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Picking a Farmer

Produce boxes from Bush-N-Vine

Produce boxes from Bush-N-Vine

I always enjoy a trip to my local farmer’s market in Matthews, bringing to mind thoughts of helping my grandparents gather greens in a family garden. After reading through local farm web pages on Local Harvest.org, I picked an interesting farm, Bush-N-Vine , which offers a subscription for a weekly basket of produce delivered to an outdoor store in South Park area of Charlotte called Jesse Brown’s.

I look forward to making my first pick up in March.

Next, I am shopping for a local farm which offers a grass feed meat, Windy Hill Farms looks promising.


Smoked Beef Brisket

I had lunch with a friend at Ri’ Ra’s Irish Pub in uptown Charlotte today. We had planned to go to one of my favorite farm to table restaurants Harvest Moon but they were closed for renovations so we walked across the street to Ri’ Ra’s. After looking over the menu for a few minutes the classic Irish Pub food like Bangers and Mash or a Ruben sounded good but a smoked beef brisket caught my eye.


Their version of smoked brisket was ok but nothing like a brisket I smoked over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Over the holiday I slow roasted a Texas Style Beef Brisket with [click to continue…]


Farm to Table for the Hungry

I have been grilling chicken, smoking Texas style beef brisket and frying turkeys over the Thanks Giving and Christmas holidays and have several recipes to share. But, my thoughts lately have been on developing a simple community service project which both feeds the hungry with healthy fresh food from the farm and supports small family farms like the farmers I talk to at my local farmers market.

I have notice that several of these farmers have subscription based programs in which you pay a monthly subscription and receive weekly or bi-weekly boxes of produce or meat based on their seasonal harvest.

The thought came to me that these boxes could really be used by non-profits which prepare food and feed the hungry. I have helped serve food at a local men’s shelter in my community and the food is mostly prepackaged foods loaded with carbs and there is not a fresh vegetable to be seen, a lot of staples from food drives.

Now, how to locate  resources and connect small family farms and non-profits feeding the hungry? That is the question. Would a simple web store work where you could match a family farm to  a charity along with your donation work?

Please post our ideas. I look forward to hearing from you.


Quadrupel Ale Chicken

I have been wanted to put some fire to wood lately and my local grocer had a few whole chickens that looked like they may be just the critters to throw on the fire. So, I picked up a pair of roasting hens.

I decided to grill/smoke with a beer can style setup to keep the chicken moist and tender while roasting over two sticks of cherry wood with a little lump charcoal dumped between them.

After racking the old ashes from the bottom of my grill, I laid a few sticks of cherry wood and started to pour out some lump charcoal when I remembered my electric charcoal starter had melted when I left it a little to long in the coals on a prior cook. So, the question at hand was how to start the fire?


So, I put an old veggie grilling metal sheet on the gas camping  stove, poured out some charcoal and fired it up. I made sure to have a water hose close by with a little water pressure on it just in case a few embers dropped to the leaves below during my startup.

After moving my burning coals to the grill, I rubbed a little olive oil on my chicken and dusted with a simple rub of salt and pepper before I looked for a little liquid to keep it moist while roasting.


I decided on a smooth Quadruplel Ale called Three Philosophers brewed in Cooperstown, NY.


I used about half the Ale in the roasting cup and the other half to baste the cook.



While looking through the refrigerator for veggies to go with the chicken I could hear a little land of lakes Indian maiden calling my name. So, I melted some butter to coat the bird for the last half hour of roasting.



Coffee Pulled Pork

I have been trying a few new ideas with my Pulled Pork recipes by building more depth in the layers of flavor provided by the wood, the rub,the liquid injection blend and the final layer of flavor from a finishing sauce.

The fire of coals on this cook came from cowboy brand of lump charcoal with the addition of a small stick of hickory for my assorted wood pile.


On the rub, I went with the basic structure from Steven Raichlen’s classic book How to Grill with a just a few changes. The main addition was freshly grinding the whole spices with whole coffee beans. I could tell just from the rich smell, change to the texture of the touch and darker color in the rub that this would be a great batch of Que. On one of the roast I added ground dried apple to make it an apple coffee pulled pork.

Coffee Pulled Pork from www.FireOfCoals.com

Rating: 41

Cook Time: 12 hours


  • Dried Apples 1/4 C
  • Black Pepper corns 3 tbsp.
  • Brown Sugar 1/4 cup
  • Cayenne 1 tsp
  • Celery Seeds 2 tsp
  • Coffee 1 tbsp.
  • coriander 2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds 2 tsp
  • Fennel Seeds 3 tsp
  • Garlic Powder 2 tsp
  • Dry Mustard 2 tsp
  • Onion Powder 2 tsp
  • Paprika 1/4 C
  • Salt 1/4 C
  • 1 to 4 Boston Butt Pork Roast


  1. Use whole spices when possible
  2. Toast whole pepper corns and other seeds
  3. Grind spices in a spice or coffee grinder
  4. Rub on meat and put in fridge over night if you have time
  5. A few sticks of hickory wood or chips for smoking
  6. A stick of cherry wood or wood chips for smoking
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After about 12 hours of roasting and reaching about 192 degrees in temperature the color changed from light brownish red to a deep almost chocolate coffee mocha with an aroma which seem to float on a faint fog of hickory smoke through the neighborhood.


After letting the pork cool a little, I pulled it by hand and added 3/4 of a cup of Carolina style vinegar sauce to each roast before storing in zip lock bags in the freezer.