If you have ever spent much time in the Deep South, particularly along the Gulf Coast, then you have probably seen someone grilling or smoking meat or fish in what looks like a trash can. That’s because it was a trash can. Folks have been making these trash can cookers for years. They work, but they aren’t without problems. First, many of them are made from galvanized metal, which gives off toxic fumes when it gets really hot, and second, they were usually just cobbled together from whatever parts the maker found lying around. Not that great for consistent, even cooking.
Enter Wes and the crew at Po Man Grill. They took the concept of a trash can cooker, and totally redesigned it into a safe, easy to use, low-maintenance cooker that can grill, roast and smoke all sorts of meats and vegetables. Made from rolled and stainless steels, the Po Man is built to last. It features a multi-level cooking grate, as well as skewers that can be used to spit roast just about anything.
For fuel, the Po Man uses standard charcoal briquettes, about 50 will fill the basket and cook for up to five hours. The charcoal is lit by lowering the basket over a small tub of burning rubbing alcohol, yep, the same stuff you have in your medicine cabinet, for an odorless, tasteless flame that burns long enough to fully start the charcoal above. I didn’t do all the math, but I figure a full basket of premium charcoal and an ounce or two of alcohol comes in right around two bucks, pretty cheap for hours of cooking time.
Wes says the best thing about the Po Man, besides the delicious food, is the ease of use. “You basically just get it started, put the food on, and walk away. It’s that easy. No constant checking the temperature, no adding fuel to the fire, no worries about flame ups, just put the food on and come back when it is ready.” The Po Man Grill will be great for deer camp, turkey camp, or just cooking dinner at the house when you don’t want to fuss around with a more labor-intensive cooking method but still want a delicious meal.
One of the first recipes I wanted to try on the cooker was to spit roast some quail. Being fresh out of what few quail we managed to put in the freezer last fall, I started checking around with field trial buddies. Sure enough, one of them had a few extra birds. The recipe turned out perfectly cooked quail, with a golden, crisp, skin and a moist and flavorful meat. True to the claims, the Po Man was easy to use. The flavor comes from a combination of factors on the grill. First, from the slow-burning charcoal embers, then from the flavor-packed steam that forms as the juice from the birds drips down onto the steel drip plate then rises back up to envelop the quail.
1-2 skin on quail per person
2 sticks of butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Set the butter out to soften. Lightly blot the quail with a paper towel to dry the skin. Sprinkle the birds with salt and pepper.
In a bowl, mix the softened butter with the garlic and rosemary to form a paste. Rub the butter all over the quail, coating all portions of the skin. Reserve the remaining garlic butter and melt it in the microwave or a saucepan
Run the quail onto the spit, sliding each down to touch the one beside it, until the spit is full. Place the quail on the top rack of the Po Man Grill. Cook for 60 minutes, basting every 15 minutes with the melted butter until the skin is golden brown and the meat has cooked through.
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