Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Joltin' Django is gonna be out of town for a few days. A Man's Gotta Eat will return on Sunday, November 30.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

This Thanksgiving, **** the food fascists

Editor's Note: This post first appeared in November of last year.

In addition to Thanksgiving Day itself, there are quite a few certainties during Thanksgiving Week: falling leaves, 14-pound day after Thanksgiving newspapers, Christmas commercials, football games featuring the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, and "very special" holiday-themed movies on Lifetime.

Something else we can count on 'round Thanksgiving are bevies of "experts" coming out of the woodwork to tell us how much/what we should eat when turkey-time arrives. They say, "Don't overdo it" ... "Substitute [this] for [that]" ... "Avoid [this] entirely." If and when I ever come face to face with one of these food fascists, this is what I'll tell him or her:

Well, let's just say lots of four-letter will fly.

In the United States, there are two holidays during which food plays an important - nay, integral - part: Thanksgiving and Christmas. (While it's not an official holiday, I guess you could add Super Bowl Sunday to the list; but that day is known as much, if not more, for drinkin' than it is for eatin'.) Not only is food itself an integral part of these holidays, there are certain foodstuffs that are associated with 'em as well:

Turkey, giblet gravy, dressing, mashed taters, ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls as big as your head, pumpkin pie, and assorted candies, cakes, wines and cheeses. We don't have a constitutional right to these things on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we sure as hell should.

Which brings me back to the food fascists. This past weekend, MSNBC re-posted an AP story from 2004 in which an anonymous author made the following statement vis-à-vis Thanksgiving:

"[Here's] what your plate should look like: a serving of turkey no larger than a deck of playing cards and half a cup each of two starches. (A half-cup is about the size of a computer mouse.)

"And that’s being generous."

The above-mentioned article also features this little chart:

● Try eating a little of everything, but that means just a few bites.

● Eat only the unique foods. Mashed potatoes and turkey may be traditional, but they also are easily had any day of the week. Instead, use those calories for ... more seasonal items.

● Fill up on salad and vegetables before heading for the turkey and candied sweet potatoes. Then if you are still hungry, hit the vegetables again after the turkey to reduce the amount of dessert you eat.

● Visualize your stomach; it’s about the size of two fists. If the food on your plate won’t fit, cut back.

Slices of turkey no bigger than a deck of cards?! A half-cup of dressing?! No mashed taters?! Salad?! See what I mean about wantin' a blankin' break?

Look, I'm a big boy. I don't need anyone - anonymous online "experts" included - to tell me what to eat and/or how much to eat during the holidays. I'll admit, I usually eat too much on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day, as well as each day after (them left-overs gotta go somewhere). I'm smart enough to know, however, that if I engage in a two-day pig-out twice a year, I'm not going to freakin' die as a result; and I know that I'm not going to contract diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, herpes, HIV, etc. if, at one sitting, I eat enough turkey breast to fill my 7 3/8-size Brooklyn Cyclones hat.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: when a man's gotta eat, a man's gotta eat ... especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don't need no busybody, know-it-all food fascist to instruct me otherwise.

Pass the gravy ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Let's beat them Czechs ...!

News from reported yesterday that U.S. per capita beer consumption rose in 2007 after years of small, but steady decline. Citing a report from the Beverage Marketing Corporation (fun guys, I swear!), the article pointed out that though declines in recent years have been relatively small, they had become a "steadily recurring phenomenon."

But don't start bragging yet! According to this 2004 report (the most current and reliable I could find with a quick web search), the U.S. ranks a paltry 13th in world beer consumption, drinking almost half of what they drink in the Czech Republic.

Monday, November 24, 2008

What a great pic ...!

When I was in high school, my dad got me a part-time job sweeping floors and emptying trash cans at the trucking company - in Lebanon, TN - at which he worked. The only upside to that job was the 'round-the-corner market, Bobby's Market, that sold $1 baloney sandwiches and $1 bottles of Double Cola.

Now, let me tell you about Bobby's baloney sandwiches:

The baloney was thick-cut, 'bout a half-inch thick; each sammich was served on white bread that was so so soft and fresh, each bite would literally stick to the roof of your mouth; and two slices of pre-packaged yellow cheese was standard issue on each sammich. Perfection, indeed.

I last worked in Lebanon in 1996. Since that time, I ain't never (apologies to Webb Pierce) had a baloney sammich that could match a Bobby's baloney sammich. I don't reckon I ever will. That said ...

I was out and about, and doin' business, in Donelson this morning, and I tooled into the Donelson Kroger to pick up the latest Soldier of Fortune magazine. As I was passing the deli, I spied a hair-netted lady who was wrapping and neatly stacking sandwiches near the fried chicken and sich. I picked up a baloney sammich, and the bread was so fresh that my fingers made dimples. I looked at the price, $1.99, and I said to myself, "This is lunch!" (see above pic).

Was the Kroger baloney sammich as good as a Bobby's country market baloney sammich? Of course not. It was pretty damn good, though, and the green-leaf lettuce was an okay - just okay - substitute for cheese.

Will I go out of my way to buy another Kroger baloney sammich? No. If I ever again enter a Kroger over-worked and hungry ... will I buy a baloney sammich? You betcha I will (apologies to Gov. Sarah Palin).

So there.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

My, oh, Mayo's that's good sausage!

I have never in my life been a breakfast-eater. When I was little my mother would practically beg me to eat something before I left for school, but I always refused. I was in fifth or sixth grade when she badgered me into carrying blueberry or strawberry breakfast bars with me each morning. I would stick 'em in my pocket after promising to eat 'em when I got to school, and then I would trade 'em for baseball cards or extra milk money come lunch time.

The only - and I mean only - time I ever regularly ate breakfast was when I stayed with my grandparents in the country. My grandmother would get up at the crack of dawn to make sausage, gravy, grits, and biscuits for my grandfather, who needed a hearty breakfast before starting a long day of farming or carpentering. The smell of all that cooking would sometimes literally jerk me awake. And if I didn't get up right then to eat, I would eat whatever was left over whenever I did get up. Every once in a while, usually when someone who was going to help my grandfather with some special to-do came to the house, my grandmother would fry a few pieces of chicken for breakfast. Believe you me, I never lingered in bed when I smelled chicken frying at 5 a.m.

Even though I'm still not big on eating in the morning, every once in a while I do get a hankering for some sausage, biscuits and gravy. And I won't just settle for any old sausage, neither. No sir, it has to be Mayo's Hickory Smoked Pork Sausage and homemade gravy.

Mayo's sausage is distributed by Family Brands International in Lenoir City, Tennessee. I used to do business with Family Brands International back in the mid-'90s. First time I ever visited their offices, they gave me a big box of Mayo's sausage. Now back then, a roll of Mayo's wasn't packaged in clear plastic. Each roll came in a country-style cloth tube, if you will, through which Mayo's hickory smoke aroma easily seeped out. When I got back to Nashville with that box of sausage, I couldn't wait to cook me some. Which I did. And I've been a fan ever since.

This morning, I got up and fried some Mayo's sausage in a skillet ...

When the sausage was cooked through, I put about two tablespoons of flour into the pan to pick up (as Justin Wilson used to say) the drippings. Then I added about a cup of milk. I simmered it down until it made a thick gravy ...

I put some of that gravy on a biscuit with a little black pepper ...

Damn, that was good!

Something happened to the photo I took of a slice of Mayo's tucked into a golden biscuit. Thus, I owe you a pic ... stay tuned.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm sure Mr. Jimmy is proud ...

I'm sure my ami Mr. Jimmy is proud to know that Tennessean columnist Mary Hance, aka Ms. Cheap, has given her seal of approval to the Belmont Bi-Rite's plate lunch counter. To wit:

Osborne's Bi-Rite, the grocery at 3116 Belmont Blvd., across from Christ the King school, was kind of a wild card since it is not really a "restaurant.'' But the counter at the back of the store has a wonderfully affordable daily plate lunch between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. The most popular is the Friday catfish — with hush puppies, tartar sauce and one side, which is $4.50. Believe me, it's a lot of food. You can add another side for a dollar, meaning you get a meat and two sides for $5.50. A good thing to know is that a homemade dessert (cobbler or pie) can count as a side if you just ask for it that way. There are picnic tables in front of the grocery, but there is nowhere to sit inside the restaurant — meaning that the meals are pretty much all to go. Other days of the week you can get entrées such as meatloaf, fried chicken (Tuesday) or pork chops, for the same prices and all include bread. Lots of the patrons call their orders in for quick pickup. Call 292-0253.

I've never had the Belmont Bi-Rite's fish. I've had their meatloaf and I've had their spaghetti, and I can tell you for a fact that both are just tasty as hell. I imagine their fish is just as tasty. Perhaps Mr. Jimmy can tell us 'bout it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ain't nothin' "cute" 'bout Bar-B-Cutie

Joltin' Django has been a little - nay, a lot - under the weather this week. For two days I didn't eat nothin'. Yeah, I've been that sick.

Fully aware that I'd not had a lot to eat, my mother graciously offered to bring me some chopped pork from Bar-B-Cutie® ce soir. Since my body was famished to the point that I was ready to eat the south end of a north-bound skunk, I told her to bring on the Cutie's 'que. She brought it ... and now I wish she could take it back.

I'll bet I haven't eaten Bar-B-Cutie®'s barbeque ten times in my life. Prior to tonight, the last time I'd dined on the Cutie's 'que was when I last worked in the trucking b'iness (ten years ago). I was never a big fan of the Cutie's 'que, and I'm even less, "less" with a capital "L," of a fan now.

I'm going to be brutally honest: I don't know what kept me from choking to death whilst eating the sandwich you see in the above picture. Even after drowning the meat in BBQ sauce, I felt like I was trying to swallow shredded newspaper. If the meat'd not had small bits of smoked skin, I would've sworn that I was eating Whitt's dreadfully dry bar-b-crap. (Whitt's is just all gray meat and gristle.)

My fellow Nashvillians can be thanked, MANY times over, for makin' "hot chicken" and "meat-'N'-three" household terms. What they can't be thanked for is the fact that they've frequented Bar-B-Cutie® and Whitt's to the point that, well, many folks in Middle Tennessee think those two culinary cathedrals of craptacular 'que are what smoked pork is all about.

I guess what I'm trying to say, in a nutshell, is this: Bar-B-Cutie® SUCKS!

Now, never let it be said that Joltin' Django can't find a positive whenever he's being very negative ...

Bar-B-Cutie®'s "mild" sauce is pretty tasty. Now, everyone knows that I hate BBQ sauces that are too sweet. B-B-C's "mild" sauce ain't sweet, and it ain't all that mild. It has just enough kick to make it a sauce that I'd be proud to pour over over a pile of dry 'que, indeed.

If only the Cutie could make its meat as flavorful as its sauce. Wishfully-thinking ...!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Brewing Science and Technology ...?!

Where was the Brewing Science and Technology dept. when I was an undergrad?!

This past Thursday, Brewing Science and Technology students from Colorado State University celebrated the release of their class project, Hoppy Days IPA, at -- where else -- a tap room. The course has been offered at CSU for the past four years and Hoppy Days IPA is the third beer brewed in conjunction with the local Odell Brewing Company which is where the celebrations went down.

Brewing coursework used to be relatively rare (only UC Davis comes to mind) but growth in the beer sector has caused brewing classes to become more common. The University of Wisconsin was one of the latest schools to announce they're adding a beer brewing offering for students. Maybe we're moving towards the day when the traditional college beer bash is passe if you didn't brew the beverages yourself.

Man, I can only imagine where I'd be now if'n I could've officially studied beer when I was an undergraduate ...!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Super Pollo, RIP

Another fine Nashville restaurant has closed. After four years of doing business in South Nashville ... Super Pollo, RIP.

Super Pollo was owned by two early twenty-something siblings who endeavored to serve juicy grilled chicken, and quality sides, alongside a "bar" of fresh salsas and chopped vegetables. And that's just what they did.

'Bout this time last year, I penned a short piece for my company's newsletter in which I reviewed several eatin' places within a five-minute drive of my workplace. I didn't save that piece - damn! - so I can't tell you exactly what I said about Super Pollo and the food served therein. What I do recollect, however, is affixing the adjectives "tasty" and "juicy" to describe each and every thang I was ever served served at Super Pollo.

NOTE: Stay tuned for a follow-up to my "Miss you much" posting, which garnered quite a few interesting e-mails, indeed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Better Irish Red than ... well, a lot of things

I've mentioned several times on this blog that I'm a big fan of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. It ain't my favorite beer, mind you, but I do like me a cold Sam Adams every now and then.

I went to my local grocery to pick up a six-pack of something for football-watchin' purposes today. First thing I noticed was the absense of six-packs of Boston Lager in the cooler. Second thing I noticed was the fact that there were several six-packs of Samuel Adams Irish Red beer in the cooler. Since I'd never tried Irish Red before, I decided to give it a whirl.

Irish Red tastes a lot like Boston Lager. The only difference is that Irish Red is a lot less hoppy. Less hoppy, but still damn good. (You know, I don't think I've even slightly disliked any of styles of beer Samuel Adams produces.)

So, for those of you who think Boston Lager is too hoppy or too bitter, or for those of you who think Killian's is good "red" beer, I urge you give Samuel Adams Irish Red a try sometime. Your taste buds will thank you.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Rooster fights the competition

About this time last year, a co-worker gave me a 28-ounce bottle of Huy Fong Foods' "Rooster" Sriracha Chili Sauce. I guess you could say that I liked it 'cause, well, it took me less than two weeks to empty the bottle. Click here to see my review of Huy Fong's hot sauce.

I was visiting a local Asian market today when I spied a brand of Thai-style chili sauce I'd never seen before: Pantainorasingh Sriracha sauce. My interest was piqued when noticed that a little recipe booklet was affixed to each bottle. I quickly picked one up and examined the label.

Not only is Pantai Sriracha imported from Thailand (unlike Huy Fong's "authentic" made-in-the-U.S.A. Sriracha), it won a Prime Minister's Export Award in 1998. That was all I need to hear - er, read - to know that I wanted to try it.

Pantai Sriracha is every bit as good as Rooster Sriracha. Hell, except for the amount of heat each one packs, they taste remarkably similar ... with Pantai being just a tad bit less hot. The only other discernable difference between the two is that Pantai is about $.50 cheaper.

I'm gonna be in a bit of a quandry when both of my bottles of Sriracha are empty. Do I buy a bottle of Rooster Sriracha for a guaranteed ten seconds of burn on my tongue each time I taste it, or do I save $.50 and settle for 6 seconds of burn?

Decisions, decisions.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Spreading the Gospel of Duke's

The good folks who make Duke's mayonnaise were kind enough to send me a box of single-serve packets, which I distributed to many of my co-workers. You see, I am a bit of an evangelist for Duke's -- the best mayo money can buy. In addition to working and reading and blogging and playing golf and pickin' my guitar, I dutifully and happily spread the Gospel of Duke's.

Someone left a comment on one of my pro-Duke's entries a few months back to say that Hellmann's is a superior mayo. I couldn't really respond because it'd been years since I'd had consumed a mayo other than Duke's, excepting unidentified mayos in restaurants and at parties and such. Well, I'm prepared to comment now.

I stopped at the grocery store on my way home this afternoon to pick up a few things. As I strolled through the deli, I spied single-serve packets of Hellmann's near the sammich station. I put one in my pocket and did me a little taste-testin' when I got home.

First thing I did was get me a couple of slices of turkey out of the frig. (I figured turkey was benign-tasting enough to not interfere with the flavor of each mayo.) Then I poured a splash of gin into a glass -- for palette-cleansing purposes. I put a big dollop of Duke's on one slice of turkey, then I did the same thing with the Hellmann's. And then I put 'em to the test.

Verdict: Duke's is better than Hellmann's. Period. Not only is Duke's creamier, it does not have a "tang" like Hellmann's. I guess that's understandable because Hellmann's has lemon juice in it, and, as Andy Griffith might say, mayonnaise ort never to have lemon juice in it. The tangier a mayo is, the less I like it. And while Hellmann's ain't as tangy as a lot of mayos I've consumed over the years, it's still too tangy for moi.

So there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Meat, meat, good to eat!

Damn, damn, damn!

-- Florida Evans, Good Times, "The Big Move: Part 1"


World Vegan Day (November 1st) came and went ... and I - we - missed it. Again, DAMN!

So, what do the vegans want for this world? Just this:

Our theme this year is ‘improving the quality and availability of vegan food’ (otherwise known as Vegan Catering for All).

The Vegan Society are
[sic] working with large chain restaurants ... and other catering establishments to get more good-quality vegan choices onto menus.

There ain't a whole lot of vegans in the U.S.A. So why would any chain restaurant or catering establishment go all-out with menu items that appeal to almost nobody? When they're not thinking about not eating meat, vegans would do well to read some Econ 101 books.

That said, I know I ate meat on November 1st. But I would've eaten a lot of meat if I'd known it was World Vegan Day. Indeed, I would've gone and got me a dozen pieces of KFC Original Recipe fried chicken (vegans hate KFC, you know), and I would've smeared grease on my chin and cheeks each time I plucked a piece - pun firmly intended - from my bucket o' chicken.

But wait! According to the Vegan Society, November is World Vegan Month. In honor of the "Vegan Month," I'm gonna load-up my late-Granddaddy's .22 this weekend and go squirrel-hunting for the first time since I was in high school. What I'm gonna do with my kill'd squirrels is soak 'em in buttermilk and bake 'em in a pan with white wine, onions, green peppers, garlic, salt and pepper. Then I'm gonna eat 'em, and maybe smear some squirrel-grease on my chin for anti-vegan effect.

That's how I'm gonna be belatedly celebrating World Vegan Day, and celebrating World Vegan Month in the process. What're you gonna do ...?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One election [a] McCain won ...

Hmmm ...

Michelle Obama may be headed to the White House, but Cindy McCain can console herself with winning Family Circle's cookie competition.

As with every presidential election, the magazine asked readers to vote on the favorite cookie recipes from the Democratic and Republican candidates' spouses.

More than 8,000 votes were cast, with McCain's Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies edging out [Michelle] Obama's Shortbread Cookies by just 10 percentage points.

Recipes included in this story: Cindy McCain's Oatmeal-Butterscotch Cookies, Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies.

Sorry, but I see Mrs. B. Hussein Obama cookin' in a kitchen about like I see a Lollypop Kid mowing my yard.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Shank me!

I'd never had the slightest desire to make Osso Bucco (Italian stew) until I seen Barbara Mandrell's boy, Chef Matthew Dudney, make it on RFD-TV ce soir.

Now, stay tuned 'cause I'm gonna cook this up:

Chef Matthew Dudney's Osso Bucco


2 lamb or veal shanks
All-purpose flour for dredging
Canola oil
1 large onion, diced large
1 red pepper, diced large
1 green pepper, diced large
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2-cup red wine
1 can tomato paste (or diced fresh tomatoes or canned stewed tomatoes)
1 1/2-cups beef stock


Roll shanks in flour and on the stove-top brown in oil (you will need to do this in a large ovenproof oval or square pan with high sides).

Add onion, peppers and garlic halfway through the browning process.

Add wine, tomato paste, and add beef stock, scraping brown bits from bottom of pan.

Cover and place in 400 degree oven.

Cook for approximately 1 1/2 hours.

Reduce gravy in a skillet if necessary and add salt and pepper to taste.

Is nothing sacred?

In Obama America, stories like this are bound come at us faster than a Mike Scott split-finger fastball:

In California, officials are now having to ensure than any food sold in conjunction with a school event comply with strict dietary standards. In Connecticut, classroom birthday parties are a thing of the past, as schools there no longer allow parents to bring celebratory sugary goods.

Most of our young'uns are unlearned, disprespectful smart-mouths who've been led to believe that feeling good is more important than knowing stuff. We need to be thinkin' less about what goes into their mouths and more about what goes into their brains, indeed.

School parties sans cupcakes and brownies? What's next: Recess without tag and dodgeball, or Field Day without races?

What's that you say ...?!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

What a man who's gotta eat can learn from Goodfellas

Screen Junkies has comiled a list of the nine life lessons every guy can learn from Goodfellas. One of 'em is food-related:

Don't use too many onions in the sauce.

When you learn it: When all of the guys are doing their time together, Vinnie is always putting too many onions in the sauce.

Why it's important: Balance is important when you're making a marinara. You don't want to overpower the other flavors with too much onion. And three small onions is too much when you're only using two cans of tomatoes. That's day one stuff.

Naturally, the jailhouse cooking scene is my favorite in the whole movie. Since I'm sure some folks who're reading this have never seen Goodfellas before, I won't ruin it by describing the scene. One thing I will say, however, is this: Paulie using a razor blade to slice garlic so's it will melt when cooked in a little oil ... it works. Try it sometime.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's that chili time of the year

About this time last year, a co-worker gave me a can of Varallo Famous Foods Chili. It took me a couple of weeks before I cracked it open, mainly 'cause I'd never been a big fan of canned chili. I liked Varallo's canned chili, however, and this is what I said about it here at AMGE:

Varallo Famous Foods Chili, without a doubt, is the finest canned chili I've ever eaten.

Unlike practically every canned chili I've ever consumed, Varallo Famous Foods Chili has visible chunks of tomato in its sauce -- not to mention chunks of ground beef that taste like, well, chunks of ground beef.

Now, Varallo canned chili is a tad on the salty sice (which is true of most canned foodstuffs). So hit it with a dollop of sour cream and some hot sauce, like I did, and you won't know no difference.

Unfortunately, the co-worker who game me the can of chili was no longer working with me by the time I got around to eating it. I looked for it at several grocery stores soon thereafter but couldn't find it. This afternoon, almost a year later, I found Varallo chili at the Apple Market grocery store on Nolensville Road. Bought five cans of it, too!

Now, I have no idea if Nashville's Varrallo-brand chili has any past/present relationship with Nashville's famous Varallo's restaurant. I'm looking into the matter, and I will fo' sho' give my readers a heads-up when I have more info.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Beer-chuggin' chumps

There's a scene in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? in which George Clooney's character says, "Hard times flushes the chumps." America has been suffering through some hard times as of late. And there're indeed some chumps who've been flushed out, mainly of the beer-drinking variety. To wit:

As the economy continues to spiral downward, more and more beer drinkers are trading down to the High Life.

Sales of the cheap brew ironically dubbed the "Champagne of Beers" popped 6.5% during the four weeks ended Oct. 7, according to Information Resources Inc. Another MillerCoors bottom-shelf brand, Keystone, grew 11.2% during the same period. The two largest below-premium beer brands, Anheuser-Busch's Busch and Natural Light, have also seen upticks in sales.

Both IRI and Nielsen data show that the entire subpremium segment has been attracting more of consumers' beer money. That's a development the industry is less than thrilled with, since those sales appear to be coming at the expense of more-expensive, higher-margin beers.

If there ever comes a day when the only beer I can afford is Keystone, Busch or Natural Light ... well, I'm gonna stop drinking beer. Indeed.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I know how to make a sammich

Last week, I got me some sweet peppers from co-worker who'd cleaned out her garden. I let 'em ripen up good before using 'em tonight to make one hell of a hoagie. See:

What I did was brown off a couple of Italian sausages in a skillet until they were almost cooked through. Then I sliced up my sweet peppers and an onion, which got sautéd in the "juice" that came off of the sausages. I finished cooking my sausages on the grill; I sliced 'em lengthwise; I put 'em on a bun; and I covered 'em all up with my veg-E-tables.

That sammich was so good, I wish I was still eatin' it now.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Crock-Pot BBQ

When I was in college, my friends and I would go to a certain soul food restaurant two or three times a week. It was, and remains to this day, my favorite eating place on the face of the earth. Indeed, I often tell folks that if I ever find myself on Death Row, I'm gonna request a meal from said eating place.

Now, the eating place in question is going to remain a mystery for the time being 'cause, well, I'm going there soon and afterward I'll give it proper props with pictures and all kinds of specific praise.

That said, I endeavored to make some barbeque like the barbeque served at my favorite eating place. I wasn't able to concoct a culinary carbon-copy, if you will, but I came darn close. Here's what I did:

First, I rubbed a Boston butt roast with a mixture of sweet and hot paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper. Second, I thin-sliced an onion and put it in the bottom of my Crock-Pot. Third, I put the roast in the Crock and poured in about six cups of water. Then the sombitch cooked on "low" for about eight hours.

A half-hour before my roast was through cooking, I made me a homemade BBQ sauce. Here's how I did it:

Joltin' Django's BBQ Sauce


2 cups Hunt's ketchup (Hunt's 'cause it's sweet)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
A little salt and a little black pepper


Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat and slow-simmer for 30 minutes.

When my roast was finished, I let it cool for about 15 minutes and then I shredded the meat. The meat went back into the Crock-Pot along with the sauce. I gave my barbeque a good stirring, I put the dial on "warm," and I let it cook for another 20 minutes. This was the result:

As you can see, I made me some mashed potatoes with my barbeque. You can also see that there's gravy atop my mashed taters. What I did to get the gravy was this: I made a quick roux with 1/4-cup of butter and 1/4-cup of flour in a small saucepan; I added a little over 2 cups of the liquid in which my roast cooked to the pan; I gave the mixture a few twists of sea salt and black pepper; and then I simmered it for about 10 minutes until it was as thick as gravy needs to be.

You should've been here ...!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I say, HP Sauce has the flavour I crave

If I were to compile a list of my Top Ten Favorite Condiments -- I'm talking about condiments here, not hot sauces -- HP Sauce would surely be in the top five.  If you've never had HP Sauce, son, you're missin' out.
A Scottish fellow with whom I used to work, name o' Craig, turned me on to HP Sauce (HP stands for "Houses of Parliament) some six or seven years ago.  Craig was eating a turkey sandwich one day, and he was absolutely coating it with a bottle of something that looked like store-brand A1.  "What is that?" I asked.  "HP Sauce," he replied.  (In his quick-talk Scottish brogue "HP Sauce" was one syllable.)   
Craig told me how folks in the United Kingdom put HP Sauce on everything: potatoes, chops, steaks, fish, vegetables, and, yes, sammiches.  At that point, I just had to try it.  He put a big dollop on a Lay's potato chip and handed it to me. As soon as the tangy, sweet , and spicy brown sauce hit my tongue ... let's just say I was immediately hooked.  Indeed, it didn't take long before I was pouring HP Sauce on potatoes, chops, steaks, fish, etc.   

HP Sauce has a pretty exotic ingredients list: dates, malt vinegar, tamarind extract, sugar, and spices (among others). I'm not a big fan of dates, so it's kind of funny that I enjoy eating something that features dates as a main ingredient. Enjoy it I do, however, and every time I break open a new bottle I can't help but think about Craig the Scotsman and his turkey sandwich.

In Nashville, you can find HP Sauce in the "British section" at your local Publix supermarket.