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Posts Tagged ‘Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub’

Tailgate Tuesday: Hickory smoked trail mix

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017


Tailgate Tuesday has traditionally been our weekly contribution from our resident pitmaster, Joe Pichey from GoBlueBBQ. Due to a new job, Joe has had limited time this season, so I have taken the reigns as interim Maize and Go Pitmaster. These tailgate recipes will be posted each Tuesday throughout the football season and will feature a variety of appetizers, main courses, and sides to help you be the king of your next tailgate. Gentry’s BBQ, a Orlando, Fla. based BBQ and catering company, sponsors this season’s feature by providing their killer rubs and sauces for use in the recipes. Buy them here. In addition, Fogo Charcoal provides charcoal to use in each recipe. Buy it here.

PreviousGator kabobsSteak tacos nortenos with bacon fat flour tortillasBrisket burnt endsFried pork tenderloin sammy with fire roasted green chile jam and savory corn casseroleSmoked onion dipJalapeno ballsSous vide french dip cheesesteakWestern style chopped pork and red slawCarolina hush puppiesSmoked beef empanadasHome-cured applewood smoked bacon; Beer cheese soup
Recipe Archive

Yes, I know today isn’t Tuesday, but I was in San Francisco for work last weekend which meant I wasn’t home to smoke anything. Due to my busy schedule I opted not to smoke a bird for Thanksgiving this year, but I wanted to at least smoke something, so since the worthless nuts from Ohio are coming to town this Saturday I decided to smoke some nuts and make my own trail mix. This one requires as few or as many ingredients you want and allows you to mix and match whatever ingredients you please to make your own trail mix. It’s easy to make ahead of time and bring to tailgates or homegates, or bag and give out as Christmas gifts. Your friends and family will thank you.

Ingredients
1 pound raw almonds
1/2 pound raw cashews
1 pound raw peanuts
1/2 pound raw pistachios
1 bag salted popcorn
1/2 pound sesame sticks
1/2 pound pepitas
8oz craisins
1 large bag plain M&Ms
1 bag Duke’s original smoked shorty sausages
Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub
Garlic powder
Directions

As mentioned above, you can use whatever type of nuts or ingredients you want, but here’s the gist of this easy recipe. Honestly, the most time consuming — and fun — part is probably deciding which ingredients to go with. If you have a Caputo’s Fresh Market near you, they have a great selection of nuts, candies, dried fruit, etc.

The general rule of thumb with a trail mix is you want nuts, dried fruit, grains, candy, and meat. You don’t have to include something from all of those categories, but a good selection makes for a well-rounded trail mix.

Fire up your smoker to 225-275 degrees. This isn’t a long smoke, so as long as it falls somewhere in that range you’re good. You don’t want it too hot because the nuts will burn easily. Put all of your nuts in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit for 10 minutes — no more — and then strain out the water. You can smoke the nuts without submerging in water first, but the water really helps both the smoke and whatever rub or seasonings you apply to stick to the nuts. Just make sure not to soak the nuts for longer than 10 minutes because they’ll start to absorb it and become mushy.

Now apply your seasonings. For this recipe I went with Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub and some garlic powder. The Beef Brigade rub provides a nice savory, peppery taste to counter the sweeter and fruitier taste of some of your other ingredients.

You can use a cookie sheet to smoke these on if that’s all you have, but a basket or grill topper that has holes in it is preferred to let the smoke penetrate from all sides. Put all of your nuts into a basket or grill topper in a single layer and place in the smoker. You’ll only be smoking these for about 30 minutes, so don’t get too comfortable. About halfway through, give them a nice stir to make sure they’re all getting smoke. You might have to smoke them in two separate batches depending on how many you have, but with the short smoke time, that’s just fine.

After about 30 minutes, pull them out of the smoker and let sit at room temperature for a couple of hours to cool and harden. You’ll notice after you take them out of the smoker that they are kind of soft, which is partly due to the water bath and also the smoking process. Once they sit for an hour or two they’ll harden back up.

Now it’s time to mix in all the other ingredients. I used pepitas, plain salted popcorn, sesame sticks, craisins, Duke’s shorties, and M&Ms in addition to my smoked almonds, peanuts, cashews, and pistachios. Side note: if you’ve never tried Duke’s smoked shorty sausages, you’ve got to give them a try. Duke’s is my go-to beef jerky brand and their shorties are great when hiking, golfing, driving, etc. Just hide them from your kids because they’ll get hooked too, although if you need to get some protein into them, these are a great way. Anyway, just cut them up into small pieces for your trail mix.

Mix everything together in your preferred proportions and now you’re ready to serve! My wife just told me it’s the best trail mix she’s ever had, so hopefully your family and friends feel the same way!

Visit Gentry’s to purchase their great rubs and sauces. You can follow them on Twitter at @gentrysbbq and you can also follow our resident pitmaster Joe at @mmmgoblubbq.

Tailgate Tuesday: Home-cured applewood smoked bacon

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017


Tailgate Tuesday is our weekly contribution from our resident pitmaster, Joe Pichey from GoBlueBBQ. Joe has limited time this season, so we will be tag-teaming the weekly recipes. These tailgate recipes will be posted each Tuesday throughout the football season and will feature a variety of appetizers, main courses, and sides to help you be the king of your next tailgate. Gentry’s BBQ, a Orlando, Fla. based BBQ and catering company, sponsors this season’s feature by providing their killer rubs and sauces for use in the recipes. Buy them here. In addition, Fogo Charcoal provides charcoal to use in each recipe. Buy it here.

PreviousGator kabobsSteak tacos nortenos with bacon fat flour tortillasBrisket burnt endsFried pork tenderloin sammy with fire roasted green chile jam and savory corn casseroleSmoked onion dipJalapeno ballsSous vide french dip cheesesteakWestern style chopped pork and red slawCarolina hush puppies; Smoked beef empanadas
Recipe Archive

With the holidays coming up most of us will be hosting family and friends or at the very least spending a few extra days at home. That means more breakfasts to make, more meals to cook, and more people to feed. So why not load your freezer with some homemade bacon that you can pull out, quickly defrost, fry up, and serve to the hungry kids or your mother in law who keeps forcing you to try her spinach and goat cheese quiche. Yes, that’s right, I said homemade bacon. It’s a delicacy that takes more time than other smoked meats, but if you have the foresight to plan ahead I assure you you’ll fall in love and never want to go back to store-bought bacon again. It’s a pretty easy process but you have to be precise in your measurements and give it time to cure.

Ingredients
6-9 pound pork belly
4.5 tsp Kosher salt
4.5 tsp Ground black pepper
6 TBSP brown sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 tsp Prague Powder #1
Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub
1/2 cup maple syrup
More ground black pepper
Directions

To get a pork belly you’re going to have to go to a butcher. You likely won’t find it at a regular grocery store, though you may be able to ask the butcher at the counter for one. In Chicago, I love Peoria Packing which has amazing prices on anything pig-related. I picked up a 9-pound belly for about $20.

You can get your butcher to remove the skin for you, which is way easier than doing it yourself, but I didn’t have time when I went to the store, so I did it myself. You can tell the difference between skin and fat by how tough it is. Skin is hard to even slice through with a knife, and if you’re lucky, you might even get one with nipples still on it! That’s normal…you just don’t want to eat them. If you do it yourself, just make sure to slice it all off without removing meat or fat. If you do remove a little here and there, it’s not the end of the world, but try to remove as little as possible. It’s a bit of a process, but it must be done. If you want to save the skin and make cracklins, you can go full southerner, but otherwise just toss it.

Depending on the size of your belly (the pork one, that is), you can cut it in half at this point. You want about a 3-pounder, so if it’s six pounds, cut it in half. If it’s nine pounds, cut it in thirds. You can either do both or pop the one(s) you don’t use in the freezer for a later date. I cut mine in half and made two varieties. I’m showing you the maple pepper variety now, but I also made an Asian one that was great.

Now it’s time to make your brine. There are two ways to cure bacon: dry and wet. I’ve done both with great results, but it’s universally safer to wet brine because it helps avoid hot spots or dry spots with your cure. So that’s what we’re going to do.

Mix 4.5 teaspoons of Kosher salt, 4.5 teaspoons of ground black pepper, 6 table spoons of dark brown sugar, 3/4 cup of water, 1/2 cup of maple syrup, and a half teaspoon of Prague Powder #1. You want to be really careful with Prague Powder #1 (it’s the pink stuff that you’ll probably have to order online). Never eat it and always make sure to use the correct amount in the curing process. There are several handy dandy calculators that can help you get the right amount so you don’t use too much or too little, which could make you sick.

Put your pork belly into a large Ziplock bag and then dump the brine into it and seal, pushing all of the air out. If you have a FoodSaver, use it. Put your bag on a cookie sheet and put into the fridge for 7-10 days. Each day you’ll want to massage the bag and flip it over to help the cure get all over the meat.

After 7-10 days, it’s finally time to smoke. Many people say seven days is the sweet spot, but that requires precise planning ahead and being able to smoke it on the seventh day. Mine went 10 days and was just fine. Take it out of the bag, being careful not to spill the liquid all over the floor or counter. Dump it down the sink, then rinse off your belly with cold water. Rinse it really well to get everything off. If there is pepper still clinging to it, that’s fine. Now, pour your Gentry’s Beef Brigade Rub all over it and rub it in. Yes, we’re using a beef rub on pork, but it works great. I like even more pepper, so I added more coarse ground black pepper and also drizzled some maple syrup on top.

Fire up your smoker to about 200-225 degrees. I have a Masterbuilt electric smoker that I inherited from my wife’s grandfather, who got into smoking about 10 years ago because of me, but then got to old to do it, so he gave me his smoker. I affectionately named it Lloyd and use it solely for smoking bacon because it’s so easy to keep the temperature low and consistent. I used apple wood for this, which is my preferred wood for smoking bacon. Hickory works great too, but stay away from harder, more pungent woods such as mesquite. I tried pecan once and did not like the result.

Put your belly in and let it go for 2-3 hours until it reaches 150 degrees internal. Mine took about three hours but I also had two bellies in at the same time. Once up to temp, pull them, put them on a plate or sheet pan, and stick into the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. This lets the juices rest and congeal and will make it much easier to slice than doing so right out of the smoker.

When you’re ready to slice some up, cut equal-sized slices and fry them up like you would any normal bacon. Because these slices will likely be thicker than store-bought bacon, it won’t get as crispy as that, but you don’t want it to. Give it a taste and I promise that you’ll never want to buy pre-made bacon again. Slice up the whole belly and seal it with your FoodSaver or in freezer bags and then throw them in the freezer for a later date. My freezer is now full of bacon to last me the next few weeks!

Visit Gentry’s to purchase their great rubs and sauces. You can follow them on Twitter at @gentrysbbq and you can also follow our resident pitmaster Joe at @mmmgoblubbq.

Tailgate Tuesday: Smoked beef empanadas

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017


Tailgate Tuesday is our weekly contribution from our resident pitmaster, Joe Pichey from GoBlueBBQ. Joe has limited time this season, so we will be tag-teaming the weekly recipes. These tailgate recipes will be posted each Tuesday throughout the football season and will feature a variety of appetizers, main courses, and sides to help you be the king of your next tailgate. Gentry’s BBQ, a Orlando, Fla. based BBQ and catering company, sponsors this season’s feature by providing their killer rubs and sauces for use in the recipes. Buy them here. In addition, Fogo Charcoal provides charcoal to use in each recipe. Buy it here.

PreviousGator kabobsSteak tacos nortenos with bacon fat flour tortillasBrisket burnt endsFried pork tenderloin sammy with fire roasted green chile jam and savory corn casseroleSmoked onion dipJalapeno ballsSous vide french dip cheesesteakWestern style chopped pork and red slaw; Carolina hush puppies
Recipe Archive

A few weeks ago I mentioned my favorite lunch spot in Chicago, Nini’s Deli. I can’t recommend this place enough if you’re ever in the Windy City. It has been featured on Chicago news and even on the Travel Channel’s Food Paradise this year. It’s Cuban-Mexican fusion inspired by the owner, Juan’s parents, who are from Cuba and Mexico. My absolute favorite sandwich is the ropa vieja burrito, but you can’t go to Nini’s without getting an empanada or two. That’s what inspired this week’s recipe.

Ingredients
4-6 pound beef shoulder roast
3 onions
1 can diced green chiles
Monterey jack cheese
Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub
1 bottle dark beer
1 egg
2 TBSP milk
1/8 tsp salt
2.25 cups sifted flour
1.5 tsp salt
1 stick butter
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
Directions

Start with your beef shoulder and rub it all over with your Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub. As its name suggests, this stuff is great on beef, delivering a nice salty and peppery flavor with hints of coffee and garlic. Fire up your smoker to 225-250 using your preferred type of wood. I like a mix of hickory and oak.

Pour a bottle of dark beer into a foil pan and fill it the rest of the way with water. You can use two bottles of beer if you want, or just drink one of them. Put the foil pan in the smoker underneath your meet to provide moisture during the smoke process. Depending on the size of your beef, it will cook for anywhere from five to eight hours, so plan accordingly.

About halfway through the smoke, you can start your empanada dough. First, whisk together one egg, two tablespoons of milk, and an eight teaspoon of salt. Set it aside. In a separate bowl, mix 2.25 cups of sifted flour and a teaspoon and a half of salt. Now chop a stick of butter into a few smaller chunks and put them into your flour mixture. Using clean bare hands, kneed it all together until the butter is well incorporated into your flour. It should resemble crumbs at this point. Now, pour your whisked egg into it along with a tablespoon of cider vinegar (white will work too) and a third-cup of cold water. Mix it all together.

Dump it out onto a floured surface and form it all together. No need to really kneed it at this point, just make sure it’s compact so you can wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until you’re ready for it.

When your beef reaches an internal temperature of between 195 and 205 degrees, it’s ready to be pulled. Remember, during the smoking process, it will hit a stall in the 150s and this is perfectly normal. Don’t panic if it takes a while to power through it. Just let the process work. You can also spritz with beer, cider vinegar, or water throughout the process if you want. When it’s done, pull it, wrap in foil, and set in a cooler for at least 30 minutes, up to a couple hours. This lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat. You could cut or shred it at this point, but trust me, it’s better to let it rest for a bit.

While it’s resting, slice up three onions and then sauté them with olive oil. Do this on a medium heat so they can sweat out instead of cooking quickly. Then toss in a can of diced green chiles and cook with your onions until heated through. Set aside. Your beef should be ready to shred at this point. I shredded and chopped mine out of preference.

Take your dough out of the fridge and roll out on a floured surface. Get it nice and thin, but not too thin. Use your best judgment here. Take a cup, bowl, or any other circular shaped object with a crisp edge and cut out circles as small or big as you want your empanadas to be. If you want to make them as appetizers, a standard-size glass will do. I used a cereal bowl and wish I had done them a little bit bigger, but they turned out great.

Now, spoon some beef into the middle of each circle, then top with a spoonful of your onion and green chile mixture. Finally, top with some monterey jack cheese. When you are filling them, just be careful not to over fill them or it will be hard to do the next step, which is fold them over. Fold one side over the filling to connect to the other side. Press with your thumbs all around where they connect. Use a fork to press into them to seal the two sides together, or braid them over each other.

Heat up some vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet and place a few of your empanadas in. After a couple minutes give them a turn so both sides can cook. Keep a close eye on these so they don’t burn. You want a nice golden brown color. Once they’re ready, remove from the oil and set on a paper towel to cool, then they’re ready to eat! These are fantastic dipped in a Mojo sauce. I suggest ordering a bottle of Mojo sauce from Habana Cafe in Gulfport, Fla. I had dinner there on a work trip a couple weeks ago and that stuff is like liquid crack.

These may not be a traditional tailgate menu item, but I can assure you that after you try them they’ll be a crowd pleaser and you’ll want to make them again.

Visit Gentry’s to purchase their great rubs and sauces. You can follow them on Twitter at @gentrysbbq and you can also follow our resident pitmaster Joe at @mmmgoblubbq.

Tailgate Tuesday: Sous vide french dip cheesesteak

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017


Tailgate Tuesday is our weekly contribution from our resident pitmaster, Joe Pichey from GoBlueBBQ. Joe has limited time this season, so we will be tag-teaming the weekly recipes. These tailgate recipes will be posted each Tuesday throughout the football season and will feature a variety of appetizers, main courses, and sides to help you be the king of your next tailgate. Gentry’s BBQ, a Orlando, Fla. based BBQ and catering company, sponsors this season’s feature by providing their killer rubs and sauces for use in the recipes. Buy them here. In addition, Fogo Charcoal provides charcoal to use in each recipe. Buy it here.

PreviousGator kabobsSteak tacos nortenos with bacon fat flour tortillasBrisket burnt endsFried pork tenderloin sammy with fire roasted green chile jam and savory corn casseroleSmoked onion dip; Jalapeno balls
Recipe Archive

One of my favorite lunch spots in Chicago is a small spot in between River West and West Town called Nini’s Deli. This place is awesome, and if you go in there tell him Justin sent you. My man Juan serves up Cuban-Mexican fusion cuisine inspired by his parents’ ethnic background. One of the items that isn’t on his regular menu, but makes an appearance every now and then is his sirloin tip cuban steak sandwich. That’s what semi-inspired my recipe this week. It’s not the same, but it gave me the vision to try out my own recipe and that became what I’m calling a french dip cheesesteak and it turned out great.

Ingredients
4-5 pound beef roast
2 Onions
1 Green pepper
French Rolls
Worcestershire sauce
American cheese slices
Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub
Directions

I was going to do this in the Big Green Egg, but Saturday turned out to be rainy, so I decided to toss it into the Sous Vide. If you don’t have one, I suggest getting one…you can get a good one for $100-150 these days. I used to think that using a Sous Vide was cheating on my smoker, but I’ve learned to consider it an essential tool in my BBQ tool belt if you will. It really is convenient — if you have the foresight to plan ahead — and produces some great results. It’s almost foolproof.

Start by trimming up your beef roast a little bit. I used an eye of round, a lean, inexpensive cut that works for roast beef. You can use pretty much any cut of beef for this, and if you want to turn it up a notch, use a brisket or top sirloin. But we’re going for economy here, so I chose a cheap cut. Give it a nice coating of your Gentry’s Beef Brigade BBQ Rub, which is great on beef. It’s a salt and pepper based rub with hints of coffee and garlic and it’s perfect for any giving a nice bark.

If you have a Sous Vide, then I’d also suggest investing in a FoodSaver so you can vacuum seal the items you cook. It’s not mandatory (a Ziplock will work) but it’s fun. Put your rubbed roast into the bag along with a sliced onion and several shakes of Worcestershire sauce and vacuum seal it. Get your Sous Vide heated up to anywhere between 130 and 140 degrees, and once the water is to temp, submerge the bag completely. I did mine at 140, which is the bottom edge of medium, and in hindsight would have set it lower because by the time it finished cooking internally after removing and searing, it was well into the medium and probably approaching medium well.

You can let it go anywhere between eight hours and 24 hours. If it’s a nicer cut of meat, six or eight hours could be enough, but if it’s a cheaper cut, let it go longer to really get nice and tender. Mine was in for about 19 hours before I pulled it. Remove the bag from the water, carefully cut it open without spilling the meat juice everywhere, and sear all sides on a hot cast iron. Save your meat juice in a bowl.

Now sauté your second onion and a green pepper and put your french rolls into the oven to toast a little bit. Then it’s time to start building your sandwich. Slice the beef roast and place a nice heaping amount onto the bottom part of the french roll. Top it with some sautéed onions and peppers and then a couple slices of American cheese. Now, leaving the top bun off, put it under the broiler for 30-60 seconds to melt the cheese. Put the top bun on and you’re ready to eat.

You can use the reserved meat juice as your au jus and enjoy your combination between a French dip and a cheesesteak. Sure, the Sous Vide took a long time, but this recipe was pretty simple, and well worth the wait.

Visit Gentry’s to purchase their great rubs and sauces. You can follow them on Twitter at @gentrysbbq and you can also follow our resident pitmaster Joe at @mmmgoblubbq.