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Tag Archives: BBQ

Saturday, July 23, 2011 – The Patio Swim Club at the Twilight Lounge

Summer is in full swing at the Patio Swim Club and that means it was time to break out the smoker and BBQ some pork shoulder.  With Paula and Cookie here for the weekend, this was the perfect day to do it.

Producing my eastern North Carolina style pork butt is an all day affair.  I started at 8am, getting the smoker out and getting the fire going.  After years of experimenting I’ve settled on lump hardwood charcoal as my base fuel with chunks of hickory to provide the smoke and flavor.  With the fire going, it was time to get back into the kitchen and prep my butt. 

I unwrapped the pork (thanks to the Germantown House of Sausage) and patted it dry then went to work with my rub.  Yes, it’s my own recipe.  No, I won’t publish it.  Yes, it’s good!  This part is critical and I make sure I really work the rub into the pork so that I’ll end up with a great crust on the butt when I’m done with the smoker.

It's All in the Rub!

With that, all I had to do was wait for the smoker to get up to about 200 degrees – and I didn’t have to wait long.  With that, the pork butt went on the grill, the cover was shut and now it was 8 to 10 hours of patience and fire tending.

Patience is the Key Now

Of course, nothing helps the patience like a good cocktail and some poolside fun.  Normally when I smoke I have bourbon – with cola, or maybe Mountain Dew (that’s what we did in the Carolina’s) or just with some ice.  However, as I was reading the Wall Street Journal after putting the butt in the smoker, I found an interesting recipe that used Pisco.  I’ve had a bottle around since New Year’s Eve (thanks again Christian and Meredith) and this seemed like a great way to use some of it up.

  El Capitan
  • 2 ounces Pisco
  • 2 ounces sweet vermouth
  • 1 dash orange bitters
  • 1 dash aromatic bitters

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Stir to combine and then pour into a rocks glass.

I used Cesar Pisco and Peychaud’s bitters in this drink, and enjoyed it immensely.  The flavor of the Pisco comes through, but there is a strong resemblence to a Manhattan, especially with as much sweet vermouth as is in this.  The orange bitters (from Agnostura) also make themselves known.  The whole cocktail comes together nicely, and since it was on the rocks, it was perfect for sipping as I tended my smoker and enjoyed the pool.

As for the pork butt – well, it was perfect if I say so myself.

A Little Bit of Carolina Heaven

Moist and spicy, but not too hot, we all enjoyed this along with beans, slaw and corn bread Gwen put together. 

Cheers and bon appetit!


Day 345, Cocktail 352

Wednesday was my window of opportunity to smoke some beef brisket.  As some of you already know, when I roll out the smoker and make BBQ, whether it’s pork shoulder, brisket, turkey or ribs, it’s an all day affair for me.  And to be honest, I enjoy it immensely, in part because it’s a great reason to sit outside most of the day and sip bourbon laced cocktails!

Typically I would have enjoyed a simple bourbon and cola or perhaps just on the rocks.  When I lived in the Carolina’s it would have been bourbon and Mello Yello (if you haven’t tried that you do not know what you’re missing!).  On Wednesday I decided to be adventurous and a recipe I found at Drinks Mixer website.  Here it is:

  Bourbon Black Hawk

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz sloe gin

Combine the ingredients in a rocks glass with ice and stir to mix.

A pretty straightforward drink, which is, frankly, overly sweet and doesn’t allow for much of the character of the bourbon to come through.  I used Evan Williams bourbon but could hardly tell it was there through the sloe gin.  I guess it was nice to try, but I don’t expect to make this one again.

As for the brisket, well, it turned out rather nicely!


Day 342, Cocktail 346

Ok, I admit it.  Yesterday was about the laziest cocktail day I’ve had in past year.  I spent a good chunk of the afternoon working on a braised beef brisket dinner, which wasn’t the original plan.  The original plan was to BBQ the brisket in the smoker.  But a late start Sunday morning (thanks to Jenny and NID) and a crappy weather forecast (it rained and hailed all day) forced me to plan B.  Oh, yeah, I didn’t have a plan B!

A quick search on yielded a braised brisket with root vegetables recipe that looked good, although a bit winterish, considering it’s now April.  But I wasn’t in any position to fight it, so that’s what I went with.  Five hours later I had a terrific dinner for the family…and no cocktail!

Typically, with a dinner like this I would have just opened a hearty red wine and not worried about it.  Then I remembered that I still had a bottle of Rex-Goliath Cabernet that would probably turn to vinegar before Gwen would drink it.  We’ve had a bunch of value priced red wines over the years, but for some reason Gwen just didn’t like this one.  So I pulled the Ultimate Bar Book off the shelf, found the wine section and viola, my cocktail of the day!

  Red Wine Cooler

  • 6 oz chilled red wine
  • 4 oz lemon lime soda

Fill a collins glass with ice and add the wine.  Top with the lemon lime soda and garnish with a lemon wedge or slice if desired.

Yes, I admit it, this is lame!  But, I accomplished three objectives.  First, I used up a bottle of wine that would have been undrunk otherwise.  Second, I had my red wine with dinner.  Third, I got in Sunday’s cocktail and the opportunity to share it with you fine folks.  Not bad if I say so myself – a true triple threat!


Well, maybe it wasn't this bad....

Day 36, Cocktail 28

The Chinese have a proverb that states “May you live in interesting times.”  The last week has certainly been interesting, if nothing else.

To recap, I’ll be posting four tasty drinks that I had last week.  Three were enjoyed at the Sporting Fraternity cocktail tasting at Bryant’s.  Katie Rose and Chad Doll outdid themselves with an amazing selection of root based cocktails (I know, I was thinking the same thing you’re thinking).  Then I’ll also fill in with a few of the tasty drinks we had over the weekend.

Now, as for what this flood thing…well, I recieved a panicked call from Gwen Friday morning informing me that the basement was flooded.  Oh, and the good news?  It was the finished Twilight Lounge side this time (yes, that’s right, this has happened before).  By the time I got home she had cut the water off.  The water was just shy of becoming standing water on the carpet.  Which means that the carpet was soaked.  I ended up spending most of Friday on my knees with a shop vac sucking up the water and then three days of fans and dehumidifiers have dried the place out.  I was able to start putting everything back together today, although that will take several more days. 

As for the bugs, I virus zapped my laptop last week.  It is now replaced, but that little sojourn without one made posting pre-flood a bit more difficult as well since I was sharing computer time with entire family. 

The good news is that the weather was spectacular for Memorial Day weekend in Milwaukee and the pool was used thoroughly all weekend long.  I also managed to fit in some BBQ ribs on Monday.

So, until tomorrow, I’m going to enjoy the rest of the Bushmill’s Irish Whiskey that is at my side.


Day Eight, Cocktail Eight

Yesterday was a full day that started at 5am – had to get up and get the fire going for the smoked pork butt I was doing for International Dining group.  No matter how you slice it or dice it, there is no substitute for time when preparing proper BBQ.

The pork turned out great (not a single morsel left) and all the other dishes were also fantastic last night at a southern style dinner.  Since the smoked pork was the featured dish, I had decided on my Daddy-O Patio Bourbon Cooler as the drink for Gwen and I.  I came up with this cocktail a couple of summers ago and its been a crowd pleaser ever since.  The nice thing about this cocktail is that you can easily scale it up – I’ve made as much as 5 gallons at a time for parties!

  Daddy-O Patio Bourbon Cooler

  • 1 12oz can frozen limeade (thawed)
  • 12 oz Evan Williams bourbon (or any other decent bourbon)
  • 12 oz Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat beer (or any other wheat beer)
  • 12 oz water
  • 2 oz lemon juice


Mix all the ingredients together in a 2 quart pitcher.  Fill a collins glass (or whatever glass you’re using!) with ice and fill ‘er up!  This is a great warm weather drink that goes down smooth.