Thursday, February 26, 2009

Southwestern Pork Tenderloin with Cumin Mayo

This one is one of our favorites. It works great as a mini-roast or sliced up on a pork po-boy. The roasted pork tenderloin is great enough on it's on, but the cumin mayo? I can't find the words to tell you how great it is.

I just wish I could tell you where we found this recipe, but it's not ours. I lost the source in a software transfer years ago. I've googled it and haven't found it yet. All I know is this has been a hands down favorite EVERY time we have made it. Here is tonights version.

Make the Cumin Mayonnaise first and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to let the flavors get to know each other. It's soooooo much better.

Cumin Mayonnaise


4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons Chopped fresh cilantro

In a small skillet over medium heat (using no oil), add cumin and stir constantly until darkened (2 minutes). Remove from heat. Mix mayo, cumin, lime juice and cilantro in a bowl. Cover and let chill for an hour before serving.

Tonight, I didn't have cilantro on hand so I added a teaspoon of black pepper to the cumin in the pan.

While that rested, I made the tenderloin
Southwestern Pork Tenderloins W/ Cumin Mayonnaise


2 1 lb pork tenderloins
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Rub tenderloins w/ dry rub of cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Oil a grill rack and place 5 inches from heat source. Cook, turning several times until internal temp is 150 degrees. Serve sliced w/ Cumin Mayonnaise.

The last time we made this, I did it indirect at 350f for about 20 minutes on the Big Green Egg. Tonight I seared it direct over a 400f fire for 90 seconds a side before going to the indirect set up. I pulled it off at 150f internal temp and let it rest for 10 minutes.

I served it up with a generic southwestern mexicorn mix, garlic bread, and I converted this oven roasted potato dish to southwestern by subbing out the rosemary with some of the left over pork rub.

My 20 y/0 son, Brett, and my wife both said it was the best pork they've ever had (that means a lot around this house because we eat a lot of pork!).

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Twice Baked New Potatoes & Filet Mignon

As I mentioned in my previous post, we found a new butcher and got a beef tenderloin for a steal. Tonight I cut it into 8 filets and one roast. Around here, fresh filet mignon runs about $19 a lb but we paid $7.99 a lb, so trimming it yourself says a ton of $$ (even after shrinkage). I was going to post about how to trim one, but this video pretty much nails it. No I didn't go anywhere as fast as this guy.

Here are the three of the filets which we ate tonight. I could have trimmed a bit more fat off, but tenderloin is so lean already.[Quick version of what I did: I got the Big Green Egg up to 550f with a cast iron griddle plate ($12 at Lowes) and seared them 2 minutes flipped, 2 more minutes flipped, 2 more minutes flipped, and 2 more minutes then removed to rest, perfect medium rare.]

But here is the 411 on the twice baked new potatoes which is based on a recipe that I found in Southern Living (March 2007?) for Southwest Twice Baked New Potatoes. This is an amazing side dish or a great pot luck item for any special occasion.

Twice Baked New Potatoes


2 pounds medium-size new potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 tablespoon cream
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt (divided)

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon parsley

Cut a thin slice from the bottom of each potato to form a flat base; brush potatoes evenly with oil, sprinkle lightly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly.

Cut a thin slice from the top of each potato and carefully scoop out potato pulp into a bowl, leaving shells intact like this.

Add the remaining ingredients to potato pulp in bowl and mash together with a fork until smooth and creamy. You can be creative here and add in whatever else you want, such as; bacon bits, green chilies, or pimento. Spoon (or pipe) mixture evenly into each potato shell, and place on baking sheet.

Bake potatoes at 350° for 20 minutes or just until lightly browned. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream and herbs just before serving.

We served the steak and potatoes with fresh creamed spinach and garlic bread for an excellent dinner, our belated 14th anniversary dinner.

Give these potatoes a shot some night when you want to do something different than the same old, same old. You won't be disappointed.

On edit: You fellow Eggers, I know what you're thinking...yes the potatoes could be done even better by doing them on the Big Green Egg indirect. I just need two eggs:)

New Butcher?

You know how there is a moment when you know a relationship is over?

I think Steve Martin's character in L.A. Story summed it up best when he said:
"Why is it that we don't always recognize the moment when love begins, but we always know when it ends?"

I remember the exact moment when I realized that I HAD to stop buying meat at supermarkets and grocery stores. It was at Kroger's on a Saturday night last fall. I was wanting a pork butt to smoke but the only one they had in the display case had "that look" to it. Something about it was just not right. So I stuck my head into the meat market and asked the meat market employee if they had anymore pork butts in the back.

"What?" she asked in a voice that was a mix of Valley Girl and southern belle.

"Ummm a pork butt? Boston butt." I said, trying to clarify, "You know, from a pork shoulder?"

Blink. Blink.

"You probably have them in cases of 4, two packs of two cryo wrapped together," I offered.

Blink. Blink.

"I think its an NAMP 406 or 405 (that's butcher code numbers), actually either would work."

She finally spoke, "Could you show me the one out there so I know what to look for?" was over.

So fast forward to this week, I found a small stand alone butcher near my office. It's in an economically run down area (from a business standpoint). They only have a handful of refrigerated cases and actually display some items in 5 ice chests too. But this is what I like about the place after one visit:

- Their bulk breakfast sausage is cheaper than Jimmy Dean Sage and it made the tastiest fatty (a smoked sausage) I've ever had.

- I picked up a beef tenderloin for $2 less per pound than the stupidmarkets.

-The selection is limited in that they only have one or two packs of anything. For example, there was one butt, two ribs, etc on display but ALL of it looked VERY fresh.

- If you don't see what you want, ask and chances are it will be in your hands in 2 minutes OR they will be getting some the next morning.

- The staff know their products, cuts, etc.

- The staff is next door neighbor friendly (unless your neighbor is an that case they are the opposite)

We're going to use them for a few more weeks before I post all their contact info, just to make sure that they are consistently good. But so far, so good!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Old Bay Wings

I was craving some smoked hot wings tonight. Well not actually wings as much as drumettes since that is what I had on hand. But I didn't want to use my normal poultry rub, I wanted something with a little more "zing". So there I am, browsing through my spice cabinet when I see it...
Hmmmm, Old Bay, it's not just for crabs anymore, huh?

According to the package, it's good on poultry, salads, meat, pancakes, ice cream, cream brulee, breakfast cereal, communion wafers and more (okay, I might have made up the last few). Considering Alexis bought me the 14.75 lb sized container (ok I exaggerate, but look at that jar!) from Sam's Wholesale Club last month, I decided to use it. So I made up a simple rub with

2 t Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t dried oregano
1/2 t black pepper

I rubbed a bunch of drumettes with the rub and then fire roasted (it was too hot to call it "smoking") them with indirect heat on the Big Green Egg at 350f for 30 minutes. I flipped them and let them go another 20 minutes. Then I tossed them in a 50/50 mixture of hot sauce/melted butter and put them back on for another 5-10 minutes to let the sauce crisp up.
They turned out delicious for something we made up on the spot! The next time, I'll up the Old Bay to 2 tablespoons and hit them with the butter/hot sauce a second time when they come off the grill.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie

I have been craving pulled pork all week long but when we got to Kroger's, all they had was little 4-5 lb pork butts (aka boston butts, it's the butt of the shoulder...not the south end of a north bound pig). Fortunately, they had one left in the back and it was a nice 9 pounder. I just don't like smoking them if they are under 7 lbs, they just don't do the same.

Note: This isn't a "how to" post. If you're interested in that, ask in the comments and I will send you some excellent resources.

I rubbed the meat with a light layer of Billy Bones Competition rub and let it sit while I set up the Big Green Egg for a 15 hour cook (1.5 hours per pound in general). I cleaned the Egg out for good air flow and then loaded it fully with Full Circle lump charcoal and chunks of hickory. I hit the meat with a layer of Billy Bones Original rub just before it went into the smoker running at 250 f (temp at the dome, grate temp would be about 225 f) at 6:45 last night.

"If you're lookin' then you're not cookin' " is the old BBQ saying. During the entire 15 hours, I only opened the Egg twice, to add a chunk of hickory. That's one of the great things about a Big Green Egg, you can cook seemingly forever on one load of coal. I've gone 18 hours and had coal left over.

At 9:38 this morning, almost 15 hours on the dot, the pork butt hit 190+ degrees and was ready to come off. That's one hunk o' pig!Then I double wrapped it in foil, stuck it in an empty cooler and put two beach towels on top of it to let it sit for 2-3 hours. The magic continues happening inside there, even if it's not on the cooker.

Meanwhile, I made my favorite slaw and pulled pork bbq sauce, a thin Piedmont style vinegar sauce.

Lisbon Fire Department BBQ Sauce for Pulled Pork
(This recipe is very personal to me as it was the first real NC BBQ I ever had as a kid and my grandmother gave this recipe to me on a 3 x 5 card shortly before she passed away.)


1 gallon vinegar
4 ounces lemon juice
1 ounce red pepper
2 sticks margarine
1 gallon catsup
4 ounces Hot sauce
1 ounce black pepper
Salt to taste
1 cup honey

Combine and heat over medium heat until flavors blend.
Could be easily reduced to 1/4 recipe which would still make 1/2 gallon; however, should keep for ages in the refrigerator. The Fire Department used either a whole pig or whole fresh hams.

Cole Slaw (from Ultimate Chili Cheeseburger recipe)
1 pound green cabbage (about 1/2 medium head), thinly shredded
1 large carrot peeled and grated
2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 small onion minced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
Ground Black Pepper

1. Toss cabbage and carrots with salt in colander set over medium bowl. Let stand until cabbage wilts, at least 1 hour and up to 4 hours.

2. Dump wilted cabbage and carrots into the bowl. Rinse thoroughly in cold water (ice water if serving slaw immediately). Pour vegetables back into colander, pressing, but not squeezing on them to drain. Pat dry with paper towels. (Can be stored in a zipper-lock bag and refrigerated overnight.)

3. Pour cabbage and carrots back again into bowl. Add onions, mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar; toss to coat. Season with pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now we "pull" the pork by shredding it into pieces with two forks. The cooking process has turned all the collagen and fat into goodness, so the meat comes apart very easily. The only down side is that all of the "quality control sampling" that goes on during the pulling part tends to leave me full before we've even eaten:)

Finally, 18 hours later......heaven!
The final yield was about 4-5 lbs of delicious bbq pork. We vacuum sealed about half of it to freeze. We'll eat the rest over the next few days. Great stuff!

Cooking Log: I find these work well with the long cooks required for BBQ. They help me remember what went right (or wrong) so I can tweak my performance the next time.

For printable version, click here:
Lisbon Fire Department Bbq Sauce For Pork

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pork with Cashew Ginger Sauce

You know those packs of thinly sliced "assorted pork chops" that are cheaply priced? Yes, the ones that come from the blade ends, have odd bones and look nothing like the traditional T-bone pork chop. Alexis bought a pack of 4 or 5 for $1.83. No, not $1.83 per pound. The entire pack was $1.83, out the door.

So I brined them in my usual pork chop brine (2 c apple juice, 2 c water, 3/4 c sugar, 1/4 c salt) for a day (that's the discoloration, the meat was fine) thinking I'd try to grill them but I didn't want to deal with getting the snow and ice that was on my Big Green Egg, so I tried something different.....and with it hitting a high of 30f today, more importantly, something INSIDE !

Pork With Cashew Ginger Sauce

1 lb pork, trimmed into 1/4" x 1/4" x 1-2" strips (finger sized...ish?)
1/2 ea green bell pepper, seeded, cut into strips
1/2 ea onion, cut into strips
1/2 cup cashews, finely ground (ended up being about 2 ounces by volume, once ground up)
1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely minced
2 ounces honey
2-3 ounces lemon juice
1/2 ounce soy sauce
1/2 ounce water
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon corn starch
1 teaspoon water

Heat a wok seasoned with sesame oil (sparingly). Season pork with red pepper and pepper flakes. Brown in the wok over medium high heat. The edges of the pork should start to carmelize. Add the onion and pepper.

Once the onion starts to soften (about 3 minutes) add the honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, cashews and water. and toss several times. Cook for another minute or two.

Mix the starch and water together as a slurry. Stir into the wok, allowing it to thicken. Serve with fried rice.
Once again, I blew the plating. I forgot not one, but TWO garnishes - the green onion for the fried rice and a fan I made by thinly slicing the top cut of the bell pepper. Not to mention I blew the aperture setting, so the focus on the edges left much to be desired. I'm going to have to start eating, before eating..... ;)

But the flavor was incredible! A little sweet and citrus on the front end and just enough heat on the back end. I'll make this again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I've Got A Fever and the Prescription Is More Cowball!

The new season of Hell's Kitchen started last week and I've made my pick for whom I am rooting. It was rather easy, actually. I'm pulling for Carol Scott.
Sure, it's a homer pick. Carol is a sous chef at the local restaurant, Peerless.

Sure, you could also accuse me of picking her for being a cutie, which is also true.

But when Gordon had the initial tasting of their signature dishes, when he normally rips the chefs & spits out the food, he praised her food. Plus I like the way she carries herself in the kitchen. I think she's got a chance to go far and she doesn't seem like the kind who will shortcut her ethics to get there. I don't think she wins because filming ended last year and from what I hear she is still in Knoxville. If she'd won, she'd be at her new restaurant now.

Why the post title? When Peerless opened in Knoxville a few years ago, my son Trevor was 6 or 7 and referred to it as "that cow ball place". I'll let you figure out why from this picture of their mascot out front.Cock of the walk, Baby!

Will Ferrell Cowbell - Watch the top videos of the week here

Sunday, February 1, 2009

I Never Sausage (Saw Such) Rice

You know what a "garbage bowl" dish is, right? That's when you use what you have in the fridge to avoid one or more of the following:
1) stuff going out of date
2) spending any money
3) a trip to the grocery store

Well tonight we came up with this dish to go with my "dip and flip grilled chicken*" and some roasted carrots. It's basically an andouille rice pilaf but I thought this name was more fun. I've already posted it to BigOven but it's pending approval so here it is:


1/2 ea Onion medium size, finely diced
1/2 ea Red bell pepper very finely diced
1/3 ea Bell pepper very finely diced
1/2 cup Andouille sausage diced into 1/8th inch pieces
1 cup Rice uncooked, NOT instant
2 cups Chicken broth

Yes, that's a jar of saffron threads but I changed my mind and didn't use any of them. I'm stingy with them, so sue me! I figured that andouille AND saffron was overkill.

Put the andouille sausage in a pan that has already been heated to medium high heat. Let sizzle for about 30 seconds and then add peppers and onions. Saute until the onions are turning translucent.

Add in the rice and saute until the rice starts to turn golden brown, which should just be a minute or two. Add in the chicken broth, stir, and cover.

Let simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked through. (I like to give covered pot a good shake every 5 minutes.)

It turned out to be one of my favorite rice dishes ever. My 9 y/0 ended up eating three servings and he doesn't usually like anything that has green in it.

*Flip and Dip Grilled Chicken? The short version is grill boneless chicken thighs seasoned with Old Bay Seasoning (or pounded thin chicken breasts, if you must) over a 325 to 350f fire (use a grid extender on the Big Green Egg) as follows:
5 minutes, flip (change or clean tongs at this point)
5 minutes, dip in a bowl of Big Bob Gibson's white BBQ sauce** and flip
repeat (total 25 minutes cooking time)

**Don't you hate asterisks*** all the time? Anyway, you can buy this mayo based bbq sauce but I use this clone. Mix in a blender, 1 c mayo, 1 c vinegar, 1 T lemon juice, 1.5 T ground black pepper, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t cayenne, 1/4 c light corn syrup.

***Okay, I really didn't have another one, I just did this one to be annoying;)