Clicking On All Senses

Those blue skies we smiling at all of us this week.

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Fresh green tree leaves against the canvas of a blue bird day was a welcome sight. While we’re not entitled to anything, it sure felt like we were due for some nice weather. I wanted to soak up some sun.

I listen to the fishing show on the radio most mornings while I’m seasoning meats for the day. Fishing guides and morning shift pit masters tend get up around the same time of day so it works for me. That and I like to fish when there’s time for it.

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Heard a great expression from a fish boat captain when asked what he’s been up to lately. He said he’d been doing nothing but shaking the sand out of his shoes. Sorry dog was rubbing it in at working saps like me.

Listening to fishing reports when the fishing is good is hard to take when you’re at the start of a 14 hour day. In previous weeks though while I was seasoning briskets & ribs, listening to fishing guides bitch & moan about crappy weather & hard fishing was high entertainment for me. It is pretty funny listening to someone complain about going fishing. Turn about is fair play I reckon.

All sensory inputs were in good form this week it seemed. The sights, sounds, aroma, flavor, and feel of The Craftory was clicking on all cylinders.

New outdoor speakers were installed by Alex.

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Alex has been enthusiastically helping us with sound since we opened. Alex works for us on a beer, coffee,and food payment platform. Alex also does this stuff because he loves it as much as we love making barbecue. He can also fix your iPhone FYI. Here is his web page. Everyone should have an Alex in their life.

You might know his sweet wife Kris.

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Kris is our Craftory Kitchen Hobbit. She might be a shrimp but she’s big on skills. Hobbit are foodies too you know. She can also walk into the staircase closet without ducking. That can come in handy at times.

The “Sewing Seeds” group of ladies joined us for a chocolate chat and barbecue on Wednesday.

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The ladies formed the group for mission work in less fortunate parts of the world bringing those truly in need clothing and other essentials. They took a day to learn about chocolate making and enjoy some lunch. We wish them well in all their mission work.

Wednesday afternoon I slipped over to Joe’s Barber Shop in Old Town for a touch up.

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Lewis can trim some lettuce let me tell you. When those clippers buzz by my ear a violent ripple runs down my spine. I can’t shiver it off either, because there is a man with an electrical cutting appliance pressed against my neck. It’s sort a like when you’re a kid and you scrape your elbow on asphalt and you can’t rub it out of fear of looking like a wuss. Same problematic deal in which a person can reasonably react during these various life scenarios is what I am saying. Never rub a wound until nobody is looking.

Speaking of problems and solutions we were testing out a reverse flow cooker in the alley this week as we try to gracefully increase some cooking capacity.

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I love every element in this picture. Let me give you the run down.

  • Smoke billowing out of a black barbecue cooker
  • An ugly painted wall with perfect algae, dirt, and cracks
  • A strategically placed fire tending shovel
  • Leaves, shade, & asphalt
  • My favorite…A broken light fixture by the alley door

The reverse flow cooker has a steel plate under the cooking grate running from the firebox over to the opposite end of the cooker. The plate diverts the energy and smoke across the bottom of the cooker then releasing the cooking gases to flow over the meats back towards the firebox where the smoke stack is located.

I think reverse flow cooking is a bunch of over rated nonsense to be honest. It simply moves the hot spot from one end of the pit to the other for no real good reason that I can see. Don’t get me wrong, reverse flow cookers can produce great barbecue. It’s a matter of learning how to use the cooker. I don’t like how slow this cooker recovers from door openings. The Black October is very quick to recover from necessary pit tending. We’re going to kick the reverse flow around a little more yet.

It’s hard to replicate the air flow and clean smoke of our cooker The Black October.

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I will say that we did make some pretty tasty pork spare ribs on the reverse flow cooker.

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Next up on it is a brisket test.

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If we can make the kind of brisket we are accustomed to producing then the reverse flow might be a keeper.

Speaking of cookers…I like to look at used barbecue cookers on Craigslist for sport. This one has been running in Tomball for at least two years.

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On this cooker you can make barbecue while roaming the surface of Mars. Thought this might be a handy feature when the time comes to bring Real Texas Barbecue to Mars. I’m really hoping someone I know buys this pit so I can see it cook.

These are the things I think about while taking a moment to have a sandwich.

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Sausage, our house Santo Sauerkraut, swiss and rye bread. That’s an insiders tip.

Here a few of the people and critters that visited this week…

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I felt like this kid wanted to shove a green bean in his ear. He was telling me he read about it on last week’s blog post.

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Charlie, a gentle Golden Retriever, was happy to let you touch his coat.

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The group from HP filled the patio with the sounds of a barbecue.

Barbecue is a cooking method, a food, and an event. It’s a versatile word in my book.

When Chef Greg is fresh chopping brisket; the aroma, appearance and sound fills the pick up window.

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If you haven’t done it yet, slip around by the pick up door and watch the meat cutting. It is rather mesmerizing to watch smoked meats being freshly sliced. Sometimes a little tester bite slips over to a grateful friendly observer.

Inspired by Mother’s day, Michelle kept channeling her inner chocolate confectioner. She’s such a natural at this I have to say.

As mother’s day approached she thought about the treat her mom and grandmother loved called a Martha Washington Confection. Michelle made her own version with our chocolate. A pecan, sugar, and coconut confection was coated in dark chocolate and toasted coconut.

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Then Michelle made a truffle we ended up calling Nutty Buddies. It’s fresh ground nut butter and chocolate ganache coated in dark chocolate and toasted peanuts.

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These truffles went fast. Michelle is a victim of her own talent.

Mom made some chocolate cookies for us. These Grammy’s Cookies were a hit. I did hide a few for myself I have to admit. I do love a cookie.

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Many of you have asked about getting our barbecue sauce in a bottle.

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There’s 18 ounces of it for you. That’s a big ole bottle of sauce. I love that little black pepper speck clinging to the glass.

We added a new sign behind the counter to make sure everyone knows that we are using USDA Prime Grade brisket from Ruffino Meats out of Bryan, TX.

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We think the quality of the briskets Ruffino delivers is second to none. Ruffino is a Texas family run business. I like that.

And finally, if you come by early on Saturday, you might find some complimentary donuts to compliment your breakfast taco and a good cup of coffee.

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Time now for the #thecraftory picture contest.

The picture of the week was by Tara O’Quinn. Tara and her family enjoyed a nice tray of barbecue in the front yard.

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This tray with Bird & Bacon, Brisket & Blues, Carrot Souffle’, and a beef short rib just landed Tara a $10 gift card. Congratulations Tara.  Claim it when you are ready.

Thank you everyone who got their sensory fill at The Craftory this week.

See you around the hood.

Cheers! Scott

 

 

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