Wine & Food

Snooth User: Mike Madaio

Carolina BBQ

Original post by Mike Madaio, Jun 1, 2012.

It's that time of year. Beer is probably the best bet, but I'm wondering what wine others like to drink with Carolina-style pulled pork and/or ribs.

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Replies

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 13, 2012.

BTW, JD, that line itself was a marvel of non-chalance.

So this weekend I was running around looking for huge panels of corrugated cardboard for my younger daughter's b-day party and got a lead to check a place that fabricates wooden framed windows.   No luck on the cardboard, but they have a bin of hardwood scraps in the front driveway free for the taking!  My guess is there's plenty of oak and some maple in there.  Probably some cherry.  Looks like a very promising place to go before I barbecue.

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Reply by gregt, Aug 13, 2012.

Yep!  I'm looking around the neighborhood - they just took away a huge pile of wood the other day from the house down the street.  Oak flooring, birch trim, and whatever else.  Only problem is that a lot of that stuff was painted with lead paint back in the day.  But I could kick myself now for throwing away so many scraps when I did oak upstairs and the place around the corner had piles of oak scraps from their work. 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 13, 2012.

GregT, have to be lots of artisanal woodworkers in Brooklyn--your nabe is a little too gentrified, but Wmsbg and the like should have guys who wear handlebar mustaches or ride vintage Nortons in their spare time who own lathes and stuff.  I mean, it's Oakland with bad weather, after all.

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Reply by Adam Jefferson, Aug 14, 2012.

I don't have any experience using woods other than oaks and hickory for smoking and grilling.  What are some of the others that work well? 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 14, 2012.

I had looked this up earlier and found a number of sites that describe a range of woods that can be used.  This site has nice pictures and gives a lot of information about different woods, as well as seaweed and corncobs.  Of course, I'm going to completely disregard their warnings about using scrap lumber. This one has most of the same info.  If you want to know about grilling (not barbecuing) with split logs, check this article. (Yes, it can be done in Brooklyn.)

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Reply by Adam Jefferson, Aug 15, 2012.

Nice work, Fox.  It'll give me something to read this evening and a reason for picking up some meat for the weekend.  I enjoy grilling with a fire built from split wood; it gives you heat and flame options for different searing and roasting techniques that charcoal alone dosn't, and typically has more lingering aromas to impart if you don't burn them all out before putting the meat on.  So long as the scrap lumber isn't coated or preserved, and if it isn't putting out any off-scents (i.e., so long as it smells only like wood, and not something else in there too), I wouldn't be concerned.  The places that make lump charcoal use it. 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 15, 2012.

Yeah, it's pretty funny to open a bag of lump charcoal and be able to tell what it was going to be by the shape.  My plan to cook over real wood this weekend is probably delayed, since our likely victims decided to invite us over to their house. 

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Reply by gregt, Aug 15, 2012.

Adam - for types of wood, pretty much any fruitwood - apple, pear, cherry, will work.  Also hardwoods that are used for barrels - oak, chestnut, walnut, etc., which of course are also fruitwoods.  In Spain and France, they take the vine cuttings that they pruned last year and cook lamb chops over those. 

Then I know people, including me, who've used ash, alder, maple, birch, box elder and others.  Pretty much the only thing you don't want to use is pine wood, as that will have resins and tars that you don't want. And as far as scrapwood -  I think those guys are dead wrong.  IF the stuff has been treated, that's one thing. But as we mentioned earlier, the charcoal briquettes were first made from scrap wood.  Why you wouldn't use that is beyond me.

What I don't know about is tropical woods. I have some scraps of those - bloodwood, purpleheart, etc., and I don't really want to burn them but have little use for them otherwise as I'm not really a great woodworker. But they have all kinds of weird oils and I'm not sure if those would be good or not.

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 15, 2012.

GregT, small pieces of exotic hardwoods can be made into blanks for handmade pens.  If you have some good stuff, maybe you good make a trade with an artisanal pen maker.  Gotta be one of those in Brooklyn. There's one not too far from OT up in Sonoma--I have one of his pens and their nice.  You give him some wood, you get a pen. 

I've definitely heard of using the grape vines, mostly with strongly flavored meats like lamb.  I've also got a fig tree in the backyard, and apparently that's a good choice, too.

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Reply by gregt, Aug 15, 2012.

Great idea!  I have great stuff - take a look at this site.  I spent a lot of time there and decided I needed to have as many of those in my floor as possible.  Didn't even get a quarter of them, but have bloodwood, purpleheart, wenge, various rosewoods, fish-scale oak, maple, Bolivian "cherry" and a few others that are unidentified.  My grandfather would use them for inlay and I can't bear to throw them out because I know that even small pieces can be useful.  I'll see if I can find some woodworker.   (They're surprisingly not as common as you might think!)

I suppose I could even give them to my cousin, who's a fairly talented guy.  Never even occurred to me.

Thanks for the great suggestion.

Way to get some thread drift going!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 16, 2012.

Whoa, just noticed I used "their" when it should have been "they're."  Yikes.

This post was definitely the longest lived post before thread drift came in, although in point of fact it was about pairing wine with Carolina BBQ originally, so it could be said to have had the longest continuous thread drift, too.

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Reply by gregt, Aug 16, 2012.

Yeah but the drift was OK by me anyway.

And to drift back into the lane - I'm wondering if maple would impart any "maple" flavor to your meat if you cook over that, or use it for smoking.  I'm thinking probably not because the maple flavor we like is from the sap and you don't want sap in your wood when you're cooking over it. But who knows?  I want to get my pork ribs with a faint note of maple to mix with the smoke and I was going to use a kind of wet rub, but I'd like to get some wood too, just to see.

 

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 16, 2012.

You could do a controlled experiment with two smokers, but that's a lot to do.  On the other hand, this site says it does impart a sweet flavor, and sugar maple is the sweetest.  That sap is probably pulling flavors from the wood's inherent character, but as sap it concentrates it and makes it available as a liquid.  All trees have sap, so it's not that the sap has that flavor, it's that maple sap in particular has that flavor.  I wasn't sure if other trees could make syrup, but this answer says yes, and has more info than anyone could ever want about syrup.  (The GregT of syrup, apparently.) Mostly it's the economics of making any other kind of syrup, apparently.  Hug a maple tree and tell it how much you appreciate all it does for us--furniture, skateboards (best laminated wood ever), syrup, smoking, guitar fingerboards, you name it.

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Reply by napagirl68, Aug 17, 2012.

I'm a pork and pinot gal....  prolly a  Russian River Pinot for me.

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Reply by gregt, Aug 17, 2012.

But what are you going to smoke it with?

BTW Fox - I knew about birch trees but not the others. Thanks for the link. Makes sense. Wouldn't you think tho, that by now, they'd have bred some uber-maples?

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Aug 17, 2012.

GM Maples that smoke the meat and then scrub the firebox.  Or something.

Actually, I imagine that, in some measure, the generations of maple farmers up north have selected maples to be better bearers.  Doesn't happen as fast as high-gluten flours, of course, but I'm sure it happened.  And probably even before that, they were propagated to some degree for their yields.  Soon you'll be able to buy heirloom maple syrup--10x the price of regular, but MAN you can taste the difference! (Assuming no one covered the label.)  It'll be available in Brooklyn first, even if Oakland invented premium coffee and home-raised and slaughtered chickens.   (Note:  Big fan of urban homesteading, but not of slaughter. Different thing if you have a few acres and want to take the risks yourself.  Rancher friends of mine from TX wonder that the hell the home-slaughter folks are thinking, and I'm wondering, too. And I have been involved in the slaughter and butchering of animals--on a ranch.)

For our wedding 11+years ago, my wife asked for (and we received) that Weber grill.  I had no interest in grilling then and figured I would leave it to her--none of that sex role stereotyping.  But my interest in grilling increased over time, I liked the flavors, and then a year or so ago I met Steven Raichlen while eating dinner and just decided to check his stuff out.  It opened my eyes to the diversity of grilling choices.  Like wine, there's levers to pull that make subtle differences but the outcome always varies a bit.  That's why the wood fire stuff has caught my attention.  Now to find more time to do it. Like my wine explorations, it's totally budget--I have a second Walkabout grill, really basic tools, nothing fancy--but it's proof that ingenuity and skill are more important than budget.

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Reply by jtryka, Sep 23, 2012.

You know, normally I go right to a nice Lodi Zin for barbeque, but yesterday I picked up a bottle of Coppola Alicante Bouschet in the bright pink (technically magenta) label, and I am loving it tonight with some barbequed beef brisket and all the fixins (though my fixins are decidedly differnt than what you might go with!).

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Reply by EMark, Sep 24, 2012.

JT, my experience is that Alicante Bouschet is an excellent replacement for Zinfandel.  It has been years since I have had an AB.  I will look for that Coppola offereing.

Also, is "fixins" some sort of technical term?  I'm not sure I'm familiar with it.  (Here is the Niles Crane in me coming out.) 

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Reply by jtryka, Sep 24, 2012.

Indeed, "Fixins" is a very technical term for all the wonderful dishes that accompany the BBQ (some might therefore call them accompaniments), for example last night with my brisket I had some grilled carrots and garlic mashed potatoes, while other times those might include succotash and corn muffins, it's really subject to my whims at the time I'm cooking!

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Reply by EMark, Sep 25, 2012.

AHHHH -- Side Dishes.  (Mrs. Emark uses that terminology.)

Really sounds like, overall, you had a really great meal.

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