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.
Wow what a day last Wednesday. My son John and I got up at 5:00AM and Headed to Austin to see what all the hoopla was about at Franklin BBQ. We arrived at Franklin’s just before 8:00AM. There was already a nice sized line forming outside the restaurant. John and I parked and found our place in line. We figured there were about 50-60 people ahead of us. We were having a good time in line visiting with the people in line around us, one young couple was in from LA and wanted to try some great Texas BBQ. Around 9:00 one of the employees came by to let us know that they were already sold out of pulled pork and ribs. Now remember they do not open until 11:00, but they were taking orders. He then returned to taking orders. Now it is about 9:30 he is nearing us for our order. We are still feeling good about getting to try some of this much talked about brisket. At 9:35 he is taking the order of the people in front of us in line. One man orders a whole brisket and the other orders 1/2 brisket, the young man looks at us and says sorry we are sold out. Yes we drove for over two hours sat in line over an hour and a half and they sold out to the people in front of us. Well our search for BBQ was not over, we had alternate plans. We are now heading a few blocks south to La Barbeque, who’s pitmaster used to work for Franklin’s. Upon approaching La Barbeque we noticed no line and no smoke coming from the pits, they had closed for the holiday and would not be open until Friday. Well now we are hung on the horns of a dilemma. John searches the net for John Mueller Meat Co. and I search for Micklethwait Craft Meats. Mueller’s is closed on Wednesdays so our choice was easy we were headed to Micklewait’s. Upon arriving we see people who were inline with us at Franklin’s, so we take our place behind them. Then more people arrive that had been at Franklin’s and we all have a great conversation about not getting in. After an hour wait the line starts moving, we are in the front so there is no danger of them selling out before we make it to the order window. We spent about $60 on brisket, pork shoulder, Shiner Bock Sausage and chicken, John also got some jalapeno cheese grits. We quickly received our tray of food and we returned to our picnic table that we were sharing with a very nice young couple, their six month old son and their parents in from Florida. In line one of the ladies had told us that she eats at Micklewait’s and Franklin’s both and that the brisket at Micklewaits is just as good as Franklin’s. Now the brisket was moist and tender, but I did not think it was overly flavorful. This could be because of the simple salt and pepper rub that most central Texas BBQ joints brag about. The sausage was very good and I loved the course ground texture that it had. Chicken was very good but again there was plenty of cracked black pepper, but I did enjoy it very much. The grits were tasty but maybe a little undercooked. The plate came with red onions bread and homemade pickles, which were outstanding. Now for the pork shoulder, it was out of this world, probably the best I have ever had. John and I both agreed it was fantastic. Not sure if I will wait in line again for Franklin’s, but I will return to Micklethwait Craft Meats.
This is a very easy recipe and it is excellent. I have entered it in three cook-offs and it has won all three. Two times I have cooked in a dutch oven and once in my oven in the BBQ trailer. I am going to give instructions for the oven. I know you dutch oven enthusiast will know how to adjust. A simple pie crust is easy enough to make or you can use premade crust from your local grocer. I encourage you to give it a try you will love it.
1. 2 1/2 lbs frozen peaches (I buy 5lb bags that I get at our local HEB) so I use 1/2 bag
2. 2 cups sugar
3. 1/4 cup flour
4. 1/3 cup cinnamon with sugar
5. 1/4 juice of a lemon
5. 3 premade pie crust or two large homemade crust
6. 1/4 cup butter
7. 1/4 cup Jack Daniel’s
1. In a bowl add thawed peaches, sugar and flour(mix the sugar and flour before adding to the peaches) and Jack Daniel’s allow time for the peaches to render their juices, stir occasionally.
2. Grease a baking dish with shortening, 9X13 sheet pan or a half hotel pan.
3. Line the pan with crust.
4. Add lemon juice and about half of the cinnamon mixture and stir into the peaches.
5. Fill the crust with the peach mixture.
6. Cover the fruit with the remaining crust.
7 With a sharp knife slice the top of the crust to release steam.
8. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the crust and place butter pats on top of the crust.
9. Place the cobbler into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes. The crust should be golden brown and the juices should be bubbling thru the crust.
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
In May I was surprised by Congressman Pete Gallego. I was told that he wanted to tour my facility and meet my students. Actually he was there to present me with and award and take a tour. After the tour he presented me a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for the work I do at McCollum High School with my Culinary Arts students.
What a great treat to stop into Smitty’s BBQ in Brownwood Texas and find Smitty himself there still cooking the Q. While spending my college time at HPU Smitty’s was an institution for us college kids. I first met Smitty lifting weights at Young’s World a gym owned by world champion power lifter Doug Young. Smitty was always nice to us young guys and always inviting us down to his BBQ restaurant for some good eating. So for the next four years we did just that. Now fast forward 30 years and I find myself having a daughter going to HPU. Now you know I had BBQ in my mind when we hit town for parents weekend. We hit town early and took Hailey to. Doctors appointment she had then headed to Smitty’s for lunch. Let me tell you I was excited to see Smitty sitting behind the counter. His daughter was running the counter and taking orders and his son was in the back running the pit. The Q was great like it always had been, moist, tender and tasteful. As I visited with Smitty he looks at me and says “trying to figure out how old I am aren’t you” I grinned and said yes sir I am “85 he says”. Wow 85 years young still in uniform and running the business he started in 1972. To all alumni make sure you stop in while passing through town and to all the new students make sure you drop in for some of the best BBQ you will have a chance to eat. Now make sure you say hi to Smitty and his family.
Now when I was leaving their original store the other evening about 8:03 I was not thinking so. I was in Philly for one day and wanted a famed Tony Luke’s Philly Cheese Steak. I let the time get away from me and i got there just before closing. Not realizing the time was so close to 8:00 I stood and looked at the menu carefully decided what I would have for my first time to try this classic sandwich. I moved toward the counter and a man hurried past me and stepped to the window to order. A young man pulls open the window and with an accent that I would expect from a guy from South Philly estates we are closed. My heart sunk I looked at the man then my watch it was 8:02. Now the other patron did not take we are close to well. He told the guy at the window that it was not yet 8:00. Once again in his gangsterish voice he states, “by our clock it’s 8:02 so we are closed. With my head hung low I slowly walk to the car to let the family know after all the hunting to find the original and dragging them to a place they had never heard of there would be no sandwiches for our supper. Now my wife being protective of me like she is and knowing how I was looking forward to this sandwich h was ready to go fight. Everyone in the car apologized for dragging their feet and is not getting there in time. I pulled the car back onto the road and headed back to Lancaster county for the last few days of our trip. Shortly after getting on the interstate my wife announces she is on their website and what do I want to say. Now she knows me and she is usually not fond of me letting people know if I do not have a gold experience at their establishment, but this time she is like a mother lion protecting her family. So I dictate a letter and before we are out of the. city and email is on its way to management. Early the next morning we are in the card for another day of touring, destination of the day Intercourse. For you unknowing people, that is a small town in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, right in the middle of the Amish country. Early in the morning I receive and email for a nice young lady named Cindy, from Tony Luke’s, she is very apologetic and ask for some details of my ordeal at Tony Luke’s and gets my contact information. In no time at all I get a phone call, it is Tony Luke Sr. I cod not believe that he had personally called me. He is apologizing for the service and wanting to know if I am still in the city so he can make things right. I was sorry to that I had left the city and was not returning at least not this trip. Tony was a pleasure to visit with, his accent was fantastic. He truly felt bad and was ready to make things right. He let me know that he was shipping me the fixings for some cheese steaks along with instructions on how to prep rare them so I could have the Tony Luke’s experience when I got back home to South Texas. Now that folks is taking care of the customer. Shortly after hanging up with Tony Sr my cell rings again and it’s Tony Jr. He is just as nice as the dad although he sounds a little more shall we say pissed off. He also apologizes and lets me know that in no way is this the way Tony Luke’s operates. Tony Jr understands the service industry just like his dad and wants people to be happy when they leave one of their restaurants. He also lets me know that he is personally headed to the original location to have a talk with the young man who was not portraying customer service that they expect. I don’t think I would want to be in that young mans shoes right now. Before hanging up Tony Jr invites me to have lunch with him if I am ever back in Philly and I extend the offer to him if he ever ventures to San Antonio. Now I can’t wait to get home and cook up some cheese steaks, now I know they won’t match up to the ones made in-house at Tony Luke’s, but I know I will taste the love in them. If anyone is in Philly make sure you stop into one of the Tony Luke’s for your Philly Steak Sandwich. Missing out on a steak sandwich may have been worth getting to visit with the men that created a Philadelphia icon. I hope I can get back up here to meet them in person some day. They both seem like class acts.
Well the second stop for some excellent Q while traveling in and around Virginia and Pennsylvania was a great. We stopped in at Pork Barrel BBQ and it was a treat. I tried a little of each type of Q they had. The brisket was very tender and flavorful although a little dry. The chicken and ribs were excellent, pulled pork was good and the sausage had to much sage for my taste. The table had three different sauces their regular, mustard and a sweet, I tried and I enjoyed all of them. For the sides we tried the Texas Caviar which is a black eyed peas with peppers and onions, we also tried their mac and cheese, baked beans and potato salad. The mac was to die for, being seasoned with jalapeño and chipotle peppers it made me feel at home. After the meal I could see why they have trophy’s on display that they have won BBQing. If you find yourself around DC take the short trip to Alexandria and give the Pork Barrel a try.
I will try to get some pictures up when possible.
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.