BBQ Basics

This week, on Monday, I had my BBQ dinner pick up.  As many of you know, discussing BBQ in NC can be like talking about religion or politics!  Whether your preference is Eastern style (pretty much all vinegar with chili flakes), Lexington style (which has more tomato), or Western (more like a bbq sauce), I think they are all delicious.  I even like the SC kind (although I have a hard time calling it BBQ), which is a mustard sauce my husband grew up on.  Personally, my favorite is my Eastern style.  I admit I might be a little biased to my own, because the process of making BBQ is really what the food and fun is all about.  But there is something about that marriage of slow smoked pork and apple cider vinegar that is meant to be together, like bread and butter, or peanut butter and jelly.

BBQ is not something that can ever be rushed, that’s for sure.  I get questions often about how it is done, so I thought I would share a few pictures of the process.  We start the smoker early in the morning and let the shoulders smoke anywhere from 8-10 hours, then they are taken off and cooled slightly before pulling that delicious meat. In the excitement of pulling all the shoulders, which is not a quick process either, I forget to take a picture of the shoulders once they come off the smoker…I’ll save that for next time, or just order it to taste the yummy results.

BBQ basics, enjoying the best of food and life one shoulder at a time!

Rubbed shoulders and hickory chips; shoulders on the racks ready to go, now we're smoking!

Rubbed shoulders and hickory chips; shoulders on the racks ready to go, now we’re smoking!

Saturday Morning Strawberry Bread

Strawberry Bread

I’m getting used to typing again!  After a couple of weeks off, it is fun to be back.  I love travel and vacations and the feelings they bring.  I am always  so ready to get away and be somewhere different for a while, but then it really brings a nice appreciation to being home.    Like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.”  Now that we are home, I am looking forward to the lazy summer days I have been writing about, and the bounty of fresh produce coming in everywhere!  It has been a while since I have been at work in the kitchen, but next week I will be doing my first round of summer “Freezer Pleasers” and maybe a couple of other things.

Yesterday on my way home from the beach I stopped at the Berry Patch in Ellerbee, NC.  You have probably passed it before, as it is hard to miss the huge strawberry from the road!  I bought homegrown pickling cucumbers, squash, greenhouse tomatoes, watermelon, peaches, and some of the best strawberries I have had in a while.  As I write this, my batch of strawberry bread is in the oven, the perfect thing for a gorgeous Saturday morning that I wanted to share with you.  It is a dense bread, great for breakfast, snack, or even dessert-rewarmed with ice cream on top.  This recipe makes 2 loaves, which is always nice to have one for home and one to share.  Enjoy and the best of food and life –today!

Recipe for Strawberry Bread

3 cups all purpose flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 eggs, beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

1.5-2 cups fresh sliced strawberries, adjust to your liking

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl.  Add eggs and oil, then mix to combine.  Stir in strawberries.  Pour into 2 greased loaf pans.  Bake at 350 for one hour, or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.  Eat!