Category Archives: Southern

The q

With September fast approaching, it’s time to plan for the annual gathering of the clans and the Labor Day Cookout.  Time to stock up the humidor with Southern Draw Jacob Ladder, Drew Estates Ligo Privada No. 9, Asylum Schizo and Jack Daniels! 

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Gather round the pit, men! BBQ Ribs, shoulder, and chicken with all the fixins! Boots are always welcome and pickup trucks.  Party down to the music of Charlie Daniels, Lionel Richie while drinking Cold Budweiser.

To lite up that roll of the leaf is to say, “Screw the world, it’s MY time” and dare anyone to take that away.  I learned how to cook in a small Tennessee town and the methods I use are pretty much why I say “I’m a Redneck Chef!” and I am not alone in that.  I smoke, drink, cuss, dip, cook, eat, live, laugh and love all at the same time.  Here are some of the cigars I like along with Marlboro Reds and Copenhagen Dip.  

If you would like to follow along, on this intriguing gastronomic journey, this is one of the ways to do so.  For a mere 15 dollars a month, you will receive Bons Vivants , a weekly newsletter, face time through podcasts and personal emails from me and others!  This is a one time offer!

The Menu!

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The smoking of the meats take a while, so the party starts when the smoking begins! 

Bloody Marys are important to me waking up!  Without that, the fire will not be lit! 

Bourbon soaked cocktail weenies with dipping sauce
This is a fun little dish to have in an arsenal of appetizers. The tradition is to stay halfway sober after having a helping or 6 of Grannies Special Winnies. Her original recipe included Moonshine simply because she was from Tennessee. 

5 cheese queso with fresh chips

Pickled Shrimp 
This recipe will make you slap you momma!

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Boudin Balls
Taking store-bought Boudin to a different level! Served with Remoulade Sauce.
Way down yonder in New Orleans! I simply love this dressing. I make it by the gallon, especially in the Spring and Summer months. There is a story here. When I turned 18, my mother took me on another trip to the Crescent City. We started out having about ten dozen oysters on the half shell before switching to the Shrimp Remoulade. I was hooked.

Charcuterie Board with meats and cheese from around the worldAll Meat Hot Dogs with chili and cheese to tide us over until dinner
Keg or Coolers? That is the question.  I vote for coolers and some BYOB 

The big event! 

After all day at the smokers, time for the full monte. Smoked Pulled Pork with JK’s BBQ Sauce 

Smoked Pork Ribs with Tennessee Dry Rub or JK’s BBQ Sauce

There are many ways to use the meat of the shoulder or the Boston Butt cut. Since we are a home of three, we have at least three to four different meals based on that smoked pork. It’s always fun and involves me at the smoker having a cigar and perhaps a cold beer or glass of sweet tea. The wet mopping sauce is another specialty of mine and I have taken this to an art form. Smoked Brisket with JK’s Texas Brisket Sauce

German Potato Salad

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Desserts

Peach Cobbler
What is the South without a cobbler on the table? Cobbler are a mainstay below the Mason Dixon and when the fresh fruits are in season it’s nary a day that goes by without something like this coming out of my kitchen. 

Lemon Pound Cake

Strawberry and Cream Cheesecake

Cantaloupe Ice Cream

If you would like to follow along, on this intriguing gastronomic journey, this is one of the ways to do so.  For a mere 15 dollars a month, you will receive Bons Vivants , a weekly newsletter, face time through podcasts and personal emails from me and others!  This is a one time offer!

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The Rise of Redncek Chefs
The Rise of Redneck Chefs 2

Crawfish bisque

2 pounds fresh crawfish or 1 pound fresh and one bag frozen crawfish tails

Crab and Shrimp boil

2 bottles clam juice

1 stick butter

6 tablespoons flour for roux

Cajun Trinity finely minced (celery, onion and bell pepper)

1 medium can tomato puree (optional)

Water to fill stock pot for boiling crawfish

Fill stock pot with enough water to cover crawfish, shrimp and other shell fish and add bag of shrimp boil.  Additional Cayenne, Lemon and other herbs may be added to taste.  Bring to boil and drop the shellfish in, only blanching to a light doneness.  Remove from the stock and let cool before peeling or you might burn your fingers…LOL.

Meanwhile, melt butter over medium heat in other stock pot or dutch oven and have flour ready to add, 1 to 2 tablespoons at the time to make a golden brown roux.  Stir constantly over low to medium heat for about 15 minutes, judging with the eye as there is really no way to say how long it will take, even for the most experienced chef. 

Have the trinity ready to add, as I do this almost immediately as the roux begins to brown and continue stirring.  When this reaches a desired doneness to you personally ( I like it still crunchy myself) add the clam juice and 3 to 4 cups of the boiling broth to the pot, let simmer over low heat for an hour. 

I actually prefer a lighter roux as the spices I add later on bring out that great flavor sensation of the head and the sweet.  Have ready fresh Nutmeg, finely grated, Cayenne Pepper to taste, Ground Black Pepper to taste, Paprika (at least a quarter cup of this great spice) and add about 15 to 20 minutes before the addition of the peeled and deveined shellfish.  The shell fish are added during the last 5 minutes of preparation.  Yum Yum….!

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Kitchen Basics: How To Make Roux

A good roux is the foundation of many sauces and gravies.  Making it can be as simple as adding flour to the oil or meat breakfast drippings such as bacon or sausage, to an art form.

For me, I go the artsy fartsy route with fresh butter and charred flour.

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My Grandmothers WWII aluminum pot

For any good Creole or Cajun dish like this one has to make a good roux. The standard is one to one on the oil and the flour. I use everything from bacon grease, corn oil to butter and even use some of the fat from the roast in this one to give it an extra punch. To make the roux, I use a black cast iron skillet on medium to medium low heat. Heat the oil and for this one I used ¾ cup of oil to ¾ cup flour. The oil was a mix of bacon grease, beef fat and corn oil. Stir the mix frequently or use a whisk for about 30 minutes and don’t try to speed it up. It should be a medium to dark brown for that extra flavor.

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With a foundation such as this, the roux will be quite unique to you!  It takes time and patience to make a good roux.  Keep at it, constantly stirring and whisking for about 30 to 40 minutes.  When it turns the exact color you like, it’s ready!

Beef and Sausage Gumbo

Way down yonder in New Orleans, the gumbo be good! I been making this gumbo for a long time and it good. So good in fact that it don’t take no hot sauce because it be plenty spicy.
There is a difference between Creole and Cajun cooking. The Creole is a combination of French, Spanish and American Indian cuisines and was developed in New Orleans. The Cajun style is from the bayous of Louisiana.
First off, for any good Creole or Cajun dish like this one has to make a good roux. The standard is one to one on the oil and the flour. I use everything from bacon grease, corn oil to butter and even use some of the fat from the roast in this one to give it an extra punch. To make the roux, I use a black cast iron skillet on medium to medium low heat. Heat the oil and for this one I used ¾ cup of oil to ¾ cup flour. The oil was a mix of bacon grease, beef fat and corn oil. Stir the mix frequently or use a whisk for about 30 minutes and don’t try to speed it up. It should be a medium to dark brown for that extra flavor.

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Continue reading Beef and Sausage Gumbo

Kentucky Butter Cake

Yes, I am a Southern boy by birth and heritage!  I make this cake usually for the holidays but am seeing how it can top off my mornings on the patio in Houston.  This butter cake is rich and yet with that morning coffee puts a cinnamon roll to shame.

The ingredients are quite traditional and yet create a masterpiece to me.

3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup real butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

BUTTER SAUCE
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream: 1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar for about 5 minutes. When the mixture is smooth enough, blend in eggs one at a time.
Mix the buttermilk and vanilla together and alternately buttermilk and flour mixture into creamed mixture.
Pour the mixture in your bundt pan and bake for 1 hour.
Butter Sauce: In medium sauce pan on medium heat mix sugar, water and butter, bring to low boil , stirring until sugar is dissolved, add vanilla.

When cake is still very hot, leave in bundt pan, poke small holes in top
Drizzle the butter sauce over cake.  Let it soak in and you are in for a treat!
Yum Yum and with a good cup of coffee or espresso, it can be transcendent!