Like most southerners, we enjoy us some good barbecue around our house. Greg smokes a Boston butt that would win first place at barbecue cook-offs everywhere. Wes enjoys smoking ribs, and his method is flawless. Savannah and I have several homemade barbecue sauce recipes that we keep on hand too.
Barbecue chicken is not one of our specialties, though. That is, until recently when I tried a new barbecue sauce recipe. It’s a smoky sauce with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce that tastes amazing! It is the number one flavor that I am craving these days.
We have been eating this sauce on everything lately. We have had it on Barbecue Nachos, barbecue burgers, barbecue shrimp, and on these delicious Barbecue Grilled Chicken Sandwiches.
Another important step, not to be skipped, in making these mouth-watering sandwiches is the brining of the chicken. In my opinion, there is no better Thanksgiving turkey than a brined turkey. I don’t fry chicken often but when I do you can bet I will brine it first.
The salt in a brine allows the chicken to retain moisture. A couple of things to remember when you brine chicken are first, try to use kosher salt or sea salt. Also, do not brine the chicken over two hours. It can get rubbery when overbrined.
Smoky Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
- ¼ c. coarse salt
- ¼ c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 20 whole black peppercorns
- 1 c. hot water plus 3 c. cold water
- 1 lemon, thinlhy sliced
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a cleaver
- Smoky Barbecue Sauce:
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- ½ small onion, chopped
- 1 lg. or 2 small cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 c. ketchup
- ½ c. molasses
- ⅓ c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce, seeded and roughly chopped
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grilled Chicken:
- 2 lg. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half vertically, then cut into thin cutlets, horizontally
- 4 lg. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lettuce leaves
- Sliced tomatoes
- Sliced red onion
- Sliced Colby Jack cheese
- Additional Barbecue sauce, if desired
- To make the brine: Place the salt, brown sugar, and peppercorns in a large glass bowl and add hot water. Whisk until the salt and brown sugar are dissolved. Stir in the cold water and let cool to room temperature. Pour the brine over the chicken and stir in the lemon slices, onion, and garlic. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let stand in the refrigerator for 2 hours, turning the chicken once of twice.
- To make the barbecue sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook about 30 seconds. Add ½ c. water and the ketchup, molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire, chipotles, a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Store the sauce in the refrigerator.
- To grill the chicken: Preheat the grill to high. When ready to cook, brush the grate with oil. Arrange the chicken on the hot grate and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F. During the last 2 minutes or so, start basting the chicken on both sides with barbecue sauce. Remove chicken from grill and assemble sandwiches right away.
The Olympics are over and what am I going to do now? That has been my pastime for two weeks! I have enjoyed watching this year more than any other in the past. My favorite sports to watch were anything that was on the water and gymnastics. Did you see Simone Manuel’s reaction when she won? Not only was I in tears watching her but seeing Michael Phelps overcome with emotion while the Star Spangled Banner played pretty much had me sobbing.
Getting right back on track I whipped up some Buffalo Butter to go with grilled Chicken we will be having for dinner tonight. I enjoy adding a little flavor to any grilled meat. Sometimes with a marinade or a rub but sometimes with flavored butter. I have a great recipe for Ranchman’s Steak Butter here, on NJSD. It is fabulous on beef or pork. Buffalo Butter is delicious too but we usually eat it with chicken or shrimp, and I even like it on grilled or steamed vegetables!
This butter is made with four ingredients; it’s easy to mix up and have on hand. It can be frozen and will last for months in the freezer or weeks in the refrigerator.
- ½ c. butter, room temperature
- 2 oz. blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 tbsp. Frank's Red Hot Sauce or other vinegar-based hot sauce
- 1 tbsp. chopped chives
- Mix the ingredients in a small bowl until well combined. Lay out a large piece of plastic wrap on a clean counter. Spoon the butter mixture onto the bottom third of plastic wrap, then roll into a log. Refrigerate for one hour, or until firm.
I have not found a way that I will not eat a sweet potato. I enjoy them baked with butter, and a little cinnamon, or in a casserole, or au gratin, or in a pie or cobbler, and now my new favorite way to have them is in a smoothie! Such a delicious way to start the day and get a good dose of nutrients too!
You can bake sweet potatoes ahead of time. Keep the skin on and in an airtight container in the refrigerator. That makes it easy to make this smoothie early in the a.m. When I do not want to make banana bread, I take overripe bananas, peel them and add one banana in a snack-size ziplock bag. I then place the many snack size bags in one big gallon bag for the freezer. It’s so easy to take one out when you need it.
Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie
- ½ c. sweet potato, cooked, peeled, and mashed
- ½ frozen banana, cut into chunks
- 1 c. ice cubes
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- ¾ c. milk
- ¾ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- Splenda, Truvia, honey, or sugar, to taste
- whipped cream and nutmeg, for garnish, optional
- In a blender combine sweet potato, banana, ice cubes, vanilla, milk, pumpkin pie spice, and sweetener. Blend on low until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish, if desired.
School has started most everywhere, and I attended the first scrimmage of the football season on Saturday night. It’s entirely too hot for football, but I’m so thrilled that cooler weather is near! We even braved the heat to tailgate before the scrimmage game. I love that time before a football game with friends, sharing laughs and tailgating food! Do you have a favorite tailgating recipe that you would like to share? If so, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be sharing tailgating recipes before long and I’d love to share yours too!
Believe it or not, there are Greek burgers buried under those juicy tomatoes, red onion slices, salty feta, and kalamata olives! Only a few simple ingredients will transform regular ground beef into this exceptional burger for a flavorful and satisfying meal.
These burgers may be served on buns, pitas, or lettuce wraps. Try making these burgers with ground lamb, turkey, or chicken instead of beef for a nice change.
Greek Burgers with Sour Cream Tzatziki Sauce
- 3 lb. ground chuck
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 to 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- Pinch red chili flakes, optional
- Toppings: Sliced tomato, feta cheese, sliced red onion, kalamata olives, lettuce
- Gently mix ground beef with olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper, and red chili flakes, if desired. Form into 6½-lb. patties. Cook patties as desired to desired doneness.
- Serve burgers on toasted buns, pita bread, or in lettuce wraps. Top with Tzatziki sauce and your favorite toppings.
Sour Cream Tzatziki Sauce
- 1½ c. sour cream
- 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and grated
- 2 tbsp. dried dill weed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- pinch salt
- Place grated cucumber in a large, clean dish cloth and twist tight, squeezing as much juice from the cucumber as possible.
- In a medium bowl mix the sour cream, squeezed dry cucumber, dill weed, garlic, lemon juice, and salt.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
This is best made a couple of hours before serving.
Wow, what a weekend! It was an extremely busy around our house and quite frankly, I’m getting too old for this! First of all, we helped Savannah move out. She sent photos Sunday afternoon; it looks like she and her roommates have organized and decorated their little house beautifully!
After that hot and heavy job, we had a sick puppy that had to go to the vet, I was busy doing laundry and helping Greg pack for South America, and Wesley’s team had a scrimmage game. I need this week to rest!
Today I’m sharing a wonderful recipe from my cousin, Nancy. She makes this incredible baked squash. It has the flavor or fried squash without the mess of frying! Don’t expect it to be crisp like fried squash, but the flavor is spot on. This recipe is an old one, passed down to Nancy by my Aunt Euly.
On a sad note, my Uncle Manuard died last week. Uncle Manuard married my mama’s oldest sister, Aunt Ruby. Uncle Manuard owned and operated a garage and Aunt Ruby raised chickens. They both loved their nieces and nephews. When we would visit them when I was a child, Uncle Manuard would always take me to the vending machines in the garage for a Dr. Pepper and Barbeque chips. Just goes to show that you don’t have to do fancy things for kids to make good memories. He will be missed, but I’m thankful he is with Aunt Ruby once again!
Southern Baked Squash
- Small baby yellow squash, washed and cut in half lengthwise
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Melted buter, amount depends on the number of squash
- Cornmeal, amount depends on the number of squash
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Pour cornmeal in a rimmed baking dish and set aside.
- Place cut squash in a large bowl and sprinkle with enough water to dampen them.
- Remove the squash from the bowl a few at a time. Roll in cornmeal and place on the prepared pan, cut side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with melted butter. Repeat until all of the squash are coated with cornmeal.
- Bake at 400°F until golden brown. Serve warm.