Feb 6 2008

Crab Cakes

Savannah, being a port city, is really into seafood… and crab cakes are really popular here. In the February 2008 issue of the National Barbecue News there is a recipe for Grilled Crab Cakes with Salsa. The recipe calls for Corn Bread Crab Cakes with chunky salsa and a white sauce. It sounds very good and we plan to try it soon.

TLW also has an awesome recipe for crab cakes:

2 egg whites
1 C mayonnaise (Hellman’s)..can add more to get correct consistency
1/2 t Old Bay Seafood seasoning
3/4 t dry mustard
4 T butter
1/2 t ground celery seed
Juice of 2 lemons
1/2 t cayenne pepper
6 T extra fine cracker crumbs
1 lb. lump crab meat
8 slices white bread

Combine egg whites and mayo in mixing bowl. Add seafood seasoning, dry mustard, celery seed, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and cracker crumbs. Whisk to remove lumps.

Lightly fold crab meat into mayo mixture. Cover and chill.

Discard crusts from bread slices and cut each slice into quarters. Process in food processor fitted with steel blade until you get a uniform small crumb.

Shape chiilled crab mixture into small cakes. Dredge each cake in bread crumbs and place on rack over a sheet pan. Chill at least 30 minutes so breading can set.

Prepare your grill for direct grilling. Place cakes on a sheet of foil that has been sprayed with Pam. Cook until the bottom of each cake is golden. Gently flip each cake and brown the other side. (You can also saute the cakes in a black iron skillet using the butter. )

TLW usually serves her crab cakes with her Cajun Remoulade sauce. The recipe in the NBBQ News calls for chunky salsa and a drizzling of a white sauce consisting of sour cream, mayo, milk, lemon juice and Italian seasoning.

Feb 6 2008

Shrimp Alfredo

Here is a recipe that you can do either inside or outside on the grill. Wow! Were we ever surprised at how good it was…and how easy. TG bought about 11/2 pounds of shrimp. Taking the easy way out last night, I boiled them with the shells removed. I could have almost as easily grilled them. Prepare enough fettucine for two or more. I used prepared Alfredo sauce that I found in the spaghetti sauce section of our local Publix. Heat the sauce in your microwave for about 2 minutes on high, lay down a bed of fettucine on your dish, spread the shrimp out evenly and cover with the Alfredo sauce. Garnish with minced parsley and serve with garlic bread. Really fast and really good. The Little Woman gave me two thumbs up for this dish!

Feb 2 2008

Eating With Your Eyes

People eat with their eyes…as if I didn’t already know that after competing 11 years on the professional BBQ circuit. Sometimes we have to re-learn things we already know to reinforce them. I believe that our success at the National BBQ Festival in November should be credited to TLW’s presentation of our ribs and brisket. I can only take credit for the ribs that I selected and of course the cooking of them. They were especially meaty…but the rest was due to her creativity…

Friday, after our finish in the middle of the pack of the Invitational event, we had a discussion with two judges, one our good friend Bob Lyon from the Seattle area. TLW asked them how they came up with their presentation scores, which amount to almost 25% of the total score for each entry. Many points were mentioned that we always keep in mind, but one stood out. Since the turn in boxes at this event were bigger than those usually used, the boxes should still be very full. In the Invitational, we did not follow this advice, and in thinking about our presentations, we could have added more samples.

In Saturday’s Open event, we kept that concept in mind and had no problem with putting in plenty of ribs, since all of our slabs were awesome. Below is a picture of our turn in box. During Friday’s contest, TLW put in one layer of ribs, but on Saturday two layers really filled up the box. And the judges must have liked them giving this entry the first place nod.


We had a major problem with our chicken. It came out of the pit much darker than usual. In retrospect, we ran out of honey that we usually use to sweeten our sauce and replaced it with maple syrup…could this have been the culprit? It took a great effort for TLW (and a lot of cuss words) to find enough pieces of chicken to fill the box…We were decidedly unhappy with that sample even though the day before, chicken was our only top ten finish.

When it was time to turn in our brisket, we ran into another snag. Our four briskets all seemed to be slightly overcooked…even though TG thought they were at perfect temperature. After cutting in to all four, TLW had about ten slices that were acceptable to her…but alone in the box they looked pitiful. So, she cut pieces from fatty parts that we usually don’t turn in…but love to eat. With about 30 seconds left, she placed them in the box jigsaw fashion and figured that all was lost. Much to our surprise, the judges gave us first place…amaziing!


Now whether you compete or not, it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you incorporate good presentation into the food that you feed your guests. Looks do count!

Feb 2 2008

Paul Kirk and R.U.B. (Righteous Urban Barbecue)

Over the years I have always known about him The Baron of Barbecue, Mr. Kirk, but I have never met him, primarily because we cooked in the Southeast and he cooked in the Midwest. I am always pleased when someone goes beyond their passion and turns it into a business. Such is the case with Paul. He has recently published a cookbook

“Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue: Barbecue Your Way to Greatness with 575 Lip-Smackin’ Recipes from the Baron of Barbecue” (Paul Kirk). He has also added to the barbecue scene in New York City with his restaurant R.U.B. competing now with Daisy Mae’s and Blue Smoke. I would recommend that you try all three restaurants when you get to the Big Apple. We have visited Blue Smoke (and give it high marks) but have yet to try the other two.

I have also heard that he has opened another R.U.B. in Las Vegas at our favorite hotel The Rio. Check it out next time you are in Sin City!