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.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Smokin' Beans

Work has been crazy as we sprint toward the end-of-fiscal-year finish line here at Collins Printed Circuits. I've been working on production schedules, outputs and inventory issues. Wednesday, life got more complicated. I had failed to notice that the next day was Food Day for September Birthdays. Yikes! I needed a recipe which took little time but had a great smoke flavor. So... I decided to make a side dish...smoked beans!


1-55 oz can of baked beans
1-22 oz can of baked beans
1 lb ham steak
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 TBLSP Yellow Mustard
2 TBLSP Mild BBQ Sauce
2 TBLSP Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Texas Pit BBQ Sauce (Famous Daves)

Mix the mustard, brown sugar and the mild BBQ sauce into a slather for the ham slice.
Slather the mixture over the whole ham steak.
Slice the ham steak into 1" cubes
Cut the onion into 1" cubes
Add the two cans of baked beans to an aluminum baking pan.
Add the Texas Pit BBQ sauce to the baking pan

Start the water smoker so that it puts out a medium apple wood smoke

Put the ham steak cubes and onion cubes into a vegetable BBQ pan and set it on the top rack of the smoker.

Set the beans under the ham in the smoker so the ham juices will drip into the beans.

Smoke for 1 hour at 250 F.

After the ham, onions and beans have smoked for an hour, put the smoked beans, onions and ham into a slow cooker (crock pot) for cooking overnight.

CPC folks start eating at 9AM. The beans didn't last to 11AM.

Another smoking success.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Stock 'em up and tie 'em down!!

Whatever happened to the days of "I like Ike!" A little before my time, but "I don't like Ike" is here and now and it's got people scrambling. You can't change the channel around here without seeing some sort of Chicken Little news update. They even sent out a flyer at about storm preparations at my workplace.

As I perused through the flyer, (I had to look up the word swale) I noticed the amount of info they had about grills. Now that piqued my interest! I've never considered my grills as flying missiles, but given enough wind I guess they could be. Though I would consider my kettle grill more of a flying saucer. The propane tank would make a dandy propusion system too! So put away and/or secure your grills and disconnect the hose from the propane bottle for safety sake and post storm necessity.

At the end of the flyer they had additional suggestions for post storm power outages that brought back memories of past hurricanes and storms: Have enough propane, charcoal and starter fluid to last for a week or two. Your grill may be the only cooking source available in the aftermath, so make sure you are prepared. I noticed in past disasters that volunteers came in with their bbq rig in tow ready to feed the masses. I'm not telling you to gear up to feed a community, but if you don't have power restored after a day or so you may have the neighbors looking to grill up the contents of their fridge and freezer and they'll come to the person that cooks outdoors all of the time. Could be quite the party!!

So be safe, prepared and ready to live the good life even when the sky is falling! Enjoy!!

Friday, September 05, 2008


I've made a couple of batches of guacamole lately that I've felt have been noteworthy or should I say blogworthy!! The flavor combined with the simplicity has been very gratifying. So as not to be a selfish guy, I will share my findings in hopes of spreading the gratification!!

I've made all sorts of guacamole and it usually turns into such an everything, but the kitchen sink mixture that I rarely make it the same way twice. People seem happy with the results, but when they ask the contents, their eyes glaze over. To keep the glazing to a minimum and get the finished product to the table faster, I've simplified.

I've taken the suggestions of a fellow food blogger Heidi Swanson and narrowed down my guac to just a few ingredients. One of which is a perfect addition that really makes this version stand out. I've been a fan of canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a while now and have quite a few recipes that call for it. Problem is, most recipes on require one or two and that leaves the rest of the can unused. I decided to add one to my guacamole since I had a bunch to spare and that made all the difference in the world. The smokey flavor and a touch of heat that grows as you stuff your face is wonderful!

Simple Guac
serves three hungry people

- 2 large avocados diced into half inch cubes
- 1/2 of a large white onion diced as large or small as you want
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce minced
- spoonful of no-fat sour cream
- juice from half of a lime
- salt or garlic salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized mixing bowl with a fork, smashing the avocado down as you mix. I like chunks in mine, but mostly smooth. It takes some smashing to get to that consistency. Careful not to taste test too many times and leave nothing for the rest of your hungry crew! Transfer the contents to a festive bowl and serve with tortilla chips.

This is about as simple as it gets. Heidi's recipe calls for minced garlic and I may try that in my next batch. You may want to add somthing in addition to what I have, but it is very satisfying in this simple form. Enjoy!!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Gather 'Round the Shrimp Boil

A couple weeks ago, some friends and I played in a local golf tournament. When we finished our round, the golf course management provided a large steak grilling pit where we grilled our T-Bones. There was a sense of community and gastronomical anticipation while waiting for those fine steaks to reach that perfect state of meat grilled right.

Well this sense of community got me to thinking about other community cookouts. What clearly came to mind was a shrimp boil. So I went about gathering the tools. First, the pot. I went to the local hardware store and found a 32 quart pot for frying turkeys. It had a sieve liner which seemed exactly right for holding shrimp boil ingredients. Then I looked at the box, and there was a recipe for a seafood boil; perfect.

We set the time for this last Saturday out at the back deck of the Ardolino household overlooking scenic Anamosa. I put the pot up on a propane burner stand, and filled it 1/2 way full of water, setting it to boil. I poured in a can of Fosters Lager for flavor, then added a bag of Zatarains crab boil seasoning. I added salt, pepper and Old Bay seasoning. After the mixure began to boil, I added potatos to boil for 15 minutes. Then came corn, serrano chiles, onions, mushrooms and Andouille sausage. I let these boil for 20 minutes. Last, I turned off the flames and added the shrimp to steep for 15 minutes. The whole cocoction was lifted out of the pot using the sieve basket, and it was spread over large baking sheets. Eating was pure bliss.

Here are the ingredients:

16 quarts water
1 can Fosters Lager
2 TBLSP salt
2 TBLSP pepper
4 Serrano chiles
4 onions, quartered
4 red potatos, quartered
4 ears sweat corn, quartered
3 lbs Andoullie sausage, cut in 1 inch pieces
3 lbs shrimp