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A Good Fire - Pork and Skewers...Mmmmm

We went out to our property yesterday.  The trees we planted for the tree farm are looking great.  They survived the winter well.  On the way out, we stopped and bought some mushrooms, steak, pork, and skewers.  Loaded down with food and beverages (plenty of soda and water) we drove back the mountain roads.

Our property is 5.5 acres on the top of a mountain, overlooking Camelback Mountain.  Our land butts up against the State Game Lands, so there is plenty of wilderness all around, good hiking, and quite a bit of animal life.  We always build a fire there, and hang out in our shack.  We placed a good size shed on the land with two sets of bunk beds and all our camping gear inside.  Coming out here to cook is fun and a genuine retreat from the Camp and Retreat Center where we live.

Cooking directly over fire offers some sensational goodies.  We pretty much scarfed down the steak and mushrooms right there on the spot - no problem.  We did cook it, though.

But the pork took a special spot on the flames.  Slowly turned repeatedly, we let it get good and done.  The outside was coffee brown and black cinder in some areas.  To the kids, this looked horrid.  For me, I knew it would be perfect for the evening meal.

When we got home I took some crushed tomatoes and sautéed them in some olive oil with a good bit of crushed garlic.  While this was going to town in a pan, I de-skewered the pork and diced them in nice 1/2 inch cubes, being sure to leave the burnt sections intact.  Next I added some Walker Woods Jerk Sauce.  This paste is an awesome blend. If you have been to Jamaica, you would swear you were eating at the Pork Pit if you use this stuff.  That is GOOD.

I let this sauté in the pan for about a half hour on low.  Not only did it soften up the pork that was cooked and dried out quickly over the open flame, but it pulled all of that charcoal out of the meat and spread it throughout the sauce.  That is flavoring at its best.  Some chick peas and some red beans certainly made the jambalaya PERFECT.

Folks who cook in the kitchen often "burn" things.  But there are some "burned" things that really can be dealt with and enhanced by knowing how to drawl out the flavor and pass it around - in an among the sauce.  Chicken and beef cooked on an open flame or grill can offer the same gifts to the meal.  Bringing grilled foods in and allowing them to mingle with more of the marinade can turn a good meal into an awesome meal.

Play around with caramelization of meats and veggies and get a real sense of what the taste blends with.  It will not only save you when things go a bit too far in the heat department.  It will help you add layers of flavor and taste to meals that you have been serving your whole life.

PS - I lost 10 lbs in two weeks on the South Beach Diet.  I've just eaten more meat than I am used to during Lent.

Ciao!

TJM

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