Cooking Videos Up and Running

I know I have not been blogging like I should, but I have really been busy. Ok that is an excuse and my dad used to have a saying about excuses that I will not repeat here. Anyways, lately I have been recording cooking videos and posting them on YouTube, so that has been taking up a lot of my time. Also the BBQ trailer is rolling strong, so that is keeping my extra time limited. So I said all of that to say this. Here is the link to my YouTube channel so take a look and let me know what you think about it. Leave a comment give me some thumbs up and subscribe if you can.

Categories: Appetizers, BBQ, Competition, Dessert, Entrees, Grilling, Hors d'Oeuvres, Side Dishes, Texas Style Cuisine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cactus Salsa!!!

This week I took my students to compete in a salsa contest. They prepared an excellent salsa using roasted poblano peppers and cactus paddles. We did not place in the top three, but I thought it was excellent. So here is the recipe it is well worth a try.

Roasted Poblano and Nopalitos Salsa


3lbs             tomatillos

3                  red bell peppers

4                  poblano peppers

4-6              serrano peppers

2                  small onions

4cups          nopalitos

4cloves        garlic

1                    lemon juiced

1tbsp             kosher salt

1bunch          cilantro

1. Roast poblano peppers, remove charred skin and dice

2. Dice onions and nopalitos

3. Julienne red bell peppers

4. Chop tomatillos

5. Pan roast serronos until they are tender and the skin is blackened and mince

6. Saute onions and bell peppers, add the mince garlic at the end to not burn it

7. Sweat tomatillos

8. Combine all ingredients except cilantro and mix well while still on the heat

9. Small chop cilantro and add to salsa after removing from heat

10. Serve with chips or along with your favorite Mexican foods

Categories: Appetizers, Competition, Grilling, Hors d'Oeuvres, Texas Style Cuisine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BBQ Trailer Up and Rolling


We are a little over two months into selling BBQ in Lytle. Sells have been good for a new business and the community is showing up to support us. You can  find us parked downtown Lytle at   15049 Main St, on Saturdays and Sundays. We try to open up at 11:00 and we stay open until we sell out. We don’t sell out every day but we selling quite a bit of BBQ. We sell brisket, spare ribs, sausage, chicken and pulled pork along with sides. Our sides include potato salad, coleslaw, beans and Mexican rice. On Sundays we are serving a Jack Daniel’s Peach Cobbler for dessert.

A big endorsement by one of Texas's best.

A big endorsement by one of Texas’s best.

My Pitmaker BBQ Vaults doing the work on my trailer's BBQ porch.

My Pitmaker BBQ Vaults doing the work on my trailer’s BBQ porch.

Our 1st cook off in the new trailer.

Our 1st cook off in the new trailer.

The official T-shirt

The official T-shirt

Categories: Appetizers, BBQ, Competition, Dessert, Entrees, Grilling, Hors d'Oeuvres, Side Dishes, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fun, Food and Fund Raising

Steven Raichlen and I at the Showcase Dinner.

Steven Raichlen and I at the Showcase Dinner.

The SARA, San Antonio Restaurant Association, Showcase Dinner was a huge success once again this year. This years guest chef was Steven Raichlen and he helped to make the evening at the historic Pearl Stables just north of the down town, fantastic. The evening started with drinks and hors d’oeuvre that were prepared by Chef Johnny Hernandez and True Flavors Catering. Chef Hernandez and his people did an excellent job preparing the foods that Mr. Raichlen had chosen for the evening. Upon arriving I met my friend Ruben Sepulveda and his lovely wife Cheryl, who had graciously invited my wife and I to be their guest. My first tasting was Steve’s Buffla-Q Shrimp, I could have just continued with them and been so happy. Next I tried some Finger Burner Lamb Chops and then some Bacon-Grilled Dates, along with some Gentleman Jack to wash them down.

 The meal started with a Grilled Caesar Salad, and we were able to enjoy it while Steven was on stage showing us how to make the shrimp hors d’oeuvres and each of the other courses as we enjoyed them. The main course was a grilled New York Strip with Jack Daniels/Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce and Hell Fire Peppers, it was served with  a Smoked Stuffed Potato, Pimenton Grilled Asparagus and a Oaxacan Grilled Corn Flan. The dessert was an excellent Grilled Pound Cake with Fresh Berry Salsa and Tequila Whipped Cream.

 I had a chance to meet Mr. Raichlen during the meal and again the next day at the CIA. It was a true pleasure, he was a very nice man and was sincerely seeing that you enjoyed your evening and his meal. I was able to pick up an autographed copy of his new book BBQ Planet to go along with his other books that are in my library of cookbooks.

Thanks Mr. Raichlen for a wonderful evening and to SARA for the hard work they put into this scholarship fund-raising event for the culinary students of San Antonio.

Categories: Appetizers, BBQ, Dessert, Entrees, Grilling, Hors d'Oeuvres, Side Dishes, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ribs, BBQ, Ribs, BBQ, Ribs and Ribs

Libby and I with her family at Allendale

Libby and I with her family at Allendale

I guess you can see we had plenty of BBQ on our trip to Tennessee. Actually we did not have Q every day, but some days we did have it twice. We started off early Thursday and headed north. The first day me made it to Little Rock and met part of Libby’s family for dinner and then we were up Friday and headed to Clarksville Tennessee. Saturday found us heading to the families plantation, for the family reunion.

The plantation, Allendale, has been in operation since the 1700s raising tobacco as its main crop. Upon our arrival we were greeted by the family patriarch, William Bailey Allen and his son Bailey.  All the family were great and made me feel at home for my first visit. William Bailey’s tour of the home was fantastic but the old brick BBQ pit in the yard is what really caught my attention. This old pit had a gentle flume of smoke rising from it and I knew I had to see what was inside. Bailey was smoking spare ribs using the families vinegar sop. Now I had to find out what was in this sop and where the recipe came from. Well this sop has been used in the family for 3 or 4 generations, so I will give it to John when he gets home nest week and he can be the 4th or 5th generation to use it. Sorry I would love to share it with you, I might get kicked out of the family for posting it on the web. Now these were some excellent ribs, I would consider them a dry rib and they were very good. Bailey shared them as an appetizer prior to our meal and many people including myself added them to the excellent pulled pork that was catered by Red Top BBQ from Tiny Town TN. Red Top had some great sides to go with the Q and their service was fantastic.

After a couple of days at the family reunion we headed down to Franklin. Libby’s cousin Craig lives there, so we met with her Aunts and Uncles there for a few days of touring. The first night Craig took us to Famous Dave’s for a night of Q and fellowship. Dave’s serves their BBQ Feast on a trash can lid and we got two of them. The ten of us had more Q and sides then we could eat. Each lid had three sides placed in the center of the lid and a variety of smoked goodness around the outside. The sides we got were corn on the cob, coleslaw, potato salad, baked beans, and fries. The outer edge of the garbage lids contained brisket, ribs, chicken and pulled pork. I thought for a chain restaurant the Q was very exceptional. The only thing that I would say was under par was the sauce on the ribs a little burnt. Looks like the sauced them to soon, but they were good.

Touring the Civil War sites and plantations around Franklin was fun and then we headed to Lynchburg for a tour of the Jack Daniel’s distillery. The tour was excellent and afterwards we went to Miss Mary BoBo’s for lunch. Now Miss Mary’s is not BBQ but it is some fantastic down home cooking, served family style. I would recommend this as part of any trip to Lynchburg, just remember to get reservations way in advance.

Once we finished lunch, we loaded into the truck and headed to Memphis. Now this is the BBQ city I had been waiting for. Our first day there we headed straight to Sun Records and then to the Rock and Roll and Blues Museum. For lunch we headed to Corky’s. Corky’s had been selling ribs since 1984. I ordered a rack of ribs half wet and half dry, Libby got a half chicken and her parents got chopped chicken and chopped beef sandwiches. Everyone loved their  meal and the service was excellent. Now my wet ribs were some of the best, but I can’t say that about the dry side. I thought the dry was way over seasoned. It seemed they had just dumped the rub on top of the wet so it would stick. The sides were all delicious and so was the variety of sauces they had, we left full and happy.

Now Corky’s gave us some advice on local favorites, so we stopped at Topps BBQ for supper. Libby and her parents got burgers and I got ribs and pulled pork. They loved the burgers, mom said it was the best burger she’d had in years. Now I can’t say that about the Q. The pulled pork was good but the dry ribs were just ok. Tuesday was capped off with a night for Libby and I on Beale St. Wednesday is Bikes on Beale, and let me tell you the bikes were there. We wandered up and down Beale looked at some beautiful bikes and listened to some excellent music. Before the night was finished we wound up at BB King’s and enjoyed some live music played by the Blake Ryan Band.

Thursday started at Graceland, then the Peabody Hotel to watch the ducks make their entry. We had a quick-lunch then we toured Mud island and had a river boat ride. For dinner it was Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous. Now advice on going to Rendezvous was mixed, but I figured I was going to find out for myself, boy am I glad we did. The dry ribs were great and so was the sauces they had to put on them. Libby once again got chicken and her parents got chopped sandwiches. Libby thought that Rendezvous had chicken a little better the Corky’s, but my in-laws gave Corky’s the nod for chopped. The sides were good also, everyone loved the potato salad and the coleslaw opinions were mixed. Service now that is where other places stood out. Our server was more interested in watching the baseball game on one of the TVs, placed around the restaurant for the guest then taking care of us.

Now having an early dinner meant I could squeeze in a late night run to Central BBQ. This was an excellent decision, even though I had to go by myself. Upon arrival I had to wait outside before I could get inside to order. I tried ribs once again and they were excellent. The ribs came out as a dry rib but were nice and moist. They have four sauces for you to use their regular sauce, hot, vinegar and mustard. I tried them all and they were excellent. This is where the locals were and I could see why, excellent Q and fantastic service. This is an excellent way to end out last night in Memphis.

Friday morning we were up early and heading to Vicksburg for a little touring. When we entered Mississippi we stopped at the Tunica visitors center for some information and maps. Then it was back in the truck heading south to Vicksburg. We hit the little town of Clarksdale about lunch time so we got off the highway and looked for a place to eat. I was hunting BBQ and my passengers were looking for something else. I found an excellent little place called Abe’s. Abe’s claims to have been serving BBQ and Blues since 1924. I believe it, the baby back ribs I got there were excellent. Now I am not going to mention where everyone else ate, I ate my Q in the truck then joined them inside while they finished their meal. Its back into the truck and headed to Vicksburg for out tour, then on to Shreveport for the night.

Saturday we are up and going, heading to Texas and home. I stop in antique shop so the girls let me have BBQ for lunch. Libby googled BBQ in Palestine and finds four locations, one has bad reviews, so we look at the other three and wind up at Bishop’s Brisket House. Now on first look I was not impressed. Bishops is in a mall, not a place I would look for good Q. Well I was wrong this Q was excellent. Being back in Texas I needed brisket, so it was brisket and ribs. Libby once again got chicken, mom got turkey and dad got ribs. We were al impressed with the meats and the sides. The service was great and everyone in the restaurant seemed happy. With a full belly we climbed back into the truck and headed home.

Now this was a great trip, ten days, nine BBQ meals over eight days. Libby’s family reunion was excellent the touring was fun and educating. Surely a trip to be remembered.

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Craig, Libby and I at Famous Dave’s

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Bailey’s pit at Allendale

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Libby and her parents at Corky’s

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Carnton Plantation in Franklin

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Libby and I at Sun Records

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Libby at the Peabody Hotel with their famous ducks

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Libby and I with Jack Daniel’s

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Libby and her mom with the King of Rock and Roll

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Abe’s is near the crossroad where it is claimed Robert Johnson traded his soul to the Devil to learn to play the guitar

Categories: Appetizers, BBQ, Entrees, Grilling, Side Dishes, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Roasted Chili Cheesey Grits


One thing would never grow up was grits. Well these are not my mama’s grits. They are surely upscale and full of flavor that your normal grits can only hope to be. One reason for the great flavor is because I use chicken broth and cream to make the grits instead of water. Then I add fire  roasted poblano peppers, fresh garlic and sweet onions. These grits were  a great accompaniment with some sautéed shrimp and a grilled rib eye. Try these grits, especially if you think you don’t like grits. They will change your mind.

  • 1 cup         quick grits
  • 2 cups       chicken broth
  • 2 cups       heavy cream
  • 1 cup         diced onion
  • 2                poblano peppers roasted and diced
  • 1 tbsp        minced garlic
  • 4oz            cheddar cheese
  • 4oz            monterey jack cheese
  • TT             salt pepper and Tony Chachere”s
  1. Saute onions in butter, add peppers and garlic about midway of the onions becoming translucent.
  2. Add chicken broth and cream and bring to a simmer.
  3. Gradually whisk in the grits and seasonings.
  4. After grits thicken stir in the cheese.

I served the grits with sautéed shrimp, that were cooked with slivers of onion and Anaheim chilies. the entrée was a grilled rib eye. The grits were and excellent addition to this surf and turf meal.

Categories: Appetizers, BBQ, Entrees, Grilling, Side Dishes, Texas Style Cuisine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Salsa Salsa and more Salsa

First I want to say I am sorry for not posting up anything in forever. Things have been very busy around here. I do have a couple of post to get up but I figured I would start with my students annual Salsa Contest. This year I had 23 teams compete. Not only was their salsa scored but they were also scored on their presentation and interview. We once again had a great time. I will try to get a picture up of the winning team and a couple of recipes. But for now I have included a couple of links. The 1st is to the local Fox Station, KABB 29 in San Antonio, were we made the 9:00 news. The 2nd link is to the districts website that has and article and photos posted.

Thanks too all the judges. especially Bruce Finley from B & B SmokeHouse who took time out of his busy schedule to drop in and judge again this year. Also to Chef Chris Mendoza, VP Dale Hahn from McCollum HS, past winner Alvaro Verastigue, and to my lovely wife VP Libby Stewart from Harlandale MS.

Categories: Appetizers, Competition, Texas Style Cuisine, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shrimp Skewers

I was looking for a quick meal the other night so I decided to throw together some shrimp skewers. Libby ran to the local HEB food store and pick up some 10/15 shrimp, while I was starting the fires. I put on some rice after starting the fires and washed up some zucchini squash. I had some of my Chipotle BBQ Sauce already made up and I threw together a balsamic vinaigrette. Once the wife got back with the shrimp I started peeling and deveining the shrimp. I left the tails on for presentation and skewered up the shrimp. Half the shrimp were brushed with the BBQ Sauce and half were coated with the vinegrette. The fire was ready when I was finished. I had the propane grill going also so I put the squash on after coating them with some of the vinegrette, and threw on some fresh green onions. The skewers did not take long at all about 3 minutes on each side. I plated everything up by placing the shrimp skewers on a bed of rice, two wedges of squash and a  nice green onion. We had a great meal in just over 30 minutes. Not a bad meal for something thrown together at the last-minute.

Categories: Appetizers, BBQ, Grilling, Hors d'Oeuvres, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Oysters Rockefeller

This is my absolute favorite way to eat oysters, although I will eat them any way they are fixed. I had a friend growing up whose dad had a seafood restaurant. Klondike Cafe was the place to be for seafood back in the 70’s and early 80’s. Earl Rudes was the chef and owner of this special placed. Earl was the kind of guy what would make you feel important and he was an excellent cook. Earl passed away  a little over a year ago but before he did I had a chance to visit with him and he gave me some of his recipes. Of course the first I asked for was the Rockefeller. Now Oysters Rockefeller is made with different ingredients I prefer ones made with spinach. They were created in New Orleans by a chef that was having a hard time getting snails. So he decided to use the ample amounts of oysters that were in the region to create his new dish. They say that when he had it perfected it sauce was a rich green sauce, so the richest person he new of was Rockefeller, thus the name.

Shucking an Oyster

A nice plump Texas Oyster

A tray about ready for the oven

Categories: Appetizers, Hors d'Oeuvres, Texas Style Cuisine | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Rattle Snake Round Up

Wild times were had in Sweetwater at the Annual Rattle Snake Round Up. Julie Richards, of Waco and Julie fame, was on the winning team. Midkiff Mafia BBQ had a great day. They place 1st in rattle snake, 2nd in brisket and 10th in chicken. That gave them just enough points for the Grand Champion call in this Lonestar Barbeque Society event. Julie was going to make a snake meatball using my Chipotle Bomber recipe as a guide, but they were thrown a curveball and had to change the recipe at the last-minute. This year the judges decided to make the teams turn in snake on the bone, so they could be sure it was indeed snake. So it’s a little tough serving meatballs with bones, so she changed at the last moment. I will try to get some pics up later of the winning team. Julie had to take off early because her and Waco were singing over in Midland. So she missed the awards. Check out the link from here to Waco and Julie’s site and go see them sometime if they are in the area. Congratulations to Bernie Phillips and the Midkiff Mafia BBQ team.

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