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Oh what fun I am having in my new job at Whole Foods. Its been a little rough trying to get used to the laid-back atmosphere and bureaucracy of being in a corporation...mixed. Especially coming from a small, independent business, but its really smoothing out. Which is allowing me to play and work my smoky art. Our Smokehouse has been breaking records in store and within the Southwest region. We're #1 in brisket sales and after this weekend same for ribs. We have increased the meat departments sales by $10k a week. Encouraging the 2nd under Mackey to visit our department, inquiring to how we are doing it in just 3+ months. Could it be an awesome Djinn working the pit? lol. I find that all amazing, because all of the other venues have greater square footage overall, more employees, and serve beer! In under 2 years they should have the new North Austin store opened with a larger smokehouse for me. Watchout then ;-) On the sales side we are good togo. Freeing me up to explore new smokestreams of BBQing. Last week we ran out of this basic rub they suggested using. Oops. Might have been intentional. Who knows? shrugs ;-) Mixing up a sweet, but spicy rub was easy. I used cracked black pepper, garlic powder, sea salt, cayenne, paprika, brown sugar, and dried minced onions. Yummy! I call it my T's mix. T for Texas! Use it on beef and pork. For chicken. I have the same mix with added poultry herbs and a higher amount of paprika. New designs off the grill have been many. Several of my favorites have been a raspberry marinaded pork tenderloin, soy and ginger glazed k-bobs, Cowboy burgers (cheddar cheese, bacon, and jalapeños mixed into the patty), chorizo stuffed jalapeños, and my ever wondrous beef ribs. veggies haven't been forgotten. Julia and Mirabia are both vegetarians. Go figure working in a smokehouse and meat departments? We have done sweet corn on the cobb, veggie skewers, baked potatoes, sweet potato chips, apples. and various portobello mushroom combinations. One idea passed on to me from the Specialty dept was blue cheese stuffed pears. Wow! That just sparked my next adventure. Smoking cheeses! Some of my favorite cheeses have always been of a smoky flavor..huh? Well, I just had to try it myself. If you are wondering as I did? How do you smoke cheese and not have it melt? Cold-smoking. Maintaining a cool (40f-90f), smoky environment for 30mins on up to months on end depending on temp and humidity. Easy info to find online, but not much just backyard enthusiasts dabbling with their little Weber grills and cardboard boxs. Not my style, ya know? I could use my ashcan and smoldering coals inside the walk-in cooler, but then all of my food would be ...pre-smoked ;-) Good idea in a large scale setup which I am going to bring up for my next smokehouse. Not for my personal chunks or something lager to bring in more $$$. One afternoon, while lounging around in my kitchen. Most likely after a 420 break. When most of my wisps of creativity issues from my ears. I notice that my vented hood was drawing smoke up and out by a small catch that could rest some cheese. feeling the temp. and it being generally around 80f and 120f. Higher if the doors are open or deeper in the hood. I immediately scutted on down to my Cheese buddy and snatched up a mix of Top hat cheddar, a Danish white, and Swiss. Chopping some slits out of some sandwich boxes environmentally conscious paperboard) and placing the small blocks within on top of a grill in the smokestreams for 4 hours. The results were mixed. My cheddar's temp rose too high and began too melt. Helping me gauge my placements for the others. Its flavor wasn't too noticeable. The white cheeses were exquisite! Sampled out to my customers and their reactions told me in hit it. Today, I started my second batch with a mixture of Provolone and Swiss/Danish cheeses in a metal basket. Checking for a consistent heat for the fist couple of hours I let them "chill" for a total of 12's hours. I had my buddy up there refrigerate them after I left before we started the nights briskets. In the morning they should have stiffened back up and ready for slicing. I'm nearly dancing in my chair to see how they turned out. My Yule gift list has just been filled. Easy shopping for me this year. Pictures will come after I get back home tomorrow. This is going to be my busiest weekend so far. We have our babyback ribs on sale. I going to be a rib smoking fiend. My goal is 400lbs. in 4 days. Plus I have a mild Italian provolone cheese, buffalo sausage and my Texas beef Hotlinks in full supply. One of my next goals is to raise my chopped beef sales. I make the best in town, but with my upper scale clientèle. They pass it up. This new rub with enhance it and I removed all the stupid chopped beef in a tub they were selling...frak! This is long enough for now. Just a look inside my bottle......and yes. The smoke wafting out smells like Hickory, Oak, and MaryJ ;-) ~S
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