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Apple Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops

Apple Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops

Ahhh……. it’s that wonderful time of the year, when the leaves begin to turn, there’s a slight nip in the air, not too hot, not to cold, and all of my fantasy football teams are already tanking. My absolute favorite time for grilling, and cooking a little ‘Q. What says fall more than apples? And what do apples pair well with? Pork!

This is a quick, easy little recipe we came up with way back in the spring. We used it for our Easter ham, but I knew then that I wanted to hold on to it until fall. So I’ve been carrying this one around with me in my “pocket” for several months.

*Special Note: If you’re a taste as you go type cook, as I am,  DO NOT  TASTE  the glaze before you boil it and reduce it. It will taste like aweful cough syrup. Once it reduces and the alcohol cooks off, then it’s quite wonderful.

What to expect:

Definite notes of apple from the bourbon, sweetness with hints of cinnamon, and a gentle heat from the cayenne. All playing well with the richness of the pork, and subtle hints of smoke.

Yield: 4 pork chops

Time: 10-15 minutes to make the sauce, 20 minutes for the chops depending on the thickness.

What you will need:

1 cup Jim Beam apple bourbon

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp cayenne pepper (1 Tbls is my preference, adjust to YOUR taste and tolerance.)

4 THICK cut pork chops

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 apple wood chunks

How we did it:

Begin by combining the bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cayenne pepper in a small pot and bring to a boil while stirring.

Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until it coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Divide in half.

That’s it. That’s all there is to making this incredible glaze.

Now turn your attention to the pork chops.

Season well on both sides. I like to season the chops before lighting the grill. This allows the salt to break down and the chops to bask in the flavor of the seasoning. You’ll end up with a richer, more, even flavored pork chop this way.

Set grill up for direct cooking.

Oil grates.

Toss in the apple wood chunks.

Place pork chop on the grill and immediately coat the up side with the glaze.

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Cook covered for about 6 minutes.

Flip the pork chop over and coat.

Cook another 6 minutes covered.

Check the temperature with an instant read thermometer. We’re shooting for 145°F, it’ll coast up a little as it rest.

Toss out any left over glazed that you used on the raw chops.

Apply a light finishing coat with the other half of the glaze that you set aside and a CLEAN BRUSH no sense getting sick because you didn’t want to dirty a second brush.

Serve and enjoy.

As all ways: Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

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*All recipes are my own creation and intellectual property.

 

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Posted by on October 12, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Buffalo Shrimp Tacos with Smoked Bacon and Blue Cheese

Buffalo Shrimp Tacos with Smoked Bacon and Blue Cheese

What I’m about to give you is what might quite possibly be the quickest and easiest recipe I’ve done in a while. However don’t let the quickness and ease fool you, this recipe is big on flavor and quite fun to serve to your guest.

What to expect: There are few things that play better together than buffalo sauce, bacon, and blue cheese. Add some shrimp and you have yourself nothing short of Nirvana (the legendary place, not that weird rock group)I truly believe the beauty of the sauce lies in the balance of Tabasco, butter, and a pinch of garlic. I like the balance that the vinegar base of the Tabasco brings when paired with heavier flavors like blue cheese and bacon. And the shrimp? Well you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t like shrimp. However I tend to think it carries buffalo sauce as well as any wing.

Yield: 6 tacos

Mulitply the bacon, shrimp,and blue cheese as needed. The sauce will make easily enough for a triple batch.

* The yield will depend greatly on how much “snacking” you do while preparing this. It is FAR too easy snatch a shimp here, a slice of bacon there. So plan accordingly. But come on, if you don’t dip at least one shrimp and one bacon in the sauce while your grill side…… well YOU JUST AINT HUMAN.

What you will need:

1/3 cup Tabasco

1 cup unsalted butter

3 Tbls white vinegar

½ tsp Worcester sauce

1 Tbls chipotle powder

*Cayenne will work, I just prefer the smokey flavor chipotle brings. The pepper powder is what controls the heat of the sauce, so add or subtract according to your tolerance.

¼ tsp garlic powder

1 lb 30/40 shrimp, shelled, deveined, and tails removed.

6 or so bamboo or metal skewers

Salt and pepper

1 lb bacon

½ lb quality blue cheese

6 flour taco shells

How we did it:

Begin by placing all of your ingredients for the sauce in a “grill proof” pan and set aside.

Skewer the shrimp. Season well with salt and pepper and set aside in the refrigerator.

Set grill up of for indirect grilling. Add a couple of chunks of your favorite smoking wood. Place lid on, check and turn every 5-6 minutes, cooking to your prefered doneness.

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Arrange coals for direct grilling, adding more if necessary.

Oil grates, and place shrimp and sauce pan on grill.

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Stir the sauce until the butter is melted, then remove.

Cook the shrimp until it’s opaque and begins to turn pink.

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Once the shrimp is done gently toast the taco shells over the direct coals.

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Toss the shrimp in the sauce, I mean that both figuratively and literally.

All that’s left is to chop the bacon, crumple the blue cheese, and assemble.

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Now gather friends, family, and love ones around and enjoy!

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Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Hickory Smoked Sausage and Green beans

Hickory Smoked Sausage and Green beans

I feel like I’m treading on sacred ground here, well at least in the mid-west anyhow. Sausage, green beans and potatoes were a staple of many working class family when I was growing up. Understand, I don’t want to change it, just elevate it. It was my goal to keep the integrity of the dish the same as what I grew up with, while enhancing the flavors, the texture and the overall experience of the dish.

There’s just something special about fall, there’s a nip in the air and the colors are more vibrant. It’s times like this that I’m taken back to my childhood days when Mom would put a big pot of green beans, potatoes, and sausage on and let it simmer. I can still remember the steam coming up from the bowl as I dug in on a frosty day. As I was preparing this dish for my blog post, even more memories came flooding back as I stood in the kitchen breaking beans, a chore I truly disliked then. This time though it was an opportunity to reconnect with my mom and childhood.

My goal with this recipe is to take the mushy potatoes and green beans and give them a little texture. It’s to take the bland boiled sausage and give it some flavor.

Yield: 4-6 servings

What to expect: Green beans that are bright, and crisp to the bite. Potatoes that are firm yet yielding to a fork, and flavorful. Sausage with a nice smoky flavor, that you will also be able to taste the spices.

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What you’ll need:

1 lb raw Italian sausage

1 lb small new potatoes

3lbs fresh green beans picked through and broken. I like leaving them a little long to give the dish a touch of elegance.

¼ cup of vegetable oil. (I tried olive oil but the flavor just didn’t play well with this dish)

Course Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cups water

How we did it:

Begin by cutting the potatoes in half.

Add the ¼ of oil, 1 Tbls salt, and 1 Tbls black pepper to a bowl and mix well.

Add potatoes to the bowl and toss until well coated, set aside.

Set grill up for indirect grilling, add your choice of wood chunk to the coals.

Place sausage in the void between the coals.

Cook until you hear the internal juices sizzling. About 20 minutes.

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Add fresh coals if necessary.

Place potatoes cut side down in the void between the coals.

While the potatoes cook let the sausage rest.

Cook until yeilding to a gentle squeeze and the skin is crisp and brown. (Basically we’re going for a roasted potato here.) About 30-45 minutes.

Slice the sausage into ¼ inch medallions.

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Heavily season 4 cups of water with salt and pepper.

Bring the water to a boil.

Add the green beans only, and cook about 5-7 minutes. Just until the beans begin to start getting tender. Add the sausgae and cook another minute or so until the beans are firm but tender aka. al-dente.

Strain the water off the green beans and sausage.

Gently mix the green beans, the sausage, and potatoes in a serving bowl and enjoy.

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Personally I like a little pickled red onion on mine, but that’s what I grew up with.

Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Buffalo Bacon BLTs

Buffalo Bacon BLTs

Bacon has been raging across not only the BBQ world but the culinary world for some time. There’s pretty much bacon EVERYTHING. Bacon burgers, bacon donuts, bacon jam, bacon wrapped anything edible, and yes I’ve even had a caramel bacon Sunday (it was quite good by the way). In the other sphere there’s Buffalo everything. Buffalo wings, Buffalo shrimp, Buffalo hamburgers, Buffalo beef jerky….. Well you get the idea. But, what if? Is it possible? Am I crazy? Dare I take two great worlds and join them together? Who am I to play culinary god? Then I realized the Harry Burnete, the chap who came up with the Reese cup must have had the same questions. I’m sure some called him crazy. But ol’ Harry dared to do it. Dared to step outside the box and push the limits. Because of that the world is a slightly better place. So tongs in hand, sidekick at my side, I stepped out. Thus I give to you a union of two amazing worlds…… (enter Space Odyssey 2001 music) BUFFALO BACON!!!!

What to expect: A slight burn, with that wonderful Buffalo tang, mingled with hickory smoke and the deep rich savory flavor that only bacon can bring. The blue cheese dressing will elevate the flavors of the bacon and the buffalo sauce.

Yield:  6 nice size sandwiches.

What you will need:

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15 minutes to make the sauce, plus additional time to let it cool.

20-30 minutes total cooking time for the bacon.

  • 2/3 C Tabasco
  • 6 Tbls white vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 lb butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbls chipotle pepper  (cayenne pepper works well too)
  • 2 lbs bacon
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Blue cheese or ranch dressing
  • 6 Nice hoagie rolls

How we did it.

First make the Buffalo sauce.

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Combine the 2/3 cup Tabasco, 6 Tbls white vinegar, and 1 tsp Worcester sauce in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.

Add the 1 pound of butter.

After the butter is melted, stir in the ½ tsp garlic powder and Tbls chili powder.

Set sauce aside and let it cool to room temperature.

Once the sauce is cooled to room temperature, divide in half.

Place bacon in freezer bag or large non reactive bowl.

Stir the sauce very well because it will have separated by this time.

Pour half the sauce over the bacon. DO NOT REFRIGERATE! If you do your butter will solidify and you will end up with a massive chunk of butter and bacon. Assuming you let your sauce come down to room temperature, your bacon will be safe for the 30-40 minutes it takes to light your grill and start cooking.

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Set your grill up for INDIRECT cooking.

Add hickory.

Cook bacon covered, in the void between the coals checking after 5 minutes.

Just a note here, if you try to cook your bacon over direct coals you will end up with bacon flambe’. Butter and bacon drippings falling onto hot coals could make for a very interesting cook, tasty no, but definitely interesting.

Once the bacon is done, add what you HAVEN’T ate to a large bowl and toss with the reserve sauce.

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All that’s left to do now is build those BLTs. It just doesn’t get much better on a warm summers evening than BLTs with home grown tomatoes (matters around this house) and lettuce. Top it with a little blue cheese dressing and you’ve got yourself some foot stomping good eats.

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Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with!

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My wing man and son. The “who” my closing line refers to.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Asian Grilled Pork Chops

Asian Grilled Pork Chops

*The heat in this recipe can be tamed or omitted by simply removing or limiting the amount of chili paste used.

 

I’ve been on a bit of an Asian food kick of late. I love the multitude of flavors in simple Asian cooking as well as their no fear of heat attitude. I wanted to keep this recipe simple, seasonal, and tasty. I went with a thick cut pork chop, ideal for a cool fall or cold winter day. Served it with sweet potato wedges and a squeeze of lime to off set the rich fiery taste of the chops.

What to expect:

Deep rich Asian flavors, leaning toward the tradional yet not overpowering hints of garlic. Using freshly ground ginger will give it a few well placed citrus notes, while the chili paste will add a nice burn to keep it exciting.

What you will need:

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About 1 hour of total time.

Grill set up for direct grilling

4 thick cut bone in pork chops

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (I REALLY prefer Kikkoman)

1/2 cup of honey

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tbls freshly grated ginger

3 heaping tbls chili paste (sold in the ethnic food aisle of most grocery stores)

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A picture is far easier than a description.

Sesame seeds for garnish

Salt

Pepper

How we did it:

Set grill up for direct grilling.

While grill is coming up to temperature mix together the:

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

1/2 cup honey

1/2 tsp garli powder

and the tbls of fresh ginger.

Season the chops well on both sides with salt and pepper.

Place chops on grill for 2 minutes.

Turn over and brush cooked side heavily with glaze. Doin it this way prevent the risk of contamination and allows you to use the glaze as a finishing sauce when plating.

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After about 6 minutes flip the chops over and coat heavily again with the glaze.

Continue to cook another 4 minutes or until done.

Remove from grill, plate, give a final heavy coating of the glaze, sprinkle generously with sesame seeds, and serve. Offering any remaining sauce on the side.

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Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Chipotle BBQ Meatball Sandwich

Chipotle BBQ Meatball Sandwich

*Note to my brother, once again I’m sorry I used up the Ghost Pepper BBQ sauce that I made for you, but it was perfect for this recipe. I’ll make you some more. I promise.

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I have put off making this for such a long time. Mostly because I didn’t feel I had a good meatball recipe, and secondly because for some reason I’ve always found meatballs a little mysterious. Then a Julia Childs’ quote came to mind “Sometimes in cooking you have to have a what the hell attitude.” And with that sage advice I plunged ahead. I’m glad I did.

While most meatball recipes call for an even mix of beef, pork, and veal. I only went with beef and pork. Veal is almost impossible to find around here, and if you do your going to need to mortgage your house and sell your wife. The selling the wife I might be ok with, but I have to draw the line at ANOTHER mortgage. If you can get veal then I’d highly recommend it. Your going to get a much better texture……. or so I’m told.

What to expect: This is by no stretch of the imagination an Italian meatball sandwich, nor do we make any claim that it is. The chipotles will enhance the smoke, and add a nice little bite of heat. The mix of ground beef and sausage will give you a nice balance of flavor. The grilled peppers and onions will do what they do best: 1) add flavor and texture, and 2) send out that aroma that will have the neighbors peeking over the fence and stopping by to see if there are any free samples.

Yeild: 6 sandwiches.

Time: 1 hour (if you preheat the grill while you mix the meatballs and cut your peppers and onions)

What you’ll need.

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1lb 80/20 ground beef

1lb sausage

1 egg

1/3 cup of bread crumbs

2-3 chipotles in adobo finely chopped.

1 red pepper cut into thin slices

1 yellow pepper cut into thin slices

1 green pepper cut into thin slices

1 onion cut into thin slices

1/4-1/2 lb THINLY sliced provolone cheese.

salt and pepper for seasoning

2-3 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce

vegetable oil

Good FIRM hoagie buns.

Medium size aluminum pan

How we did it.

Begin by cutting your peppers and onions and setting aside to avoid an cross contamination.

Finely chop your chipotles.

Add in a large bowl the ground beef, ground sausage, bread crumbs, egg, and chipotles.

Season well with salt and pepper.

Lightly oil your hands, and begin to mix by hand.

Once everything is well mixed form into golf ball size balls.

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Set your grill up for INDIRECT grilling, oil the grates, add a chunk of your favorite smoking wood.

Place meatballs in the void between the coals and cook 10 minutes, turn and cook another 10 minutes. They should feel firm to the touch when done. If in doubt pull one from the middle and cut it open, if it’s done eat it.

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Once done place the meatballs in an aluminum pan, add your favorite BBQ sauce, cover with foil, and either place back on the grill, or in the oven on the warm setting.

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Add some fresh coals if necessary and arrange for DIRECT grilling.

Place the peppers and onions in a well oiled grill pan, season with salt and pepper.

Grill until al dente.

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When the peppers and onions are done begin assembling the sandwiches.

Remove some to the bread from the inside of the bun to make plenty of room for all that good stuff you just cooked. Well that and to keep your meatballs from rolling away.

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Lay down a nice bed of onions and peppers.

Top with meatballs and cheese.

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Then one last trip back out to the grill, (or at this point you can toss them in the oven, it doesn’t matter) to melt the cheese.

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Plate, and serve.

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Notice we didn’t spend a lot of time on plating. We were HUNGRY.

Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with. Have fun.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Bacon Wrapped Buffalo Chicken Bites

Bacon Wrapped Buffalo Chicken Bites

It always strikes me funny how fickle inspiration is. Try and try to come up with a new idea, and nothing. Then one morning the alarm clock goes off, waking me from a deep sleep, and before I can hit the snooze button not only do I have an idea, but most of the logistics worked out and the ingredient list made. This was one of those times. Going to a New Year’s Eve party, I said I would bring wings. But I’d done wings for these people before, and I don’t like doing the same thing over and over. I thought to myself, hmmmmm moink maybe? Nah, I’m sure somebody else is bringing meatballs. My waking thought was “There needs to be a chicken moink.” And as quickly as that this recipe was born.

What to Expect:

The bacon will help keep the chicken moist while doing what bacon does best, by adding flavor. The sauce will give you that wonderful Buffalo heat and flavor that we all love.

Yield: About 24 nice size chicken bites (minus whatever you “taste test” coming off the grill.)

What You Will Need:

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About an hour of time from beginning to end.

A grill setup for DIRECT grilling.

24 or so small wooden skewers (you can find these in the cooking supply aisle of most stores)

4 boneless skinless chicken breast rinsed and trimmed

1lb bacon

Salt and Pepper

1 1/3 cup hot pepper sauce

1 cup cold unsalted butter

3 tablespoons white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you want this)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

How We Did It:

Begin by soaking your skewers for 30 minutes in a glass of water.

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Rinse, dry, and trim the chicken breast of any unwanted fat, or loose meat.

Season meat with salt and pepper.

Slice into about 1/2 inch strips, crosswise.

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Wrap the chicken breast with the bacon, running your skewer through the bacon and chicken breast length wise and top to bottom to secure the bacon to the chicken.

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Grill over direct heat turning every 4 minutes to cook evenely on all sides. This took us about 30 minutes (lid on) but it was in the low 20’s and there was a breeze. In good weather they should cook much faster.

When they’re done the bacon should be browned and the chicken will be firm to the touch. If in doubt slice into one and check.

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While they rest, place the: 1 1/3 cup hot pepper sauce, 1 cup cold unsalted butter, 3 tablespoons white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you want this), 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Cook until the butter is melted and everything is well blended.

Place wings in a large bowl, pour sauce over the top and toss.

Serve with traditional Buffalo wing dipping sauces such as Ranch and Blue Cheese.

Sorry I don’t have any finished, and platted photos. My phone froze, and by the time I was ready to take pictures…… well…… they were gone.

Have fun and happy New Year!

Remember: What you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 1, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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