Food, Wine & Just Good Living With SaucyJoe

It started with a love of food, wine & fun and blossomed into a maddening pursuit of the best recipes, techniques, grills, smokers, wines, crafted beers, rubs, marinades and sauces... We do more than play with our meat though -- we review and discuss all things cooking, drinking, reading, laughing and living at SaucyJoe's.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Our Fall With Grace

We're getting BUSY with November's edition of the SaucyJoe, but doing research always yields a nugget or 12 that merits discussion. Here's a recipe that looks really good for a fall table. I'm going to see if I can slip this into the Saucy One's repertoire... This one is courtesy of the folks at Bon Appétit.

Tradition dictates that these Florentine-style steaks be cooked over a grate in a fireplace, but this recipe translates very well to an American-style outdoor grill. Use a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips from a wedge of Parmesan to make the cheese shavings. What to drink:
Antiinoroi 1999 Tenute Marchese Chianti Classico Riserva
Fonterutoli 2000 Castello di Fonterutoli Chianti Classico
Felsina 1999 Chianti Classico Riserva Rancia
3 2- to 21/2-inch-thick porterhouse steaks (each about 3 pounds)
Olive oil
5 ounces arugula (about 5 cups packed)
1 cup Parmesan cheese shavings

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Rub steaks with oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Grill until steaks are brown and crusty and thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 120°F to 125°F for medium-rare, turning every five minutes, about 25 minutes total. Using tongs, transfer steaks to cutting board; let steaks rest for 10 minutes.
Coarsely chop enough arugula to measure 2 cups and set aside. Arrange remaining arugula on platter and sprinkle with oil, salt, and pepper. Cut meat away from bones. Slice meat thinly and arrange atop arugula. Sprinkle reserved chopped arugula and cheese shavings over steak.
Makes 8 servings.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

10 Items Your Butcher Isn't Revealing...

Saw this today at An article by Jane Black giving you a quick overview of how the meat industry works today. Most grocery stores are merely handling stock as cuts are prepared and shipped to stores. Your average "butcher" is putting "case-ready" stuff on the shelves, or grinding up certain parts for hamburger etc. We tend to get fresh stuff as recipes dictate, and use places like SeaBear or Omaha Steaks for high-quality convenience.

Here's an excerpt:
Being a butcher is a lot different than it was 25 years ago. Back then skilled meat cutters used their muscle to break down whole carcasses and their know-how to ensure no scrap was wasted. Today butchers are more often found behind the meat department counter at one of the large grocery chains, where their skill set — and salary — has been reduced to accommodate the demands of big business. Their main job now is to cut up smaller pieces, known as primals, into individual portions, as well as to shape and tie roasts, and to grind meat for sale.
The upshot: Many butchers don't know a whole lot about the meat they're hawking — where it comes from or basic information about varying cuts, preparation or cooking time.

So where do you go if you want to know how to butterfly a leg of lamb?
Read More Here

Monday, October 24, 2005

BBQ, Baseball & Beverages -- What a Weekend!

We lit into this weekend with a fall fervor of epic proportions.

The good news? it will all (well mostly all -- some remains classified) be reported in the November edition of

The 90" big sheet tv for World Series viewing, the smoked chicken tortilla soup, the Dr. Dave's marinade/mop (good for marinating meat and guests), the smoked brisket and all the terrific wines we opened.


And they flipped the switch from Summer to Winter so hearty fires were burning in the pit ALL weekend.

Watch for pictures on the site starting early next week as we ramp up month #2 on the SJ.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wine Smarts -- The Gurus That You Knew So Well


Searching the web it becomes apparent that some of these wine folks are very savvy.

Case in point is Michael Duffy, who compiles the Winery Website Report for Wineries to use in gauging their competitive excellence or (sadly) lack thereof. He customizes the report (a deft touch according to trends guru Seth Godin on his "How Cool is This" blog) and offers up all manner of ideas and advice on how to market more effectively. A lot of what he does, Ski does for us, but I was impressed by the scope of his knowledge. He has a cool blog too.

He also compiled a roster of those wineries currently blogging. As a courtesy to Sj readers, here tis:

  • Anne Amie Vineywards

  • Anomaly Vineyards

  • Atelier Winery

  • Dover Canyon Winery

  • Match Vineyards

  • Oklahoma Wine News (Nuyaka Creek)

  • Preston Vineyards (Lou's Musings)

  • Selene Harvest Blog

  • Sokol Blosser (no RSS feed)

  • Wood Family Vineyards

  • More to come from these guys as we glean some comments and learn to appreciate their expertise even more.

    Barbecue Survey Reveals Man's Struggle for Power

    Editors Note: We saw this online from the folks at Calor, a U.K. equipment manufacturer and thought you might enjoy their take on the man/smoke thing.

    Behind our summer barbecues lies a primeval gender tussle for power as man struggles to dominate this summer ritual. A new survey commissioned by Calor found that whilst it is accepted by both sexes that men own the barbecue territory and do the majority of cooking, there is dispute about who actually does the majority of work for the event.

    More seriously, two thirds of women questioned in Calor’s survey believed that men take control of the barbecue because they like to be the centre of attention when cooking alfresco. They suspect the motivation behind their partner’s eagerness is pure ego.

    But according to consultant psychologist Dr Aric Sigman, the root cause is more pre-historic and the man’s obsession with controlling the barbecue could stem from a primeval obsession with fire as well as an attempt at regaining power in today’s female empowered society.

    He says: “As society becomes healthier and safer, more ‘civilised’ and politically correct, man’s need to express what he was originally designed for is suppressed. So, the barbecue is one of the few opportunities for man to satisfy his love of gadgets and to recreate the cave-side ritual.

    “The barbecue is now one of the only legal opportunities for man to play with fire. And because in prehistoric times fire was the vital resource, he who controlled the flame controlled woman. Hundreds of thousands of years on, this survey finds modern man – the ‘barbecue beast’ - still flexing his muscles in front of the barbecue in a contemporary pantomime of his former life as hunter-gatherer.”

    Man’s love of the barbecue is clear, with two thirds of female respondents saying it is usually the man’s idea to have a barbecue. The results also revealed how men are more likely to experiment with food on the barbecue and subsequently find greater confidence in the kitchen from learning in the great outdoors.

    However, behind every successful ‘barbecue beast‘ stands a woman who in reality does all the hard work and preparation, but without much recognition. 78 per cent of women say they do all the food shopping and 86 per cent say they prepare the majority of the food when planning a barbecue.

    Summary of Results

    Men say
    • 85% claim they do the majority of cooking on the barbecue
    • 38% prepare most of the food
    • 48% say women do the shopping for a barbecue
    • 37% agree women handle the inviting of guests for a barbecue
    • 56% say a barbecue is usually their idea
    • 51% are more likely to use a barbecue to experiment with cooking

    Women say
    • 68% of women agree men do the majority of cooking on the barbecue
    • 67% say men like to be the centre of attention at a barbecue
    • 78% say they do the majority of the shopping
    • 14% say men prepare the majority of the food

    Any comments on the survey are welcome as usual...

    Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    Morrell's 2005 Bordeaux and X Wine's Raves

    We received two new email updates regarding wine and thought we'd share.

    First was from X Wine Magazine, and included their Top 5 For The Week:
    Top Five Picks are defined as "Wines that normal, grocery-store going folk can actually find, buy and drink."

    Rating Scale
    XXX = Da Bomb (Exceptionally Cool)
    XX = Fo Shizzle (Highly Recommended)
    X = Gets it Done (Recommended)

    Rating XX
    2004 Pinot Grigio
    Clear Lake $15
    Perkier than bikini models in a cold draft - bright, crisp, clean and refreshing.

    Rating X
    Red Beret
    2004 Rose
    AOC Cotes du Rhone - France $11
    Driving a Yugo up a steep incline - nice and smooth, but could use a little more oomph.

    Rating X
    2004 Shiraz
    Monterey County $9
    S boarding on M - a little hard-edged, but enjoyable.

    Rating X
    Napa Ridge
    2003 Pinot Noir
    North Coast $10
    Gettin' some at the discount Ho House - simple, spicy and economically satisfying.

    Rating XXX
    2003 Chardonnay
    Central Coast $10
    Simply sex-a-licious!

    Next up was from Peter Morrell (and his new alliance with Forbes Wine Club) declaring:

    "2005: A Most Promising Vintage In Europe

    First and foremost, wine is an agricultural product. Both the quantity and quality of every region's wines--their opening prices, age-ability and appreciating value as collectibles are all directly affected by numerous factors. These variables include the number of hours of sunshine throughout the growing season, rainfall, high temperatures both during the crucial vine flowering in the spring and the all important pre-harvest period in the fall, as well as the timing of frost. All affect both the quality and quantity of the grapes.

    While human talents can be of great importance, honest winemakers will admit that the finest vintages are made in the vineyard. Simply put, the better the weather, the greater the potential for outstanding wines.

    Of particular current interest to us as vintners, and to you as wine lovers, is the question if this year's harvest in Bordeaux has been fine enough to justify our offering of 2005 wines on a "futures" basis after we taste the barrel samples next April.

    At this time, I am pleased to be able to report that our most reliable sources of information in Bordeaux are telling us that 2005 is likely to be the best vintage for Bordeaux since the magnificent 2000s.

    While the truth always lies in the tasting, as with vintage 2000, all the elements of greatness appear to be present. This year has delivered to Bordeaux a low-yield harvest of completely mature fruit with the highest levels of natural sugars in the grapes in 100 years--which will mean heady wines, higher than normal in alcohol will be made. Additionally, a very dry, very hot summer delivered small-berried grapes at harvest with thick skins. This means high skin to juice ratios, which should result in wines of exceptionally deep-flavor extracts and color, excellent acidity and ripe tannins (the substance from the skins that enable red wines to age). In all, 2005 is most likely to be an exceptional Bordeaux vintage, one that will merit all wine lovers' most serious consideration."

    So, now you too know what we do. We'll keep tasting and report our take on their recommendations as well.

    Jan 180x150

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Now that you're smokin'

    In response to Dr. Dave's post I'll shoot back some smoker information.

    Now that you have turned towards the "smokey side" we need to continue your training. A proper smoker? That brings up some questions immediately. We'll go through each one.


    I skipped over the price part since you mentioned you're somewhat of a cheapskate.

    Abilities: Control is the name of the game with a smoker. You're trying to keep an even temperature (usually pretty low) that will allow you to give your food some great smoke flavor in a set amount of time. Two adjustible vents - intake and exhaust controls will allow you to keep the proper temperature. Fuel - What are your throwing in that smoker?? Will that Pecan log that you snagged from the neighbors wood pile fit in your little water smoker??

    Availability: There may be only a few smokers available in your area. Most all of them are available over the internet, but depending on size you could be spending a lot of money on shipping. Fuel will be another issue. What type of wood or charcoal is in your area?

    Immediacy: This runs hand in hand with availability. How bad do you need it?? You may go for a model you didn't really want just because it's the only one available for the weekend plans. Patience is a virtue on this one!!!

    Capacity: How much are you planning on smoking?? From the blog entry you didn't want the $2500 cowsized model. I'm guessing that's due more to price than patio space, but it could be a little of both. Do you want to cook two briskets at once or two beer can chickens?

    Effort: A labor of love or a big pain in the ass? I'm sure we all want the best end result with the least amount of effort. Some research into how much time you'll have to tend your smoker may tip the scales one way or another. Electric smokers are very easy, but it may be difficult to open your electric bill at the end of the month.

    I'm a big fan of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker @ $199.00. Lots of users and great availability. If you want to go less expensive, Meco makes a Model 5031 Smoker that's around $70.00. Not an easy find at your local stores, but you can grab it online. These are both small models, but will give you a great start to smoking!!

    What You Smokin'?

    Like our former president, this weekend I smoked but did NOT inhale. I tried the Tennesee Pork Loin with Whiskey, Mustard and Brown Sugar with great success! I used my Sears gas grill, placing the wood chips wrapped in aluminum foil right on the heating element. Since my grill has a temperature gauge, I was able to keep the cooking temp at 250 deg F for ~5 hours. The result was a vert tender, tasty pork loin.

    So, I've whetted my appetite (and my whistle with that Tennessee whiskey!), and I'm ready to go out and get a smoker. My question is: "What type?" I've seen charcoal, electric, gas. Is there any one of these which stands out? I'm somewhat of a cheapskate, so none of these $2500 cowsized smokers.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Surfin in da USA

    Okay, okay, okay... we were surfing for FUN food and wine sites and happened upon several. There's a lot of mojo stirring in the online world of food and wine, and perhaps coolest of all is that most of it is being served up w/ ample helpings of attitude.

    So, even though you'll see most of this on the main SJ site in November's issue, here's your sneak peak.

    First site we saw was the dynamo that is Dinosaur Bar-B-Q. Three restaurants in the fine southern reaches of NY State. The Dino mixes in lots of good music with their awesome recipes. They also showcase a swap market for bike parts (we ain't talkin Schwinn here) and some fun links.

    The Austin Spice Company site reveals the fun and fixins this group has mixed up since 1995. ASC has won over 100 national and regional awards, and makes mesquite-roasted salsa naturally and w/ no liquid smoke or flavor additives. Looks like some good buys and good flavor for your food.

    Wine X Magazine Online is billed as "Wine, food and an intelligent slice of vice..." and we agree heartily. It's a good read for folks pressed for time and tired of pretentious wine commentary. They have a wine club and subscriptions to the magazine. Very nice!

    Wine on the Web
    WOW is a unique Internet publication.  It is an independent magazine with audio and is constantly updated. It aims to be the wine consumer's friend by recommending wine for most budgets. Your computer may not cooperate w/ the audio feeds but it's worth a try as the writers and commentators have good things to say.

    Wine Country Getaways
    They say this site is "The ultimate resource for those visiting the California wine country. Discover wine trails in the top wine regions of California, including Napa, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, & Paso Robles." We say it's obvious they've spent some time coordinating wine trail trips, profiles of wineries and accumulating lots of helpful links for all things wine. A great resource.

    And, as we discover more and more about new technologies available to us, we enter the world of the Podcasting.. Here you can here quasi-regular reports, news, advice and reviews of the world of wine. It sometimes sounds like a SNL parody, but can offer cool insights into the people and products making a difference in the wine stratosphere.

    Wine Casticon
    Each week, Tim Elliott produces one or two podcasts that focus on a wine region or grape variety with tasting notes for these wines along with wine product reviews, tasting tips and other wine-related subjects.

    Grape Radioicon
    One or two shows are produced on a weekly basis. These shows consist of the three hosts sharing their opinions and experiences with the audience.

    The Oz Wine Showicon
    An Australian wine podcast featuring news, reviews and interviews with Mick (the expert) and Hugo (the novice) as they talk about everything in between.

    So, surf's up dudes and dudettes. Have some fun and by all means report in those cool links you happen upon to the rest of the SJ Nation...

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Saucy Commentary in the Food World

    As you know, we're big fans of good writers, cerebral folly and people who "get it." And as usual, those with a sharp wit are also likely to fling their rapier-sharp attitude around liberally as well. That's okay too, although you sometimes get cut(s).

    Two ends of this spectrum were discovered this weekend on a lazy literary Sunday. BTW, if you haven't checked out the new Weekend Journal (delivered Saturdays) from the WSJ, get a trial subscription. It's every bit as entertaining a read as the Sunday Times.

    Anyhoo, entry number one was Don't Try This at Home, an anthology of culinary catastrophes w/ interviews from some 40-odd world-class chefs. From overbearing customers to the in-house subterfuge and drama, this tome reveals the sordid underbelly of what goes into making food great, and great chefs in the process. You'll recognize many of the names and want to research the others.

    Entry number two comes from Leslie Kelly's blog on the Memphis Commercial Appeal's website. Whining and Dining. Leslie seems to be everywhere in the world of good southern cooking and the people that make it so yummy. We were entertained reading through her posts and believe you will be too. In fact, we've floated membership in this little bit of blogdom to her, and hope to see some of her wit and wisdom on these pages.

    ON ANOTHER NOTE: Cathy posted up comments and links on more Texas Wine info. Check it out and offer up your own Tejas wine tidbits as well.
    AND ANOTHER THANG: the Saucy One was busy this weekend (in between lots of red wine, sitting by the fire pit and MLB games on the outside tube) w/ new recipes and techniques for the November site. We'll preview some of those soon too!

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Tracking Texas Wines

    Being a little curious after our remarkable Sonoma wine tour, we've been looking into Texas wineries and the magic they put into bottles. Seems there approximately 80 wineries in Texas, and each has a generous measure of history to share. So, we're getting ready to add a feature this next week on the various Texas wine trails, the history of wine in Texas, good books on Texas Wines and some insights into the wines we do know.

    If you also know something about Texas wines, please submit your comments or post up to the SaucyJoe Blog as soon as you can.


    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Cool New Stuff at SaucyJoes

    Some saucy new items at the SJ:

    The Complete Spiced Caesar has been uploaded into our On The Grill section. New photos (click on 'em to see bigger views), a few tweaks to the recipe etc. This continues to be a hot recipe among viewers.

    Davis Borzo's Wine Picks & Pairings... David went WAY over the top in choosing 4 wines he suspected would work w/ the Spiced Caesar. Sherry (his life and culinary partner) followed the recipe to a T, and their findings are revealed in our Wine Picks section. Soon, we'll be delving into the delicious world of sibling rivalries by inviting David's older brother, Phil, to the party. He's a vino stud too, and a key to the success of Des Moines' Wine Experience.

    We added Joe's Ultimate Saucy Joe Rub to the Rubs section, as well as a resource guide to rub recipes on the web.

    AND, we dropped in Joe's Smoked Pork Loin recipe on the In The Smoker section. A monster undertaking he's made simple grabbing a Steven Raichlen recipe and making it his own on the smoker. A new essay on smoking woods is also up now.

    Coming Soon...
    Essays and rants from Members Curt Simmons and Cathy Beneford on the magic of smoke, and musical pairings for "chilin and grillin," respectively. We've also thrown the gauntlet out to the folks on Radio Paradise to hear their pairings, and numerous other bbq luminaries for recipes and tips & tricks.

    Stay tuned and keep those comments coming!