Miss Ginsu: About/Bio


Food Horoscope: Aries

Happy birth-month, Aries folks!

Aries, the Ram (March 20 - April 19)

Now, I'm merely a cook, and not an astrologer, but here's my advice for your foodcast:

You've heard the old cliches and expressions regarding patience? Of course you have. I'd bet that just every culture on the planet has one (or more).

I think it might be a good year to meditate on whichever patience mantra speaks to you. And you won't have to wait long. I think you'll quickly find you can practice patience every day, in all kinds of situations.

Rude coworkers. Apathetic counter staff. Rough commutes. Sneaky fees. Reckless drivers. Poor craftsmanship. Run-down roadways, elevators, ATMs, escalators, subway trains and electronic equipment. Redundant paperwork. Insurance claims. Tax forms.

Think of these situations as teaching moments, and you'll find there's really no end to the daily opportunities life offers us to practice patience.

That's why it's such an excellent virtue to cultivate. And you can practice with the recipe I'm going to offer you here. It's not hard, and it's not expensive, but it does require... oh yes... patience.
Ten-Hour Pulled Pork (Serves 6-8)

1 5-7 lb Boston butt pork roast, bone-in
3/4 cup pork rub (use your favorite or see recipe below)

1. Heat your oven (or smoker) to 225°F.

2. With a paring knife, cut a series of diagonal slashes in the fat of the pork, then cut diagonally in the opposite direction to make a cross-hatch design across the fat. Rub in the spice blend liberally, spreading it across the entire roast.

3. Put the pork butt, fat side up, in a roasting pan and roast in middle of oven or smoker for 8-10 hours. Monitor the heat, and when an instant-read thermometer reaches 175°F, remove the roast from the heat and allow it to cool to a temperature that's comfortable to touch. (Check it after 45 minutes.)

4. Using latex gloves to shield your hands, pull the meat from the bone and shred it with hands or with forks, transferring the shredded meat to a serving bowl. Serve with barbecue sauce and coleslaw. Offer buns or slices of potato bread if you want sandwiches.

Spice Rub for Pork (Makes 3/4 cup)
3 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder

Mix well and use immediately or store in an airtight container or lidded jar.

Enjoy your birthday and happy eating!

Miss Ginsu

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Barbecue for 1,000

It's not every day a girl gets to play with 600 pounds of meat and a smoker the size of a Humvee.

I'm going to back up for a second and tell you this: Every year at work — and this is a food company, mind you — we've eaten the same thing.

Burgers, dogs, chips and watermelon.

Not this year. This year, we were going to eat corn on the cob, saucy ribs, salmon grilled on cedar planks and pulled pork barbecue. Real barbecue. On a real smoker.

But for 1,000 people, one needs a lot of meat and a really big smoker, and as you may have noticed... those aren't available at every corner bodega.

Thus, the quest for real barbecue at our picnic wasn't looking good until someone noticed that Harry's Water Taxi Beach just happens to host a really big smoker.

A lot of wood
You're going to need a lot of wood...

The game was on. We needed supplies. A lot of supplies. This turned into an Excel Spreadsheet. A thousand hungry people is nothing you want to tinker with. Details needed to be decided. Among other things, my boss (initiator and executor of this wild scheme) demanded:

200 lb Pork Butts
75 lb Pork Shoulder
50 lb Pork Ribs
40 lb Pork Belly
250 Packages of Potato Rolls
10 gallons of Barbecue Mop
2 Mops
1 Quart Kosher Salt
1 First Aid Kit...

And that's just a sampling. Simply planning out and gathering up the supply list was a monster proposition.

21 Aged Steaks
21 dry-aged steaks. You've gotta have snacks while you work.

Low, Slow Meat Thermometer
Let yourself go... low and slow, that is the tempo.

The night arrived, the crew assembled, the supplies were delivered, the fire was lit, and... I'll just let you watch the extremely condensed version of our 12+ hour smoking party in this quick video.

And was it good? Was it worth it? Oh, yes. Best. Company picnic. Ever.

But you don't need 500 pounds of meat and a smoker of epic proportions to make good barbecue.

In my estimation, what you really need is a manageable smoker, a nice pork butt, a bunch of wood, a lot of free time and Paul Kirk's awesome barbecue book, full of recipes for barbecue mops, rubs, sauces and more. Kirk is the man.

Meanwhile, if you want yet more barbecue madness, you can see the full photo set at Flickr.


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Dear Miss Ginsu: Williamsburg eating suggestions

To: Miss Ginsu
Subject: W'berg suggestions...

So I just read some scathing reviews of Black Betty's – rude service, dirty, etc. I've only ever had a beer in the bar, so I'm not sure how spot-on the reviews are. Have you ever been? Do you have any other suggestions for fast, simple food my family and I can chow on pre-show?



Draught Pulls at Fette Sau
Menacing draught pulls at Fette Sau

To: T.
Subject: Re: W'berg suggestions...

Fast and simple dining in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Well, I feel that Betty's spotty these days. She used to be good, but I've also gone in and seen her put out really lame food.

Instead, you may wish to consider...

Bozu is very tasty, with fun decor and playful maki rolls and Japanese apps, but it's not terribly cheap.

I like Diner and its cousins down the way, Marlow & Sons, which has nice wine and oysters and the good, simple Mexican fare at Bonita.

You might consider M. Shanghai Bistro. They can accommodate a group.

I really like Dumont and Dumont Burger. Dumont Burger is more of a bar. Dumont is more of a bistro.

I highly recommend Fette Sau for smoky BBQ, great beer and a warm group seating, though you're going to drop some dollars there, and you'll want to show up at opening time to ensure yourself some table space, especially on inclement days when the outdoor seating is a no-go.

For simple French fare, Fada is very nice. (Particularly in the summer when the tall windows open and one has a glass of wine in hand...)

Falafel Chula and its little friend Taco Chulo are tasty and very casual, so if kids are involved, Taco Chulo might work especially well.

You can get Southern U.S. at Lodge and now Egg does evening menus (also Southern-ish).

I've loved the dingy Paris cafe vibe, the music and the panini at Moto (and the atmospheric J/M/Z train running overhead) but some of the servers have been a bit aloof.

Northeast a bit (in Greenpoint), I like The Queen's Hideaway, which is fun and tasty, but it's not so quick. It's more a sit down, eat and chat spot than a pause, eat and run place. But keep it in mind if you happen to be in the 'Point.

Bottom line: I like all of these places better than I like Betty. Betty's for drinkin' and dancin' these days...

Happy dining!

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Ladies & Gentlemen, the BBQ will be televised...

Oh yes, my friends... it's that time of year again.

Here's my tips for surviving the 3rd annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party in NYC this weekend.

The Susquehanna Tool & Die Company sweat in their costumes before hitting the stage.

Don McLemore (Big Bob Gibson's grandson) slings smoky piles of pig at their mobile pit. McLemore, his wife, Caroline, and their son-in-law, Chris Lilly, have braved this madhouse event three years running.

Eleven Madison provides chocolate-chocolate cupcakes with cow and pig sprinkles.

Early attendees scarf down swine samples on the wing.

1. Show up before it begins at noon. By the time the dinner bell rings, you'd better be in line. With cash. (There's always that $100 Bubba Fast Pass for those who have money to burn, of course... and if you happen to know any of those people, please be a doll and send 'em my way.)

2. If you'd like to sample multiple 'cues (seize the day, people!), divide and conquer. Send someone out to each pit you want to taste. Have 'em buy multiple boxes.

3. Bring your own bottle of soda or water (or, hey! lemonade!) in your bag. No sense in paying a premium price and then having to carry it around. You'll need your hands for barbeque.

4. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

5. Bring a blanket and stake out a spot in the shade on the lawn. From there, you can listen to music, revel in your superior attack plan and pity all the poor, sweaty masses queued up for 'cue.

Happy Eating!
Miss Ginsu

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