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Archive for the ‘barbeque’ Category

First off, happy Earth Day! I thought about doing an Earth Day post, but other time commitments prevented me.  I’d like to direct you to a fabulous post from Herban Lifestyle about how to make Earth Day everyday.  Click here.

Frugal Living:  Get the Most out of Your Chicken Leftovers

If you’ve read here here the past few days, you’ll know that I got really excited by our spicy barbeque smoked chicken earlier in the week.  We have continued to enjoy it, each time with a little variation in its saucing to make it fit a new menu.  Monday night we had paninis with the chicken in a smokey, sweet barbeque sauce and good cheese, served alongside spinach soup in the beautiful bowls I won from Polly’s Path.

Wednesday I cut a  big bowl of fresh lettuces and endive from our garden, pulled some carrots and radishes to slice, and clipped some chive blossoms for what I called buffalo chicken salad.  I sauced some of the chicken with hot sauce and used that with bleu cheese and homemade croutons to pile on top the salad.  I did take a photo of the lettuce (see below), but an untimely phone call and then hunger distracted me from shooting the salad.

Tonight?  It’s Mr. Homesteader’s cooking night, but I hear that we’ll be having something Mexican and that he’ll be using the smoked chicken.

Do you cook whole chickens?  If so, what’s your favorite way to dress up the leftovers?

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Lettuce Lessons:  Selecting Looseleaf Seeds

This is the big bowl of loose leaf lettuce, endive, and a little chard I picked from the garden.  The red frilly lettuce is Lolla Rossa.  If you see red and green on the same leaf, it could be Lolla Rossa inner leaves, or it could be Marvel of Four Seasons.  The lime green lettuce is called Black-Seeded Simpson.  It and Lolla Rossa are so attractive that I think either of them would be lovely as a border around a flower bed.  The frilly medium green stuff is in fact curly endive, and the leaf in sort of the middle left with red rib and veins is ruby chard.  All of these lettuces and other greens are easy to grow in cooler weather, and the chard has actually survived summer heat and freezing winters twice now as well as repeated cuttings in between.  We like growing head lettuces like butterhead and batavian, but these loose-leaf lettuces are really easy to grow for cut-and-come-again picking throughout the season.

Do you have favorite salad greens?  What grows well in your area?  Do tell!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please ask me for permission to use photographs.

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We were recently fortunate enoughto inherit a family-sized smoker.  We have a nice small one that we can use on a stove top–that’s lots of fun!–but it’s pretty much limited to smoking a few servings at a time.  Today we are  using the bigger smoker for a whole chicken, and we’ve brined it to yield a recipe that reminds us of a blend of Southern barbeque from around the region.  We’ve used lots of vinegar but also lots of heat in the brine, and I added chili powder to the rub.  That means this barbeque lacks ties to any distinctive Southern soil but nicely blends our roots (North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, and Texas).

Both smoking and brining are age-old culinary tricks to preserve food.  That said, we aren’t planning on letting this chicken sit around for long!  I have never declared food “righteous” before in my life, and I don’t think Mr. Homestead has either, but both of us agreed that the term could be applied to this incredibly juicy, smoky, spicy bird.

Start by preparing your brine.

Brine

  • 1 cup canning salt
  • 1 cup tabasco
  • 4-6 whole cloves
  • 1/2-3/4 cup molasses
  • sufficient water to completely cover the bird

Boil together about 4 cups of water with the salt to get the salt to dissolve.  Now add the molasses.  Finally, add the tabasco.  Chill the mixture, and then pour it and sufficient water to cover over your bird in a non-reactive, non-plastic container that’s large enough to get the bird completely covered with the mixture.  I used an enameled canning pot, but you could use glass or stainless steel.  Note:  Had I had a pot with a smaller diameter, I could have used less brine.  As it was, I’ll be in the market for a better briner for chicken than my big canning pot, which works great for a big turkey but is wasteful for the smaller bird. Leave the bird in the brine for about 24 hours.  Now take it out and dry it off.

Are you wondering what to do with your leftover brine?  It’ll make a great weed killer.  Just be sure not to use too much, as the salt will hang around and kill nearby plants.  It’s both the salt and the vinegar that kills, although frankly straight vinegar is better than this watered-down mix.

Rub

  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Sprinkle on the rub and then use your hands to even it out and gently pat it into the surface of your well-dried chicken.  Now go smoke!

We use a chimney loaded with newspaper in the bottom to start natural charcoal, so we don’t get petroleum products in our food.chemical-free coal-starting chimney

Come on, baby, light my fire!

Once you light the newspaper, the heat spreads up the chimney, starting the coals.

Our smoker has a little door through which you can feed the smoker with coal.

A 5-pound chicken smoked with low heat and moisture will take about 5 hours to smoke with low heat.  Our smoker has a convenient dial to indicate “ideal” temperature, although an actual thermometer (registering around 225 degrees F!) would be better.  You may need to add coals a couple of times to maintain “ideal” temperature.

We added some soaked apple wood to the coals for the last hour of cooking, to produce sweet smoke.

As you think the meat is getting close to being done, use a meat thermometer to check.  Be sure to pick a thick portion of meat away from bone.  When chicken  is done, the meat thermometer should register 165 degrees F.almost there!

Mmmmmmm.  Here’s the bird.  As tempting as it may be to cut right into it, please please please let it rest for at least half an hour or so before you cut into it.  The rest time will help the moisture stay inside the bird instead of spilling out.  You can spoon the juices left inside over the top if you want to take a little crisp out of the skin.

Collect the juices left behind in the drip pan and strain them through a coffee filter to get out any ash.  You can also chill the liquid and skim off any fat, although the coffee strainer should handle that too.  What you’ll have after you’ve strained is a smoky, spicy stock that you can use to make a barbeque sauce, add to soup, and so forth.

Do you have a favorite barbeque recipe?  Do you have a smoker?  If so, what kind of food do you smoke?  Do you have questions about smoked food?  Dear readers, please add comments.

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