Hey guys!  It's John the Midwest Flatlander here, and I know it's been a while since I posted.  But it is spring here on the flat land, and that means lots of work, work, work.  But today it's raining, so I thought i would try to get ya'll caught up on what's been happening.  You probably picked up on at least some of the fun we are having here on the flat land by looking at the title of this post.  And you are right, so let's get started!

So I love bacon.  I know.  Right?  And it's easy to get, and there are lots of different brands and types to choose from.  Thick cut, smoked, peppered are just a few examples.  So I went to Costco one day and was browsing the meat department, my new favorite place, and saw pork bellies for sale.  I was immediately smitten, and I knew at that moment that home made bacon would be a reality.  I searched the internet for a recipe, and I found this one.  And yes, I used the nutmeg and coffee as described, and I also used the grade B maple syrup which I'm very glad I did.  Since I cut a 10 pound pork belly in half, I made a double recipe.  So now let's take a look at what I did, because I did stray from the recipe ever so slightly.  Hey, it's me.  Right?  Here we go.

I took the pork belly I bought from Costco and cut it in half.  Then I slathered the pork bellies with the grade B maple syrup and coffee.  To do the slathering, I poured the wet ingredients into a large metal mixing bowl and dropped the bellies in one at a time coating generously.  After slathering the bellies with the wet ingredients, I then packed the dry ingredients from the above recipe (note, here is where I strayed from the recipe; I used pink Himalayan salt which is very salty tasting so next time i might try kosher salt or just cure it for a shorter period of time).  Start by mixing the dry ingredients (salt, ground black pepper and nutmeg), and then putting half the mix into the bottom of the pan (pans in my case).  Place the pork bellies on top of the dry ingredients in the pan(s).  Lay the pork bellies down on top of the dry ingredients and coat the top side of the bellies with the rest of the dry ingredients.  The instructions said to square up each cut, but I did not.  I wanted to have some "ends" to put into beans or other recipes.  Here is what they looked like.

Pork Bellies Ready to Cure
Pork Bellies Ready to Cure

I put the pork bellies into the fridge to cure for 3-7 days turning them everyday.  I turned them everyday as instructed, and by the time the curing was done they looked like this.

Pork Bellies cured after 7 days.
Pork Bellies cured after 7 days.

After I pulled them out of the pans, I rinsed them thoroughly.  Now it's time to smoke.  You can check out my smoker setup in any of my previous smoker posts, however I will say that this time I did about half of the charcoal I usually do.  I used apple wood, but you can use your favorite smoking wood.  Smoking time for this recipe is approximately 2 hours, so I only filled the coal basket half full.  Once I hung the pork bellies into the Pit Barrel Cooker, it was go time!  Here is the final product.  Outstanding!

Smoked Bacon in the Pit Barrel
Smoked Bacon in the Pit Barrel

Remember, this smoke is not designed to cook the meat.  You just want to give the meat enough time to absorb the smoke adding just the right amount of apple wood smoke flavor.  The only thing left to do now is slice the bacon and package it up for the freezer or the frying pan.  AH YEAH!!!!

Thick cut bacon!
Thick cut bacon!

The only thing left to do is taste it.  It fries up just perfectly in a cast iron skillet which is my favorite frying method.  Delicious!!!  And save that grease!

Cast Iron Skillet fried BACON!
Cast Iron Skillet fried BACON!

So there you have it.  Home made DIY apple wood smoked bacon!  I think I might change things up a bit next time I make some.  And there WILL be a next time.  That's it for this session.  Hope you got some inspiration for your next DIY food project.  I'll see you next time for more adventuring outside.  And remember leave no trace, leave a legacy.




Hey guys it's John the Midwest Flatlander here with another idea to inspire you to get outside, fire up the smoker and enjoy sharing life with your family and friends.  So we are continuing on from my last post discussing BBQ--one of my favorite topics.  This time we are going hog wild at the pit. With so many options for BBQ, it really is difficult to pick the type of BBQ to make.  Add to that the many different methods to cook the meat, and you've got yourself a real dilemma.  The pain is real people.  We need some good old fashion grilling therapy, so let's fire up the grill or smoker and make it happen!  Here we go!

So one of my favorite BBQ meats has to be pulled pork.  Whether it's in a sandwich, wrapped in a tortilla, or just plain, pulled pork is a BBQ staple and somewhat intimidating to make especially since there are lots of ways to make it.  I decided to go with slow and simple, and as you will see the results were exactly what I was hoping for.  Let's get started.

I purchased a 16 pound double pack of boneless pork shoulders at Costco for around $25/pack.  I could totally live in the meat department at Costco.  So many different choice cuts to choose from, it's amazing.  Just saying.  Anyway, both shoulders were very close to equal weight, so cooking time would be about the same for both.  To prep the shoulders for the smoker, I rubbed on a light coating of peanut oil.  Use whatever cooking oil you have, however if you use coconut oil be sure to heat it up until it becomes liquid before using it.  Next I dusted both shoulders with the All Purpose Rub from Pit Barrel Cooker's website.  That's all there is to it.  Simple.  Easy.  Now let's setup the Pit Barrel Cooker.

Pork Shoulders ready for the pit.
Pork Shoulders ready for the pit.

I used the same setup for the Pit Barrel as I used for the turkey, however this time I used apple wood instead of hickory.  I did not use a blend on this smoke, but I plan to try a blend of apple and hickory the next time I do pulled pork--and there WILL be a next time.  Setup on the Pit Barrel is easy.  First, fill the coal basket to the top with Kingsford Original briquettes.  Then remove about 1/4 of the briquettes, and put them into a starter chimney--no need to use lighter fluid.  I used a folded newspaper with a little sunflower oil stuffed into the bottom of the chimney.  Light the chimney.

Setting up the Pit Barrel Cooker
Setting up the Pit Barrel Cooker

Place the coal basket into the Pit Barrel.  Once the coals in the chimney are ready, dump them on top of the coal basket and you are ready to cook.  Be sure to place the two pieces of re-bar into the holes on top of the Pit Barrel, as they help control the heat inside the Pit Barrel.  Time to get the pork shoulders!!!

Pit Barrel ready for the magic!
Pit Barrel ready for the magic!

I placed two of the meat hooks that come with the Pit Barrel into each shoulder making sure there was room for the re-bar to fit through.  Then, I hung them as evenly spaced as I could to ensure even cooking.  Next I put the lid on and let the magic begin.

Pork Shoulders + Smoke = Happiness!
Pork Shoulders + Smoke = Happiness!

I started checking temperature about 2-3 hours into the cook.  The smell was amazing!  Just a quick check with my thermometer and back to the smoke.  Cooking time was approximately 4-5 hours up to a temperature of 160F.

First check on the shoulders.  Right on schedule!
First check on the shoulders. Right on schedule!

Once we got to 160F, it was time to take them off the smoker and wrap the shoulders in tin foil with a wrapping juice.  I used wide heavy duty tin foil to wrap each shoulder.  Before I close up the foil wrap, I poured about a half cup of apple cider over each shoulder and put them back into the smoker.  The Pit Barrel comes with a grill grate that I set the shoulders onto.  Once the temp got to approximately 195F, I took them off and let them sit for about 30-45 minutes.  Finally, I peeled back the foil, and beheld the joy!

The results are perfect!
The results are perfect!

As you can see, the shoulders are still sitting in the apple cider which is exactly what you want.  The next step is to pull the meat apart.  I used two forks to do this.  Use whatever tool you want.  As you shred the pork, the apple cider bastes the meat even more adding more flavor to the final product.  Here is what it looked like after the shred.  Amazing!

The finished product.  Perfect!
The finished product. Perfect!

All that's left is to grab a bun, some Curley's BBQ sauce, some beans and a tall glass of your favorite beverage!  I hope you found some inspiration for your next cook out.  If you want to please your family or friends or if you are looking for something great to cook for a large crowd or even a Super Bowl party, give pulled pork a try.

That's all for this session. I'll see you next time for more outdoor cooking and adventures.  Be sure to get out and enjoy your own adventures with your family or friends.  And remember, leave no trace...leave a legacy.










Happy New Year everyone!!  This is John The Midwest Flatlander here with a great holiday turkey idea to inspire the inner pit master in all of us.  Okay so I love love love barbecue, and I'm always trying to learn new techniques and recipes to try and perfect if I can.  Well, I've stumbled on to a great new method of smoking all different kinds of bbq meats.  I thought I would share a few posts on some of the things I've smoked using this new method.  So, let's discuss turkey.


I've done turkey on the grill before, but I've never done one on a smoker.  That is until I met the Pit Barrel Cooker.  I first saw this smoker on Steven Reichland's Primal Grill TV show--one of my favorite grilling shows.  He used it for smoking chicken which I have not tried yet.  Don't worry, it's on the list.  Anyway, the Pit Barrel Cooker is a 30 gallon ceramic coated drum with holes at the top that hold two ceramic coated pieces of re-bar as well as a vent hole at the bottom.  This design allows you to hang meat over a coal basket and achieve even cooking.  This even cooking happens because of the round shape of the barrel coupled with the position of vent hole at the bottom and re-bar holes at the top.  The smoke swirls around inside the barrel creating a vortex effect resulting in even cooking around any piece or pieces of meat you hang inside.  It is an amazing concept and produces fantastic results as you will see in this and other posts.


Okay, so enough geek speak about the Pit Barrel.  Time to get this bird into the barrel.  Let's get cooking!  It's turkey time.


I started with a 20 pound turkey and coated it with oil.  I used peanut oil, but you can also use olive oil or any other type of cooking oil.  If you use coconut oil, be sure to warm it up and apply it in liquid form.  The oil will act as an adhesive for the rub.  So when I bought the Pit Barrel, it came with two packs of rub that Pit Barrel makes.  I decided to go with their All Purpose Pit Rub for my first smoke.  Use your favorite rub.  Apply that rub to the turkey.  Be as generous as you like.


The turkey should look something like this when you are done depending on how generous you were with your rub.  I tried to be generous.  Since this bird will hang inside the Pit Barrel, you will need to use the meat hooks that come with the Pit Barrel or the Turkey Hanger which is an extra accessory I purchased with the Pit Barrel.  You can also purchase it using the above link.  Now that the bird is ready, let's setup the Pit Barrel.


The recommended charcoal to use with the Pit Barrel is Kingsford Original, so that is what I used.  Simply fill the coal basket that comes with the Pit Barrel with the charcoal briquettes until full.

img_2633Then, remove about 1/4 of the briquettes and place them into a chimney starter and light as you would normally light your chimney starter.  Do not use lighter fluid!


Place the charcoal basket into the Pit Barrel, and add your favorite wood chunks.  I used hickory, but you can you use favorite wood.  Once the chimney coals are hot, pour them directly on top of the rest of the charcoal in the basket and insert the re-bar.


This method replicates the "upside down fire" method of building a slow burning camp fire by building a small fire on top of a larger pile of wood as shown in the above linked video done by YouTuber Cr0cket20 (one of my favorite YouTubers).  You can check out his YouTube channel here.  Once I poured the lit coals into the charcoal basket, I waited maybe 15 minutes before putting the turkey in just to let it get going.  Once I saw that smoke coming out, I knew it was go time!



Time to hang the bird.  Simply place the bird in between the re-bar and hang it.  If you use the meat hooks that come with the Pit Barrel, place one over each piece of re-bar.  If you use the Turkey Hanger like I did, simply place the turkey in between the re-bar and rotate one quarter turn and set the ends on the re-bar.  It should look like this.



Total smoke time for this 20 pounder was approximately 7 hours reaching an internal temperature of approximately 175 degrees F.  Since the charcoal burns top down, it burns slow enough that I do not have to add any additional charcoal while smoking which is great.  The only adjustment I made was to set the vent hole to half open.  No other adjustments require.  Nice and easy.  I started taking temperatures at 4 hours to check on the progress.  Once the internal temp hit 175, I took the bird out and let it rest for about 45 mins in an aluminum foil tent.  Here is what it looked like when I took it off.

img_2640The skin turned basically to a very leathery texture which it great, because the meat inside was so tender and juicy.  It was amazing!


Here is the finish.  I fried up some hash brown potatoes and threw on some Curley's BBQ Sauce (my personal favorite).  Home run!!!!  Touchdown!!!!  Goal!!!!  So tender and juicy, and the flavor was amazing!



I hope this inspires you to try smoking a turkey for yourself.  The Pit Barrel is a great method for smoking, but it is not the only way.  Use your favorite method and get out and smoke or grill your favorite meat for the holidays or anytime.  What a great way to enjoy good food with family and friends!


That will do it for this session.  I'll see you next time, and remember leave no trace...leave a legacy.



Hey everyone.  John The Midwest Flatlander here, and I love brats!!  I can't describe it, but there is just something that seems right about grilling brats.  In fact, I don't think I've ever eaten a brat that was not grilled.  Brats and a grill are just meant for each other.  They're like peanut butter and jelly; biscuits and gravy; bacon and...bacon.  So I recently discovered that I really like smoking brats more so than just grilling them.  But I have to say, I like using a particular type of smoke with brats.  My new favorite smoking wood for brats is non other than apple wood.  I get amazing results using apple wood, and it's really easy to work with.  So let's get started.

First, soak some apple wood chunks (I also throw in one hickory chunk but that is not required) for an hour or two.


Next, load up the chimney with charcoal and get that fire going.

Charcoal Chimney

Setup the grill for indirect grilling and place the wood chunks onto the hot coals.  Set the brats on the cold side of the grill.  Place the grill lid onto the grill with the vent holes completely open and placed directly over the brats, so that wonderful smoke will be drawn over the brats as they slow cook.  Don't worry if your fire gets too hot.  Simply close the vent holes slightly until that fire settles down.

Brat Placement on Grill

Cooking time is approximately 30-45 minutes.  The color of the brats will guide you as you they cook, so be sure to give each brat a quarter turn to make sure you get balanced color.  Once they turn this amazing reddish color on all sides, it's time to eat!  If you like a little char, leave them on for a few extra minutes.  I wish you could smell these.  Boy howdy I'm getting hungry!  Where's my plate?

Finished Brats

Finish them off with a delicious salad and some home made vanilla cream soda, and you've got a real crowd pleaser.    Why yes, I'll have a double please.

Brats Meal

So the next time you run out to the grocery store, grab your favorite brats, and don't forget the apple wood.

That will do it for this session.  I'll see you next time, and remember leave no trace...leave a legacy.

Hey everyone.  John The Midwest Flatlander here, and fall is in the air here on the flatland.  At our house, fall means birthdays.  We have 3 birthdays in September and October, so that means I am grilling which means it's kind of like having my birthday all over again.

So my dear wife had a birthday recently and turned 26 again.  She's been turning 26 for years.  As soon as I figure out how she does that, I'll write a post about it.  So when my wife has a birthday, she gets the day off from cooking which can only mean one thing - fire up the grill!  This year's menu - BBQ chicken, deep fried taters, and grilled veggies.  Let's get started.  I'm getting hungry.

So to start things off, let's get that chicken started.  I'm using my one-and-only Weber Kettle Grill setup for indirect grilling (all coals on one side).  We like chicken thighs, so that's what we are putting on.

Chicken on the Grill

I know what you're thinking.  Why did you setup the grill for indirect grilling when you're cooking over the hot coals?  So glad you asked.  I like to cook the chicken over the hot coals first, and then move them over to the cold side after I glaze them with BBQ sauce.  My favorite sauce to use for chicken is Curley's.  Once I glaze the chicken with Curley's sauce, I move the chicken thighs to the cold side, and put the lid on with the vent holes right above the chicken.  That sauce will caramelize and take on a darker color giving that chicken a dynamite flavor.  Cooking time is approximately 30 minutes.

BBQ Chicken Final

Now that the chicken thighs are done, let's get the veggies going.  So this time around I'm using mushrooms, red bell peppers, and sweet red onions.  I've also done zucchini and yellow squash.  First thing I do is marinade the veggies overnight using this marinade.  Note, this marinade is also great for chicken, but this time I'm using Curley's.  Once they are good and marinaded, I put them on the grill directly over the coals.  I'm looking for a great char, so I let them cook with the grill lid off.  Oh, and my wife just recently got me a new veggie basket for me to use on the grill, so this one will go back to being a burger basket.  Use what you have.  Make it work.  Cooking time is approximately 15 minutes depending on how much char you like.

Grilled Veggies

Now for the deep fried veggies.  So there aren't a lot of things in the kitchen that I like to use.  Cast iron pans, toaster, and the Fry Daddy.  Since we are deep frying taters, it's Fry Daddy time.  Take any size potatoes and chop them into cubes.  I had some tiny taters from my garden that I cut in half.  I left the skins on, but you can peel them if you want.  Heat the oil in the Fry Daddy and put the taters into the hot oil.  Let them fry until golden brown.  Remove from oil, place them on a plate with paper towels to soak up the excess oil, sprinkle with Lawry's Seasoned Salt and eat.  Delicious!

Fried Taters

I didn't try dessert.  She insisted on making herself a cheesecake.  I'm not arguing, but I gotta say cheesecake on the grill sounds fantastic to me.  Maybe next year.  Give this a try for your wife's next birthday.

That will do it for this session.  I'll see you next time, and remember leave no trace...leave a legacy.


Hey everyone!  John The Midwest Flatlander here.  So we have been doing a lot of grilling this summer.  And I don't think that is a bad thing, but we have not discussed one very important topic (not bacon, although it is a very important topic), dessert!  So, in this inspiration session, we are gonna look at a fantastic dessert idea for the grill that will make everyone happy (unless you hate pineapple then you're hosed).  But then that's more for the rest of us.

Okay, so my favorite pit master is by far Stephen Reichland from Barbecue University.  Love watching him grill and smoke all kinds of different meats, veggies, and desserts.  He also has a show call Primal Grill, and here is where we get our inspiration for this recipe called Coconut Grilled Pineapple.  I may throw in a little Flatlander Finesse to the recipe, but for the most part I follow this recipe pretty close.  So I hope you're hungry.  Let's get started.  We're having dessert first.

Here is what you will need to make this happiness a reality:

--1 (or more) Pineapple(s) sliced and cored (mine are approximately 1 inch thick)

--1 Can of Coconut Milk (I used unsweetened but use what you like)

--1 1/2 cups sugar mixed with 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

--1 Bag of toasted coconut flakes

--1 scoop of ice cream (I used French Vanilla)

What You Need for Grilled Pineapple


First, brush the pineapple with the coconut milk on both sides.

Brush Pineapple with Cocomilk


Sprinkle a generous amount of the cinnamon-sugar onto both sides of the pineapple.

Sprinkle Pineapple with Sugar


The pineapple rings should look something like this.  Looks like they are ready for the grill.

Pineapple Ready for the Grill


Set up the grill for direct grilling.  You can do this on whatever grill you like and use the fuel of your choice.  I'm using my faithful Weber Kettle Grill with lump charcoal.  So this time around I'm putting a small pile of coals right in the center for my direct grilling setup (sorry about my finger photo bomb).  Use your favorite direct grilling setup.

Pineapple Grill Setup


Once you've got hot coals and your set up for direct grilling, get those pineapples on the grill.  Be sure to place them directly over the hot coals.  You can pick the side you want them to start on.  Be sure to place the lid back on the grill, because as that yummy cinnamon-sugar caramelizes some of it will drip onto the hot coals and flame up.  However that is not all bad, because you want some of that flame to kiss the pineapple and give 'em just a little bit of char which gives 'em a whole lot of flavor.

Pineapple on the Grill


Cooking time per side is approximately 3-4 minutes, or just cook them to your liking.  I like a little char (yeah, that's mine in the middle), but not everyone in my family does.  So I kept one or two on the edge of the fire, and didn't give them as much direct exposure to the hot coals.  But you make them how you like them.  Now let's finish them up.

Grilled Pineapple Char


Place a scoop of French Vanilla ice cream (or your favorite, but I recommend some form of vanilla) and sprinkled on some toasted coconut flakes to finish, and dessert is ready.  Dinner will have to wait cause we're eating dessert first!

Grilled Pineapple Final 2

Give this dessert a try at your next grilling adventure, and be sure to check out all of Stephen Reichland's recipes on Primal Grill.  That will do it for this session.  I'll see you next time, and remember leave no trace...leave a legacy.

Hey everyone!  John The Midwest Flatlander here, and you guessed it.  We are talking about two of my most favorite things--smoke and meat!  If you like both, you are in for a treat.

Okay, so I love smoked meat--brisket, pork, turkey, BACON, the list goes on.  There's just something about smoke that makes meat happy and me happier.  So when my buddy's wife texts me and says that he's gonna fire up the smoker this weekend and asks if I have anything I want to throw on, you can bet that I'm gonna go to and fro to the ends of the meat department and find something.  And I did!!!  The meat of choice is a 14-15lb turkey.  Yum!  My buddy prepped this dude with the seasonings you see here, as well as stuffing the cavity with whole onions and whole peeled apples.  This setup produced two "flavor zones" in the final product.  The meat towards the skin side had a really awesome smokey flavor.  The meat closest to the inside of the cavity had that awesome onion and apple flavor.  Put pieces from each flavor zone together and the taste buds would dance a jig.  It was an amazing flavor experience!!!


Now my buddy custom built his smoker from an old propane tank, so it's big and beautiful.  It requires a lot of wood to get that perfect smokey flavor, so he likes to make sure it is full of meat when the fire is lit.  Enter the Flatlander who is always willing to help in a time of need especially in a time of meat crisis.  He was smoking some pork for a family reunion and had a little space left on the rack, so my turkey was off to the smoke shop for an 8-hour bath of pecan wood smoke in this bad boy.

Smoker 1

It's go time for this bird!!!

Light It Up

After about 8 hours give or take, this bird is done.

Turkey Done

He texted me when it was ready, and I came and got it to go!

Turkey Done 2

Now that is what I call Smoked Turkey on the flat land.  Special thanks to my buddy K and his awesome smoker for some out of this world smoked turkey.  The Flatlander household polished off this bird in two days, and it was a mighty fine two days.

That will do it for this session.  I'll see you next time, and remember leave no trace...leave a legacy.


Hey everyone, John The Midwest Flatlander here, and if you love corn on the cob and roasting over an open fire you have come to the right place.

Summer on the flat land is hot, really hot.  And while I may not like the heat of summer, I do like the food of summer.  One of my favorites is corn on the cob.  I love love love fresh corn on the cob!  Let's just say it helps take the misery out of the heat.  Okay, who am I kidding, nothing takes the misery out of the summer heat.  However, if I'm gonna sweat to death I might as well eat good food like corn on the cob.  And burlap style fire pit roasting is a great way to fix it when camping or backyard barbequing.  It goes great with your favorite grilled meat (sirloin steak in this case). So let's get started before we're all too hungry to read.

Ingredient and "Tools" list:

10-15 ears of fresh corn on the cob (not husked)

Some water in something used to pour

1 burlap sack soaking in a bucket of water

1 portable grilling grate with stand

Now you can use whatever kind of corn on the cob that you like.  I picked the corn I'm using a few days ago, so it is garden fresh and ready to roast.  If you are curious, the variety I'm using is called Gotta Have It from Gurney's, and it is my favorite.


Corn Preparation:

Okay so we have about 10-15 ears of our favorite corn still in the husk.  Now I don't like "hairy" corn, so I peel back the husk on each cob far enough to remove as much silk as I possibly can (if you like your corn "hairy" feel free to skip this part).

Now, out here on the flat land, we got little corn worm critters that like to eat the ends of the corn ears.  That's okay.  Those little guys need to eat too, however they ain't a part of this recipe.  So, while you are remove the silk you might want to cut the end off of any ear that has a little stowaway on board.  Once you remove the "hair" and critters, make sure to push the husk back up to the end so it covers the ear.  Do not remove the husk from the ears of corn.


Fire Pit Preparation:

I didn't use any kind of special wood for this recipe, so use the kind of wood you like.  I just tried to use what I had laying around the yard.  Now, light that pit and make yourself a nice bed of hot coals and you'll be good to go.


You will also need to make sure you have some water (I filled up our pink pig watering can named Babbs) and a burlap sack soaked in a bucket of water.


Take the grill grate and rub it with oil and place it over the bed of hot coals.  Now place the ears of corn onto the grill grate.


Cover the ears of corn with the soaked burlap sack and let the roasting begin.


Pour water over the burlap sack as needed to ensure that the corn and the burlap sack stay wet enough to not burn.  Note, some of the edges of the husk may catch fire.  This is normal, however do not let the burlap sack dry out or it might catch fire.  This would be bad.  No worries for me.  Babbs kept the situation under control.


Since I had a lot of space between the ears of corn and the hot coals, cooking time for me was approximately 2 hours.  However you can speed that up by moving your ears of corn closer to the coals.  If you choose to do this you will need to be sure and keep the burlap sack good and wet not only to prevent it from catching fire but also to allow the water to steam and help to cook the corn.  Also, I turned the ears once at about the halfway mark to ensure even roasting.  Here's what they look like when they are done.  Yum!!


LET'S EAT!!!!!

IMG_1648I'm a butter and salt guy, but you can dress up the ears any way you want.  My oldest son likes to put on butter, seasoned salt, pepper and a little cayenne.  Talk about adding some kick to your corn.

So there you have it.  Next time you're looking for a different way to roast corn on the cob, try it burlap style.  That will do it for this session.  I'll see you next time, and remember leave no trace...leave a legacy.

Hey everyone! John The Midwest Flatlander here.

Okay so I love bacon, and I love beans (for so many reasons), and I love grilling, so this run-on sentence really does serve a purpose, because it is hard for me to cram all of these things that I love into a simple or even compound sentence. Now that I have brutalized the English language, let's see if we can harvest some inspiration from the ramblings of this bacon-loving, bean-loving, grilling fanatic who can barely speak intelligible English. Is intelligible a word? Moving on.

Calico beans is a recipe that has become a staple in our house. The recipe is very simple and can all be placed in a crock pot and simmered all day causing the house to smell AMAZING!!! However, on the flat land we like to make the simple complex, so we are gonna put the crock pot away and go to the flatlander staple cooking appliance...the grill.  Now let's take a look at the ingredient list.

Here is the ingredient list for today's recipe:


  •  2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 package of bacon cut into small pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 big can (55oz.) and 1 large sized can (28oz) of Bush's Baked Beans
  • 1 regular sized can (15.5oz) of red beans, drained
  • 1 regular sized can (15.5oz) of great northern beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar (you can use other sweeteners here is you like, we use a dash of stevia)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Dash of pepper
  • Oh, the lime aid is optional, I was just a little thirsty.  Sorry

Now this recipe will work on just about any type of grill you want to use. My personal favorite is a Weber Kettle grill. You use your favorite grill. Lump charcoal is my fuel of choice, but you use what you like for this recipe. So here we go. Let's start by setting up the grill.

I'm using a Weber Kettle grill and lump charcoal.  Fill your charcoal chimney (I don't like using lighter fluid) to the top.  Pour a little vegetable oil inside of a wad of newspaper and put it in the bottom of the chimney, and light it.  When you see flames coming out of the top of the chimney, it's time to pour them into the bottom of the grill.


While you wait for the charcoal to burn, throw some wood chunks into a small container of water.  I just so happened to have an ice cream bucket.  I put 4 chunks of apple wood and 2 chunks of hickory in the water to use in this recipe.  You can use whatever wood you like.


So for indirect grilling, I pour the coals out onto one side of the grill.  I'm left-handed, so I pour the coals onto the right side of the grill as I face it.  And yes, my grill is "well seasoned" thanks for noticing.  After getting the coals placed where you want them, put the grate on the grill and let it get really hot.  Once it is good and hot, scrap it off with a grill brush and get it good and clean.


So, we've got the hot grill set up for indirect grilling and our wood chunks soaking.  Now let's break out the cast iron dutch oven.  I have a 6 quart seasoned dutch oven that I will use for this recipe.  Now, set the dutch oven on the hot side of the grill and let it get good and hot.

Now the magic begins.  Take a little butter and throw it into the dutch oven.  Let it render down into liquid and then toss in the chopped onion.


Cook the onions for just a few minutes to give them a chance to sweat.  Next add the bacon and cook it until it is to your liking.  I like mine crispy, so I cook mine longer than some.  And yes the onions continue to cook and get really happy.  Once the bacon is to your liking, add the ground beef and cook everything until the ground beef is browned.

Now that all those flavors are cooked together, add the remaining ingredients into the dutch oven and move the dutch oven to the cold side of the grill.

Stir well to ensure all ingredients are mixed together.


Take the wood chunks that have been soaking and put them on top of the hot coals.  Keep the dutch oven uncovered and on the cold side of the grill.


Cover the kettle grill with the vent holes of the lid placed directly over the open dutch oven.  Now the fun part, stand back and watch the smoke pouring out the vent holes and breathe in the most excellent smell of that hard wood smoke combined with the beans and of course the BACON.  Total smoking time is 2-3 hours or longer depending on your taste.  Feel free to stir the beans from time to time as well and work in that smoky flavor.


They're done!!!  Let's eat!!


I like to add some fire pit roasted hot dogs to my beans for a tasty meal.


Oh, and some s'mores for dessert.

Hope you enjoy this treat from the flat land.  If you are inspired to try this recipe, leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it whether you made it this way or if you added your own inspiration.

That will do it for this session.  I'll see you next time, and remember leave no trace...leave a legacy.