“Barbecue may not be the road to world peace but it’s a start.” – Anthony Bourdain
Still nothing official going on in the world of barbecue…at least not in this area. If one were fully devoted to chasing the smoke there’s a competition in Yuma, AZ on the 29th of February and one in Phoenix on December 28th. Florida…pretty much year round. Here…not so much.
Perhaps the unpredictability of the weather has something to do with it. One of the great things about living here is that we actually get to experience all four seasons. For the record, I’m over this one. Time to move on. And to think, March is our snowiest month. Now there’s something to look forward to.
Regardless of the lack of competitions that certainly doesn’t mean one should stow the barbecue and await more tropical climes. We may have missed the opportunity to bake a cherry pie on the smoker in observation of Washington’s birthday but how about Mardi Gras? Considering the more brisk temperatures around here I might suggest leaving the beads for warmer weather but nothing says we can’t enjoy the same food fare…or a facsimile thereof. I’ve talked with several people from the Baton Rouge and New Orleans areas. They don’t hesitate to mention that there is precious few REAL Cajun and Creole restaurants in the local vicinity so maybe it’s the old thing of “If it’s to be its probably up to me. So, to that end, here are a few Cajun and Creole recipes I’ve tried with semi-success.
For starters I’ve already told you the saga of my first attempt at frying turkeys. The mere mention of it and my wife is on speed dial to our marriage counsellor while I’m trying to contact my therapist for another PTSD session. Another one poses the question “How much beer was involved in the idea to insert a half-can of beer in a chicken’s butt and cook it?” Another stroke of Cajun genius.
As jalapenos, chorizo, chipotles, tortillas and cilantro are (at least at my house) some of the basics of Mexican or Latino cooking so are bell peppers, celery, onions, Andouille sausage and shrimp (or crawdads) to Cajun. And some version of Louisiana hot sauce. Tabasco, Frank’s, Original…there’s a bunch of ‘em out there. This truly is an opportunity to incorporate one of my philosophies…”When in doubt add more hot sauce”. Grilled Shrimp
- 2 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails on
- Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced, for garnish
For the sauce:
- 1 tbsp chili oil
- 1/2 cup red onion, small dice
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp Old Bay Seafood Seasoning
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire
- 1 tbsp hot sauce
- 1 cup beer
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
- Hickory smoked salt, to taste
Preheat your grill to 450ºF, set up with direct and indirect grilling zones.
Thread the shrimp onto double pronged skewers.
Season on both sides with the Old Bay.
Grill the skewered shrimp on the direct side, cooking with the lid of the grill open. Char the surface of the shrimp, then flip. Repeat. Remove from the grill. The shrimp do not need to be fully cooked at this point.
To make the sauce, heat the oil in a 12” cast iron skillet. Add the onion and cook over medium heat until lightly browned around the edges.
Add the garlic, rosemary, Old Bay, smoked paprika and cayenne. Cook for about one minute, until fragrant, but not browned.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and beer. Bring to a simmer and reduce by half. Stir in the cream, then reduce the heat to low. Add the shrimp. Then begin adding the butter slowly, stirring constantly and adding more butter as it melts until all butter is incorporated. Taste and season with the hickory-smoked salt, as needed.
Serve the shrimp and sauce over dirty rice. Top the grilled shrimp with fresh minced parsley for garnish and crusty bread for mopping up the extra sauce.
2 pound bag of prepared cole slaw
1 medium yellow onion
3 large stalks celery
1 medium red bell pepper
1 large Granny Smith green apple
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper Small dice the onion, celery, bell pepper and green onion.In a large bowl, toss vegetables together.
- In another medium bowl, prepare the coleslaw dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cayenne. Toss dressing with the cabbage mixture, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
That’s pretty much going to have to do it for this episode. Keep an ample supply of hurricanes nearby and don’t be fooled by fake beads. Don’t put the snow shovel away just yet and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks at Uncle Tom’s Corner