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Review: New Tailgating Items for 2011

Tailgating BannerCan the Packers repeat?  Which SEC team will win the BCS Championship this year?  Will we ever see another football player as good as Cam Newton again?  Will the NCAA give Miami the death penalty this time or just another slap on the wrist?  What will you be making on opening day?  Since the NFL is done with their petty squabble and college teams are on the field cracking skulls it’s time to gear up for fall tailgating.  I have put together a list of some of the neatest new items to help get you ready for the upcoming season.  Let’s check them out:

Lawhorn’s Signature SeasoningsLawhorn’s Signature Seasonings – this is a straight foreword blend, nothing fancy but with the terrific aroma of  black pepper.  Too many seasoning blends treat black pepper as an afterthought.  Not with Lawhorn’s.  It is where it belongs, front and center.  The reason I recommend Lawhorn’s is because of its versatility.

Need a Cajun dish?  It’ll do.  Need a BBQ rub?  It’ll do that to.  Need a good flavorful burger shake?  It’ll knock that out of the park.  It’s great on steaks too.  Multitasking is a great thing in any kitchen but when you’re tailgating the importance of finding one thing that does several tasks is crucial.  Lawhorn’s allows you to limit the spice cabinet to just one thing.  I did a much larger review of Lawhorn’s about a month ago.

For more info click HERE.

SFQ - The Original San Francisco-Style Barbecue Sauce SFQ Sauce – this is a phenomenal BBQ sauce from the Bay Area that encapsulates the very essence of San Francisco’s incredible food scene.  Cooked in small batches and deepened with dark chocolate and coffee this Left Coast spin on the Kansas City style of sauce is truly one of the best things I’ve tasted in 2011.

Even better, it is a gluten-free, vegan sauce made with all natural, mostly local ingredients including organic, vine-ripened tomatoes and organic, oak-aged red wine vinegar, chocolate, coffee, molasses, chilies and spices. Contains NO high fructose corn syrup.

For more info click HERE.

Truck Stop Honey Brown AleTruck Stop Honey Brown Ale – In April I went to a special surf-side dinner to help commemorate the first anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill and to celebrate the local volunteers who did more to help save the Gulf than BP and the Federal Government combined.  The menu was featured only Gulf Coast ingredients which included two beers from Alabama’s Back Forty Beer Company.

Their pale ale, Naked Pig, was crisp with a slightly bitter, hoppy finish.  It was quite nice.  But the Truck Stop Honey Brown Ale was a revelation.  It is my new favorite beer and what’s tailgating without beer right?  I’m not the only one impressed with Truck Stop as it was awarded a Silver Medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival in Denver, CO.

For more info click HERE.

aFire KOKO Charcoal – Charcoal made out of coconuts?  That’s right.  Koko Charcoal by aFireAccording to aFire, “Coconut charcoal is made from the inner hard shell of a coconut. The combination of hard fiber and charcoal creates a high-performance fuel that burns longer.”

I test drove a case of Koko this summer and I was very satisfied.  I used it to slow smoke a brisket to make one of my favorite tailgate recipes, The Big Tex (watch the video HERE).  The charcoal burns longer and hotter so you use less of it.  Additionally aFire is a company bringing a green focus to the grilling industry.  This charcoal is made with no binders or additives giving it a pure smoke that lets the natural flavor of the food shine through.  No chemical aftertaste.

For more info click HERE.

Deep South Propane Cookers – This spring I was a judge at a gumbo cook-off on Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama.  That was my first introduction to the amazing propane cookers being fabricated by Deep South Cooking Outfitters.  These cookers are the brainchild of owner Gene Fox, a championship gumbo and chili cooker.

Deep South Cooking Outfitters INCNot finding exactly what he wanted on the market Fox decided to design his own propane cooker just for competitions that featured a low-set, high-pressure burner perfect for holding his 20 gallon pot at just the right height and an elevated, small burner for cooking rice or using as a saute station.  Not only did his custom cooker work great but several of his fellow competitors expressed interest in buying one for themselves.  And thus are new ventures begun.

Gene’s Deep South Cookers are hand-made to order with heavy gauge steel that is welded not bolted together.  As if this weren’t enough Gene will also custom decorate your cooker with whatever design you want, also cut out of steel.  These are big boy cookers.

For more info click HERE.

If these prove a little out of your price range don’t worry, Deep South is also a retailer for Bayou Classics cookers and grills which brings me to the next new item.

The Bayou Classic Cypress Grill – Ceramic grills are all the rage these days and for good reason – it’s amazing technology. There are quite a few Bayou Classic Cypress Grillbrands to choose from with the most famous being the Big Green Egg but for my money the Cypress Grill is the best.

The folks at Bayou Classic took all the things that made the Big Green Egg so phenomenal and improved on it.  The Cypress Grill has a reinforced steel henge so your lid doesn’t flop off every other year.  They also have a cool-to-the-touch steel handles instead of the wooden handles that warp and rot.  The Cypress Grill also has two ceramic inserts giving you greater control for indirect cooking and temperature control.

The other improvement?  Cost.  Where a similar Egg might run you as much as $1200 the Cypress Grill can be bought for under $800 (with free shipping).  Oh, and they are a hell of a lot prettier, too.

For more info click HERE.

The Go Galley Portable Outdoor Kitchen – The Go Go GalleyGalley is for serious tailgaters and therefore comes with a serious price tag ($2599).  I have tailgated football games from Auburn, Alabama to Norman, Oklahoma and everywhere in between; seven states and over two dozen stadiums.  The Go Galley is the absolute best rig I’ve seen for all your tailgating needs.

I’d kill a drifter for a Go Galley but since there aren’t any handy I guess I’ll just have to start recycling aluminum cans or something.  Words just can’t do this thing any justice so check out this video:

For more info click HERE.

There you go, Tailgate Warriors, some of the best new gear for the 2011 season.  Now get out there and make a play!

Review: Lawhorn’s Signature Seasonings

Recently the creators of Lawhorn’s Signature Seasonings contacted me about trying their new seasoning blend.  I said, “Free food?  Sign me up anytime.”  Within a few days my shaker had arrived.

Lawhorns Signature SeasoningsThe first thing I did was give it the smell test.  It was a straight foreword blend, nothing fancy but with the terrific aroma of  black pepper.  Too many seasoning blends treat black pepper as an afterthought.  Not with Lawhorn’s.  It is where it belongs, front and center.

A quick look at the ingredients was a revelation – salt, garlic, onion, pepper, spices, paprika and calcium stearate.  All natural ingredients with one loan additive, calcium stearate which as it turns out is an additive so clean that it is being considered for inclusion on the National Organic Standards Board Technical Advisory Panel list of nonagricultural substances allowed in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic.”  Read more about that HERE.

So it smells right and it’s made right.  How did it taste?  Well, Lawhorn’s claims its seasoning blend will “revolutionize the way the people cook by providing a single, seasoning blend that allows even the most inexperienced cooks to prepare gourmet meals.”  I did in fact find it quite versatile.

The first thing I did was use it to season a turkey burger.  It gave just right amount to punch to the patty.  Then I used it season a rotisserie chicken and I again found it a perfect seasoning.  Then I used it to season the batter for frying shrimp and catfish.  Again it was perfect.  Lawhorn’s is shockingly similar to the house blend I have long made for use both at home and at restaurants.  It looks like I’m done making my own seasoning blend.

Currently you can purchase Lawhorn’s Signature Seasonings at select locations throughout the Southeast including some Walmart’s and Publix locations or you can just log onto their web site and have it dropped shipped to you.  Now check out the pix of my food:

Turkey Burger Rotisserie Chicken
 Fried Shrimp  Lawhorn's

July Fourth Recipe: The Big Tex

Armed with a box of aFire Coconut Charcoal (available at amazon) and a brisket that is just simply too damned big, Stuart shows you how to make a Texas style Po’ Boy with smoked beef, onion marmalade, extra sharp Vermont white cheddar and a taste of BBQ sauce. This is part of iFood.tv’s Summer Grilling Series. So take that.

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Product Review: Newtons Fruit Thins

Recently the folks at Nabisco sent me a package of their new cookies called Newtons Fruit Thins.  These new cookies reflect the changing attitude of the average American – they are wholegrain (8 grams per serving), made with real fruit and contain no high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or hydrogenated oils.  For a cookie, that is rare.

newtons fruit thinsThey come in five flavors – Cranberry Citrus Oat, Blueberry Brown Sugar, Chocolate Raspberry and Fig and Honey.  The package I received was Cranberry Citrus Oat.  There are few things that I do not like to eat but cranberry is one of them.  I try them every so often but usually I’m still on the anti-cranberry bandwagon.

Imagine my surprise when I tasted the first cookie and actually liked it, a lot.  Within two hours I had eaten half of the 30 cookies.  I ended up sharing them with my neighbor, another anti-cranberry person.  She found the same pattern – she couldn’t stop eating them.  That’s impressive.

Now, these are still cookies so it’s not like you can eat 15 of them (like I did) and have no repercussions.  One serving contains 140 calories with only 45 of those deriving from fat.  That same serving contains 22 grams of carbohydrates but just seven are from sugar and the one gram of dietary fiber lowers the chemical effects of the sugar to the equivalent of six grams.  My only concern is that the serving size in question is only for three cookies.  That’s not much of a snack even for a child but if you eat two servings 280 calories isn’t terrible – not for a dessert anyway.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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