Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce

My Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce recipe doesn’t have a whole lot of family history. However, I love BBQ and this is one of my default sauces that I make for just about every party and gathering we host where we have something BBQ. My wife and I have experimented with this recipe for the last few years and its one we have settled on.

Even though we love this recipe and we consider it our standard, it’s something we still like to experiment with every now and then.This recipe is easily tweak-able and super friendly to experiment with. Want it less sweet? Back off the sugar. Want it more tart? add more vinegar. Want more heat? Add more cayenne. I tend to tweak this recipe based on what I’m cooking it with. For grilled foods like chicken and pork chops, I tend like to leave this recipe a little on the sweeter side. I like to use more vinegar when cooking fattier cuts of meat like brisket and pork shoulder. I think the vinegar helps balance and cut through the fat a bit better.

Continue reading “Sweet and Spicy BBQ Sauce”

Eggrolls

Egg rolls are my downfall in life.  They are like potato chips, I can’t eat just one.  Growing up an hours drive from Chicago we grew up eating at Chiam’s in Chinatown.  It is no longer in business which meant no more egg rolls from Chiam’s.  Eventually we started going to Rising Sun in Mokena, it was closer and we could do carry out orders.

But when we moved to Florida we were in for a rude awakening.  Chinese food was all the same at all locations (and it wasn’t delicious).  It is a phenomenon that has plagued us since.  The need for a good egg roll that reminded us of Chiam’s or even Rising Sun was nowhere to be found, so the experimenting started.

You may not like these, and it won’t hurt my feelings.  Egg roll preferences are a very personal thing.  Most people like the ones made in their area of the country and some like the generic version you get at most Chinese restaurant today that taste the same at all locations. Continue reading “Eggrolls”

Sous Vide Baby Back Ribs

I think my sous vide baby back ribs are off the chart and I have to thank my sous vide machine for all of the magic. I love my sous vide machine. I don’t mean like kind of love. I really love it. It’s my favorite kitchen gadget. My wife and I use it at least once a week. There isn’t much I have cooked with it that didn’t turn out absolutely fantastic. I also love baby back ribs, but there are some days I just don’t feel like screwing with my smoker. One rainy weekend I really wanted ribs, but didn’t feel like babysitting the smoker in the rain, so I had the brilliant idea of doing some research on sous vide ribs.

There’s a lot of information on the interwebs about how to sous video a large variety of meats, including baby back ribs. The variation in information, techniques, and results is wide, so I am giving a rundown of my preferred method of cooking sous vide ribs. I don’t like tough ribs. I actually prefer my ribs to be almost fall off the bone tender. So in this recipe, we’re going to aim for some delicious fall off the bone sous vide baby back ribs.

Continue reading “Sous Vide Baby Back Ribs”

Chipotle Brined Pork Chops

I love pork chops, and my favorite way to prepare them is with a chipotle brine. Almost everyone skips brining their meat, but learning how to make a brine for my pork and chicken recipes have really been beneficial. My wife and I can’t cook a pork chop or a Thanksgiving turkey anymore without good soaking in a delicious brine.

If you don’t know what a brine is, it’s pretty simple. It’s just a salty liquid. The most important reason to use a brine is to improve the overall juiciness of the meat you are soaking in the brine. Brining works wonderfully with virtually all cuts of poultry and pork.

In this blog, we are going to stick to cooking pork chops. I feel pork chops are the one cut of meat that is traditionally cooked to oblivion and usually to the point of it being dry and tough. Using a brine fixes both of these issues.

My pork chop brines are usually composed of 10 parts water and 1 part salt by weight. I start with 500 grams of water, 500 grams of ice cubes, and 100 grams of salt. I know weighing out water and salt seems a little anal retentive, but it’s the one sure way my brine concentration is always consistent. A food scale is probably the most used tool in my kitchen.

Continue reading “Chipotle Brined Pork Chops”

Bratwurst and German Potato Salad

homemade-bratwurstBratwurst and German potato salad is one of my favorite meals to enjoy on the back porch during the spring and fall months. I’ll admit it now, the bratwurst in the photo above is homemade and it was made by me, but the recipe isn’t mine. It came straight out of the one cookbook every sausage connoisseur should own: Charcuterie – The Craft of Salting, Curing, and Smoking. I’m not going to post the recipe for the Bratwurst because I think folks should really buy this book. Form a historical standpoint, this book made me truly understand and the appreciate the art of curing meats and knowing exactly where my meat comes from. Buy… the… book… I’m being serious. Even if you don’t plan on making sausage, it’s a good read.

However, I can recommend a method for cooking your bratwurst. Most people just toss it on a grill or pan and go to town on searing it. I find that cooking this way often burns or over cooks the skins before the interior is done. One of the best methods to cook brats or any sausage is to simmer them in a pan, with the lid on, in a shallow liquid, until they are cooked through. Then finish them on the grill or in a pan. My favorite liquid to simmer my bratwurst in is beer. Oktoberfest to be specific. I’ll also chop up some onions and add them to my liquid. When the bratwurst are finish cooking, I’ll put them aside and I’ll finish cooking down the beer and onions until thick. The cooked onions are great with the bratwurst. I may add a little brown sugar to balance out the onions (beer can sometimes become bitter when cooked). Then I will finish the bratwurst on the grill or in a cast iron skillet.

Continue reading “Bratwurst and German Potato Salad”