Rattlesnake Tails

A few months ago I ran across an intriguing recipe for Rattlesnake Sliders. The story behind them stuck with me and emerged in a brainstorm this past weekend.

I was at the store and tried to remember as much as I could of the recipe for the filling. In the end, I wound up with something a little different, but the basic inspiration is still there. Thanks, Rebecca.

In short, these are Anaheim peppers stuffed with a combination of ground turkey and spicy pork sausage, wrapped in bacon, smoked, then glazed with a mixture of barbecue sauce, honey and butter. They are sticky sweet, with just a touch of spicy goodness.

Ingredients
12 whole Anaheim chiles, as straight and round as you can find
12 slices Standard (thin sliced) bacon
1 lb Ground turkey, 85% lean
1 lb Hot breakfast sausage (I used Jimmy Dean brand)
1 Tbsp Tiger Sauce
1 Tbsp Garlic salt
1 1/2 Tbsp Your favorite BBQ seasoning (of course I recommend mine)
2 tsp Lemon pepper
Optional: 1 Jalapeno chile, seeded, veined and minced

Glaze
1/2 cup Your favorite barbecue sauce
1/4 cup Honey
3 Tbsp Butter, melted

Method
Wash the Anaheim chiles and cut the stem ends off so that they are of equal length.

Cut a long V-shaped sliver out of one side of each chile. Start at the cut end, about 1/4" wide and end about an inch from the tip. The intention is to get them to open enough to seed, de-vein and stuff.

Remove the seeds and veins from each chile.

Mix all of the remaining ingredients, except the bacon, well in a large mixing bowl.

Roll a tapered cylinder of the stuffing and fit it into the chile, packing it loosely from the tapered end up. You want it full, but not overflowing.

Wrap each chile with one of the bacon slices. Starting about 1" from the cut end, tuck the end of the slice between the inside of the pepper and the stuffing. Stretch it around the pepper in a spiral pattern moving toward the other end (not overlapping). Tuck the other end in the tapered end of the chile, just as you started. It should leave you with about an inch of chile exposed at each end.

Start your fire and prepare for indirect cooking over medium heat (about 300º).

Add one small chunk of fruit wood (apple or cherry) to the fire about 10 minutes before adding the chiles. Wood chips soaked for 30-60 minutes will work well, too. If you're using a gas grill, make a smoker pouch.

Dust each wrapped chile lightly with the seasoning.

Cook the chiles indirect about 1 hour and 15 minutes, turning once at the halfway point.

Mix the glaze ingredients in a small bowl.

Glaze each chile on one side, turn, glaze the other side, and cook another 15 minutes.

Glaze and turn the chiles again, then cook another 10 minutes.

Remove and serve immediately.

Enjoy.

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Braised Nectarines with Champagne Honey Caramel

Here is a simple but elegant summer dessert that I made up as I went along last night. I'm not typically a dessert-making kind of guy, but I spied a flat of nectarines on the counter and a cast iron skillet on the stove, and the gears started turning.

I initially served these on top of vanilla ice cream, but my wife said the flavors sort of clashed. However, the girlies devoured theirs, so go figure. I tried one plain and it was pretty darned good. A little of the caramel goes a long way, so you don't need as much as is shown in the picture.

Note: This recipe would also work well with peaches, but you'll have to decrease the cooking time.

Ingredients
2 Nectarines, halved and pits removed
1/2 cup Water
1/2 cup Champagne
1/4 cup Honey
3 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
1/8 tsp Allspice
2 tsp Sugar
Salt
Pepper

Method
Arrange the nectarines on a plate cut-side-up.

Sprinkle the cut-side of each nectarine half lightly with 1/2 tsp sugar

Season lightly with salt and very little pepper, and let sit 15-30 minutes.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.

When the skillet is hot, add the nectarines cut-side-down.

Cook until the flesh just starts to caramelize to a medium brown.

Add half of the water and 1 Tbsp of the butter.

When the butter is melted, roll the pan a little to distribute the liquid. Lift each nectarine to allow some of the liquid to get under them.

Cover the pan lightly with a lid (or a piece of aluminum foil), reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 15 minutes.

Uncover and add the remaining water and butter, champagne, honey, and allspice.

Roll the pan a little to combine and distribute the liquid. Lift each nectarine to allow some of the liquid to get under them.

Increase the heat to medium and cook until the liquid reduces to a melted caramel consistency.

Remove from the heat and let cool about five minute.

Serve and enjoy.

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As some of you know, we had a family health emergency just over two weeks ago when my father-in-law had a stroke. We just returned tonight from a quick trip to southern California to visit them. He is doing very well and I thank all of you for your prayers. It was very nice to be able to spend time with them. I got to cook a ton while I was there, which was a very good thing. It's amazing how therapeutic cooking can be, especially when it's for those you love, and are blessed to call family. I truly have some of the best in-laws on the planet.

In any event, I apologize for the lack of posts, but you can expect some very shortly. It looks like I'll be competing locally on somewhat short notice. It's this weekend at the Western Idaho Fair. I've never competed in a Pacific Northwest BBQ Association cook, but it should be a great time.

Again, thanks for all of your concern and prayers.

John



P.S. I was feeling a little creative the last day we were there, so I drew this 4' x 6' chalk postcard on their driveway. Click it to see a larger view.

Click to view a larger image

It has recently come to my attention that many readers don't realize that I offer delivery. By that I mean that you can subscribe to receive my posts automagically via e-mail. Yep, just look over there on the right below the ad.

For those of you who do the RSS thing, you can subscribe to my feed. It's in the menu on the right. If you read a lot of blogs, an RSS reader will make your life much simpler. Think of it as an inbox for the web. Content comes to you, rather than you going to it. I use and highly recommend Google Reader.

There are also "aggregator" sites that gather and categorize content from a variety of sites. Alltop is a good aggregator. They even have a BBQ-specific page.

This isn't really a food-related post, but I thought I'd throw the tips out there. I hope you find them helpful. Doing web work for a living sometimes causes me to assume that everyone knows these things.

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