Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Outdoor Cooking USA - Day 10, Califorina

My Mother-in-law could grill a hamburger or hot dog up to perfection, you know it--the smoky, char-grilled outside and the juicy inside, smothered in slightly melted cheese, stacked with a little lettuce ant fresh tomato, all sandwiched in between a soft, toasty roll. That's what a burger is all about! Hot dogs were always served with relish and mustard. There are a couple of tips to making a great burger.
 #1... Meat with a higher fat content will be juicier but will also shrink more when it cooks. So make sure to make your patties a little larger than the bun you are planning on using.
#2...  If you shop at a store or local market, where the butcher grinds their own beef, choose coarsely ground beef for juicier burgers with a more pleasing texture.
#3... My husband like to mix ground pork, turkey and beef together for a richer burger. But shhhh!... that is our little family secret! :)

Grilled Burgers (Harris Style)

  • 2 pounds mixed ground beef, pork and or turkey
  • 8 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 medium onion diced
  • 1/4 pound chopped, crisp cooked bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/8 cup shredded carrots (gotta sneak in the veggies)
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce 
  • 1 tablespoon Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
Preparation: Mix everything together thoroughly, the shape into 8 slightly larger than bun sized patties. Grill, broil or pan fry until well done, about 4 minutes per side.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Outdoor Cooking USA - Day 8, Texas

        There are many legends and stories about where chili originated and it is generally thought, by most historians, that the earliest versions of chili were made by the very poorest people. There is a legend that I have heard many times growing up and I like the story, so I will share.

According to an old Southwestern American Indian legend and tale says that the first recipe for chili con carne was put on paper in the 17th century by a beautiful nun, Sister Mary Agreda of Spain. She was mysteriously known to the native Indians of the Southwest United States as "La Dama de Azul," or the lady in blue. The story goes that Sister Mary would go into trances with her body lifeless for days. When she awoke from these trances, she told stories of her spirit traveling to a faraway lands where she preached Christianity to savages and counseled them to seek out Spanish missionaries. Even though Historians know that Sister Mary never actually left Spain, yet Spanish missionaries and King Philip IV of Spain believed that she was the ghostly "La Dama de Azul" or "lady in blue" of the Indian Legends. It is said that sister Mary wrote down the recipe for chili which called for venison or antelope meat, onions, tomatoes, and chile peppers while she was here, but no accounts of this were ever recorded, so who knows?

          The only thing certain about the origins of chili is that it did not originate in Mexico! And the list of original recipes could be produced a mile high, so you just have to try a few, pick your favorite, tweak it bit and you too could have your very own original recipe.  

          Today we are finishing up our dutch-oven recipes and spending next week pretending to be "Grill Masters", :)  And since it is Sunday we wanted to offer a recipe that was both quick and easy or it can be made a day ahead and then warmed back up in the fire to save more time for going to church, family time and serving the Lord.

Do-Ahead Dutch-Oven Chili ( Texas Style )

  • 2 pounds chuck roast or ground beef
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 roasted green chilies or sweet banana peppers , seeded and chopped
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 - 4 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 Tbs. oregano
  • 1 20-ounce can tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-3 cans of red kidney beans
  • Secret ingredient: 1 tablespoon grated cocoa 
  1. Brown meat, garlic and onions in bacon grease in the Dutch oven. Be sure not to over cook meat, you still want some pink. It will finish cooking mixed with the other stuff.
  2. Add peppers and mix well. ( use jalapeno peppers if you heat or mix all three together like we do)
  3. Add remaining ingredients, put the Dutch oven lid on and cook 1 hour with 9 coals underneath and 15 on top.
  4. This chili is great served with dutch oven cornbread or homemade grilled tortillas. Also you can leave out the beans and this chili becomes a great Hot Dog chili. This is the way we serve it... :)

  •  Since we have be trying really hard to use Monday's as our "Monday Makeover" Day and we will be serving this tomorrow over our grilled Armadillo Eggs and dogs, we made this chili using ground Turkey instead of the beef and we really couldn't tell the difference, only a little bit in the texture.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Outdoor Cooking USA - Day 6, South Carolina

Today, July 6th, 2012 is National Fried Chicken Day. Okay, so it may not be the healthiest thing for you, but the Southern belles swear that the secret to perfectly fried chicken is as follows: soak your chicken overnight in buttermilk, the next morning season your flour (the spices you use are up to you) and be sure to dip your chicken in egg before your dredge it through the seasoned flour. Cook in oil until golden brown and you've got some darn good southern fried chicken. It's as American as apple pie! History has it that the perfection of the breaded and seasoned came about among the African slaves in the southern states and rumor has it that the Europeans have been eating fried chicken since the Middle Ages, though the actual idea of fried chicken came from Scottish immigrants who deep-fried their chicken in fat. This is the way my family use to make their fried chicken. In the summer time my grandfather use to fill large dutch-ovens full of lard and melt it down and fry the chicken in it. I loved to hear the sounds and smell the fantastic aromas of the mutton and chicken popping in the oil over the open fire. Today is also International Kissing Day, so be our guest and try some "lip-smacking" southern fried chicken and grits for dinner tonight! :)

Southern Fried Chicken


  • buttermilk
  • 4 - 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups shortening
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon  paprika
  • 1 (2 to 3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces


  1. The night before cut and wash chicken, place pieces on a large dripper pan (large cake pan) and cover with buttermilk. Let soak overnight. 
  2. Heat the shortening in a large, dutch-oven or large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Beat eggs in large bowl. Pull chicken out of the buttermilk and dip in egg mixture.
  3. In a brown paper lunch bag, combine the flour, salt, and pepper. Shake two chicken pieces in the bag to coat, and place them in the skillet. Repeat until all of the chicken is coated and in the skillet.
  4. Fry the chicken over medium-high heat until all of the pieces have been browned on both sides. Turn the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. Remove the lid, and increase heat to medium-high. Continue frying until chicken pieces are a deep golden brown, and the juices run clear.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Outdoor Cooking USA - Day 5, Mississippi

         In the USA, we've known about and eaten cornbread since arrival of the Europeans. The native Americans learned early on how to dry and grind corn into corn meal. When they mixed it with eggs and corn flour, the easiest and simplest of cornbreads could be made. Even though very thin, dense, and flat, it was just the way to transport healthy food for long distances over periods of time without all the weight. This is the main reason cornbread became so popular during the civil war. Elsewhere in the world, you can almost always find some form of cornbread wherever corn is harvested for food. 
Cornbread is such an old favorite... It is great served with anything! 


1 cup buttermilk (or 7 ounces of milk + 1 ounce vinegar or lemon juice, mixed and left to sit for about 30 minutes until curdled. If you're in a hurry, mix the milk and vinegar or lemon juice and microwave it for 20-30 seconds on high power.)
1 large egg
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder (if you're at high altitude, use 1 teaspoon baking powder, else the cornbread will rise too high, then fall)
1-1/2 tablespoons of bacon drippings or vegetable oil

3/4 cup whole kernel corn  or creamed corn (optional)
1/2-3/4 cup grated sharp cheddar (optional )
1-4 finely chopped jalapeno or chile peppers, no seeds (optional)
2 cloves finely minced garlic (optional)
  • Pour drippings or oil into an  a 10 inch dutch-oven or a 9-inch square baking pan. Heat dutch oven until oil is smoking hot.
  • While pan is heating, mix dry ingredients and any of the optional ingredients in medium-sized bowl. Beat egg into buttermilk. Add liquids to dry mixture, just until blended. Do not overmix! Carefully
  • remove the smoking pan from fire and pour cornbread batter into pan. If the oil is properly hot, then the batter will sizzle as it hits the oil. (This sizzle is what makes a nice, crunchy bottom crust.)
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes on warm coals, or until the top crust is golden brown. Cut into wedges. Serve with butter or margarine.

Note 1: The batter will begin to rise as soon as the liquid and dry ingredients are mixed, so mix them right before you remove the hot dutch oven from the fire.

Note 2: If you use a 12" or larger round cast-iron skillet or dutch oven instead of the 9"or 10" ones, you should double the recipe without doubling the oil. If you don't double the recipe for the 10" skillet, your cornbread will be very thin.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Outdoor Cooking USA - Day 2, Georgia

       There is nothing like a homemade dutch-oven cobbler made with fresh hand-picked Georgia Peaches. Today, over 40 different varieties of peaches are grown statewide. Each year, Georgia produces over 130 million pounds of peaches. History shares that it was the Franciscan monks who introduced peaches to St. Simons and Cumberland islands along Georgia's coast in 1571. By the mid-1700s peaches and plums were cultivated by the Cherokee Indians. Raphael Moses, a planter and Confederate officer from Columbus, was said to be among the first settlers to market peaches within Georgia's boarders in 1851 and he is the one credited with being the first to ship and sell peaches successfully outside of the Southern States. His unique method of shipping peaches in champagne baskets, rather than in pulverized charcoal, helped to preserve the flavor of the fruit and contributed to his success.

Peach Cobbler

Dutch oven (any size, the bigger the group the larger the dutch oven)
15-20 Charcoal coals
Tin or aluminum foil (for easy clean-up) or you can rub the inside of the dutch-oven with oil
1 Pint can of sliced peaches
1 Box of Yellow or vanilla Cake Mix
2 Sticks of butter
1/4 Cup sugar
1 Tbsp Cinnamon

         Light a small pile of charcoal, about 15-20 coals. Cover inside of dutch oven with tinfoil or grease the inside really really good. Wait until the coals become hot and grayish-white.
        Next mix the cobbler by Pouring one large can of your favorite fruit (e.g. peach...) into the dutch oven. If you are using fresh fruit you will need to add 1 cup of water or fruit juice like peach, apple or white grape juice. You can make this cobbler out of any canned or fresh fruits. Pie fillings are a little harder to work with, simple because they do not have enough liquid base.
Mix together a box of  Cake Mix, sugar and cinnamon,  and pour over the peaches. Add two sticks of butter, cut into small pieces
        Place dutch oven over coals, saving 7 or 8 to put on top. Cooking should take around 30 Minutes to 1 Hour depending on number of coals used. The cobbler is done when the cake mix has bubbled to the top and starts to become crusty. Take off coals and let cool for 15 Minutes with oven top off. Serve with homemade Ice Cream. And for easy clean up... Carefully remove empty tin foil from dutch oven and wipe out all excess sugars.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Outdoor Cooking USA - Day 1, South Carolina

 Many friends have posted or told us that they have really been enjoying the "Tour of Italy" series and have been wondering what we were going to be doing for July. Here at the Pantry we have decided to pay tribute to all the Freedoms that we share acrossed this great nation and the one thing that we know to be true from coast to coast is that everyone like to BBQ and Grill. So the series for July is all about grilling... We will be traveling around the 50 States and highlighting some of the best grilling/BBQ tips and recipes that we have come acrossed in our travels. Hope you all enjoy... :)

For Day 1... We would like to start close to home in South Carolina.

South Carolina in know for their BBQ-ed Pork and at Christmas time we were given the task of catering our ward party for about 300 people. The choice of meat that was voted on by the committee was of course BBQ-ed Pork, (southern style), so after spending a whole week feeding my family pork, trying out different mixes and combinations, we finally came up with a recipe that we liked and apparently so did most of the ward. We still get comments about our meat... So we would love to share with all of you our recipe for

 Pulled Pork


Dry Rub:

  • 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/4 cup onion chopped fresh
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 (5 to 7 pound) pork roast, preferably shoulder or Boston butt

 Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup yellow or brown mustard
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Sauce
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pan drippings from the pork
  • 24 hamburger buns


Mix the paprika, onion, brown sugar, dry mustard, and salt together in a small bowl. Rub the spice blend all over the pork. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to overnight.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Put the pork in a roasting pan and roast it for about 6 hours. An instant-read thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the pork should register 170 degrees F, but basically, what you want to do is to roast it until it's falling apart.
While the pork is roasting, make the barbecue sauce. Combine the vinegar, mustard, sweet baby ray's, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and black pepper in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently, stirring, for 10 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Take it off the heat and let it sit until you're ready for it.
When the pork is done, take it out of the oven and put it on a large platter. Allow the meat to rest for about 10 minutes. While it's resting, deglaze the pan over medium heat with 3/4 cup water, scraping with a wooden spoon to pick up all of the browned bits. Reduce by about half. Pour that into the saucepan with the sauce and cook 5 minutes.

While the pork is still warm, you want to "pull" the meat: Grab 2 forks. Using 1 to steady the meat, use the other to "pull" shreds of meat off the roast. Put the shredded pork in a bowl and pour half of the sauce over. Stir it all up well so that the pork is coated with the sauce.
To serve, spoon the pulled pork mixture onto the bottom half of each hamburger bun, and top with some coleslaw. Serve with the remaining sauce on the side.