Corn Chowder (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

I don't know what kind of winter weather you're experiencing in your neck of the woods, but ours has been brutally cold for nearly a month. It's the kind of cold that reminds me of my Air Force days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. OK, it's not really that bad, but it is the kind of cold that calls for a nice hot bowl of hearty soup.

Corn chowder is a beautiful and glorious thing. It's rich, thick, creamy, and of course corny, with just a hint of bacon. What's not to like? I've made many versions over the years, but I usually just wing it. This time I decided that I'd actually document a recipe, so here goes. It's very simple, and very good.

Ingredients
5 slices Thick cut bacon, chopped to 1/2"
1 Leek, washed well and chopped fine
1/2 cup Dry white wine
3 cans (14.75 oz size) Creamed corn
1 bag (16 oz) Frozen corn
8 cups Whole milk
1 cup Chicken stock
4 tsp Seasoned salt
1/2 tsp Ground white pepper
1/2 tsp Ground nutmeg
8 small Yukon gold potatoes, diced to 1/2" (about 5 cups)
4 Tbsp butter

Method
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until it's just starting to crisp (about five minutes). Drain off half of the bacon fat, add the leek and cook two minutes. Add the wine and cook five minutes longer.

Add the remaining ingredients to the pot, bring just to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer 45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Adjust the seasoning as desired.

Serve with some crusty garlic bread and enjoy!

(Makes 10-12 servings)

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Daddio-Fil-A (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

We're all familiar with the original chicken sandwich, right? You know the ones that are served at the really clean, really fast restaurants with a twice-hyphenated name and advertisements that feature grammatically-challenged cows? Yeah, that one!

I had my first such sandwich just a little over a month ago, as they've just recently expanded to Boise. I found that, like a certain West coast burger chain with a cult following (also with a twice-hyphenated name), the food and service were great, but it didn't rise to the level of the religious experience espoused by their regulars.

And what is it with the dual hyphens? Is that the secret? I digress... Here for your handheld fried poultry enjoyment is my version of said chicken sandwich.

Ingredients
2 large Boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 cup Buttermilk
1/2 cup Your favorite hot sauce (I used Frank's® RedHot® Original)
2 Tbsp Kosher salt, divided
2 cups Peanut oil for frying (or canola oil)
1 cup Flour, all-purpose
1 Tbsp Powdered sugar
2 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
2 tsp Smoked paprika
2 tsp Ground cayenne
4 Plain hamburger buns
4 Tbsp Butter, softened
16 Dill pickle slices

Method
Pound the thick end of each chicken breast until the entire breast is of equal thickness, cut each breast in half width-wise and put the pieces in a gallon size zip-top bag. Add the buttermilk, hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of the salt to the bag. Slosh the bag gently to combine all of the ingredients and to coat the chicken completely. Seal the bag while removing as much of the excess air as possible. Place the bag in a lipped pan (to catch any leakage) and refrigerate at least six hours, or overnight.

Starting about 30 minutes before you want to serve, heat the oil to 350º in a large heavy skillet (I recommend cast iron).

While the oil is heating, combine the flour, powdered sugar, remaining salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne in a medium bowl and mix well. Remove a chicken piece from the buttermilk marinade and shake off the excess. Dredge the chicken in the flour until it is completely covered. Shake off the excess flour and set aside on a platter. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces. Let the chicken sit at least 10 minutes before frying to ensure that the flour adheres well.

Working in batches of two if needed, fry the chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes per side, or until they are nicely browned and the internal temperature is 160º. Remove the pieces to a wire rack that's placed inside a sheet pan. If you're working in batches, put the sheet pan in a 170º oven.

Spread the butter evenly over the cut sides of both halves of each bun and toast under your broiler.

Assemble the sandwiches by putting four pickle slices on the bottom half of each bun, add a piece of chicken, and the bun top.

Serve and enjoy!

Oh, and if you want some of that killer sauce, simply whisk together 1 cup of mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons of your favorite sweet barbecue sauce, 1 tablespoon plain yellow mustard, 1 tablespoon dill pickle juice, 1 tablespoon honey, and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika. Done! It makes a lot, but you'll use it, I promise.

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Homemade Bacon! (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

I'm almost embarrassed to say that I've just recently discovered the wonders of homemade bacon, despite having a food blog for four years. No, scratch that, I am embarrassed! It really is sad, and I repent here and now for all the world to see.

For some reason making homemade bacon is shrouded in some sort of strange and mysterious veil of complexity. Once you see how easy it is it's like you've been smacked in the head with a clue-by-four. This compounded my embarrassment.

My friend Meathead over at AmazingRibs.com (a great barbecue site, by the way) wrote the following, and he's absolutely correct.
Makin' bacon is surprisingly easy and the results are quantum leaps better than the stuff from large commercial producers. Once you have the basic recipe down, you can vary the ingredients to make a flavor profile to suit your taste. It is a simple two-step process: (1) Curing, and (2) smoking.
Here, let me show you how easy this is. My recipe is simpler than Meathead's, but the results are incredible.

Ingredients
2 lbs Pork belly
2 Tbsp Morton® Tender Quick®

Method
About the pork belly: Get the best that you can find, preferably locally-sourced and all-natural.

Homemade Bacon! (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

Unwrap the belly, rinse it, then pat it dry with paper towels.

Homemade Bacon! (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

Homemade Bacon! (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

Sprinkle the Tender Quick® evenly over the entire outside of the belly (don't forget the edges), put it in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and seal, removing the excess air. Refrigerate seven to ten days, turning and massaging the bag every two days or so.

Start your smoker and prepare for indirect cooking at low heat (about 225-250º). Use whatever smoke wood you like. I used a blend of 2/3 hickory and 1/3 cherry which worked beautifully.

Remove the pork from the zip-top bag, rinse well under cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Homemade Bacon! (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

Smoke the belly indirect until it reaches an internal temperature of 150º. Remove it to a plate, rinse under cold running water (to help cool it quickly). Pat dry with paper towels, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. It'll keep in the refrigerator up to two weeks.

Homemade Bacon! (via patiodaddiobbq.com)

Slice, cook as you normally would, serve and enjoy!

Now that you have some killer bacon, go make yourself some pig candy.

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