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BostonTiger recipes

Posted on: January 11, 2019 at 09:44:32 CT
SwampTiger MU
Member For:
20.91 yrs
M.O.B. Votes:
Cream Cheese Breakfast Rolls

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 cans refrigerated Pillsbury crescent rolls
16 ounces cream cheese -- softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg -- separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ( 1 to 1 1/2 t.)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon or so of cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts -- optional

Spread 1 can of crescent rolls on bottom of ungreased 9 x 13" pan.
Cream together cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla.
Spread cheese mixture over crescent rolls.
Lay second can of rolls on top.
Beat egg white and lightly brush over the top. (you won't use the whole egg white)
Mix sugar, cinnamon & nuts (if desired).
Sprinkle topping over crescent rolls.
Bake at 350F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it's golden brown and tests done.

Store leftovers in the fridge.

Serving Ideas : These are good served warm, room temp., or cold. They will serve 12 to
24 depending on what else is being served.

NOTES : I used 1/3 less fat cream cheese and reduced fat crescent rolls.

Orange Yogurt Scones

Recipe By :Quick Cooking
Serving Size : 0 Preparation Time :0:00
Categories : Breakfast Easy Breads

Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar -- divided
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter
1 carton orange yogurt (I used vanilla yogurt) -- (6 ounces)
1/4 cup orange juice
2 teaspoons grated orange peel

In a bowl, combine the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; cut in butter until crumbly. In another bowl, whisk the yogurt, orange juice and peel; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 10 times. Don't over-work your dough!

Transfer dough to a greased baking sheet. Pat into an 8-in. circle. Cut into eight wedges, but do not separate. Sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.
Yield: 8 servings

Steak Seasoning

Yield: About 3/4 cup

1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons ground white pepper
2 tablespoons granulated garlic

1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients thoroughly.

2. Seasoning can be used as is on beef steaks. Or, if desired, add a total of 2 tablespoons of your favorite dried herbs or other flavorings (minced rosemary, thyme, paprika, red pepper flakes, dried onions, etc.) to make the seasoning your own.

3. When ready to grill, let the steak come to room temperature. Lightly rub or brush olive oil on each face. Sprinkle 1 to 2 teaspoons of seasoning on each face for a 10- to 12-ounce porterhouse, adjusting the amount based on the size and type of the steak. Grill over direct heat to desired doneness.

Roasted Garlic and Buttered Asiago Loaf


One unsliced Panera (St. Louis Bread) Asiago Loaf
¼ lb. salted butter (one stick)
1 head garlic
2 teaspoons onion powder (can omit if you aren’t an onion fan)
4 tablespoons good quality extra-virgin olive oil

Items you will need:

Serrated bread knife
Aluminum foil (extra-wide is preferred)
Oven-proof pan
Grill tongs

Home prep:

Set out stick of butter to soften

Remove the loose paper off the garlic head and slice the “top” of the head off. (When you slice the top off, looking down at the top you will see the exposed cut edges of all the cloves of garlic in the head.) Place the head onto a sheet of aluminum foil and pour 4 tablespoons of olive oil on it. Wrap the foil over the head of garlic and crimp to form an airtight seal. Place in an oven-proof container into a 300 F oven and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove and let cool (that paste will really burn your hand if not cool.)

When cool, pour olive oil into container and then squeeze garlic out of the papery head into the same container (the garlic will be a sweet paste after roasting and will squeeze out with the consistency of soft butter.) Add butter and thoroughly mix with olive oil, onion powder, and garlic paste to form an emulsion. Set aside for at least 15 minutes (can be made days in advance and refrigerated.)

Slice bread into thickness you desire (I prefer a thick slice similar to Texas Toast.) With a spatula/ knife, spread the garlic/ butter/ olive oil mixture on both sides of each slice and reform the bread slices into the original loaf, in the same order as sliced. Snugly wrap the entire loaf in aluminum foil and refrigerate/ place in cooler for transport to the tailgate.

Prep at tailgate:

Depending on grill setup, the following steps may vary a bit. For these purposes, I will assume a grill (either charcoal or gas.)

Carefully unwrap the bread (you will reuse the foil)

Before cooking your other items, place all bread on the grill to slightly grill/ create grill marks on the bread. I generally like to reposition the bread ¼ turn on each side to create a “diamond” grill mark pattern. You don’t want to do anything other than create a little bit of a grill mark.

Rebuild loaf in same order and seal in the aluminum foil.

(You can entirely skip the grill marks if you choose – I think the direct heat slightly toasting the bread before “baking” is another flavor element that is nice if you have the time and the energy. If you are using a smoker, you will only have indirect heat, so just make sure the bread is tightly wrapped. A little bit of smoke flavor will seep in and that is fine, but too much smoke will overwhelm the bread.)

To heat the foiled bread before service:

If you have a grill with a warming grate above the main grill, I suggest having the bread in for about an hour. If you will be placing the foil on the direct heat grill, you will only need about 30 minutes and will probably need to rotate the package and take care to not burn the bread.

I put in a lot of detail on this recipe, but it is quite easy and anyone can do it and modify with different bread/ choices. I do believe the real garlic roasted butter is much better than just using garlic powder. (I have experimented with using shallots or sweet onions instead of onion powder – the taste is good but I am not a fan of the texture with bits of onion on the bread.) Also, if you make a larger batch of butter mixture, it is great to brush onto grilled sweet corn.

I generally quadruple the butter/ oil/ garlic mixture and keep in fridge in an airtight container. This recipe then becomes ridiculously easy and quick to make anytime you need it.

Pulled pork/briscuit/ribs

For tailgating, my preferred cooking method is always “just in time” but that is usually not possible for pulled pork and brisket due to the cooking time required. The good news is that both those items reheat really well. For the pulled pork, I recommend smoking at home, pulling, applying sauce, mixing, and storing in aluminum throwaway pans with aluminum tops. For brisket, leave in foil unsliced (see below) and bring to tailgate. To reheat, Let both items come to room temp (about an hour per 8 lb.) and place over indirect heat for about 1 ½ hours at 250F. You want the temp to come up to about 130F to 140F.

For ribs, if you have 5 hours to cook, do it at the tailgate. The smoke, the smell, etc. will help make the experience better. If you don’t have the time or don’t want the work at the tailgate, prepare as shown below, don’t slice, and then wrap. When reheating on the tailgate grill, leave in the foil wrap for about an hour but add some liquid to the package to create some steam/ keep from drying out. Beer is a good option for flavor (and availability.) After ribs are brought to temp, remove from foil and place directly on grill and brush with extra sauce for about 30 minutes (to build up the crust/ flavor as discussed below.)

Pulled Pork

I always prefer bone-in Boston Butt (pork shoulder) roast. Bone and associated connective tissue gives more flavor and more savory cooked product as connective tissue melts/ absorbs into meat. Roast should be 6 to 8 lbs, or so.

RUB (Pulled Pork)
6.0……TBS……Brown sugar
4.0……TBS……Ground cumin
4.0……TBS……Coarse salt
2.0……TBS……Black pepper
2.0……TBS……Chili powder
1.0……TBS……Cayenne pepper
1.0……tsp……Ground mace

Apply to roast liberally. If there is time, I prefer to place back in fridge for an hour or more to let the rub set/ absorb a bit, but that step is not absolutely necessary.

If grill/ smoker can maintain low heat, fire coals on sides of grill (or in smoker box) for indirect heating. You want to maintain about 210-225 F temp. As soon as coals come to heat, place over drip pan. Let cook for about an hour and then start adding wood chips (soaked for at least one hour) to the coals for smoke. Hickory is good but I actually prefer apple or pecan, if you can get it. Replenish coals and wood chips about every 45 minute to an hour. Natural charcoal leaves a better flavor, in my opinion, but it is a bit more finicky in terms of starting and maintaining. (Side note: I miss the days when I could get a truck load of natural charcoal from the kilns south of Jeff City on 63 – natural hardwood charcoal is very expensive out here.) Many people stop the smoke after about 5 hours, and for hickory, I agree, with a milder wood, I tend to smoke up until about the last hour or two.

You are aiming for an internal temp of 185 F on the meat. A thermometer is really good for this process since the heat on the grill/ smoker is likely to fluctuate a good bit. If using the thermometer, be sure to avoid the bone when testing (it will always be about 15-20 F lower in temp until the roast is overcooked. If you do not have a thermometer, this process (with a 7 lb., bone-in roast will take about 8 to 9 hours at 225 F. You really need a thermometer, though, as there are many variables that can affect cooking time.

If you use boneless, I am hesitant to give a time, just follow the thermometer.

For a hybrid oven/ grill approach, do the following. Start the roast in a 300 F oven. Make sure it is in a pan and on a rack (so it is not sitting in the juices that will render under it.) Roast for 3 hours and then move to grill (that is prepped/ ready) and grill/ smoke with soaked wood chips, once again, over indirect heat as specified above. In this case, definitely keep the smoke going for the rest of the cooking time. Depending on the time you have, you can either leave the temp a little higher (still at 300 F) or go down to 225 F. It will take about 2 +/- hours for a 7 lb., bone-in roast at the higher temp and about 4 +/- hours at the lower temp. But watch the thermometer. (This method generally will not be as “juicy” as the slow cook method, but is still very good.)

When meat comes off grill, place in a pan (I usually use a throw-away aluminum pan and tightly cover with foil for about 20 to 30 minutes, allowing the natural moisture to steam the meat some more. Uncover and either use your hands (after it has cooled enough) or use two forks to shred the meat and remove the bone.

I apply sauce to the meat, mixing it in the same aluminum pan.) You can re-cover with foil and hold the temp quite a while or bring it back to heat fairly easily in a 225 degree oven.

I prefer the South Caroline Mustard Sauce for pulled pork but often also sauce some of the meat with the KC-style sauce for those not fond of the mustard/ vinegar flavor.


In general, ribs take a little more experience in terms of knowing how the ribs should look, how the rack bends when nearing completion, the amount of shrinkage of the meat through fat rendering, etc. There is also the distinction between baby back ribs and spareribs. Here is my take.

I pull the ribs from refrigeration.

If they are spare ribs, I personally prefer to trim to a “St. Louis” style rib. To do that, you remove the skin flap (serve it early for snacks), trim the bottom of the ribs of the horizontal bones (leaving the ribs uniform for easy slicing), and peeling back the inner rib sheath (a membrane that can be removed from the inside of the ribs by grabbing it with a paper towel and firmly pulling.) Smoke penetration will be lessened if the membrane is not removed. [There are good videos on YouTube showing how to trim the ribs.] Once prepped, or if pre-prepped baby-back style, apply the rub.

Ribs Rub
3.0 TBS Paprika
1.5 TBS Dry mustard
1.0 TBS Seasoned salt
1.0 TBS Dark brown sugar
1.0 TBS Onion powder
1.0 TBS Garlic powder
1.0 TBS Ground basil
1.0 TBS Red pepper
0.5 TBS Black pepper
0.5 TBS Cumin

Be careful when applying the rub. Make sure you keep one hand clean for sprinkling the rub onto the meat and one hand “dirty” rubbing in the mixture on the ribs. You do not want to touch the mixture with the hand that touches raw meat or you will have to throw away and left-over mixture.

First, place the ribs meat side down and rub in a little bit of the mixture on the back side. Then turn the ribs over and liberally coat and rub in the mixture on the “meaty” part of the rack. Leave the ribs to come to room temp with the rub as you prep your grill/ smoker.

After the coals are hot and applied wood smoking, place ribs on the grill, meat side up. You will not turn the ribs over – you want the rub to crust over and the fat/ connective tissue to render through the ribs and drip below. (You want drip pans under the racks to catch the renderings.)

Keep the temp at 225 for about four hours (for either type ribs, in my experience.) At that time, remove from smoker and place over direct heat grill (low but direct heat.) Start brushing on the KC-style BBQ sauce every few minutes and then close the lid. Continue this process for about 30 minutes for baby-back ribs and 45 minutes for spare ribs. This coating of sauce builds up layers after layer of goodness with the heat scorching/ caramelizing sugars giving a great crust.

Slice and eat or hold in a 170 F oven, on a platter/ pan foiled over with some liquid in the bottom (beer/ marinade/ etc.) to keep ribs moist. Can hold a couple hours.

Grilled Chicken

If given the choice of chicken or pork at a BBQ, to be honest, I will take the pork every time. But in large crowds, I find having some chicken available is a plus. (And don’t get me wrong, it is tasty.)

If I am grilling chicken for a small gathering, I generally by whole birds and do both white and dark meat. You have to pay much more attention to white meat on the grill as it will dry out. When cooking for a large group, I almost only use leg quarters or separated thighs and drumsticks as the dark meat is much more forgiving in terms of cooking (and I think it tastes better.) You MUST leave the skin on to grill – if someone wants skinless, you can remove the skin for them after it is cooked, but it is impossible to keep moist without the skin.

Anyway, once your chicken is in pieces, place in a container and add kosher salt (1/3 lb per 4 lb. chicken pieces) and cover with water. Place in fridge and put something on the top to keep the chicken submerged (depending on container size/ shape, something like a plate or jelly-roll pan.) Brine the chicken for at least four hours or up to twelve hours. This will pull moisture, and some salt, into the meat and keep is plump and juicy when grilled.

Remove from brine and rinse thoroughly to remove salt from surface of chicken. You must then pat the chicken completely dry (use paper towels and discard – using kitchen towels is not good as those towels will be a breeding ground for some nasty bacteria if not cleaned immediately. Once chicken is completely dry, apply rub over entire chicken piece.

Chicken Rub
1.0 TBS Salt (use .5 if brined for 12 hours versus 4)
1.0 TBS Black pepper
1.0 TBS Paprika
0.5 TBS Dry mustard
0.5 TBS Ground sage
0.5 TBS Ground rosemary
0.5 EA Garlic powder
0.3 TBS Ground celery seed
1.0 TBS Lemon peel; grated

The chicken should come to room temp before going on the grill, but should not sit out longer than that. Generally, I put the time limit at 45 minutes. If you are going to grill more than 45 minutes after applying the rub, return to fridge and remove 45 minutes prior to grilling (or place in cooler if you are transporting to a tailgate.)

Bring your grill to high heat and wipe the grate with some canola oil to help avoid sticking. Place the chicken on the grill, skin side down, and cook for about 6 minutes. At this point, enough fat will be rendering out of the skin that you may be having some trouble controlling the fire. I then turn the chicken so the skin is up. This will cut down on the grease to the fire. Cook about 6 minutes. Turn back to skin side down to get the skin golden and finish the chicken. You can either slice some pieces to see if the juices running clear or use a thermometer to see if the chicken has reached an internal temp of 170F. Remove from heat. Some people will want to add BBQ sauce and some won’t. I personally prefer the chicken just simply grilled with crispy skin and no sauce.

You can, of course, smoke chicken, but I am not consistent enough with the process to feel comfortable giving a recipe.

BBQ Brisket

You want a brisket that has 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch cover of fat on the top side (butcher should trim to this thickness or you ca do it your self.) Do not be tempted to have less or no fat cap – the fat melts through the meat while cooking and provides much needed moisture.

A good rule of thumb is that you need to cook a brisket one hour for each pound at a temp of 220F. I generally like to place a pan of water under the brisket in the smoker to aid in temperature regulation and to help keep the meat moist.

12 ounces beer
6 ounces water
4 ounces Worcestershire sauce
4 ounces vegetable oil
2 tablespoon kosher salt

Mix thoroughly, place brisket in extra large Ziploc bag. Add marinade. Seal bag removing all air. Place bag into container into fridge and flip over to redistribute marinade every couple hours. Marinade a day (up to 2 days) if possible.)


3 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons black pepper

Remove brisket from marinade and let air dry on a wire cooling rack. Once completely dry, apply rub (really work it in on all sides.) Let meat rest until it comes to room temperature (about 1 hour per 8 lb. of meat.)


A mop is liquid that is used to baste the meat as it cooks. This should be enough for an 8 lb. brisket but you may want to double if your brisket is larger.

12 ounces beer
4 tablespoons of cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon of Frank's Red Hot Sauce or
1 ½ teaspoon Tabasco sauce (omit hot sauce if using habaneras)
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 crushed cloves of garlic
1 medium to large chopped onion (large pieces)
FOR THE BRAVE – one or two habaneras crushed to allow the marinade to extract flavor but not minced/ chopped.
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Add all liquids except oil. Add crushed garlic and diced onions (and optional peppers.) Mix thoroughly. Add the oil. Let mop rest overnight in the fridge to allow time for flavors of garlic/ onions/ pepper to be extracted into the liquid. You add the small amount of salt (even though the rub has a large amount of salt) to aid in the flavor extraction of the garlic/ onion/ pepper.) You don’t add the oil until the last step because if you add earlier, it will coat the vegetables and slow down flavor extraction.

For apply the mop, the name suggests a floppy mop brush. If you use that method, you want to be careful to not knock too much of the rub off. I prefer to use a spray bottle. As long as you leave the garlic, onion, and peppers in large pieces, it shouldn’t clop the spray mechanism.

Cooking the brisket

Place the brisket with rub applied into the smoker. DO not apply mop at this time. Every hour or so (I usually do this when stoking fire/ adding wood) liberally mop/ spray the brisket with the mop mixture. Turn the brisket every two hours. After 6 hours, smoke penetration is complete, in my experience. At that time, you can continue smoking or can move into an oven. In either case, I foil-wrap the brisket at this point (usually placing the brisket in a throw-away aluminum pan covering with aluminum foil.) I place the remainder of the mop into the pan before sealing. Continue in the smoker (you don’t need smoke though – can just be charcoal) or place in a 220F oven for several hours, once again a total cooking time of approximately 1 hour per lb. When the internal temp hits 190F, remove from heat, leaving sealed, and let rest for 30 to 45 minutes.

If the brisket is whole (started at about 14 to 16 lbs) you will want to cut in two (separate at the lobes.) ALWAYS slice across the grain and only slice as much as you plan to eat (well, slice a little more because people will eat more of this brisket than average!) I liked to pour some of the retained juice from the roasting pan over the sliced brisket, as well.

I prefer the brisket without any other sauce, but your guests may expect BBQ sauce. I used to try to “suggest” that my preference was the best way to eat it, but long ago gave up and put out some sauce on the side.


South Caroline Mustard Sauce

I prefer a South Caroline Mustard sauce for the pulled pork, but will also include a good Memphis sauce and KC style sauce here for completeness.

0.75……CUP……Prepared mustard
0.50……CUP……Red wine vinegar
0.25……CUP……Apple cider vinegar
0.25……CUP……Granulated sugar
3……………TBS……Butter, melted
1.5………tsp……Worcestershire sauce
1.5………tsp……Black pepper
0.5………tsp……Red pepper sauce

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a saucepan. Bring to simmer and simmer for about 6 minutes. Cool. Will keep in fridge about two weeks.

Memphis-style Sauce

I generally use this on ribs only, but it can obviously be used anywhere.

0.25…CUP……Onion, finely chopped
0.25…CUP……Chili sauce
3…………TBS……Brown sugar
2…………TBS……Prepared yellow mustard
1…………TBS……Lemon juice
1…………TBS……Worcestershire sauce
1…………TBS……Liquid hickory smoke
1…………tsp……Chili powder
0.5……tsp……Garlic powder
0.5……tsp……Black pepper
DASH………………Cayenne (to taste)

Sauté onion in butter until translucent. Add brown sugar and molasses; simmer about 5 additional minutes. Add all DRY ingredients and whisk thoroughly to combine. Add all wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes on low heat. Add a little water (or additional vinegar if you like vinegar) to thin to desired consistency and cook about another five minutes.


KC style sauce

This is my best sauce and has been refined over 20 years of tinkering by me (and came from a man in New Madrid, MO originally that did all the BBQ’ing for my Mom’s family over the years.) It isn’t my favorite for pulled pork, but is great for ribs, pork steak, burnt ends, and even chicken. (When bbq’ing these items, this sauce is only to be applied at the very end of the process as the high sugar content will burn if applied earlier.)

0.5……LB………Brown sugar
6…………OZ………Cider vinegar
4…………OZ………Wet mustard
4…………TBS……Onion flakes
3…………TBS……Chili powder
1.5……TBS……Garlic powder
2…………tsp……Cayenne pepper
2……….tsp……Black pepper
TO TASTE……Hot sauce

Cut bacon into small (1/2 inch) pieces and render in large stock pot. Remove bacon bits (being careful to cook to “near crisp” and not scorch the bits or the rendered fat.

Turn heat to medium high, and just when about to smoke, add the ketchup (quickly) whisking the whole time vigorously (to avoid splattering.) With vigorous whisking the ketchup will absorb the rendered fat and the intense cooking of the ketchup will impart a really good flavor in the finished sauce. Add all DRY ingredients except salt and cook over moderately high heat for about ten minutes (still whisking to avoid splatters.) Once again, the high cooking temp will help volatilize the essential oils of the dry spices and give a better flavor. I strongly recommend using the onion flakes (as compared to powder) as the texture is good and the flakes rehydrate with the sauce and have a great flavor. At this point, add back the bacon. You can leave it as chunky as you like, but I prefer to run through mini food processor to make it almost a gummy powder.

Add all wet ingredients and turn heat to low. Vigorously stir to combine and cook on lowest setting for about two hours, at a minimum (can go all day, if you have time.) You will need to stir bottom to top every half hour or so to avoid burning on the bottom of the pot. A heavy bottomed pot is best and enameled cast iron is the best to avoid scorching.) I generally serve this sauce VERY thick and slop it on at the end. If you want to thin it, I suggest water and vinegar near the end, but would make sure to cook it a while to make sure it doesn’t come across as watery. The salt is to taste because the salt content of bacon is so variable. Hot sauce is also to taste. Though I love hot stuff, I tend to prefer this sauce with a lower heat level.

This sauce, because of the fat content, needs to be stored in glass containers or in throwaway plastic (it will leach into Rubbermaid/ ziplock container and leave a flavor to any subsequently stored food items.) The sauce can be stored for a couple months, as long as all the air is out of the container. I generally make a very large batch at the beginning of the summer and store in used cottage cheese containers. For any container that isn’t full, just place plastic wrap on top of the sauce to keep the air away from the sauce.

Grilled Shrimp Appetizer

This is a simple and quick appetizer for the grill that can be done before the main course goes onto the heat.

2 lb. large to extra large shell-on shrimp (large enough to not fall through grill grate)
1 (or more) finely mined jalapeno pepper
1 finely minced shallot
3 cloves finely minced garlic
2 tablespoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

At home, prep shrimp by slitting the top of the shell to remove the digestive track (many store sell the shrimp prepped to this point.) Do not peel the shrimp, just slit the top and remove vein. Put shrimp into gallon Ziploc bag and keep cold.

In a jar or container (I use a throw-away used cottage cheese container) add water, sugar, seasoned salt, minced garlic, minced shallot, minced jalapeno (chop whole pepper for more heat or remove seeds and inner membrane for less heat.) Put in cooler/ fridge.

At tailgate, shake up liquid and add to shrimp bag and brine/ marinate for 30 minutes to no more than an hour. The salinity of the salt will pull flavor in, but will also pull a fair amount of salt in – more than an hour will result in shrimp that are too salty. The brining will pull a lot of moisture in, as well.

When grill is extremely hot, open the bag and drain liquid. Just open the bag a little and drain slowly; you want to keep all the minced aromatics with the shrimp. Squeeze out all water. Add oil and add Old Bay and shake to coat.

Put shrimp onto the grill. You don’t need to fuss with them much, but in general, you want them to lay flat on the grill. After a couple minutes, turn over with tongs. If the grill is hot enough, total cooking time is about 2 minutes per side.

Remove from grill and take bets on who burns their mouth due to being too impatient to let them cool. The shell dries out during grilling, so peeling isn’t too messy, but the shrimp stay very flavorful and plump due to the marinade.

VARIATION – If you don’t want to deal with mincing the shallots, jalapeno, and garlic, you can make the brine with just the sugar, salt, and water and then add 2 teaspoons each or onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper at the same time as the Old Bay. You overseason as most of the spice doesn’t have time to migrate into the shell too much during the short cooking time. Be warned that your fingers will be quite hot, in a spicy sense, from the cayenne.

Corn on the Cob

The best way to cook sweet corn until watching ‘Tyler’s Ultimate” on the Food Network sometime during the past year.

12 ears sweet corn, husk still completely intact, exterior washed and clean

You do NOT want to peel back husks to remove silks. Leave the ears “sealed.” You do want to take extra precaution against corn ear worms as the tip of the ears, so feel the ends and select ears that are plump and solid at the tips.

Place ears onto hot grill and close lid. You are going for an oven type even temp rather than a grilling method. The ears need an equivalent of 30 minutes at 350F. If you have to stack due to grill grate space limitations, rotate top to bottom at about 20 minutes and extend cooking time to 40 minutes. Even if they aren’t stacked you will want to rotate as they can scorch a bit through the husks.

The corn will be very hot and the inner husks and silks will provide the moisture to steam the corn while cooking. To serve, peel back the husks, but do not remove them. When you get to the last layers, be careful to not disturb the silks. Once husks are peeled, grab the silks at the top firmly and gently tug side to side a few times; all the silks will release and will come off in one bunch with no stragglers (it really works.) Take the husks that are peeled back but still attached to the bottom of the ear and roll them around and around tightly to form a “handle” and secure with a thick rubber band. Your guests can now eat their corn without getting their hands messy.

Offer butter, salt, and pepper, or alternatively you can make and serve my “Lime, garlic, parmesan, and chili butter for the corn.

(If by chance you peel back an ear of corn and find some earworm damage just cut out the affected part and take a wet paper towel and wipe of the ear – the worm/ gunk isn’t dangerous to eat, just unsightly.)

Lime, Garlic, and Parmesan Chile Butter for Sweet Corn
Garlic x 1 head
Fresh squeezed lime juice x 3 limes
Finely grated parmesan cheese x 2 ounces by weight (about 1/2 cup)
Unsalted butter x 1/2 cup (1 stick)
Olive oil x 3 tablespoons
Chile powder x 2 teaspoons
Salt x 1 1/2 teaspoons (can use salted butter and adjust salt, but salt levels in butter is variable, so you will have to taste and as good as this condiment is on corn, eating it raw is a little overwhelming)
Black pepper x 1/2 teaspoon
Hot sauce to taste (I use about 6 dashes of Tabasco Chipotle)

Set out butter to warm to room temp.

Peel loose paper and cut top of head of garlic off so that when you look down on the garlic, you see the individual cloves with the top tip exposed. Place garlic head on foil sheet, add olive oil and crimp foil to form airtight seal. Place in oven proof container and roast at 300F in oven for one hour. Remove and let cool.

In a throwaway or reusable container, add butter. Squeeze the garlic head contents into the bowl. The garlic will be the consistency of toothpaste. Be aggressive to get all the garlic and oil adhering to the garlic into the bowl and dump the rest of the olive oil from the foil into the bowl, as well. Add all the other ingredients and thoroughly mix into a homogenous spread. You might want to add a little more olive oil to make it more spreadable.

To serve, I either make sure it is warmed up enough to use a pastry brush or even better, will take a French baguette, cut the top off of the baguette (reserve), and liberally apply the mixture to the top of the bottom piece. People can then “roll” the ear on top of the bread to apply the butter without having to spread it and the warm corn will cause the extra butter to seep into the bread. When everyone is done buttering the corn, place the top of the baguette back on the bread, secure the halves together with some toothpicks, and throw the bread on the grill to warm/ brown a bit and you have redneck bruschetta and can slice pieces for everyone as a little snack.

Traditional Potato Salad

It is completely OK to decide to just buy potato salad at your favorite store/ deli. I do it quite often when I don’t have the time to make it. But I do like this recipe. This is a big recipe, so feel free to make a portion and just scale the ingredients. I always make this at least one day prior to eating so the flavors have a chance develop.

6 pounds potatoes, Yukon gold (preferred) or red - you need a waxy/ semi-waxy potato – do NOT use russets - cooked until just tender, cubed, cooled
12 hard cooked eggs, cooled, coarsely chopped
1 cup chopped red onion
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced on bias
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup fennel bulb (optional – some people find the flavor a little strong) chopped
3/4 cup sweet pickle relish
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh dill fronds (or 2 teaspoon dry dill fronds)
1 tablespoon finely minced fennel frond (only if using fennel bulb)
1 teaspoon dried mustard (tossed with potatoes)
2 teaspoons salt and then adjust to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper and then adjust to taste

1 1/2 cup mayonnaise (more or less, as desired)
4 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Paprika or Italian parsley for garnish

The hardboiled eggs should be made ahead of time as their cooking and cooling time is longer than the potato prep time. Place eggs in a single layer in a large pot, cover with COLD water by at least 1 inch over the tops of the eggs. Place on stove and bring to a boil on high heat. Cover, turn off burner, and let sit for 20 minutes. Drain water, run cold water over eggs in pot to cool for a minute or two. Drain again and add enough water and ice to cover and let stand for 15 minutes until thoroughly cool. Either add to potato salad if you are at that point, or place eggs in the fridge. (Note: the horror stories of salads at picnics causing food poisoning more often than not come from improperly handled eggs rather than the notorious mayonnaise. Commercial mayo is always made with pasteurized eggs so as long as the mayo has been kept cold since being opened, it is safe. If you make homemade mayo with raw eggs, that can be an issue. The act of boiling the eggs will kill salmonella, but then leaving the eggs out at room temp (or peeling warm and adding to the salad), especially after peeling, gives fertile ground for the bacteria to grow again. Keep eggs cold. Enough on that subject.) The method of cooking the eggs I have described seems to me to produce the brightest egg yolks that never get dark.

Wash the potatoes thoroughly, but do not peel. If you peel before boiling, the potatoes will get “furry” on the surface and the potato salad will be mushy. In general, though it is more work in peeling, you want small to medium potatoes that are uniform in size so that they will cook through in the same time without having undercooked centers. Place potatoes in a large pot with enough COLD water to cover and add a couple tablespoons of salt. Some salt will be absorbed in the cooking process and will make the final product taste better. Place on high heat, bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Cook until the “al dente” side of fork tender. You want to be able to push a fork in but still have some resistance. The potatoes will continue to cook some when remove from the hot water. The simmering will take about 15 minutes, but you have to check with the fork as water temp and potato size make the process variable.

While the potatoes are cooking, dice the red onion into small pieces. Dice the celery into small pieces (I will split the celery stalks if too big and then like to slice thin on the bias.) Slice the green onions thinly on the bias and use all green to the point it becomes dry. Finely dice the fennel bulb, if using. Coarsely chop the parsley, reserving some for garnish, if so desired, and finely mince the dill and fennel fronds, if using.

Remove the potatoes and set onto cutting board. You can opt to leave skin on for a “rustic” potato salad, but I actually prefer to peel as the exposed sides absorb flavors more than if the skin is left on. If I want the rustic look, I will leave skin on a couple red potatoes for color and peel the rest. You need to peel the potatoes when they are still as hot as you can possibly handle. The warm potato will absorb flavors, the cold potato will return to a waxy state and will not absorb. My preferred method is to take a clean cloth kitchen towel to hold the potato and act as a heat pad and peel potatoes with a paring knife. Peeling hot also means the skin will come of in large pieces quite easily. You can use a potato peeler, but it will clog frequently and need to be cleaned. Peel all the potatoes but do NOT cut into chunks until all potatoes are peeled.

When all potatoes are peeled, cut into uniform chunks and place in an oversized bowl. You wait to cut until all are peeled to keep as much heat in the potatoes as possible – the warmer potato, the better flavor absorption. Sprinkle potatoes with dry mustard, dry dill weed (if using), and initial salt and pepper and gently toss. Add all vegetables and relish. Dice eggs and add to mixture. Add mayo, wet mustard, and vinegar. Mix thoroughly but gently with a rubber spatula. Transfer to Rubbermaid-type container and keep cold in refrigerator. Add garnish to top of salad at time of serving (or before transferring to cooler for tailgate.)

Warm German-Style Potato Salad

This is a good alternative if you have a way to bring to the tailgate hot. It is fine if it cools down to warm room temp by serving time (75F) but it will taste awful if the temp is much below that as the bacon drippings congeal. This great warm at a cold tailgate, but if I am not absolutely sure I can keep it warm; I go with the traditional potato salad.

6 pounds small red-potatoes
1lbs. bacon, thin slice, cut cross-wise into 1/4-inch strips and separated
2 large onions, sliced like for a burger then quartered for small strips
4 tablespoons bacon drippings (from rendering bacon)
1 tablespoon sugar/ Splenda
6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon ground sage
2 bay leaves (optional) – don’t buy them if you don’t normally cook with them
Bunch chopped fresh parsley leaves
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley leaves

In a large pot combine potatoes with salted COLD water to cover by 1 inch and bring to a boil and reduce to simmer about 15 minutes, until fork tender. While potatoes are cooking, in a large heavy skillet cook bacon over low to moderate heat, stirring, until browned and near crisp and transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons fat from skillet and sauté onion over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sugar, vinegar, and broth and simmer 2 minutes. Keep at low heat on stove while prepping potatoes.

Drain potatoes and let stand until cool enough to handle (but you want as hot as possible.) Half potatoes if larger than bite size potatoes then cut into slices and add potatoes and bacon to onion mixture on stove and toss. If serving at home, serve immediately, if taking to tailgate, bring to very high temp, turn off and load into heat-proof container (I prefer throwaway aluminum as they stack and cleanup is easy.)

You can serve the potato salad warm or at room temperature. You can reheat on grill, but if you so that, you will need to chill then reheat and it will take quite a while. See notes at end of recipes for tips on bringing hot items to the tailgate.


This is also a large recipe and can be scaled. My preferred prep method for the vegetables is to use the grater attachment on the Cuisine-art. It makes very fine coleslaw, so if you like it to be thicker, use a box grater. I also make this coleslaw at least one day ahead to let flavors meld.

1 small green cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds) grated
1 small red cabbage (about 1 1/4 pounds) grated
2 large sweet onions, grated
4 large carrots, peeled then grated
1 medium green bell pepper, grated
1 medium red bell pepper, grated
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and ribs removed, grated

1 cup apple cider vinegar
12 tablespoons sugar (or Splenda)
12 tablespoons vegetable oil
5 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon celery seeds

2 teaspoons salt and then to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper and then to taste

Grate all vegetables and combine in oversized bowl. Toss in salt and mix thoroughly. Put mixture into colander in sink, place a plate over the top of the mixture and weigh down with as much weight as you can. You want to get as much moisture out of the grated vegetables as possible; the salt helps. You will be amazed at how much water will come out. Drain for at least a couple hours then return mixture to oversized bowl.

In a saucepan, add oil and heat over medium heat. Add celery seed and sauté a minute. Add vinegar and sugar; whisk thoroughly to combine and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat. Whisk in mustard powder and black pepper. Cool completely.

Pour mixture over cabbage mixture and toss thoroughly. Salt to taste. Transfer to a Rubbermaid-type container and place in fridge. Shake container every few hours, three or four times. Taste again and add salt and pepper, if needed.

Macaroni and Cheese

Everyone loves this recipe except my three year old daughter who much prefers “the kind in the blue box.” One of the keys to successful parenthood is to never take anything your kid says personally.

Instead of doing the onion rings, you can opt for buttered bread crumbs or maybe Durkee fried onions to top, but give this a try at some time. It is really good.

1.5 pound elbow macaroni
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoon powdered mustard
6 cups milk, whole preferred
2 whole sweet onions made into thin onion rings for filling
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons paprika
2 large eggs
16 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
8 ounces Gruyere cheese (can find in cheese shop/ large grocery – great melting cheese)
4 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoon salt

1 large sweet onions made into thin onion rings for topping

Make the onion rings (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta to al dente. (this is the one case that I add about a teaspoon of oil to the water as I don’t want the elbow macaroni to stick together much when draining.) While the pasta is cooking, in a separate pot, melt the butter. Whisk in the flour and keep it moving for about five minutes with heat on low. You want a blonde roux/ béchamel base Make sure it's free of lumps. Whisk in the milk and add the bay leaves (make sure to count the bay leaves so you get them all out later – they are a terrible chocking hazard.) Simmer for ten minutes whisking almost constantly and remove the bay leaves. Add the paprika, mustard, salt, black and cayenne peppers, garlic and onion powder, and nutmeg (fresh grated is the best). Whisk toroghly. Temper in the eggs by whisking in a small bowl, adding about 1/2 cup hot roux, stirring briskly and then adding contents of bowl back to rest of milk mixture, whisking briskly while combining – you need to do it this way to avoid scrambling the eggs. Stir in 2/3 of the cheddar cheese and all of the Gruyere. Fold the macaroni into the mix and pour ½ of mixture into large casserole dish, add 2/3 of the fried onion rings, and then add the remaining macaroni mix. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese and onion rings.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for five minutes before serving.

For a tailgate, I make this in throwaway aluminum pans and seal top with foil when coming out of oven and place in warming container/ cooler. If you use the throwaway aluminum 1/2 steamer pans a lot, I highly recommend buying the heavy duty lids (you can get at Sam’s/ Costco/ etc. they crimp on the pans really well an provide much better structure and seal for stacking in your hotbox.

Onion Rings

For this recipe, you want very thin onion rings so they can be cut through in the mac and cheese easily; this is also a good recipe for regular onion rings but just cut the onions thicker. I also generally use a dark beer instead of milk for regular onion rings but find the beer flavor off-putting in the mac and cheese.

3 whole onions thin sliced on mandolin (or with knife.) Slice ahead of time, separate, and allow to air dry. If I have my act together, I do this the day before and let air dry in fridge.

3 eggs whisked plus 1 cup milk
3/4 cup white flour
3/4 cup rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar or Splenda
2 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoon salt
Oil for deep frying at 375 degrees F

Whisk eggs and milk, place in large bowl. Set aside. Thoroughly mix dry ingredients and place in a large Ziploc bag. Toss the separated onion rings in the dry mixture and reserve on a cookie sheet. Dredge coated rings through the egg mixture and shake back through the dry mixture again and fry, being careful to not fry too many at one time in order to keep the heat of the oil up. Drain thoroughly and reserve for use in the mac and cheese.

Baked Beans

I love baked beans and every time I make them, I wonder why I don’t make them more often. I prefer to use some of my homemade KC-style BBQ sauce as a flavoring base, but will give some options in case you don’t have any on hand.

1/2 gallon Bush’s regular or your favorite Pork and Beans, beans only but reserve “juice” from can
1/2 lb. bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, diced
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 table spoon Worcestershire sauce
4 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 cup KC-style BBQ sauce or
¾ cup ketchup
1 additional tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 additional tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon

Mix all ingredients, including the bacon (you want it in separate small pieces evenly distributed throughout beans.) Adjust the liquid content by adding reserved “juice” from the beans until the consistency is loose but not watery. Baking will dry them out a bit, but not too much.

Cover pans loosely with foil and place into 275F oven for 1 hour. Turn oven up to 350F, remove foil, and bake for another hour. Remove, foil tightly, and place into warm box to bring to tailgate. You can also bring these to temp at the tailgate on the warming rack above the grill, if your grill is equipped with one. Placing the aluminum pan directly on the grill generally doesn’t work well as the sugar content will cause the beans on the bottom of the pan to scorch. To be honest, I don’t mind these at room temp, but then again, I really like beans.

Vegetable Skewers

These are basic and nothing is too fancy, but they are good and provide a little bit of vegetable goodness to the grill.

6 throwaway pairs Chinese chopsticks (like you get with take-out) makes 12 skewers
24 pearl onions
12 small to medium uniform white button mushrooms
12 small to medium uniform crimini mushrooms
12 firm (not too ripe) red cherry tomatoes
1 small green bell pepper, same size as other peppers
1 small yellow bell pepper, same size as other peppers
1 small orange bell pepper, same size as other peppers
3 small, uniform zucchini squashes
12 fresh pineapple chunks

6 tablespoons olive oil (good quality but doesn’t have to be extra-virgin)
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and roughly chopped to release essential oils
(Alternatively 2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves chopped)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Split chopsticks and soak at least 4 hours in water. (These skewers can be reused since they are more substantial than the thin throwaway type.) I favor using chopsticks because the profile isn’t round, so when you skewer the vegetables, the veggies don’t rotate, then tear, then fall off. Also the ends aren’t sharp, so you can marinate them in an extra-large Ziploc bag without fear of puncturing the bag and causing a mess.

Mix all non-vegetable ingredients together and let stand for at least 30 minutes to rehydrate the dried herbs.

Peel pearl onions making sure to leave the root end intact but you can trim the fuzzy roots) so they don’t fall apart. Wash thoroughly (especially the root end.) Clean the mushrooms and trim the stem until it is no longer woody or dry. (If the mushrooms are all the same size, you will find that once you establish the correct amount of stem to leave on one mushroom, chances are all will need to be trimmed the same amount.) Prepare the bell peppers by slicing into quarters along the longitude. Clean stems, ribs, and seeds and cut each quarter into threes, for a total of 12 pieces per pepper. With the zucchini, if you want to get fancy, use a potato peeler to remove thin strips of the skin longitudinally leaving a striped pattern. Then trim ends and cut into 4 uniform pieces each for a total of 12 pieces. Prep pineapple chunks, if using. I have had no luck with canned pineapple as it falls apart.

Arrange the vegetables and pineapple on the skewers in any pattern you want. I suggest the following: Make the first and last item a pearl onion as they will fit snugly on the skewer but make sure to pierce the onions along the “equator” and not through the “poles.” This piercing location will help keep the onions from rotating and will keep the root end intact so the onion doesn’t fall apart. For the tomatoes, skewer through the “poles”; in this case, the stem will provide more holding power. For mushrooms, skewer through the equator of the head. The zucchini should be skewered through the equator for better holding and to get grill marks on the white flesh. Alternate peppers and other items for best color effect.

Place the prepped skewers into an extra-large Ziploc bag and then add the marinade. Press all the air out, seal, and rotate several times to distribute the marinade. Place in fridge or cooler. Turn over and redistribute the marinade every hour or so for 4 or 5 times. Marinate for at least 6 hours or preferably overnight. I also add two or three intact rosemary sprigs to the bag.

On a hot grill, arrange the skewers with some space between them. Toss the sprigs of rosemary down directly on the coals for some great smoky fragrance. I prefer some color on my grilled vegetables, but cook and rotate them to your preference. Any marinade left in the bag can be brushed over the skewers while they are cooking.

Transporting hot items to the tailgate
A cooler can also be a hot box. Same principle – air is the ultimate insulator so the air between the inner and outer sides of the cooler does the work. You need to make sure the cooler is immaculately clean and disinfected (mix one tablespoon bleach per gallon of water and clean cooler after use. Apply with spray bottle and let sit for a couple minutes and then rinse thoroughly with water and dry with PAPER towels. (It is a good idea to sanitize all surfaces in the kitchen in the same manner once a week. Cutting boards should also be cleaned.)

Place an old bathroom towel on the bottom of the cooler, leaving edges such that you can fold over the top (similar to lining a picnic basket with a cloth.) Have several unglazed bricks (they are handy to have around the kitchen – will give some other uses in future recipes) and have them heated in your oven. You want them as hot as possible, but generally will be limited by what you are baking to bring along – if your beans come out at 350F, don’t leave them out while increasing the oven temp to 550F for half an hour – just get all items in the cooler.) If you have two ovens, heat the bricks to 550F for 30 minutes. Place bricks in cooler on top of bottom towel then fold towels over bricks. Add hot items (you can stack items, just make sure to keep everything tight and I use stiff cardboard between items, especially if they are in throwaway aluminum pans, for extra structural support. Pack any empty space with old towels. In general, if your hot items are placed into the cooler at 300F with hot bricks, they should stay hot for up to 6 hours (or more if it is a very good cooler.) Do not open until ready to eat. Peeking to check temp will decrease hot time by up to 30 minutes each time it is opened.


This dish has North African roots and is great on the grill. Prep is done the day before and grilling only takes a few minutes. It isn’t typical tailgate grilling, for sure, but the aroma is great and your tailgaters will love it.

Prepare the leg of lamb at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours in advance. My preferred source of leg of lamb is Costco or Sam’s Club. Get it butterflied and trussed. You can of course butterfly the leg yourself, but in my experience, the pre-packaged offerings, even if from a megamart, are really good these days.

The underpinnings for this recipe come from Julia Child’s “Cooking with Master Chefs” with several modifications.

For the wet marinade
1 medium onion, cut into pieces (or three large shallots)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery tops (regular celery if tops not available)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled
Juice of 6 limes
Zest of 6 limes
1/2 cup olive oil
1 large bunch cilantro, stems and leaves, coarsely chopped

Dry spices
2 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons turmeric (need this one, imo)
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves (don’t buy if not on hand)
1 teaspoon dried mint leaves (don’t buy if not on hand – if fresh, double)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

One 5 to 6-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied, fat (leave a little) and sinew trimmed

Coarsely chop all marinade items and place in food processor. For lime zest, use a rasp (easiest) or potato peeler/ zester to remove skin of limes. If using zester or peeler, finely mince before adding to food processor as processor won’t generally chop the peel fine enough on its own. Process until a mostly smooth paste and then add all dry spices and process until completely smooth and mixed. (Note: cilantro is an herb in which the stems are as edible and tasty as the leaves, though sometimes people don’t like the mouth-feel of stems. In this recipe, since you are processing, use everything.)

Place lamb in large re-sealable plastic bag (make sure to un-truss and have meat flat so that marinade can come in contact with all surfaces.) Pour spice marinade over lamb; seal bag. Turn bag several times and rub spice mixture into lamb. Refrigerate overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Remove lamb from marinade; shake off excess. Grill lamb to desired doneness or until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 125°F to 130°F, for medium-rare about 15 minutes per side. Transfer lamb to cutting board. Cover with foil and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. I really like a bit of char on this lamb, so don’t be afraid to get some color on the outside.

For a tailgate, I generally either cut into kebob-sized chunks so people can eat with a fork from a plate or, preferred, sliced thinly (1/4 inch) across grain and let people eat on a folded soft pita (somewhat like a gyro) or even on a hotdog roll. If the lamb isn’t overcooked, I don’t think you need any kind of sauce, but it might be a good idea to have a yogurt sauce on the side as we all know tailgating timelines sometimes cause food to be a little overdone or dry.

Yogurt Sauce
2 cups plain, whole milk yogurt
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, pulverized
Leaves of a few sprigs of cilantro
Juice of one lime

A good method for preparing the cucumber is to peel, slice in half length-wise, and then use a teaspoon to strip out the seeds, similar to removing the seeds from a canteloupe. Cut the cucumber in thin strips and then slice into small dice. Peel garlic and smash with broad side of knife and finely mince. Chop the leaves of some cilantro (reserve some from the marinade). Juice the lime. Thoroughly mix all ingredients and add a little water if you wish to thin the sauce.


5 lb. ground CHUCK (80% lean)
4 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage, mild (or other favorite sausage)
6 lb. sirloin or chuck roast (sirloin if good marbling/ fat content, otherwise go with chuck)

Diced tomatoes x 128 ounces in can(s)
Dark kidney beans x 64 ounces in can(s)
Light kidney beans x 64 ounces can(s)
Or total kidney beans x 128 ounces in can(s)
Green bell peppers x 8 large, rough chop (seeds removed)
Italian peppers x 8, fine chop (seeds removed)
Jalapeno peppers x 6, fine dice (seeds and membrane used)
Onions x 6 large yellow (preferred) or white, rough chop
Garlic x 3 heads, 2 oven-roasted w/ olive oil in foil then squeezed in, one raw fine diced

Spice mixture
Salt x 4 tbs.
Chili powder x 3 tbs
Cumin x 2 tbs.
Paprika x 2 tbs.
Garlic powder x 1 tbs.
Black pepper x 1 tbs.
Thyme (dried) x 1 tbs.
Cayenne pepper x 1 ½ tsp
Oregano (dried) x 2 tsp.
Cilantro (dried) x 1 tsp. (optional)
Turmeric powder x 1 tsp.

Hot sauce (I use sparingly to keep flavor mild)
Tabasco regular to taste
Tabasco chipotle to taste (if you like the flavor)
Frank’s hot sauce to taste

Water or beef broth, as needed (I will use beef broth if I have homemade around but usually do not buy canned broth – in that case I will use water. This is strictly to have the final consistency of the chili as you prefer. Remember, you need to re-season after adding any liquid but give it at least 15 minutes of cooking before tasting and seasoning. In general, I like chili fairly meaty and think but will loosen it up a bit if I am serving chili-mac.

Hot chili salsa
Fritos (no chili is complete without the option of a few Fritos tossed in, imo.)
Saltine or oyster crackers, for those that don’t like Fritos)
Sour cream
Grated cheddar
Chopped sweet onion
Macaroni to stretch it as ChiliMac (if desired)

(You can actually do all this in one large pot or break out the cooking of the meat into skillets to make the preparation quicker. I recommend one pot, if you have them time, as the caramelized meat scrapings from browning the meat will be captured in the final product.)

Note on browning meat: In general, with the cuts of meat specified and the fat content of the hamburger at 20%, you should not need any additional fat/ oil in the pot or skillet to brown the meat. The purpose of this browning is more for flavor than cooking – the meat cooks for hours within the chili, but the browning step adds a lot of flavor. To that end, you need to make sure that the skillet or pot is NOT overcrowded during browning. During cooking, the meat will release water (the USDA allows them to inject up to 15% water into the meat, depending on the cut and grade.) If you crowd the pan, you will in essence be “steaming” the meat instead of browning it. Cook all the meat in small batches quickly on high heat, looking for uniform brown caramelization, Reserve all the meat to add back after the vegetables are sautéed. To prepare the pot, you want to retain any rendered fat to use for browning the vegetables, but you do not want there to be watery liquid (cooked out of the meat.) The best way to ensure that only fat is left is to keep the pot on heat until all the water is driven off and only fat remains.

Brown hamburger and sausage. Drain and set aside.

Sliced beef into approximately ½ inch cubes and quickly sauté over high heat to form a good sear/ caramelization. Drain and set aside

Dice onion and green pepper into ½ inch pieces. Finely dice Italian, jalapeno peppers, and one head of raw garlic.

Peel loose paper off garlic and sliced top of two garlic heads with serrated knife so that the head is still intact with the tips of the individual garlic cloves exposed by the cut. (Looking down from the top will remind you of a lemon cut across the “equator” with all the segments exposed at the cut.) Pour a little olive oil over the garlic heads and wrap in an air-tight pouch with aluminum foil and place into an oven-safe skillet at 300 F for 1 hour. This can be done when starting the recipe – the timing of adding the garlic back to the chili isn’t critical. Once all the meat, vegetables and initial seasoning has been added to the chili, and after the garlic has cooled to room temperature, open the foil and grab a head of garlic like you would ½ lemon and squeeze into the chili. All of the garlic will be soft and squeeze out much like butter. Stir thoroughly into the chili.

In the large pot (in which the chili will cook until done), using a small amount of neutral (not olive) oil (such as canola), sauté the onion, pepper, and Italian/ jalapeno peppers/ garlic until slightly browned. The total amount of fat (rendered drippings plus canola oil) should be about ½ cup. This seems like a lot, but there is a lot of vegetable in the pot. You can ladle off any extra rendered fat later in the cooking process when it will rise to the top of the chili in the pot. Add the tomatoes and all the reserved meat. Let simmer for about 30 minutes with no spices added.

Meanwhile, combine all the dry spices listed (I actually recommend doing about twice the amount needed and keeping it as your “Chili mix” that can be used in other cooking or for making quick smaller batches later – just keep airtight.) Mix all spices so they form a homogenous mixture.

Add about ½ the total amount of spice called for in the recipe and let it simmer for another hour (very low simmer.) Stir often enough to prevent scorching on the bottom. At this point you want to taste the chili and then begin to add more spices and bottle hot sauce to taste. You need to increase in small amounts (you can always add more but can’t go back) and you need to let it cook at least 15 minutes between tasting/ additions – the character will change. At this time you can also add the beans, if you prefer your chili to be thicker (with the beans breaking down some.) Otherwise, add the beans for about the last 1 hour of cooking for a firmer bean. You do need to check for seasoning one more time after the beans are added. Taste, taste, taste. In my experience, you will end up cooking the chili for a minimum of 6 hours and up to 10. It is best to not let the chili get too dry during cooking; if you need to add water or broth, do it during the cooking process to keep wet and then, at the end, do a final liquid addition.

Hot Chili Salsa

Jalapenos x 10, seeds and membrane intact, finely diced
Italian peppers x 4, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped
Red bell pepper x 1, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped
Yellow bell pepper x 1, seeds and membrane removed, finely chopped
Sweet onion x 4 large, finely chopped
Celery stalks x 4, finely diced
Apple cider vinegar x 1 1/2 cup
Crystal hot sauce x 1/2 cup (preferred as it is thinner and lets color of peppers look better) OR
Frank’s hot sauce x 3/4 cup
Worcestershire sauce x 2 tablespoons
White sugar x 2 tablespoons
Cayenne pepper x 1 tablespoon
Black pepper x 1 tablespoon
Canola oil x 1/2 cup

Warm canola oil in small pot on stove and add cayenne pepper, black pepper, and sugar to steep/ bloom in the oil. Keep warm, but below a simmer, for an hour or so, stirring every ten minutes. Wisk in vinegar, hot sauce, and Worcestershire and let cool to room temp.

During this time, prep all the vegetables and add to cooled liquid. This mixture will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator in a glass jar. (Glass is best as the oil content of the salsa will react with a plastic/ Rubbermaid container. If you are using immediately, it is no big deal, but if the salsa sits in your fridge for an extended period, it will pickup some plastic flavor, as well as the flavor of anything with an oil content that might have been stored previously in the container.)

Tips for the tailgate:
You can make this entire recipe at the tailgate if you have access to setup hours in advance and the heat source. If attempting preparation at the tailgate, I would at least prep everything at home and bring chilled in an ice chest to the game. To be honest, I have never attempted it from start to finish at a tailgate. I generally make it all at home and reheat at the tailgate. This does bring up some issues. As I have mentioned before, I am loathe to have the large burners (turkey fryers, etc.) at a tailgate as there is just too much potential for disaster that is out of my control. That type of burner is also hard to regulate in terms of avoiding burning/ scorching on a pot of chili. I prefer to either “bake” in a covered grill or use a smaller burner. In either case, heat the chili with a lid on and place the pot into a water bath (use a throwaway aluminum pan or other). The water will allow the chili pot to heat uniformly and will help avoid scorching the bottom of the chili pot.) You will need to stir every 30 minutes or so, but don’t over-stir as every time you open the lid, heat escapes. Depending on size of pot, it can take at least a couple hours to bring back to temp. You can try to bring to the tailgate hot, but you will need very good insulated hot trays. Basically, you have to a void the “danger zone” temp between about 40F and 140F. In that range, bacteria grow rapidly. So only bring the chili hot if you can keep it above 140F at all times.

If you are bringing macaroni for chili-mac, this is the one time I advocate adding oil to the pasta water when cooking. I also want the pasta cooked fully (not al dente) as the chili will heat the mac but not really finish cooking it. Cool the pasta and then toss to keep separate before chilling. You may even want to add a little extra oil and toss before chilling to keep separate.
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BostonTiger recipes - SwampTiger MU - 1/11 09:44:32
     the Tailgating Board’s spiritual founder (nm) - pickle MU - 2/3 11:13:55
     BostonTiger Thanksgiving recipes - TigerJackSwartz MU - 1/11 13:24:38
          How do you spatchcock a turkey? - Mormad MU - 1/13 11:56:31
               Spread its thighs, insert your baster, and - Newcatbirdseat MU - 3/26 17:51:48
               Basically just cut the backbone out and - MrBlueSky MU - 1/14 10:10:27
                    I haven't done a turkey, but have spatchcocked a chicken - TigerJackSwartz MU - 1/14 15:30:55
               BOAISY (nm) - SwampTiger MU - 1/13 17:53:55
     yay! (nm) - TigerJackSwartz MU - 1/11 09:52:35

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