I, and most of the city, seem to agree that barbecue is the perfect food for July 4th. After I did my reading for the Star-Spangled 4th of July Marathon Reading of the Mueller Report, my friends Charlotte and Thomas took me out to Blue Oak BBQ in MidCity.
The place was packed!
I ordered a sandwich – the chopped brisket with a side of roasted garlic mac and cheese. There was a spicy rub on the brisket that was very tasty but a little spicy. The heat was cut by the coleslaw that was served on the sandwich. I wasn’t particularly a fan of the mac and cheese but that’s mainly because I didn’t think it wasn’t cheesy enough.
Charlotte got her pulled pork plate with baked beans and garlic mac and cheese. She tried all the sauces (Jerk, Carolina, House) and like the house bbq sauce best.
Thomas got his pulled pork with the spicy green onion sausage. His sides were the potato salad and baked beans. He was definitely a member of the clean plate club.
Blue Oak BBQ has a full bar but I stuck with soda.
There was a long line that extended out the door but it didn’t take more than ten minutes to reach the front and order. We waited just a short time for a table (the tables outside are cooled with misting fans but the theater was not air conditioned, so I wanted to stay inside). There were a ton of people who had ordered ahead and just came in and grabbed brown paper sacks of meaty goodness.
The staff was fast to bus tables and bring out the food – all of which is smoked in their on-site pit. I always judge a bbq joint by the smell of smoke and meats and this one place is wonderfully perfumed for carnivores.
For the size of the crowd and the lines, everything ran smoothly and everyone had a smile on their face.
I would definitely return to give the rest of their menu a try.
900 N Carrollton, New Orleans
I tip my hat to my brother-in-law, Wayne, who made such a delicious bacon wrapped pork loin that I decided to get in on the fun. I choose a chicken as I had one thawing.
I didn’t have a can of beer so I drank a can of Coke and filled it halfway with water and dropped in a couple of garlic cloves. I went with the “beer can up the butt” method as that was the easiest way to get the bird in a position for the wrapping. It also keeps the grill environment moist during the cook.
Use your favorite chicken rub for the dry brine. I used my Rosemary Sage Grilling Rub. You’re looking for a good amount of kosher salt as you’re basically jumpstarting a breakdown of the protein structure. This denaturing makes the meat hold onto more water so your final result will be a tender and juicy bird. I don’t generally rinse the brine off but, because the bacon is salty, I brushed off as much as I could before wrapping.
I only had thick cut bacon in the house, so I went out and bought a cheap pack of thin for this recipe and it shrank so much it pulled off the toothpicks. It did give plenty of flavor anyway and ended up looking like the chicken was wearing a coat of many colors. The finished resulted looked awesome and tasted delicious. The meat was luscious and juicy with just the right amount of seasoning and a little crunch from the cooked bacon.
Bacon Wrapped Grilled Whole Chicken
4 lb whole chicken, neck and giblets removed
2 tablespoons Rosemary Sage Grilling Rub
1 can beer or soda – drink half the beer or all the soda
2 cloves garlic
1 lb bacon, thin sliced
bunch of toothpicks
Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Use a dry rub to cover the chicken both inside and out. Place in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight but no more than 24 hours.
Remove chicken from fridge and brush off any visible salt. Set aside to dry while you prepare the grill for indirect cooking. Fill and light a charcoal chimney and, once the coals are ashy, pour them around the edge in a horseshoe shape.
Drop the garlic cloves into the half full can of beer (or half filled with water coke can). Work the chicken onto the can by placing the can on a solid surface and setting the back end of chicken over the top of the can. Work it down until it is securely inside. Use the legs to set it up like a tripod and begin the process of draping it in bacon.
Wrap the chicken strip by strip with bacon and secure with toothpicks. Don’t forget the wings Transfer the chicken, with it’s can, to the grill and place it on the center of the grate and drop in some wood chips for smoke.
Cook the chicken for at least an hour or until temperature of the thighs is 175 to 180 degrees F. Remove from the grill and let stand for 10 minutes before removing the can and then carving the bird.
This is an easy (but not quick) recipe for pulled pork. It takes just a few ingredients – a Boston Butt (I prefer bone in), an onion, some salt and a bottle of Abita Root Beer. I love the taste of Abita’s Root Beer but, even more importantly, that it is made with cane sugar and not high-fructose corn syrup.
Slow Cooker Root Beer Pork Butt
6 lb Boston butt
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 large onion, quartered
bottle root beer
Place the onion quarters in the bottom of your slow cooker. Cut off most of the visible fat off the outside of the pork and sprinkle with salt. Place it on the onion layer. Pour over a bottle of root beer.
Set your slow cooker on low and cook for 7 to 10 hours, depending on how hot your slow cooker gets. The pork is done when it reaches 200 degrees F. Remove from liquid and place on a rimmed pan for 20 minutes to cool slightly before pulling apart. Discard the liquid and solids left in the slow cooker.
Serve on buns with root beer bbq sauce (recipe follows) or any favorite barbecue sauce.
Continuing the root beer theme, I’m posting changes to my favorite homemade bbq sauce. This is a rich and spicy sauce that goes well with roast beef as well as pulled pork.
Root Beer BBQ Sauce
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 cup ketchup
¼ cup Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 12 ounce bottle root beer (I prefer Abita)
¼ cup brown sugar, packed
½ teaspoon hot sauce – I used Louisiana hot sauce
Mix all ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Keep at a boil for about 15 minutes until reduced and thickened.
Remove from heat. Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator for several months or use immediately.
I soaked 10 lbs of chicken leg quarters overnight in a rosemary buttermilk brine:
2.5 quarts of buttermilk
4 tablespoons of fresh rosemary leaves, lightly crushed
2 tablespoons kosher salt.
The next day I put on a dry rub that harkens back to that 16th century English folk tune – as the main ingredients are sage, rosemary and thyme. The parsley is added as a final step while the meat rests.
I grilled my chicken over indirect heat for about an hour. The chicken can also be roasted in the oven at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes to an hour.
Scarborough Fair Chicken Rub
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground sage
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley flakes
Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over both sides of the chicken. Store any unused in an airtight container.
Grill or roast the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Sprinkle on the parsley after the meat comes off the fire, while it rests for at least 10 minutes before serving.
I’ve been getting a lot of use out of my Soul box from Penzey’s Spices. This is a box with 8 different spice mixtures the company puts out. As Bill wrote, “The blends make up much the soul of American cooking and each represents those souls brave enough to find their way to American and whose courage has always made America great.”
I’ve already used the Ozark style seasoning on brined, grilled chicken:
the Galena Street Rib Rub on some ribs;
and, the Cajun Seasoning in my Cha Cha Cha Cajun Shrimp.
Now it is only fitting, I use the Adobo seasoning on more grilled chicken. It is a little spicy, so I needed to make a rub with brown sugar and salt first.
4 black tea bags (I used orange pekoe)
1 quart boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt
2 quarts water
10 lb chicken leg quarters
3 tablespoons Adobo seasoning (I used Penzey’s)
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Steep the tea until good and dark. In a large pot mix the tea with the sugar and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add in additional water and stir to mix. Place the chicken in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Mix the rub ingredients together and set aside in an airtight container until ready to use.
Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and coat with the dry rub. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours.
Prepare your grill for indirect grilling. Remove chicken from the refridgerator and let sit on the counter until the coals are ready. Grill meat side down for 15 minutes, then turn over and grill until done about 40 to 50 minutes more.
South of Hattiesburg, in a gas station on Highway 49 is Rose’s Bar-B-Q (here is the link to their Facebook page, as it looks like their domain has expired). We had heard about it from friends and it was on the way back to New Orleans. The parking lot was packed with pick up trucks and sheriff vehicles. There was a heavy scent of hickory smoke in the air, so we pulled up on the curb and went inside.
We bought a pound of the smoked brisket, some chicken on a stick and potato logs. The chicken on a stick was a first for me – chicken, dill pickles, potatoes and onion speared on a stick, covered in batter and deep fried. Not sure I’m a fan but I can now say I’ve eaten this unique Mississippi delicacy.
The potato logs were like wedges on steroids. While the batter could have used a little more seasoning, the potatoes were incredibly fluffy.
The brisket was very tender, with a lovely bark. While it comes with their house made, very good barbecue sauce, the meat was so flavorful, it didn’t need it. We just ate it with our fingers, forgoing the bread.
The prices were reasonable and they got the food to us fast, so we were back on the road in no time. They have even more on the menu than we were able to try (ribs, chicken – bbq and fried, pulled pork, etc), so we’ll be swinging back by soon.
Swung back by for more brisket on September 29th. Also got the pork sandwich (a little too much sauce but piled high with meat) and more potato logs. Still worth the trip!
I think I’ll be trying the ribs next!
This is a milder take on a dry rub and it is perfect for ribs. After giving them a good rub, I grilled the ribs on my Weber over indirect heat for two hours with some hickory chips before moving them into the oven for three hours at 225 degrees F.
Memphis Style Rib Rub
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
Combine all ingredients. Store any remaining in an airtight container.