Lemon Herb Loaf Pan Chicken
As I mentioned last month Chris Lilly shared his great Loaf Pan Chicken recipe with us at Kingsford University. This is my Mediterranean take on that recipe. The technique is quick and easy, and the results are truly spectacular.

If you've struggled with dry chicken from the grill, this process will remedy that. The pan traps all of what would otherwise be drippings and helps to keep the bird very moist. I add the extra step of turing the chickens breast-side-down toward the end of the cook. This literally submerges the breast in the accumulated flavorful liquid, which bastes it and makes it even more moist.

Note: I cooked two chickens, so I used a 9" x 13" pan. You can use a standard loaf pan for one chicken. I recommend disposable aluminum pans because they require zero clean-up, but it really depends on the size of the chicken.

2 Chickens (4 to 5 lbs each)
4 cloves Elephant garlic, quartered (or 8 cloves of regular garlic)
2 Lemons, quartered
1 1/2 cups Applesauce (no sugar added)
1/3 cup Your favorite poultry dry rub (I used Dirty Bird from Kosmo's Q)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
10 sprigs Thyme, rough-chopped (about 1/4 cup)
5 sprigs Rosemary, rough-chopped (about 1/4 cup)
5 sprigs Sage, rough-chopped (about 1/8 cup)

Prepare your grill for indirect cooking over medium-high heat (350-375º).

Combine the lemons, garlic, herbs, and one tablespoon of the rub in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Combine the applesauce and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl.

Remove the innards from each chicken, rinse them well, then pat the outside of each dry with paper towels.

Stuff each with half of the lemon, garlic and herb mixture.

Smear the entire outside of each chicken liberally with the applesauce mixture.

Coat the outside of each chicken equally with the remaining rub.

Set the chickens in the pan, facing in opposite directions.

Lemon Herb Loaf Pan Chicken

Cook the chickens indirect for 90 minutes.

Flip each chicken over in the pan and continue cooking for 30 minutes, or until the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh is 180º.

Lemon Herb Loaf Pan Chicken

Flip each chicken over again, and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the grill, tent it with foil, and let the chickens rest for about 15 minutes.

Lemon Herb Loaf Pan Chicken

Carve, serve and enjoy!

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Praline Bacon Bread Pudding with Rum Raisin Crème Anglaise

This, my dear friends, is health food at it's very worst. It's my twisted porcine twist on a classic Southern dessert. Don't let that highfalutin French term "crème anglaise" throw you. I go lazy and use melted ice cream that's thinned a little.

I remember when I first heard of bread pudding, and to be honest the thought pretty much disgusted me. My brain just couldn't imagine bread as pudding. It reminded me of that Sesame Street song, One of These Things Is Not Like The Other. To me it was sort of like saying, well, pig candy. Many years later I tried it and found that I was oh so wrong.

Speaking of pig candy, that's the porcine twist that I mentioned. This contains not just plain ol' pig candy, but candied bacon that's coated in pecans and glazed again. I just couldn't leave well enough alone.

While this is intended to be a dessert, you can make a more savory breakfast version by leaving out some sugar and skipping the crème anglaise.

16 oz Good French bread, cut to 1" cubes
8 Tbsp Butter, melted
6 slices Praline bacon, chopped to 1/4"
4 Eggs, beaten
2 cups Half & half
1 1/2 cups Milk (I used 2%)
1 cup Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp Pumpkin pie spice (or allspice)

Crème Anglaise
2 pints (14 oz each) Rum raisin ice cream, melted (I used Häagen-Dazs®)
1/2 cup Half & half

Put the bread on a rack in a sheet pan and leave to dry overnight.

Tip: You can speed the process in a very low oven.

Preheat your oven to 350º.

Butter the inside of a 9" x 13" baking dish completely.

Put the bread in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the butter over the cubes as evenly as you can, stirring or tossing occasionally.

Let the bread sit about five minutes, stirring or tossing occasionally.

Combine all of the remaining ingredients, except the bacon, in a separate mixing bowl and whisk very well.

Pour half of the liquid mixture over the bread and quickly fold to coat the bread evenly.

Let the mixture sit about five minutes to absorb the liquid, folding occasionally.

Pour half of the bread mixture into the baking dish and spread it evenly.

Sprinkle the bacon over the bread as evenly as possible.

Add the rest of the bread mixture and spread it evenly.

Pour the remaining liquid over the bread as evenly as possible, then compress the bread with a spatula.

Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350º for 40 minutes.

Uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool 20 minutes.

While the pudding is cooling, make the crème anglaise by simply whisking the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

Tip: If you're a raisin lover, as I am, rehydrate some extra raisins in simmering water, then remove them from the heat and toss in some ice to quickly cool them. Drain the raisins and add them to the crème anglaise.

Serve with a good dose of the crème anglaise.


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Praline Bacon!

I've taken my Pig Candy recipe to a whole 'nother level. It's the same sweet, salty, smokey and slightly spicy base recipe, with the added flavor of caramel and crunchy pecans.

As I say, this isn't so much a new recipe as it is an extension or adaptation of the previous recipe, so I won't repeat the base recipe here. Instead I'll just mention the added ingredients and steps.

I will be using this bacon in a new recipe that I'm developing -- Praline Bacon Bread Pudding with Rum Raisin Crème Anglaise.

Additional Ingredients
1/2 cup Pecans, chopped fine
1 Tbsp Pampered Chef Sweet Caramel Sprinkle (optional)
2 Tbsp Maple syrup

Prepare the Pig Candy as stated in the original recipe

Dust one side of each bacon slice with pecans just after the last flip and syrup baste.

Praline Bacon!

Sprinkle each slice with a little of the caramel.

Praline Bacon!

Bake an extra three minutes.

Lightly and carefully brush the pecans with syrup.

Bake an extra three minutes.

Remove from the oven, flip each slice over and dust the other side with the remaining pecans.

Let sit five minutes.

Enjoy, then immediately start making more.

Note: I used this bacon to make a killer bread pudding.

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Review: Draper's BBQ Sauce & Rub

I recently ordered up some Draper's BBQ Smokin' Sauce after hearing a rave review from Scott Roberts on a recent episode of Greg Rempe's BBQ Central Radio show. I was excited to try it, and it certainly didn't disappoint.

Before I get into my thoughts of the Draper's products, here how the sauce is described on their site:
DBQ Smokin' Sauce is great on all types of meat and can be used as a baste or a dipping sauce. A blend of sweet, tangy and smoky with a touch of heat thrown in for good measure, this sauce is as versatile as it is delicious.
I will say that their description is very accurate. On the label they make sure to point out that this is not a traditional regional sauce, and I agree. It's a relatively thick ketchup-based sauce that, if pressed, I would call a cross between a Kansas City and a Memphis-style sauce. However, that really doesn't do justice to the uniqueness of this sauce.

The word "unique" can tend to be seen as a potential negative, especially in competition circles, but that's clearly not the case here. With this sauce it's a serious plus. I'd call it unique, but not overly so. It's just a special taste that really makes you take notice.

As for flavor profile, it has a tangy black pepper taste up front, with a smokey chili powder sweetness in the middle, followed by a slightly spicy afterburn. There is also a very subtle herb flavor intermingled throughout. I truly think that this sauce would do very well in competition. It's just mainstream enough, but also unique enough to separate you from the pack.

The only thing even approaching a negative about this sauce is how quickly it sets on cooked meats. The label instructs you to put it on in the last ten minutes of cooking, and that should be heeded. Alternatively, you could do as I did and thin it slightly to help it flow better and increase the set time.

I also tried their A.P. Rub. The "A.P." stands for all-purpose, and that is certainly the case. I tried it paired with the sauce on both chicken and pork ribs, and they worked very well together. I was amazed at how well the flavor profile of the rub matched the sauce. The only difference is that the rub is slightly spicier than the sauce. It has a great balance of salt and sweet that compliments the meat without overpowering it.

If you are looking to for a sauce and/or rub that will add a new and unique dimension to your barbecue, you really can't go wrong with Draper's. It's good stuff, indeed.

Obligatory Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Draper's, and this is not a compensated endorsement. I'm just spreadin' the love.

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Southwest Creamed Corn

Here's a south-of-the-border twist on creamed corn. It combines the sweet and rustic flavor of grill-roasted corn with tangy crema Mexicana, tomatoes, chiles, a few spices, and a final dusting of cotija cheese to create a great side dish.

I served this alongside my Spicy Grilled Fish Tacos and some kicked-up refried beans. The creamed corn has a great balance of sweet and spice.

Part of the inspiration for this dish came from Chris Lilly's Grilled Mexican Corn that he served us at Kingsford University. This is a sort of deconstructed version of that corn, with my own touches.

Of course this recipe will be much better when fresh corn is in season, but this will give you something close year-round. It's a good way to add a burst of summer to an otherwise dreary winter or wet spring meal.

8 medium Ears of corn (I used frozen)
1 can (10 oz) Rotel Tomato & Green Chilies (mild), undrained
3/4 cup Crema Mexicana (Mexican sour cream - I used Cacique)
1/2 cup Water
1 Tbsp Your favorite hot sauce (I used Tapatio)
2 Tbsp Butter, unsalted
2 tsp Garlic salt
1/2 tsp Ground cumin
1/2 tsp Chili powder
Grated cotija cheese

Start your grill and prepare for indirect cooking at medium-high heat (400-450º).

Roast the corn, turning occasionally, until some of the kernels start to brown and char.

Note: If you're using frozen corn, either partially thaw it, or expect additional cooking time.

Southwest Creamed Corn

Remove the ears to a platter, tent with foil, and let them rest about ten minutes.

Carefully cut the kernels off of each ear and put them in a large sauce pan.

Using the back of your knife, scrape the remaining bits from each cob and add it to the sauce pan.

Add the water and Rotel to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and stir to combine.

Cover the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat, uncover and let sit ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serve topped with grated Cotija cheese.


(Makes about eight 3/4 cup servings)

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