Southern Style Slow Cooked BBQ – in your own back garden

This last weekend was just superb weather. A bit of sunshine can make all the difference to how everything feels. And with the good weather should always come BBQ. I love barbecued food and would eat it every day if I could. Two years ago we bought a proper beast of a grill. None of this gas fired nonsense. A proper coal barbecue with (cos we’re fancy like that) an offset smoker. We loved the idea of getting a hunk of meat and slow cooking it the way they do in the Deep South, ’til it’s charred on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside.

I won’t lie, it’s not as simple to do as turning on a slow cooker and leaving it. It takes quite a bit of looking after, but both times we’ve done it it’s been simply amazing! When I posted the pictures of last night’s dinner so many people asked how we did it I thought I’d try and explain here.


So I’m sure there are a hundred different ways to slow BBQ but we use an offset smoker barbecue. The idea is that the coals sit in that little attachment at the side. There’s a vent through to the main body of the BBQ and the heat, and the smoke from the wood chips, is pushed through, keeping the BBQ at a constant temperature over an extended period.

Once the coals have heated the drum up to around 200 degrees F, we add a couple of handfuls of hickory wood chips (soaked in water for at least an hour beforehand), and the smoker is ready to start slow cooking.

You can smoke almost anything, but I’ve only ever done Beef, brisket to be precise, so that’s what I’ll explain here

Slow Barbecued Brisket

Get the meat out of the fridge to warm up to room temp at least an hour before cooking. You can flavour it however you like. I’ve tried premade rubs, but yesterday I used my own mixture and it was bloody lovely. I coated the meat generously just before putting it on the BBQ. I didn’t do it sooner as the rub had salt in it and I didn’t want it to draw out too much moisture. I used:

  • 1tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 or 1tsp smoked paprika (depending on the strength of your preferred brand)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds slightly bashed to release the flavour
  • Sea salt to taste


Once the meat is happily coated, place it on the grill, with any fat facing up. We coat the base of the drum in foil like this, as the meat drips as it cooks and it’d be a bugger to clean if we didn’t!

Then close the lid. And keep it closed! The hardest part is not opening it to check the meat, but seriously, every time you open it you’ll lose heat and slow barbecuing is all about consistent temperature (in our case of around 200 degrees F or 120 degrees C). To achieve this you need to top up the coals in the smoker every hour, or hour and a half, of cooking. And the first three times you do that you should also add another handful or so of the soaked wood chips. Then let it do its thing, while you relax in the garden!

How long it takes to cook will depend on the size of your piece of meat, but I reckon you’re looking at anything from four to eight hours. This size took about six hours and a smaller piece we did about five.

When you think it’s done, it needs to come off the grill and rest. Honestly, if you don’t let it rest you won’t get the melting texture inside. To keep it warm, we double wrapped ours in foil and then wrapped that in a tea towel. Again, resting time will depend, but we left it for at least half an hour and it was fine.


When it’s rested, slice it as you would a roast and tuck the hell in!

Last night’s dinner was BBQ brisket with balsamic dressed leaves and chilli swede chips. Yep you heard right; SWEDE chips. Someone suggested them at Slimming World last week, so I thought I’d give them a go and I can’t believe I’ve not done them before!

Chilli Swede Chips

Peel a raw swede, cut into thick slices and then cut into chips. Spray a oven tray with Frylight and add the chips. Spray again with Frylight, sprinkle with sea salt and dust with chilli powder (if you like chilli, omit if you don’t). Whack them in the oven at gas mark 9, 240 degrees C for 45 minutes, turning once or twice in the process. And voilà. Delicious, low carb (if you’re interested in that) chips. Perfect for an Extra Easy SP day.

So there you go. I’m not suggesting everyone run out and buy a smoker, but if you are interested in slow barbecuing with a standard BBQ a quick Google will come up with loads of suggestions of how to do it. I particularly liked this one. But if you’re in the market for a new BBQ, and fancy having a go at slow cooking, maybe consider one with a smoking function.

Can’t wait until the weather’s good enough to do it again. Hmmm, what to slow cook next do you reckon?

Mrssavageangel Slimming World Week 14

I know, I know. I haven’t written one of these for the past two weeks. That’s due in part to the boy being off on his preschool Easter holidays. I find it so hard to concentrate when he’s around, particularly to write these posts, where I have to think hard about what I want to say. And if I’m honest it’s also in part because I’ve not had much to say. I gained 3lb over the Easter break. I stopped trying so hard when we went away and then it was so difficult to refocus when we came back. Why is that? Why is it so hard to fall back into negative habits, but so hard to stick to new positive ones?

Anyway, I’m disappointed with my results over Easter, but actually when I think about it (and look back at last year’s blog post) it’s almost exactly the same as what happened last Easter. And I pulled it back then. That’s good to know.

So this week, I actually started, albeit very slowly, to turn the tide, with 0.5lb off.

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So I’m back to having lost 13.5lb, dipping just back under the stone. And as that makes me sad, and I don’t like feeling sad, I need to change that asap!

And I plan to do that with the aid of a slow cooker.

My friends have been going on about their slow cookers forever, and this week I finally capitulated and got myself one. And I swear I may never use the hob again 😉. First day I had it I made bolognese and then on Saturday I got hold of the most enormous piece of brisket Waitrose were selling off cheap. Oscar loves watching the Buzzfeed Tasty videos at the moment (over and over!) and they occasionally have slow cooker recipes. One that really caught my eye was one with a huge piece of chuck steak. So when I got this brisket I had to try it. I halved a load of new potatoes, some carrots, placed half the brisket on top of the veg, seasoned and added Worcestershire Sauce, a splash of water and, 5 hours in, a couple of springs of rosemary and thyme. 6 hours on high and BOOM! We had the most amazing dinner. So amazing I didn’t get any pictures 😞. Anyway, the plan was to freeze the other half of the brisket and make pepperpot stew later in the week. Didn’t happen. We just had exactly the same meal on Sunday! Basically we ate half a cow this weekend! Half a delicious cow, mind. And this week I’ve already made Pork Vindaloo from the Slimming World Curry Heaven Book. I made double the amount and one half has already gone in the freezer and the rest is for dinner tonight. I’ll report back next week!

Syn free Slimming World pork vindaloo in the slow cooker!

Syn free Slimming World pork vindaloo in the slow cooker!

So other than slow cooked deliciousness, my other discovery over the past few weeks has been chicken burgers! When I wrote about how much I loved Heck sausages (they’re a freezer staple in this house and we buy them in bulk online!), the very lovely people at Heck Food sent me some of their Chicken Italia Burgers to try. Each burger is only one syn each and blow me if they aren’t blooming gorgeous! And so flipping versatile! I’ve had them as just delicious burgers with jacket potatoes and veg, but they’re fab chopped up and added to things too.

Heck Chicken Italia Burgers. In all their glory!

Heck Chicken Italia Burgers. In all their glory!

One lunch time I was planning to have burger, beans and mushrooms, you know, separately, then I decided to just mix them all together and accidentally invented a lunch time ‘Quick Casserole’. It was amazing and so filling!

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My own invention the ‘Quick Casserole’! Beans, one Heck Chicken Italia Burger and chestnut mushrooms. 1 syn for the lot!

And then another day, inspired by a picture on the IG account of @Shanonnagain58, I had a crack a Mexican style breakfast burrito. Chopped burger, with spicy scrambled egg in a BFree Wrap (1 x HEB) with a side order of mushrooms (I love mushrooms can you tell!). It made so much burrito ‘filling’ that I had trouble picking it up! Amazeballs!

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My attempt at a Heck Burger Breakfast Burrito! 1 Syn + 1 HEB for the wrap.

Who knew a burger could be so much more than just a delicious patty on a bun? I’m just off to place another massive order of sausages (seriously I think I have a bit of a problem with these sausages 😉 ) and I’m totally going to order burgers this time too!

So this week I’m feeling much more positive at my own capabilities than I have been. At least I am today (don’t you find it changes from day to day?). So lets take this a day at a time 🙂

love

Lisa

xxx

 

I honestly love these burgers. They are so delicious and at one syn each so easy to fit into the Slimming World plan. I’d like to thank Heck for gifting them to me. I was not paid to write about them and as always my opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

Mrssavageangel Slimming World – Week 10

Hi howdy hey!

Where has the week gone? Seriously, I feel like I’ve done loads but I can’t remember a bit of it! This week’s sunshine has been much appreciated though. Soft sunlight, cold breezes, sweet smell of cut grass. Spring has definitely finally arrived in Haslemere. It’s been so… refreshing is the only word I can think of.

The health has been slowly recovering. Every day I’ve felt a little bit better and I’m coughing just a little bit less. However, I’ve been exhausted for much of the week. That’s what getting better does to you I guess. Especially when you can’t rest. Motherhood does that to you! You get no days off, you can’t call in sick. You push on. Because you have no choice.

Anyway, enough of that nonsense. You’ll start to think I’m about to make an excuse for a gain or something. But I’m not! Ha! That shocked you didn’t it?! No some how, despite another week of inconsistent eating and not counting syns properly and a morning weigh in last week I managed to do this:

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So while I wouldn’t recommend illness as a long term weight loss solution, the lurgy clearly suits me ?.

As I had to weigh and run last week, I didn’t get my one stone award certificate. Got it this week though! Total lost now 1 stone 2.5lb (16.5lb)

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Due to said illness I’ve been sticking to tried and tested foods again this week, so no new recipes, sorry! We have had the Mexican Chicken Stew I wrote about a few weeks ago twice this week though and if you haven’t tried it I urge you to, particularly if you have a cold. A bit of heat is just what you need when you’re bunged up!

So with the health on the mend, I really have no excuse not to get back into the swing of the things. After all next week is Easter and our sojourn down to Devon and Oscar’s birthday shindig. I’m out tonight with my lovely NCT ladies, but other than that, well let’s just say I would like to lose 1 lb this week. For all sorts of personal reasons, but also because I’ve just ordered some new clothes and I’d really like them to fit! Eeek! ?

Have a lovely week and fingers crossed the sun hangs around!

Love

Lisa

xxx

Mrssavageangel Slimming World – Week 9

Just a quick one today. For no other reason that I’ve spent the week with, what feels like my old friend, Bronchitus. Mothers Day was a wash out, but other than that I’ve had to push my self from one thing the next somehow. That’s just what mama’s do. My appetite has been all over the place. When I’ve been hungry enough to eat, I’ve only been able to face foods I wouldn’t usually eat (Slimming World or not!) Heinz Chicken and Mushroom soup – childhood much? Hot chocolate, toast. Comfort in the extreme. Which is what you need when you’re coughing your lungs up and you’re not sleeping.

Anyway, I didn’t weigh in last night as I usually do for three reasons. One: I was still feeling pretty rough, two: it was hammering it down and I really didn’t want to walk to group in the rain and three: Oscar was being extra cuddly at bedtime last night, and didn’t want me to leave. So I stayed. And it was totally the right thing to do for all of us. And the fact that I made that choice to stay with my little guy meant I got to hear my very first unsolicited, unprompted, unexpected “I love you” from him, while we lay in the dark quiet of his room. It’s only taken four years. I’d have waited four more ??

Anyway, back to Slimming World. Yeah I decided to weigh and run this morning instead, something I’ve never done before. It meant taking Oscar in with me, but bless him he played in the toy corner like a boss and didn’t even cry when we had to leave the little Mr Potato Head behind. High Five that guy! Oh and I did this:

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Now look, I know they say you always weigh less at a morning weigh in than you do in an evening one, but after how crappy I’ve felt all week, I’ve decided to take this and run with it. I won’t be surprised with a small gain or another maintain next week as things balance themselves out, but right now, at this moment, I’m patting myself on the back. And not just to loosen this god damn cough! Because this means I’ve lost 15lb. And that means I’ve reached my first stone! ??

As I said I’ve eaten a really weird combination of foods this week and so have no new foods or recipes to share, sorry. I wish I had felt well enough to make my own soup, but it’s not what I craved. And when you feel this shitty, you give in to what your body says. What foods to you gravatate towards when you’re feeling proper poorly? I can’t be the only one who goes back to the kitchen of their early childhood!

Hoping for a week of slightly more energy and hopefully some better food choices.

lots of lurgy love

Lisa

xx

 

Mrssavageangel Slimming World – Week 8

“No beating about the bush this week. If you read this week’s other post you’ll know my head’s been well and truly out of the game this week. However, regardless of the cupcakes and the odd bowl of granola (I’m sorry Ben I can’t make you any more. I just can’t have the bloody stuff in the house without eating it ?) meals have been either syn free or on plan and therefore this week’s result was appreciated (even if it’s not what I hoped for when we last spoke)

A maintain. I can live with that. For now. That means I’m still at 12.5lb lost.

I got to talking to another Slimming World member last night who had had a very, very tiny gain. She was so disappointed to begin with, so I asked if she knew why she’d gained. She said she absolutely did and then started telling me about the great time she’d had that weekend. Then she leaned forwards and whispered, conspiratorially, that she should feel bad about the good time she’d had, but that she didn’t. It broke my heart. We should never, ever feel bad for having a good time. Even when we might see it on the scales the following week. When you gain and you honestly don’t know why it’s hard, and if you gain doing something you didn’t enjoy then that sucks, but either way it is what it is. But don’t ever feel bad for gaining weight having a brilliant time. That’s called life. It’s called living.

Piece said.

My favourite dinner this week has been another old Savage Family favourite we haven’t had for ages! It’s a low syn version of a BBC Good Food recipe and here it is:

Mexican Chicken Stew

  • Frylight
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and chopped into largish chunks
  • 3 tbsp chipotle paste (I use the Santa Maria Hot Chipotle Paste for 1/2 syn per tbsp)
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 4 skinless chicken breast
  • 140g quinoa
  • 2 chicken stock cube
  • 1 x 400g can pinto beans, drained
  • small bunch coriander
  1. Spray a deep frying pan with Frylight and fry the onions and peppers for a few mins until softened. Stir in the chipotle paste for a minute, followed by the tomatoes. Add a tomato can full of water and bring to a gentle simmer.
  2. Add the whole chicken breasts and gently simmer, turning the chicken occasionally, for 20 mins, until the chicken is cooked through. Meanwhile…
  3. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil with the stock cubes. Add the quinoa and cook for 15 mins until tender, adding the beans for the final minute. Drain well and stir in the coriander and lime juice, then check for seasoning before covering to keep warm.
  4. Lift the chicken out onto a board and shred each breast using two forks. Stir back into the tomato sauce and season. Serve with the quinoa.

Serves two. As the whole recipe is 1.5 syns, I’d count it as 1 syn per person.

I’ve also used rice in place of the quinoa which works equally well. Or as happened on Tuesday when I couldn’t be bothered to make quinoa or rice when I got in from yoga, I just chucked the pinto beans in the stew and added the lime juice and coriander. It was delicious!

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My very low syn version of Mexican Chicken Stew

I’ve also been shopping this weekend. I desperately needed a new bra, so popped into my ever faithful Bravissimo in Guildford. I tried on about 10 different styles, but I still went back to the same one I already have. Funny isn’t it. Even the assistant seemed surprised that none of the other styles suited my shape! So I have gone up a cup size since last summer, but it’s more important to be properly supported in that area than get upset by a number (or in this case a letter!) :0 I also found a BEAUtiful poncho in Joules and was so, so tempted, but I knew the bras were going to take up most of my money so I left it. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it and when I got home I remembered I had almost exactly what it would cost coming to me from my freelancing. So I well and truly treated myself. Its like nothing else I own and I LOVE it! I looks fab with jeans and boots and will be lovely for spring. And the best part is I found this morning is that I can actually fit it under my coat, so I can wear it even on chillier (or wetter) days. Perfect!

The Tessa Poncho from Joules. I just couldn't resist!

The Tessa Poncho from Joules. I just couldn’t resist!

So this coming week, myself and another girl at my group have agreed to aim for our 1 Stone award together. She has 1lb, I have 1.5lb to lose. It’s going to take some thought and planning (something I’ve not been so good on this week) but I know what needs to be done.

Happy Mother’s Day for Sunday to all the lovely mamas out there (even those of you in the US, who don’t celebrate until May). You’re all amazing and I hope you have a super day!

love

Lisa

xx