Tag Archives: Barbecue

Which Stew are You?

We’re giving away a copy of Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon this week and it inspired our Publicity Manager to reminisce about community stews and the gatherings where they were prepared. Enjoy a guest post that may make you hungry for more foodways history!


Burgoo’s Place in the Constellation of Community Stews

By Mack McCormick, Publicity Manager

Growing up in Alabama, Brunswick Stew was ubiquitous. You didn’t see many people make it at home, but it and barbecue were staples of community fundraisers. It was cooked outside in huge cast-iron pots and stirred with boat paddles. My parents still have the 30-gallon pot that my great-uncle used to make it. You could count on him having a batch almost every Saturday in the summer before he closed the country store in Suttle.

bcstewkettles

Brunswick Stew being prepared in cast iron pots

Growing up close to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, I was also very familiar with Gumbos, whether file or okra, but I had never heard of Burgoo before moving to Kentucky in the mid 1990s. The first I sampled was at Mark’s Feed Store in Louisville, followed shortly after by Keeneland’s and many others since. It wasn’t until I began to work on Albert W. A. Schmid’s new book, Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon: A Kentucky Culinary Trinity, however, that I started to consider it within the larger tradition of regional community stews. Here are the highlights:

Irish Stew

Common wherever Irish settled, it can be nearly any variety of meat and root vegetable stew, but typically includes lamb or mutton.

tu1a01_irish_stew-jpg-rend-hgtvcom-1280-960

Irish Stew (Source: foodnetwork.com)

Mulligan Stew

A variation on Irish Stew that was made from any ingredients on hand, it became a common dish among hobos during the Great Depression.

6b7ab5722ec2a75b78c6a9a2a8fba00b

Cowboy Stew (Source: Pinterest)

Cowboy Stew

A variation on Mulligan Stew popularized in the West, it traditionally includes the internal organs of calves.

Burgoo

Kentucky’s contribution to community stews, Vice President of the United States Alben Barkley of Paducah said, “A ‘burgoo’ is a cross between a soup and a stew, and into the big iron cooking kettles go, as we sometimes say in Kentucky, a ‘numerosity’ of things—meat, chicken, vegetables, and lots of seasoning.”

Clam Chowder

Generally containing clams, broth, diced potatoes, onions, and celery, numerous regional varieties of chowder can be found along Atlantic seaboard. Delaware clam chowder includes pre-fried salt pork. Hatteras clam chowder is a spicier version from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Manhattan clam chowder uses a tomato-based broth. New England (or Boston) clam chowder uses milk or cream.

Gumbo

Composed of a meat or shellfish, stock, a thickener (roux, okra, or filé powder), and the “holy trinity” of onion, celery, and bell peppers, it is most closely associated with southern Louisiana. The two main varieties are creole, which is thinner and has a tomato base, and Cajun, which is thicker and uses a roux.

220px-booyah_spiced

Booyah (Source: Wikipedia)

Booyah

Probably Belgian in origin and common in Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin, and Michigan, it traditionally can require up to two days and multiple cooks to prepare. Like Burgoo, Booyah can also refer to a social event surrounding the meal.

Let me know which ones I missed, and I’m also curious to hear from others about their memories of similar stews.

 


Stay tuned for burgoo recipes and don’t forget to sign up for our weekly giveaway of Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon by Friday, May 27 at 1 pm!

A Father’s Day Giveaway: Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon

Schmid Cover for blogYes, Father’s Day is still about a month away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what you might get dad. (He deserves it, right?) Luckily, we’re here to help you out with a Father’s Day giveaway!

This week, enter to win one of three available copies of Albert W. A. Schmid’s brand new Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon: A Kentucky Culinary Trinity. Use the form at the end of this blog post to sign up by Friday, May 26 at 1:00 pm Eastern time for your chance to win!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About the book

Burgoo, barbecue, and bourbon have long been acknowledged as a trinity of good taste in Kentucky. Known as the gumbo of the Bluegrass, burgoo is a savory stew that includes meat—usually smoked—from at least one “bird of the air,” at least one “beast of the field,” and as many vegetables as the cook wants to add. Often you’ll find this dish paired with one of the Commonwealth’s other favorite exports, bourbon, and the state’s distinctive barbecue.

Award-winning author and chef Albert W. A. Schmid serves up a feast for readers in Burgoo, Barbecue, and Bourbon, sharing recipes and lore surrounding these storied culinary traditions. He introduces readers to new and forgotten versions of favorite regional dishes from the time of Daniel Boone to today and uncovers many lost recipes, such as Mush Biscuits, Kentucky Tombstone Pudding, and the Original Kentucky Whiskey Cake. He also highlights classic bourbon drinks that pair well with burgoo and barbecue, including Moon Glow, Bourbaree, and the Hot Tom and Jerry. Featuring cuisine from the early American frontier to the present day, this entertaining book is filled with fascinating tidbits and innovative recipes for the modern cook.

Enter to Win!

‘Cue Cards: A Guide for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is approaching, and you know what that means . . . Time to find the perfect place to take Dad for dinner.

Kentucky_Barbecue_Book_The_CMYK

The first step to becoming a BBQ aficionado is being able to talk the talk. In The Kentucky Barbecue Book, Wes Berry defines many key terms for his readers. Here are a few you may not know:

Burgoo: an “everything but the kitchen sink” rich stew made with several meats and vegetables, cooked up in large quantities at Owensboro’s International Barbecue Festival and found at barbecue joints in Kentucky, especially those in the “burgoo tree” (my term) that includes the counties of Daviess, Hopkins, and Christian, among others.324255_346022322091385_842314571_o

Chip or chipped: a style of barbecue preparation popular in Union Co. and Henderson Co., where heavily smoked exterior pieces of pork shoulders, hams, and mutton quarters are chopped and mixed with a thin tangy dip sauce, a bold flavor creation that’s salty and good as a sandwich.

Fast Eddy: a meat smoking apparatus that often utilizes wood pellets and a gas flame.

Hickory: one of the hardest of the hardwoods, hickory trees are nut-bearing friends of squirrels and Kentucky pitmasters, who favor the smoke and heat imparted by hickory over all other woods. Several different species of hickory trees live in North America, including shagbark, shellbark, mockernut, bitternut, and pignut. Some pitmasters claim they prefer one species of hickory—like shagbark—to others.

Monroe County dip: Sopping sauce favored in several south-central Kentucky counties, made with vinegar, butter, lard, salt, black and cayenne pepper, and sometimes other ingredients like tomato or mustard, used for basting meats as they cook slowly over hickory coals. Also served as a finishing sauce.

Mutton: Mature sheep, either female or castrated males. Mutton is Kentucky’s claim to barbecue fame, although only 10 percent of the barbecue places in the state serve it.

Smoke ring: the pinkish hue imparted to smoked meats (a very good thing).

Grab a copy of Wes berry’s book to learn even more BBQ lingo and scope out the best places for smoky meats and saucy treats in the state.

Kentucky’s Regional Barbecue Styles and Sauces

9780813161112Later this week, the International Bar-B-Q Festival will take over the streets of Owensboro, Kentucky. The Bluegrass State’s culinary fame may have been built on bourbon and fried chicken, but the Commonwealth has much to offer the barbecue thrill-seeker. Luckily, Wes Berry (author of The Kentucky Barbecue Book) is here to help you prepare for this notable culinary event, explain Kentucky’s distinctive ‘cue styles, and serve up some recipes from around the state:

Kentucky’s Regional Barbecue Styles and Sauces

by Wes Berry

In the western counties, the preferred barbecue is pulled or chopped pork from whole pork shoulders or Boston butts. Traditionally, pork shoulders cooked on concrete block masonry pits for twelve to thirty hours, depending on the size of the shoulder, the type of wood used, the temperature inside the pits, the weather, and other factors like pit design. Pit masters burned down wood, mostly hickory, to coals and shoveled these underneath the meats every one to two hours, trying to keep a steady pit temperature. The most impressive pits have heavy thick insulated lids that are raised with the help of pulleys and cables.

Many of the western counties are also fond of smoking cured hams (city hams) and precooked turkey breasts, slicing them thinly to serve on sandwiches. Sauce styles vary county by county. The Hickman County sauce is mostly vinegar and cayenne pepper. Some McCracken County sauces taste strongly of vinegar and chili powder. Union and Henderson counties favor a savory Worcestershire-based dip, while over in Christian County to the east the sauces turn again to vinegar and cayenne. It’s safe to say that although Kentucky is most famous for mutton, pork is still king, dominating barbecue menus throughout the state.

Mutton, however, is our most distinctive claim to barbecue fame, although only 18 out of 160 places I visited [in writing my book] serve it. The “Mutton Tree,” as I’ll call it, is concentrated in western Kentucky, with Christian County and Hopkins County forming the trunk of the tree, branching out into Union, Henderson, and Daviess counties for the upper foliage. Owensboro is mutton central, with all four barbecue restaurants serving it. Mutton is usually basted while smoking over hickory coals and served with a savory Worcestershire sauce‒based dip, a thin, black potion that also contains vinegar and spices like black pepper and allspice.

Another noteworthy regional tradition—called Monroe County style—dominates barbecue menus in five south-central counties: Monroe, Barren, Cumberland, Allen, and Warren. This is the stuff I grew up eating. Locals refer to it as “shoulder.” Boston butts—the thick end of a pork shoulder—are frozen and then cut into thin slices, bone in, with a meat saw. Pit masters traditionally burned down hickory wood to coals and shoveled the coals underneath iron grates that held dozens of slices of shoulder. As the meats cooked over hot coals, the pit tenders flipped and basted the pieces periodically with a “dip” of vinegar, lard, butter, cayenne and black pepper, and salt. Because of the small surface area, pieces of shoulder soak up a lot of smoke in a short amount of time. Preferred length of cooking is around forty-five minutes, but on a hot fire you can grill a piece of shoulder in fifteen minutes.

KY BBQ map.jpg

South Fork Grill’s Vinegar Coleslaw

  • 4 cups distilled vinegar
  • 5 cups sugar
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 2 heads large cabbage, chopped
  • 1 carrot stick, chopped
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • ¼ green pepper, chopped

Heat vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper. Set aside and let cool. Add 7 cups cabbage mix to the cooled vinegar. Stir well and refrigerate. Makes 10-12 servings.

Brothers Barbecue’s Red Potato Salad

  • ¼ cup white vinegar
  • ½ cup sweet pickle juice
  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • 3 cups mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons dill weed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon celery salt
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 5 pounds red potatoes, chopped and boiled
  • 8‒10 sweet gherkin pickles, chopped

Whisk first 9 ingredients together for the dressing. Add cooked potatoes and chopped pickles and mix well. Refrigerate a few hours for flavors to blend.

Sarah’s Corner Cafe BBQ’s Smoked Shrimp with Pineapple and Vidalia Onions

  • 3 pounds shrimp, peeled or unpeeled (both ways work well)
  • 10 medium-sized Vidalia onions, quartered
  • 6-7 pounds pineapple chunks, with juice
  • Spicy dry rub (with cayenne, black pepper, paprika, etc.) to suit your taste

Spray large foil pan with cooking spray. Add onions and dry rub to pan and place on smoker at 250°F for 1 hour. Add pineapple and shrimp, shaking on additional dry-rub spices. Smoke for about 20 minutes or until shrimp is pink. Serve with barbecue sauce.

Ole South Barbeque’s Mutton Dip

  • 1 gallon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 pounds brown sugar
  • 5 pounds tomato paste

In a large pot, cook all ingredients until paste dissolves. Use it to baste meats, preferably mutton, periodically throughout the many hours of cooking required to tenderize the muscle tissues. When serving mutton, offer this dip in a bowl on the side for the dipping of individual pieces. Yields about 2½ gallons.

Ruby Faye’s Sweet Shoppe Chocolate Torte

  • 1 large box (14 ounces) graham crackers
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 packages (3.4 oz.each) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling
  • 8 ounces Cool Whip
  • 15-ounce can of milk chocolate frosting

Combine milk, pudding mix, and Cool Whip. Mix until smooth. Line bottom of 9 x 13-inch pan with graham crackers. Don’t crush. Add half of pudding mixture, and then cover with another layer of graham crackers. Add rest of pudding mixture. Cover this layer with graham crackers. Cover with milk chocolate frosting, thinning frosting with milk to make it spread easier. Refrigerate until pudding is set, 1-2 hours.

Come Take a Journey through the Bluegrass with us!

Journey Through the Bluegrass cut

This week, the crew here at the press is kicking off a series titled “Journey Through the Bluegrass”!! We gave you a taste of bourbon country last week, but there’s so much more to Kentucky than just bourbon, basketball, and barbecues. We’re going to be taking you on a tour through some of the Bluegrass State’s finest locations and moments in history. Here’s a sneak preview of some of the books we’ll be talking about this week:

____________________________________________________________________________________________

lastgreatplaces

KENTUCKY’S LAST GREAT PLACES
Thomas G. Barnes

“This isn’t a memorial to lost places; it’s a call to action, a reminder to readers of what exactly there is to lose if economic development continues to take precedence over the environment in both social and political arenas.”

Back Home in Kentucky

____________________________________________________________________________________________

KENTUCKY’S NATURAL HERITAGE: AN ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BIODIVERSITY
Greg Abernathy, Deborah White, Ellis L. Laudermilk, and Mark Evans

Richly detailed and lavishly illustrated with more than 250 color photos, maps, and charts, Kentucky’s Natural Heritage is the definitive compendium of the commonwealth’s amazing diversity. It celebrates the natural beauty of some of the most important ecosystems in the nation and presents a compelling case for the necessity of conservation.

naturalheritage
____________________________________________________________________________________________

KimmererCompF.indd

VENERABLE TREES: HISTORY, BIOLOGY, AND COVERVATION IN THE BLUEGRASS
Tom Kimmerer

Featuring more than one hundred color photographs, this beautifully illustrated book offers guidelines for conserving ancient trees worldwide while educating readers about their life cycle. Venerable Trees is an informative call to understand the challenges faced by the companions so deeply rooted in the region’s heritage and a passionate plea for their preservation.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

One last thing! We’ve compiled the perfect playlist to accompany you on your trip this week! The playlist has been left open to the public, so if you feel like there is something missing, please add it! We would love to see what you guys are listening to on this awesome adventure!

playlist cover

If you want to add something to the playlist, click here!

4th of July

Food + Friends + Fireworks + Fun = A 4th of July Celebration

In The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook, Maggie Green offers up not only delicious, seasonal recipes using fresh, local ingredients, but also provides menus to make holiday planning easy. For a classic, Kentucky-proud celebration, Maggie’s menu includes:

  • Ale-8 One Slow Cooker Pork Barbecue with Brown Sugar Bourbon Barbecue Sauce
  • Sweet and Sour Creamy Coleslaw
  • Cornmeal-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Nina’s Potato Salad
  • Sweet Bourbon Baked Beans
  • Buttermilk Black-‘n’-Blue Berry Cobbler
  • and Fresh Herbed Lemonade, Sweet Iced Tea, or mix ’em up in an Arnold Palmer

You’ll find a personal favorite of ours below, or a printable version of the recipes on Maggie’s menu here. For more great meals (and recipes), The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook is available wherever fine books are sold.

Succulent Pork Barbecue

Every Kentucky cook needs a good pork barbecue recipe up his or her sleeve, and I have learned several juicy tips over the years.

First, a bit of terminology: the best meat for pork barbecue is an economical, rectangular roast from the top part of the pig’s shoulder called Boston butt, Boston roast, fresh pork butt, or Boston-style butt. (Don’t ask me why a pork shoulder is called a butt.) Pork shoulder is sold bone-in or boneless, in sizes ranging from 4 to 8 pounds. I consider this cut the chicken thigh of a pig—the meat is moist, dark, and distinctive. The well-exercised muscles in the shoulder crisscross around a bone and are supported by collagen and tendons, with fat marbled throughout. Because of this hodgepodge of muscle, tendon, and collagen, the meat has to be coaxed into tenderness. Given enough time to cook, though, it shreds easily for the best pulled pork barbecue around.

The flavor varies, depending on the method of cooking—smoked, oven-roasted, or slow cooked—but the end result will be fork-tender goodness. What does fork tender mean? Poke a fork in the cooked pork and twist: the meat shouldn’t feel tight, and it readily falls apart.

Ale-8 One Slow Cooker Pork Barbecue

Nothing holds a candle to home-smoked meat, but this slow-cooked version works in a pinch—a large pinch piled high on a bun, that is. It uses Kentucky’s own soft drink, Ale-8 One. This spicy soda, bottled in Winchester since 1926, is sold around the state. If Ale-8 One isn’t available, substitute a spicy ginger ale. Just like a true, wood-fired smoking process, low and slow is the rule. For best results, start early in the morning or let the pork slow-cook overnight. In my (oblong) slow cooker set on low, the pork takes about 11 hours to reach a fork-tender state. Check the tenderness of the meat after about 10 hours to gauge how quickly or slowly your slow cooker cooks.

Makes about 12 servings

  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • One 4- to 4.-pound pork shoulder or Boston butt pork roast
  • One 12-ounce can Ale-8 One
  • 2 tablespoons Barbecue Dry Rub
  • 2 cups Brown Sugar Bourbon Barbecue Sauce, or the barbecue sauce of your choice

Place half the onion in the bottom of a slow cooker. Lay the pork shoulder on top of the onion. Pour the soda over the pork and sprinkle with the dry rub and remaining onion. Cover and cook on low for 11 hours. At this point, the meat should be fork tender, which happens when the internal temperature reaches about 200 degrees F. If it’s not fork tender, turn the meat over, cover, and cook for 1 to 2 more hours. When the pork is done, place it on a platter and shred and chop the meat. Keep the meat warm, and serve the barbecue sauce warm on the side. Alternatively, discard the juice from the slow cooker and place the meat back in it. Mix in the barbecue sauce and warm before serving.

Brown Sugar Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This sweet sauce, flavored with bourbon, is inspired by a recipe I developed for Barbara Smith.

Makes about 4 cups.

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • One 12-ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup Kentucky bourbon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup Kentucky sorghum or molasses
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a saucepan, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ketchup, chili sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, sorghum, vinegar, and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Serve warm, or let cool and store in glass jars in the refrigerator.

Kentucky Fresh Cookbook Maggie Green

Kentucky Travels: Books to Bring On Vacation

Are you going on a trip soon? Are you looking for the perfect book to bring along, but don’t quite know where to start? If you answered yes to both of those questions then keep reading! Today we are featuring some of our favorite new/vacation-related books to bring along on your next trip. Even if you aren’t going anywhere special we think you’ll really like these. Take a look:

  • Olmsted Parks of Louisville: A Botanical Field Guide by Patricia Dalton Haragan – This book combines nature, Kentucky, and history all in one! Featuring the famous landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted; over 380 species of trees, herbaceous plants, shrubs; and where and how these plants grow in Kentucky; this book is interesting and resourceful for those nature enthusiasts.
  • The Kentucky Barbecue Book by Wes Berry – Just released in March of this year, this book is a feast for readers who are eager to sample the finest fare in the state.  What’s interesting about this book is that many of the establishments featured are dedicated to the time-honored craft of cooking over hot hardwood coals inside cinderblock pits. If you’re a food lover looking to spice things up, definitely check this book out!
  • Dear Appalachia: Readers, Identity, and Popular Fiction since 1878 by Emily Satterwhite – We consider this one an oldie, but a goodie! As a 2011 winner of the Weatherford Award and the Phi Beta Kappa Sturm Award, this book is worth having in your collection, especially if you’re someone interested in popular culture and Appalachia. Satterwhite examines fan mail, reviews, and readers’ geographic affiliations to understand how readers have imagined the region and what purposes these imagined geographies have served for them.
  • Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father’s Unsolved Murder by Robert Crane – The title of this book certainly speaks for itself. Written by the son of star, Bob Crane, actor in Hogan’s Heroes. This book goes beyond the big stars and behind-the-scenes revelations to tell a riveting account of death, survival, and renewal in the shadow of the Hollywood sign and makes a profound statement about the desire for love and permanence in a life where those things continually slip away. A truly unforgettable and deeply human story we think you won’t be able to put down this spring break!

What do you think? Tell us in a comment below which book you’re most interested in!