Food & Football Week 12 2016: The U vs NCSt

My Beloved Osito,

Week 12 is upon us as The U travels to the state of North Carolina (NC) again to face off with the mr-and-mrs-wufNC State Wolfpack.  Going into the last two games of the season, knowing you don’t have a chance to play for the ACC Championship, can make you think that there is nothing to play for.  I hope this mindset is not the case as The U looks to increase their win streak to 3 games and close out the season on a high note, for a change. Realizing that we play a lot of teams from NC, and in an effort to avoid duplicating a meal, I decided on Carolina pulled pork.  It was basically my only option, given that their mascot, Mr. and Mrs Wuf was a nonstarter and I needed a break from the sweet potatoes, state veggie, trend, but I’m sure it will be back though.

Admittedly, I did not cook the “game meal” on game day, but on Sunday.  I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the Air Force lab overseeing testing for one of our experiments.  One of the tests was to make one of the cells in the satellite’s battery burn-up to see if the heat would spread and destroy the other cells. This is called thermal runaway and we were going to create this by drilling a screw into one of the battery cells.

The other test was called vibration (vibe) testing. In simple terms we shake the experiment very hard to see if anything breaks.  Unexpectedly during this trip, I govib-testt some parenting tips. Prior to the start of Vibe Testing, we were delayed for about 10 minutes as one of the Doctors brought his kids in to watch. I thought to myself, how cool is this…not many kids get to see things like this and I need to expose you to things like this. You may like it and you may not, but at least you will know it’s an option because I never thought I would be doing this.

Despite cooking the meal after the fact, the game meal and the actual game were both very similar.  The game started off slow, and as a purely defensive battle, as both teams were only able to score 3 points in the first half.  For the meal, it was a slow process, since low and slow is the best when cooking pulled pork. I used smoke and indirect heat on the grill.  I left the pork on the grill for a few hours as we went to church, but upon our return, things began to pick up pace.  The pace picked up for The U as well after they returned from halftime with some much needed offensive adjustments scoring 14 points in the 3rd quarter.

I picked up tpressure-cookerhe pace for the game meal by transferring it from the grill to the pressure cooker. The U completed the game by outscoring NCST 24-10 in the second half on their way to a third straight victory winning 27-13.  After removing the pork from the pressure pot and pulling it, Mami voted to have loaded baked potatoes. The meal rated out at a 7 out of 10 because the grilled (baked) potato just wasn’t the best, but the pork was really good. Next week in the regular season finale, The U hosts the Duke Blue Devils.

Meat Prep:
1. Fully unthaw pork butt and place in a large pan. Pour a bottle of beer into pan
2. With a sharp knife cut small slits (aka season pockets) all around the meat
3. Coat with olive oil, then cover and stuff season pockets with dry rub and minced garlic
4. Let marinate for at least 24 hours turning the butt over half way through the process

Dry rub:
1. In a bowl mix brown sugar, Cajun, dried onion flakes,
adobo, parsley, thyme and black pepper

Cook Prep:
1. Remove meat from marinade and pat dry
2. Lightly coat with soy sauce and add another layer of the dryer rub

Grill Prep:
1. Soak wood chips (I used cherry wood) according to packet instructions
2. Light the grill using the indirect heat method with fire on opposite side of chimney
3. Place the pan with liquid marinade under the rack where the meat will be placed

1. Place meat on grill for ~5 hours rotating the meat on all sides
2. Make sure to keep the heat going by adding coal and soaked wood chips as needed
– The flames died out a little when we went to church
3. Remove meat and cut into chunks
4. Place meat in pressure cooker with some of the liquid marinade from the pan
5. Place on high ~15mins depending on pressure cooker
– Ensure meat is done and it should easily pull apart

1. Take baking potato and cut a few slits into it and coat with olive oil
2. Place the potato in foil with a slice of butter, salt and pepper and seal completely
3. Cook until soft, turning to ensure even cooking


Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”


Food & Football Week 7 2016: The U vs UNC

My Beloved Osito,

Week 7 of the college football season is here and this week’s challenge brings the University of North Carolina (UNC).  When I was in 9th-10th grade and my hoop dreams were in full effect, I dreamed of playing basketball in the baby blue unis.  However, my 8-9 inch growth spurt never happened and my basketball handles and jump shot never quite developed like I hoped, but I digress.  UNC’s sports teams are known as the Tar Heels which is based on two things.  First, North Carolina, the Tar and Turpentine State, was known for exporting Tar and Turpentine from its pine forests used to build wooden naval battleships. The second basis for the Tar Heel name has deep rootstar-heel in the Civil War.  It was noted in a letter dated August 24, 1864 that General Robert E. Lee (commander of the, thankfully, losing Confederate forces) made the statement “God bless the Tar Heel
boys!”  This statement was made in reference to Carolina soldiers after a battle where they continued to fight despite their supporting troops fleeing.  They stood firm “as if they [had] tar on their heels.”(

However, this week’s game meal has nothing to do with tar, Civil War or battleships, but instead their mascot, Rameses the Dorset Ram.  As The U looked to bounce back into the win column, I looked to take a shot at grilling a rack of lamb for the first time.  I figured lamb was close enough to ram, and for all I know the rack of lamb I selected could have been a young ram based on what I learned from Sheep 101,

For the second week in a row, the game day meal came out with a ‘W’ while The U did not fare as well on the field.  Getting off to a slow start is not the ideal way to start a football game or grilling.  With my slow start, I was able to offset time by finishing the lamb in the oven, while The U was never able to overcome theirs.  With a 20-3 deficit at halftime, they ended up losing 20-10.  The lamb, I would rate a 7.5 out 10.  It could have used more time to marinate and I wish I could have finished it on the grill, but no sense on dwelling on the past when you can’t change it. Consider it a lesson learned because tomorrow has its own challenges.  Speaking of challenges, week 8 brings the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Hokies (¿Hokie? I know. I’ll explain).

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  1. Marinade: in a food processor add olive oil, juice from half a lime, Italian salad dressing, dried thyme, dried parsley, garlic clove, chopped onion, dried Italian seasoning, black pepper and Cajun
  2. Clean lamb rack, coat with marinade, and place in refrigerator. Preferably 24 hours, but mine was only a few hours
  3. Set up your grill for indirect heat, but first sear the lamb for ~5 minutes on both sides
  4. Place on indirect heat for ~20 minutes on the top and bottom with the rack facing the heat
  5. Place back over the heat, bone side down with the tips closer to the heat to get the blackened tips for ~8 minutes.
  6. Cook until an internal temp of ~135-140 for medium (no pink on the inside as your mom likes to say)
  7. I served with creamy mashed red potatoes


Love you to “Infinity…and Beyond”