Category Archives: Meat

Rodney Scott’s Smoked Prime Rib

Have you ever smoked a prime rib low and slow? This recipe will have you itching to try your hand at it.
Have you ever smoked a prime rib low and slow? This recipe will have you itching to try your hand at it.

Rodney Scott has felt the blistering heat at the heart of a raging fire.

Both in front of the barbecue pit and in life.

In his new cookbook-memoir, “Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ: Every Day Is a Good Day” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy, this legendary pitmaster lays bare both his rise to success and the subsequent yawning chasm in his relationship with his father.

It’s a book that offers lessons in cooking, of course, but also in fortitude and perseverance.

What’s more, despite the legion of barbecue and grilling books that have flooded the market over the years, it’s also astonishingly billed as the first cookbook written by a black pitmaster.

About time.

James Beard Award winning Scott, chef and co-owner of the legendary barbecue mecca, Rodney Scott’s BBQ in Charleston, S.C.; Birmingham, AL; and Atlanta, GA, wrote the book with Lolis Eric Elie, a writer and filmmaker, and one of the founders of the Southern Foodways Alliance.

Scott has led a hard-scrabble life, in which his family eked out a living growing soybeans, corn and tobacco on their farm in Hemingway, SC (population 400). It was at the family-owned store that Scott’s father got the idea to sell barbecue. He took charge of the pig while his wife made the sauce.

As his parents’ only child, Scott grew up helping on the farm and at Scott’s Bar-B-Q from a young age. In fact, he cooked his first hog at age 11, stoking the coals every 15 minutes in the wee hours by himself.

When Scott grew older and branched out on his own in Charleston, winning widespread acclaim in the process, he butted heads with his dad. Unfortunately to this day, their relationship remains strained.

You can cherish this book simply for the inspiring story of a man who worked his way up from nothing to the very top of the barbecue pinnacle. Or you can also relish in cooking from it.

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Espresso-Marinated Flat Iron Steak

There's no time like Fourth of July to try this espresso-garlic marinated flat iron steak on the grill.
There’s no time like Fourth of July to try this espresso-garlic marinated flat iron steak on the grill.

Don’t just sip that morning espresso. Use it to marinate steak for a sensational supper.

“Espresso-Marinated Flat Iron Steak” is definitely a recipe worth saving some of those coffee beans to try. It’s from the new cookbook, “Table with a View: The History of Recipes of Nick’s Cove’ (Harry N. Abrams) by Dena Grunt, the owner of Nick’s Cove, the picturesque restaurant and resort overlooking Tomales Bay.

Originally built in the 1930s, this historic resort features charming waterfront cottages, a rustic bar, and a restaurant where Chef Kua Speer showcases local seafood, cheeses, and produce, including vegetables, fruits and herbs from The Croft, the resort’s own garden.

Leafing through the book is like taking a vacation unto itself with beautiful photos of brilliant-blue Tomales Bay. You’ll definitely work up an appetite, too, spying recipes from the resort for “Dungeness Crab Cakes with Spicy Paprika Mayo,” “Rabbit Sugo Papparadelle,” “Tomales Bay Clam Chowder,” and “Lobster Poutine.”

Flat iron steak is so named because it’s thought to resemble the shape of an old-school metal iron. Cut from the chuck (or shoulder), it has quite a bit of marbling, unlike the much-leaner flank steak of which it bears a resemblance.

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Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce

Pistachios and prunes make up the filling and the sauce for this simple pork tenderloin roll.
Pistachios and prunes make up the filling and the sauce for this simple pork tenderloin roll.

This is one of those dishes that looks like you slaved over yet is really as simple as it gets.

“Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce” may have only seven ingredients, but it delivers on flavor and presence so much that it’s definitely worthy of being served to company.

This recipe is from the new “Tuscan Women Cook: Nonnas. Memories. Recipes.” (self-published), of which I received a review copy. It’s by Coleen Kirnan with Rhonda Vilardo, who run the aforementioned Tuscan Women Cook, a culinary immersion program in Italy, in which students learn authentic, time-honored dishes during hands-on, week-long classes.

The recipes in the book are inspired by the family recipes and culture of the Val d’Orsia region of Tuscany, just south of Siena.

Recipes such as “Zuppa di Stracci” (“Stracciatella Soup”), “Ravioli di Ricotta ed Erbe Aromatiche” (“Ravioli with Ricotta and Herbs”), and “Melanzane alla Parmigiana” (a lighter version of “Eggplant Parmesan” that forgoes breading and frying) are sure to appeal to any Italian food lover.

“Filetto di Maiale con Prugne e Pistachio” or “Pork Tenderloin with Plum Sauce” makes use of a mix of pistachios and prunes (yes, dried plums) in two ways.

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Where I’ve Been Getting Takeout of Late, Part 31

Cuban pork-plantain enchiladas from Aqui.
Cuban pork-plantain enchiladas from Aqui.

Aqui, San Jose, Campbell, Cupertino

Long before certain chefs in Southern California and on the East Coast were gaining fame for stuffing tacos and burritos with all manner of global ingredients, there was Aqui.

It was a forerunner to the novelty of folding flour tortillas around a filling of Thai peanut saucy chicken or tangy goat cheese to create something anew.

It opened way back in 1994 in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood. I remember going there in the late ’90s, where no matter if it was lunch or dinner, you’d have to time it just right or risk not getting a table. Today, Aqui is not only still going strong, but it now boasts five locations in the South Bay.

It’s easy to see why it’s so popular. It’s fun, vibrant California-ized Mexican-inspired food in generous portions. Order the avocado dip ($7.49), and you’ll get enough tortilla chips to feed four handily, along with salsa fresca on the side for good measure. The avocado dip is essentially a chunk guacamole with habanero, lime, and cilantro. The menu says there’s mango in it, but it’s not readily detectable. The chips are very crisp and have a great rustic corn taste.

The Cuban pork enchiladas ($12.49) come three to an order, along with black beans and crunchy, mild tasting Aqui slaw. The enchiladas are filled with ground pork that’s been cooked with mashed plaintains, giving it a nice sweetness, before being napped with a red, nutty tasting achiote sauce. Squiggles of sour cream decorate the top.

Don't miss the flourless chocolate cake.
Don’t miss the flourless chocolate cake.

On the lighter side, the Southwest Caesar ($9.49) was a kaleidoscope of color with yellow, purple and red fried tortilla strips all over the top. It’s a simple mix of crunchy Romaine, pumpkin seeds, black beans and grilled corn, done up with a flourish of Asiago cheese, but really hits the spot.

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Effortless Grilled Pork Kebabs With Hoisin and Five-Spice

The most time-consuming part of this simple dish is just threading the pork onto the skewers -- and that takes hardly any time at all.
The most time-consuming part of this simple dish is just threading the pork onto the skewers — and that takes hardly any time at all.

When you’re married to a man whose nickname is Meat Boy, and a “Meat Illustrated: A Foolproof Guide to Understanding and Cooking with Cuts of All Kinds” cookbook lands on your porch, you know you’ll have to practically pry it out of his hands to ever get a look at it, yourself.

Such was the case when a review copy of that meat-centric tome (Cook’s Illustrated) by America’s Test Kitchen arrived.

With more than 350 recipes for beef, pork, lamb, and veal, it’s a true meat lover’s manual. It includes illustrations showing where each cut is found on a particular animal. It also will teach you how to make meat juicier through pre-salting or brining; what kind of fat to trim off and how much; and how to cure your own bacon.

The recipes make use of a range of cooking techniques and run the gamut from “Sous Vide Pepper-Crusted Beef Roast” and “Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder with Peach Sauce” to “Slow-Cooker Sweet-and-Sour Barbecue Spareribs” and “Egyptian Eggah with Ground Beef and Spinach.”

You can’t go wrong with “Grilled Pork Kebabs with Hoisin and Five-Spice” that’s easy and quick enough to make on a busy weeknight.

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