So Jacob talked me into coming to this place, and I am glad I tried to. He told me about a item on the brunch menu that is a biscuit with fried chicken, two sunny side up eggs and the whole thing is covered in sausage gravy. How could I say no?
It was pretty good, the gravy has quite a bit of thyme in it and enjoyed it. The biscuit was a little tough but with the sausage gravy the whole thing was fantastic.
CJ had the Paula Dean which was crispy pork belly over cheesy grits with a sunny side egg and toast. We also ordered the hash as well.
The hash is in the middle, I do think it is pretty cool they serve it in an individual cast iron pan, unfortunately I didn’t think it was very good, it had kind of a sour taste to it that I care for. I also ordered and ice coffee and maybe I am spoiled by True Grounds down the street but most places make the coffee way too weak for when they mix it with ice it becomes too watered down. The waitress was great and the food was very reasonably priced. I would recommend it, but with Highland Kitchen just up the street I would only go here if that wasn’t an option.
Alright so I have been working on ways to use chicken legs and thighs mostly because they are really really cheap, and it is a nice change of pace from chicken breast. Anyway I have found the easiest way to make pulled chicken.
So I took the chickens and put about a 1/2 a tablespoon under the leg skin and another under the thigh skin, I also sprinkled lightly on the back of the chicken pieces.
Throw them on the smoker about 300 degrees for 3ish hours, I placed them like this on purpose because I think the edges of the grill tend to be warmer because the water pan doesn’t protect it as much. So putting the thighs on the outside I would think they would cook more evenly.
This is what they look like after around three hours. Don’t go by time though you have to get a digital thermometer. You can go by the flexing of the leg, if it is done it should just tear off very easily. But really you want to find the biggest thigh put a probe thermometer in it and cook the thigh until it reads 180. Remember there is plenty of fat and connective tissue in these so you want to cook them more like a brisket and less like a steak which is why I like the quarters for this.
Unfortunately the skin is useless and really just needs to be discarded. I pull the chicken off the bone and serve it like it is pulled pork. The other down side is this recipe really isn’t much of a looker.
I can’t believe I didn’t take a shot of it on a sandwich but I seem to have left that out or deleted or something. I treat this exactly like pulled pork, a little coleslaw a very small amount of BBQ sauce and a cheap white bread hamburger bun. It is terrific. It is also a great way to try smoking meats, because the meat is cheap it is only 3ish hours long so you don’t have to keep a fire going for 12 hours of a pork shoulder or brisket.
Smoked Turkey Legs
So I have gotten way behind in my posting, this is going to happen from time to time as I have a love hate relationship with the computer. Spending all week in front of it sometimes I really don’t want to pick it up on the weekend. So I wanted to smoke something different and I saw that Stop and Shop had turkey legs on sale for some really cheap price, I think it was $1.99 a pound. First thing is first you have to put the turkey legs in a brine, I made a simple one equal parts salt and sugar.
I put them overnight in a brine and then let them out on a wire rack for a few hours in the fridge. The fridge will get them nice and draw which will allow the rub to really stick.
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Rub with the above spice rub and oil.
Throw it on the smoker I did 275 but next time I am going to try 300. After about 2 hours it will look like the below.
Pull them after the thermometer reads 180 be careful you do not hit the bone when gauging the temperature if you hit the bone it will read much hotter than what the meat is.
They came out pretty good, the meat was perfect but the skin was very chewy and leathery. I think possibly basting with oil half way through might also help get a crispy skin. Over all they were pretty good but not quite perfect. Next time I am going to increase the temp and hope that helps the skin.
CJ found the coolest little recipe a year or so ago–basically, you take a wonton wrapper and shove it in a muffin tin, then fill it with something awesome. Add cheese, put in another layer of awesome sauce, and then more cheese. Bake for a while at 350 and you get savory cupcakes. The idea came from Emily Bites and I decided to make buffalo chicken cupcakes because I personally don’t have enough buffalo chicken in my life.
Take some shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, celery chopped fine, and blue cheese and mix them all up. Then you press the wonton into the muffin tin. (Be sure to grease the muffin tins well.) Put about a tablespoon of stuff in the bottom of the wonton, add some cheese, add another wonton, another spoon of stuff, and more cheese–repeat as many times as necessary.
Bake these bad boys for 20 minutes at 350 until the corners are light brown and the cheese is completely melted.
Wait a few minutes for them to cool before popping out of the muffin tin, they are going to be unbelievably hot. Check out the Emily Bites website, she has a bunch of different ideas. CJ made the French Dip cupcakes and they are amazing. It also is cool because you can freeze these and then pop them in microwave for a few minutes and you are good to go.
I decided that since it was so nice out I was going to do something with the smoker, and CJ requested I make pulled pork. I hadn’t done it in a long time and figured it would be pretty easy. I got the two pork shoulders below on sale and made a rub with raw sugar and some store bought Texas smoky BBQ rub. You want to use about twice as much sugar as BBQ rub, at least that is what I like on pork. Make sure to take the skin off before adding the rub. Try to leave as much fat around the pork as possible.
Make sure to apply rub on all sides to coat it. Another trick is that you really have to make sure the meat is dry before applying the rub. If the meat isn’t dry a lot of the rub will “leak off” the meat. I know it was a step I was always tempted to skip. Please do not. Another step I like to do is to make sure to stab the roast a 8-10 times each to puncture some of the membranes in the pork and help the natural fat baste the meat.
Toss that in the smoker for about 18 hours and you get the below.
I started this about 4:30pm Saturday night with apple wood. I have really found that apple or apple and cherry really work well with the pork. I pulled it out of the smoker at about 8am Sunday morning and it was about 190 degrees which I think is perfect. Wrapped it in foil and held it for about 3 hours until it was almost game time. The meat just fell apart–it was very tender. I pulled out the bones for the neighbors’ dog (he is a giant husky who is a big baby, a perfect combination).
After pulling it came out really well, like I said the meat was so tender it really wasn’t too hard. Just had to remove the bones and break it up.
CJ made a wonderful spicy rum based BBQ sauce and it was awesome. Put a little coleslaw on the cheapest most supermarket white bread hamburger rolls you can find, and I give you heaven.
So you caught me, I didn’t take a picture of my first sandwich. OK, it wasn’t my second sandwich either, and no I am not telling what number sandwich this was. Now I have to decide what to make with all of this left over pulled pork. I might bring it to work, I might freeze some. amd I might make some sort of chili. (CJ is actively hoping for the last option. It is getting to be chili season!)
Hope you had a great weekend.
So I decided I wanted to make ribs, I hadn’t done any pork in a while. CJ isn’t the biggest fan of ribs but I have to cook them every once in a while. Then I found out baby back ribs were on sale so I was set. I found a recipe that called for a maple glaze and I thought that would be great. Fall in the air and such. I cleaned and rubbed 3 racks of baby backs very lightly with rub and threw them on the smoker with some apple wood and charcoal.
This is the ribs after I got the smoker up to temp. You will notice there isn’t that much rub on the ribs. I think most people add too much but anyway there was going to be a maple glaze coming so you don’t want to over do it.
I boiled down one cup of apple juice a 1/4 cup of maple syrup and bit of hot sauce until it make a glaze. About half an hour before the ribs are done I coated them in the glaze.
I think if I do this next time I am going to double the glaze, put a coat on one hour before they come off and 30 minutes before they come off to get a little more of that flavor.
The ribs overall were pretty good. I didn’t cook them as well as I could have. I didn’t wrap them in foil which I should have, and then applied the double coat of the glaze after unwrapping them and I think it would have been much better. Always next time right?
So those of you in New England know we had a pretty crappy weekend weather wise. I figured it was time to break out a recipe that I loved in the past, Company Pot Roast. I stole this from a wonderful blog called Ezra Pound Cake who stole it from Ina on the Food Network. I would like to offer a few suggestions for how to make it better. I followed the recipe below and it was very good but I recall that I combined the recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and that was the best Pot Roast ever. The change I would suggest after removing the meat from the dutch oven drain the sauce and then cook vegetables separately. This recipe calls for using the vegetables as a thickener and it was a little too stew like for my taste and the vegetables after being cooked for 3ish hours were way too mushy to provide anything. My suggestion take it or leave it. It was great otherwise. I will be trying to my way the next time and will keep you posted.
Company Pot Roast
- 1 (4 to 5-pound) prime (or choice) boneless beef chuck roast, tied
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- All-purpose flour, for dredging
- Olive oil
- 2 cups chopped carrots (4 carrots)
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
- 2 cups chopped celery (4 stalks)
- 2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 to 4 leeks)
- 5 large garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 2 cups good red wine, such as Burgundy
- 2 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes in puree
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 3 branches fresh thyme
- 2 branches fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Place the tied beef in a large baking dish, and pat it dry with a paper towel. Season it roast all over with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Dredge the whole roast in flour, including the ends.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the roast, and sear it on one side for 4 to 5 minutes, until it’s nicely browned. Using a carving fork, turn and sear the other side of the beef. Then brown the ends.
- Using the carving fork or a wide, heavy-duty spatula, transfer the roast to a large plate. (Be careful not to scrape the seared crust off of your meat.)
- Return to the Dutch oven, and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the carrots, onions, celery, leeks, garlic, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Cook the vegetables over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are tender but not browned.
- Add the wine and Cognac. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Tie the thyme and rosemary together with kitchen string, and add them to the pot.
- Put the roast back into the Dutch oven, bring everything to a boil, and cover the pot.
- The Dutch oven will be heavy, so carefully lift the pot and slide it into the oven. After 1 hour, turn the heat down to 250 degrees F to keep the sauce at a simmer. Let the meat cook for another hour, and start checking it for doneness. The meat should be fork tender (or about 160 degrees F) after a total of 2 to 2-1/2 hours spent in the oven.
- Transfer the roast to a cutting board. Tent it loosely with foil to keep it warm.
- Remove the herb bundle from the pot, and throw it away.
- Let the liquid in the pot settle for about 5 minutes. Then, using a wide spoon, skim off as much fat as possible from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce and vegetables to a blender or a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and puree until smooth. (Or, use an immersion blender directly in the Dutch oven.) Pour the puree back into the pot, place the pot on the stovetop over low heat, and return the sauce to a simmer.
- Place 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of butter in a small bowl, and mash them together with a fork. Stir the mixture into the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes, stirring until thickened. Taste for seasonings.
- Remove the strings from the roast, and slice the meat. Serve warm with the sauce spooned over it.
Post Oven with a side of Asparagus
Sorry for the lack of pictures I was trying to cook and fit all this in with the Patriots game and I lost track of things. Next time we will do a better job.