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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.

 

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.

 

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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.

CFB Radio Interview on That Dang Ol’ Show

Here is my weekly segment with Ryan Hyatt on That Dang Ol’ Show.  This week we chatted about ordering Tex-Mex cuisine in restaurants outside of Texas, Lubbock music and a little NASCAR.

That Dang Ol' show

That Dang Ol’ show

Listen To The Interview

Be sure to follow That Dang Ol’ Show on Twitter @dangolshow.

14 Super Recipes for the 2014 Super Bowl | Margaritas, The Big Lebowski, Chicken Wings and Sriracha Sauce

Hello friends.

It is getting close and I know folks across the country are starting to get prepared for February 2nd and the Super Bowl.  More importantly, people are are getting ready for their Super Bowl party.

The Super Bowl is a great American spectacle where an over-hyped game normally makes for boring event.  As a Texpatriate, I am a football fan.  I am a Dallas Cowboy fan.  I am an NFL fan but I am not a big fan of the Super Bowl…of course unless my Cowboys are playing which may not happen again in my lifetime.

So why is a hardcore football nut not a fan of the Super Bowl?  It is mainly because Super Bowl Sunday has been taken over by the non-football, corporate, Johnny-Come-Lately, I haven’t watched a game all year crowd where the game is about the commercials and and the betting pool.

The irony in this is that I do love to attend and host Super Bowl parties so I thought that I would provide 14 different recipes you can use for your party of one you are attending.

DRINKS

Rocky’s Margaritas

Frozen Margarita

Frozen Margarita

While I lived in Nacogdoches, I had a neighbor that was famous for his margaritas.  He loved to entertain people and was the ultimate host.  Unfortunately, he died a few years ago but he left this very simple…but a little expensive…recipe.  I still make these today.

  • 2  Quarts Ice Cubes
  • 1  6-Ounce Can Frozen Limeade
  • 3  Ounces Patron Tequila
  • 3  Ounces Grand Marnier
  • 1  Ounces Orange Juice
  • Margarita or Flaked Kosher Salt

Instructions

Fill blender with ice.  Pour in limeade, tequila, Grand Marnier and orange juice.  Blend at highest speed until drink is almost smooth.  To salt the margarita glasses, pour a single layer of salt on a salad plate. Moisten each glass rim with lime; dip each rim in the salt. Pour margaritas into each glass; garnish with lime.

APPETIZERS

Here are a couple of appetizer ideas.  There are also plenty of other ideas in previous Chicken Fried Buffalo posts.

Monroe Beer Cheese

  • 1 Pound Shredded American Cheese
  • 16 Ounce Cream Cheese
  • ½ Teaspoon Red Pepper

Instructions

Combine all ingredients except chile powder and roll into logs. Roll in chile powder. Cut and serve with crackers.

Creamy Jalapeno Dip

  • 1  Cup Real Mayonnaise
  • ⅓  Cup Buttermilk
  • ⅓  Cup Sour Cream
  • 1  4-Ounce Can Chopped Jalapeños
  • 1  4-Ounce Can Chopped Green Chiles
  • ⅓  Cup Chopped Cilantro
  • 1  1-Ounce Packet of Dry Ranch Dressing ix
  • ½  Teaspoon Minced Garlic

Instructions

Throw all ingredients into a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one (1) hour.

Sweet Chili Dip

  • 1  8-ounce Cream Cheese
  • ½  Cup Mayonnaise
  • ½  Cup Sweet Chili Sauce

Soften cream cheese. Combine cheese and mayonnaise in mixing bowl. Mix in sweet chili sauce. Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one (1) hour.

CHICKEN WINGS

ncc_logoNothing says Super Bowl or Super Bowl Party like chicken wings.  American will eat over 1.2 billion chicken wings on Super Bowl weekend according to the National Chicken Council.   Now that is a lot of yardbird my friends.

One of my first posts on Chicken Fried Buffalo, I discussed Buffalo-Style Chicken Wings.  I know that from coast-to-coast people will be frying, baking, grilling and smoking wings for their party.  The ways to prepare wings is virtually endless but I wanted to provide some simple prep tips and different sauce/seasonings.

First, I want to make a suggestion.  If you are cooking for a large group, don’t try and cook all the wings yourself.  Find a place that will pre-cook the wings for you without any sauce.  This will allow you to re-heat the wings and toss in any sauce or seasoning you would like.  Trust me…this is a big time saver and it does not add much to the overall cost.

I am going to try and list these different options in order from easiest to most complex.  Remember that the sauce/seasoning will we added to freshly cooked or reheated wings so I am not going to list chicken wing cooking instructions.

Also, everyone should know to place cooked/reheated wings in large bowl and pour sauce or seasoning over wings.  Toss until well covered.  Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing.  I have posted my Cowboy Blue Cheese Dip/Dressing that will work great with wings and who doesn’t know how to make or buy ranch dressing.

Wing Sauces

The Dude’s Buffalo Wing Sauce…because this is the lazy man’s sauce and the Dude was most certainly that. Quite possibly the laziest in Los Angeles County, which would place him high in the running for laziest worldwide.

The Dude

The Dude

Instructions

Open bottle and pour hot sauce over cooked wings.

Cajun Wing Sauce

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.  Remove from heat.

Hot Maple Wing Sauce

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.  Remove from heat.

Virgil’s Famous Wing Sauce

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.  Remove from heat.

Doc Pham’s Sriracha Sauce…hopefully you have some Sriracha sauce horded due to the much-publicized “shortage” thanks to a California judge.  Of course, Texas to the rescue:  Huy Fong Foods to start making Sriracha in Texas?

Sriracha Sauce

Sriracha Sauce

  • 5  Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • ⅓  Cup Honey
  • ¼ Cup Sriracha (Asian Chile Sauce)
  • 1  Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 2  Teaspoons Lime Juice

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.  Remove from heat.

Carolina Wings

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.  Remove from heat.

Garlic Parmesan Wings

  • 3  Teaspoons Minced Garlic
  • ½  Cup Mayonnaise
  • 2  Tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
  • 1  Tablespoon Corn Syrup
  • 1  Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1  Teaspoon Lemon Juice
  • ½  Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • ½  Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼  Teaspoon Thyme
  • ¼  Teaspoon Marjoram
  • ¼  Teaspoon Oregano
  • ¼  Teaspoon Basil
  • ¼  Teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for five minutes.  Remove from heat.

Dry Seasonings

Aussie Dry Wings…this is also nice all-purpose seasoning for grilling.

  • 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

Instructions

Combine first 10 ingredients in bowl and mix well.

Indian Dry Wings

  • 2  Tablespoons Cumin
  • 2  Tablespoons Coriander
  • 2  Tablespoons Chile Powder
  • 1  Tablespoon Ginger Powder
  • 1  Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1  Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1  Teaspoon Black Pepper

Instructions

Combine first 10 ingredients in bowl and mix well.

DESSERT

Debra’s Chocolate-Caramel Cookies

My sister-in-law makes these very simple cookies and they are great.  You can easily double or triple the recipe for a big crowd.

  • 12  Ounces Rolo’s Caramels
  • 1  Box Devils Food Cake mix
  • 2  Eggs
  • ⅓  Cup Canola Oil

Mix cake mix, oil, and eggs. Take a small ball of dough and form a ball around the Rolo. (Only use enough dough to cover the rolo so it can spread through the cookie.)  Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 10 minutes. Yields about 3 dozen.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

THAT DANG OL’ SHOW

That Dang Ol' show

That Dang Ol’ show

What is That Dang Ol’ Show and why is Chicken Fried Buffalo part of it?

It’s show is all about music, racing, food, beer…you name it.  All of those topics are right in our wheelhouse.  It looks like I will be on the show each week.

Try and set aside a little time each week from 5-7:00 p.m. Central on Real County 98.5 in Lubbock and hang out with us on That Dang Ol’ Show.

For some reason, they are allowing the show to be streamed live on the internet so you can listen from anywhere at http://thatdangolshow.com/listen-live-4/.

New Year’s Day | Nor’easter 2014, Cajun Shrimp Moque Choux Recipe and CFB Mailbag

Hello friends.

It is New Year’s Day here on the Niagara Frontier and we have a nor’easter bearing down on Buffalo from the west and this Texpatriate has decided that the best place to be is nice and warm in my loft.

My initial thought was to make a big pot of tortilla soup for myself and any ne’er do wells who might stop by to watch a little football today but I decided to do something a little different.  Many of my friends here in Buffalo have not really been exposed to Cajun cooking.  I had made a batch of Texas Caviar as a dip for for good luck and also made a pan for cornbread but needed something else.

Cajun Shrimp Maque Choux

Cajun Shrimp Maque Choux

I looked around the icebox…as my grandmother used to say…to see what I had around and saw that I had just the things I needed to make a maque choux.  Maque choux (pronounced Mock-shoe) is identified with the culture of South Louisiana but it is really a fusion of Cajun and Native American flavors.

This is a dish that works both in the dead of a WNY winter or in the summer with fresh ingredients from the a farmers’ market.

I had not made dish this in many years but I was was looking for a vegetable dish on Christmas night so I threw it together and it worked out just fine.

While I had tasted maque choux when I lived in New Orleans, I was really exposed to it by a co-worker at Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas who had worked at LSU…Geaux Tigers.keep-calm-and-geaux-tigers-20  His wife made it many times for different functions and it was always a big hit.  I have added shrimp to this version.

Cajun Shrimp Maque Choux

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Bacon or Pancetta
  • 4 Cups Corn
  • 1 Cup Chopped Yellow Onions
  • ½ Cup Chopped Red Bell Peppers
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Jalapeno, Italian Giardiniera or Hoagie Spread.
  • 2 Tablespoons Acadiana Seasoning
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½  Cup Cream
  • 1 Pound Small Cooked Shrimp

Melt butter in a large cast iron skillet or saute pan then add bacon and cook over medium high heat until brown. Add the corn, onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, Acadiana Seasoning and salt.  Cook, stirring until soft for 10 minutes. Add cream and shrimp.  Cook for additional two (2) minutes.

NOTE:  You can substitute some healthier ingredients…half-and-half, canola oil, etc.  This dish can be made the day before and then re-heated.  Also, I know that when you read the ingredients you might have looked twice when you saw “Hoagie Spread” listed as a substitute for jalapenos.  This is a condiment that is used on sandwiches throughout the Northeast and I have found that it works great in recipes.  I am working on my own recipe and will post when I finally get it right.

Since I already had cornbread made, I thought grilled cornbread would make a nice side for the maque choux.  This simple technique for cornbread works well with many other dishes and is a nice change from standard dinner roll or garlic toast.  Obviously, I like corn so the “double” corn dishes are fine with me.

Garlic Toasted Cornbread

  • Cornbread Squares Sliced Lengthwise
  • Butter
  • Garlic Powder

Heat iron skillet over medium heat.  Butter one side of cornbread then sprinkle with garlic powder.  Place cornbread butter-side down in skillet.  Grill until golden brown.

Chicken Fried Buffalo Mailbag

One of the followers of Chicken Fried Buffalo asked if I would share some of my e-mail correspondence.  Please send questions or comments to info@chickenfriedbuffalo.com or post your question on Twitter @ChkFriedBuffalo.

Why can’t I get Whataburger to deliver?  I have called several times and they never bring any of the food I asked for.  Thanks.

— Trae (Lubbock, Texas)

whataburger+signFirst, do not call 911 like Latreasa Goodman of Fort Pierce, Florida did to complain about McDonald’s…this might get you back in trouble with the local authorities.  I suggest you either drive to Whataburger…they are open 24-hours…and place your order in person or order Chinese from Little Panda.  They deliver with a $15 minimum order which should not be a problem for someone like you.

What type of beer would you pair with your Ranger Chili?  Thank you…I’ll hang up and listen.

— Ben (Berwyn, Ill.)

Cold.

You said in an earlier post that you come from a family of good cooks.  Besides your family, who else made you want to cook?

— Dan (Frisco, Texas)

That is correct.  I do come from a family of cooks so I guess its in the genes…so to speak.

Growing up in Dallas, there was a television cook named David Wade.

David Wade

David Wade

Now this guy was always talking of cooking with “class” and he acted like a condescending jackass.  He called himself the “Rembrandt of the Kitchen” and peppered his presentation with adjectives.  He wore an ascot and blazer, created his own “coat of arms” and had “B” list celebrities stop by his show in the early days.

My mother watched his shows and I was forced to watch him as well..since we only seven channels and one television..but watching David Wade cook was mesmerizing to me.  In fact, I still use a couple of his recipes.

Justin Wilson

Justin Wilson

The next cook that I still think about today is Justin Wilson.  Now, I knew of Justin Wilson as a Cajun comedian for many years before I knew anything about his cooking.  He was southern humorist in the same mold as Jerry Clower and Jeff Foxworthy but he also wrote five Cajun cookbooks.

In 1982, WYES-TV in New Orleans began broadcasting Justin Wilson cooking shows for PBS.  These shows were filled with Justin cooking the way I wanted to cook.  Cooking food I wanted to eat.  Justin was probably the biggest influence on me…I gha-rawn-tee!  Justin Wilson passed away in 2001 at the age of 87.

What makes ham so tasty?

— James Francis (Waterloo, Iowa)

I like ham.  I like bacon.  I pretty much like everything related to pig.  The process is what gives the ham is flavor…curing, smoking or salting.  You’re welcome.

Christmas Notes and Tips | Dips, Salads, Pies, A&E, Duck Dynasty and Phil Robertson

Greetings from McKinney

My Hometown

A&EDuck DynastyPhil Robertson.

Well, I guess I got your attention.

Fortunately or unfortunately…depending on your point of view…this post from Chicken Fried Buffalo has nothing to do with any of those aforementioned topics.

These musings are about the holidays and the joy that this time of year can bring.

Speaking of joy, let’s talk about Christmas food.  We are only a couple of days away and we need to get prepared.  You might be looking for a last minute idea…well here are a few.

For the first time in 12 years, I will not have to travel by air to a Christmas destination.  No airports, no gummers (I’ll explain them in another post).  I only have to drive a short distance home.

My entire clan from Texas will be making the trip to New York for the holiday.  On one hand, it is a relief but stressful on the other.  Making sure our house is in order.  Do we have everything we need…food, drinks, gifts.

Hopefully, you already have a turkey, ham and your big items…make sure to avoid “big box” stores at all cost the next couple of days.  My last post provided recipes for turkey and ham.  What I wanted to do today was add a few “odds and ends” to help add a couple of Texpatriate twists for your Christmas menu.

Most Christmas get togethers in my family revolve around snack type foods, “grazing” as it is known in Texas…and not big meals.  Over the years, I have adopted and customized a few dishes that are favorites of friends and family alike.

All four of these recipes have their origins in my hometown of McKinney, Texas.

CHEESE DIPS

Ford’s Eight-Cheese Dip

One of the original convenience stores in McKinney was Ford’s Grocery.  Ford’s had an “old school” deli and steam table. During the holidays, Mr. Ford would make this fantastic jalapeño cheese dip.  It was also the place you could get your Skoal and Copenhagen while still under age.  Of course, Ford’s is long gone and he never gave the recipe to anyone outside the family.  This dip is a favorite of my parents and I have been trying to duplicate it for year and here is is my best effort.

Soften cream cheese.  Combine cream cheese and mayonnaise in mixing bowl.  Fold in cheese blends.  Add onion powder, garlic powder and jalapeños.  Mix well.  Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one (1) hour.

NOTE:  For a little Chicago flavor, substitute chopped Italian Giardiniera.  I make my own giardiniera but that recipe is for another time.  Also, you can serve this dip warm.

Gouda Dip

The next dip is one I started making several years ago.  How can anything with bacon and smoked gouda be bad?

  • 3 Slices Bacon

  • 1 8-ounce Cream Cheese

  • 2/3 Cup Mayonnaise

  • 1 Cup Shredded Smoked Gouda

  • 1 Tablespoon ACADIANA SEASONING

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.  Add ACADIANA SEASONING, bacon and stir.  Place in refrigerator and chill for at least one (1) hour.

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

SALAD

Mandarin Spinach Salad

This is one of my mom’s best recipes and it is not just for Christmas.

  • 1 Package Slivered Almonds

  • 3 Chopped Green Onions

  • 1 Can Mandarin Oranges

  • 1 Package Pre-Washed Spinach

     Dressing

  • ½ Cup Sunflower Oil

  • 2 Tablespoon Sugar

  • 2 Tablespoon Malt Vinegar

  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt

  • 1/8 Teaspoon Almond Flavoring

Toast Almonds.  Combine almonds, onions, oranges and spinach in large salad bowl and set aside.  In medium mixing bowl, whisk oil, sugar, vinegar, salt and almond flavoring.  Toss dressing in salad bowl.

PIE

Chocolate Chip Pie

Located in historic downtown, The Pantry is a longtime McKinney favorite.  The recipe below is theirs and was including in a cookbook published over 20 years ago that is no longer available.

  • 2 Eggs

  • ½ Cup Melted Butter

  • 1 Cup Sugar

  • ½ Cup Flour

  • 1 ½ Cup Vanilla

  • 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

  • 1 Cup Pecan Pieces

  • 1 10-Inch Pie Shell

Beat eggs.  Add six (6) ingredients and mix well.  Let mixture cool for 20 minutes.  Preheat oven at 350.  Pour mixture into pie shell.  Garnish pecans on top of pit.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.

I hope that everyone has a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  This is a time of year to think of others.  If you have some extra this season, please try and share with folks that are less fortunate.

Thanksgiving: Texas Pecan Pie Recipe

Texas Pecan Pie

Texas Pecan Pie

I hate pumpkin.  Let me say that again…I hate pumpkin.

It is not that I hate the fall, Halloween, harvest time or Thanksgiving.  I like Jack-O-Lanterns.  I like orange and I think that pumpkins are the perfect fall decoration.

What I hate is the flavor of pumpkin and if you are like me, this is an awful time of year with everyone trying to force pumpkin down your throat…so to speak.

Pumpkin pie, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin donuts, toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup, pumpkin muffins…everywhere I turn there is something pumpkin.

Pumpkins...Yards of Pumpkins

Pumpkins…Yards of Pumpkins

Folks you are scooping the “meat” out of a gourd…yes the pumpkin is a gourd.  A pumpkin is a member of the cucurbit (gourd) family.  It is something to be viewed and admired…not consumed.

Creepy Tim's Employee

Creepy Tim’s Employee

In fact, I had a very traumatic experience in my office a couple of weeks ago.  A member of my staff was kind enough to bring in a variety box of TimBits.  Point of clarification for the people who don’t live near the Canadian border…a TimBit is a donut hole sold by the greatest donut chain on the planet…Tim Horton’s.  This is a Canadian chain started by a legendary hockey player…that’s right, Tim Horton…and the inspiration or Stan Makita’s Donuts from Wayne’s World.

Not paying much attention, I reached in the box to grab a little Tim’s goodness and somehow ended up with a pumpkin TimBit instead of the sour cream glazed I expected.  Of course, I popped it in my mouth like an M&M only to realize when it hit my taste buds that it was pumpkin flavor.  Now committed, I had to chew and swallow.  I can still taste that nastiness as I write today.

Now that you have some background, I can go on with the recipe.

As noted in an earlier post, I will be cooking Thanksgiving Dinner this year for 30 people and there are many pumpkin lovers among the group…my wife included…but I will NOT bake pumpkin pies.  I will buy them.

What I will bake is a Texas Pecan Pie.  To me and many Texpatriates, the pecan pie is not just a Southern dessert but the National Dessert of Texas…just ask Texas Monthly.  The pecan is the state nut of Texas…of course some folks have given that title to Rick Perry.

Rick Perry Eating A Corndog

Rick Perry Eating A Corndog

Also, let’s take just a minute to discuss one of the most mis-pronounced words in the English language…pecan.  Pecan is pronounced PUH-CON…not PEA-CAN.  I thought that I should clear that up for everyone.

There are many different variations on the pecan pie.  You will find bourbon pecan pie in Kentucky and a chocolate-coconut pecan pie in Virginia.  In fact, the Niagara Frontier has a variation that is pretty tasty…a maple-walnut pie.

While I have met few pecan pies that I couldn’t eat, I prefer just the basic pecan pie that both my grandmothers made countless times in their lives.  I have tried to make this pie as close to theirs as possible with one exception.  I cannot make a decent pie crust no matter how hard I try.  I watched them.  I have watched my mother and mother-in-law make these amazing pie crusts.  I have tried every recipe and technique but I still cannot get it right.  Therefore, I use the refrigerated pre-made dough.  While not at the quality of my grandmothers, it’ll work.

This recipe is simple and you can just double or triple the ingredients if you are making multiple pies.

Here are a couple of tips:  Generic or store-brand corn syrup works just fine.  Use real butter and vanilla…I prefer the Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla.  Cover the edges of your pie crust with foil so you don’t overcook your crust.

Texas Pecan Pie

  • 3  Eggs
  • 1  Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1  Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4  Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/3   Cup Melted Butter
  • 1  Teaspoon Real Vanilla
  • 1  Cup Pecans
  • 1  10-Inch Pie Crust/Shell

Step 1: Preheat oven at 350.

Step 2: Beat eggs.  Add five (5) ingredients and beat until foamy.  Fold in pecans.

Step 3: Pour mixture into pie shell.

Step 4: Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Buffalo Dining: Black Rock Kitchen and Bar

Chicken Fried Buffalo

Chicken Fried Buffalo

While this blog is not a restaurant review site, I will on occasion talk about a positive dining experience in Buffalo.

Last week, I attended the Malcolm Gladwell event at SUNY Buffalo with some friends from UB.  At the pre-event reception, our talk turned to great out of the way dining spots in the city and that with me being “new” to the city, I needed to try some of these establishments and write about them for this blog.

The first place on the list that I decided to try was Black Rock Kitchen and Bar.  A good friend of mine is also a friend of BRK&B owner Mark Goldman so we decided to meet for an early dinner to see just how good the place was.

Located at 491 Amherst Street in the Black Rock neighborhood, Black Rock is an area that has a very unique history.  In the early 1800’s Black Rock was an independent town located northwest of Buffalo.  During the War of 1812, Black Rock was twice burned to the ground by British Troops and was later a rival of Buffalo for the terminus of the Erie Canal.  The town flourished until 1839, but was eventually annexed by Buffalo in 1853.  Black Rock was also an important crossing point for the Underground Railroad due to its strategic location on the Niagara River across from Fort Erie, Ontario.

BRK&B is very much like the small neighborhood establishments that are plentiful throughout cities like Chicago.  It has plenty of street parking and also a small parking lot across the street.  Luckily, we decided to eat at 5:30 pm and were able to get a table immediately.  There is normally a wait if you arrive later.

community-beer-works-the-whaleThe wine list is extensive and moderately priced.  As for craft beers, BRK&B does have a limited selection of beers on tap but has an outstanding selection of crafts in bottles.  I decided on the Whale…a fine brown ale..by Buffalo’s own Community Beer Works.

One of the things that I like about places like BRK&B is that they limit their menus to the things they do well then use nightly specials to expand the selections.  When a quaint bistro-style restaurant tries to be all things to all people, it always seems to lose something.

While I decided against an appetizer or salad, I saw an entrée that immediately caught my attention…BBQ babyback ribs with sides of slaw and baked mac and cheese.  It did take me minute to decide on the ribs instead of the buttermilk fried chicken but the yardbird can wait until my next visit.

I am not a person that gets all caught up on food presentation.  I want the food to taste good but I will admit that the presentation of the meal was beautiful.BRKB Ribs

Let me start with the sides.  The mac and cheese was baked and served in a crock.  I am a connoisseur of mac and cheese and I would rank this as my favorite in Buffalo…so far.  The slaw was good but not great.  As I noted in an earlier post, I like slaw a little different than most people.

Unlike other Texpatirates, I believe that you can have good babyback ribs without having to smoke them.  While I do prefer a little smoke curled around ribs, I have had very good ribs that were done in the oven and finished on the grill.  BRK&B’s ribs were of this variety and were excellent.  The flavor was outstanding and the meat fell off the bone.  The sauce was good but when I have them again I will get the sauce on the side.

cityontheedgeDuring the meal, I was introduced to Mark and we had a lively discussion about everything from Buffalo dining to the future of higher education in America.  A true proponent of the city, Mark wrote “City On the Edge”  a book detailing the history of Buffalo from 1900 to the present.

In addition, Mark also owns another restaurant…Allen Street Hardware…which is also on my list.

Overall, I was very impressed with my first trip to BRK&B. Both David and his staff pay attention to the details and that helps with the overall experience.  The food was very good, portions were generous and the prices moderate.

I will be back and the buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes has my name on it.

NEXT UP:  More Thanksgiving recipes.

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