Monday, November 29, 2010

Non Traditional Thanksgiving / Hasty Bake

Another cook on my oldy but goody 40+ year old Hasty Bake Model 130 cooker.

This is my 3rd cook on it as I am trying to get this cooker figured out and I did get a pretty nice meal out of it yesterday.

There are just the two of us and we sometimes don't go to all the hassle of cooking up a big meal for the holidays. We decided to just cook something up plain and simple for Thanksgiving on my new old cooker.

I started out with stuffed pepper halves. For the stuffing, I used pulled and chopped pork, sharp Cheddar cheese, Worchester sauce, chopped onions, cream cheese, and bacon. I also par-boiled the pepper halves before I stuffed them.

Added a little rub and the bacon and this dish was ready for the cooker.

I took a head of Romaine lettuce and cut it lengthwise right down the middle to have two pieces. I then drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled on some fresh cracked black pepper, some sea salt, and some garlic powder to both sides and this treat as well was ready for the cooker.

Next step was to get a couple of nice thick ribeyes ready for the cooker. I sprinkled on some fresh ground black pepper and some garlic salt on the meat.

For my bread, I then prepped some Cresent Rolls for the cooker.

This is the way I set up the cooker and maybe some of you Hasty Bake owners can tell me if I got it right for this cook. My older cooker doesn't have the slide out firebox so I just loaded thru the top of the cooker and filled the right side or right half of the firebox full of lump charcoal. I placed the heat deflector over the left side of the cooker so I could cook both direct and indirect at the same time. I lit it up and brought it up to temp and raised the firebox up to just under the cooking grates.

I placed my stuffed peppers on the left or indirect side of the cooker.

I then placed my raised baking grid over the peppers for my Cresent rolls.

I placed the Cresent rolls on the indirect side of the cooker and then loaded the Romaine lettuce on the direct side of the cooker. The lettuce only cooks about 3-4 minutes a side to just get some char or black on some of the leaves and to get it warmed up in the middle.

Looked and smelled great coming off of the cooker. I shreadded up about a half cup of fresh Romano cheese and sprinkled it on top of the lettuce.

Placed the steaks on the direct side of the cooker and right over the fire and cooked them to about medium rare. Took about 6-7 minutes a side.

The steaks came off looking good.

I took the stuffed peppers off next but the bread was not ready.

I finally took the bread off after about 12 more minutes and it didn't come out as brown as I would like but it was done. I guess I just had the lid opened up tooo many times with the rest of the cook to build up enough heat to brown the bread.

You know, it sure wasn't a traditional Thanksgiving meal but it sure was a good replacement in my book.

That was the first time I did that lettuce like that and it was KILLER!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Holiday Appetizers / Smoked Cheese

I usually like to get my holiday cheese smoking done by early November so it has some time to age in the vacuum sealed packages before the holidays. Running a little behind this year as I just got to it yesterday.

Wife purchased a large batch this year and this is the cheese I got ready for smoking by cutting it up into logs that measure about 1" to maybe 1-1/2" near square logs.

Three Alarm Colby Jack 11.46 lbs
Alpenhaus Swiss 4.80
Dutch Gouda 2.00
Colby-Jack 2.00
Bruschettta-Jack 2.00
Danish Havarti 1.43
Le Gruyere 1.30
Sharp Cheddar 4.81

This is 29.80 pounds of cheese and probably the largest batch I have smoked at one time.

I decided to smoke this batch in my Backwoods Party as I thought it would be a full load and this cooker was handy and at the front of the garage.

I rolled the smoker out of the garage and loaded a charcoal chimney with about 10 brickettes of that great Rancher charcoal. When it was ready, I fixed up my firebox (pie pan) with 6 greyed over brickettes and then added some chunks of a mild hickory out of Maine which I won at a contest a few years ago.

I was right in that it really filled up the cooker. I smoked this batch of cheese a total of 90 minutes and it was checked for smoke flavor about 3 times until I got it to where it should be perfect after it comes out of the vacuum sealed packages.

This is some of the cheese coming off of the smoker. Sure looks good...

We got it all bagged up and vacuumed sealed and placed back into the fridge to age for a couple of weeks which will mellow out the flavor. Just can't wait to get into some of that smoked Three Alarm Colby-Jack cheese.

For the folks that need more detail on cheese smoking, see my other articles on this subject.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Texas Toast from Scratch

I just had to try some baking on my 40+ year old model 130 Hasty Bake cooker.

I just found out from a Hasty Bake Guru that my cooker is older than I thought. He said it was made in the late 60's or early 70's. Heck, it is more than a's and antique as well!

I figured I would need a good head of steam due to the weather conditions so I loaded the firebox full of lump for this higher temp bake.

I placed the heat deflector right in the middle of the grid and added a raised grid on top of that to get my baking grate higher up inside the dome or lid of the cooker.

It was probably about 4-5 inches up into the lid where I figured I could get a better and more even browning on the bread.

I used our favorite recipe for our regular bread which is the Old Order Amish Bread and had it ready at about the time I got the cooker up to temp.

It baked up fine although it did take a little longer than I expected but the outside temp was about 37 degrees with light rain and I am sure that caused some of the increase in the baking time.

I really got the bread browned up nicely and very even and it came off the cooker looking great. I then cut one loaf of the bread into about 1" thick slices for my Texas Toast. Added a stick of butter to a bowl, then some garlic, and a little garlic salt, heated it up and brushed it on both sides of the slices.

Moved the heat deflector over to one side and put the bread back on the cooker. MY...MY the smell was wonderful and I couldn't wait to get at it!

You just can't beat some great home made bread turned into Texas Toast.

Served it up with a burger and sure enjoyed the meal.

That 40+ year old cooker is doing me a fine job and I am enjoying fooling around with it.

Maybe Pizza next??

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hasty Bake / Classic Cooker

You know, Jimmy Carter lusts after beautiful women and I guess I lust after some of the older and more classic cookers and smokers. Cookers like the smaller 15" WSM, a Charbroil CB940, Cajun Grill, Hasty Bake, the two smaller Jedmasters, a Weber Performer in Red with the stainless steel table, and even a less expensive PK Grill to name a few.

I check the Craig's List about twice a week for some of these hard to find units and had been looking for one of the larger Hasty Bakes for about 3 years in the Indiana area. Last week I decided to look farther out and set my Search Tempest to 1000 miles from Indy and bingo, I got a hit in Mount Cory, Ohio! Heck, that is only 250 miles from the Po-Farm.

Some of the information in the ad stated the following...Made in USA. Been in dry storage the last 20 years, needs a good cleaning but this is a very nice large charcoal cooker. On it's way to the scrap yard, thought someone might appreciate it for what it is. The price was $10.00 dollars. Had these two pictures enclosed.

I called the gentleman and he told me that the cooker had been in his Mother's garage for about 20 years and other than a little surface rust, the cooker was in pretty good condition. I told him that I would take the cooker and asked him to hold it for me for a few days until I could get over there with some help to pick it up.

A few days later and early one morning, I picked up my good friend Jeff Toler (Anchorman) just North of Indy and we went over to Ohio and picked up the cooker and I had it back home at about 3:30pm in the afternoon. Pretty good for a 500 mile round trip.

All this time, I thought the cooker was the smaller Suburban size but after I got to checking it out, I found that it was a model 130 which is the larger and more desirable Legacy size model.

Looked it over good and it did need a good cleaning and had a broken firebox fire grate and was missing the heat deflector. The gentleman had told me that it did still have some ashes in the firebox when he rescued it from the garage and that did worry me some but the ash pan was fine and not rusted out.

With a few replacement parts, a good cleaning and reseasoning, some wire brushing and sanding, and a new paint job, I will add this cooker to my arsenal. Might be a great ending for a cooker that is probably near 30 years old at the present time. And yes, this is one fellow that will appreciate this old cooker as the seller had asked!

I am not sure I can get it to look as good as a new cooker as seen above and priced at about $1100.00 dollars but I'll bet it will cook just as good as a new one. As you can see, there has not been very many changes in the life of this 30 year old cooker.

Hasty Bake is a smaller company has been in business since 1948 and that is even longer than the Weber company and have built several models of these fine cookers over the years. They have a wonderful reputation and are a rock solid company. If they don't have a replacement part, they will make one up for you. They do treat their customers right.

I called the head guru, a Mr. Adam Myers at Hasty Bake and we talked about the age of this cooker. It doesn't have the indicator to show the height of the firebox and also doesn't have to pull out firebox feature. Other than that, it is the same as a new cooker. He figures it's an early 80's model cooker. I then ordered the three replacement parts I needed along with some accessories I wanted for this old classic.

The first thing I did to the cooker was to take it apart and then I scraped the inside down and removed some of that old grease and sludge. I then washed it all out and I put it back together and oiled it down good and then lit a hot lump fire and reseasoned the inside of the cooker. Now, I got parts coming in about a week but I couldn't wait and wanted to cook something in this old cooker.

I covered the ash pan with foil, and then placed two fire cubes on it, and then loaded up the right half of the firebox with some good Ozark Oak lump. I added 3 big chunks of hickory to the top of the charcoal. I then lowered the firebox right down and on top of the fire cubes and it lit off quickly and I had a hot fire in about 20-25 minutes.

I left just the one cooking grid in the cooker for this cook. I then raised the hot firebox up to about 9-10 inches under the cooking grid

This old chili-head does like his hot stuff and I rubbed these wings with a heavy dose of the very hot 80 grade cayenne pepper. I also made up some glazing sauce with about a half stick of butter, about 10 oz of Franks Hot Sauce, and about 2 tsp of the hot ground cayenne pepper.

I moved the cooking grid over to the left side of the cooker so it wasn't over the fire and loaded up my wings. Since I don't have the foggiest idea of what I am doing with this cooker, I guess you could say I was "winging it". I know, that's bad but I had to say it! Anyway, I let them cook indirectly like this for about 30 minutes. Slopped on a heavy dose of sauce, turned them over and slopped on another dose to this side. Slid the grid over to the right side and over the fire for some direct cooking and to set the glaze. I kept moving the grid back and forth and turning and saucing the wings until my sauce ran out and the wings were charred up to suit me.

Worked nice for this first cook and I removed the wings and shut down the cooker.

Love my hot wings!!

Will be more coming on this old classic cooker in the future.