Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tailgating with Pork and Kroger - Game Day

We could not have asked for a more beautiful day for our tailgate.  Bright blue skies, mild temps, and the slightest of breezes graced the University of Tennessee campus for the game against Southern Alabama.

After a week of testing, my final menu was set.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mini Redneck Tacos and Tailgating Kit Giveaway [Contest closed]

Tailgate food should only require one hand....

I mean, that's not an iron clad rule or anything but it is a great guideline....

Or maybe just words to live by.  You want to keep a hand free for drinking, playing cornhole, tossing a football, or whatever.  Plus you want to be able to eat a lot of various things.  Tailgating isn't a's grazing.  

My day job has me going to Nashville a few times a month and I often stop at Martin's BBQ for lunch.  One of their signature dishes is their famous Redneck Taco, which was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives .  It is a johnny cake (think corn bread pancake) topped with smoked pork, slaw, and a spicy BBQ sauce. 

This is my inspired version of the Redneck Taco.  It's smaller, to comply with the one hand rule guideline.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Smokey Pork Tenderloin Sliders

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am hosting a tailgate this coming weekend at the University of Tennessee game. The National Pork Board and Kroger are sponsoring my tailgate and one of the menu items is these Smokey Pork Tenderloin Sliders with bacon honey mustard sauce.

We did a test run with them this past weekend and tried a variety of toppings.  Our two favorites were caramelized onions on the grill and/or cole slaw and that is what we are going with at the tailgate.

This recipe might look long but it is really easy and it's perfect for game day food because I'll give you "make ahead" tips so the only thing you have to do at the tailgate is grill the onions, tenderloins, and toast the rolls.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pulled Pork Queso for Nachos

There's something special about living in a college town, like Knoxville, during football season.  By Thursday-ish each week, the town is abuzz about the weekend's football game.   Everyone seems to be in a good mood and people are out being active. 

Whether you are watching your kid's middle school game with friends and family...

Trevor's team, Bearden in maroon, playing CAK on our first game of the season.

...or watching the big game with 100,000 of your closest friends and neighbors, tailgating is a fun part of the experience.

Neyland Stadium - Tennessee vs Austin Peay 2013
This coming weekend we are excited to be tailgating at the University of Tennessee vs Southern Alabama game* as part of Tailgating With Pork and Kroger.   This week I am posting a few of the recipes that we'll be serving down near The Strip before the game.  Here's our planned menu (click to enlarge). 

The appetizer is going to be simple but powerfully good - Nachos with Pulled Pork Queso.   I'm sure you've seen those nachos from stadium concessions with that unnaturally orange cheese sauce from a can.   Not ours!  Our queso is loaded with onions, peppers, seasonings, and fresh smoked blade pork roast (aka pork butt).  We made this recipe on a whim when stumbling across something new (to us at least) in the pasta section at Kroger - Velveeta Queso Blanco.   This uses the same pulled pork that I'll detail in the upcoming post for mini-redneck tacos.   It gives the queso a great smoky flavor.

Pulled pork queso for nachos, BBQ queso, tailgate food, party food, best queso recipe
Tailgate Tip:  If you're going to be cooking on site, have a "made ahead" appetizer like this ready to eat.  Waiting for food at a tailgate is a mood killer.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Product Review: Pit Barrel Cooker

In the Orange and Bourbon Brined Turkey post, I mentioned that I used a Pit Barrel Cooker.  I received one to try two weeks ago and I have been putting it through its paces for this review.

I first learned about Pit Barrel Cookers through John Dawson of the website Patio Daddio and competitive BBQ team.   He was really talking the PBC up while we were at Kingsford Invitational last Fall.  Coincidentally, John just won a Grand Championship using only two Pit Barrel Cookers last month! 

So what is a Pit Barrel Cooker?  
In my own words, I'd describe it as a simple to use, low cost, highly efficient smoker/grill with some unique features.  It is similar to an Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) but it is smaller in size, already assembled, and is engineered to eliminate some of the guess work.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Orange and Bourbon Brined Turkey on the Grill

Since our daughter, her husband, and the grand baby are visiting from Florida, we decided to have Thanksgiving on Labor Day.   Brett and his girlfriend came over and we had the whole family back home at the same time for the first time in several years.  

For the turkey, I used an orange and bourbon brine to add flavor and moisture.  The brine worked because the turkey tasted great and my daughter said it was the juiciest turkey she's ever had.   The smoky flavor of the bourbon and the citrus tang is subtle but there, just the way I like it.

spatchcock turkey, BGE turkey, grilled turkey, smoked turkey

Note:  Not sure where we got this turkey platter but it is very close to this one:
HIC Porcelain Turkey Platter 17.5-inch
Two notes on brining.  First, if you can, get a bird that has not been pre-brined "packaged in a solution" but if you don't have a choice, cut the amount of salt in this brine in half.   Second, thaw the bird before brining.  I know it seems like a good idea to use the brining time as thaw time too, but the brine won't penetrate frozen meat particularly well.

I also spatchcocked the bird which means butterflying it in reverse, cutting out the backbone.   This technique helps the bird cook faster, more evenly, and I prefer the presentation of a laid out turkey.   I used the cooking times, temps, and technique that Pitmaster, Chris Lilly, used for his Charcoal-Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herb Butter at the Kingsford Invitational last year.  That bird was also spatchcocked. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Poultry Dry Rub and Decatur Jaycees Riverfest 2013

I arrived in the beautiful town of Decatur, AL on Saturday morning just a few hours after the first cool front of the Fall passed through and was it ever glorious!  The crisp dry morning air was a refreshing relief from humid summer days and the skies were so brilliantly blue that it almost hurt my eyes.  It was such a beautiful day that someone should have scheduled a BBQ festival...

...and that is just what Ken Hess of Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue did.  I was there to judge BBQ at the annual Decatur Jaycees Riverfest.

But first, speaking of Big Bob Gibson's, here's a quick poultry dry rub that is a part of my upcoming turkey post.   It was created by world champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly, on behalf of Kingsford and the recipe was included in our media packets at the 2012 Kingsford Invitational.  

Poultry dry rub, bbq rub

Poultry Dry Rub
Source:  reprinted with permission from Kingsford 
Makes:  1/2 cup
Prep Time:  what prep time?  If it was any faster you'd go back in time.

  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, dried
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram leaves, dried
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Add all ingredients in a small bowl and blend well.
  2. Season chicken or poultry liberally, prior to grilling over Kingsford charcoal.  Store the remaining dry rub in an GLAD food storage container at room temperature.   

Okay,  back to the contest.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mafé - Beef Stew from Senegal

This is going to be my comfort food for this coming Fall and Winter - Mafé.

It is a spicy stew from Senegal with a tomato-peanut butter sauce that is just fantastic.   Mafé can be made from beef, lamb, or chicken and like any regional dish, it has endless variations.  My son-in-law, Djiby, is from Senegal and I made this based on what he told me about the dish.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Side Dish: Creole Fried Rice (Tony Chacerice)

I first came up with this side dish in the middle of March and I don't know what has taken me so long to post about it, because it was an immediate family favorite.  

creole fried rice, tony chacerice, tony chacere

The first time I made it, I just needed something to go with some leftover grilled pork tenderloin.  Unlike a true stir fry, I didn't use cold cooked rice because honestly, I was in a hurry and didn't want to wait for it to cool down.  I liked the result because it makes a quicker prep time and the rice doesn't clump together.

I started off calling it Creole stir fried rice but because it uses Tony Chachere's creole seasoning, it has gotten dubbed - Tony Chache-rice.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Product Review: Reliable Enviromate Pronto Steam Cleaner

My experience has been that the best thing for keeping a grill in good condition is frequent use.   Buy two identical grills and store them the same way.  Use one 2-3 times a week and one 2-3 times a year.  The frequently used one will last longer in most cases.   I think that is because the neglected grill is not seasoned so it rusts out and falls apart sooner.  A well seasoned grill is like a well oiled machine, it performs better and lasts longer.

But at some point, seasoning becomes gunk and gunk is not good.  Gunk is built up grease, old food, and bits of who knows what.  It builds up in corner, cracks and on the bottom of grates and it has to be removed.

My normal cleaning routine is:
  1. Scrub top and bottom of grates while cold with wire brush.
  2. Preheat grill, allowing grates to get hot and burn off crud.
  3. Scrub top of grates while hot with wire brush.