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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.

 

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Christmas Recipes | Texas-Style Turkey, Dr Pepper Glazed Ham and Spokane

Christmas Dinner:  Texas-Style Turkey

The dinner for 30 I cooked on Thanksgiving came off without a hitch so I thought I might post this for everyone getting ready for Christmas.

Everything I did for Thanksgiving can also be done for Christmas and New Year’s Day.  I cooked plenty of mesquite smoked turkey; Dr Pepper glazed ham, both dressing and stuffing, green beans, baked rolls, mashed potatoes, egg noodles and two different versions of mac and cheese.  While I cooked almost everything according to tradition, I decided to alter the way I normally cook turkey.  After much research, I decided to brine the turkey breasts overnight.

Here is the recipe for the brine and how I prepared the bird.

Turkey/Chicken Brine

  • 1 Gallon Water
  • 1  Cup Kosher Salt
  • 1  Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1  Pint Apple Juice

Combine all ingredients and make sure salt and sugar are dissolved.  Soak the turkey 12-24 hours in refrigerator or in the garage if you almost live in Canada like I do.  Next, remove from brine and rinse turkeys and pat dry.

Cooking Instructions

Take the brined breasts and place each of them in a large Ziploc bag. Pour ¼ cup oil and two tablespoons Dixie Dust or you favorite BBQ rub in the bag with the breasts and shake.  While I will never post the Dixie Dust recipe, below is a simple all-purpose BBQ rub that works for all types of meat.

#12 BBQ Seasoning & Rub

  • 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

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

Once you have a good coating, remove from bag and place on smoker.  I smoked the turkey breasts over mesquite woods chips in my propane smoker for 90 minutes at 200 degrees.  Remove the breasts and placed them in an oven bag.  Cook at 325 degrees for 3 hours or until the little genius plastic cooking thermometer pops out.

These were the best turkeys I have ever cooked.  They were incredibly moist and juicy.  There were also plenty of pan drippings for gravy.

Also, I did a quick Dr Pepper glaze for the ham.  This is a very simple trick that will help add that little something extra to a precooked ham.

Dr Pepper Glazedr_pepper_cap

  • 1  Can Dr Pepper
  • 6  Ounces Orange Juice
  • 3  Tablespoons Brown Sugar

Combine all ingredients in sauce pan and bring to boil.  Simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat.

All you do is take the glaze and pour it over your ham.  Cover with foil and heat at 350 degrees.  Baste the ham with glaze every 15 minutes until ham reaches proper temperature.

Now you have a couple of tried and true recipes for Christmas.  Both work great for large or small holiday crowds

 Spokane?

One of the things that I really enjoy about travel is finding “off the beaten path” restaurants. Of course, the internet and all of the shows on cable have made these gastronomic gems easier to locate, it has taken some of the fun out of the search.

DavenportLobbyDuring the Thanksgiving holidays, I traveled with my wife’s basketball team to Spokane, Washington.  While it was not my first time through the city, it was my first time to actually stay there.  We stayed at The Davenport downtown and I have to say that it is one fine hotel.  It is a smaller version of the The Drake in Chicago.  Built in 1914, The Davenport has been restored to its original glory in 2002 and it is like walking back in time and seeing it decorated for the holidays was an amazing site.

On Friday, I decided to take my “walk about” downtown looking for a quality local spot for lunch.  When I am in a new city, I do not research these places on the web beforehand.  I like taking my time and finding the place on my own.  It always amazes me when people travel to a new town or area and the first thing they do is go eat at a chain restaurant that they could easily have eaten at Park River Square in their hometown or nearby city.  In fact, it has become common practice for friends and acquaintances ask me for food recommendations since they know that finding these types of places is a hobby of mine.

I walked by the always to be expected Olive Garden, Chili’s, PF Chang’s and the food court at the mall.  Just a block or so from the hotel and the Bing Crosby Theatre…Bing was from Spokane…I sashayed by a small place called Domini Sandwiches on West Sprague Avenue and decided that this was the place to try.BingChristmas

Once I walked through the door, I realized that my choice was the right one.  The sandwiches were prepared behind a long bar/counter.  There were meat slicers and rows of fresh baked bread.  There are no menus…just cards on the counter and tables.  You can only get sandwiches and they come in three sizes…small, large and tiny.  Lay’s Potato Chips…no fries.  RC Cola and Dr Pepper are the only soft drinks.  I felt at home immediately.

Domini’s makes their roast beef in house.  On the table/counter is homemade honey mustard.  I chose a small roast beef on French bread.  The roast beef is sliced per order and the bread was sliced…not a roll.  When I asked my waitress to hold the tomato, I was informed very quickly that Domini’s does not put “vegetables” on their sandwiches…they are meat and bread…period.

domini-sandwichesAfter I absolutely destroyed my sandwich, owner Tom came over and asked me how it was and we began to talk about the place.  Tom’s father opened the place over 50 years ago and they have been making the roast beef that same way since that day.  He knows almost all of his regulars by name.  The rich and famous come into Domini’s when they are through Spokane but it is not hard to tell that this is a place for the everyday people.  It is those people that keep these types of places alive.

Over the years, I have had some great sandwiches:  Manny’s corned beef in Chicago…Primanti Brothers sandwich with its signature fries and slaw in Pittsburgh…Mike’s Famous Ham Place in Detroit…Pat’s cheesesteak in Philadelphia.  Domini’s makes one of the best roast beef sandwiches I have ever eaten.

Thanksgiving: Southern Cornbread Dressing Recipe

Chicken Fried Buffalo

Chicken Fried Buffalo

First, I would like to apologize for not posting anything last week.  Unfortunately, sometimes work, family and life in general get in the way of the fun things we want to do.  When I started this little project, my goal was to post at least one story or recipe per week.  Hopefully, I will make it up this week.

Well, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and like many Texpatriates, I will not have the opportunity to head home for the holiday.  In the years that I have been unable to spend time with family, my goal has always been to cook for others that are in the same situation.  Many of those years. I have had the opportunity to provide a home cooked Thanksgiving meal for either some or all of my wife’s basketball team.

CookedTurkey3I will be cooking for her team and staff again this year before our long road trip to the Pacific Northwest.  We are planning for 25-30 at our house since we will also invite others who cannot be with their families.

When you are cooking for that many and they are from all over the country, you should take into consideration that there is diversity…and that is not an old, old wooden ship used during the Civil War era…in the dishes and traditions served in different regions.

Of course, you should have turkey in some form (smoked, fried, roasted, etc.) but everything else is up to local interpretation.  Cajun Fried Turkey is my personal favorite but using this method to cook the bird must be done by people who know what they are doing.

There are certain things that Nicci has asked for…egg noodles and mashed potatoes…and I will make those of course but I will also try and provide some regional favorites.

Channel 4 News Team

Channel 4 News Team

With that being said, there will definitely be a Southern flavor to several of the dishes.  I plan on adding a ham with Dr Pepper glaze and at least one pecan pie but I am in New York and when in Rome…yes go on.

Nothing says Thanksgiving in Texas or the South like cornbread dressing.  Let me make this very clear:  Southern cornbread dressing is not stuffing.  This is not Stove Top Stuffing out of a box.  This is old school, homemade dressing.  This recipe has been handed down in my family.  In fact, I make the cornbread for this dressing in a cast iron skillet given to me by grandmother that was old when she started cooking with it.

While I always try to provide recipes that are fairly easy and not labor intensive in this blog, I warn you up front that this is not one of them.  There are several steps and it does takes time and effort but is well worth it.  I have updated the recipe a little to use cornbread mix..do not use Jiffy…and split chicken breasts instead of a whole chicken.  Jiffy contains too much sugar.  I use Morrison’s Corn Kits if you can find them and by using the chicken breasts you end up with extra white meat that can use for other dishes or frozen for later use.

Morrison's Corn Kits

Morrison’s Corn Kits

This recipe makes enough dressing for the entire news team but you can cut the recipe in half.  Also, you can use your own homemade cornbread or biscuit recipe if you are so inclined.

Southern Cornbread Dressing

  • 2 Packages Southern Cornbread Mix
  • 6 Split Chicken Breasts
  • 10 Saltine Crackers
  • 5 Cooked Southern Style Biscuits
  • 1 Teaspoon Sage
  • 1 Teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Accent
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Medium Chopped Onion
  • 4 Eggs
  • ¼ Cup Condensed Milk

Prepare cornbread per package instructions. In large pot of boiling water, place six (6) chicken breasts. Boil for approximately 45 minutes or until chicken is done. Remove chicken breasts and save broth.

In large mixing bowl, crumble cornbread. Combine crackers and biscuits in food processor. Combine cornbread, crackers and biscuits. Mix well.

Spray large roasting pan with spray oil.

Add onion and eggs to cornbread mixture. Pour mixture into roasting pan. Now pour hot broth into roasting pan. Add condensed milk. Stir.

Bake 325 for 45 minutes.

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