Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hickory Smoked Meatloaf

There's nothing like enjoying a piping hot plateful of meatloaf on a cold winter day. It's comforting and flavourful and it warms the soul. I've always been interested in creating a summer version of this classic comfort food so barbecued meatloaf became the first culinary challenge of summer vacation.

After consulting some cook books and looking on-line, my ideal meatloaf began to take shape. I started with two pounds of lean ground beef, which I bought from Stephen Taylor's Farm at the Moncton Farmer's Market. The ground beef from this local farm is fresh, juicy and incredibly flavourful.

I broke up the beef and placed it into a large mixing bowl. Then I chopped some onions and sauteed them with a package of sliced baby bela mushrooms, in a mixture of garlic butter and olive oil.

I tossed the onion-mushroom mixture with the beef and a generous portion of homemade classic red barbecue sauce, and lots of shredded jack cheese. I added kosher salt, cracked black pepper and garlic powder. I then worked the ingredients together with my hands and packed the mixture into two disposable loaf pans.

I created a two zone fire and placed two handfuls of soaked hickory chips onto the hot coals, then I placed the loaves over indirect heat and put on the cover. The aromatic smoke quickly started to seep from the barbecue.

After about forty minutes, I drained the fat off the loaves and brushed each loaf with more barbecue sauce and sprinkled cheese on top. After ten more minutes, a nice smokey cheesy topping had formed.

This meatloaf was fantastic. It was smokey, spicy and absolutely juicy. It will definitely be added to my summer repertoire. I served it with a mashed potato medley and sauteed green beans. It was a fantastic dinner fit for sharing. We can't wait to invite people over to share this new favourite.


2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 large Onion
A bunch of mushrooms
garlic butter and olive oil
barbecue sauce (I will share my homemade BBQ sauce recipe in a future blog)
shredded cheese
garlic powder
salt and pepper
two handfuls of hickory chips (soaked in water for at least 30 minutes)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Welcome to the Bard's Barbecue

It's the first week of summer vacation, after a hectic semester of teaching tenth grade English, and directing Bye Bye Birdie, it's time to put the school year behind me and take a little time to be creative.

Over the long hot weeks of summer, this creativity manifests itself in different ways. I'll work on some new plays or short stories and do some blogging, but when the writing doesn't flow, I head straight to my kitchen.

I'm passionate about food. I not only love to eat, but love to cook and discuss food. In the summer time, my favourite method of cooking is barbecue. Last summer, Amanda and I purchased a Weber Charcoal grill and after a steep learning curve, I've managed to become quite confident in my charcoal-grilled creations.

There's nothing better on a summer afternoon than getting the inspiration to try a new dish or to rediscover an old favourite. I put in a couple hours in the kitchen and stand over the hot grill to surprise my lovely partner when she gets home from work. Watching the delight in her eye, when she takes her first bite, is more satisfying than applause from a full auditorium.

Over the next few weeks, I'll combine my love for food and my love of writing and share our culinary adventures!