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.
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
3 red bell peppers
4 poblano peppers
4-6 serrano peppers
2 small onions
1 lemon juiced
1tbsp kosher salt
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
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.
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.
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.
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
- Saute onions in butter, add peppers and garlic about midway of the onions becoming translucent.
- Add chicken broth and cream and bring to a simmer.
- Gradually whisk in the grits and seasonings.
- 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.
A little different kind of post, but one thing that can make a huge difference in your cooking. Everyone loves the taste of butter but butter burns rather easily. In fact about 250º, which is not hot enough to saute’. By clarifying your butter you raise the the smoking point to about 350º. Now you can cook without the fear of burning butter. The reason for the high temperature before burning is that you have taken out the ingredients that will burn and left the oil. What burns is the sugar, milk solids and water. Once removing these items you are cooking with oil. You can save the part you remove and use it for seasoning on items such as popcorn. So here is the process.
- Heat sticks of butter, I usually clarify at least one pound at a time.
- Remove items that are floating on the top and pour off the middle, which you will keep.
- The oil can now be stored at room temp with out the worry of the butter turning rancid.
Melting the butter
Pouring melted butter into a clear pitcher.
The butter starting to separate and layer up.
After removing the top pour off the oil being careful not to get the bottom portion.
Just the oil left
I invited the family over for some pizza. I prepared the dough and the sauce and everyone else brought the toppings. It was a great time all the kids got in on it and they had a blast. I think we made every type of pizza you could think of and the kids rolled dough and rolled dough and rolled dough. I thought they were going to ware it out. everyone from the youngest to the oldest had a wonderful time and had some pretty good pizza. Now at first I was trying to cook the pizza on a wire rack but it just would not cook the dough. So I broke out the corm meal and laid them right down on the floor of the oven. From that point on everything cooked through.
I love grilled fish, especially when its fresh. Now this can’t get much fresher. I caught it about 1:00, ate it about 4:00. That s pretty fresh. Now a fish cooked on the half shell is simply a fillet that has cut off the bone and the skin and scales left on. Now you want to use a fish with a tougher skin, like reds, snapper, black drum or something like that. If you look at the plate you will see a small piece of fish to its left. the is the throat of the red. This is located behind the gills and below the pectoral fins. Many times when someone fillets a fish this portion of the red is thrown away. It’s not a real large area but it is tasty. I have a grill set up outside the trailer and it really comes in handy. I like cooking outside but it also takes some heat out of the trailer and Texas produces enough heat without the help of the stove.
Now to get started. I have taken he fillets and seasoned them with some Tony Chachere’s and then drizzled a little Italian dressing on it with a squeeze of lemon. I have also cooked the bones on the fish, this red was big enough that I saved the bones to cook also
I have the grill heated up and head straight to it with he fillets. Now you lay the fish straight on the grill on a medium high heat. My grill does not have a lid so I use some aluminium foil to make a tent over the fish to help hold in heat. Before I had the fish on I fixed some red potatoes. I got the small ones and sliced them in half, seasoned them with salt, pepper, cumin and some fresh garlic. I also sliced up about half an onion. wrapped this inside of some aluminum foil, with a stick of butter. This package was placed on the grill before the fish.
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.