The Best BBQ Side Dishes – A Discussion Of Great Importance

chickenfriedbuffalo:

It was great to talk food with Woody Cain of MRN’s Fast Food. Take a listen.

Originally posted on THAT DANG OL' SHOW:

MRN’s Woody Cain, NASCAR guru and host of Fast Food, joined forces with Chicken Fried Buffalo’s Gregg Fort this week to talk about the ultimate BBQ side dishes. Whether you’re smoking a brisket or working with pork, there are some regional standards out there as well as some newcomers to the fray. From the simple to the elegantly complex Cain and Fort offer up some ideas here that we think you’re gonna love.

It's a standard for O6 Racing. Smoker beans.

It’s a standard for O6 Racing. Smoker beans.

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RECIPE: Sweet Bacon Cheddar Cornbread

chickenfriedbuffalo:

Occasionally, I come across another food/recipe blog that peaks my interest. While I have not made the Sweet Bacon Cheddar Cornbread yet, I will soon.

Originally posted on That Damned CanAsian:

When I lived in the South, I fell in love with the cornbread that they served with weekend brunch at Lucky 32 in North Carolina.  Ever since I tried that cornbread nearly 10 years ago, I have been trying to perfect a sweet cornbread recipe for years – one that is sweet, very moist, yet  light and cakey in consistency.    I have tried scores of combinations over the years, trying to crack just the right combination that I was looking for but I think that I’ve finally done it.

This recipe is a combination of various different recipes and techniques that I’ve tried over the years, and yields a light, moist, and slightly sweet cornbread that goes wonderfully with my Six Bean Turkey Chili, but is just as delicious all on its own.

Bacon Cheddar Cornbread

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
bacon-cheddar-cornbread-mise
Ingredients:
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose…

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Who Makes The Best Hamburger In America – Cultural Index Thursday Question

chickenfriedbuffalo:

Hello friends.

Here is an interesting question posted by the folks at That Dang Ol’ Show. As a Texpatriate, just the mention of Whataburger makes me want a burger.

Enjoy

Originally posted on THAT DANG OL' SHOW:

Sometimes fast-food joints get a bad rap.

There are times you just want a great hamburger. Or cheeseburger. Or hickory burger. Or, well, you get the idea.

Today we ask who makes the best hamburger in America.

If you’re from Texas there can really only be one answer. Whataburger. The #2 with cheese, Whatasized with a Dr. Pepper is legend. The white and orange sack is like formal-wear for a burger. It is simply elegant. The bun to meat/lettuce/tomato/pickle/cheese/jalapeno/bacon ratio is perfect. There is rarely any problem there.

Have I taken down on of these bad boys? Yes. Yes I have. I felt no guilt.

Have I taken down on of these bad boys? Yes. Yes I have. I felt no guilt.

You can create darn near anything you want. They serve 24 hours a day, just as God intended it.

Now I realize some have been duped into thinking that In-N-Out burger is quality. You have been lied to. That or you haven’t been…

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Daily Wing Specials | Buffalo NY

Hello friends.

That’s right…I have now lived in Buffalo for two years and I continue to enjoy my time out here on the Niagara Frontier.  As I noted in my first Chicken Fried Buffalo post, I am a fan of Western New York and the quality of life here.

It is also evident to anyone that knows me or has read this blog that I am also a fan of Buffalo-style chicken wings and my love of wings definitely predates my relocation to Buffalo.  When trying to decide what to write in this anniversary post, I pondering many things but for some reason it all came back to chicken wings.

One of the things that I have founding puzzling about a city and region that boasts some of the best wings in the country was that I could not find a single list of daily and weekly wing specials in one place.  Where could I find a good, cheap wing on a random Wednesday night?  It was that quest that gave me the idea to just start my own list.

My goal in this post is not to do a listing of the BEST wings in Western New York…even though two of my favorites are on the list.  This post is the beginning of a comprehensive list that I will update occasionally.

I know that there are many other establishments that have wing specials on these same days and in some cases might have better or less expensive wings, but I have personally made myself available at each of the places on this list.  As I find others, there will be updates and additions.

Wellington

The Wellington Pub

MONDAY

WELLINGTON PUB

Wing Special Price:  .45 each

1541 Hertel Ave

Buffalo, NY 14216 North Buffalo, Hertel Avenue

716.833.9899

In my opinion, the best wings in the city of Buffalo can be found at the Wellington Pub in North Buffalo.  Every style of wing that I have tried has been outstanding and they feature a different  “special” wing each Monday night.  The dry “fajita” style wing is one of the best chicken wings I have ever tasted.  Also, they will finish your wings on char-grill if requested.  Add to these wings a couple of $1 Molson drafts, Monday Night Football and/or WWE RAW and you have the best of Buffalo.  CFB NOTE:  The Wellington will be full of local regulars so be respectful and don’t be a jackass.  You’re welcome.

TUESDAY

QUAKER STEAK & LUBE

Wing Special Price:  $11.99 All-You-Can-Eat

6727 Transit Rd

Lancaster, NY 14221

716.204.9293

Readers of this blog know that I shy away from restaurant chain locations whenever possible but this wing special is too good to be left off the list.  This Pennsylvania-based chain is a regional competitor to Buffalo Wild Wings.  They have 26 different sauces so there is something for everyone’s taste.  CFB NOTE: Remember, pace yourself because it is a marathon not a sprint.

WEDNESDAY

BUFFALO SPORTS GARDEN

Wing Special Price:  .45 each

2945 Southwestern Blvd

Orchard Park, NY 14127

716.674.4113

If you are in the Southtowns on a Wednesday, the Buffalo Sports Garden serves a quality wing…along with $2 Coors Light Drafts and ½ Price Appetizers.  BSG is also expanding its footprint by adding patio seating.  CFB NOTE:  This place gets very crowded at happy hour and seating at the bar can be scarce.

THURSDAY

GORDON’S ON DELAWARE

Wing Special Price:  .50 each

2263 Delaware Ave

Buffalo, NY 14216

716.874.3020

One of North Buffalo’s best “dive” bars, Gordon’s has over 20 craft beers on tap and live music.  Also, Gordon’s has .50 wings on both Monday and Thursday nights.  They do not have beer specials but Miller Lite and Labatts Blue drafts are $3 every day.  The Spicy Cajun BBQ wings are very good.  CFB NOTE:  The service can be a bit slow because sometimes the bartender also serves as the cook.

FRIDAY

SAVOY RESTAURANT AND TAVERN

Wing Special Price:  FREE (5 – 8pm)

149 Elmwood Ave

Buffalo, NY 14201

716.768.3100

What is better that cheap…FREE AND TASTY. One of the trendy “new” bars in Allentown, the Savoy is one of those places that does “handcrafted cocktails” and Whiskey Tasting Wednesday.  CFB NOTE:  The Savoy is small and the drinks are expensive…you have to pay for the chicken in some fashion…but domestic beers are 2-for-1 and for $5 you can get a plate of bacon. This is a first stop on a nice Friday afternoon for a couple of beers and a few wings.

SATURDAY

Mammoser's

Mammoser’s

MAMMOSER’S

Wing Special Price:  .60 each

16 S Buffalo St

Hamburg, NY 14075

716.648.1390

A favorite of most folks in the Southtowns, this is probably the most unique spot on the list. This little bar in the village has great wings…if you like your wings on the dry side.  Also, Mammo’s unique sauce has a chili powder flavor.  They have occasion beer specials but unpredictable.  CFB NOTE:  This special is actually for a double order priced as a single.

SUNDAY

MISTER GOODBAR

Wing Special Price:  .50 each

1110 Elmwood Ave

Buffalo, NY 14222

716.882.4000

A dark and dingy “dive” bar, Mister Goodbar has upped its game recently by adding an extensive craft beer selection.  This is one of those places where you can see everything cooked at the end of the bar.  In addition to the wing special Sundays, MGB has $1 off craft pints.  CFB NOTE:  Parking can be a nightmare and its location next to Buffalo State can sometimes add the “young and drunk” element.

 

Chicken Fried Buffalo On The Air

Every Monday night, That Dang Ol’ Show features a live CFB segment.  If you are in West Texas, you can listen in on the 2013 Texas Country Station of the Year, KJDL The Red Dirt Rebel 105.3 FM.  Everyone else can listen live on the internet…just click HERE to be part of radio history.

 

BBQ Tips | Rubbing Your Meat

Hello friends.

As summer continues to heat up…even here on the Niagara Frontier where we actually got to 85-degrees this week…everyone with a grill and a smoker are looking for additional tips.  One good friend just bought his first smoker and has been continually asking for tips so I decided to do a couple of posts that talk about a few basics.

It Begins With the Rub

If you want good grilled or smoked meat, it begins long before you start your fire.  It begins with the rubbing your meat.  If you are going to smoke some ribs or pork chops, the dry rub below works equally well in the smoker or on the grill.  A friend gave me the basics for the recipe several years ago but I have added and adjusted the original recipe over the years.

Whatever you decide to fix…that is a Texas colloquialism for cooking…make sure you rub your meat at least eight hours before smoking or grilling.  Wash your meat well…if you are fixing ribs make sure you remove the membrane on the backside of the rack…then rub liberally and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Place in your icebox…also a Texas or Southern term for refrigerator…or cooler until ready to cook.

#12 BBQ Seasoning & Rub

Captain America

Captain America

Named in honor of the Dallas Cowboy legend and the greatest quarterback in the history of the world, Roger Staubach, #12 BBQ Seasoning and Rub is simple to make.  In addition, you can mix this rub with any liquid you chose (Dr Pepper, Coke, vinegar, oil, lemon juice, etc.) and make a great mop for your meat while it is cooking.

  • 1  Cup  Brown Sugar
  • ½  Cup  Seasoning Salt
  • 2  Tablespoon  Chili Powder
  • 1  Teaspoon  Onion Powder
  • 1  Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1  Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • ½  Teaspoon  Cumin

INSTRUCTIONS:  Combine all ingredients. Store in air-tight container for up to six months.

Of course, there are some fellow Texans who will immediately call me out for only providing a rub that works well on pig.  They would say that #12 will not work as a beef rub and I would have to agree.  The #12 is much too sweet; therefore, below is a rub I have used on steaks many times and will also work on brisket.  This recipe is easily doubled or tripled if you feel the need. You’re welcome Ron.

Texpatriate Dry Rub

  • 2  Tablespoons  Kosher Salt
  • 1  Tablespoon  Brown Sugar
  • 2  Teaspoons  Smoked Paprika
  • 2  Teaspoons  Coarse Ground Black Pepper
  • 1  Teaspoon  Granulated Garlic
  • ½  Teaspoon  Cayenne Pepper
  • ½  Teaspoon  Cumin

INSTRUCTIONS:  Combine all ingredients. Store in air-tight container for up to six months.

 

BBQ Sauce

Most barbecue aficionados will tell you that if the meat is cooked correctly, that you do not need sauce. The flavor of the meat will be all you need.  I completely agree with this hypothesis.  Both restaurants and individuals who do not know how to grill or smoke meat will always default to covering up the meat with sauce and this especially common with establishments outside of the BBQ Belt.

Now that we have established that sauce is not required, I do believe that a good sauce used in moderation can enhance your barbecue experience.  In an earlier post, I provided the recipe for my Batch #6 BBQ Sauce.  This is very versatile base sauce and can be customized or adapted to individual tastes.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

If you don’t have time to make your own sauce or like many of my ne’er’ do well friends who are just too lazy to put in the effort, there are some very good commercial sauces on the market.  In fact, one of the best sauces is made in Syracuse, New York by the folks at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que.  Also, you can buy an inexpensive sauce and add a few ingredients yourself.  Below is a quick recipe that will make folks think you like them enough to make sauce from scratch.

 

 

Whiskey River Barbeque Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoon  Canola Oil
  • 1  24-Ounce Bottle  Cheap Barbeque Sauce
  • ¼  Cup  Whiskey
  • 1  Tablespoon  #12 BBQ SEASONING, ACADIANA SEASONING or Virgil’s Dixie Dust

INSTRUCTIONS:  In large pot, heat oil. Pour in sauce.  Add whiskey and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

 

Chicken Fried Buffalo On The Air

Every Monday night, That Dang Ol’ Show features a live CFB segment.  If you are in West Texas, you can listen in on the 2013 Texas Country Station of the Year, KJDL The Red Dirt Rebel 105.3 FM.  Everyone else can listen live on the internet…just click HERE to be part of radio history.

 

50-By-50 | Smoked Gouda Jalapeño Poppers | Donald Sterling

Hello friends…it as been awhile.

First, I need to offer my apologies. As I have noted before, sometimes life gets in the way of a good time and I complicated my life even further back in February.

For some reason, I have decided to begin a grueling march toward a doctoral degree. It has been difficult to get back into swing of writing 15-page papers in APA style, reading dry technical textbooks and competing in class with students half my age. While not an easy journey, I am enjoying it and it looks like I am headed for a break so I can get back to CFB.

Chicken Fried Buffalo On The Air

Every Monday night, That Dang Ol’ Show features a live CFB segment.  If you are in West Texas, you can listen in on the 2013 Texas Country Station of the Year, KJDL The Red Dirt Rebel 105.3 FM.  Everyone else can listen live on the internet…just click HERE to be part of radio history.

50-By-50

If chasing another degree was not enough, I have also decided to lose 50 pounds by my 50th birthday on May 5, 2015. Now you may be asking yourself…self, why is a 407x600guy who writes a blog called Chicken Fried Buffalo, posts all these Tex-Mex and Southern comfort food recipes, loves to drink good beer and lives in a city known for fried chicken wings going to start eating grilled tofu and begin training for an Ironman event?

The answer is simple. I am not doing either of those things and you can lose weight and make yourself healthier without giving up everything you enjoy. This is not about The Weight Loss Cure “They” Don’t Want You to Know About book that put infomercial king Kevin Trudeau in the federal pen for 10 years. I am not doing some fad diet with colonic hydrotherapy and seaweed vitamin shakes. This is about a slow, methodical progress toward getting to a weight that will make me healthier and feel better.

This quest began on May 5th and I have already dropped 13 pounds. I still drink beer and eat 40-cent wings on Monday nights at the Wellington Pub on Hertel Avenue in North Buffalo. In fact, I have made the determination that the Wellington has the BEST wings in Buffalo…hands down. As an added bonus, they pour Shiner Bock on tap. I will save a full review for a later post.  SONY DSC

The key for me is portion control and eliminating all unnecessary carbohydrates in my diet. Eating a healthy breakfast…a small smoked gouda omelet made with egg-whites…and making only one weekly trip to Tim Horton’s on Saturday morning. Consequently, I am and will continue to eat the foods I like. I will just not eat as much and will add some healthier ingredients on occasion but the recipes are all still things I eat myself.

Summer Grilling and Smoking

This is my favorite time to cook. The weather has turned warm and there is nothing more fun to host a weekend party in your backyard, on your deck or just about anywhere. Last weekend, we hosted a few dozen folks at our house in Hamilton.

Both the Weber Grill and the Master Forge Smoker were in full effect. Grilled chicken, brats and hot dogs were accompanied by an endless collection of side dishes but one appetizer was the hit of the party…smoked gouda stuffed 2012-08-12-18.00.59jalapenos.

I have been making these “poppers” as most people call them for several years. These stuffed peppers are the perfect finger food and can be done in the smoker, on the grill or even in the oven. I prefer the smoker. Just a warning, they are a little labor intensive but are well worth it.

Smoked Gouda Stuffed Poppers

  • 12 Large Jalapeno Peppers
  • 2 Slices Bacon
  • 1 8-ounce Cream Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon Mayonnaise
  • 1 Cup Shredded Smoked Gouda
  • 1 Cup Finely Chopped Cooked Chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon VIRGIL’S DIXIE DUST or ACADIANA SEASONING

Slice peppers in half, removing flesh and seeds. Soak peppers in milk for one (1) hour. Soften cream cheese. In large skillet, fry bacon until crisp and then chop. Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise in mixing bowl. Mix in smoked gouda and chicken. Add SEASONING, bacon and stir. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one (1) hour. After mix has chilled, stuff each pepper with mix. Place on smoker, grill or in oven and cook until cheese is crunchy.

NOTE: Bacon can be omitted for “non-pig” eaters.

 

Donald Sterling and the Los Angeles Clippers

I did really have anything to say about this clown but I liked this picture.

donald-sterling-clippers-owner

Photo Courtesy of ballerball.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure and follow Chicken Fried Buffalo on Twitter and Facebook.

Grilling Season 2014, MRN Woody Cain, #6 BBQ Sauce, Liverpool FC

Hello friends.

The harsh winter has finally broken on the Niagara Frontier and it looks like we might only get a couple more chilly days in Buffalo.  This weekend is gorgeous and next weekend will open the grilling season for Chicken Fried Buffalo.  On Friday, I will be headed to the palatial estate high above Lake Moriane in Hamilton (NY).  It has been five long months since I have used my trusty Weber and Master Forge smoker.

The Weber

The Weber

Of course, I did head south for some spring training last week.  There was an O6 Racing all-day singing and prayer meeting held April 2-7 at Texas Motor Speedway.  It is good to get some of the rust off the wagon before you head into another important grilling season.  The Smoke Master from Matador Ron Cox had the Double-T smoker filled with mesquite and he did some of his best work.  The briskets, pork shoulder, homemade sausage, beer-in-the-butt chicken and the smoker beans were all outstanding.  For the weekend, Ron handles the meat while I work on the accoutrements…that is Canadian for side items.

We have added a new item for future events…Smoked Cajun Maque Choux.   This was a recipe that I posted back in January but I had never made it in a smoker.  It came out pretty good.

Speaking of TMS, I had the opportunity to record a few segments with Ryan Hyatt for That Dang Ol’ Show.  Also, I had the chance to meet the Woody Cain of Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Fast Food.  Woody shares many of the same interests of CFB and he did make it out to the campsite to sample my Flying Pig Sandwich.  I will outline this little bit of pig heaven in a future post.

In fact, the Flying Pig made last week’s Fast Food Podcast on MRN.  Click HERE to listen.  Be sure and follow Woody on Twitter @WYcain.

GRILLING SEASON…2014

There are some essentials that will help you over the next few months.

Make your seasoning blends and rubs up ahead of time.  If you have not already done so, make up a batch of Acadiana Seasoning which works well as an all-purpose seasoning.  Here is an Aussie Seasoning that works well on both steak and chicken wings:

Aussie Dust

  • 4  Tablespoons Kosher Salt
  • 4  Tablespoons Paprika
  • 1  Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1  Tablespoon Mustard Powder
  • 1  Tablespoon Coriander
  • 1  Tablespoon Black Pepper
  • ½  Tablespoon Garlic Powder
  • ½  Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • ½  Tablespoon Thyme Leaves
  • ½  Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper

Combine all ingredients. Store in air-tight container for up to six months.

Everyone has their own preference and taste when it comes to barbecue sauce.  This barbecue sauce recipe does well on just about everything.  Inspired by the sauces available in and around St. Louis like Maull’s, this basic sauce is easy to make and it can be spiced up if that is your style.  Also, Batch #6 BBQ is a good base for making other sauces, like a whiskey sauce.

Also, I actually use the generic or store branded sauces to save a few bucks.  If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, make sure you pick up some Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend.  This is an amazing product.  It gives great, natural smoke flavor…I hate liquid smoke…to all foods whether you are smoking, grilling or just want some smoke flavor in anything you make.south-african-smoke450

Batch #6 BBQ Sauce

  • 4         Cups Ketchup
  • 1         10-Ounce Bottle A1 Style Steak Sauce
  • 1         10-Ounce Bottle Heinz 57 Style Sauce
  • 1 ½     Cups Apple Juice or Cider
  • ¼         Cup  Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼         Cup Dark Karo Syrup
  • ¼         Cup  Honey
  • ¼         Cup Molasses
  • 1 ½      Teaspoon Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend or Liquid Smoke
  • 2          Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
  • 1          Teaspoon Granulated Garlic or Garlic Powder

In large saucepan combine all ingredients and gradually bring to a low simmer over medium heat, whisking to mix.  Reduce heat.  Let cool to room temperature and place in refrigerator. Good for up to three months.

TOP OF THE TABLE

1002760_10201319924230801_2062922950_nLiverpool sits at the top of the Premier League Table after a 3-2 win over Man City at Anfield.  NEVER FORGET THE 96…YNWA. #LFC

CFB ON THE AIR

Every Monday night, That Dang Ol’ Show features a live CFB segment.  If you are in West Texas, you can listen in on the 2013 and 2014 Texas Country Station of the Year, KJDL The Red Dirt Rebel 105.3 FM.  Everyone else can listen live on the internet…just click HERE to be part of radio history.

 

Surviving St. Patrick’s Day | 10 Tips

BuffaloIrishHello friends or in the old Irish…dia duit cairde.

Even though St. Patrick’s Day is officially Monday, March 17, many folks are already knee-deep in merriment across the country.

Buffalo is a city that was built by the Irish.  The “Old First Ward” in South Buffalo is still predominantly Irish and home to some of the best bars in the city.  St. Patrick’s Day is big on the Niagara Frontier.

I still believe that New Year’s Eve is America’s amateur night and I chronicled my thoughts about that subject in an earlier post.  St. Patrick’s Day, and the weekend that proceeds it, is a close second.  Once some people put on the “green” it is all over.

So in the spirit of the season, here are my St. Patrick’s Day Top 10 Tips:

There is more to Irish culture than St. Patrick’s Day.

Throughout history, the Irish have influenced the world with their literature (James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw), arts and music…not just by their ability to lift a pint.

Remember that most people in the world are not Irish.

There are just over 80,000,000 Irish worldwide.  That is less than .01% of the world’s population.

bpc-guinness-shamrockGuinness is the the original light/low carb beer.

I cannot count the number of times I have heard someone say, “Guinness is to heavy to drink…it is like drinking motor oil.”  When you hear  this comment, you can bet that person either does not know anything about beer or has never actually tasted a Guinness.  A Guinness has only 125 calories and 10 carbs…not bad for motor oil.

Irish bars are open throughout the year and not just on March 17.

St. Patrick’s Day might be the worst day to check out your local Irish Pub.  Stop by one afternoon and get the real feel of the place.  Be sure and tip your waitresses and bartenders.

Remember you might have to work on Tuesday.

If you go out Monday or Sunday for that manner, monitor your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water.  You don’t want to show up at the office with bar stamps on your hands and sweating like you just ran a 5k.

Don’t drink “green” beer.

This might be one of the dumbest “traditions” every imposed on the beer drinking public…putting green food coloring in a perfectly good beer.  If you must, here is a step-by-step tutorial.

There are very few people that look good in a green plastic derby hat and the chances that you do are slim.PartyHat

You know who you are.

Attending a parade does not give you a license to be a total jackass.

Just because you caught a piece of Double Bubble Gum or an Atkison’s Chick-O-Stick candy thrown by a member of the Lion’s Club doesn’t give you the right to drink 18 Keystone Lights, strip down to your “Kiss Me I’m Irish” boxers and  yelling “Bro” at every person that passes by.

Adhere to this old Apache creed…it is never a good idea to drink Jägermeister while the sun is in the sky.

No explanation needed.

Finally, in the immortal words of Dean Vernon Wormer, “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life son.”

Remember this when when you are out drinking a few pints and trying to tell people you are Irish.

Have a safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Here’s to a long life and a merry one.

A quick death and an easy one

A pretty girl and an honest one

A cold beer – and another one!

“Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!”

CFB ON THE AIR:  Every Monday night, That Dang Ol’ Show features a live CFB segment.  If you are in West Texas, you can listen in on the 2013 Texas Country Station of the Year, KJDL The Red Dirt Rebel 105.3 FM.  Everyone else can listen live on the internet…just click HERE to be part of radio history.

An Anachronism | Born In The Wrong Era

There is a discussion that I have had with many of my friends lately.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that this discussion answers many questions about me. I was born in the wrong era.worlds_fair_chicago_1933

So many of the things that I enjoy are anachronisms. They are products of another place in time…another era. They speak to a more genteel time. They are from a time where our lives may not have been artificially extended with advanced science and technology but our lives were less complex. People could enjoy the little things in life. Like most of us, I am a slave to technology, especially for my work.

I am constantly checking e-mail on my iPhone. I have almost every Apple product known to man. I recently cut cable television but added Roku and Netflix…that topic was discussed in an earlier post..but I constantly think about a simpler, lower technological existence.

These thoughts really crystallized for me recently. One of my staff members had volunteered to drop me off at the Amtrak station. I was taking the train back to Hamilton, New York for the Colgate-Navy basketball game.Amtrak-logo

During our ride, he talked about a friend of his that worked for a company owned by a Dutch conglomerate. Whenever the head of the Dutch company came to New York for a meeting, he would take the train and encouraged the local staff to ride the train. His comment was that riding the train made him feel more human. I could not agree more. That is probably one of the things that I love about riding the train. I do feel more human. I feel that the pace of my life has just slowed down and that I can relax and enjoy the ride.

For some reason, I never feel that way when I am flying all over country like I have for the last 25 years. Thousands upon thousands of air miles. More flights and airports that I can count. Always rushing from gate-to-gate. People herded on and off planes like livestock headed for the slaughterhouse. The frustrations are endless.

I never feel that way on a train. Yes I know that Amtrak is not really convenient for most travelers. The trains do not run with near the frequency or service the cities and towns that rail service did a century ago. The automobile and commercial air travel have made sure of that.

Also, it seems as Amtrak is almost never on time, but I could really care less. I love riding a train. In December, I took the train from Penn Station in New York City to the Buffalo Exchange Street stop…which is two blocks from my loft.   It took nine hours, countless stops and sitting on the side tracks waiting on several long freights to pass.

The ride was absolutely fantastic. It was relaxing. The coach seats are the same size as first-class airline seats. There is a club car with food and adult beverages.

I am writing this blog while riding back to Buffalo from Utica on Amtrak’s Maple Leaf. The total cost of the roundtrip was $66.  I brought my small CJ’s Hot Wings cooler with lunch, snacks and a few Monroe City craft beers (Keystone Light) for the ride.Keith Stone

No worrying about black ice on the roads, state troopers or tolls. I spend more on the tank of gas making the trip than the round trip ticket. This is my favorite way to travel.

southern_pacific_railroad_vintage_train_travel_poster-r77eba578984146e08cf6eaa5f9f289da_aabp_8byvr_512There was a time when there was an elegance to train travel. You could have a good meal in the multiple dining cars. If you were so inclined, a scotch and cigar were available in the smoking car. The service was impeccable.  Of course, the golden age of train travel is long gone. A product of an era lost to the advances of technology. An age that will never return.

We are “instant” society today. How fast can we get where we are going? How quickly can the news of today be spread around the globe by the internet? How many things can technology strip of their wonder?

Maybe this is why I still love the magic of listening to a baseball game on radio. Watching a classic movie that was made without CGI. The smell of a library. Cooking a meal from scratch in my grandmother’s skillet. Actually talking to someone. The Sunday newspaper.

Ernie Harwell

Ernie Harwell

The thrill of having to wait a minute, hour, day or week for something great to happen. I wax rhapsodic about these things knowing that it is this mindset that affects my life. This probably answers why I like to cook, entertain people and write.

When people ask me how I relax…because it appears I seldom do…I tell them that is almost impossible for me in today’s world. That is because I really belong to another time and place.

It is there that I can find some peace…with a smooth train ride. Where I can unplug and feel human again.

Corn Dogs | Chili Corn Dog Casserole

Hello friends.

Is there a more perfect food than the corn dog?  A hot dog placed on a stick that is covered in batter and deep fried.CornDog

There is much debate on the history of the corn dog.  Who first batter-fried a sausage or hot dog?  Who was the unmitigated genius who added the wooden stick for portability?  These are much debated questions.

Many claim to have invented this culinary masterpiece but all Texans and experts who know what they are talking about all point to the Lone State as the home of the corn dog.

Carl and Neil Fletcher invented the deep-fried corn-battered hot dog in their Dallas kitchen in 1941 and sold it for the first time at the State Fair of Texas in 1942. Since then it’s become a state fair tradition, the Fletcher family reports they sell around 500,000 corny dogs during the fair’s 24-day run each year.

fletcher-logo

I have eaten corn dogs all over the United States and in Canada, where they call them pogos or pogo sticks, but I have never tasted anything like a Fletcher’s Corny Dog.

There are two different styles of corn dogs in Texas.  First, there is the Fletcher’s style where the batter is thin and is fried to a golden brown.  The crust is crunchy and most other corn dogs try to follow this model.  This is the style that most people have tried at local festivals, county and state fairs across America.

As a Texpatriate, I do not get the opportunity to attend the State Fair of Texas each year like I did in my youth but I do get my Fletcher’s fix each April at Texas Motor Speedway where they are sold during the races.  Thank you Eddie Gossage.

The second style is a hot dog dipped and fried in a sweet and thick cornbread batter.  This style is much harder to find.  In my home town of McKinney, a man named Leroy Steffey served a “Jiffy Dog” at his long closed drive-in restaurant. His version fried to a much darker brown and had a consistency more like a cornbread muffin or hush puppy. Currently, you can still find this style of corn dog at a small drive-in chain in West Texas and Oklahoma called Dixie Dog.

I would give $50 for two (2) “Jiffy Dogs” and an order of Mr. Steffey’s onion rings right now.  Steffey’s was my favorite place to go as a kid and it is a shame that it no longer exists.  NOTE:  The onion rings at Ted’s Hot Dogs in Buffalo are a fine substitute.

If you have never tried a corn dog, I have one piece of advice.  Make sure your first corn dog is handmade and freshly fried.  Please don’t eat a frozen corn dog and think it is the real thing.

Rick Perry Eating A Corn Dog

Rick Perry Eating A Corn Dog

Also, the corn dog was made to be slathered in yellow mustard…no ketchup, no mayonnaise, no ranch dressing and no Grey Poupon.  Period.

Over the years, I have tried to make my own corn dogs but have failed miserably.  It is something I just have not been able to do and have I just stopped trying but recently came across a dish that adds a twist to the corn dog that others might enjoy.

This dish is not for the meek and is possibly one of the most unhealthy recipes I have ever made but it has minimal ingredients and is every easy to make.  It is a great way to use leftover grilled hot dogs and/or Ranger Chili.

NOTE:  There are two outstanding brands of hot dogs available in Western New York.  Sahlen’s in Buffalo and Hofmann’s from Syracuse.  You cannot go wrong with either.

Chili Corn Dog Casserole

  • 1  8 ½ Ounce Package Mexican corn mix

  • 1  Package Hot Dogs (cut into bite-size pieces)

  • 1  Can Chili or 16 Ounces of Ranger Chili

  • 2  Tablespoons brown sugar

  • ½  Teaspoon Garlic Powder

  • ½  Teaspoon Chili Powder

  • ½  Teaspoon Cumin

  • 1  Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Prepare corn bread batter according to package directions. Spread batter into a greased 8-in. square baking dish and set aside.

In a large skillet, saute hot dogs until lightly browned. Stir in the chili, brown sugar, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin and ½ cup cheese.  Spoon over corn bread batter.  Sprinkle remaining cheese over the top.

Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for five  minutes.

Hope you enjoy this great Texas dish.

CFB ON THE AIR:  Every Monday night, That Dang Ol’ Show features a live CFB segment.  If you are in West Texas, you can listen in on the 2013 Texas Country Station of the Year, KJDL The Red Dirt Rebel 105.3 FM.  Everyone else can listen live on the internet…just click HERE to be part of radio history.

Liverpool FCFYI:  Also just is case you have not checked the Barclay’s Premier League table recently, Liverpool is second with 59 points.  You are welcome and YNWA.

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