Chef John Besh’s book, Besh Big Easy, is full of easy-to-make recipes. The kind that I like. Southern- and Lousiana-inspired. Take this wonderful country coleslaw. It has your ‘usual’ ingredients, but with a twist (to me, at least). I’ve never had sweet pickle relish in a slaw, and I found it to be absolutely fantastic. So is the addition of rice wine vinegar. Great flavors out of such a simple dish. That’s key.I wouldn’t be afraid to add fresh jalapeno rings to this country coleslaw. Anita would tell me to not do it, though. I’d have to add it to my bowl and just enjoy the heat on my own.
Boy was I ever happy that I bought a sampling of the seasonings, sauces, and jellies from AlbuKirky Seasonings. Everything in the online store looked and sounded so good. I anxiously awaited the day my package arrived (which was very soon after I clicked ‘Check out’). I knew exactly what I was going to do first: chicken wings made with Kirk’s red chile rub and sauced with his red chile BBQ sauce. The perfect combination of southwestern flavors and a little kick of heat, the rub and sauce made for fantastic wings. I’ve used the red chicle rub and BBQ sauce on many things since making these wings. Ribs, burgers, chicken, you name it, all came out great. But, oh, how I do love the wings. There’s no flavor like it to be found in any wing place around here, that’s for sure. There should be.
I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.
I go thru a lot of chipotles in adobo sauce. I have an entire section of one of my pantry shelves devoted to cans of them. So it occurred to me that I should try my hand at making them at home. These chiptoles in adobo came out fantastically. Great smoky flavor and a bit of heat. They do take a bit of time to prepare, but they are oh so worth the trouble. I dried my smoked jalapenos in my Nesco Snackmaster Pro dehydrator. If you don’t have a dehydrator you can place the jalapenos on a baking sheet and place in the oven at the lowest temperature setting. Rotate the jalapenos every few hours until dried.
You can also skip the smoking and drying of the jalapenos and buy dried chipotles at your marketplace. In our grocery store the dried peppers can be found by the produce section.
I bought a case of Hatch chiles the other day. Most of the chiles ended up being roasted, but I kept a few for these sausage-stuffed Hatch chiles. Now I’m wishing that I’d kept a bunch more of the un-roasted peppers on hand because they sure make some fantastic dishes. I could’ve served this as an appetizer or as a main dish. I went the main dish route, and backed up the truck. I wasn’t shy about how many I put on my plate. There were no leftovers. Sausage and bacon, with a hint of fennel on a grilled chile with just a bit of cheese. Smoked low and slow. Like a fancy jalapeno popper, sort of. For a kicked-up version substitute spicy sausage and add a few good-sized pinches of red pepper flake to the meat mixture. Oh, and use a nice pepper jack or even habanero jack cheese for that extra creamy kick.
For a healthier version, skip the cheese and bacon and use turkey sausage. You might want to up the seasonings though.
You can also make these sausage-stuffed Hatch chiles on your grill, be it charcoal or gas. Just cook them over indirect heat, trying to keep the temperatures fairly low as to not over-cook them.
It had to be done. I was sitting there looking at my Char-Broil Big Easy pondering what I haven’t yet cooked on it and then it hit me. Bacon. I knew I’d have to go vertical with the bacon, so I grabbed a Big Easy kabob rack, some bacon, and proceeded to make bacon ‘curtains’, hanging the bacon down into the cooker. The bacon cooked up quickly and came out super crispy. And oh, did it ever smell soooo good! Since the bacon is hung over the kabob rack I didn’t end up with perfectly flat bacon, but I did get pieces that were perfect for BLT sandwiches. The point at which the bacon is bent cooks up the fastest, as did the bacon closest to the edges of the cooker. It’s easy to over-cook the bacon, so I recommend pulling it out of the Big Easy sooner than you think you should and letting it cool and crisp up. Also, it’s easier to remove the bacon from the rack if it is still slightly soft. Once it cools and gets crispy it will tend to break.
I used split bone-in chicken breasts when I made this Nashville hot chicken. It’s our preferred cut of chicken, but you can use any cut you like. Just keep in mind that if you mix pieces that are greatly different in size some may be done before others. Smaller pieces can be checked for doneness after the 45 minutes cooking time.
Burgers definitely don’t have to be complicated to taste great. But, they do need to be messy, in my opinion. When I take a bite I want a bit of juice running down my arm. And some tasty sauce dripping onto the plate. These fire pit burgers are definitely not complicated, and they are a bit messy thanks to plenty of chipotle mayonnaise, which brings just enough smoky heat to make for bite-after-bite of deliciousness.
For a little extra kick, mix some finely minced jalapenos in with the ground beef before forming the patties. You can also substitute habanero Jack cheese for the pepper Jack. That’ll definitely up the spice level on your Fire Pit burgers!
Oh my goodness. I wasn’t even looking for another BBQ sauce to add to my list of homemade, fantastically-good sauces. I actually made this apricot BBQ sauce only because I found a jar of apricot preserves in the back of the pantry that needed to be used up. I now take it as a sign because this is one of the top BBQ sauces I’ve ever made or tasted. The perfect combination of sweet and heat and just the right consistency to stick to a rack of St. Louis-style smoked ribs without being too gloppy or too thin. The apricot preserves add a light fruity flavor but it’s there in the back with lots of other great flavors and isn’t so in-your-face. Now, if you want to have a more apricot-like sauce, feel free to add more. You might want to if you’re using the sauce for pork, because apricot (or peach for that matter) goes great with pork. But if you’re using this sauce on say chicken, you might want to use a little less.