Thursday, May 31, 2007

I warned you

Here's the list of people who are registering their points with the jasonhillpdx group on Desktop Tower Defense:

jasonhillpdx group on DTD

(You can also see people's screens if you click their names.)

A few questions:

TDF, care to identify yourself?

How did my mom get so good?

Is anyone using juggling?

Will I ever top the list?

How many of you have played, but declined, or couldn't figure out how to post your score?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Please, for the love of all that is good

Do not try this game:

Tower Defense

(But if you must, use my code: jasonhillpdx when it asks you if you want your score added to a group.)

(Btw, happy 100th post to me.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

Texas Style Brisket

I've bar-be-cued 4 briskets. One was inedible, although my family managed to choke it down, and three were unbelievable. Here is what I've learned.

click for largerStart with the right meat. You need a brisket with a thick layer of fat all across the top. During cooking, this fat will melt and add flavor and juiciness to the meat. I've purchased 3 of mine from meat markets and one from Costco. The one from Costco did not have a thick layer of fat and became inedible. (Brisket is sometimes used to make corned beef and I think the one I got at Costco was trimmed with this in mind.) At the butcher where I went this weekend they actually called the meat I bought Texas-Style Brisket. I've also seen it at a few super-markets.

Cover the meat with a dry rub. I use Rudy's Rub. Its heavy on pepper and paprika, but other than that I'm not sure what is in it. When I run out I'll order more. I add the rub generously, rubbing it onto the meat until every inch is covered.

Cook slowly over smoke for 8-12 hours, and in the oven for 12 more. By slowly I mean 200-250 degrees. I have a medium sized Weber that I can keep at 250 degree with 4-8 briquettes burning in a pile on the side. I use a simple oven thermometer to keep track of the temperature. I add smoke by soaking mesquite chips in water and then sprinkling them over the briquettes. With this arrangement I add fresh mesquite every 15 minutes and I replenish the briquettes every hour.

Usually I start cooking the night before I want to eat. I keep vigil at the grill until I reach 10 or 12 hours or cooking, which is around 4 or 5 in the morning. Then I bring the meat inside, cover it with aluminum foil, and cook it on warm in the oven until dinner time. This method is exhausting as I have to be up all night tending the smoke. I know that the meat only needs 10-12 hours of smoke, and that the time in the oven adds to the tenderness, but I wasn't sure, until tonight, if the smoking time needed to be continuous.

click for largerThis weekend I changed my approach by only smoking the meat from 6pm to midnight. I then brought the brisket inside to the oven from midnight to 2pm. At 2pm I took it back out to the grill and gave it 4 more hours of smoke. This brought excellent results and I got a good night's sleep. Apparently the meat can take a break from the smoke with no ill-effects.

Things I'd still like to try: I think I could get longer periods of smoke if I used bigger chunks of mesquite. I'm using mesquite chips from Weber and they smoke out after about 10 minutes. If I had larger ones I might be able to go 30 minutes between each visit to the grill. Tonight's brisket still had quite a bit of fat left on the top even after 24 hours of cooking. I think I could have trimmed it to 1/4 or 3/8 inch and still been happy. I'll experiment with that next time.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Treehouse Returns

It used to be a place for branches, but I changed that and put in a floor. On the floor I added a house. One night the house fell down. For a year and a half there has been a pitiful, half-broken floor in this place. Tonight it is just an empty space — an empty space that I will fill with a house.

I think I needed time to grieve. In the last week I’ve spent 2 evenings and a Saturday up in my trees. Before this week I couldn’t find the motivation to even talk about it.

You know how when you get a new phone and there is a protective sticker of plastic over the display? I feel like someone just peeled that away.

It is good to be back in the trees.
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