A Birthday tradition at our house requires food to be prepared per request  of the birthday boy or girl. With my oldest, this entails a menu of meat…no sides, no salad…just meat…preferably meat on a stick…This warrants a full out meat celebration…


Meatapalooza : a manly birthday party

My daughter in law came up with a great Evite, that invited all the party guests to bring a “present” of meat to share.

Meatapalooza invite

The EVITE included the below list for guests to choose their “cut of choice.”


She made a cute tent card, that listed each cut, and all the information you could ever hope to know about each one.

As the guests brought their meat, they were then placed by each corresponding tent card.

No MEATAPALOOZA could be complete without a Slow Cooked Smoked Pork Shoulder.

I put it “on the fire” (225-230 degrees) and there it would stay for a good 10-12 hours.

I trimmed the shoulder just a little, then pat it dry.

Next, I rubbed it down with a combination of commercial rubs, adding salt and cracked pepper.

I keep it very simple, and have had GREAT results every time.

Go to the website below for some FANTASTIC information on Smoking.



4 hours to go:)

My Son feels old at 29…hmmm…not so old to this 50 year old mother!


My youngest son, couldn’t say his older brother’s name when he was little, so we taught him

to say “Do-Do” instead of Andrew.  (Andrew just loves this:)  haha)


October is a great month for a Fall Meat Party.

We ended up with a

Variety of Meatballs

Smoked Pork Shouder

Mexican Chicken

Grilled Steak


Bacon Wrapped Ribs


BBQ Brisket

Next Meatapalooza will need to include meats on a stick…we were definitely missing this favorite “variety.”

A Birthday wouldn’t be complete without a dessert…one of  his favorites…

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce.

I was so engaged in our celebration, that I neglected to take pictures of all the food and fun, but below is the recipe for

the amazing Cheesecake…a PERFECT fall treat!!!

I served mine with whipped cream,  generously piped.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake with Salted Caramel Sauce


1 3/4 cup finely crushed graham crackers
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
6 Tbsp salted butter, melted
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened well
4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 recipe homemade caramel sauce, recipe here
Coarse or flaked sea salt


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a mixing bowl, whisk together crushed graham crackers with 2 Tbsp granulated sugar. Pour in melted butter and stir mixture until evenly coated. Divide graham cracker mixture among 24 foil lined muffin cups, adding about a heaping Tbsp to each. Firmly press mixture into an even layer. Bake in preheated oven 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool while preparing filling.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger until no clumps of sugar remain. Add cream cheese to a large mixing bowl, then pour sugar mixture over cream cheese and using an electric hand mixer set on low speed, blend together until smooth.

Mix in eggs one at a time. Blend in pumpkin and vanilla, then mix in heavy cream. Divide mixture over graham cracker crust in muffin liners, adding about 1/4 cup to each cup and filling nearly full. Bake in preheated oven until nearly set, (Will still look a little soft) about 20 – 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack at room temperature, 30 minutes. Then transfer to refrigerator and chill at least 3 hours until set. Top with caramel sauce and a pinch of sea salt just before serving. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup salted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream


Gather all of your ingredients and have them nearby ready to add to the mixture as needed. In a heavy-bottomed 3 quart saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium-high heat whisking constantly to dissolve sugar. Once mixture reaches a boil, stop whisking and allow mixture to boil until it reaches a dark amber color, carefully swirling pan occasionally. Once mixture reaches a dark amber color, immediately add butter and whisk until butter has melted then immediately remove from heat. Carefully pour in cream and immediately whisk to combine (it will bubble vigorously). Whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour caramel into a glass jar to cool, sprinkle lightly with sea salt when serving if desired.