The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Grilling from scratch

Grilling prosHave you ever been around when a real pro is grilling, making his charcoal from scratch on site?  It's quite an experience.


Meet Keyen.  He learned to barbecue from his father, and his stepson Anthony is currently following in his footsteps.  The duo seemed cool as cucumbers despite being engaged in cooking up pork and chickens for a horde of people in ninety plus degree heat.

Making charcoal

Spraying apple juiceThey started out by making charcoal out of split firewood.  The burning logs on top were heating the coals below, which Keyen shoveled out to fill the bottom of his grill.  He admonished me not to watch the temperature dial on the front of the grill, but to instead keep an eye on the steam billowing out the vents and to listen to the sizzle to make sure the meat hadn't caught fire.

Although no one was able to finagle the secret recipe, Keyen started out with some sort of spice rub, marinated the meat throughout by spraying on apple juice, and finished with his special sauce.  Here's where I tell you that I don't like barbecue...but this meat was amazing.  The whole chickens had been split in half down their backs so that they held in the juices, and I've never tasted such succulent chicken.  But the pork loin was even more delicious.

Chickens in a coolerAfter an hour and a half, the chickens were ready to go into the cooler.  Since it's well insulated, the cooler holds in the heat and lets the birds keep cooking a little bit as they wait to be put on the table.  Keyen's trick for telling when his meat is ready to take off the grill is to twist a leg --- if the bone pulls right out, the chicken is done.

Just as I was about to succumb to the heat and leave the grilling theater, Keyen told me about his career as a cowboy and how he lassoed an unruly guest at his wedding.  And he wasn't even pulling my leg.

Our chicken waterer is the perfect way to raise the healthiest and tastiest broilers on pasture.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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