Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Birthday Boy

It was Gavin's 4th birthday today and we had a great time. Here's the day in pictures:

Fire, fire in the Night : I fired a chimney full of charcoal for the brisket last night and used a combination of hickory and mesquite wood for the smoke flavor. I got the temperature on the Weber Smokey Mountain regulated at 230F and left it to cook overnight using the minion method. I played around with the camera and got some interesting effects with the dancing sparks (click on the pictures to see more detail)

My fellow pitmaster with his headlamp. The blue stains on his face are "evidence" that he's been into the cake icing

Opening presents with Grandpa Wales and Nana this morning

Grandpa Tom "smiling" at the camera

The brisket hit 190F late this morning after 15 hours of smoking, and a hopeful Charlie lurks around hoping for scraps. I love my Smokey Mountain - it's not cheap but it's top quality and excellent at slow smoking. It has a very loyal following and is often used to great effect in bbq and smoke-off competitions

The Brisket warrior : being silly and getting ready to slice the beast
The smoke ring : sign of a good brisket. I used a cardamom and coffee wet rub which blended perfectly with the smoky flavor of the beef. The brisket was fall-apart tender

The cake : Back when we got married, we wanted to make our own wedding cake so I was subjected to "cake decorating class" (I was young and in love). Besides constantly getting into trouble for eating the icing, I discovered I was pretty good at it (it's also a great compatibility test - if you can survive spending two days in the kitchen together while baking and decorating a wedding cake, you're going the distance) and we ended up making a yummy 3 tier Italian Creme cake and a Welsh-themed grooms cake. So when Gavin wanted a Batman cake for his birthday, we decided to make it ourselves. I made this yesterday afternoon and am very pleased with how it turned out. It's a dark chocolate layer cake courtesy of Devin Alexander. The icing is from a recipe I learned in the decorating class.

Blowing out the candles

Enjoying the chocolate cake with a grin straight out of Wallace and GromitEating cake "like a birdie". I have no idea what Nancy's doing

Gavin and the grandpas

Hiking at Walnut Creek : a never-ending quest for the perfect stick

"Come on fishy, Gavin wants to eat you"


Derek said...

Happy birthday to Gavin! Oh that brisket looked really good, I have a soft spot for a good brisket!!

Mark said...

Thanks Derek. I have a soft spot for it too - my tummy :-)