July Fourth

Going Coastal Recipe: Texas Smokehouse Soup

According to legend, Brunswick Stew was first created in Brunswick Bounty, Virginia in the 1820’s. The original recipe varies vastly from the contemporary. That first stew was made with squirrel, stale bread and butter while today’s stew is made using potatoes, chicken and corn. It is the perfect day-after recipe for that weekend cookout as it’s prime ingredients are usually leftovers. This is why it is a staple at BBQ joints from Charlotte to Tulsa.

When I ran the kitchen at Mars Hill Cafe I did a variation on a theme with Brunswick Stew that replaced the chicken with brisket, smoked sausage and smoked turkey meat or pulled pork, replaced the potatoes with kidney beans and replaced the corn with Cajun trinity (onions, celery and bell pepper). Too add to the BBQiness of the soup I use BBQ sauce in the broth.  Since BBQ along the Third Coast tends towards walking meat as to flying meat this recipe is better matched to our lifestyle.  The beauty of this soup is that you can use any smoked/grilled meat – chicken, turkey, brisket, beef ribs, steak, ham, pork ribs, chops, pulled pork and even leftover burgers.  You’ll find the recipe is a perfect use of Fourth of July leftovers.  Happy July 4th!

Texas Smokehouse Soup
4 ounces diced smoked sausage
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion,chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
4 ounces diced smoked brisket or beef rib meat
4 ounces chopped smoked turkey and/or 4 ounces pulled pork
2 quarts beef broth
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes with liquid
1 15-ounce can kidney or pinto beans
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup BBQ sauce; adjust for taste
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

In a large soup pot render the sausage over medium heat until browned.  Add the trinity (onions, celery & bell pepper) and sauté for roughly five minutes or just until soft.  Then add remaining meats and cook for another 5 minutes.  Pour in half of the beef broth, the diced tomatoes, the beans, smoked paprika, garlic powder, chipotle chili powder then simmer for 15 minutes.  Stir in half the tomato paste, the BBQ sauce, liquid smoke (if using), Worcestershire sauce and salt & pepper to taste.  Simmer for another 10 minutes.  Taste!  If the soup is too thick add some of the remaining beef broth.  If the soup is too thin add more tomato paste.  Serve with Texas toast.

Is the Brick Pit the Best Que in the South?

In a state that is a veritable melting pot of BBQ styles there is a joint that just may out shine the best in the nation.  While the north end of the state has a style similar to Memphis the east trends towards the high vinegar sauces of the Carolinas.  Of course there is also that unique “Alabama White” sauce made famous by Big Bob Gibson’s.

Now in South Alabama most folks are drawn to the Kansas City style of barbecue imploring well smoked meats with a sweet/smokey tomato based sauce and there is one place that does it better than the rest, The Brick Pit.

The “Pit” is just blocks from the campus of the University of South Alabama and it BBQ Spare Ribslooks like a BBQ joint should.  In a word, shabby.  Uneven floor, wobbly tables and the walls, corner posts and even the ceiling is covered with graffiti.  It is a custom to sign the walls whenever you visit.  The walls are also adorned with awards, national write-ups and pictures of all the of football players and coaches that frequent the week of the Senior Bowl.

The Brick Pit is on virtually every “Top 100″ lists out there and they have been profiled on national TV numerous times.  The menu is simple: pulled pork, brisket, chicken and Mobile’s favorite ribs.  They are tender from smoking not from boiling, steaming or roasting.  Low and slow just like they’re supposed to be.  The sides are the usual suspects – slaw, potato salad and baked beans.  Que is available dry or with a helping of their classic KC style sauce.  The Brick Pit may not be the best BBQ joint in the country but it is definitely on the short list.

Check out this clip from the Travel Channel’s Man vs Food Nation hosted by Adam Richman.

July Fourth Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

Recently I dropped by the set of Studio 10 to show the gang my take on this 4th of July favorite.  Be sure to stick around until the 4:35 mark for a little television history.  Check it out:

: Strawberry Shortcake – Stuart-style
INGREDIENTS FOR STRAWBERRY SCONES:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup finely diced strawberries

INGREDIENTS FOR STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE:

  • 4 Strawberry Scones
  • 1 cup strawberry crème cheese
  • Whipped cream
  • 1 cup fresh Driscoll Strawberries
  • 2 TBL sugar
STEPS FOR STRAWBERRY SCONES:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter. Mix the egg, strawberries and milk in a small bowl, and stir into flour mixture until moistened.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly. Roll dough out into a 1/2 inch thick round. Cut into 8 wedges, and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

STEPS FOR STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE:

  1. Toss strawberries with sugar and set aside.
  2. In a bowl mix the cream cheese with a quarter cup of whipped cream (milk will do in a pinch).
  3. Split a scone in half, spoon in some of the cream cheese mixture, spoon on some fresh strawberries and set the top of the scone to the side.
  4. Top with whipped cream to taste.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 20 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

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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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