Archive for the ‘In the Kitchen’ Category

Phil’s Italian Pulled Pork

January 21, 2007

     I got this recipe from Phil over at his BBQ Brethren site.  Phil is the founder and our leader of sorts over at Brethren site.  It truly is the best group of guys an gals to talk BBQ with.  Great info mixed with a little joking around.  His dish  sounded good and like a good thing to try on a bad weather day. 

     It starts with a tomato sauce.  Phil urged against jarred stuff, so he posted his basic recipe for the sauce(recipe to follow).  I gathered all the ingredients in advance so I could get an early start. 

     Put the tomato sauce in a large crock-pot and turned on low.  Sear the country ribs in a cast iron skillet.  Then place them into the sauce.  Cover and let simmer for about six to eight hours.  Remove the meat from the sauce and shred.  Serve meat on Italian bread topped with sauce.  Cheese can be added as well.  You could easily used leftover pulled pork or chopped sausage to the sauce and be done in about 30 minutes.


Phil’s 20 Minute Pasta Sauce

2 35 oz Cans Whole Tomatoes(prefer imported)
1 can tomato paste
7-10 cloves garlic chopped fine to make 3-4 tablespoons.(more/less to taste)
Medium Onion diced.
Olive oil
Heavy Tablespoon Dried Oregano
2 cups fresh basil, Either chopped into ribbon or torn into small pieces. chops to about 3/4 cup.
3/4 tablespoon dried parsley(or fresh, a little more)
2 Dry bay leafs. Salt & Black pepper to taste.

Add olive oil to pot and saute onions until they begin to caramelize, add garlic. DO NOT BROWN. Saute on low 1-2 minutes. DO NOT BROWN.
Add juice from tomatoes and crush tomatoes by hand into pot. Add all herbs and stir. . Medium heat until sauce starts a low simmer. DO NOT LET IT BOIL. I add a few shakes black pepper here and add 1 can of tomato paste and continue to stir until paste is mixed in well. DO NOT BOIL! Allow to simmer ON LOW uncovered for about 10-15 minutes.. Oh yeah.. DO NOT BOIL!.

If you want a thicker sauce, add another paste, or use a combination of crushed and whole tomatoes.
Thyme gives it a slightly sweater/aromatic flavor.. goes well if your using it for chicken parm… and especially if your making cacciatore.


Tri Tip Sandwhiches

January 17, 2007

     We got about 2 inches of sleet and snow here in North Texas this morning.  So for lunch I dug in the freezer.  I pulled out a vacuum sealed serving of grilled tri tip. 

     I brought some water in a pot to a simmer.  I placed the sealed tri tip in still frozen.  Heating this way is a quick way to defrost and heat without over cooking the meat.  Meanwhile, I put a 6 inch section of a baguette in the oven to warm and crisp the crust.  After about 10 minutes, the tri tip was thawed and heated through. 

     I sliced the bagette and placed the thin slices of meat on one side.  I poured the juices from the vacuum bag onto the top half of the sandwich.  I added some prepared horseradish and had a great quick lunch.




Black Eyed Peas

January 1, 2007

     New Years calls for black eyed peas.  It’s a traditional to eat these on New Year’s Day for good luck.  I started this batch with about 2 pounds of peas , some diced ham, 2 smoked ham hocks, a couple of Bay leaves, some diced onion, garlic powder,  salt and pepper.  Add enough water to cover.  I also threw in a split jalapeno.  This batch was cooked on the stove for a couple of hours until peas were soft.  I then shredded the hocks into the peas.  I put about a half cup of the cooked peas and pureed them in a blender with some of the juices.  The blended peas were stirred back into the peas to thicken the juices.


      A skillet of cornbread was made to accompany the black eyed peas.  I like to split my slice of cornbread and add butter.  Then scoop the peas on top allowing the juice to absorb into it.

Winter venison chili

December 31, 2006

     While sorting through the freezer after my big move, I came across 2 pounds of ground venison.  I thought it was a good time for some chili.  So, I thawed the venison overnight in the fridge to see if it survived freezer burn.  The next morning I opened it up, and it looked and smelled fine. 

     I just happened to get some chili mix in a gift box at Christmas.  It is a product by D. L.  Jardines.  I followed the directions with the kit.  I browned the meat added water, tomato sauce and seasoning pack.  It simmered for an hour and then I added the masa after it was mixed with a little water.  Another 30 min on simmer and it was done.  I tried it and it was ok.  My wife thought it was a little bland also.

     This is where it gets interesting.  I dig in the spice cabinet and started adding.  I thew in a couple of pinches of San Antonio Chili Powder, Jalapeno Powder and Chipotle Powder.  I also added some sea salt and granulated garlic.  I let it simmer another 30 min.  I think it came out just right.  This time my wife went for a drink after a taste.  She said the heat doesn’t hit until after you eat it.  It’s the chipotle powder, with the back of the throat heat.

I’ll add a pic later.

Italian Fatty Sub

December 27, 2006

     I was rummageing through the freezer and came across a vacu-sealed smoked Italian fatty.  I thawed it out and headed to the pizza shop down the street one last time.  Since I was moving, I knew it was probably my last chance to make a new creation.  I decided on my version of an Italian sub.  I chopped the fatty and we loaded up some fresh foot-long french bread with about half of the meat.  I gave the other half to the pizza man.  We added a little oregano and some Italian seasoning.  Then a ladle or so of marinara sauce the length of the sub.  A few handfuls of mozzarella cheese topped the other fillings.  It was then placed in the brick pizza oven to heat.   

     I tell you, it was one of the top 5 sandwiches I’ve ever had.  Me and the wife made short order of our prospective halves.  This is definitely something that will be reproduced.  I’ll miss you pizza man! 


Italian fatty pizza

December 13, 2006

     In a previous post I mentioned smoking a fatty.  In particular, it was an Italian fatty.  I sliced about half a fatty, and headed out the door.  There is a small pizza shop down the road from me.  It is exceptionally good for my area in Texas.  I frequent the place very often.  I took the fatty slices to the pizza guy behind the counter and requested a pizza.  I asked him to use the fatty and add onion also.  Since they know me by name, and know that I cook often, he said sure.  I took enough to share also.  As part of the bribe, I took a six pack of beer to share also.  They were more than happy at the gesture.  After about 20 minutes, I was eating on a great Italian fatty sausage and onion pizza.

Here is the sliced fatty:


Here’s the great pizza:


Texas Pit Beans

December 1, 2006

     With the cold icy weather, I needed to cook something.  I decided to try the Texas Pit Beans recipe from Peace, Love & Barbecue.  This is Vencil Mares’ (from The Taylor Cafe’ in Tayor, TX) recipe.  Texas pintos aren’t sweet like other Southern baked beans.  Pintos are a staple in most Texas BBQ joints.  I soaked the beans overnight, and have them in the crockpot now.  I’ll update with picks when done in a few hours.

 Update:  I let them cook almost 12 hours on low.  They came out really good.  This was another recipe on my BBQ book “to do” list.



Texas Pit Beans

From Peace, Love and BBQ

  • 1 pound dried pinto beans

  • 2 cups minced yellow onion

  • 1 cup chopped bacon

  • 1/4 cup chili powder

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt, finely ground (I ran it through a coffee grinder I use for spices only)

     Wash beans and sort through them to remove any foreign particles and broken beans.

Put beans in a large bowl or saucepan and cover with cool water by at least 3 inches.  Soak overnight.

     Drain and rinse the beans and put them in a large saucepan.  Add onions, bacon, chili powder and salt, and cover with cool water by 3 inches.  Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours, until beans are very tender.

     You can also cook the beans in a slow cooker or Crockpot.  Prepare as above, but add 6 cups of water.  Cook on medium for 6-8 hours, adding water if necessary to keep beans covered.

 My notes: I cooked in the crockpot on high for 1 hour, then low for about 10 hours.  You can’t overcook pintos.  Check bean tenderness to determine when done.  I serve as is with condiments on the side.  Condements are usually hot sauce, sliced pickled jalapenos and salt and pepper. 

Thanksgiving Leftovers

November 29, 2006

     If you’re like me, you have more turkey leftovers than you can eat.  Aver a few turkey sandwiches, I vacuum seal and freeze the leftovers in portion sizes.  These portions will get defrosted to create other meals for the month.  We’ve already had turkey quesadillas.  Cooked turkey can be used in countless other dishes.  The old standby of Turkey Tetrazini, salads and casseroles.  The next batch will be made into Turkey Spaghetti.  It’s actually just replacing the chicken in the recipe.  The recipe follows below in the next post.

Turkey Spaghetti

November 29, 2006

This recipe is adapted from others that I’ve used. 

  • 1/2 pound cooked turkey or chicken (shredded)
  • 4 oz Velveeta
  • 1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes with green chilies)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 1/2 bell pepper (diced)
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken
  • 3 cups cooked spaghetti

Pre heat oven to 350*.  Heat cream of chicken, Velveeta, and Rotel in the microwave until Velveeta is mixed well.  Saute’ the onion and bell pepper.  Add to mixture along with the turkey.  Stir in cooked spaghetti.  Coat 5×9 baking dish with cooking spray.  Pour in mixture.  Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through.