling water 
1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Combine the mint and sugar in a small heat proof mixing bowl.

Add the boiling water and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar is dissolved.

Add the vinegar and mix well. Allow to stand for at least 15 minutes to allow flavours to develop. You can store it in the fridge in a glass jar for a long time.

And the finished dinner...

As always, enjoy!



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sausage what?...Sausage gravy.

I made sausage gravy for the first time the other night. I don't know why I waited so long to make it, because it's really super easy to make and it just tastes so good! I put it on the scones from the recipe below, but you can put it on toast with fried eggs on the side or on top.

Here the wiki for sausage gravy and some of it's variations:

Sausage Gravy


1 lb (500g) ground pork sausage
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Salt & black pepper to taste


Crumble and cook sausage in large skillet over medium heat until browned. 

Stir in flour until dissolved.

Season with salt and pepper.

 Gradually stir in milk. Cook gravy until thick and bubbly.


Serve over hot biscuits, scones or toast.

You don't just have to have this for brekkie, we had our for dinner one night.



They're skons not skoans...Gran's Scones

As the title suggests, back home, we pronounce them skons, not skoans. But, no matter how you pronounce them, there a couple of things you need to do to make very good scones.

Number 1 is use buttermilk, apparently this really does make a difference, but never having had scones made any other way, I personally don't know.

Number 2 is to use a knife when you're cutting them, not a glass, as this compresses the edge and stops them from rising.

The scone is very similar to the American biscuit but the biscuit doesn't have any sugar in it and you use plain flour, baking powder and baking soda.

Anyway, this is the first time I've made scones and I thought they turned out well. I'm posting a very simple recipe straight after this one which will show what I did with the scones.

Gran's Scones


2 cups self raising flour
2 tbsps butter
1 tbsps sugar
½ tsp salt
¾ cup liquid - ½ cup buttermilk and ¼ water (the liquid must be cold)


Take a small quantity of the water and add the sugar and butter and heat to melt.

Cool and add to make up to ¾ cup of liquid which will be nearly a cupful with melted butter.

Sift flour and salt into a good sized bowl.

Make a well in the centre and add liquid, keeping a bit back in case it is too much, because flour varies. Mix with a knife and draw flour into centre. Dough should be sticky but firm, if too soft, too hard to handle.

Turn out on floured board or surface and pat or roll out after kneading (don’t knead much though because then you’ll get tough scones) to about ½ to ¾ inch thick. Cut with a knife or a cutter, but on no account cut with a glass as this compresses the edge and stops them from rising well.

I glaze with water and just pat it on very lightly.


Put onto a lightly greased slide and bake for about 10 minutes in a hot oven - 500F (250C).

Hope you enjoy!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Tie me kangaroo down!

I've been wanting to cook some kangaroo for some time and while my Mum was here visiting from Australia, I took the opportunity to torture my family with it.

I can't buy it around here in Ohio, but there's a butcher down in Pittsburgh, PA (about 1 1/2 hours from here) that sells it. I took Mum and my MIL there on Friday and took the opportunity to pick some up.

You have to eat kangaroo rare to mid-rare because it is so lean, otherwise it will be tough and you're better off eating your shoe.

I looked around the net for some recipes and found this one, which sounded good. I have to say that I would only use 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, not 3, as it was quite tart.

Kangaroo Medallions with Balsamic Glaze


200g (7oz) kangaroo fillet cut into thin medallions
3-4 tbsp clarified butter (I used olive oil...much healthier)
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (as I mentioned, you might be better off with 2)
1/3 cup red wine
1 tbsp seeded mustard
1 tbsp french (dijon) mustard
1 tbsp softened butter mixed with 1 tbsp plain flour
about 2 tbsp chopped parsley (I didn't use it, I thinks it was for presentation only)
salt and pepper to taste


Slice into thin medallions and hit a few times with a meat mallet a few times to make thin.

Toss in flour and cook quickly to seal both sides. Remove from pan and keep warm while you make the sauce. You might have to cook the kangaroo in a couple of batches as you want to fry it and overcrowding the pan will make it stew.

Mix the mustards into the wine. Mix the softened butter and flour together to make a soft paste.

Tip left over oil (or butter) from the pan. Add vinegar to hot pan and bring to the boil.

Add the wine/mustard mixture and boil quickly until reduced by half. Thicken the sauce by adding globs of the butter/flour mixture, stirring until sauce thickens.

Boil for a few minutes and add the chopped parsley (which I didn't use).

Pour over the medallions.

My FIL said he liked it, but I'm not sure.

I thought it tasted great!