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Real Sugar Dr Pepper hiding in plain sight at my grocery store

I still routinely buy it in 12-pack cans at HEB in Texas.

Jul 12, 2015
johnhicks in General Topics

La Caja China - Burnt Crackling

Check it about 10 minutes after flipping and continue checking every 10-15 minutes or so; when it's as dark as you want tent the pig or the specific areas with foil. You don't want to wrap it; you just want to deflect the direct heat.

Pigs and piles of charcoal differ so much from cook to cook that the published directions should simply be considered suggestions.

Anyone use a temperature contoller on their smoker?

I'm using an Auber controller on a 22" WSM, works fine. It would be even better on your Kamado since the Kamado isn't near as sensitive to ambient conditions as the WSM.

can someone recommend bbq gloves, i got a bad burn...

I've been using inexpensive welders gloves for years, work fine. For hot food handling I got some rubberized gloves from Amazon

Low Country Road Trip

In Charleston go to Hominy Grill and Jestine's Kitchen. Both great, non-pretentious and relatively low priced.

Mar 24, 2014
johnhicks in Southeast

where can I buy good stone ground grits?

I didn't wade through all the replies but I'll strongly second your recommendation for Nora Mill.

Oct 30, 2013
johnhicks in Southeast

Big Green Egg Beginner Query

Did you get all squared away?

The Bun for BBQ Sandwiches

If it was at a joint, it was probably a Bunny Bun or Sunbeam. Really yellow would indicate a Martin's potato bun, which is acceptable.

Big Green Egg Beginner Query

Big Green Egg Beginner Query

I just lay the probe wire across the gasket; it does no harm.

Big Green Egg Beginner Query

Leave the top vents open.

"Swamp grapes"

Yeah...last time it was about a gallon muscadines per pint of jelly. Mighty good.

Big Green Egg Beginner Query

Sounds like you're ready to go.

Fill to the bottom of the fire ring with lump. Then either fire some lump in a chimney or use use wicks. Assuming the chimney, just dump it in and distribute. If no chimney, roll up some half-paper-towels into wicks, bury the bottoms and soak them in cooking oil, then light.

Once everything's going good, put in the plate setter, pan, grate etc; leave both vents open. Once you hit 175F close the bottom vent to 1/2 open and wait a little. Then close it more etc. For 240F which is what my egg likes I usually run about 1/8" bottom vent. The idea is to lead the cooker temp with a vent setting so that you don't grossly overshoot your desired temp. But remember that nothing happens quickly.

You need to get a wired thermometer that puts a probe at grate level. The dome temp can easily run 50F+ above grate temp; grate temp is important because that's where the food is. And get a decent meat thermometer.

I've done a 22-hour cook (wandered off to the bar) and the egg was still rockin' along. LOL

"Swamp grapes"

They're scuppernongs; say "scupnons" or us southerners will look at you funny.

Suck the innards out, spit out the seeds, then suck the sweet juice out of the hulls.

You can easily make a jelly. Ordinary muscadines make a good jelly with sugar; they're usually mighty tart otherwise.

20 lb. Pork Butt needs to be turned into pulled!

If it's all in one piece I'd be trying to break it down into three or four chunks. A 20 pounder is going to take a while to cook. You can of course cook at higher temps, 300F or so and even higher; the result isn't the same but certainly wouldn't be bad.

Feb 03, 2012
johnhicks in Home Cooking

20 lb. Pork Butt needs to be turned into pulled!

Figure 1/3 pound pulled pork per person plus a few extra pounds for those big around eight to nine pounds of finished product. If you're looking at the standard eight-pound or so butt you'll have about 1/3 waste including bone, fat etc., so a standard two-pack butt is appropriate. You can always freeze leftovers. You most likely have a two-butt cryovac pack; a single 20-pound butt would be a rarity.

Rub...putting on lots of rub and leaving it overnight can make it taste rather hammy. On cook day trim off excess fat, rub it all over with plain yellow muster and apply rub liberally; don't rub it in, just sprinkle all over. The mustard simply makes the rub stick and in cooking denatures and doesn't taste like anything.

Put the butt in a roasting rack in a drip pan and cook at 225F to 250F just about forever. It'll feel that way. It'd be nice if you could smoke it a few hours but if you can't that's just the way it is. Figure about 1.5 hours or so per pound, more if you peek, and at least an hour resting/cooling time. That time refers to the largest hunk of meat you're cooking, not the total weight of all the hunks. You're right to take it to 195F or so.

All butts are different; some cook surprisingly quickly and some take much longer than expected so you should allow plenty of time. It's done when it's done. You can hold the pulled meat it a foil-covered pan in a very low oven.

Jan 31, 2012
johnhicks in Home Cooking

Sous vide to reheat BBQ?

I've reheated many many pounds of pulled pork sorta that way. I seal it in foodsaver-type bags (different brand, heavier plastic, compatible and cheaper) and freeze. Then to reheat I let them mostly thaw in the refrigerator, then toss the bags in a huge vat of boiling water.

Nothing dries out and since I'm not holding it for hours and hours it doesn't overcook.

I've also done that a few times for ribs but ribs need a little time under a broiler or on a grill grate to firm up the bark.

Jan 31, 2012
johnhicks in Home Cooking

What is the best rib rub available for purchase online or in the store?

Dizzy Pig has a variety of rubs;

Lately I've been using Cow Lick on pork ribs for a dry rib with a somewhat different taste.

Mar 31, 2011
johnhicks in General Topics

Recipe for South Carolina mustard barbecue sauce?

Here's the real deal, from the area it originated,,,

Batesburg-Leesville SC sauce

Combine in a non-aluminum saucepan:

1/2 c prepared yellow mustard

1/4 c Creole mustard

1/2 c cider vinegar

1 Tbs molasses

2 Tbs honey

1/4 c brown sugar, packed tight

1 Tbs canola oil

1 tsp Worchestershire sauce

Wisk all ingredients together, bring to a simmer and add:

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 tsp ground white pepper

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Mix well, stirring, and simmer for 3 mins. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of sauce, or enought for a small pork butt, a large turkey breast, or 6-8 chicken breasts.

Jan 10, 2011
johnhicks in Home Cooking

Lump Charcoal

Wicked Good is fairly widely considered one of the best lump charcoals. Aside from that, other good brands are Malis and the standard Royal Oak (labeled USA, not the RO from South America.

BTW, BGE and Winn-Dixie lump are RO, as is K-Mart's "Steakhouse" green-bag lump You can always tell you have USA RO because of the rock in the bag. <g>

The problems with Cowoy and some brands private-labeled by Cowboy are lots of sparking and popping and lots of ash production.

BTW, don't be duped by Kingsford Hardwood bricks; they smell kinda foul and produce about as much ash as regular Kingsford bricks. Ash production may not matter for hot grilling but does for smoking or low-temp indirect on a grill.

May 11, 2010
johnhicks in Home Cooking

Kosher for Passover coca cola

Just snagged a couple of bottles of Mexican Coke at a IGA in Summerville, Ga., of all places. Apparently the manager is Mexican, says he plans to keep getting it.
Great stuff!

May 11, 2010
johnhicks in General Topics

Need advice on Big Green Egg

Yep, for a high-quality smoker that'll just rock on hour after hour virtually unattended the BGE (and Primo etc) is downright cheap at around $900. <g>


May 03, 2010
johnhicks in Cookware

Got Big Green Egg. Now what?

Country ribs ain't ribs, they're sliced pork butt. So cook them at around 225F (more or less) to about 195F internal.

What happens with low-temp cooking is that the fat and connective tissues break down, giving you that tender juicy pork. And it's done when it's done; internal temp is what counts. You can't go by time; you need a meat thermometer. A Thermapen is best but a cheap slow-reacting Acurite digital will do.

Get yourself over to , a new world awaits!


May 03, 2010
johnhicks in Cookware

Need advice on Big Green Egg

You use lump charcoal for heat and wood chunks for smoke.

Various raised-grate rigs are available by which you could triple your cooking surface for smoking.

Apr 28, 2010
johnhicks in Cookware

Need advice on Big Green Egg

You generally add wood chunks provided you want smoked meat; sometimes you don't want smoked meat. You could cook a butt using just charcoal but it wouldn't have much smoked flavor.

As far as Egg cost, a high-quality thick-walled or insulated smoker costs the same or much more. For example, a Stumps Baby is $1350, and Gator's least-expensive grill-smoker is $750.

Just for giggles I once let a full firebox of lump run in the large Egg until an unrecoverable temperture drop from 240F; it went just over 22 hours.

Apr 27, 2010
johnhicks in Cookware

Need advice on Big Green Egg

You'll probably want a large Egg; that's about the right size for what you want to do. Be sure to get the nest.

Tip; rather than using rather esoteric methods to light your Egg, pour in an appropriate amount of lump charcoal, then light a half-full Weber chimney. Once most of the charcoal in the chimney's lit, pour it in the Egg and spread it around.

To answer another question, the Egg requires far less attention and fiddling around on a long cook than a thin-wall offset or a WSM; similar to an insulated smoker such as a Stumps it'll just rock on and hold a temp hour after hour after hour.

The Egg is at its best as a smoker. While it can of course be used as a grill a Weber Kettle is more suitable for grilling. Don't believe that "the Egg will reach 700F" blather; any charcoal grill will do that. Those that cook with their Eggs rocket-hot are the ones who have to replace gaskets. I use the Egg for direct and indirect smoking and a Kettle for grilling steaks, burgers etc.

Apr 25, 2010
johnhicks in Cookware

Southeast BBQ Tour

Shealy's BBQ in Leesville, SC.

Feb 26, 2010
johnhicks in Southeast

Tampa to Apalachicola

Peck's in Ozello, Tony's in Cedar Key, Spring Creek Restaurant in Spring Creek, Boss Oyster in Apalach and, well worth the trip, Indian Pass Rar Bar.

Mullet is kinda scarce; your best bet is from a stand along the road.

Feb 14, 2010
johnhicks in Florida

Post-Reality Barbecue... TLC "BBQ Pittmasters" inspired cooks.

I prefer a mop but will probably try the Parkay thing. I definitely won't add all the sugar and honey. Parkay mixed with rub might be interesting,

Feb 06, 2010
johnhicks in Cookware

Bourdain - product placement

I think it's really cheesy. While some degree of product placement should be expected and acceptable on a stand'n'stir show, it's really out of place on Bourdain's show.

Feb 06, 2010
johnhicks in Food Media & News