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Recipes from OleDocJ

Awesome Salsa
Beef Enchiladas
Chicken & Noodles
Chile Verde Pork Stew
Chipotles Adobados
Grilled Lamb Kabobs a.k.a. Souvlakia
Lemony Greek Pasta Sauce
Li Ying's Steamed Dumplings
Mexican Rice
Mustard Greens
OleDocJ's Homemade Pizza Sauce
OleDocJ's Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas)
OleDocJ's Thickener #1
Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions
Pulled Chicken Tamale Pie
Pulled Pork Tacos
Red Chile Sauce (Mole de Chile Rojo)
Round Tip Steak Stir Fry
Salsa Verde
Smoked Chicken Gyro with a Modified Tzatziki Sauce
Smokin' Ribs

Cooking Lessons from OleDocJ

Refried Beans

Recipes from OleDocJ

Awesome Salsa

For allaya ChileHeads out there, I made an awesome salsa last night!

I know CJV uses dem dried chiles a lot, but I jest started doin' them! I usually use da powders, but this time I used some of dem bona fide dried chiles to make some salsa.

1 oz (about) dried guajillo chile pods
2 oz (about) dried pasilla chile pods
½ yellow onion, slice thin and coarsely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground Mexican oregano
1 tsp salt
1+ Tbsp cider vinegar
olive oil as needed
juice of 1 lime

Heat up the skillet with some olive oil and toast the chile pods for several minutes over medium high heat. Remove to a plate to cool.

Add the onions to the oil in the skillet and sautee them until they brown and start to carmelize. Add in the minced garlic for a minute or two.

Remove the stems, seeds, and veins from the toasted chile pods. Cut them up into pieces into a 4-cup glass bowl/measuring vessel. Add in the carmelized onions and garlic. Add three cups of hot water. Heat in microwave until near boiling. Cover and allow dried peppers and stuff to steep for a couple of hours.

Add in the spices and vinegar. Puree with a stick blender. Let stand for a few hours then add the lime juice and puree again with the stick blender.

It's sort of "medio picante" but mighty tasty!!! This is a very dark brown salsa - good for chips and enchiladas. Very rich flavor and could be used as a base for making mole poblano!

Beef Enchiladas

(Serve with refried beans and shredded lettuce with salsa.)

Made a batch of "shredded beef" for enchiladas - oh so yummy! I was right re the recipe in a previous thread: You need not add any water at all. In fact, I still ended up with lots of juices after 2 hr f stovetop braising!!

2¼ lbs beef chuck roast - trimmed and cut into handful-size chunks.
1 med yellow onion - diced
½ lg poblano chile - cleaned and diced
4 jalapenos - cleaned and diced
salt, pepper, dried oregano, chile rub mix

Browned meat chunks in oil, added in diced onion and chiles, added in spices, and reduce to simmer for 2 hrs.

Within minutes the meat was almost completely covered with juices from the meat and veggies. No need for any other liquid to braise.

Pulled out the meat after 2 hrs and pulled it into shreds and chunks - melt in mouth tender! Added some Red Chile Sauce (Mole de Chile Rojo) and mixed.

Continued to simmer the remaining juices for 10 min or so to reduce to a thick gravy. Added that back to the pulled/shredded beef. Yummy!! That will make some mighty tasty enchiladas!!

Chicken & Noodles

Ahhh... the cool autumn days have set in! Time for baking and cooking soup and comfort food!

I made me a mess of chicken & noodles! So good! Oh, man, did that hit the spot!

It all started out with a fresh chicken on sale for 69 cents per lb. I needed to make some good chicken stock, so I braised the 4.5 lb chicken in water with onions (water half way up the side of the chicken and one onion sliced and diced) and lots of spices on top - garlic salt, pepper, granulated garlic, onion powder, thyme, sage...about 1.5 to 2 hours until it was about to fall apart.

Fished out dat chicken with my largest turner and ladle. Let it cool on a platter until I could peel of da skin and pick the meat from the carcass. Put da meat away in da fridge and made stock with the skin and bones and carcass.

After straining the stock, I let it set in da fridge for about 24 hr and removed the congealed fat on top. I used da bones and slop to make Chicken Slop & Pasta for OleLab - he loves dat! Basically, I simmer dem bones for another 24 hours until they are soft enough to smash with my fingers then cook up the smashed bones and slop with some rice, oats, and pasta added to thicken it into mush.

With the picked chicken and stock in hand, I set out for the Holy Grail! That would be my ultimate comfort food: chicken & noodles!!!

I got a bit creative by adding some peas and carrots and peppers to it (I feel guilty when I eat white food with no veggies in it!), but it tasted just as good as the traditional mess without any veggies in it.

One word to the wise for making chicken & noodles: There ain't no such thing as 'al dente' when it comes to this dish! You cook dem noodles until they are so swollen that they are starting to disintegrate! I reckon that's the whole point - make dem noodles look like a dumplin's sibling!

Anyhoo... I used up 3 cups of chicken stock (chicken jello), 3 cups of water, and about 10 oz of wide egg noodles (that's all that was left in the bag - but it worked out just right). Boiled them noodles for about 30 min with some olive oil on top to cut the frothing.

Added 12 oz of frozen peas and carrots and about 4 oz of diced green and red bell peppers. Brought it back to simmering and added about 1 lb of that picked chicken meat. Spiced it up with some garlic salt, pepper, and basil.

Let it simmer for another 30 min or so until it was thick and bubbly.

Ummm... good!
Real good!
Mighty good!

I've never been a mac & cheese freak - always been a chicken & noodles or a beef & noodles freak, me!


Chile Verde Pork Stew

I've posted recipes for this on other boards in the past, but there really is no one set-in-stone recipe - it's more of a process than a recipe.

That said, here is a basic guideline:

2 to 2½ lbs of lean pork - I use pork sirloin. Pork loin also works.
¾ to 1 lb of onion, diced
3-4 large cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
½ lb bell peppers, diced
½ lb jalapeno chiles, diced
1 lb poblano chiles (roasted and peeled - or not), diced
1 lb tomatillos, diced
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp dried oregano entero
garlic salt to taste
coarse black pepper to taste

After cooking up this basic Chile Verde stew, I sometimes add another lb of fresh chiles (red, yellow, green bell peppers) in a large dice about 30 minutes before I take it off the burner. You can make lots of variations! Use your imagination! The most important point to emphasize is that there is ABSOLUTELY no water or broth added to this stew!!! All of the juices come from the meat and the veggies!!!

Here's the photos of a recent batch (I'm still learning this digital camera stuff, so don't expect nothing fancy!!!).

Chile Verde Pork Stew Pics!

The smothered Chile Verde Pork burritos with queso añejo are just awesome! It just doesn't get any better than this! OK, adding some frijoles refritos and Mexican rice and topping that with shredded lettuce and salsa might just be "the cat's pajamas"!!!

Chipotles Adobados

4 oz dried chipotle morita chiles*
2 cups cider vinegar
1 medium onion, sliced
1 Tbsp oregano, Mexican, dried crumbles (divided use)
2 oz dried chile ancho
1 oz dried chile mulato** (can substitute additional oz of ancho or chile of choice)
½ tsp of cumin seeds
¼ cup olive oil
4-6 cloves of garlic, peeled (divided use)
1 oz of crushed piloncillo sugar
salt as needed

Wash the dried chipotle chiles, remove stems and cut open to remove seeds.

Place the cleaned chipotles in a quart jar with the slices of onion. Add 2-3 cloves of garlic, the crushed piloncillo sugar, 1½ tsp of the oregano, and some salt (about 1 tsp?).

Bring the vinegar to a boil and add to the chiles, onion, and spices in the jar to cover completely.

Leave the chiles to soak and pickle, uncovered, for at least 4 days.

To make the adobo, drain the vinegar from the soaked chipotles and reserve. Destem and deseed the ancho and mulato chiles. Add some of the reserved vinegar and let these chiles soak for an hour or so. Then process the soaked chiles in the blender along with the other 1½ tsp of oregano and the cumin seeds.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sautee the other 2-3 cloves of smashed and minced garlic. When lightly browned, add to the adobo (pureed chiles and spices above).

Add the rest of the reserved pickling vinegar and salt as needed to the adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Add the pickled chipotle chiles and let them boil for a few minutes.

Then remove the chipotles from the adobo sauce and immediately pack them in canning jars (pint). Cover with the adobo sauce, filling the jars to within ½ inch of the top. Apply canning lids to seat and back off about ¼ turn. Process in a boiling water bath for 30 minutes. Remove from bath, tighten lids, and allow to cool.

*I'm gonna order mine from Sweet Freedom Farm - cheaper than buying them in my local groceria.

**The mulato is a close cousin to the ancho. I bought mulatos from Sweet Freedom Farm and they pretty much look exactly like the anchos in terms of shape, size and color. They probably differ a little in taste.

Grilled Lamb Kabobs a.k.a. Souvlakia

I scored some good chunks of lamb meat at the store: packaged as lamb stew meat. About 1 lb of lean trimmed meat chunks - very little fat or sinew (silver skin) - for $3.99/lb. Such a deal! Cheaper than trimming a leg of lamb! Bought about 1 lb.

I made some kabobs last week from ground lamb meatballs - good, but nothing to write home about!

I marinated the lamb chunks overnight (about 24 hrs actually) in:

some garlic powder
some onion powder
some oregano
some garlic salt
some black pepper
some red wine (cabernet)

Sealed in a Ziploc baggie with air pushed out.

I cut up some onions and bell peppers in extra large dice (suitable for skewering), put them in another Ziploc baggie, squeezed juice from ½ lemon into the bag, and sealed and marinated them overnight.

After lighting the coals, I skewered the lamb and onion and bell peppers onto 10-inch metal skewers - alternating pepper, onion, lamb. Some of the pieces of lamb were more like strips than cubes so they had to be threaded onto the skewer.

I placed the skewered kabobs into a 10 x 12 inch grilling basket to facilitate turning - the basket wouldn't close, of course, but it still allowed me to turn the skewers without the meat and veggies rotating. Squeezed some lemon juice over the kabobs before grilling. Sprinkled with garlic salt and pepper.

Grilled them for about 20 minutes - turning over every 5 minutes.

Had some leftover lemon marinated peppers and onions... Sliced up a small zuke and fried it in some olive oil along with the onions and peppers. When it had some brown on it, I added in some quartered tomatoes (2 medium sized tomatoes), splashed in some white wine (chardonnay), squeezed some more lemon juice and pulp out of an already squeezed lemon half, added some garlic salt and pepper, and covered. Reduced heat and let it simmer and reduce for a few minutes.

That was some pretty tasty kabobs! The veggies were a perfect accompaniment! Unfortunately, the 1 lb of lamb only made for 2 servings! Even that was using restraint and delayed gratification!

Some of the pieces of "lamb stew meat" were a bit tough but most were not. Some of the pieces were from the sirloin or upper leg and some were from the lower leg/shank. I could recognize those pieces from the gastroc/soleus meat (my favorite part of leg of lamb) by their texture and taste!

If I were "going for gold", I would use only the gastroc/soleus part of the leg of lamb to make my kabobs!!

Lemony Greek Pasta Sauce

½ qt home tomato sauce
zest and juice of ½ lemon
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp capers, minced

I used angel hair spaghetti (straight not curly!) and topped it with crumbled feta cheese. I was gonna add some sliced Kalamata olives but I forgot! I got a really nice jar of Kalamatas in brine/oil just for this occasion (Parthenon brand name) - I usually get them at the olive bar in the deli section, but it had closed up when I got to the store (after 8 pm). The Kalamatas I got in the jar were actually better than the more expensive ones from the olive bar!

Li Ying's Steamed Dumplings

I learned to make the dumplings from a Chinese immigrant co-worker - after I kept begging her for dumplings at lunch or trying to trade my stuff for her dumplings, she decided she needed to teach me how to make my own! Ah! Persistence has its rewards!

The filling is ground pork, chives, ginger, etc. The killer app was using store bought biscuit dough to make the dumpling shell. It works!!!

I picked up a bamboo steamer at a local store that sells lots of cooking gadgets for less than $10. It has two steaming shelves so I can do 10 dumplings at a time.

The bamboo steamer is the only way to go! Mine is very simple: it just sits in a wok or wok-style skillet. You add some water to the wok and steam away for 20 minutes!

Caution!!! Those Chinese dumplings are ADDICTIVE!!!

1 sleeve of Pillsbury (or generic) biscuit dough (10 biscuits)
1 bunch of chives, finely chopped
1 lb of lean ground pork
1 chunk of fresh ginger, grated (about an ounce or two)
1 tsp hot mustard (dry)
salt and pepper to liking
add other spice to liking - e.g. Five Spice is good

Mix the pork with the chives, ginger, and spices well.

Separate a biscuit dough patty from the stack and roll out into a 3-4 inch disc on a lightly floured surface. Place the dough disc over the palm of your right hand and place a 1+ Tbsp of filling (about 1 inch diameter ball). Here's the tricky part: Gather up the edges of the dough and pinch together to form a rosette encompassing the filling. This is tricky; you really need to watch and practice. The basic idea is that you seal the filling in the dough while pinching the edges closed and twisting slightly to form the sealed rosette - I use a rosette with five seams twisted into a spiral.

Repeat until you have about 10 dumplings.

Believe it or not, the biscuit dough puffs up into the thick dough around the dumpling filling that tastes just like the ones from the dimsum table...

Mexican Rice (baked)

Here it is. Measurements are approximations but should be pretty close. Most recipes use frying the rice in oil in a skillet and so on... But, ya know, I seriously doubt that Mexican restaurants use such a laborious procedure to mass produce all of the rice they serve!!

Baking the rice like in this recipe can be scaled up to produce a 100 servings. I suspect that is how it is done in Mexican restaurants... you could double or triple the recipe and bake in 10 x 14 stainless steel steam table pans. That would be about 10-15 servings per pan.

1 c brown rice
½ c chopped onion
½ c diced green pepper (jalapeno, bell, whatever...)
½ c diced tomato
¼ tsp tumeric
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp garlic salt (Lawry's)
¼ tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp salsa (La Victoria medium)

1. Rinse rice with several changes water. Drain and transfer to 9 inch baking dish, adding 1 c water.
2. Mix in remaining ingredients, cover with aluminum foil, and bake at 350º for 45 to 60 min until all liquid has been absorbed. Rice should be semi-dry, firm, and separate nicely when fluffed with a fork.

Mustard Greens

I use a link of sausage (the regular ol' breakfast link sausage with no casing). I sauté the sausage, cut into 4 or 5 pieces, and two slices of onion, diced, in a little oil for a few minutes. Then add the washed and deveined mustard torn in pieces. Add a little water, half cup or so, some garlic salt and pepper, cover, and cook for 10-12 minutes. I add some cider vinegar when serving.

OleDocJ's Homemade Pizza Sauce

OK. There are gazillions (and Brazilians) of recipes for pizza sauce 'out there'. Somehow, it's hard to find one that really 'fills the bill'.

I like the Boboli Pizza Sauce but I hate having to squeeze it out of those plastic bags! So, I decided to 'reverse engineer' it into my own homemade pizza sauce.

Here it is:

Wet Ingredients:
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 12 oz can/bottle beer (preferably flat - 1 to 2 day old after opening) - chef's choice
2 Tbsp vinegar - chef's choice

Dry Ingredients:
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 tsp dried oregano (very aromatic good stuff)
1 tsp ground fennel seed (very aromatic good stuff)
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp xanthan gum (thickener)

Mix the wet ingredients in a 4+ cup glass bowl.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a small bowl/cup.
Slowly mix in the dry ingredients with stirring.
Heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes.
Pour into a sanitized quart canning jar and cap.
Can store in refrig for up to 2-4 weeks.

Enough for 2-3 large (12 in) pizzas. (2 at most for me!)



OleDocJ's Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas)

Made me some mighty fine Hungarian Goulash (Gulyas) yesterday. Didn't have no egg noodles so I served it over fettuccine. Hoorah! Dat hit da spot!

Here is the basic recipe that I followed: Bernhard´s Goulash - Paprika Beef Stew

But I cut it down to about half:
1 lb onions
2 oz paprika
1.25 lb beef stew meat

For the broth, I used 3 cups water plus a pkg of beef broth mix (Herb Ox very low sodium).

I modified it a bit by adding one carrot cut up into half inch slices and one 8-oz potato cut into a large dice. I thickened the sauce with Potato Buds (dehydrated potato flakes). Added 6 jalapenos, deseeded and diced fine.

This dish bears a striking resemblance to Texas chile! Note that the Archduke of Austria was the Ruler of Mexico for about 3 years in the early 1800's - so there might have been some cross-cultural culinary exchange during that period with the Austria-Hungarian Empire (Hapsburgs)!


WenDragon says...I make a big pot of "ghoulash" every Halloween. My recipe is similar to this, but I also add 2 cups of sour cream at the end and serve it over Rheams egg noodles (no other brand will do for "ghoulash").

It's yummy. Kinda become a neighborhood tradition that the families stop at WenDragon's first, eat a little dinner and then go on to hold the neighborhood hostage for candy.

looooooooves Halloween!

OleDocJ's Thickener #1

12 oz canola oil
8 tsp guar gum
4 tsp xanthan gum

Mix well in a clean 12 oz mustard dispenser. The gums do not dissolve in the oil but remain dispersed. However, they settle out, so you have to mix the suspension before use by vigorously shaking to resuspend the gums in the oil.

Use about ½ tsp of gum suspension per cup of liquid.

This thickener has many uses:
º Use it instead of corn starch for thickening sauces.
º Use it instead of roux for thickening white sauces.
º Use it to make low fat salad dressings to replace the oil.

I have reversed the proportions, though. I now use two parts xanthan gum to one part guar gum. You might want to make it up in smaller batches.

6 oz canola oil (any veg. oil)
4 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp guar gum

This works pretty much the same as the #1 thickener, but is less likely to get you in trouble if you add a little too much. Since I usually add it by squirts from the plastic bottle, it's less likely to get too gummy if I squirt in too much.

You can usually find these gums in a health food store or a food co-op that sells bulk spices, grains, flours, etc. I use it for thickening sauces and gravy all the time. You add to whatever as its cooking and just stir it in. Give it a few minutes to thicken before you add any more. And remember, don't overdue it because it gets thicker as it cools down.


Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions with plum sauce and green beans (with onions & sautéed mushrooms) and baked rice (with tomatoes, chilies, and onions)

1 pork tenderloin (about 1+ lb) cut into 12 medallions (cut it in half, cut the halves in half, and slice the quarters into 3 medallions). Pan sear in 9-inch sauté pan lightly oiled for 3 min on each side. Sprinkle lightly with ground fennel and black pepper while first side is searing. Sprinkle lightly with garlic salt while second side is searing.

Remove medallions and tent. Deglaze pan with 3-4 oz of flat beer (or white wine). Add shredded plums in 2-3 oz of port (I soak about 5 or 4 dried pitted plums in 2-3 oz port overnight and shred with fingers before use). Mix well. Sprinkle in (with continuous stirring) 1½ tsp granulated onion powder mixed with ½+ tsp cornstarch to thicken (mixing together first keeps the cornstarch from lumping).

When nice and bubbly thick, turn off heat, plate medallions, drizzle with plum sauce, and plate sides.

Yummy! This plum sauce is not sweet. If you want sweet, you'll have to add some more sweetness (like honey).


Pulled Chicken Tamale Pie

What to do with all that left over pulled chicken (smoked beer butt chicken)...

I've been working on a tamale pie recipe for several months. I love the tamales but just couldn't get past the time and effort and coordination required to make real tamales steamed in corn husks! Besides, they usually contain too much fat and carbohydrate in relation to the amount of protein in the filling!

So, I decided to concentrate on the 'tamale pie' route... or 'tamale casserole' route! That way, I could up the amount of protein and veggie fillings with respect to the carbs and fat. OK, to begin with, I ditched the concept of using lard or whatever in the masa... that was a 'non-starter'!

Below is a recipe that has evolved. One of the key developments was using a mixture of both masa harina and corn meal in the dough: the masa harina gives it the flavor; the corn meal gives it the texture. The result was all the flavor of the masa harina with the stand up texture of a corn bread.

The Recipe:
Pulled Chicken Tamale Pie
1½ c masa harina
½ c corn meal
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp chipotle powder
1 egg
¼ c olive oil
2 c chicken broth/stock
½ onion diced
4 oz poblano pepper diced
2 oz red bell pepper diced
1 lb pulled chicken
1 tsp cumin
12 oz red chile sauce

A spoonful of butter (margarine or Smart Balance) to grease pan and about 2 tbsp olive oil to sauté stuff

The Masa:
Mix the masa harina, corn meal, salt, baking powder, and chipotle powder in a mixing bowl. Form a well, add the egg and olive oil and beat together in the well. Add in the chicken stock and mix the batter. It should form a very thick but almost pourable batter (sort of like cake batter). Let set while other stuff comes together.

Grease a 8x12 inch Pyrex baking dish with butter or margarine.

The Filling:
Add about 2 tbsp olive oil to a hot pan and add diced onions. Sautee for about 2 min then add in the diced peppers and cumin. Sautee another couple of minutes then toss in the pulled chicken and toss well. Finally, add in the red chile sauce, turn off the heat, and mix well

The Pie:
Spread about 2/3's of the masa into the greased baking dish. Layer on the filling. Distribute the remaining 1/3 of the masa over the top of the filling. Wet hands with cold water and spread the masa over the top to cover the filling.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350º F for 40 to 45 min.

I have to admit, this makes one awesome tamale pie!



Pulled Pork Tacos

large corn tortillas warmed in microwave (15 sec each)
pulled pork
shredded cheddar
a spoonful of Salsa Suprema
fine diced onion
small dice red bell pepper
diced grape tomatoes
shredded lettuce
smashed ripe avocado

Much easier to eat really fat tacos with soft shells. You can't pile as much stuff in the crispy ones. Two of those suckers is a meal!

Red Chile Sauce (Mole de Chile Rojo)

This here Red Chile Sauce (Mole de Chile Rojo) is what I made up for making enchiladas. Compared to commercial enchilada sauce, it's about 5 to 10 times as rich. It also is good as a non-tomato based sauce for pizzas. It's also good as a South-of-the-border-style BBQ sauce: Slather some of it on your smoked chicken breasts just shortly before you take them out of the smoker. Also, ya gotta have this sauce if your BBQ'ing some carne asada...

Red Chile Sauce (Enchilada Sauce)

1 oz ground New Mexico Chili (e.g Milpas brand)
1 oz ground California Chili (e.g Milpas brand)
1+ tsp cayenne
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground oregano
1 tsp salt
1+ tsp xanthan gum*
3½ c water
2 Tbsp vinegar (any kind; I used distilled)

Mix the chili powders and all the dry goodies well. Then sprinkle into the water and vinegar in a 2 quart Pyrex glass measuring vessel. Use continuous mixing with handmixer using a propeller attachment. Sprinkle a little at a time with stirring to avoid getting clumps.

Heat in microwave for a couple of minutes and mix again. Repeat until sauce is very warm.

Put into containers to store in refrigerator. A quart canning jar works. The chile sauce stains plastic storage containers. It will keep in the refrig for a few weeks or so.

* (Note: I use xanthan gum as the thickening agent. You could also use arrowroot or cornstarch but you would have to adjust the amount to get proper thickness. The cornstarch might break down on storage in the refrigerator; don't know about arrowroot - especially if you taste the sauce with a spoon and use the spoon again to stir the sauce! Saliva contains amylase which breaks down the corn starch and arrowroot.)

Personally, I think it needs 2-3 tsp of cayenne, but that's just me. It think my taste buds have gone hard and I need a lot more cayenne to titillate them!


Round Tip Steak Stir Fry

Well, the next time you feel the urge to cook round tip steak that ya bought fresh. Freeze it! Jist for a coupla hours though. When it's partially frozen, take it out an' slice it across the grain into really thin slices - about 1/32 to 1/16 inch thick - or as thin as you can cut it!

Mix up the slices with some corn starch (and you can add some of that Adolph's Meat Tenderizer, if'n ya have a mind to).

Now dice up a bunch of peppers: Green bells, red bells, jalapenos. No matter what kind; just a bunch of them - about a 1/2 lb of peppers per lb of meat.

Then dice up a bunch of onions: sweet or yellow - no matter. Dice 'em coarse - like a 3/4 to 1 inch dice. About a 1/2 lb of onions per lb of meat.

Now slice up some mushrooms - white or portabellas - no matter. Ya want about 1/2 lb mushrooms per lb of meat.

Smash and dice a couple of cloves of garlic.

Now put that there big ol' wok skillet on the burner and fire up the burner to High setting - ya want those flames lickin' the sides of da skillet real good. Drizzle three or four circles of olive oil around the skillet (about 2 Tbsp).

When dat oil is startin' ta smoke, put in dat thin sliced round tip coated wid da corn starch and, wid a coupla wooden utensils, separate and stir fry dat beef for about 2 minutes.

Den, add in da onions and stir fry for annudder minute. Den add in da peppers and stir fry for annudder minute. Den add in da garlic and some Hoisin sauce and Worcestershire Sauce and some cayenne and some black pepper and some soy sauce and whatever else tickles yer fancy!

By da time 5 minutes have elapsed, ya got yerself one helluva round steak stir fry! Be careful, now, ya hear? It all has to be done within 5 minutes or da veggies will start bleedin' out, go mushy and limp, and y'all will end up with Chinese slop instead of stir fry!

Serve over sticky rice (California Hinode Silver Pearl) and


Salsa Verde

Salsa recipes are like opinions! Everybody's got one!

For salsa verde, there are three basic ingredients: tomatillos, chilies, and lime juice. Lots of other things can be added to tweak it, but those are the basics.

The ratio of tomatillo to chile varies with opinion! But what doesn't vary (at least for Mexican or TexMex or SouthwesternMex) is that you have to use more than one type of chile.

That ratio can be 1 part tomatillo to 2 parts chile, 2 parts tomatillo to 1 part chile, or somewhere in between!

Typically (Mexican), the chilies are a mix of jalapenos and serranos. But that can be toned down by adding New Mexico/Hatch/Anaheim chilies. Poblano chilies are good, too, if you can get some good ones for roasting - i.e. not too deeply wrinkled.

General instructions:
Roast, peel, and destem and deseed the chilies.
Roast, and peel the tomatillos (cut out navel)

General recipe:
1 lb roasted and peeled tomatillos
½ lb roasted and peeled mild chilies (New Mex, Hatch, Anaheim, etc)
½ lb roasted and peeled mix of jalapenos and serranos (e.g 2:1 mix)
½ lime juice (more or less to taste)

Mix, dice, and mash - or pulse in a processor.

That should make almost a quart.

Things to add to tweak it to your taste buds:
a pinch or two of salt
some garlic
a pinch or three of cumin
a wee bit of sugar (if it's too tart or too hot)

A lot of recipes call for onions, cilantro, etc., but basic country-style, common-folk Mexican recipes are really much simpler: just roasted tomatillos, chilies, and lime juice with maybe a pinch of salt and cumin!

Smoked Chicken Gyro with a Modified Tzatziki Sauce

Dang these cravings!!! I had to pay $2.99 for a half dozen pita bread rounds! (12 oz - that's the equivalent of $6 for a loaf of bread!) Then came the yogurt! A quart of natural yogurt was $3.99!! (The stuff loaded with fruit and sugar is half the price of the plain stuff!)

Oh, phooey! I bought them anyway!

Made some Tzatziki: put about a cup or so of the yogurt in a small sieve lined with 2-4 layers of cheese cloth in a bowl. Covered it with plastic film and put in fridge to drain for several hours.

Peeled a cuke and cut in half. Used half for this. Cut off the seed layers (and ate them - gave some to OleLab) and diced them up in a small dice. Smashed and minced a clove of garlic and added to cuke dice.

Zested a lemon and put the zest away in the fridge for something else in the near future. Cut the lemon in half and used ½ lemon for juicing and added the juice to the above.

Added some dill (didn't measure) and ground coriander (didn't measure) and a wee sprinkle of garlic salt.

When the yogurt curds were looking pretty thick (after about 4 hours of draining in the fridge), I mixed them in with cuke and spices to make a modified tzatziki sauce (dill and coriander addition).

Made a mix of chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced & coarse diced red onion, and some sliced Kalamatas.

Put some smoked chicken in ½ pita pocket, wrapped it in a paper towel, and nuked it for 15 sec on high. Mixed the smoked chicken with some of the veggie mix in the pocket and added the tzatziki sauce.

Oh yeah! Smoked chicken gyro! Voila!

Smokin' Ribs

Dry Rub:
First of all you have to do a dry rub on the ribs. This basically serves not only to season the meat, but also to serve as a dry crust-forming barrier to prevent the meat from drying out during smoking. There are lots of recipes on the internet for the dry rub. Mostly, they include red chile powder (e.g. paprika), garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, etc. Most include salt and sugar. I don't use any salt or sugar in my dry rub - but that's just me. Most people do.

Anyhoo, sprinkle the dry rub liberally all over the ribs. The more, the merrier! Don't be conservative! Coat them liberally with the dry rub mix!

The Smoke:
I use charcoal as the main heat source. I prefer big 2-inch chunks of oak or hickory for the smoking wood. I don't soak them. When I have to resort to wood chips, I wrap them in foil so as to generate enough smoke without them burning up to quick.

Now, the thing about ribs is they aren't too thick. So, you want to smoke them to get a lot of flavor in them, but you don't want to cook them too long and cause them to dry out! But, if you don't cook them to a high enough temperature, the meat is all stuck to the bones.

So, what ya have to do is cook dem ribs in da smoke for about 2½ to 3 hours. De should be at about 155 to 165 F at this point. That's good, but the meat and connective tissue is still stuck to the bones! What ya need to do is find a way to raise the temperature of the ribs without drying them out!

The Steam:
After about 3 hours in da smoke, ya take out da ribs. Now you got to steam dem ribs to separate the meat and connective tissue from da bones.

In the 3-2-1 method described by ChezJohn, you wrap the ribs in foil and put them back in the smoker for 2 more hours. What this does is allow the ribs to steam in their own moisture without drying out while the temperature rises to about 185 to 195 F. This temperature causes the meat and connective tissue to separate from the bones without causing the meat to dry out.

Then you can take the ribs out of the foil, sauce them, and put them back in da smoker for another hour "to set the sauce."

The Sauce:
Alternatively, I take the ribs out after about 3 hrs in the smoke, and put them in stainless steel steam bath pans (10 x 14 x 2 inches). I sauce them, cover with foil tightly (the steam bath pans have lips that allow the foil to be tightly crimped to form a good seal), and bake at 325 - 350 F for an hour. I let them set for another 30 min before opening the foil seal.

So, basically, you got three steps to deal with: Smoking, Steaming, and Saucing.

OK, there's a fourth step: Eating all that juicy meat and connective tissue with lots of sauce without having to gnaw at the bones!

Cooking Lessons from OleDocJ

Refried Beans - How do you make those refried beans?

First, let's get the lingo! "Refried" is a bit of a misnomer. It comes from the Spanish term "refritos" which actually means "well-fried".

More lingo:

Frijoles de la Olla: Means beans from the bean pot - basically your cooked beans from simmering in the bean pot.

Frijoles Fritos: Means fried beans. These are beans that have been cooked in the "olla", then mashed or pureed and then fried in a skillet. What you do is caramelize some diced onions in oil (lard or other pork fat) and then add the mashed or pureed beans and fry them to the desired consistency.

Frijoles Fritos Aguados: Means runny fried beans. These are used to make "enfrijoladas" - which are like "enchiladas" except that you coat the corn tortillas with runny bean puree instead of chile sauce.

Frijoles Refritos: The classic "refried beans". These are made from the "frijoles de la olla" that have been pureed. Classically, they were probably mashed. Nowadays, they are pureed using a blender (licuadora) - a stick blender works very well for this! Basically, you continue to fry the "Frijoles Fritos Aguados" until they thicken to the desired consistency - stirring frequently to prevent burning and scraping the dried fried bean paste from the side of the skillet down into the mix.

Frijoles de la Olla:

½+ lb pinto beans - cleaned, washed, and soaked overnight and rinsed.
water to cover soaked beans by 1 to 1½ inches.
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
2 cloves of garlic - smashed and minced

Bring to boil and reduce to simmer for 1½-2 hours. There should be lots of liquid remaining above the cooked beans.

Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.

Frijoles Fritos Aguados:

1 Tbsp Olive Oil (or lard or pork/sausage/bacon fat)
3 slices of onion, coarsely diced
seasoning as desired (salsa, escabeche, jalapenos, etc)

Puree the "Frijoles de la Olla" with a stick blender.

Caramelize the onions in the oil/fat then add in the pureed beans. Bring to a simmer. Turn off heat when beans reach the desired runny consistency.

~ OR ~

Frijoles Refritos:

Continue to fry the seasoned, pureed beans until they thicken to the desired consistency/paste - stirring frequently to prevent the bean paste from burning on the bottom of the skillet and scraping the dried fried beans from the side of the skillet down into the pan.


You can add anything you want to make the refried beans taste the way you want them to taste!! In general, I tend to go with the "less is more" rule. The above seasoning is really all that is needed for basic "refried beans."

You can always (and probably should) add toppings after they are done and before they are served (e.g. grated cheese, salsa, sour cream, etc.)

Addendum to this thread:

I stumbled upon a couple of recipes that reflected my chain of thought re "frijoles de la olla" and "frijoles refritos" so I thought I would share... very entertaining writer:

Cooking with EL CHAVO! - How to make Frijoles de la Olla - (otherwise known as a pot of beans)

Cooking with EL CHAVO! - How to make Frijoles Refritos - (otherwise known as refried beans)

I like his attitude! Season them however the heck you want! Anything you add should should just be 'icing on the cake' - I love the flavor of beans!


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