Copycat Outback Ranch Dressing

I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons I love chicken wings so much (see my other blog, For the Wing) is they give me an excuse to have more Ranch dressing. I love a good, creamy Ranch dressing, and this copycat of the one from Outback is top-notch good yummy stuff. Whether you’re putting it on a salad or using it for dipping your Buffalo wings, it’s the best homemade version I’ve found.

Copycat Outback Ranch Dressing

Yes, you read correctly. The recipe for making copycat Outback Ranch dressing includes cayenne pepper. I would not leave it out even if you’re not into spiciness. It’s not that spicy, and what there is gets tamed by the buttermilk and mayonnaise. Personally, I’d add a bit more than the recipe calls for.

Copycat Outback Ranch Dressing

Course Salad Dressing
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 3 cups
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mayonnaise preferably not light
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 1 oz package Ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions

  • Whisk together all ingredients.
  • Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. If the dressing is too thick add just a a bit more buttermilk and stir.

Cedar Plank Crab Cakes

I’m a big lover of crab cakes. And the crabbier they are, the better. If I’m going to drop some big bucks on crab I want to taste it. So, don’t load me up on fillers like bread crumbs. These cedar plank crab cakes meet my criteria and then some. Fluffy, light and deliciously crabby, they cook in no time. Yeah, I could’ve pan fried them, but I love grilling on cedar planks. They add just a little something different. A slight aroma and taste of aroma, but not so strong that I can’t taste what brought me to the party: crab.

Cedar Plank Crab Cakes

To be truthful you can use pretty much any crab cake recipe. Just form them into cakes and place them on pre-soaked, pre-charred planks. They don’t take long to cook, so don’t go running off doing something else around the house while they’re on the grill. Once they hit 155 F they’re done.

I also like to cedar plank lemon wedges for my crab cakes. Grilled lemons are fantastic.

Cedar Plank Crab Cakes

Course Main
Prep Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

For the crab cakes

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green onion finely chopped
  • 1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat picked through for shell fragments
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons blackening seasoning can also use Old Bay or Creole seasoning
  • 1 large lemon quartered, for serving

Mississippi Comeback Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Creole mustard
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 dashes hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 medium lemon juiced

Instructions

For the crab cakes

  • Begin by soaking two cedar planks in water while you prepare the crab cakes. Also prepare the Mississippi Comeback sauce (recipe below) and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Combine the mayonnaise, mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley, and green onion in a medium bowl.
  • Fold in the crab and panko. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Fire up your grill. Place the planks on direct heat and char on both sides. Remove planks to indirect heat or turn your burners to low if using direct heat.
  • Form the crab mixture into 2 ounce cakes and transfer to the planks. If you wish, place the quartered lemon onto the planks also.
  • Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with blackening seasoning. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the crab cakes reaches 155 F.
  • Serve with the lemon quarters and Mississippi Comeback sauce.

For the Mississippi Comeback sauce

  • Whisk together all ingredients. You can also process it in a blender until smooth.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce

I must have had a bad fried green tomato experience as a child because I have not eaten them in years and years. Anita and I were in the produce section at the store and saw some really nice looking green tomatoes. Anita loves fried green tomatoes. So I grabbed a few to make fried green tomatoes with spicy Ranch dipping sauce.

We headed home with the tomatoes. And I have to say, any bad memories I have of fried green tomatoes are now long gone. They were fantastic. Crunchy and tasty, and with a nice lightly spicy sauce for dipping.
Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Ranch Dipping SauceI used Panko breadcrumbs for an extra crunchy coating on these fried green tomatoes with spicy Ranch dipping sauce. If you like yours a little less crunchy, just substitute regular bread crumbs. For extra kick, mix a little cayenne (or my favorites, smoked paprika or chipotle powder) into the bread crumbs first.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the Fried Green Tomatoes

  • 2 green tomatoes sliced thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce

Instructions

For the Fried Green Tomatoes

  • Heat a few inches of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper.
  • In 3 separate shallow bowls place the flour, the buttermilk and Panko.
  • Working in batches, dip the tomatoes in the flour, covering on all sides. Shake off the excess flour.
  • Next, submerse the tomatoes in the buttermilk.
  • Finally, coat the tomatoes in the bread crumbs.
  • Fry 2 minutes per side or until golden brown.

For the Spicy Ranch Dipping Sauce

  • Combine the ingredients.

Savory Turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I think that like most people, I purchased my Char-Broil Big Easy for making Thanksgiving turkey. And I’ve sure made my share of fantastic turkeys using it, too. From spicy to savory, the Big Easy does turkey amazing, each and every time. This recipe produces a tremendous bird, filled with the flavors of Thanksgiving. It looks fantastic, tastes delicious, and is so moist and tender. All that and so very easy to make, you can’t beat the Big Easy time and time again.

Savory Turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy

When injecting the turkey it’s important to be consistent. You don’t want to bite into huge pockets of injection in one bite, only to get nothing in the next. Don’t rush the process. Take your time and get the injection in everywhere, from just under the skin, to deep inside the breast meat.

I use a heavy duty injector that has larger holes for injecting liquids that have big chunks of ingredients. Even so, it can be challenging and sometimes clogs. I recommend grinding your spice ingredients first so they are fine enough to easily flow through the injector.

Also try my beer-and-butter Big Easy turkey!

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!

Savory Turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Resting time 30 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the turkey

  • 9 pound bone-in turkey breast
  • olive oil

For the injection

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 seasoning from below

For the seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground black pepper

Instructions

For the seasoning

  • Combine all ingredients. If your injector does not have large holes you will want to grind the mixture first, using either a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Half of the mixture will be used for the injection, while the remaining seasoning will be using as a rub for the outside of the turkey.

For the injection

  • Combine all ingredients with half of the seasoning mix. Whisk well to dissolve the salt.

For the turkey

  • Inject the injection mixture evenly into the turkey. Get it everywhere.
  • Lightly rub the outside of the turkey with oil. Sprinkle with the remaining seasoning.
  • Fire up your Big Easy. Add the turkey to the Big Easy basket and lower into the cooker.
  • Cook for approximately 20 minutes per pound. Let the turkey reach 165 F for white meat, 175 F for dark meat. Remove from the cooker and let rest 15-20 minutes before slicing.

Notes

This recipe is for a 9-pound bone-in turkey breast. Larger breasts or whole turkeys may require that you double the amount of seasoning and injection ingredients. The cook time will also be longer. You can usually plan on 20 minutes per pound with the Big Easy.
You will need a good injector for this recipe. One with larger holes, preferably.

Copycat Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

I am definitely not one of those that thinks everything needs to be made from scratch. But that being said, I do enjoy the challenge and reward of making something that is a good copycat of something I can buy in my grocery store. Like this copycat Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. I was making a big ole batch of smoked pork when I realized I didn’t have a sauce on hand. Well, in no time at all I whipped this great sauce together. It has the right consistency, just like the ‘real’ stuff. And it has that (nearly) same great flavor.
Copycat Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce

The great thing about making your own copycat Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce is that you can customize it for your tastes. Want it a bit more smokey? Add a tad bit (a very small tad bit) of liquid smoke. Maybe (like me) you want a bit of spiciness? Add more cayenne pepper or a few (long) shakes of hot sauce. Thinner? Stir in some water. Thicker? Don’t add as much water. Make it your own. I did.

Also try my copycat Dreamland BBQ sauce.

Copycat Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce

Course BBQ Sauce
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cold water optional
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch optional

Instructions

  • Stir together all ingredients except for the water and corn starch in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the brown sugar has dissolved.
  • If you want a thicker sauce, combine the water and corn starch in a small glass and slowly stir in to the sauce. Continue to simmer until the desired thickness is achieved.
  • If the sauce gets too thick add water, a very little bit at a time, and stir.

Copycat KFC Potato Wedges

These copycat KFC potato wedges could easily be the most dangerous side dish ever made. There’s no way you could make too many of these. There’s no way you’d ever have any leftovers. They are absolutely divinely yummy. Crunchy on the outside. Creamy on the inside. Absolutely packed with flavor.

Copycat KFC Potato Wedges

Trust me, serving ketchup or any other dipping sauce with these copycat KFC potato wedges is just about a waste of time. They’re delicious right off the plate, nothing added. They are by far my favorite potato side, and that’s saying a lot because up until now I dreamed about baked potatoes almost nightly. Well, they’ve been replaced with these wedges. Sorry, bakers.

Don’t forget to also make my copycat KFC bean salad!

Copycat KFC Potato Wedges

Course Side or Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Russet potatoes rinsed, patted dry
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning optional, but recommended
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or pie plate whisk together the milk and egg.
  • In another small bowl or pie plate, whisk together the flour, salt, garlic salt, onion powder, pepper and poultry seasoning, if using.
  • Cut the potatoes into wedges. You want the wedges to be thin and uniform. Try to cut them so they are 3/8" in thickness at the center.
  • Lay a wire rack on top of a large baking sheet.
  • Working in small batches, dip the potatoes first into the flour mixture, then into the milk mixture, and back into the flour again. Transfer to the wire rack.
  • After all of the potatoes have been dredged let them dry for at least 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 F.
  • Working in batches, fry the potatoes for 5-6 minutes. They will not be quite done or golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.
  • Once all of the potatoes have been fried the first time, fry them again, but this time for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crunch delicious. Transfer to a rack to drain and cool slightly.

Copycat KFC Bean Salad

I am a big huge fan of vinegary bean salads. My mom’s recipe is one of my all-time favorites. This copycat of the bean salad you used to be able to get at KFC is just as good as mom’s, if not better. It’s dangerously similar, but with a twist: green bell pepper. Well, you could’ve knocked me down with a feather. How was I to know how much that lil old bell pepper would add to this salad?

Copycat KFC Bean Salad

This recipe for a copycat KFC bean salad makes a decent-sized batch. Good enough for a family get-together. And it’ll hold up in the heat for a bit too. But it won’t last anyways, because everyone is going to love it. I sure did.

Don’t forget to also make my copycat KFC potato wedges!

Copycat KFC Bean Salad

Course Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Servings 14
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 16 ounce can cut green beans
  • 16 ounce can wax beans
  • 16 ounce can kidney beans light or dark
  • 1 medium green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Place the beans in a large colander. Rinse and drain well.
  • Transfer beans to a resealable container. Add the bell pepper and onion.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Add the oil mixture to the beans and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours.
  • Toss gently before serving.

Smoked Hazelnuts

I’ve made the ‘usual’ smoked nuts a number of times. You know, peanuts. Walnuts. Pecans. Those things. This was my first time smoking Hazelnuts. In fact, I’d never even thought about making them until I ran across a picture someone posted of a big batch of smoked Hazelnuts. They looked so amazing I could almost smell and test them. I’ve always loved Hazelnuts, so I figured I’d love them smoked even more and I was right!
Smoked Hazelnuts

You can shell and eat these nuts just as they are. And I certainly devoured a few handfuls. But, my main reason for smoking them was to use them in recipes. First up? A smoked Hazelnut butter for baked sweet potatoes!

As you can tell from the recipe, I didn’t add anything to the nuts before I put them on my smoker. They don’t need it. No oil, no salt and pepper. Just put them on ‘au naturale’ and let them go for a while.

Smoked pistachios are also amazing! Try them too!

Smoked Hazelnuts

Cook Time 1 hour
Cooling 30 minutes
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • raw Hazelnuts in shell

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for 225-250 F cooking. Use hickory or a fruit wood.
  • Add the nuts to the smoker. Don't crowd them. Smoke for 1 hour.
  • Remove and let cool completely before shelling.

Rotisserie Roasted Peanuts

For years I thought “Why in the world do I need a rotisserie for any of my grills?” Well, my 20 year old gas grill reached the end, and I decided to get a rotisserie with my new grill. And boy howdy am I so glad that I did! Besides making (of course) chicken and ham, I also get to make really cool treats, like these rotisserie roasted peanuts! These nuts are perfectly roasted, with just the right crunch and just the right grilled flavor.
Rotisserie Roasted Peanuts

You can make rotisserie roasted peanuts on either a gas or charcoal grill. If you’re using a gas grill don’t be afraid to add a few chunks of wood to get a bit of a smoky flavor. Don’t go crazy with it, though.

I have a Weber rotisserie. To make these peanuts I purchased a rotisserie basket. I’ve found it to be a must-have with a rotisserie. It’s perfect for potatoes, chiles and of course, peanuts! The link to the basket can be found below the recipe.

Rotisserie Roasted Peanuts

These nuts are perfectly roasted, with just the right crunch and just the right grilled flavor.

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Cook Time 25 minutes
Cool time 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 485kcal
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 24 ounce raw peanuts in the shell
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill with the rotisserie. You want the temperature at the rotisserie to be around 350 F.
  • Place the peanuts in your roasting basket and place onto the grill. Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the shells start to turn darker in color. Do not let them get dark brown.
  • Remove and sprinkle with salt. Let cool slightly then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 42g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Sodium: 19mg | Potassium: 633mg | Fiber: 8g | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 3.3mg

Grilled Chive Potatoes

Well now, these little bites of yumminess didn’t last long. Grilled chive potatoes didn’t take long to make either. Creamy and tender inside, the potatoes had nice crispy skin. Covered in butter and chives, with just a hint of lemon,  each one was sooooo good. I grilled the potatoes, but you can make them in the oven just as easily.
Grilled Chive PotatoesWhat will I do different next time I grill some grilled chive potatoes? Probably nothing. Oh I might add a pinch of red pepper flake but that’s it. They don’t need anything else.

If you don’t have fresh chives just use green onions instead.

Grilled Chive Potatoes

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes rinsed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup fresh chives chopped
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the potatoes and reduce the heat to a gentle boil and let boil until the potatoes are just starting to turn tender, 10-15 minutes depending on the size of your potatoes.
  • Drain and rinse with cold water. Slice into halves.
  • Fire up your grill for medium-high direct grilling.
  • Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the chives and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer the potatoes to the grill, cut-side down and let grill until just starting to turn golden brown and getting just a little char around the edges. Brush lightly with the butter mixture.
  • Remove potatoes and transfer to a serving bowl or platter. Drizzle with remaining butter mixture and serve.