One of America’s Favorites – Rotisserie Chicken

August 19, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Rotisserie chicken

Rotisserie chicken is a chicken dish that is cooked on a rotisserie, using direct heat in which the chicken is placed next to the heat source. Electric- or gas-powered heating elements may be used, which use adjustable infrared heat. These types of rotisseries have proven quite functional for cooking rotisserie-style chicken. Leftover rotisserie chicken may be used in a variety of dishes, such as soup, chicken salad, and sandwiches.

In the United States, ready-to-eat rotisserie chickens were available in supermarkets and some butcher shops during much of the twentieth century. However, they did not become a widely available option for consumers until the early 1990s, when Boston Market helped popularize the selling of packaged rotisserie chickens.

Rotisserie chickens are now highly popular. In 2010, 600 million rotisserie-cooked chickens were purchased by consumers “in U.S. supermarkets, club stores and similar retail outlets.” In 2018, over 900 million rotisserie chickens were sold by foodservice outlets and retail stores.

Rotisserie chickens are often lower in price than raw whole chickens. Two explanations are often given to justify this phenomenon. First, some grocery stores may use rotisserie chickens as loss leaders to bring shoppers into the store. The logic behind this theory is that if customers come to a store for its rotisseries chickens, they will buy other products while they are there, too. Second, rotisserie chickens are often made with poultry that is about to reach its “best by” date. By cooking and selling the chickens, the grocery stores are able to recoup some of their expenditures.

In the U.S., chickens used for rotisserie cooking may be injected with brine to retain moisture. Additional ingredients may be used to add flavor and to brown the chicken, such as oleoresin, yeast extract, sodium tripolyphosphate, and natural flavorings.

A packaged rotisserie chicken

A packaged rotisserie chicken

Costco is one of the largest producers and vendors of rotisserie chickens in the United States, with one commentator describing it as “the undisputed king of rotisserie chickens.” In 2017, Costco sold approximately 87 million rotisserie chickens in the United States. Costco’s CFO, Richard Galanti, has repeatedly rebuffed suggestions that Costco might eventually increase the cost of its chickens above $4.99, which has been the price of a Costco rotisserie chicken since 2009.

In 2017, Costco broke ground on a new 414-acre facility in Fremont, Nebraska that would include a hatchery, feed mill, and processing plant. The facility – which is expected to produce around 100 million chickens per year, or roughly 40 percent of Costco’s needs – has been reported as costing between $275 million and $400 million. The plant is scheduled to open in September 2019.

 

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One of America’s Favorites – Smothered Food

August 12, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A plate lunch of smothered steak and gravy served over boiled white rice from Garys Grocery in Lafayette, Louisiana

Smothering meat, seafood or vegetables is a cooking technique used in both Cajun and Creole cuisines of Louisiana. The technique involves cooking in a covered pan over low heat with a moderate amount of liquid, and can be regarded as a form of stove-top braising. The meat dishes cooked in this fashion are typically served over boiled or steamed white rice as a rice and gravy, while the vegetables are typically served as side dishes.

A large variety of meats are “smothered” in South Louisiana cuisine, including both domestic animals and wild game. Domestic animals cooked in this fashion include chicken, domestic duck, pork, beef (including such organs as the liver), and domestic rabbit. Wild game commonly cooked in this fashion include squirrel, rabbit, nutria rat, feral pig, woodcock, wild duck, and venison. Originally a dish made from cheap cuts of meat favored by farmers and laborers, popular versions of the dish such as “smothered steak” and “smothered pork roast” are served throughout Acadiana at local “plate lunch houses”. Raised on Rice and Gravy, a 2009 documentary film by Conni Castille and Allison Bohl, chronicles the prevalence of the dish at local plate lunch houses and its enduring popularity in local cuisine.

 

“Smothering” the meat and vegetables

In French, the word “étouffée” means “smothered”. Étouffée can be made using different shellfish, the most popular version of the dish being Crawfish Étouffée, although shrimp is also used. Originally étouffée was a popular dish in the Acadiana area surrounding Lafayette. In the late twentieth century a waiter at the popular Bourbon Street restaurant, Galatoire’s brought the dish in to his employer to try, the dish was added to their menu. Other restaurants in the city of New Orleans soon followed, with the dish gaining in popularity with locals and tourists alike. Many Cajun restaurant owners claim that étouffée is the most popular dish on their menus.

Varieties of vegetables cooked by smothering include cabbage, okra, potatoes and corn. The vegetables are kept from burning by the addition of animal fats or oils, or the addition of meat products such as salt pork or andouille.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Pit Barbecue

August 5, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pork ribs in a barbecue “pit”, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

A pit barbecue is a method and constructed item for barbecue cooking meat and root vegetables buried below the surface of the earth. Indigenous peoples around the world used earth ovens for thousands of years. In modern times the term and activity is often associated with the Eastern Seaboard, the “barbecue belt”, colonial California in the United States and Mexico. The meats usually barbecued in a pit in these contexts are beef, pork, and goat.

California
Throughout the New World the indigenous peoples of the Americas cooked in the earth for millennia. The original use of buried cooking in pits in North America was done by the Native Americans for thousands of years, including by the tribes of California.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries eras, when the territory became Spanish Las Californias and then Mexican Alta California, the Missions and ranchos of California had large cattle herds for hides and tallow use and export. At the end of the culling and leather tanning season large pit barbecues cooked the remaining meat. In the early days of California statehood after 1850 the Californios continued the outdoor cooking tradition for fiestas.

Traditional Californian pit barbecuing is not done often in contemporary times, due to needing space and labor to dig a pit, significant firewood requirements, and air quality concerns. However, in 2007 the ‘Culinary Historians of Southern California’ recreated an Early California pit barbecue on the grounds of the Mexican Rancho San Jose, at the Ygnacio Palomares Adobe in Pomona. It required burning hundreds of pounds of wood in the pit over the preceding night, then lowering cloth-wrapped, marinated meat into the resulting pit of coals and covering everything with earth. After cooking all night, participants pronounced the results “incredibly tender, deeply smoky meat.” A traditional Horno was used for baking.

The Santa Maria Style BBQ, originally from the Central Coast of California, uses a portable ‘towed’ trailer version frequently seen at farmers markets.

A wood-fired barbecue pit at Wilber’s Barbecue – Goldsboro, NC, USA

Eastern seaboard
Pit barbecuing is also popular along the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. The buried version of the New England clam bake is one example. In Maryland it is done at large “bull roasts” in the summer season and “Bull & Oyster Roasts” in colder months. Maryland-style pit beef is not barbecue cookery in the strictest sense. Instead, it is typically cooked quickly over charcoal. The meat is typically served rare with a strong horseradish sauce as the condiment.

Southern-style pit barbecue
Across the “barbecue belt” of the United States, pit barbecue can also refer to an enclosed, above-ground “pit” such as a horno or outdoor pizza oven. The method of cooking the meat is slowly, using various hardwoods to flavor the meat. This breaks down the connective tissue in the meats, producing a tender product. The types of meat cooked in this fashion include both beef and pork.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Barbecue in Texas

July 29, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A plate of South Texas Style BBQ. Potato salad is common in Texas barbecue as a side dish.

Texas Barbecue is a traditional style of preparing meat unique to the cuisine of Texas. It is one of the many different varieties of barbecue found around the world.

Texas barbecue traditions can be divided into four general styles: East Texas, Central Texas, South Texas, and West Texas. The Central and East Texas varieties are generally the most well-known. In a 1973 Texas Monthly article, Author Griffin Smith, Jr., described the dividing line between the two styles as “a line running from Columbus and Hearne northward between Dallas and Fort Worth”.

Additionally, in deep South Texas and along the Rio Grande valley, a Mexican style of meat preparation known as barbacoa can be found. In Spanish, the word barbacoa means “barbecue”, though in English it is often used specifically to refer to Mexican varieties of preparation.

Generally speaking, the different Texas barbecue styles are distinguished as follows:

East Texas style: The meat is slowly cooked to the point that it is “falling off the bone.” It is typically cooked over hickory wood and marinated in a sweet, tomato-based sauce.
Central Texas style: The meat is rubbed with only salt and black pepper or in some restaurants with spices and cooked over indirect heat from pecan or oak wood or mesquite wood or a combination of woods. Sauce is typically considered unneeded but may be served on the side.

West Texas style: The meat is cooked over direct heat from mesquite wood.
South Texas style: Features thick, molasses-like sauces that keep the meat very moist.
The barbacoa tradition is somewhat different from all of these. Though beef may be used, goat or sheep meat are common as well (sometimes the entire animal may be used). In its most traditional form, barbacoa is prepared in a hole dug in the ground and covered with maguey leaves.

European meat-smoking traditions were brought by German and Czech settlers in Central Texas during the mid-19th century. The original tradition was that butchers would smoke leftover meat that had not been sold so that it could be stored and saved. As these smoked leftovers became popular among the migrants in the area, many of these former meat markets evolved to specialize in smoked meats. Many butcher shops also evolved into well-known barbecue establishments.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson hosted a state dinner featuring barbecue for the Mexican president-elect in Johnson City, Texas. It is generally considered the first barbecue state dinner in the history of the United States.

In 2019 J. C. Reid of the Houston Chronicle wrote that pulled pork barbecue was becoming common in Texas even though the style originated elsewhere.

Regional styles
Central Texas
Central Texas pit-style barbecue was established in the 19th century along the Chisholm Trail in the towns of Lockhart, Luling, and Taylor. The German and other European immigrants who owned meat-packing plants opened retail meat markets serving cooked meats wrapped in red butcher’s paper—a tradition which continues to this day in many Central Texas towns. This barbecue style’s popularity has spread considerably around the world, especially to Southern California, New York City, Britain and Australia.

Today, many Central Texas barbecue restaurants open around 11:00am and serve until “they are out of meat”. Most barbecue establishments close on Sundays.

At a typical Central Texas pit barbecue restaurant, the customer takes a tray cafeteria-style and is served by a butcher who carves the meat by weight. Side dishes and desserts are then picked up along the line with sliced white bread, wavy-cut dill pickle chips, sliced onion, and jalapeño. Barbecue meats are commonly sold by the pound. The emphasis of Central Texas pit barbecue is on the meat—if sauce is available, it is usually considered a side dip for wetting purposes. Calvin Trillin, writing in The New Yorker, said that discussions of Central Texas pit barbecue do not concern the piquancy of the sauces or common side dishes and desserts—the main consideration is the quality of the cooking of the meats.

Smith posits this theory on why sauces are not a focus of Central Texas pit style: in the early days, the noon meat markets were dominated by the upper class purchasers, who could choose among the highest-quality cuts of meat with little interest in sauces. Smith describes many sauces in Central Texas pit barbecue as intentionally made “bland”, as compared to the flavor of the meats themselves. The sauce is typically thinner and unsweetened, different than the Kansas City and Memphis styles (which rely heavily on molasses, sugar, and corn syrup to provide thickness and sweetness).

Jayne Clark of the USA Today said in 2010 that the “Texas Barbecue Trail” is an east of Austin “semi-loop” including Elgin, Lockhart, Luling, and Taylor. Barbecue eateries in this semi-loop, like Louie Mueller Barbecue, are within one hour’s drive from Austin, in a direction of northeast to the southeast.

East Texas
East Texas barbecue is usually chopped and not sliced. It may be made of either beef or pork, and it is usually served on a bun.

Robb Walsh wrote in “Texas Barbecue in Black and White” that due to the prevalence of beef, African-American varieties of barbecue in East Texas tended to use that instead of the pork found elsewhere in the South. Walsh quoted an artist, Bert Long, who stated that African-American varieties are heavily smoked.

According to Reid, the presence of pork ribs in East Texas barbecue originated from elsewhere in the South. According to Walsh they had origins in barbecues that were held for slaves. Many black restaurateurs struggled to continue operating restaurants as food safety regulations passed by Texas jurisdictions around 1910 had restrictions on the operations of restaurants until the cinder-block pit became widespread; this innovation allowed black restaurateurs to serve their fellow black customers.

Griffin Smith, Jr., in a 1973 Texas Monthly article, described East Texas barbecue as an “extension” of barbecue served in the Southern United States and said that beef and pork appear equally in the cuisine. According to Smith, the theory on how East Texas barbecue got started was that the emphasis on sauces and spices came as African-Americans received poor quality cuts of meat and needed flavoring. According to Smith, the “finest manifestations” of the East Texas style were found in African-American-operated restaurants. Smith further described East Texas barbecue as “still basically a sandwich product heavy on hot sauce.”

 

Other styles
West Texas barbecue, sometimes also called “cowboy style,” traditionally used a more direct heat method than other styles. It is generally cooked over mesquite, with goat and mutton in addition to beef.

Barbecue in the border area between the South Texas Plains and Northern Mexico is mostly influenced by Mexican cuisine. Historically, this area was the birthplace of the Texas ranching tradition. Often, Mexican farmhands were partially paid for their work in less desirable cuts of meat, such as the diaphragm and the cow’s head. It is the cow’s head which defines South Texas barbecue (called barbacoa). The head would be wrapped in wet maguey leaves and buried in a pit with hot coals for several hours, after which the meat would be pulled off for barbacoa tacos. The tongue would also be used to make lengua tacos. Today, barbacoa is mostly cooked in an oven in a bain-marie.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Memphis-Style Barbecue

July 22, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 5 Comments
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Dry ribs slow cooking in a pit at Leonard’s BBQ

Memphis-style barbecue is one of the five predominant regional styles of barbecue in the United States, the other three being Carolina, Kansas City, Alabama, and Texas. Like many southern varieties of barbecue, Memphis-style barbecue is mostly made using pork, usually ribs and shoulders, though many restaurants will still serve beef and chicken. Memphis-style barbecue is slow cooked in a pit and ribs can be prepared either “dry” or “wet”. “Dry” ribs are covered with a dry rub consisting of salt and various spices before cooking and are normally eaten without sauce. “Wet” ribs are brushed with sauce before, during, and after cooking.

Memphis-style barbecue has become well-known due to the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest held each May, which has been listed in Guinness World Records as the largest pork barbecue contest in the world. The event is regularly covered by national and international television networks such as The Food Network and the BBC and attracts over 100,000 visitors. Many of Memphis’ barbecue restaurants have become nationally known and can ship their products anywhere in the country overnight due to the proximity of FedEx’s Memphis Superhub.

After World War II, barbecue became a viable commercial venture in Memphis. Small restaurants, known as “joints”, began to open with a purpose-built pit for slow-cooking the meat. Many small neighborhood joints in low-income areas, such as Payne’s, Leonard’s and Interstate, have gained notoriety as they reflect the roots of Memphis barbecue. Many regional chains have also developed from Memphis, including Tops, Neely’s, and Corky’s. As Memphis-style barbecue became more popular across the country, restaurants such as Corky’s and Rendezvous began shipping orders overnight to customers.

Notable establishments

Jim Neely’s Interstate Bar-B-Que
Interstate Bar-B-Que was founded in 1978 by Jim Neely in a rundown grocery store in the low-income neighborhood of South Memphis. Though never a restaurateur, Neely learned how to slow cook ribs in a pit and created a secret sauce based on various local family recipes. Interstate rose to prominence as one of the premier barbecue restaurants in the city, and was featured nationally on The Food Network and The Travel Channel. Neely’s brother and sister-in-law operate another location in Gardena, California. Interstate has been voted the #2 barbecue restaurant in America by People Magazine.

Neely’s

Pulled pork nachos

Jim Neely’s four nephews, brothers Gaelin, Tony, Mark and Patrick, founded Neely’s BBQ in Downtown Memphis in 1988, though it operates as a separate business from the other Neely’s and does not carry the Interstate name. In 2008, Pat Neely and his wife Gina debuted a cooking show on The Food Network called Down Home with the Neelys, which is a top ratings performer on the network. The couple has also released a cookbook eponymous with their first show. In 2012, the Neelys announced that they were permanently closing their Memphis-area restaurants.

Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous
Rendezvous was founded by Charlie Vergos in 1948 in a back alley of Downtown Memphis. Originally the basement of his diner, Vergos discovered a coal chute and turned it into a barbecue pit. Eventually, Vergos converted his diner to a barbecue restaurant and moved the entrance from the street to the alley. Rendezvous is one of the older and more storied barbecue joints in Memphis due to its more than sixty years of operation and “hole-in-the-wall” atmosphere. The Memphis City Council voted to name the alley where Rendezvous is located “Charlie Vergos’ Rendezvous Alley”, though the address remains 52 South 2nd Street. One of Rendezvous’ signature dishes is a barbecue shrimp skillet which must be ordered a full day in advance.

Central BBQ
Central BBQ was founded in 2002 by partners Roger Sapp and Craig Blondis. Central BBQ has four locations in Memphis, with the most recent having opened in East Memphis in 2018. Central BBQ also has a food truck that caters to local events. Though a newcomer to Memphis’ barbecue scene, Central BBQ has placed in the top 3 for barbecue categories in the Memphis Flyer’s annual “Best Of Memphis” contest, as voted for by Memphis residents, every year since its inception. In 2011, Central placed 1st for “Best Barbecue”, 2nd for “Best Ribs”, and 3rd for “Best Hot Wings.”

 

 

One of America’s Favorites – Kansas City-Style Barbecue

July 15, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Kansas City-style barbecue combo plate with various meats and fries

Kansas City-style barbecue refers to the specific regional barbecue style of slowly smoked meat that originated from the pit of Henry Perry in the early 1900s in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kansas City barbecue is characterized by its use of a wide variety of meats: pork, beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, sausage, and sometimes even fish. Just about any type of barbecued meat served in the country’s other barbecue capitals, from pulled pork to brisket to beef ribs and pork ribs in a number of different cuts, is served in KC-area barbecue restaurants. Burnt ends – the crusty, fatty, flavorful meat cut from the point of a smoked beef brisket – are much in demand.

Kansas City barbecue is rubbed with spices, slow-smoked over a variety of woods and served with a thick tomato-based barbecue sauce, which is an integral part of KC-style barbecue. Most local restaurants and sauce companies offer several varieties with sweet, spicy and tangy flavor profiles, but the staple sauce tends to be both sweet (often from molasses) and spicy. Kansas City barbecue is also known for its many side dishes, including a unique style of baked beans, French fries, coleslaw, and other Southern-food staples.

The Kansas City metropolitan area has more than 100 barbecue restaurants, a number of which are nationally renowned. The area is also home to several large barbecue cooking contests, notably the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle and the American Royal World Series of Barbecue, the largest barbecue competition in the world.

History
Henry Perry
Urban Kansas City traces its barbecue history to Henry Perry, who operated out of a trolley barn at 19th and Highland in the legendary African-American neighborhood around 18th and Vine.

Perry served slow-cooked ribs on pages of newsprint for 25 cents a slab. Perry came from Shelby County, Tennessee, near Memphis, and began serving barbecue in 1908. Kansas City and Memphis barbecue styles are very similar, although Kansas City tends to use more sauce and a wider variety of meats. Perry’s sauce had a somewhat harsh, peppery flavor.

Perry’s restaurant became a major cultural point during the heyday of Kansas City Jazz during the “wide-open” days of Tom Pendergast in the 1920s and 1930s.

Arthur Bryant

Arthur Bryant’s Barbecue at 18th and Brooklyn in Kansas City

Working for Henry Perry was Charlie Bryant, who, in turn, brought his brother, Arthur Bryant, into the business. Charlie took over the Perry restaurant in 1940 after Perry died. Arthur then took over his brother’s business in 1946, and the restaurant was renamed Arthur Bryant’s.

Arthur Bryant’s, which eventually moved to 1727 Brooklyn in the same neighborhood, became a stomping ground for baseball fans and players in the 1950s and 1960s, because of its close proximity to Municipal Stadium, where the Athletics or A’s played their home games during that period.

In April 1972, Kansas City native Calvin Trillin wrote an article in Playboy proclaiming Bryant’s to be the best restaurant on the planet.

Despite new-found fame, Bryant did not change the restaurant’s very simple decor, which consisted of fluorescent lighting, formica tables, and five-gallon jars of sauce displayed in the windows, even as Presidents Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan stopped by.

Bryant died of a heart attack, in a bed that he kept at the restaurant, shortly after Christmas of 1982. The restaurant is still open. The sauce and restaurant continue their success.

Along the main inner wall of the restaurant is photographic history of many famous politicians, actors, actresses and sports figures and other tribute pictures of military personnel displaying Arthur Bryant’s memorabilia such as shirts or bottles of sauce.

Gates Bar-B-Q headquarters on Brush Creek in Kansas City

Gates & Sons
In 1946 Arthur Pinkard, who was a cook for Perry, joined with George Gates to form Gates and Sons Bar-B-Q. The restaurant was situated initially in the same neighborhood.

Gates barbecue sauce does not contain molasses; the ingredients, as listed on the bottle, are: “Tomatoes, vinegar, salt, sugar, celery, garlic, spices, and pepper. 1/10 of 1% potassium sorbate preservative added.” It is available in Original Classic, Mild, Sweet & Mild, and Extra Hot varieties.

Gates also expanded its footprint in a more conventional way, with restaurants all displaying certain trademarks – red-roofed buildings, a recognizable logo (a strutting man clad in tuxedo and top hat) and the customary “Hi, May I Help You?” greeting belted out by its employees as patrons enter.

Gates has opened restaurants throughout the Kansas City metropolitan area. The chain currently consists of 6 area Gates Bar-B-Q restaurants: 4 in Missouri, 2 in Kansas. Gates also has sold barbecue sandwiches at Kauffman Stadium during Kansas City Royals home games, and currently at Arrowhead Stadium during Kansas City Chiefs home games.

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue
Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue had its beginnings as the second restaurant in the Smokestack BBQ chain, which Russ Fiorella, Sr. had started in 1957. Fiorella’s eldest son Jack worked with his father until 1974, when he and his wife Delores opened their own Smokestack location in the Martin City neighborhood of south Kansas City.

Eventually Jack, along with his wife and children, decided to expand their menu selections, adding non-traditional barbecue menu items like hickory-grilled steaks, lamb ribs, Crown Prime Beef Short Ribs, and fresh, hickory-grilled seafood, along with an extensive wine and bar selection. They also began offering a higher level of comfort and service than most people were accustomed to at a barbecue restaurant. Smokestack BBQ in Martin City soon became one of the most successful restaurants in the Kansas City metro. In 1996, Jack Fiorella was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association.

By the mid-1990s, Jack Fiorella decided to replicate the success of his Martin City Smokestack restaurant. Other members of the Fiorella family told Jack that he was not permitted to use the Smokestack name for his new restaurant, so both the new restaurant (opened in 1997 in Overland Park, Kansas) and Jack’s existing restaurant in Martin City dropped the Smokestack name and were rebranded as Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue. They also opened a full-service catering operation in Martin City and their third location in the historic Freight House building in the Crossroads Arts District. They began shipping their barbecue nationwide in 2000, and in October 2006 they opened a fourth location on The Country Club Plaza. In 2014, a fifth Jack Stack restaurant opened in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. The original Smokestack chain closed its last remaining location in 2012.

Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue has been featured on The Food Network and The History Channel, and has been rated as among the best barbecue in the United States by several national organizations and magazines. Most notably, the Zagat Survey has named it the “#1 Barbecue House in the Country.”

The original Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas

Joe’s Kansas City
Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que can be traced to competition barbecue and the Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS). Accompanying friends at the American Royal and The Great Lenexa BBQ Battle inspired Jeff Stehney to start cooking on his own. The first smoker purchased was an Oklahoma Joe’s 24” smoker, christened in April 1991.

By 1993, Jeff, his wife and business partner Joy, and Jim “Thurston” Howell were ready to make their mark on the KCBS competition circuit. Their competition team, Slaughterhouse Five, ended up winning eight Grand Championships, including the prestigious American Royal BBQ, three Reserve Grand Championships, and the KCBS’s Grand Champion “Team of the Year” in 1993. Over the next several seasons Slaughterhouse Five won dozens more awards and was generally recognized as one of the top competition BBQ teams in the Country.

Jeff and Joy opened Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Que (later renamed to Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que) in a gas station in Kansas City, Kansas in 1996. There are also locations in Olathe, Kansas and Leawood, Kansas.

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain listed Joe’s original Kansas City, Kansas location as one of “13 Places You Must Eat Before You Die”. Men’s Health magazine named it America’s manliest restaurant. Joe’s was featured on Season 3 of Man v. Food in August 2010. It was also named “Kansas City’s Best Barbecue” by Zagat.

LC’s Bar-B-Q
Mississippi born L.C. Richardson took early retirement as a company chef for Farmland Industries and opened LC’s Bar-B-Q near the Truman Sports Complex in 1986. LC’s specializes in burnt ends and ribs, and utilizes a sauce similar to Gates’ but with substantially less sugar and more vinegar. LC’s also sauces the meat prior to smoking and continually saucing throughout the cooking process. This technique forms a thin, chewy and extremely flavorful layer on the outside of the meat and effectively seals the ribs, resulting in a remarkably tender and juicy finished product. LC’s side dishes, especially the baked beans and the fresh-cut fries, are almost as notable as the meats. LC’s Bar-B-Q has also been featured on the Travel Channel’s, “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations”.

B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ
In October 1990, after leaving a sales job, Lindsay Shannon and his wife Jo opened B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ in south Kansas City. The main focus of B.B.’s is Kansas City style barbecue and Louisiana dishes. The menu includes Kansas City favorites like ribs, sausage and pulled pork, which are slow-smoked in a 60-year-old pit with apple wood. The Louisiana dishes include gumbo, jambalaya, and goulash. Not long after opening in October 1990, owner Lindsay Shannon decided to add another one of his passions: blues music. Local and national blues bands perform at B.B.’s six nights a week. B.B.’s is known as “where barbecue meets the blues” in Kansas City. B.B.’s has been featured in the New York Times, and USA Today. About.com lists B.B.’s in the Top 5 Barbeque Restaurants in Kansas City. B.B.’s Lawnside BBQ has also been featured on Food Network’s, ” Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives “, hosted by Guy Fieri.

KC Masterpiece
In 1977, Rich Davis capitalized on the reputation of Kansas City barbecue to form KC Masterpiece, which evolved from his “K.C. Soul Style Barbecue Sauce”. KC Masterpiece is sweeter and thicker than many of the traditional Kansas City sauces served in the region. The KC Masterpiece recipe uses extra molasses to achieve its thick, sweet character.[citation needed]

KC Masterpiece was sold to the Kingsford division of Clorox in 1986 and now claims to be the number one premium barbecue brand in the U.S. When Davis sold the rights to his sauce to Kingsford, he announced plans to build a franchise of barbecue restaurants. The franchises were successful for a few years, but have since all closed.

Curt’s Famous Meats storefront

Curt’s Famous Meats

Curt’s Famous Meats is a meat market founded in 1947 by Curtis Jones and sold to Donna Pittman in 1989. With clientele from all across America, Curt’s specializes in barbecue prepared with Kansas City rub. It has a long history of award winning barbecue, having won eight times the American Royal barbecue competition, the largest in the world. Curt’s is located on East Truman Road in the Maywood neighborhood of Independence, Missouri. Although not in Kansas City proper, Curt’s has been a large competitor in many local competitions in barbecue. Curt’s Famous Meats is also known for its predominantly female staff that Donna Pittman has hired. They are known locally as the Lady Meat Cutters.

Kansas City Barbeque Society
The Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) was founded in 1986. With over 13,000 members worldwide, it is the world’s largest organization of barbecue and grilling enthusiasts. KCBS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to “promoting barbecue as America’s cuisine and having fun while doing so.”

KCBS sanctions nearly 300 barbecue contests across the U.S. each year and offers assistance to civic and charitable organizations with producing these events. The KCBS has developed a set of rules and regulations that govern all official KCBS competitions.

KCBS offers educational programs, consultation services and civic organization presentations to help spread the gospel of barbecue. The mission of the Kansas City Barbeque Society is to celebrate, teach, preserve and promote barbecue as a culinary technique, sport and art form.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Barbecue in North Carolina

July 8, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Carolina style chopped pork barbecue

Barbecue is an important part of the heritage and history of the U.S. state of North Carolina. It has resulted in a series of bills and laws that relate to the subject, and at times has been a politically charged subject. In part, this is due to the existence of two distinct types of barbecue that have developed over the last few hundred years: Lexington style and Eastern style. Both are pork-based barbecues but differ in the cuts of pork used and the sauces they are served with. In addition to the two native varieties, other styles of barbecue can be found throughout the state.

North Carolina barbecue benefits from a wide variety of influences, from Native Americans, to colonizers, to enslaved Africans on plantations to more modern ones, such as newer equipment and methods to cook the meat.

Social events such as weddings, church events, or other celebrations are often conducted as a pig pickin’, where the main course is a barbecued whole pig, spawning a whole subcategory of catering that specializes solely in this craft.

There is a somewhat light-hearted feud that exists between the proponents of the two types of barbecue: Lexington style and Eastern style. Author Jerry Bledsoe, the self-professed “world’s leading, foremost barbecue authority” claimed that Dennis Rogers, (columnist for The Raleigh News & Observer and self-professed “oracle of the holy grub”) “has ruined any chances of this state being distinguished in its barbecue.” While a degree of humor is involved, choice of barbecue type is a politically charged topic. In 2006, North Carolina House Bill 21 and North Carolina Senate Bill 47 were introduced (and ultimately defeated), sparking controversy over one of the two different styles being declared “official”, as they would have made the Lexington Barbecue Festival the official barbecue festival of North Carolina.

In a political compromise in 2007, NC House Bill 433 passed, granting the Lexington Barbecue Festival the title of “Official Food Festival of the Piedmont Triad Region of the State of North Carolina”. This effectively bypassed any controversy regarding Eastern barbecue and the region, and prevented any confusion with the title creating a singular, official barbecue for the entire state.

Types of barbecue

Lexington Barbecue Festival

Lexington style
Lexington style barbecue (occasionally referred to as Piedmont or Western style) uses a “red” sauce/dip that is seasoned with vinegar (ideally apple cider vinegar) with a little ketchup , and usually red pepper flakes, along with other spices that vary from recipe to recipe. It is most common in the Piedmont (central) and western areas of the state. This style uses only the pork shoulder section of the pig. As with other styles of barbecue, the recipes vary widely, and can include many different ingredients, and range from slightly sweet to hot and spicy. The dip also serves as the seasoning base for “red slaw” (also called “barbecue slaw”), which is coleslaw made by using Lexington-style barbecue sauce (or similar) in place of mayonnaise. Hushpuppies are usually consumed with pork shoulder and slaw.

Eastern style
Eastern-style barbecue is a whole-hog style of barbecue, often said to use “every part of the hog except the squeal”. Eastern-style sauce is vinegar- and pepper-based, with no tomato whatsoever. With Eastern Slaws, the ketchup disappears, and the mayonnaise (or whipped salad dressing) is almost universal.

Pork ribs
Pork ribs are a common alternative to the two most common types of North Carolina barbecue and a variety of festivals and competitions, such as the Twin City RibFest, are held annually. Baby Back Ribs, sometimes called top loin ribs, are short, succulent, well-marbled ribs cut from the center section of the loin. Spareribs come from lower down the rib cage (from the sides and upper belly of the pig). Larger and longer than baby backs, they contain more connective tissue, so are a little tougher, but more flavorful.

Cooking methods

Pit style
A pit barbecue is a method and constructed item for barbecue cooking meat and root vegetables buried below the surface of the earth. Indigenous peoples around the world used earth ovens for tens of thousands of years. In modern times the term and activity is often associated with the Eastern Seaboard, the “barbecue belt”, colonial California in the United States and Mexico. The meats usually barbecued in a pit in these contexts are beef, pork, and goat, with pork being the predominant choice in North Carolina.

Pit barbecue can also refer to an enclosed, above-ground “pit” such as a horno or outdoor pizza oven. The method of cooking the meat is slow, using various hardwoods to flavor the meat. This breaks down the connective tissue in the meats, producing a tender product. The types of meat cooked in this fashion include both beef and pork.

Smoke box style

A wood-fired barbecue pit.

Contrast to grilling

Oftentimes the two phrases “barbecuing” and “grilling” are mistakenly used as interchangeable words, although they imply completely different cooking methods. Grilling is a cooking method that uses dry heat, supplied by burning wood, charcoal or gas flame, and the heat is applied to the surface of the food being cooked. Typically food is cooked quickly using this method. Barbecuing is a slower process that uses lower heat and often the food is cooked by the heat of the smoke itself, rather than directly by the heat of the burning wood.

Barbecue related festivals

The Lexington Barbecue Festival is a one-day festival held each October and attracts 160,000 or more visitors to Lexington, North Carolina. The festival is held each October in uptown Lexington, a city of approximately 20,000 residents. Several city blocks of Main Street are closed to vehicle traffic for the event. In addition to a barbecue competition there are carnival rides, a number of music and entertainment venues, and over 100 vendors from all over the region participating. It is the Official Food Festival of the Piedmont Triad Region of the State of North Carolina.

In 2012, the US News and World Report ranked Lexington as #4 on its list of the best US cities for barbecue.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Barbecue in the United States

July 1, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A slab of barbecued pork ribs at Oklahoma Joe’s in Tulsa.

In the United States, barbecue refers to a technique of cooking meat outdoors over a fire; often this is called pit barbecue, and the facility for cooking it is the barbecue pit. This form of cooking adds a distinctive smoky taste to the meat; barbecue sauce, while a common accompaniment, is not required for many styles.

Often the proprietors of Southern-style barbecue establishments in other areas originate from the South. In the South, barbecue is more than just a style of cooking, but a subculture with wide variation between regions, and fierce rivalry for titles at barbecue competitions.

There are 3 ingredients to barbecue. Meat and wood smoke are essential. The use of a sauce or seasoning varies widely between regional traditions.

The first ingredient in the barbecue tradition is the meat. The most widely used meat in most barbecue is pork, particularly the pork ribs, and also the pork shoulder for pulled pork. The techniques used to cook the meat are hot smoking and smoke cooking. These cooking processes are distinct from the cold smoking preservation process. Hot smoking is where the meat is cooked with a wood fire, over indirect heat, at temperatures between 120 and 180 °F (50 and 80 °C), and smoke cooking (the method used in barbecue) is cooking over indirect fire at higher temperatures, often in the range of 250°F (121°C) ±50°F (±28°C). The long, slow cooking process take hours, as many as 18, and leaves the meat tender and juicy. Characteristically, this process leaves a distinctive line of red just under the surface, where the myoglobin in the meat reacts with carbon monoxide from the smoke, and imparts the smoky taste essential to barbecue.

The second ingredient in barbecue is the wood used to smoke the meat. Since the wood smoke flavors the food, the particular type of wood used influences the process. Different woods impart different flavors, so the regional availability of the various woods for smoking influences the taste of the region’s barbecue. Smoking the meat is the key, as otherwise cooking meat over an open flame is simply “grilling” the meat, whereas barbecue is the actual process of “smoking” it.

* Hard woods such as hickory, mesquite, pecan and the different varieties of oak impart a strong smoke flavor.
* Maple, alder, and fruit woods such as apple, pear, and cherry impart a milder, sweeter taste.
Stronger flavored woods are used for pork and beef, while the lighter flavored woods are used for fish and poultry. More exotic smoke generating ingredients can be found in some recipes; grapevine adds a sweet flavor, and sassafras, a major flavor in root beer, adds its distinctive taste to the smoke.

The last, and in many cases optional, ingredient is the barbecue sauce. There are no constants, with sauces running the gamut from clear, peppered vinegars to thick, sweet, tomato and molasses sauces to mustard-based barbecue sauces, which themselves range from mild to painfully spicy. The sauce may be used as a marinade before cooking, applied during cooking, after cooking, or used as a table sauce. An alternate form of barbecue sauce is the dry rub, a mixture of salt and spices applied to the meat before cooking.

Typical plate of chopped pork barbecue as served in a restaurant with barbecue beans, sauce and Texas toast

The origins of American barbecue date back to colonial times, with the first recorded mention in 1672 and George Washington mentions attending a “barbicue” in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1769. As the country expanded westwards along the Gulf of Mexico and north along the Mississippi River, barbecue went with it.

The core region for barbecue is the southeastern region of the United States, an area bordered on the west by Texas and Oklahoma, on the north by Missouri, Kentucky, and Virginia, on the south by the Gulf of Mexico, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. While barbecue is found outside of this region, the fourteen core barbecue states contain 70 of the top 100 barbecue restaurants, and most top barbecue restaurants outside the region have their roots there.

Barbecue in its current form grew up in the South, where cooks learned to slow-roast tough cuts of meat over fire pits to make them tender.

These humble beginnings are still reflected in the many barbecue restaurants that are operated out of “hole-in-the-wall” (or “dive”) locations; the rib joint is the purest expression of this. Many of these will have irregular hours, and remain open only until all of a day’s ribs are sold; they may shut down for a month at a time as the proprietor goes on vacation. Despite these unusual traits, rib joints will have a fiercely loyal clientele.

Barbecue is strongly associated with Southern cooking and culture due to its long history and evolution in the region. Indian corn cribs, predecessors to Southern barbecue, were described during the Hernando de Soto expedition in southwest Georgia, and were still around when English settlers arrived two centuries later. Early usage of the verb barbecue, derived from Spanish barbacoa, meant “to preserve (meat) by drying or slowly roasting”; the meaning became closer to that of its modern usage as a specific cooking technique by the time Georgia was colonized. Today, barbecue has come to embody cultural ideals of communal recreation and faithfulness in certain areas. These ideals were historically important in farming and frontier regions throughout the South and parts of the Midwest with influences from the South. As such, due to the strong cultural associations that it holds in these areas, barbecue has attained an important position in America’s culinary tradition.

Parts of the Midwest also incorporate their own styles of barbecue into their culinary traditions. For example, in Kansas City, barbecue entails a wide variety of meats, sweet and thick sauces, dry rubs, and sliced beef brisket. Kansas City barbecue is a result of the region’s history; a combination of the cooking techniques brought to the city by freed slaves and the Texas cattle drives during the late nineteenth century has led to the development of the region’s distinctive barbecue style. Barbecue as a cultural tradition spread from the South and was successfully incorporated into several Midwestern regions such as western Missouri, again owing to the cultural ideals that the barbecue tradition represents and the need for locals to express those ideals. Variations of these ideals by region are reflected in the great diversity of barbecue styles and traditions within the United States.

Barbecue has been a staple of American culture, especially Southern American culture, since colonial times. As it has emerged through the years many distinct traditions have become prevalent in the United States. The pig, the essential ingredient to any barbecue, became a fundamental part of food in the South in the 18th century because the pig requires little maintenance and is able to efficiently convert feed to meat (six times quicker than beef cattle). As a result of the prevalence of hogs in the South, the pig became synonymous with Southern culture and barbecue. The origins of the pig symbol with Southern Culture began as a result of its value as an economic commodity. By 1860, hogs and southern livestock were valued at double the cotton crop, at a price of half a billion dollars. The majority of pigs were raised by residents of the South and as a result the pigs contributed considerably to the economic well-being of many Southerners.

A barbecued pig

Pigs and barbecue were not only valuable for economic reasons but barbecue “scores of hog” were set aside for large gatherings and often used as an enticement for political rallies, church events, as well as harvest festival celebrations. Barbecues have been a part of American history and tradition from as early as the first Independence Day celebration. In the early years, Independence Day was celebrated as a formal civil gathering, in which egalitarian principles were reinforced. The traditions of Independence Day moved across the country as settlers traveled to western territories. By the 19th century, the role of barbecue in public celebration and political institutions increased significantly and it became the leading practice of communal celebrations in the South as well as the Midwest. The important social, political, and cultural gatherings of barbecues have spanned three centuries and its cultural significance remains important today.

While the wide variety of barbecue styles makes it difficult to break barbecue styles down into regions, there are four major styles commonly referenced, Carolina and Memphis, which rely on pork and represent the oldest styles, and Kansas City and Texas, which use beef as well as pork, and represent the later evolution of the original Deep South barbecue. Pork is the most common meat used, followed by beef and veal, often with chicken or turkey in addition. Lamb and mutton are found in some areas, such as Owensboro, Kentucky (International Bar-B-Q Festival), and some regions will add other meats…………..
(To be continued)

 

One of America’s Favorites – Salisbury Steak

June 24, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Salisbury steak with brown sauce

Salisbury steak is a dish, originating in the United States, made from a blend of ground beef and other ingredients and usually served with gravy or brown sauce. Hamburg steak is a similar product but differs in ingredients.

Prior to the popularity of minced or ground beef like Salisbury steak in the United States, similar foods already existed in the culinary tradition of Europe. The Apicius cookbook, a collection of ancient Roman recipes that may date to the early 4th century, details a preparation of beef called isicia omentata; served as a baked patty in which minced or chopped beef is mixed with pine kernels, black and green peppercorns, and white wine, isicia omentata may be the earliest precursor to the hamburger. In the 12th century, the nomadic Mongols carried food made of several varieties of milk (kumis) and meat (horse or camel). During the life of their leader Genghis Khan (1167–1227), the Mongol army occupied the western portions of the modern-day nations of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, forming the so-called Golden Horde. This cavalry dominated army was fast moving and sometimes unable to stop for a meal, so they often ate while riding. They wrapped a few slices of meat under their saddles so it would crumble under pressure and motion and be cooked by heat and friction. This recipe for minced meat spread throughout the Mongol Empire until its split in the 1240s. It was common for Mongol armies to follow different groups of animals (such as herds of horses or oxen or flocks of sheep) that provided the necessary protein for the warriors’ diets. Marco Polo also recorded descriptions of the culinary customs of the Mongol warriors, indicating that the flesh of a single pony could provide one day’s sustenance for 100 warriors.

When Genghis Khan’s grandson Kublai Khan (1215–1294) invaded Moscow, he and his warriors introduced minced horsemeat to the Muscovites. This was later called steak tartare. The city states of what is now Germany took to this ground meat product and created many of their own dishes by adding capers, onions and even caviar to the blend and selling it on the streets. One of the oldest references to a Hamburgh Sausage appeared in 1763 in the cookbook entitled Art of Cookery, Made Plain and Easy by Hannah Glasse (1708–1770). Hamburg Sausage is made with minced meat and a variety of spices, including nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, garlic, and salt, and is typically served with toast. A wide variety of traditional European dishes are also made with minced meat, such as meatloaf, the Serbian pljeskavica, the Arab kofta, and meatballs.

Hamburg and its port
Minced meat was a delicacy in medieval cuisine, red meat usually being restricted to the higher classes. Very little mincing was done by medieval butchers or recorded in the cookbooks of the time, perhaps because it was not part of the sausage-making process that preserve meat. Russian ships brought recipes for steak tartare to the port of Hamburg during the 17th century, a time when there was such a great presence of Russian residents there that it was nicknamed “the Russian port”. Trade within the Hanseatic League between the 13th and 17th centuries made this port one of the largest in Europe, its commercial importance being further heightened as it became vital to early transatlantic voyages during the age of steam. In the period of European colonization of the Americas, immigrants to this port were a “bridge” between old European recipes and the future development of the hamburger in the United States.

During the first half of the 19th century, most of the northern European emigrants who traveled to the New World embarked on their transatlantic voyages from Hamburg. The German shipping company Hamburg America Line, also known as the Hamburg Amerikanische Packetfahrt Actien-Gesellschaft (HAPAG), was involved in Atlantic transport for almost a century. The company began operations in 1847 and employed many German immigrants, many of them fleeing the revolutions of 1848–9. New York City was the most common destination for ships traveling from Hamburg, and various restaurants in the city began offering the Hamburg-style steak in order to attract German sailors. The steak frequently appeared on the menu as a Hamburg-style American fillet, or even beefsteak à Hambourgeoise. Early American preparations of minced beef were therefore made to fit the tastes of European immigrants, evoking memories of the port of Hamburg and the world they left behind.

Hamburg steak

Hamburg steak is known by the name “Frikadelle” in Germany since (at least) the 17th century.

In the late 19th century, the Hamburg steak became popular on the menus of many restaurants in the port of New York. This kind of fillet was beef minced by hand, lightly salted and often smoked, and usually served raw in a dish along with onions and bread crumbs. The oldest document that refers to the Hamburg steak is a Delmonico’s Restaurant menu from 1873 which offered customers an 11-cent plate of Hamburg steak that had been developed by American chef Charles Ranhofer (1836–1899). This price was high for the time, twice the price of a simple fillet of beef steak. However, by the end of the century the Hamburg steak was gaining popularity because of its ease of preparation decreasing cost. This is evident from its detailed description in some of the most popular cookbooks of the day. Documents show that this preparation style was used by 1887 in some U.S. restaurants and was also used for feeding patients in hospitals; the Hamburg steak was served raw or lightly cooked and was accompanied by a raw egg.

The menus of many American restaurants during the 19th century included a Hamburg beefsteak that was often sold for breakfast.

Dr. Salisbury
Coming from this history of ground meat dishes is the Salisbury steak, which today is usually served with a gravy similar in texture to brown sauce. Dr. James Salisbury (1823–1905), an American physician and chemist, advocated for a meat-centered diet to promote health, and the term Salisbury steak has been used in the United States since 1897.[18]

Dr. Salisbury recommended this recipe (somewhat different from modern Salisbury steak recipes) for the treatment of alimentation (digestive problems):

“ Eat the muscle pulp of lean beef made into cakes and broiled. This pulp should be as free as possible from connective or glue tissue, fat and cartilage…previous to chopping, the fat, bones, tendons and fasciae should all be cut away, and the lean muscle cut up in pieces an inch or two square. Steaks cut through the centre of the round are the richest and best for this purpose. Beef should be procured from well fatted animals that are from four to six years old.
The pulp should not be pressed too firmly together before broiling, or it will taste livery. Simply press it sufficiently to hold it together. Make the cakes from half an inch to an inch thick. Broil slowly and moderately well over a fire free from blaze and smoke. When cooked, put it on a hot plate and season to taste with butter, pepper, salt; also use either Worcestershire or Halford sauce, mustard, horseradish or lemon juice on the meat if desired. Celery may be moderately used as a relish. ”

Salisbury steak remains popular in the United States, where it is traditionally served with gravy and mashed potatoes or pasta.

United States Department of Agriculture standards for processed, packaged “Salisbury steak” require a minimum content of 65% meat, of which up to 25% can be pork, except if de-fatted beef or pork is used, the limit is 12% combined. No more than 30% may be fat. Meat byproducts are not permitted; however, beef heart meat is allowed. Extender (bread crumbs, flour, oat flakes, etc.) content is limited to 12%, except isolated soy protein at 6.8% is considered equivalent to 12% of the others. The remainder consists of seasonings, fungi or vegetables (onion, bell pepper, mushroom or the like), binders (can include egg) and liquids (such as water, milk, cream, skim milk, buttermilk, brine, vinegar etc.). The product must be fully cooked, or else labeled “Patties for Salisbury Steak”.

The standards for hamburger limit the meat to beef only, and of skeletal origin only. Salt, seasonings and vegetables in condimental proportions can be used, but liquids, binders and/or extenders preclude the use of the term “hamburger” or “burger”. With these added, the product is considered “beef patties”.

Products not made in USDA-inspected establishments are not bound by these standards and may be bound by other standards which vary from country to country.

Hamburg steak is a very similar dish.

The “Hamburger Rundstück” was popular already 1869, and is believed to be a precursor to the modern hamburger.

In Sweden, Pannbiff is similar to a Salisbury steak and is often made by a mix of ground pork and beef, chopped onions, salt and pepper. It is served with boiled potatoes, gravy made from cream, caramelized onions and lingonberries. It is a very traditional dish that is common in the husman cuisine.[citation needed]

Minced cutlet (котлета рубленая, kotleta rublenaya), or, since the late 19th century, simply “cutlet”, is a staple of Russian cuisine. It is similar to a Salisbury steak, with the main difference being pure beef is rarely employed, usually pork or a beef-pork mixture is used. The meat is seasoned with salt and pepper, mixed with finely chopped onion (optionally fried), garlic, and a binder (eggs and breadcrumbs soaked in milk), divided into oval-shaped patties, lightly breaded and shallow-fried in a half-inch of vegetable oil. The transliterated Japanese dish, menchi katsu, is always deep-fried and heavily breaded, being essentially a mincemeat croquette, while the Russian version is always shallow-fried.

 

One of America’s Favorites – Omlets

June 17, 2019 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Plain omelette with garnish

In cuisine, an omelette or omelet is a dish made from beaten eggs fried with butter or oil in a frying pan (without stirring as in scrambled egg). It is quite common for the omelette to be folded around a filling such as cheese, chives, vegetables, mushrooms, meat (often ham or bacon), or some combination of the above. Whole eggs or egg whites are beaten, sometimes with a small amount of milk, cream, or water.

The fluffy omelette is a refined version of an ancient food. According to Alan Davidson, the French word omelette came into use during the mid-16th century, but the versions alumelle and alumete are employed by the Ménagier de Paris (II, 5) in 1393. Rabelais (Pantagruel, IV, 9) mentions an homelaicte d’oeufs, Olivier de Serres an amelette, François Pierre La Varenne’s Le cuisinier françois (1651) has aumelette, and the modern omelette appears in Cuisine bourgeoise (1784).

According to the founding legend of the annual giant Easter omelette of Bessières, Haute-Garonne, when Napoleon Bonaparte and his army were traveling through southern France, they decided to rest for the night near the town of Bessières. Napoleon feasted on an omelette prepared by a local innkeeper, and thought it was a culinary delight. He then ordered the townspeople to gather all the eggs in the village and to prepare a huge omelette for his army the next day.

On March 19, 1994, the largest omelette (128.5 m2, 1,383 sq ft) in the world at the time was made with 160,000 eggs in Yokohama, Japan, but was subsequently overtaken by another, weighing 2,950 kilograms (6,500 lb), made by the Canadian Lung Association at the Brockville Memorial Centre in Brockville, Ontario, Canada, on May 11, 2002. In turn, that record was surpassed on August 11, 2012, by an omelette cooked by the Ferreira do Zêzere City Council in Santarém, Portugal. This record-breaking omelette weighed 6,466 kg (14,255 lb), and required 145,000 eggs and a 10.3-metre (34 ft) diameter pan.

An omelette foldover

Variations
* Nargesi or Spinach Omelette, an Iranian dish, is made with fried onions and spinach, and is spiced with salt, garlic, and pepper
* A Chinese omelette can be egg foo yung or an oyster omelette.
* A Denver omelette, also known as a Southwest omelette or Western omelette, is an omelette filled with diced ham, onions, and green bell peppers, though there are many variations on fillings. Often served in the Southwestern United States, this omelette sometimes has a topping of cheese and a side dish of hash browns or fried potatoes.
* A Hangtown fry, containing bacon and breaded oysters, is an unusual omelette that originated in Placerville, California, during the gold rush.
* An egg white omelette is a variation which omits the yolks to remove fat and cholesterol, which reside exclusively in the yolk portion of an egg.
* The French omelette is smoothly and briskly cooked in an extremely hot pan specially made for the purpose. The technique relies on clarified butter (to ensure a high smoke point) in relatively great ratio to the eggs (prevents sticking and cooks the eggs more quickly). Good with just salt and pepper, this omelette is often flavored with tomato and finely chopped herbs (often fines herbes or tarragon, chervil, parsley and chives) or chopped onions.
* A frittata is a kind of open-faced Italian omelette that can contain cheese, vegetables, or even leftover pasta. Frittata are cooked slowly. Except for the cooking oil, all ingredients are fully mixed with the eggs before cooking starts.

Denver omelette served with hash browns and English muffin

* The Spanish tortilla de patatas, or tortilla española in other Spanish-speaking countries, is a traditional and very popular thick omelette containing sliced potatoes sautéed in cooking oil. It often includes sliced onions (tortilla de patata con cebolla) and less commonly other additional fillings, such as cheese, bell peppers, and cooked diced ham.
* In Japan, tamagoyaki is a traditional omelette in which eggs are beaten with mirin, soy sauce, bonito flakes, sugar and water, and cooked in a special rectangular frying pan. The omelette is cooked by frying a thin layer of egg mixture and then rolling it up quickly with a pair of chopsticks to form a sausage shape in one end of the pan. Another thin layer of egg is then added to the bottom of the pan and is again rolled, with the original rolled, cooked egg at the centre, over to the other end of the pan. This is repeated until all the egg has been used up, resulting in a dense cylindrical omelette containing many thin layers. This is then squeezed into a rectangular or circular cross-section using a sushi mat, and sliced into segments for serving. Omelette (pronounced omuretsu) can mean a Western omelette. Omurice (from the English words “omelette” and “rice”) is an omelette filled with rice and usually served with a large amount of tomato ketchup. Omu-soba is an omelette with yakisoba as its filling.
* In Thai cuisine, a traditional omelette is called khai chiao ไข่เจียว (khai meaning “egg”, and chiao meaning oil-fried), in which the beaten egg mixture and a small quantity of fish sauce is deep fried in a wok filled with 1-2 cups of vegetable oil and served over steamed rice. The dish is usually served with Sriracha sauce and cilantro. A variation on this dish is khai chiao songkhrueang, where the plain egg omelette is served together with a stir-fry of meat and vegetables. Yet another type of Thai omelette is khai yat sai, literally “eggs filled with stuffing”.
* In Parsi cuisine, an omelette is called Pora which consists of eggs, onion, tomato, green chillies, coriander leaves. Usually had for breakfast with Indian/Irani tea and bread.

 

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