Posts Tagged ‘BBQ’

July Beer Church

The opening round

The opening round

In this month’s edition of Beer Church, the bombers flowed smoothly as we started off with the beer tasting:

After several rounds of tasting, we headed to Brew & Grow to start on our Brown Ale.  If you’ve never gone to Brew & Grow, this brew shop will have everything you need to start your own batch of beer from start to finish.



Gathering our ingredients entailed grabbing a cart with a bucket and scale attached and digging through our recipe book to catch all of our various grains needed for the mash.  We also grabbed some yeast and hops pellets to finish up our collecting.  Of course when you go to Brew & Grow you can sample some of their brews while you shop.

Wort Prep

Wort Prep

While the wort was being prepared I then decided it was grilling time!

Roll burgers into balls

Roll burgers into balls

Using a 75% / 25% fat mix, the beef was rolled into giant meat balls for smashing.

Smash into patties

Smash into patties

Once the burgers are made into balls, it’s time to smash them down and evening out the edges to make solid patties that will not disintegrate or crumble on the flame.  Salt, pepper, cajun seasoning were added on both sides of the burger.

Grill, flip only once and add cheese

Grill, flip only once and add cheese

Once the charcoal (which was started before the burgers were started) turns white, the lighter fluid should have burnt off and the grill is ready for use.  Toss on the buns to toast them but pay attention or they can scorch to a crisp.  Toss on the burgers with a spatula and note that the center is the hottest area so burgers are susceptible to scorching if you’re not careful.



Medium Rare

Medium Rare

Add condiments if necessary, and avoid shrinkage by removing the burgers before they are charred to a crisp.  Grill flame can get up to 500 degrees, so watch out or you or your food may get burnt!


Back in brewing land, while the mash was settling, the kettle was loaded with water and lit to reach 190 degrees.


After letting the wort settle, it was time to separate the sugars from the grain.


In sparging we rinse the grain with hot water that is about 170 degrees, using the wrong temp can result in unwanted consequences!


After the wort is in the kettle we turn back on the turkey fryer in order to begin the sterilization process and killing off bacteria.  As we mix the wort with a giant paddle, the heat coming from the turkey fryer singes everyone’s shins.

Pumping wort to carboy

Once the wort is heated up, we then cool it down by pumping cold water through the copper coils to bring the temperature back down.  Once the temperature drops, we then pump the remainder  through a tube into the carboy.

Here our decision to use pellet hops cause a lot of blockages in the tubes.  Using a mesh or filter bag on the pellet hops may have prevented some blockage but we were able to get most of the wort out into the carboy and did not smash it.

The ring of shame

The ring of shame

From last Beer Church we got to this final end stage and this handle failed causing the carboy to fall and smash all over the shop floor.  We were not to be tricked again and employed a harness setup to prevent any dropping.

Overall another successful Beer Church, we now have beer in progress which will be ready to be tapped soon.  Next iteration will use Creeping Charlie as the bittering agent in lieu of hops so it will be interesting to see how these two beers compare when it’s time.

If you are interested in beer or brewing, make sure to stop by next month’s edition of Beer Church!


07 2016

Fire Starters the Boy Scout Way

Egg Carton

Photo by greenchartreuse on Flickr

Fire starters are an easy and convenient way to get a fire going without messing with loose newsprint or dry tinder only for it to go out when somebody breathes on it.  There as many recipes out there for these things as there are BBQ sauces. This one is my tried and true favorite of many.


  • Paper-based egg cartons (the classic kind, no plastic)
  • Old candles (can be found for next to nothing at thrift stores)
  • Sawdust (for flavor)


Melt the candles down in a pot/pan that you never want to cook in again.  This can be very dangerous so do use some common sense.  While the candles are melting, cut the bottom of your egg cartons out removing the lid and the flap on the opposite edge that holds the lid closed.

Once the wax has melted entirely so there are no solids left CAREFULLY pour them into your egg carton trays.  If you have a funnel, this would be a lot safer. (safety = 1 / fun)  While the wax is still in liquid form, sprinkle a generous amount of sawdust over the tops of each and let them dry all the way until they are room temperature again.

After they are all dry cut each individual pod (12 per carton) out with the peaks of the carton split equally.  This will make for an easy wick come lighting time.

Thats it!

Now you’re ready to start your charcoal grill, backyard foundry, etc. with minimal set up time and the best part is it can cost you nothing!  As with any open flame, it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher around too.


05 2010


The Foreman Dog - by Jeff Kantarek

In case you thought otherwise, it turns out nerds aren’t exempt from proving their survival skills by cooking meat on an open flame from time to time.  To keep with tradition this Saturday, May 1st @ 3:00 we will be cooking out in one form or another, (The weather looks good as of this writing, so expect full force) and you are all invited to join us.

If you want to eat as well, we ask that you please bring something to share too.  We’re all excited to come out of our caves and kick off Spring/Summer this year with food, drink & good conversation so come on out, we need to attract the fire department like we did last year!

Hugs from the VP will be available too.


04 2010