Lowcountry Smothered Pork Chops

Smothered? Ok, so maybe I drowned them. But that’s ok, because these lowcountry smothered pork chops were divine. The chops were oh so tender. The sauce was oh so savory. And the topping? My favorite part, oddly enough. The key is to load up each forkful of pork with tons and tons of the peppers and onions then get ya some sauce. The perfect bite.
Lowcountry Smothered Pork ChopsFor a slight Cajun twist on this dish, season the chops with Cajun seasoning instead of the salt, pepper and cayenne. And add a few splashes of Louisiana hot sauce in when you add the chicken broth.

Lowcountry smothered pork chops are best served with some fried okra and collard greens.

Also try my homemade chipotle Shake’n Bake pork chops.

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Lowcountry Smothered Pork Chops

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 10 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 1 " thick pork chops preferably bone-in
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 medium green bell peppers sliced
  • 2 yellow onions sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • Combine the salt, black pepper and cayenne, to taste. Season the chops liberally with the mixture.
  • Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Spread the flour out onto a plate. Coat the chops in the flour, shaking off the excess, then transfer to the skillet.
  • Brown the chops on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.
  • Add the bell peppers and onion to the skillet and saute for 5 minutes or until just starting to soften.
  • Add the garlic and saute for another minute.
  • Add the broth and Worcestershire sauce and stir.
  • Add the chops back to the skillet, spooning the cooked vegetables on top.
  • Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and simmer for 45 minutes or until the chops are very tender.

Buttermilk-Marinated Turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy

“Crazy good” are the first words that came to mind when I first tasted this buttermilk-marinated turkey. Cooked up on the Big Easy it was very, very tender and juicy and absolutely packed with flavor. Delicious. Every bite. I’ve cooked a lot of turkey on my Big Easy and I have to say I’ll probably never do breasts any other way. Sure I may mix up the seasonings I add, but the underlying recipe of marinating the breast for a few hours in buttermilk and lemon will stay the same – they are what make the meat so tender and juicy.
Buttermilk-Marinated Turkey on the Char-Broil Big EasyI cooked a 10 pound breast in almost exactly 100 minutes. It needed a little more time thanks to a cool light breeze. On a perfect day with perfect conditions 10 minutes per pound would’ve been all I would’ve needed.

Does it get any easier than that? I left the lid off my Big Easy for the first 30 minutes then added it to get more color on top. I probably could’ve used an extra 10 minutes with the lid on just to get the color a bit more even but hey, it was fantastic anyway!

The next question is: Can I use the same technique for cooking a whole turkey? I don’t see why not! As long as it’ll fit in a large turkey bag (I used a small one for just the bone-in breast) I suspect that this approach will be perfect for any bird.

Do not marinate for over eight hours. The lemon juice will start to break down the meat. Eight hours max is the rule you want to go by.

Also try my easy large turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy.

Love your Big Easy as much I love mine? Check out my Big Easy Add-Ons page and my free Big Easy eCookbook!
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Buttermilk-Marinated Turkey on the Char-Broil Big Easy

Prep Time8 hrs
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time10 hrs
Servings: 1 turkey breast

Ingredients

  • 1 quart buttermilk
  • 6 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 lemon thinly sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 whole bone-in turkey breast 5 to 6 pounds, rinsed
  • Olive oil

Instructions

  • Combine buttermilk, garlic, lemon, rosemary, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
  • Place turkey in a large resealable container or baggie.
  • Pour in the buttermilk mixture. Seal the container and place in refrigerator for 8 hours, turning the breast every hour so that each side gets some time in the marinade.
  • Fire up your Big Easy.
  • Remove the turkey breast from the marinade, which you will discard.
  • Pat the breast dry and rub a small amount of olive oil all over the turkey. Transfer to the Big Easy basket
  • Transfer basket to the Big Easy and cook until the breast measures 165 F as tested in several locations. Use 10 minutes per pound as your starting point. My turkey, a 10 pounder, took 110 minutes.
  • Remove the basket from the Big Easy. Let cool slightly before removing the breast to a cutting board. Let rest another 15 minutes before carving.

Quick Fix Copycat McDonald’s Chicken Sandwich

I love cooking meals from scratch. But sometimes reality hits and I have to throw something together that doesn’t require a lot of preparation. That’s where this quick fix copycat of McDonald’s chicken sandwich comes in. In less than 30 minutes I get to enjoy a rather tasty chicken sandwich. Heck it even has fresh toppings on it and a rather tasty (but incredibly simple) sauce. Hey, it’s not bad when you’re in a crunch, and I often find myself making little changes to mix things up a bit.
quick-fix-copycat-mcdonalds-chicken-sandwichAdd a little kick to your quick fix copycat McDonald’s chicken sandwich by substituting Tyson’s spicy chicken patties, adding a slice of pepper jack cheese, and adding Sriracha instead of onion powder when making the sauce.

Also try my copycat of McDonald’s addicting French fries.

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Quick Fix Copycat McDonald's Chicken Sandwich

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Mike

Ingredients

For the McChicken sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 dash onion powder

Instructions

  • Heat the chicken per package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking together the ingredients.
  • Toast the buns if desired. Slather both bun halves with the sauce.
  • Add the heated chicken patties, lettuce and tomato (and onion if using) and serve.

Oven Baked Ribs

I usually smoke my ribs, but there are times when I’m more than happy to cook them in other ways. Usually, that means on the Char-Broil Big Easy. Once, heck, I even made them in the slow cooker! Gasp! This time I figured I’d try oven baked ribs, which really isn’t much different than using the Big Easy.

I ended up with tender, juicy ribs that tasted absolutely great. Of course, they do not have that smoky flavor I’d get on the smoker, cooked for 6 hours. But, I make up for that a bit by adding smoky ingredients like smoked paprika and using a smoky (hickory in this case) BBQ sauce at the end.
Oven Baked RibsAlthough I did not include it in the recipe below, I’d consider adding a drop (and surely not much more) of liquid smoke to the foil before sealing the ribs. There’s already a good bit of great smokiness added by the smoked paprika so I wouldn’t go crazy with the liquid smoke. If you aren’t a fan of liquid smoke but want more smoky flavor, substitute smoked sea salt for the Kosher salt.

I used back ribs, though when I smoke ribs I almost always use spare ribs trimmed St. Louis-style. I wouldn’t use spare ribs in this recipe because I’d be afraid that the additional fat in them would almost end up ‘boiling’ the ribs in the foil.

Also try my oven-baked hot dogs. Hankerin’ for more ribs? Make some slow cooker Vietnamese ribs.

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Oven Baked Ribs

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 55 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Servings: 2 racks

Ingredients

  • 2 racks back back ribs membrane removed from back, loose fat trimmed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Place ribs onto two large pieces of foil.
  • Combine the remaining ingredients except for the sauce. Sprinkle the rub mixture over the ribs on all sides. Depending on the size of your ribs you may not end up needing all of the rub.
  • Seal the foil tightly, transfer to a large baking sheet and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Carefully open the foil.There will be lots of hot liquid accumulated in the bottom of the foil packets!
  • Remove the ribs from the foil (they might be quite tender, so support them from underneath using large turners or flat wooden paddles and transfer to the baking sheets.
  • Brush with plenty of sauce and place ribs under the broiler for about 5 minutes or until the sauce has set.
  • Let rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with more sauce for dipping if desired.

Copycat Bubba Gump’s Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp

Anita and I have had the joy of eating at several Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurants. We always end up ordering something shrimpy. Hey, ‘shrimp’ is in their name! When we can’t make it a restaurant and get the real deal we make copycat versions at home. Like this copycat Bubba Gump’s Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp. Crazy good coconut-crusted deep-fried shrimp with a fantastic Cajun marmalade sauce. Serve it as an appetizer or devour a batch for dinner. Either way, this is good shrimp!
Copycat Bubba Gump's Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp

Keep an eye on your copycat Bubba Gump’s Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp while they fry. Shrimp cook very, very quickly. Coconut can burn very, very quickly. Once you see golden brown colors, flip them and don’t cook them much longer.

To help prevent the coconut from turned too brown too quickly I did use unsweetened coconut. The sugars in sweetened coconut will burn quicker. You won’t notice a difference in the taste of the shrimp, so go with unsweetened.

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Copycat Bubba Gump's Dumb Luck Coconut Shrimp

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

For the shrimp

  • Oil for frying
  • 1 pound medium (22-24 count) raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 1 1/2 cups Bisquick
  • 1 bottle good beer
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut

For the sauce

  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

Instructions

For the shrimp

  • Heat oil to 350 F. Meanwhile, rinse the shrimp and pat dry.
  • In a shallow bowl or pie plate whisk together the Bisquick and beer.
  • In another shallow bowl or pie plate, whisk together the flour, seasoning salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Place the coconut in a third shallow bowl. 
  • Working in batches, dip the shrimp into the wet batter. Then roll in the flour mixture. Lastly, roll in the coconut, pressing down slightly so that the coconut adheres.
  • Fry the shrimp for 1 minute. Flip and fry another minute, until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.

For the dipping sauce

  • Combine all ingredients. Note: I'm a dipping sauce lover, so I did end up doubling the amount of dipping sauce.

Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili

When I moved to the mid-west from the east coast I heard about this thing called ‘Cincinnati chili’. My reaction to the idea of spaghetti and chili was one of shock. Cinnamon? What? Is that an accident? That was all before I tried it. I’ve learned to be less judgmental about new foods since then, and Cincinnati chili is one reason why. I love it. It’s perfect, and not just on cold mid-west winter days either.
Slow Cooker Cincinnati ChiliMaking Cincinnati chili in a slow cooker is easy and tasty and I’d make it again and again. Now, if I happen to be in Cincinnati, I’m heading to The Chili Hut, my hands-down favorite food truck.

I’ve been lucky enough to have the chili from the Chili Hut several times, from the parking lot at Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield Ohio to the huge food truck rally in West Chester Ohio. You can have your chili as many ways as you want from the Chili Hut. The chili is perfectly seasoned and has the best texture. It’s beyond yummy!

Also try my grilled Cincinnati hot dog. For a hearty slow-cooker dish, make a batch of Chet’s Trucker Stew.

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Slow Cooker Cincinnati Chili

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 15 mins
Course: Mainer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 -8 servings

Ingredients

For the chili

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons mild chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 14 1/2 ounce cans diced tomatoes (I used fire-roasted)
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water

For serving

  • Classic: Serve chili hot.
  • 2- way: Serve chili over hot cooked spaghetti.
  • 3- way: Serve chili 2-ways topped with shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4- way: Serve chili 3-ways topped with chopped white onion.
  • 5- way: Serve chili 4-ways topped with warmed kidney beans.

Instructions

For the chili

  • Crumble the beef into a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the onion and celery and cook until the meat is done.
  • Drain off any excess fat and pour the meat mixture into your slow cooker.
  • In a large bowl, combine the remaining chili ingredients then pour over the meat.
  • Stir, cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  • Serve as desired.

Slow Cooker Cauliflower and Cheese

It’s not that you have to hold me down and force me to eat my veggies, it’s just that I think they need a little ‘help’ to make them good. If you add cheese, then they’re great and I’m going to eat them like they’re going out of style. This slow cooker cauliflower and cheese is a super-simple way to make a delicious side dish that anyone will love.
Slow Cooker Cauliflower and CheeseI’ve made slow cooker cauliflower with cheese a number of times. Sometimes I mix it up by using half a head each of cauliflower and broccoli. Or just broccoli. Whatever you prefer, it’s good stuff!

For a little kick, add a few pinches of red pepper flake. For a little crunch, serve topped with a few good sprinkles of French fried onions.

Also try my mashed cauliflower.

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Slow Cooker Cauliflower and Cheese

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Side
Servings: 4 -6 servings
Author: Inspired by a recipe from Spicy Southern Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower or broccoli cut into florets (or do 1/2 head of each)
  • 1 10.5 ounce can condensed cheddar soup
  • 1 5 ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar

Instructions

  • Lightly spray a 3-4 quart slow cooker with non-stick spray.
  • Add the florets.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining ingredients. Stir until the cheddar has melted.
  • Pour the cheese mixture over the florets. Cover and cook on low 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until crisp-tender. Cook longer if you like your veggies more tender.

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

I could’ve just opened a few tubes of cinnamon rolls and baked them for Anita to take into the office to treat her co-workers. But that’s just not me. Nothing wrong with a tube of cinnamon rolls (as I’m about to prove). They just need a little help to be even more awesome and this cinnamon French toast bake is definitely more awesome. Fluffy rolls in a cinnamon egg maple French toast batter, covered with chopped pecans, maple syrup and icing. It’s enough to make the other cinnamon rolls sitting in tubes jealous.
Cinnamon French Toast Bake

There’s nothing I would change about this recipe. Sure this cinnamon French toast bake isn’t light. It’s not low on calories. But it’s mighty good. And since the rolls are cut into small pieces before you bake them you can easily cut and serve smaller portions. If you want to that is.

Also try my brioche French toast.

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Cinnamon French Toast Bake

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 2 tubes cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 cup plus 1/2 cup real maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Pour melted butter into a 13" x 9" baking dish.
  • Open both cans of rolls. Separate the rolls and cut each into four pieces. Place pieces into the baking dish.
  • Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cream, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over the tops of the cinnamon rolls.
  • Sprinkle nuts over tops of rolls and drizzle with 1 cup of the syrup.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Drizzle remaining syrup over rolls.
  • Microwave the icing containers on half power for 10-15 seconds. Drizzle over rolls.