Friday, September 4, 2015

Alabama-Style White BBQ Sauce – An Almost Labor-Free Sauce for Your Labor Day Grill

This incredibly easy to make Alabama white barbecue sauce was invented in 1925 by Robert “Big Bob” Gibson at Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q restaurant, in Decatur. When I first read this bit of culinary history, I had to smile, since I actually know the guy. Well, sort of.

I’ve been to two bbq “boot camps,” run by champion pitmaster Chris Lilly, who trained under a guy, who trained under Big Bob Gibson. Hey, that’s only three degrees of separation. Ironically, Chris never made, or used the white sauce on anything we cooked, but still, I know a guy, who knew a guy, who knew THE guy.

Some people find this concoction quite strange, but not me. It’s eerily similar to the Cornell chicken marinade, which I love. In fact, Mr. Robert C. Baker, the creator of the aforementioned recipe, may have borrowed the idea from Big Bob. I would investigate further, but I have real crimes to solve.

Don’t let this mixture’s appearance stop you from trying what is a devastatingly delicious marinade, baste, and sauce. One tip for basting on the grill: make sure you do it towards the end of cooking, and not over too-high heat. You don’t want flame-ups, as that will cause an off taste.

I brush on two or three applications to each side, over more indirect heat, and as you see in the video, it sears on nicely. As a table sauce, it’s great on any of the traditional barbecued meats, but since it’s really just a salad dressing, it’s also wonderful for making potato salad, coleslaw, and grilled vegetables. I hope you give this white barbecue sauce a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 3 cups of sauce:
2 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup prepared extra-hot horseradish
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tsp yellow mustard
juice of one lemon
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Pork Chili Verde (Green Pork Chili) – Green and Sometimes Browned

As I mentioned in the intro, this chili verde was one of the first recipes I ever learned, and also one of the first times I was forced to question proper culinary technique. Having just learned the importance of browning meats in culinary school, I was, at the same time, working for a chef who rarely did. 

Whether it was pork, chicken, or beef, he simply cut up the meat, threw it in a pot with the rest of the ingredients, and simmered everything until tender. By the way, he claimed that he had learned how to cook these recipes while traveling through Mexico. I remember sheepishly asking about this, and his response was something like, “Well, that's how they did it, and it tastes good to me.” He was right, it did. 

In fact, it tasted great. It was then I realized that this whole cooking thing might be a little more complicated than I had imagined. So, which is really the best method? There’s no answer for that question, which is frustrating. Having said that, I do think browned meat is always going to add extra flavor, so I usually do it. The point is, everybody’s right.

Regarding the pickled red onions I used on top of my chili: I was going to save this for a video, but it’s so ultra simple that I’ll just tell you right now. Slice some red onions, add a pinch of salt, and cover with red wine vinegar. Leave this overnight in your fridge, and the next day you’ll be looking at one of the most gorgeous garnishes ever.

They’re wonderful with everything from salads, to charcuterie, to cheeseburgers; but my real hope is that you enjoy them on a bowl of this delicious green pork chili. I really hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 large portions:
2 tbsp vegetable oil (heat to almost smoking before browning meat)
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (aka pork butt), cut into 2-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, diced
2 teaspoon oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 to 3 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
about 10-12 tomatillos (about 4 cups once quartered)
3 jalapenos, seeded
1 poblano chili, seeded
6 cloves peeled garlic
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves
2 1/2 cups chicken stock, or as needed
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 pound Yukon gold potatoes, quartered
freshly ground black pepper
sour cream and pickled red onions to garnish

- Simmer pork and sauce for an hour, add potatoes, and simmer until everything is tender.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Billionaire’s Franks & Beans – Welcome to the Top 1% of Comfort Foods

Maybe it’s the billionaire(s) in the news lately, but for some reason I decided to take one of America’s most frugal meals, franks and beans, and give it a high-end makeover. Besides, all the other classic comfort foods have been fancified, hipsterized, and/or molecular gastronomized; so I figured I would take this one down. And by down, I mean up.

Usually, franks and beans is made by opening up a couple cans of baked beans, and heating it up with some sliced hotdogs. Not exactly something you’d serve to visiting dignitaries. However, by adding some fresh veggies, plain beans, and high-quality beef hot dogs, we can achieve something much healthier, equally delicious, and every bit as comforting.

So, how much more will it cost you to make this usually cheap dish, using these upscale ingredients? It’s tempting to say, if you have to ask, you can’t afford it, but that’s not the case. Sure, the Kobe hotdogs will cost you a couple extra dollars, but the rest of the dish is still quite inexpensive. I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for 4 portions Franks & Beans:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 diced yellow onion
1 diced poblano or other green pepper
2 tbsp minced fresh cayenne pepper, or other hot red pepper
1 rib celery, diced
1 pound hot dogs, sliced (literally any other sausage will work here)
2 (15-oz) cans cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 1/2 cup chicken broth, or as needed
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced green onions
- serve with buttered toast and champagne