The Super Bowl………..of Salsa

I wish the Saints were playing today, but it just wasn’t in the cards.  In any event, the amount of food consumed will not suffer.  This Super Bowl as with all previous will find friends gathering around finger food.

My contribution is batch of salsa.  Easy enough.

  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 can of tomatoes sauce
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 2 jalapenos diced
  • 1 cup of sliced carrots
  • 1 bunch of cilantro chopped
  • 1 ts of black pepper
  • 2 ts of chili powder (not chile powder!)
  • 1 ts of sea salt
  • 1 ts of fresh ground cummin
Toss it all together and let it rest a few hours for the flavors to marry.

 6

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Following the recipe

Depending on what I am cooking, I may follow a recipe……or I may not.  Generally the result is good either way, but every once in a while something goes completely off the tracks.  Last night, I followed the recipe and everything came out just fine. 

This story begins several years ago.  While walking through Home Depot trying to find some pool supplies, I ran across a cookbook by the name of Weber’s Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire by Jamie Purviance.  I didn’t have a big Weber grill at the time and didn’t have a clue who Jamie Purviance was, but the book had really good looking pictures.  That was good enough so it went in my buggy.  I flipped through the pages when I got home and pretty much forgot about it.

Flash forward a few years and a good buddy gave me a Weber for Christmas.  What better way to enjoy the grill than to prepare a few recipes from Weber’s own cookbook.  My wife flipped through the pages and settled on grilled pork loin with tomatillo salsa.

Serves: 6 to 8
Prep time: 30 minutes
Marinating time: 6 to 8 hours
Way to grill: direct medium heat (350° to 450°F)
Grilling time: 40 to 50 minutes

Brine
1 quart cold water
1/4 cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground chipotle chile powder
Zest of 1 lime
1 boneless pork loin, about 2-1/2 pounds, trimmed of excess fat

Salsa
4 slices bacon
10 medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed
2 medium Anaheim chile peppers, roughly chopped
1 small yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 large garlic clove
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic

1. In a large bowl whisk the brine ingredients until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Place the pork in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the brine. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

2. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook the bacon until crispy, 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on paper towels, but leave the melted bacon fat in the skillet. Add the tomatillos, chile peppers, onion, and garlic. Cover the skillet and cook over medium heat until the tomatillos begin the collapse and the chiles are tender, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent browning. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. Process until smooth. Finely chop the drained bacon and mix into the sauce. Set aside at room temperature.

3. Remove the pork from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly coat the pork with oil and season evenly with the salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Let sit at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes before grilling.

4. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.

5. Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the pork over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the surface is dark brown and the internal temperature reaches 150°F, 40 to 50 minutes, turning and rotating every 10 minutes for even cooking. If the pork begins to burn, finish cooking it over indirect heat, turning occasionally (total cooking time will be slightly longer). Remove the pork from the grill and let rest at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile reheat the sauce over medium heat. Cut the pork crosswise into slices about 1/2 inch thick and serve warm with the salsa.

They only thing I could think of to add a little dash to this was Benton’s bacon.  It was some kind of fine.

I was in a hurry to eat and forgot to take a picture with the salsa on the pork loin, but trust me it was on there when we plated it.  Give it a try.

A man can never have too many grills

Over my lifetime many grills have come and gone.  They run the gamut from little contraptions that would cook a couple of burgers to my Lang84 Deluxe.  All have served a purpose and most ended up wearing out somewhere along the way.  At a  deer camp we hunted in Hazlehurst we had a graveyard of broken down grills.  Trying to remember how many steaks had been cooked on all of them would be like trying to count the stars in the sky.

At the moment I own about half a dozen grills and each has its own purpose.  The Lang84 is for cooking pigs and mass quantities.  I have a Weber Little Smokey that is adequate for a couple of hamburgers.  There is a homemade grill in the backyard that is heavy as a tank, but cooks well for indirect heat situations.  At the deer camp in Bolton, I have another Little Smokey and also a large offset smoker for chickens and pork.

Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had never owned a large Weber.  That was remedied when a good friend dropped off a Weber One Touch Silver as a Christmas gift.  After about 30 minutes of reading the instructions and putting it together, last night was the grand unveiling. 

 

What better to break in a grill than some yard strutter.  Quick and easy.  Take an aluminum pan and fill it with chicken.  Add a quarter inch of water and 1 stick of butter.  Dust the top of the chicken with Rebel Butcher Supply’s BBQ rub and toss the pan on the grill.

My wife and youngun enjoyed the box the grill came in more than the grill itself.  However, I suspect if I looked at that box hard enough there would be some kind of warning telling me that the box is horribly dangerous and should not be used as a toy.  Oh well, at least we have some adult supervision.

  

The end result was perfect.  Nice tender chicken with a touch of smoke flavor.  I prefer mine simply grilled without the pan, but my wife likes it this way better.  It certainly isn’t worth arguing over and as I have preached in a previous blog………….happy wife equals happy life.

The first cooking on the Weber was a complete success.  Now that the new is knocked off of it I see some steaks in our future.

Gumbo – a lesson learned

This past weekend we decided to make gumbo at deer camp.  Not an everyday gumbo, but a super duper all in gumbo.  Deer loin, chicken, sausage, lobster and shrimp.  The roux came out perfect.  vegetables went in and smelled great.  Meat went in and we started the slow process of letting it simmer.  Everything was great.  Until….

This is where the story goes horribly wrong.  While the gumbo was simmering, I had to make a grocery run for some rice.  While in the store, I noticed they had some gumbo grabs.  Thinking to myself that the only thing that could make this insane gumbo even better would be those crabs so I grabbed them.  Fast forward a short time.

Everyone gets back from the afternoon hunt and is expecting gumbo.  What we discovered was best summed up in the first comment I heard “that smells like dog poo!”  Keep in mind, this was about 70 pounds of gumbo that had to be dumped out.  We didn’t dare dump it in a creek for fear of poisoning the local water supply.  Without a doubt, this was the worst smelling stuff ever to pollute the air at our place.  We ended up dumping it at the deer gut pile.  It even made that area smell worse. 

I suspect the EPA will call at any minute to tell me the smell has caused airplanes to fall from the  sky.  We are going to make a run at it again this weekend.  I will try to take some pics and you can bet your last dollar there will be no crabs going in it this time!

Pizza at home…….the easy way

With a 19 month old at the house, we don’t get out to eat as often as we used to.  No complaints here.  I would much rather cook than eat out anyway.  The only challenge is not getting into a rut of eating meatloaf every Tuesday.  Recently, the “whats new for dinner” thought hit me.  I pondered my options in the kitchen for a few minutes and took a quick inventory.  With a couple of ingredients from the garden, a bit of Benton’s ham and a trip through the pantry, pizza was the solution.  

If you haven’t made your own, do yourself a favor.  Skip the frozen stuff, get a pizza stone and have at it.  The beauty of pizza building is you can put exactly what you want on it. 

Hoover Sauce

A while back, I mentioned my love of Hoover Sauce and posted a little stir fry recipe we make around this house.  Since then, my supply of Hoover Sauce has dwindled dangerously low.  Saturday, I helped a buddy move some blinds and boats at his duck camp.  Louise, Mississippi was on the way back.  To say it was perfect timing is an understatement.  In this little old building you will find one of the best things to come out of Mississippi. 

 

I have tried Hoover on everything and have yet to find anything it didn’t make better.  Steak, chicken, ribs, pork loin, and even grilled fish.  However, stir fry is without a doubt my favorite and just went to the top of the menu for tonight.

Benton’s Smokey Mountain Country Hams

The UPS man came by the office today with a package for me.  I thought it was going to take a stun gun to get my box of Benton’s bacon and ham away from him.  The outside is fairly plain looking but smells good enough to eat. 

 

Just a brown box letting you know that it is Genuine Tennessee County Ham inside.  It was lunch time, so I ran it by the house.  As you can well imagine, there was no way I could leave without opening it up to check it out.

No time to properly cook it at lunch but BLTs are definitely on the menu tonight.  I hope they turn out as good as last time.

Happy Independence Day guys and galls

I hope you folks have a happy and safe 4th of July.  On this day (and every day you breathe free air) it is important to remember that freedom isn’t free.  We are able to go about our lives in this great country in part because of the tremendous sacrifices, past and present, of our men and women in uniform.  It reminds me of a quote that surfaces from time to time.

Only Two Defining Forces Have Ever Died For You : Jesus Christ And Your American Soldier – Jesus Died For Your Soul And The Soldier Died For Your Freedom.

Be safe out there.  Don’t drink and drive, but make sure to keep an eye out for the those that do.  We are cooking a pig, relaxing and trying to keep cool on a day that will probably hit close to 100 degrees.  I sure hope he comes out as good as the last one.

Fresh from the garden

One of the joys of growing a garden is always having fresh side dishes.  Several things looked good this afternoon.  Squash, zucchini, peppers, okra, and tomatoes.  Now I just have to figure out what to go with it.  I am guessing there is chicken or some deer backstrap in my future. 

 

A few pickups from Highland Village

Saturday, we all loaded up for a little shopping trip after the Tomato Festival in Crystal Springs.  My wife and I had eyeballed the Five Fingers shoes from Vibram for a while and decided it was time to go try some out.  After a little internet research, the closest place for us was Buffalo Peak Outfitters in Highland Village.  They come in many colors and styles, but I settled on plain old black.  These are not the easiest things to get on, but once you do they are quite comfortable.

 

On the way out, I remembered that Paul Anthony’s market was right around the corner.  A good friend has been raving about the spinalis he bought there.  I must confess, until a couple of months ago, I had absolutely no idea what spinalis was.   I have since come to find out that spinalis dorsi is the top cap muscle of the ribeye.  Given that I love ribeyes, I figured spinalis would be right up my alley.  It was. 

Seasoned with cracked black pepper on one side and fresh sea salt on the other.  No need to get fancy and mask the flavor of this tasty piece of meat.

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