Rain can’t kill the good times

Apr 25 • Bruce Uncorked, Feature StoryNo Comments on Rain can’t kill the good times

Thank you, Mother Nature, for such a lousy Easter weekend outdoors.

At least you spared Sunday and couldn’t foul up some indoor fun.

It was a busy weekend around the Corcoran household, although it would have been busier had we had a little more sunshine.

The action began Thursday night for a nephew’s birthday gathering. We dodged raindrops for his dinner get-together.

But the weather wreaked havoc on Mary Beth and I on the weekend. She was down and out Thursday for the day and night with a nasty migraine.

That’s one illness I don’t think I’ve ever had to suffer through, but I’ve seen what migraines do to others, and I wouldn’t wish that discomfort on anyone.

For me, the wet, humid Thursday and soaking Friday delivered a great deal of arthritic pain. My left hip in particular was yelling at me. I also spent too much time in straight-back hard chairs.

It persisted through Saturday as well, when we wandered over to the home of friends Charlene and Eggless Chad. Mary Beth did up her Brie cheese and garlic dish, bringing fresh ciabatta buns for dipping into the melted yumminess.

This can be made on our Big Green Egg, but is done just fine in an oven too. The key is to melt the cheese but don’t turn it into a liquid.

We enjoyed a variety of appetizers, all prepared and cooked out of the rain.

And we watched the Winnipeg Jets lose, before playing a variety of board games and card games. That included the teenagers.

It’s great to see them enjoy board games. I certainly did as a kid.

Sunday delivered warmer weather and some sunshine. But there was also a bit of a surprise. After Mary Beth failed to find a ham at one store on Saturday afternoon, she figured she’d hit another grocery store on Sunday. Except they were all closed.

A check in the freezer revealed a frozen pork loin.

With friends Pete and Arlene arriving for dinner later that afternoon, we placed the pork loin in a sink full of water to quickly thaw it out.

It was about six pounds, so I expected it to take more than two hours to cook. I was right, but feared I was at first very wrong. More on that in a few paragraphs.

First, I placed a good bed of lump charcoal in the Big Green Egg, lit it and got the temperature up to about 350 F.

Meanwhile, as the Egg heated up, I gave the pork loin a light rub of mustard so the Dizzy Dust seasoning I liberally sprinkled on it would stick.

Onto the Egg it went about 3:45 p.m.

I pulled out my Traeger remote digital thermometer Mary and Brenna gave me last Father’s Day. It’s great for mid-length cooks. While it doesn’t control the temperature the way a Digi-Q unit does with its fan, the Traeger still monitors meat temperature and barbecue temperature.

I slid the probe into the pork loin, and relaxed to some classic rock in the backyard.

But as I periodically glanced at the thermometer, it was telling me the cooking temperature at the grill was way lower than the temperature on the top of the Egg where the built-in thermometer is. No big deal, but I have to calibrate both units in the near future, as the difference was about 100 F. Heat rises, but that is a big difference in temperature readings.

As well, the internal meat temperature was rising too fast. I gave a time of 20-25 minutes per pound (two to 2.5 hours) for cooking to Mary for her to time the vegetables, etc.

The meat got to 130 F way too quickly (I target pork to come off at 145 F).

But I moved the probe and the temperature was lower. I did that a second time about 30 minutes later and found the true deepest part of the meat.

It did ultimately take about 2.5 hours of cooking, maybe a bit longer.

For much of that, Pete and I sat out back, enjoying a beer, the smell of the meat cooking, the tunes, casual conversation, chirping of birds … and then the disappearance of the sun.

OK, the last part wasn’t as enjoyable. When I first when out there, I had to take off my hoodie. It was beautiful weather in just a long-sleeved T-shirt. As soon as that sun got behind clouds, it was a different story.

But it didn’t prevent the meat from being delicious, along with the green beans, cauliflower, mashed potatoes, salad, etc.

There really is something special about cooking on that Egg. And enjoying the food with friends.

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