Sunday, May 23, 2010

Smoked Pork Shoulder with Watermelon Barbecue Sauce

Smoked Pork
When I opened the refrigerator this morning I found myself staring at the most beautiful wedge of watermelon. The fact I had a few minutes while waiting for the coffee to finish brewing allowed my mind to start thinking of ways to use that thing up.....It's going to be a hot day, and that means it's the perfect weather for barbecue! Yeah so it's 7 AM, but that means I get a head start on the neighborhood....

Here's the recipe for the sauce, and just throw some on that Pork Shoulder that's been in the smoker at 250° F. for a couple hours, glaze, and let it be until it pulls apart....It should be ready by lunchtime!

That leaves just enough time to make a little coleslaw, and potato salad while you're working on that pot of coffee! Have a great day everyone!!!!
Raw Pork waiting to go into the Smoker

Watermelon Barbecue Sauce
1 Cup puréed Watermelon Rind( Green Skin Removed, Just the White Part is used in this recipe)

1 Cup Dark Brown Sugar
2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
1/4 Cup Paprika
1 Tablespoon Basil, Chopped
1 Tablespoon Oregano
1 Tablespoon Thyme
1 Tablespoon Onion, Minced
1 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 Teaspoon Lemon Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic, Minced
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Allspice
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Molasses
1/2 cup Southern Comfort
1 cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1 Cup Apple Juice
3/4 Teaspoon crushed Red Pepper Flakes
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

1.Peel Watermelon, keeping the part of the watermelon that is white. Save the red part for eating later....

2.Put the rind into a food processor and pulse for about only 30 seconds. Strain the liquid from the pulp, and reserve pulp.

3.Combine the pulp with remaining ingredients in a medium size saucepan over medium- high heat.

4.Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 1/2 hour or until it is as thickened

Monday, May 10, 2010


Today I share with you a favorite fruit that was once thought to be bad for you but actually turns out to be good. A fruit that once had a reputation for being an aphrodisiac and because of this it wasn’t purchased by anyone wishing to protect their reputation. A fruit, that in Brazil is wrapped up and given as a wedding present. A creamy, and delicate fruit that can never ripen on a tree called the alligator pear.

The Dutch call it avocaat; Spain abogado; France avocatier; Trinidad and Tobago zaboca.... The alligator pear has many aliases, but some of us that just call them avocados without knowing that more creative names exist. I like the Alligator Pear name the most, and the wonderful reptiles laying beside the waterways of South Florida do appear to have the same skin appearance!
 Like so many other culinary ingredients I love, the Hass Avocado was a complete accidental discovery that has become the most popular variety of this wonderful fruit served in America today! Today is all about burning out leftovers from a weekend of grilling. I'm think of a sandwich served on grilled Naan bread that has been brushed generously with melted butter, and topped with shredded jerk chicken, and fruit salsa.

Jerk Chicken

2 large,8 piece chickens
3 tablespoons spiced rum
2 tablespoons coconut water
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup scallions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoons fresh thyme
2 Habañero chilies, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons ground allspice
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1/2 cup mango ketchup- you can sub regular if mango can't be found
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh lime juice


1.Make Jerk Seasoning: Boil rum and coconut water in small saucepan until bubbles just appear. Transfer rum mixture to blender; add cider vinegar, scallions, garlic, fresh thyme, Habañero chilies, extra virgin olive oil, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, kosher salt, and blend until almost smooth. Reserve.

2.Add 2 tablespoons jerk seasoning to small bowl; mix in ketchup and soy sauce to make sauce.

3.Arrange chicken in large roasting pan or baking dish. Pour lime juice over; turn to coat. Spoon jerk seasoning over chicken and rub in. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Prepare barbecue grill to medium-heat heat. Remove chicken from jerk seasoning marinade; sprinkle with salt and pepper If grilling chicken, place chicken, skin side down, on grill rack, cover, and grill until chicken is cooked through, turning occasionally and adjusting heat if browning too quickly. Cook until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with fork, about 1 hour for breasts.



1/2 cup diced kiwi
1/2 cup diced pineapple
1/2 cup diced mango
1/2 cup diced papaya
2 Avocados, pitted, peeled, and diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 fresh jalapeño, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
black pepper to taste


Gently toss all ingredients to incorporate evenly, and serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What if you wanted to make a Fig Newton?

This morning as we are standing around the shop polishing off the last remnants of our coffee the topic of cookies came up*. We discussed all of our favorites, and came upon the common theme that our spouses would likely never approve of our being seen consuming a box of cookies while driving around town. Cookies are after all “Junkfood”, but that stigma likely can be forgiven if the Chocolate Chips are miraculously replaced with fruit….Enter the Fig Newton, because as children we had no such thing as a choice to a fruit filling, it was fig, and we still love them today. I had one of the guys ask if I knew how to make them, and so I decided to share the recipe today….

3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
6 ounces Unsalted Butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
4 Eggs

2 cups Dried Figs, Chopped
1 Cup Orange Juice
1 Cup Apple Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
4 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon orange zest, Minced



1. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter pieces until the dough is the texture of coarse sand.

2. Whisk 3 eggs together and add to the dough. Mix to combine. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.

1. Combine the Figs, Orange Juice, Apple Juice, Cinnamon, Sugar, and Orange Zest in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat until all the liquid is absorbed by the figs and the mixture is thick. Remove from heat.

2. Let the filling cool slightly, then puree in a food processor until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to bake.

3. Preheat the oven to 375F.

4. Make an egg wash by whisking the remaining egg with 2 tsp. of water.

5. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. On a lightly floured surface roll out each portion of dough into a rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick, and cut the dough lengthwise into strips, at least 2 1/2 inches wide.

6. Brush the edges of each dough strip with egg wash.

7. Spoon the fig filling down the center of the strip and then fold the dough over to enclose the filling in bars.

8. Place the bars, seam side down, on a parchment paper lined sheet pan.

9. Press down lightly to flatten. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Brush the bars with the egg wash and bake until light golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Let cool, then cut with a sharp knife into pieces.

*This undoubtedly was a result of my week long fascination with Peanut Butter Crackers, and the fact I was only going to begin the day with 2 packages since I‘ve consumed the complete cracker inventory of the market up the road. There’s a whole bunch of energy packed into a package of these crackers, and since I’ve noticed the requirements of my time here in Minnesota leave little time for nourishment during our day I take them on the road with me.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Making Homemade Sausages

Grilled Italian Sausages
 It's wonderful to share my love of food with a whole new group of people as we come together to celebrate friendships, family, and the art of sausage making. Today is going to be our version of the annual La Grande Boucherie des Cajuns that takes place in Louisiana, and has become one of my favorite Mardi Gras events. As we fire up the Smokers, Grinders, and imagination we continue a tradition that has been around since at least 1500 B.C….. we'll break bread, share stories, and may even sample some adult beverages…What a great way to end a week! Food Coma here I come, and I'm bringing friends!!!

….I’ve posted a couple of recipes that I’ve decided to pass along to my new friends in Minnesota…..

Venison Bratwursts

2 lbs ground deer meat ( coarsely cubed)
2 lbs pork butt, or shoulder (coarsely cubed)
1 large white onion, minced
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1/2 tablespoon fresh Sage, chopped
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 cup Whole milk

Casings, soaked in water for two hours and rinsed thoroughly (place casing end over tap and letting water run through)


1. Mix ingredients thoroughly and place meat mixture into refrigerator overnight.

2. Fill food grinder with ingredients, and gradually grind with large die until all ingredients have been coarsely ground. Mix well to incorporate ingredients evenly. Return to tray, and prepare filling tube for sausage casing.

3. Place casing end over stuffing tube and hold. Turn grinder on at low speed. When casing starts to fill with air, stop machine and squeeze air out. Tie end off.

4. Push meat thru steadily, filling casing. Twist sausage off at 4 inch links, coil as you fill.

Grill over hardwood for 20-30 minutes, or until well done. Serve immediately.

Chicken, Habanero & Tequila Sausage Recipe

2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs with skin, cut into chunks
2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts with skin, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons fresh basil, minced
1 Tablespoon cilantro leaves, crushed
1 Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
½ Teaspoon ground cumin
½ Teaspoon chili powder
½ Teaspoon paprika
2 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
1 large egg
1/2 cup Tequila

Casings as needed, soaked & rinsed


1. Grind the meat through a large sausage plate. Grind in small batches.

2. Combine the salt, sugar, garlic, basil, cilantro, ginger, paprika, cumin, chili powder in a small bowl and blend well. Set aside.

3. Mince the habanero and set aside.
Use care here, wear gloves and don't touch anything that you don't want to burn.

4. Place the ground meat in a large bowl with the habanero, and tequila. Add egg, mix well to incorporate the ingredients. Add 1/3 of the seasoning, and mix. Repeat this process until the spices are completely incorporated.

5. Cover the sausage and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
2. Fill food grinder with ingredients, and gradually grind with large die until all ingredients have been coarsely ground. Mix well to incorporate ingredients evenly. Return to tray, and prepare filling tube for sausage casing.

3. Place casing end over stuffing tube and hold. Turn grinder on at low speed. When casing starts to fill with air, stop machine and squeeze air out. Tie end off.

4. Push meat thru steadily, filling casing. Twist sausage off at 4 inch links, coil as you fill.

5. Smoke with fruitwood, or mesquite for 45 minutes at 225° F.

6. Grill over hardwood for 20-30 minutes, or until to an internal temp of 175° F. is reached. Serve immediately.