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!

Oct 5 2007


The General has been out of town, so TLW has decided to go it on her own. Food and Wine magazine is one of my favorites. Their October issue is titled “Wine Made Simple.” As usual, their are many recipes TG and I want to try…especially the Spicy Pork and Tomatillo Stew which is pictured on the cover. The article that piqued my interest the most is “8 health benefits of drinking wine.” Here they the benefits:

Promotes longevity

Reduces heart-attack risk

Lowers risk of heart disease

Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes

Lowers risk of stroke

Cuts risk of cataracts

Cuts risk of colon cancer

Slows brain decline

The article goes on to list the evidence. You will have to read it for yourself here.

(Of course, the health benefits come from moderate consumption!)

Another reason I love Food and Wine is that they are a sponsor of Top Chef on Bravo TV. Even though this year is Season 3, this is the first year I have watched it. Even though TG detests reality tv, I would catch him stopping and watching it over my shoulder. It was great to see the underdog, Hung, win.

Tc S3 Hung Win 75X131

All through this season, Hung remained true to himself while ticking off almost all of the other contestants. His ego, confidence and drive superseded any effort to be popular. Initially he was not one of my favorites, but as he kept avoiding eliminations, I thought he might have a chance. As a true champion, he rose to the occasion when necessary. I am happy he won, but I think I also would have been happy if Dale had won. I can’t wait until F&W’s Top Chef edition comes out!

If you haven’t watched the series, I bet you can catch the re-runs on Bravo!

Sep 20 2007

BBQ Calendar

Yesterday a package arrived in The General’s mailbox from Los Angeles CA. It contained a 2008 calendar entitled ‘A Pig a Day’ Icons of Barbecue. Earlier in the year TG received an inquiry from the publisher as to how to reach Dr. Porkenstein, a cooking team from Cape Cod. Happy to receive the info, Dick, the publisher promised to send us a complimentary copy. Thanks, Dick for remembering!

For The General, it has been fun to page through the calendar and see many of the icons we have seen on the bbq circuit for years.


Click here for more information. Seems to be a great opportunity for a Christmas gift for your BBQ friends!

One fun part of writing this blog is that you never know what is going to show up at your door. Before the calendar, we received a turducken from the Cajun Grocer. TLW and I can’t eat a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey all on our own, so we are getting together a delegation to help us with this monumental task. Can’t wait! Needless to say, we can’t recommend the turducken until we try it, but if you are looking for Cajun foods on the internet you may want to give Cajun Grocer a chance. TG is anxious to try their boudain sausage which we use in our famous championship shrimp and grits recipe.

Jul 10 2006

Grilled Potatoes with Shallots

The General has a fairly large cookbook library here in Savannah and one book I keep re-discovering is “The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Barbecues, Grills & Outdoor Eating (Cook’s Encyclopedias)” (Christine France). I like this book because Christine brings a woman’s approach to outdoor cooking. I also keep it close at hand ever since we were visited by the vegetarian. She has a whole chapter devoted to grilled veggies.

I used one recently for grilled new red potatoes and shallots.

2 1/2 lbs. of small new potatoes or red potatoes

7 oz of shallots, halved

2 T olive oil

1 T sea salt

Get a head start by parboiling the potatoes in salted boiling water for about 5-7 minutes.

Drain well and then thread the potatoes onto skewers alternating with the shallots.

Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Place on grill (either direct or indirect) depending on the intensity of heat in your grill and turn often.


Jun 20 2006

John Egerton

Old cookbooks and old friends have a lot in common. Yesterday I picked up my autographed copy of John Egerton’s Southern Food: At Home, On the Road, In History


John is a foremost
authority and writer about Southern foods and is a founder of Southern Foodways Alliance. Like catching up with an old friend, it didn’t take me long to browse through the book and see all of the notes I made…especially about BBQ!

I like some of the quotes he has assembled in the book and there are a couple that particularly pertain to BBQ:

“The barbecue addict who is also a seasoned traveller looks only at the parking lot to pre-judge the restaurant’s product. If pickup trucks are parked beside expensive imports, he knows the barbecue is good because everyone in town eats there. More than any other cuisine barbecue draws the whole of Southern society from down the street and from miles around.”

(Gary D. Ford,
Southern Living, May, 1982.)

“No one who has had the good fortune to attend a barbecue will ever forget it. The smell of it all, the meat slowly roasting to a delicious brown over smoking fires, the hungry and happy crowds….

“Cue” is what they call it in Georgia, where it has been famous for many, many years. England had its roast beef and plum-pudding dinners, Rhode Island its clambakes, Boston its pork and beans, but Georgia has its barbecue which beats them all. So famous is it, in fact, that it has become a social and political force, and as a political entertainment has been duplicated in many States of the Union….It is no exaggeration to say that many a gubernatorial election in Georgia has been carried by means of votes gained at barbecues, and no campaign for Governor is complete without a series of such popular feasts.”

(John R. Watkins,
Strand Magazine, London, October 1898)

BBQ is truly America’s classic cuisine that draws people from all economic and social backgrounds together like a ‘common denominator’.

Jun 2 2006

Alabama BBQ Chicken with White BBQ Sauce

The General subscribes to too many cooking magazines…according to The Little Woman. All are ‘looked at’ but not many are ‘read.’ Now she wants me to get rid of some…a hard thing to do! There is one in particular called “Cook’s Country” that I especially like.

I especially like Cook’s Country because they test and work with the recipes and perfect them before publishing. I am not sure all published recipes go through the scrutiny and the testing that CC puts into their recipes. I have no problem in recommending that you try a subscription to CC!

The latest issue had Kansas City Ribs, Better Burgers, Best Slow Cooker Chile…and most important they talk about our friends from
Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ in Decatur, AL. The restaurant has been smoking BBQ since 1925. Don McLemore, wife Carolyn, and his son in law Chris Lilly are some of the nicest people you will ever meet on this planet. If you are ever in the Huntsville, AL area, Decatur is just a hop, skip and a jump from there and it would be well worth your time to stop by and sample their “Q.”

All BBQ is essentially cooked the same, but it is the sauce that denotes the region. In northern Alabama, they use a white mayonnaise based sauce on their chicken. Cook’s Country breaks the recipe down where you can make the same white sauce at home.


Alabama BBQ Chicken

White BBQ Sauce

3/4 C mayonnaise

2 T cider vinegar

2 t sugar

1/2 t prepared horseradish

1/2 t salt

1/2 t black pepper

1/4 t cayenne pepper


1 t salt

1 t black pepper

1/2 t cayenne pepper

2 (3 1/2 to 4 pound) whole chickens, patted dry and split

2 C hickory wood chips

Vegetable oil for grill grate

1. For the sauce: Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth, about 1 minute. Refrigerate sauce in airtight container for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

2. For the chicken: Mix salt, black pepper, and cayenne in small bowl. Rub spice mixture all over chicken.

3. Soak wood chips in bowl of water to cover for 15 minutes. Meanwhile open bottom grill vents completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (about 90 coals) and burn until charcoal is covered with fine gray ash. Place 13 by 9 inch disposable aluminum roasting pan in center of grill. Pour half of coals into pile on each side of grill, leaving pan in the center. Scatter wood chips over coals and set cooking grate in place. Cover with lid vents positioned over center of grill and opened halfway. Let grill heat for 5 minutes.

4. Dip wad of paper towels in oil and oil grate, holding paper towels with long-handled tongs. Place chicken skin side down on center of grill. Cover with half opened lid vents over chicken.

5. Grill chickens until skin is well browned, 35 to 45 minutes. Flip chickens skin side up and grill, covered, until breast meat registers 165* on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes longer.

6. Transfer chickens to cutting board, brush with 2 tablespoons sauce, tent with foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Remove foil and brush chicken with 1 tablespoon sauce. Carve and serve, passing remaining sauce at table.

May 19 2006

Beef Short Ribs with Cabernet BBQ Sauce

A couple weeks ago, I bought Weber’s Big Book of Grilling by Jamie Purviance and Sandra S. McRae. The General is always challenged by beef ribs…simply because I haven’t cooked them often.

On p. 124 I found a recipe for Beef Ribs with Cabernet Sauce.

Cabernet Sauce

I doubled the recipe, but here is the original:

1.5 C BBQ sauce

1 C Cabernet Sauvignon (of course, we had plenty available and I used TLW’s Barefoot Cab)

Combine the two ingredients along with some Kosher salt and some freshly cracked black pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil stirring frequently. Keep warm until serving.

Beef Ribs

I substituted Short Ribs that I found at Sam’s.

For the rub I used our own steak seasoning that primarily consists of Kosher salt, coarsely ground black pepper, and granulated garlic. I also added some of Emeril’s Essence and liquefied them with olive oil.


The directions call for searing the ribs, but my fire was entirely too hot, and short ribs are pretty delicate and just couldn’t take the heat, so I cooked them for about an hour in the indirect zone. Here is the key that we don’t normally do, but I don’t know any other way to get them tender. After the hour of indirect cooking, I wrapped them in aluminum foil and coated them with the Cabernet BBQ Sauce. I sealed the package up and cooked them in the indirect zone for another two hours.

You will need to make adjustments if you are cooking a full beef rib.

It is virtually impossible to accurately use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of beef short ribs. TLW and I taste tested and agreed after one hour of covered cooking that they were not tender enough, so I cooked them for a second hour.

The results were fantastic! I had cooked these as a test and our company glommed them all…Kerry even claimed that it was the best beef she had ever tasted!

Mar 31 2006

BBQ Queens Big Book of Barbecue

What a nice surprise when the mailman arrived at The General’s door with an oversized package. It was from our BBQ buddy Karen Adler of Pig Out Publications and BBQ cookbook author extraordinare. Now guys, don’t be fooled by the title of her latest book “The BBQ Queens’ Big Book of Barbecue” (Karen Adler)


These girls are fierce competitors in the BBQ circuit around Kansas City. If it makes you feel any better there is actually one guy on the team. This book already came with a lot of credibility because for the last three years I have religiously cooked out of her other book “Fish & Shellfish, Grilled & Smoked” (Karen Adler)


The thing that makes both books so exciting is the accompanying sauce recipes. The little woman absolutely adores these sauces. With BBQ season in full swing, you can’t go wrong with any recipes in these books on your cookbook shelf!

Mar 21 2006

How about a BBQ Odyssey?

In the past it was not uncommon for The General and his bride to take field trips to different BBQ restaurants. We usually started on a Saturday morning, and most of the time distance didn’t matter. We would try to hit 3 or 4 BBQ joints during the day, and it would only stop when she loudly protested, “No more!!!”

139-Bbq Book

I was going through some of my cookbooks the other day, and found a book called “
The Grand Barbecue – A Celebration of the Places, Personalities, and Techniques of Kansas City Barbecue.” You see, Kansas City, MO, considers itself the BBQ Capital of the World…rivaled only by Memphis, TN. It is home of the American Royal BBQ Contest held each October. The book went on to mention that there are actually BBQ guides to take you from restaurant to restaurant to sample the different BBQ cuisine. Had we not already been to the Royal on several occasions, I think I would take the little woman on this trip. What a BBQ odyssey this would be!

The way the book ends and turned out to be a learning experience for The General. I suggest this book to anyone interested in the history of Kansas City BBQ and in taking the ultimate BBQ field trip. For those of you bargain hunters out there the book is on sale for $4.95 at the link above…such a deal!!

Mar 1 2006

Grilled Grouper with Dilled Cucumber Sauce

The General went to the Seafood Co-op yesterday and sprung for some $12.99 lb grouper. (The missus had invited our friend Alice for dinner.) What makes cooking fun is when you surpass your normal abilities and go beyond.

I have always used the indirect method for cooking fish by placing a sheet of aluminum foil over the grill grate and putting either butter or Pam on the surface of the aluminum foil to keep the fish from sticking.

Last night the grouper went over direct heat using the fish basket. Again, make sure your trusty can of Pam is around so you can spray the basket before placing the fish on it…no sticking for The General! I placed the fish basket over direct coals and turned it every 2-3 minutes. When I wasn’t turning it, I kept the grill top on. Almost all cookbooks tell you to cook the fish until it begins to flake. I also check the internal temperature which should be between 130*-135*.


Here is a really simple recipe that will bring you great results! The little women loved it!

I adapted a recipe from our friend Karen Adler’s book called “
Hooked on Fish on the Grill.”

First step: Coat fillets generously with olive oil. Then add a moderate coat of Chef Paul Prudomme’s Seafood Magic to both sides of the fillets.

Cook the fillets using the basket technique described above.

Dilled Cucumber Sauce:

1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber

1/4 cup sliced green onions

1/4 cup olive oil

1 T lemon juice

2 sprigs fresh dill or 1 t dried

1/2 t salt

Freshly ground pepper to taste.

Combine all above ingredients in a food processor. Refrigerate until fish is grilled and serve on the side.