Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bacon Honey Mustard Dressing and Dip

This is just a quicky post to let you know that I'm still alive, just not posting a whole lot.   

We have been busy with Trevor's football practices (6 days a week), school started for us weeks ago, and our daughter Alex had our first grandchild two weeks ago.  Oh yeah, there were the two football injuries (ER, follow up visits, etc) and BBQ judging too.   

Most of our meals have been after we get home at 9pm and are something like this...

...not that there's anything wrong with hot dogs.
Update 9/2/13:  I have had two people ask about the above hot dog roller.  I got it at Crate and Barrel but as of today, they don't stock it anymore.  Here is a similar model found on Amazon:
Chefs Basics HW5298 Barbecue Hot Dog Roller

This recipe is based on my mom's honey mustard dressing.  In addition to being a dressing it is excellent for dipping fried chicken strips or you can use it as a glaze in the last minute of grilling chicken for sandwiches.  Or you can just dip your finger in it and lick it off.  Not that I did that...more than a few times.

Bacon Honey Mustard Dressing
makes 1 cup

  • 2 strips bacon, cooked
  • 1 Tbsp reserved hot bacon grease
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Season-all or other all purpose seasoning
  • 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey
  1.  Mince the bacon very finely.  You want it to be almost dust - bacon dust.  I like to use a mini-food processor.  You should have about 2 Tbsp of bacon crumbles.
  2. Add all ingredients except the honey.  Then slowly stir in the honey, tasting for seasoning as you add.  I like to use the whole 1/4 cup but if you don't want it as sweet, use less.
Because this has meat and mayo in it, it will not keep as long as a vinaigrette dressing.  But we pretty much use ours the same day we make it.  It will hold a week in the fridge as long as you keep it in a sealed container.  

Just brush on during the last minute of cooking.

And on that note, I am heading into the football game.  I wrote this post in the parking lot of Schumpert Field (Go Bulldogs!).  Hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend and fire up those grills!  Even if it is just for hot dogs.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

BBQ Pitmasters Finale and Blue Ridge BBQ Festival - Tryon, NC

Alexis and I went to the Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival in Tryon, NC back in June but I have been sitting on this post because Destination America was there filming the finale of BBQ Pitmasters Season 4 which airs this Sunday night at 9pm Eastern. 

The Event
This was our first time at Tryon and we were very impressed with the overall event.  Tryon is located in the lush, green rolling hills on the Eastern side of the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is a small town of less than 2,000 but they know how to put on a big time event.  Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival is a KCBS event so the normal 4 meats (chicken, ribs, pork, brisket) are turned in for blind judging by certified bbq judges and rated 1-9 for appearance, taste, and tenderness.   This event is part of a Triple Crown deal in which the highest cumulative winner of this event, Maggie Valley, and Franklin wins an additional prize.  
Overlooking the vendor and craftsman area on a beautiful summer day.
Much of the competitors areas are situated in the cool shade of tall hickory.  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Burgers and Adam Perry Lang

It's almost the end of summer, do you need to break out of the burger boredom?  This burger will certainly do the job with all of the flavors of a hot wing packed into a burger.  

Buffalo chicken burger, big green egg recipe, low cal burger, kamado grill diet burger

I cooked these on a griddle plate for two reasons.  First, the raw texture is a little too soft for grill grates.  Second and more importantly, getting an even crust across the burger builds more flavor by maximizing the Maillard reaction.  You could certainly do these indoors on a griddle or skillet if the mood strikes you.

Sure you can just buy a commercial poultry rub, light Ranch dressing, and pre-made wing sauce for this.  But I like to make my own when I have the time because it's cheaper and better.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Roadside Chicken Wings

Last Friday, Trevor and I hoped across the Smoky Mountains to see my parents at their and my sister's cabin in the Franklin area.

When it was time for lunch we wanted to go simple and just enjoy our time together.  We had an impromptu picnic in the back yard with a menu of sweet Silver Queen corn on the cob, a salad with homemade honey-mustard dressing, warm rolls and this grilled chicken which reminded me of roadside chicken.

I'm a fan of roadside chicken.  It is also called church chicken because it is a common recipe served at fund raisers and church covered dish gatherings.  Typically, the chicken is marinated for hours in a marinade of vinegar, oil, and  seasonings then grilled over open pits.

This version is faster because it skips the marinade and is simple, it only has 6 ingredients.   My mom got this recipe from Joyce Thompson shortly after my family moved to Florida (I was yet to be born) in 1967.  Joyce got it from her aunt in Mississippi and it was just called "BBQ sauce".

grilled chicken wings, roadside chicken wings, marinated chicken wings

Anytime that I am cooking chicken pieces with skin on, I like to grill it over a lower temp fire for a longer period of time in order to avoid flare ups, avoid burning the skin, and to properly render all of the fat.   You can use it on whatever chicken pieces you like, but we enjoyed it with wings twice this week.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Competition Chicken

My favorite smoked chicken to eat at home is a spatchcocked whole bird that is brined, simply seasoned, and mopped in the light hickory smoke with a vinegary sweet mop.   

That bird won't fly in BBQ competitions.  

Oh sure, you could submit a turn in box with pulled chicken and sliced chicken but that usually doesn't fare well with the judges.  Judges tastes a lot of BBQ in a short period of time so you really have to amp up the tastes to overcome the flavor fatigue and stand out.   It is referred to as "one bite bbq". 

Typically what gets turned in are thighs or frenched drum sticks with a glistening glaze.  The taste profile is mostly sweet, VERY sweet with a mix of spices and heat at the end.  The texture wanted is moist, tender chicken with bite through skin.  The quickest way to turn off a judge (other than raw chicken....ick) is for them to bite into your chicken and pull off all the skin in one bite.  

I mean, who wants a rubbery piece of chicken skin hanging over their chin?  

This past weekend I practiced my competition brisket and chicken.  After having three great briskets in a row, I wasn't happy with this one.   But the chicken was good and I would give it an 8-8-9 (9-9-9 is perfect) as a judge.  

Monday, August 5, 2013

BBQ Sides: How to Make Hushpuppies and 10 Tips for Deep Frying

I love hushpuppies but there is one thing I don't understand about them.  How did they become associated with barbecue?

hushpuppies, hush puppies, how to make hushpuppies, deep frying tips
We made this batch to go with some BBQ chicken and smoked brisket.

I totally understand their presence at fish fries, it seems only natural since you already have the hot oil rolling.  But that isn't the case with BBQ.   I searched around and couldn't find any specific rationale.  Heck, I couldn't even primary documentation of the origin of the hushpuppy other than several anecdotes that appeared over and over in countless articles.