Ole Settlers Baked Beans

We had a good old family BBQ at my brother's house last weekend and my sister-in-law served up a really good baked bean dish. It is called Ole Settlers Baked Beans, and was truly a nice change from the same old "pork and beans" you often find at BBQ's. If you try this recipe just once, I guarantee you that it will not be the last time you will fix it. It is a GREAT side dish for any BBQ.
A nice option is to add some Cayanne, Hot sauce or diced pickled jalapenos.....if you are into something just a little spicy.

Texas BBQ Party

This week we had a few people over including "Tina" who has a blog called "Mommy's Kitchen" which is very popular with many "Mom's" and viewed by quite a few of us "Men Folk". Feeling that the pressure was on, I wanted to have a traditional Texas BBQ. Subsequently, I decided on; A Raclette Cheese appetizer, Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Quintet Beans, Coleslaw, a Corn and Tomato summer salad and finished off with a nice warm Texas Peach Cobbler.
I served the pulled pork "dry" with two different kinds of BBQ sauce on the side. One, which I call my "Bear Sauce", was a recipe passed down from my father and is a vinegar based sauce which provides a little bit of a "zing" to the taste buds. The other is one of my favorite store bought brands; Jack Daniels - Hickory Brown Sugar. The Peach Cobbler was a traditional Texas Peach Cobbler, served with French Vanilla Ice Cream.

Alas De Pollo Marinadas (Marinated Chicken Wings) and Costillas Marinadas (Marinated Beef Short Ribs)

Had some unexpected company last night. So I had to prepare something on the fly. On the way home I stopped by the local "La Michoacana Meat Market" and picked up a couple pounds of "Alas De Pollo Marinadas" (Marinated Chicken Wings) and a couple of pounds of "Costillas Marinadas" (Marinated Beef Short Ribs). Instead of the ribs being cut lengthwise, these are cut about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick ACROSS the ribs so that each cut of meat has 3-4 small "riblet" bones.
Once they are placed on the grill, stay close, since it really doesn't take them long to cook. When you turn them for the first time be prepared for some flareup depending on the amount of fat on each piece. While cooking I also sprinkled on a course ground steak seasoning, but that was all.

As for the wings, the only additional seasoning that I applied was some Lemon Pepper. I put the wings on a little earlier then the Costillas since they took a little longer to cook.

Everything turned out perfect and there were very few leftovers, which is either a sign that the food was good or you just didn't buy enough (and I ALWAYS buy more then enough).

Since my Daughter and her boyfriend weren't in the mood for either the wings or the ribs, they opted to buy a couple of very nice strip steaks, garlic mashed potato's and my Daughters specialty...Bacon Wrapped Green Beans. You never want to over season steaks since you want that nice beef flavor to stand out, so we simply added kosher salt, ground pepper and a little of the ground steak seasoning..........Nothing was left of those.

Smoked Beef Brisket

This weekend we had a large family get together. Our nephew was home on leave prior to being deployed to Iraq. It didn't take long to decide that a nice BBQ brisket would be perfect. The brisket, a couple of side dishes, hamburger buns and some good BBQ sauce and of course some cold beverages......mmmmm......doesn't get much better then that
Start by picking out a nice brisket. I always prefer one that's been trimmed and as with any other piece of meat whether it's pork or beef, pick one that has good marbling and a good 1/2" fat cap. Most of the sides can be prepared up to a couple of days in advance. This is especially true of the coleslaw which tends to taste better after about 24 hours. The mop that I used with the brisket was a basic beer mop.

This is what we settled on:

Turkey Burgers

Well, this weekend was another 4th of July cookout. I had all the intentions and plans to have some nice juicy smoked baby back ribs........problem was I think everybody else in town had the same idea. So I fell back to the old reliable....hamburgers and hot dogs. Now this is a REAL let down for someone who was REALLY in the mood to do some REAL BBQing, but I was intent on making the best of it.
Since my beautiful daughter Jill has been working real hard to eat "the right things" and avoid red meat (blasphemy)....I decided to make not only some regular burgers but also some Turkey burgers. There are some things I have learned when working with turkey on the grill. First, Turkey is very low in fat...and for that reason it tends to dry out when subjected to open flame cooking. Second, Turkey tends to not be as "flavorful" as a good side of beef....and for THAT reason you need to add your own seasonings. So here is a good "basic" Turkey burger....

  • 3lbs. Ground Turkey (try to get an 85/15 ratio or better)
  • 1/4 Cup Seasoned bread crumbs, ground
  • 1/4 Cup Onion, finely Diced
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 1/4 Cup Parsley, fresh and chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1tsp. salt (preferably kosher)
  • 1/4 tsp Black Pepper, ground
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Soy sauce
Now just mix all these ingredients together and form into Patty's. The meat will appear more moist then ground beef. If it has trouble maintaining shape, simply add more bread crumbs.

It is very important that you preheat your grill on high ahead of time. Place the formed Patty's on a the cooking grate which has been oiled (cooking oil on a rag or in a spay bottle works great). Allow to cook for several minutes then flip. DO NOT PRESS DOWN ON THE PATTY'S WITH YOUR SPATULA. I know you have probably seen it done a million times on T.V. but this is a big NO NO. All that accomplishes is to rid your burger of its flavorful juices and leave you with a dry piece of cardboard. If you like your burger pink, this is the time to take it off. If not, move it to the cool side of the grill surface and close the lid. This will allow the interior to continue cooking while minimizing overcooking of the exterior. If you want a "BBQ" burger this is also the time to brush on your favorite BBQ sauce. This will allow the sugars in the sauce to carmalize and give your burger a nice glaze. Just be careful, if you allow the burger back over the flame, that carmalization quickly becomes "gristlization"

Flat Iron Chicken

ALRIGHT.....yesterday I decided to try something a little different. This was a cooking method that I had seen before and that my good friend Jeremy had told me about......You have your beer can chicken, Fried Chicken, Pan Fried Chicken, Baked Chicken, etc. But now there is another weapon for the arsenal...... I call it Flat Iron Chicken. So simple even a Bear can do it (sorry, just another play on commercials).
For this it is nice to have a heavy Cast Iron Skillet.

You start of with a nice whole chicken.
Using a sharp knife....or better yet....a GOOD pair of poultry sheers (also known as culinary sheers or more accurately "Heavy scissors").....cut the chicken from "stem to stern"along the back bone and lay the chicken flat. Then simply remove the keel bone. Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat dry.
From here on you can marinate or season the chicken any way you want....the Sky's the limit. However this is how I did it:

  1. Preheat your grill and skillet on high for at least 10 minutes
  2. Liberally season the entire bird with dry rub (Adkins Western Dry Rub)
  3. Oil your cooking surface. I use a plastic spray bottle with an oil with a high smoke point.
  4. Place the chicken bone side down on the cooking grate
  5. Place the Iron Skillet on top of the chicken (don't forget it's HOT)
  6. If using a gas grill (which I do), lower your heat to low and close the lid.
  7. After about 15 minutes Turn the chicken and again place skillet on top.
  8. After about another 10-15 minutes, I turned the bird again and sprinkled some Mexican Seasoning on top.
  9. Just before the chicken appears to be done I squeeze some Black Magic Finishing Sauce over the bird.
Cooking the chicken this way shortens the time needed and quickly cooks the chicken throughout.
REMEMBER....this is how "I" did it. As long as you have a chicken and some good marinade or seasoning mix you can't go wrong.

Things you will need:
  • 1 whole Chicken
  • GOOD poultry sheers (or a very sharp knife)
  • Dry Rub (or any other seasoning / marinade you prefer)
  • 1 Cast Iron Skillet
  • Black Magic Finishing Sauce
  • Tex Mex Spice Seasoning.

Chicken Marinade

I know, I know.....there are hundreds of chicken marinades out there, but every now and then one comes along that just grabs your attention. Not only is it very easy to make, it adds just a little kick without hurting the tasebuds of even the most bland pallets. Of course the best way to marinate any piece of meat is to place the meat and marinade into a ziploc bag, sqeeze out the excess air and refrigerate anywhere from a couple hours to overnight.

Simply place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and combine on high for 2 min. until smooth.

  • 2 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1/8 cup chopped Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup Olive Oil

Basic Beer Mop

    A mop is some type of liquid / sauce which is applied or "mopped" on a cut of meat (much like basting) which is being slow cooked or smoked. Although its main purpose is to prevent the meat from drying out during the slow cooking process, it also provides another layer of flavor. Although there are hundreds of mop recipes out there, they are all as individual as the person creating it. This is a basic mop recipe which can be built upon any way you like. Most everything is pretty straight forward. For the dry rub I usually use ADKINS western style seasoning. The drippings come from the pan after the meat has slow cooked overnight. If the meat has not been pre-cooked then you can eliminate that particular ingredient. All the ingredients are mixed together and allowed to simmer over a low heat for a few minutes.

    • 12 oz of beer (a good dark beer is preferable, however any will do)
    • 1/4 cup Cider Vinegar
    • 1/4 cup Vegetable Oil
    • 1/2 medium Onion - Chopped or sliced into thin strips
    • 2 Cloves Garlic - minced
    • 1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
    • 1 Tbs Dry rub or seasoning
    • 1 cup of meat drippings