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CheeseMcGee last won the day on August 1 2020

CheeseMcGee had the most liked content!

About CheeseMcGee

  • Birthday 09/10/1976

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location:
    Toccoa, GA
  • Interests
    Cold and Hot smoking, Eating dead animals
  • Grill
    Kamado Joe

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  1. It gives the dough to slowly ferment and rest. I've never stuffed a list using that method, but it worked well. Using that method actually makes the best pizza dough.
  2. Once the pandemic started, it was clear lockdown was incoming, I grabbed a 25 pound bag of wheat berries just in case. Now I'm trying to find every way I can to use it. So once I saw that this months challenge was bread, I got pretty excited to try something new. The family really loves Sun Dried tomatoes, so I had to figure out how to get them in some bread. I have a great sourdough starter, but the recipe I used can use regular yeast, all sourdough starter, or a mix of both. I opted to use both. The nice part about this bread is you can mix your dough ingredients, and let it sit on the counter overnight. The next morning, you throw it in the fridge for 3-4 days and it's ready to go. After the dough had rested for the night, I threw it into the fridge for a day. Then I took it back out and let it come up to room temperature. While waiting on the dough, I threw a bulb of garlic into some foil with a bit of oil and salt to get it nicely roasted. Once the dough was ready, I gently rolled it out about an inch thick. and put in the fillings: Sun Dried Tomatoes, Basil, Roasted Garlic and Gruyere cheese. After a gentle roll and tuck,it was back into the fridge to chill out for a few more days. Unfortunately, I got busy and forgot to take some of the pics of the baking process, but I'm sure you know how it goes. I got the smoker up to a solid 450 with my large dutch oven inside to be ripping hot for the dough, meanwhile the dough was resting on the counter to come up to room temp. I dropped the rested dough ball into the dutch oven, and let it bake for about 20 minutes with the lid on, then I pulled the lid, and let it bake for another 10 minutes or so until it was golden brown and ready to go. While the bread was resting, I threw the rest of the tomatoes, basil, garlic, sausage and spinach into a pot and made a creamy soup that matched the bread perfectly!! This was a great bread, and although I didn't get a perfect spring in the dough and get all of those huge beautiful holes in the bread, it still came out amazing. The taste of the bread was awesome. Every few bites you would get a chunk of roasted garlic which was awesome, and the nice chewy tomatoes gave a nice texture. On the next go round, I'll probably add more garlic and cheese, but this one was still great.
  3. For this months Beans, where did you go? challenge, I wanted to go with my wife's favorite, Bean and Escarole soup. Sadly, with the craziness going on, I couldn't get a hold of Escarole, and there were no dried Cannelloni beans to be found, so improvisation was needed! Instead, I called and audible, and made Great Northern Beans with Spinach and Andouille Sausage. Behold, the list of ingredients: This is a super simple recipe. It starts by throwing the bean (pre-soaked or not) into the pot with an onion 2 carrots, rosemary, thyme and at least 8 cups of chicken broth. As the beans were getting close to finishing up, I threw the Andouille Sausage on for a little grill session. Just as the beans were finished, I pulled out the carrots and onions, dumped the can of diced tomatoes, without the juice, into the pot along with a full bag of Spinach. Once it was all wilted down, I threw in the diced up sausage as well as mixing in a heaping helping of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Only the real stuff will do! Now for the shot we've all been waiting for.... I have to say, this was probably the best version of the "Bean and Escarole soup" I've ever made. I usually add Italian sausage, but this version with the spicy, grilled Andouille was over the top good. Although it's a simple cook with very little effort involved, I promise you if you make it, you will not regret it!
  4. I used just a small amount of oak and it was perfect. If I'd had some fruit woods, or maybe even walnut, I would have tried that, but oak was all I had.
  5. For this month's "Only 5 Ingredients" competition, I decided to go with a simple Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese, and I went with a no muss, no fuss method to make it. The ingredients for this cook are as follows: 1 lb. Dry Macaroni 3 C Whole Milk 2 C Heavy Cream 24 OZ Shredded Cheddar Cheese 1/2 Stick Butter (Not counted as an ingredient, and after making it, I would leave it out anyways) Leftover Pulled Pork Salt and Pepper to taste First I put the dry macaroni in my large ceramic pan. Next I cut up the butter and added the milk and Heavy Cream. Then the Cheese!! I put in most of it, but left reserved some for the finish. Next it was time to throw it on my 250 smoker for about 2 hours of smoking. I stirred it at the 30, 60 and 90 minute marks just to make sure it was all mixing nicely. I forgot to take the picture at the 90 minute mark, but that is when I added my chunks of leftover pulled pork. After it looked like it was about done, I threw on the rest of the cheese, and opened up the vents to get the heat to crank up. Once the cheese was nice and melty on the top, it was time to bring it in and enjoy. Finally it was time to eat! Nothing like a nice creamy bowl of Mac and Cheese with some nice pulled pork in it. The macaroni had a nice smokey taste and the pork just threw it over the top. It also could not have been easier, so now I've only got one pan to clean instead of 3 or 4!
  6. This is my entry for this month's Nothing Fresh, Nothing Frozen challenge. We decided to try 3 different ways of preparing canned ham/Spam; Country fried (sp)ham, Jalapeno, cheese and (sp)ham fritters, and (Sp)ham kabobs. The results actually came out pretty decent, and we will be revisiting one of them for sure! The ingredients: Flour Packaged Gravy Mix Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix Canned Cherries Canned Pineapple Canned (Sp)ham Canned Jalapeno Fake Cheese Rectangle Buttermilk Powder Pork Skin chips Sweet Soy Sauce First the fritters: We chopped up some ham, mixed in a can of chopped jalapeno, diced cheese a the box of corn muffin mix. Instead of an egg, we added some buttermilk powder and water to get the right consistency. Then it went to the fridge to chill and firm up. Next was the Kabobs. We started by marinading cubed up chunks of ham with a mixture of sweet soy sauce, cherry juice, and pineapple juice. While that was chilling, we started the Country Fried ham steaks. I threw them on the grill to get a sear on both sides and add a little of that grill flavor. Next, I fried up some pork skins to use as the breading. and once cooled, they were smashed up for the breading. Then it was time for the dredge. I mixed up some of the dried Buttermilk powder with some water to make a thick wet coat. The steaks went from buttermilk to flour, back to buttermilk, and finally to the ground up pork skins. The result was a really thick coating that we were sure was going to come out perfect. Now to finish off the kabobs. We alternated between ham cubes, pineapple, and cherries. Now it's Grillin' time! I got the grill ripping hot and brought my oil up to about 375 degrees. I started deep frying up the fritters and pan frying the ham steaks. Once those were finished, I threw on the kabobs. As they got close to finishing, I brushed them a few times with the extra marinade. The only thing I didn't have pictures of was making the gravy, but there really isn't much to show when you pour a packet of powder into water and mix over heat until thick. Definitaly now how I like to make gravy, but I have to live within the bounds of this contest. Now for the final shot. The end result of all of this was actually really good. The fritters were packed with cheese and meat and had a just the right amount of punch with the jalapenos. They were nice and crispy on the outside and tender in the middle. I was expecting them to just melt into a pile of goo when they hit the oil since they didn't have eggs, but surprisingly they held up well. The kabobs were also really good! The sweet cherries and pineapple worked really well to tone down the saltiness of the meat. That one will need to be repeated down the road, but I'll also include some veggies that weren't allowed to be in this contest. The most surprising part of this whole experiment was the Chicken Fried steaks. The meat had some nice grill flavor, and the breading was KILLER! Thanks to the pork skins, it was super crunchy and very satisfying. The gravy was a nice extra touch, although I could make a much better gravy than from a packet. I would suggest if anyone is thinking about trying to recreate these, you may want to make them as separate meals or sides. This one is a heart attack on a plate! I wish my wife had not decided to save a few dollars and rather, purchased the actual Spam that I wanted. I had planned on calling this meal Spam-a-lot...
  7. I cold smoked the chicken for about 2 hours. I typically will cold smoke on days when the temp will be below 70 degrees. This chicken was mostly thawed, but still extremely cold, and a bit icy in the middle when I threw it in the smoker. It was a cold morning, so the meat didn't get warm. I have also done cold smoking before with meat sitting directly over frozen ice packs wrapped in foil. That way the meat stays extra cold and never reaches any danger zone. When smoking that way, I just flip it over about half way through to make sure all sides get covered with smoke. Obviously there is some potential risk involved, but this is typically best done in the fall through spring seasons when the nights or early mornings are nice and cool.
  8. Here's the recipe we use if you really want to give it a try. It's the best one out there because of the cornstarch. Without it, most Tomato pies get too soggy, but the starch helps firm that up. As mentioned, if you can cold smoke some cheese, or just buy smoked cheese at the store, it will add an awesome bit of extra flavor! 1 pie dough 4 large beefsteak tomatoes 1/3 cup mayonnaise 4 teaspoons cornstarch 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese 4 green onions (sliced) Fresh basil - optional First, slice the tomatoes about 1/4" thick and place them on paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Let the tomatoes drain for about 30 minutes, switching out the towels after 15 minutes. After 30 minutes, gently press with more dry paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. While the tomatoes are drying, bring the grill up to 350 with the deflector plate in place. Next, mix the mayo, cornstarch, green onions, and 1 cup of the cheese. Place the pie crust on the grill for about 10-12 minutes or until the crust just starts to firm up. Do not over cook. Once the tomatoes are dry, start layering the pie. Begin by spreading out about 1/2 cup of cheddar on the bottom of the pie crust. Arrange 1/3 of the tomatoes on top of the cheese, then spread 1/2 of the mayo mixture and spread out some torn basil leaves. Layer with the next 1/3 of tomatoes and the remaining mayo mixture and more basil. Layer the last 1/3 of the tomatoes and a few full basil leaves and cover with the last of the cheddar cheese. Place in the smoker and cook for 30-45 minutes until crust golden brown. Place on the counter and let it rest for a minimum of 1 hour before serving. The pie is best when served around room temperature.
  9. With the Covid craziness happening, I figured it was time to get back to my KJ that has been getting some neglect. I've been slowly working it back to life, but then with the chance to compete in the COVID-19 challenge, it was time to really knock the rust off. Today's cook (actually it was on Memorial day) is Fire Roasted Tomato Pie with Cold Smoked Southern Fried Chicken. I started by pulling out a really cool box that my wife found at the 127 sale in Kentucky a year or two ago. It is an old 1901 style steamer box that apparently made food "more nourishing" and also helped with your digestion and removed indigestion to physicians! - Ohio Steam Cooker Ad The cool part is because of the hole in the back, and the hole in the top, this works as an absolutely perfect cold smoker! Really wishing I had busted this thing out sooner. I lit up some hickory pellets, stuck them in the bottom near the inlet, placed the rack on top with some foil to catch any drips, and I cold smoked some cheddar for my Tomato Pie for about an hour, and my chicken for a little over 2 hours. Next, it was time to roast up the tomatoes. I got the KJ nice and hot and after moving them around for a bit, they were perfectly roasted. After pulling them off, I gave the pie crust a good 10 minute bake to firm up the crust. Nothing worse than a soggy crust on your tomato pie. After the chicken was nicely smoked, it was time for them to take a bath in some buttermilk and spices and rest in the fridge for a few hours. Once it was time to bake the pie, we took the smoked cheese and shredded it up. To that we added some mayo, garlic powder, corn starch, salt and pepper, and a bunch of freshly chopped basil. I forgot to take pictures of the layering process, but we started with tomatoes, then a layer of the cheese mix, a few leaves of fresh basil and repeat until everything is in the pie. The biggest key to this whole process is to leach out as much liquid as possible from the tomatoes. A nice sprinkle of salt and a lot of paper towels really helps reduce the moisture. After throwing it in a 400 degree smoker for about a half an hour, we had a perfect looking pie! You can't eat a tomato pie hot out of the oven, so it had to go rest to get back to room temperature. In the meantime, we started the dredge and fry process of the chicken. It went straight from the buttermilk marinade straight into a large pile of flour mixed with paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder and franks red hot powder. Here's a hot tip for you the next time you want proper fried chicken. Dip the fingers of your "wet hand" into the buttermilk and then drizzle some of the liquid into the flour. Then, add your piece of chicken and press the flour over every surface. By sprinkling the marinade into the flour, it creates those awesome little crispy bits you get on a nicely fried piece of chicken. I didn't figure you needed to see pictures of how to fry chicken, I'm sure ya'll know how to do that. While that was frying, and I still had some heat on the smoker, I threw on some fresh shucked corn just to complete the southern meal. Covering with a thyme and garlic butter will make this the best corn on the cob you can get! Put all of this together on a plate, and you've got a Slap Yo' Momma type of meal! The subtle smoke flavor of the cheddar cheese and roasted tomatoes added an awesome improvement to such an amazing and simple item. I can also tell you, if you've never had cold smoked and then fried chicken, you are really missing out. Once we got through that super crunchy batter and got into that juicy chicken, there was an awesome light smoke flavor that you really need to experience. Sorry for the terrible money shot photo. As soon as we started trying to plate it, storm clouds rolled in fast and wrecked any kind of natural light so we were fighting shadows and crappy yellow lighting. We were also kind of starving, so spending a lot of time to get the perfect photo just wasn't meant to happen. Typically people would think that the pie could be a side with Fried Chicken, but to me, this pie was so good that in my opinion, the chicken was a side dish to the pie. I really encourage you all to give this a shot this summer.
  10. They were definitely my "friends" that night, but the rest of the family were looking out!
  11. I ususally do pre-slice and marinade but my brother had gotten me one of these beasts for Christmas so I wanted to try it out. If you look closely in the marinated meat pic, you can see all the little holes. Besides, once the camera went off and it was eating time, you better believe I doused that salad in the bulgogi glaze! haha Bulgogi is so addicting!
  12. I was the only one brave enough in the family to try the raw thai chili peppers. they were quite tasty and had a nice sting!
  13. Hopefully life will start settling back down soon so I can get back on here and start cooking more often! I decided I needed to at least get back into the swing of the monthly competitions just to get the muscles flexed again. As this month's challenge is Salad for Dinner, so I had to give it a crack. With me working in Atlanta, I've fallen in love with Korean and Asian food in general. One of my favorite new flavors is Bulgogi! If you've never had anything marinated or glazed with a Bulgogi marinade or sauce, you don't know what you are missing. For those that don't know, Bulgogi is a sweet and tangy sauce mainly flavored with pear juice. It works with any meat, but I favor it with any cut of beef you can find. I'm believe it would even make shoe leather quite palatable! Sadly, in my rush to get this done by tonight's deadline, I didn't take many photos of the process, not that there are a lot of steps to this one. First, I marinated the steak overnight with a bottled bulgogi marinade, and threw in a little fresh garlic and ginger to punch up the flavor a bit more. All I had in the fridge was a london broil, so that got the overnight bulgogi bath. Next it went on to a ripping hot grill to get some of that great grill flavor. After a few minutes on each side, she was ready to take off the grill. While that was grilling, we cut up the lettuce, cucumbers, bell peppers and made up some homemade Asian ginger dressing. During that time, I also reduced the bulgogi marinade into a nice thick glaze by adding a bit of honey and cooking it down. Doesn't it look amazing?!? In the rush to get this into my pie hole, I forgot to get pics of the sliced meat, oh well. Anyways, here is the final product! Again, I highly suggest if you've not yet tried bulgogi, give it a shot. It's great as a dip with asian foods as well.
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