Patio Daddio BBQ - Killer Slaw

There are some foods that are highly personal. They are the kinds of food that tend to evoke intense memories that are usually tied to one's upbringing. The first one that pops to mind for me is the Thanksgiving feast. That's about as intensely personal as it gets for me. Well, sauerkraut and pork is a very close second. Oh, and spaghetti is another. Then there's lasagna, but I digress...

I've found that, within barbecue circles, there are a handful of side dishes that are also intensely personal. Coleslaw is just such a side. If it ain't like mama made, it just ain't right!

In my experience there are two major slaw camps -- creamy, and non-creamy. I am tempted to call the second camp "vinegary", but I don't know if that's the term I'm after. Perhaps they might prefer the "creamy slaw sucks" moniker.

With all that said, I think I have developed a slaw recipe that will appease everyone in the creamy vs. non-creamy debate. This slaw is decidedly creamy enough, but also vinegary enough to be at home on a pulled pork sandwich. Oh, and it's pretty healthy, too.

OK, that's enough chatter. Let's make some slaw!

Ingredients
2 bags (16 oz each) Tri-color slaw
3/4 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp Canola oil
2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 tsp Garlic salt
1 tsp Peanut butter, creamy-style
1/2 tsp Celery salt
1 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
1/8 tsp Maggi Seasoning
Juice of 1/2 lemon (approximately 1 Tbsp)

Note: If you can't find Maggi Seasoning, just use a dash each of Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.

Method
Combine all of the ingredients, except the slaw mix, in an extra-large mixing bowl.

Whisk the dressing until all of the ingredients are smooth and well-incorporated.

Add the slaw mixture and fold it in to coat it all evenly.

Cover, refrigerated, for at least two hours or overnight, stirring occasionally.

Serve and enjoy.

P.S. Here's the story behind the peanut butter.

I usually put roasted peanut oil in my slaw, but I couldn't find any locally and I was in a jam (no pun intended). So, I decided to simply use canola oil and peanut butter, since I was after a light peanut flavor.

Don't let it scare you off. My kids say that this is absolutely the best slaw that I've ever made.

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Kingsford Charcoal

Today I received these amazing facts from the folks at Kingsford®. I know that they are far and away the number one seller of charcoal in the U.S., but I had no idea how much Americans burn. Wow! That's all I can say.

Americans Declare Their Love for Labor Day Cookouts

More Than 55.8 Million Pounds of Kingsford® Charcoal Fired Up

Labor Day weekend marks the kick off to the college football season in most parts of the country – one of the biggest reasons to tailgate with friends and family whether it’s at home or in your own backyard. In fact, Americans love Labor Day cookouts so much that they fire up more than 55.8 million pounds of charcoal[1]. This year, don’t put your grill away on Labor Day; keep it out for game day all season long to extend the summer fun.

Top 10 Cities for Labor Day Weekend Charcoal Usage (pounds)

  1. Los Angeles (2,585,845)
  2. Chicago (1,510,639)
  3. Houston (1,357,731)
  4. San Antonio/Corpus Christi (1,326,020)
  5. New York (1,193,400)
  6. Atlanta (1,147,297)
  7. Dallas/Ft Worth (1,119,805)
  8. St. Louis (1,057,567)
  9. Baltimore, Md./Washington D.C (951,129)
  10. Birmingham/Montgomery, AL (865,977)

How Heavy is 55.8 Million Pounds of Charcoal?

  • It's the weight of more than 16,185 Sprint Cup NASCAR racecars! Plus, Americans use enough Kingsford® charcoal on Labor Day to go around the Talladega Superspeedway, the longest NASCAR oval, more than 464 times. Watch out – the number 47 Kingsford® car will be racing on Labor Day weekend.
  • Think the Statue of Liberty is heavy? Americans fire up more than 124 times the weight in Kingsford® charcoal of Lady Liberty on Labor Day.

Enough to Pack a Football Stadium

The amount of Kingsford® charcoal used on Labor Day is enough to...
  • Cover more than 113 football fields.
  • Fill the seats of the largest college football stadium (Beaver Stadium in University Park, Penn.) 32 times.

More Food for Thought

  • The Kingsford® charcoal sold during Labor Day would measure up to more than of 224 times the height of Mt. Everest.
  • The number of bags of Kingsford® Charcoal used on Labor Day would measure up to more than 3,769 times the height of the tallest building in the United States, the Willis tower in Chicago.
  • On Labor Day, enough Kingsford® charcoal is sold to fill more than 28 Olympic-size swimming pools (2,489,603 cubic feet of charcoal).

For more fun facts or to share some of your own, visit the Kingsford® charcoal Facebook page. While there, find out how you can prove your college football knowledge for the chance to win a backyard makeover worth more than $10,000 and other weekly prizes (Aug. 4 through Dec. 4, 2010).

[1] Numbers determined by Kingsford® charcoal sales from August 31 – September 12, 2009 / Source: Kingsford® Charcoal

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Memphis-style Country Ribs

Tonight I had a serious hankerin' to cook some country-style ribs. After driving all over town trying to find some bone-in non-injected (with "up to a 12% solution" of who knows what) I finally had my friends at my local Albertson's cut me some "ribs" from a whole Boston butt.

Once I procured the carnage, it was time to mix up some rub. I wanted to try something a little different with these, so I decided to go Memphis-style. Here is what I came up with.

Ingredients
6 large Country-style pork "ribs", bone-in
3 Tbsp Dark brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp Garlic salt
2 tsp Ground black pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp New Mexico chili powder
1 tsp Ground cumin

Method
Combine all of the dry ingredients (everything except the pork) in a small mixing bowl.

Blend the rub ingredients well.

Dust both sides of each "rib" liberally with the seasoning mixture and press it into the meat.

Memphis-style Country Ribs

Let the "ribs" sit covered at room temperature for one hour.

Prepare your grill for indirect cooking at medium heat (about 350º). I used an approximate 70/30 mix of Kingsford Competition Briquets and Best Of The West oak lump charcoal, respectively.

Add a couple chunks of your favorite smoke wood to the fire (I used a little cherry and hickory).

Cook the "ribs" indirect for one hour.

Flip them over and continue cooking indirect for another 30 minutes.

Put the "ribs" in an aluminum pan, cover with foil, and continue cooking indirect for another hour.

Remove the pan from the grill and prepare for direct cooking over medium-high heat (about 400º).

Remove the "ribs" from the pan and quickly grill them over direct heat for about five minutes per side.

Put the "ribs" on a platter and let them rest for about ten minutes.

Serve, with barbecue sauce on the side, and enjoy!

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Discovery: Popular Plates - BBQ Edition

I recently ran across this BBQ edition of Popular Plates and I'll cut to the chase and say that I recommend it highly.

The barbecue community has often clamored for a glossy magazine and, although it's apparently a single feature edition, this is a great read and resource.

Discovery: Popular Plates - BBQ Edition
This magazine covers all of the BBQ hot spots. It's packed with a 5-region canvas of the best barbecue joints in the country. It also features great biographical articles, recipes, and some very nice photography.

I've taken a couple of shots to give you a little bit of a feel for the magazine, but you can see a lot more at the Popular Plates web site.

This edition is all that a barbecue magazine should be. Again, I highly recommend it.

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Brisket - A BBQ Cook's Paradox

This past weekend I had the privilege of cooking a brisket for a friend's party. My philosophy about cooking, as corny as it sounds, is that each meal is a gift on a plate. So, to me occasions like this are a cherished thing. I always look forward to opportunities to share what I love with family and friends.

On this particular occasion my friend from work, Beverly, asked me to cook a brisket for her friend Winnie's birthday.

Herein lies the BBQ cook's paradox. Why is it that I can't cook in competition the way I do in the comfort of my backyard? Why is it that, at a competition, no matter how much I try to tell myself, "Just relax and do what you do.", it rarely works? Why do I over-think things and change what I do on-the-fly in the endless pursuit to please six judges?

This particular brisket cook followed the pattern of many more before it. There was no pressure of a turn-in or judging, and it ended up being one of the best briskets that I've ever cooked. It's a bittersweet situation that, at least for me, is much more sweet than bitter. Pleasing real folks with real barbecue that is prepared with love and care is what it's really all about.

I thank Beverly for the opportunity to serve her guests, and I can tell you that the outpouring of accolades from her friends, and especially the very sweet e-mail that I received from the guest of honor, Winnie, are worth much more to me than a trophy. And that's not because it made me feel like some sort of brisket hero, but because it brought an extra measure of joy to the occasion. I was humbled, happy, and proud to have had the opportunity.

Note: Yes, that is the actual brisket pictured above. I shot that about 45 minutes before I pulled it off of the cooker.

Fiesta Burgers

As a Master of Flavor correspondent for Grill Mates® I'm posting a series of recipes and videos that feature some of the latest flavor trends, tips and techniques from the Grilling Edition of the annual McCormick Flavor Forecast.

This time out I demonstrate how to use Grill Mates® Mexican Fiesta marinade mix to transform an ordinary burger into a masterpiece signature burger. Along the way I share some great tips that will help make you a serious backyard burger-meister.

This recipe starts with a mixture of two types of ground beef and the Grill Mates® maridade mix; and we finish with melted pepper jack cheese, grilled green chiles, and a tangy ancho-lime mayonnaise. Again, this is a serious signature burger that packs huge flavor and wow-factor.



Ingredients
1 lb Ground chuck
1 lb Ground sirloin
1 envelope McCormick Grill Mates® Mexican Fiesta marinade mix
4 Tbsp Water
4 Anaheim chiles
4 slices Pepper-jack cheese
4 large Hamburger buns
2 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
Canola oil spray

Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp McCormick® Gourmet Collection Ancho Chile
1/2 tsp McCormick Grill Mates® Garlic & Onion Medley Seasoning
Juice of 1/2 lime

Note: If you can't find ground chuck and/or sirloin, simply use 80/20 ground beef.

Method
Combine all of the ground beef, the marinade mix, and the water in a medium mixing bowl.

Use your hands to mix the ingredients very well. Yes, it's messy.

Divide the meat into four equal portions and form them into evenly-sized patties 1/2" thick patties (about six inches in diameter).

Sprinkle both sides of each patty with pepper.

Use your index finger to put a hole in the center of each patty and set them aside.

Wash the peppers under cold water and drain well.

Remove the stem end of each pepper, and about 1/2" of the tip end.

Slice each pepper lengthwise and remove the seeds and veins.

Put the peppers in a zip-top bag and seal the bag 3/4 of the way.

Microwave the peppers in the bag at medium-high for two minutes.

Remove the peppers from the bag and onto a plate, and let cool.

Prepare your grill for direct and indirect cooking at medium-high heat (about 425º).

Lightly oil both sides of each burger with the canola oil spray.

Grill the burgers over direct heat for three minutes.

Combine all of the mayonnaise ingredients in a small mixing bowl, whisk well and set aside.

Add the peppers, skin side down, to the open spaces of the grill.

Flip the burgers and cook them another three minutes.

Move the burgers to the cooler side of the grill and top each with a slice of cheese.

Toast the buns over direct heat.

Top each burger with two slices of grilled green chile.

Put each burger on a bun and smear each bun top with a good dose of the ancho-lime mayo.

Serve and enjoy!

See more: To check out what's hot in grilling, head over to the Grill Mates® Facebook page each Friday from June through August for the new episode of "This Week in Grilling".

Note: This recipe and video were produced in partnership with McCormick Grill Mates®

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Reverse-Sear Tri-Tip & Chicken

Tonight I grilled up a traditional California BBQ dinner of tri-tip, chicken and beans. I seasoned the tri-tip liberally with Kosmo's Cow Cover rub and the chicken got a coating of 2/3 Montreal chicken seasoning and 1/3 New Mexico chili powder. I cooked it all indirect over a 50/50 combination of Kingsford Competition briquets and mesquite lump (there's no red oak available in these parts) and reverse-seared the tri-tip (cooked to 130* indirect then seared direct to 135*).

It all came out very flavorful and tender. Kosmo's beef rub is no joke!

Reverse-Sear Tri-Tip & Chicken

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BBQ Pitmasters on TLC

Season two of the BBQ Pitmasters series on TLC premiers tonight. For better or for worse, the format has been significantly changed since the inaugural season last winter. Check that, it's a brand new show; period. I will be watching, taking notes, and withholding judgement for now.

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This is pretty darn cool, if'n you ask me. Jewel was in town for a performance recently, and she did her homework. Sing it sister!


The B.O.B. -- Big Onion Burger

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce a bodacious burger bonanza. I bring you The Big Onion Burger, or, as I've dubbed it, "The B.O.B.". This is one man's answer to a monster burger craving on a lonely Sunday night when the family is out of town.

Whoever first dreamed up the idea of putting onion rings on a burger is certainly deserving of this country's highest culinary honor.

This is basically a double-decker version of my Western BBQ Burger with a few twists. I replaced the cheddar with pepper jack, the grilled onions with onion rings (obviously), and the standard BBQ sauce with a hot version.

It was good!

Note: I apologize for the poor picture. The good camera is in SoCal with the ladies.

The Dreaded Gene

I think my two eldest daughters have it, and the youngest isn't far behind. At least I can look forward to being well-fed in my wheelchair. :-)

Note: I apologize for the poor cell phone picture.

Patio Daddio Queso Dip

Here is a quick and easy recipe for a great queso dip. It combines chorizo and chili beans with chile powder and hot sauce to create a great cheesy dip for tortilla chips. Of course, you should adjust the chili powder and hot sauce to fit your taste. More is almost always better.

Ingredients
1 cup Chorizo, chopped fine
1 can (15 oz) Chili beans, undrained (I used Bush's)
16 oz Velveeta® Mexican Mild, cubed to 1/2"
3/4 cup Whole milk
1 tsp New Mexico chili powder
1 tsp Your favorite hot sauce

Method
Brown the chorizo in a non-reactive skillet over medium-high heat.

Add the beans and bring just to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the cheese and let it melt.

Add the milk, chili powder and hot sauce, then bring back to a low simmer.

Reduce heat to low.

Mash the beans gently with a potato masher and stir to recombine.

Serve warm with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Note: You can adjust the consistency of the finished dip by adding milk to make it thinner, or by letting it reduce to tighten it up.

Patio Daddio Queso Dip on Foodista

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