June 19, 2012

Never heard of a Cajun microwave?

Neither had we, until a friend gave my husband and I one for a gift.  We're pretty passionate grillers (both on the Big Green Egg and on the Weber), and this was a wonderful addition to our arsenal of cooking "appliances" that you fill with fire.

Cajun microwaves are nifty cookers that mimic cooking a hog in the ground by keeping the hot coals in a cast-iron tray that sits above the aluminum-lined cooking box.  Traditional Cajun microwaves are literally big enough to fit a whole hog!  As you can see from the picture below, ours is much smaller and more manageable - it fits a 12-lb turkey pretty snugly, as we found out over Thanksgiving when we used ours to cook the bird.  (The friends who gave us this one actually own the hog-sized version, and we got to eat some wild hog we trapped on our farm from it last summer - but that's another story for another day.)

We've really loved our Cajun microwave, and have cooked many different kinds of meat on it, from the Thanksgiving turkey and a roasting chicken to Boston butt and beef brisket.  My favorite feature, however, is that since the meat cooks underneath, the cooker doubles as an open fire pit that's the perfect setting for enjoying a few cold beers with friends while you cook.  It's hotter than Hades in Alabama right now, so we'll have to wait until fall before this is actually a positive again - but it really is nice.

Recently we cooked several slabs of baby back ribs. The picture turned out a bit blurry, but as you can see, we rubbed the meat down and then wrapped it in aluminum foil to cook.

Cajun microwaves have a way of keeping the meat super moist, so the meat was literally falling off the bone.  Delicious!  You can also purchase a grill grate that fits on top of the firebox, which lets you grill the more traditional way while your main meal cooks underneath (genius!).  We grilled some boudin and fresh sausage from a local butcher shop, Mr. P's Deli.  Mr. P's has just about turned us off from ever buying meat from the grocery store again!  You just can't beat meat from a real butcher.

Ever seen, cooked on, or eaten from a Cajun microwave yourself? They're worth checking out, especially if you love to grill or smoke.

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