Mike’s Chicago Steak Seasoning


Mike's Chicago Steak Seasoning | Culinary Compost Recipes
This is my version of a classic steak rub. Sprinkle generously on both sides of your favorite cut of steak. Let stand at room temperature for 1/2 hour before grilling or pan searing.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbs. Kosher salt
1 tbs. + 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
1 tsp. white cane sugar
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. roasted garlic granules
1.5 tsp. Paulie Spice hickory smoke seasoning and rub
1 tsp. lemon peel
1/8 tsp. citric acid

 

DIRECTIONS:

Measure the whole black peppercorns and place in a heavy mortar or spice mill. Process until they are coarsely ground. I prefer using a mortar as it allows more control.
Measure the other spices. Combine everything in a 1/2 pint canning jar. Cover with a lid and ring. Seal tight and shake well to incorporate.

Store in a cool dry place. Will keep for one year before the flavors start to fade. This seasoning will also work well on pork chops. Use only Kosher salt, or the texture will be wrong.

If you double this recipe, it will make just under 3/4 cup.

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Mike’s Backwoods Holler Rub


Mike's Backwoods Holler Rub | Culinary Compost RecipesThis is an excellent rub for fresh-caught lake fish or beer-can chicken. Use on tilapia, catfish, bass, bluegills, salmon, walleye and Northern pike. When applied to chicken, brush with XV olive oil first, and then let the bird sit overnight in the fridge so the flavors can adhere to the skin. I highly recommend making a double batch — you’ll be using that much anyway so you’ll save time by preparing it up front.

 

Ingredients:

1 tbs. Kosher salt
4 tbs. Hungarian paprika
1 tbs. ground ancho chili
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper (medium-grind)
1 tbs. thyme (crushed in mortar)
1 tbs. dry rosemary (crushed in mortar)
2 tsp. garlic granules
1 tsp. chipotle powder (hot Meco preferred)
1 tsp. ground coriander

 

Directions:

Measure ingredients exactly and funnel into a pint mason jar. Cover and mix well. Will keep up to a year in a cool, dry storage cabinet before the flavors start to fade.

If you double the amount it makes just over 1 cup.

Mike's Backwoods Holler Rub | Culinary Compost Recipes

Experimenting with the ratio of spices. Needed more punch on the aromatics…

Culinary Compost Boycotts Penzeys Spices


Hello fellow foodies. After reading recent commentary from Bill Penzey, the author of Culinary Compost is officially withdrawing all references to Penzeys Spices on this food blog. While I’ve always known that Bill overtly inserts his political opinion in monthly mailings to his customer base, (which, in its own right is wrong on so many levels,) I can no longer stand by and let this man spew his rhetoric of hate to conservatives, and to people who support and voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential election, by labeling them “racist.”

I am not a racist. I never have been. And I resent being called one.

This is extreme-left socialism, and this kind of bigotry has no place in America.  Make no mistake — my observation is not one of Conservatives vs. Liberals. It is simply a stance of the author not supporting an individual who wants to further divide this country through hate by means of his product.

Shown below are a few articles and a link to Penzey’s official Facebook page:

http://truthfeed.com/owner-of-penzeys-spice-co-trashes-trump-supporters-calling-them-racist-and-saying-they-must-be-punished/39315/

http://www.bizjournals.com/milwaukee/news/2016/11/21/penzeys-ceo-comments-ignite-backlash-praise-and.html

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/nov/23/bill-penzey-ceo-trump-voters-just-committed-the-bi/

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/bill-penzey-spices-trump/

http://modernfarmer.com/2016/11/penzeys-spices-condemns-trump-attracts-rage/

https://www.facebook.com/Penzeys/?fref=ts

 

You be the judge.  Last time I checked, America was still a free country. And my readers, of course, are still allowed to shop where they want and exercise their right to free speech, which I will always respect. However, pitting people against each other in the guise of “Love” is a ruse by Bill Penzey, who’s only concern is making as much money as he can over a very contentious election.  Funny thing is, he’s pissed off a lot of his customers, and I, for one, will not be coming back.

Invariably, comments by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke say it best:
https://twitter.com/SheriffClarke/status/800088603422380033
“This typical hate-filled white elitist lefty doesn’t live around black people or have stores in black neighborhoods.”

Bill Penzey can be reached at bill@penzeys.com

#boycottpenzeys

 

In the interest of an open discussion, leave your thoughts below – none will be censured.
—Mike from Culinary Compost

Bill Penzey's Socialist Sea Salt

Penzey’s Spices announces new product.

Taos Carnitas-Style Pork Tacos


Taos Carnitas-Style Grilled Pork Tacos | Culinary Compost

This is my signature southwest New Mexican-inspired dish with seasoned grilled pork that is slow-braised and then shredded, carnitas-style. Note that the seasoning is very similar to my other Southwest recipes; the key ingredients invariably being pure New Mexican chili powder, Mexican oregano, toasted and ground cumin and coriander. Serve with Rajas de Chile Poblano, a lime wedge, Mexican cheese and sour cream. Enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

For the Rub:
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground Mexican oregano leaf
1 tbs. smoked Spanish Paprika
3 tbs. whole cumin seed, toasted and ground by hand in a mortar
2 tbs. mild ground Ancho chili powder
1 tsp. hot NM Chimayo chili powder, to taste
2 tsp. table salt
2 tsp. ground whole black pepper
1 tbs. Mexican achiote paste

For the Marinade:
1/2 cup XV olive oil
Juice from 2 squeezed limes
5 large cloves garlic, peeled and mashed

2 pounds lean cubed pork stew meat
2 large poblano peppers, blistered and sliced
1 large red onion, sliced in 1/4″ strips
1 cored and seeded red bell pepper – cut into 1/4″ strips
1/2 cup pork or chicken stock
Kosher salt, to taste

8-10 tortilla shells for serving
Lime wedges
Mexican shredded cheese
Fresh cilantro leaves as garnish – about 3/4 cup
Sour cream
Salsa fresca

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300°-F. Cut and reserve the red onion and bell pepper. Measure the dry rub ingredients and mix well in a medium-sized shaker jar. Place the cubed pork in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle generously with the rub. Stir to coat and add more to ensure all the cubed pork is evenly covered.  Add the XV olive oil, lime juice and mashed garlic to a small mixing bowl. Whisk aggressively for two minutes.

Add the liquid marinade to the cubed pork and stir gently to incorporate. Cover and chill for at least three hours.

Prepare a lump charcoal fire in an outdoor kettle grill. When the coals are white-hot, level and place a baking cooling rack over the outdoor grilling grate to ensure the pork doesn’t fall through the slats.  Brush the rack with cooking spray prior, so the pork doesn’t stick.  Add the pork, (cooking in two batches) to the rack and spread out evenly. Cook uncovered 2-4 minutes per side and then transfer to a 5-quart heavy cast-iron dutch oven. Add 1/2 cup chicken or pork stock. Cover.

Place the dutch oven with the pork in the preheated oven and let sit. Next, place the two poblano peppers on the outdoor grill and char, about 4-6 minutes, until the tough outer skin blisters. Rotate occasionally. Remove, run under cold water to remove the blistered tough outer skin. Core and slice into 1/4″ strips. Add the sliced poblano to a grilling basket with the sliced red onion and bell pepper. Place over direct heat on the grill and brush lightly with olive oil. Season with Kosher salt to taste. Stir occasionally and let char – about 6-10 minutes. Remove and set aside, covered.

Cook the pork covered in the oven for 1.5 to 2 hours, until tender. Remove and shred with two forks. Add the reserved sliced grilled poblano, red onion and bell pepper and stir to incorporate. Set covered on the stove top until ready to serve.

Serve on tortilla shells with sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, salsa and a lime wedge.

Serves 6-8

Taos Carnitas-Style Grilled Pork Tacos | Culinary Compost

Taos Carnitas-Style Grilled Pork Tacos | Culinary Compost

Jim Fanto’s Secret BBQ Beef Brisket Rub


Jim Fanto's Secret BBQ Beef Brisket Rub | Culinary Compost Recipes

This is a recipe from Jim Fanto, by way of Masterbuilt’s Facebook Group (My Masterbuilt Electric Smoker.) Jim hails from Texas and is a retired Army Airborne Ranger. He was nice enough to share his secret BBQ brisket rub recipe with group members.  If you have a Masterbuilt smoker, join the group, try his recipe and give him a big shout-out.  And while you’re at it, join me in thanking America’s Armed Services Veterans for their bravery and dedication.

Click here for my BBQ Beef Brisket recipe.

 

Ingredients:

4 tbs. Kosher salt
4 tbs. coarse-ground black pepper
1 tbs. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder*
1 tsp. onion powder*
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne powder*

 

Directions:

Measure ingredients and add to an 8-oz. shaker jar. Mix well. Sprinkle liberally on all sides of the brisket. Pat down, wrap tightly in plastic and allow the brisket to set up overnight in your fridge before smoking.

The rub will keep for at least a year in a cool, dry storage cabinet.  *Adjust the garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne to your taste.

Makes about 5/8 cup.

Mike’s Pork Carnitas


Grilled Pork Carnitas

The Spanish definition of Carnitas is “little meats”. This is legendary, ubiquitous street food served from vendor carts all over Mexico and the American Southwest. I may be wrong, but I suspect that this cultural mainstay had a direct influence on the evolution of fajitas and possibly, in part, American pulled pork. It is very similar to the Mayan cochinita pibil, from which it was undoubtedly inspired.

In this recipe the meat is braised in a pot, and the reduction process keeps it very moist. Traditionally, in central Mexico, it was prepared in lard. Yes lard. Here, lard is not needed because the meat renders in its own fat. Achieving a good char, or carmelization in the last step is essential. This is why I use cast-iron on a very hot outdoor charcoal grill.

The best tortillas are made from scratch, and any Mexican vendor worth his street cred always makes them from scratch. Your tomatillo salsa should be fairly spicy — a great contrast to the perfectly-seasoned pork.
This recipe is even better the second day. Reheats well if not overcooked.

Here is my version. Enjoy—

Ingredients:

One 3.5-4lb. bone-in pork shoulder roast with some fat
3 dry bay leaves
1 tbs. pure NM Chimayo chili powder
1 tbs. ancho chili powder
1.5 tbs. ground cumin, toasted from seed
2 tsp. dry Mexican oregano leaf
1 tsp. ground coriander
6 cloves garlic – crushed
12 dry chiltepin peppers, crushed in a mortar, to taste
2 tsp. sea salt, to taste
Fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
cold water
1 large orange, juiced
1 large Spanish onion, sliced* or serve with Rajas de Chili Poblano

8″ flour or corn tortillas
Lime slices (optional)
Fresh cilantro
Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Charcoal for grilling

Preparation:
Cut the roast into fist-sized pieces, then place in a heavy 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven and coat with the dry spice ingredients, ensuring that all sides are evenly coated. Leave the bone in the roast. It will add incredible flavor.

Add the crushed garlic and sliced onion* ensuring it is evenly distributed. Juice the orange and add the juice to the pot. Add enough cold water to cover the roast pieces, but do not submerge – the liquid and fat will render out and you don’t want too much water. Generally, the roast should be 3/4 covered. Add the bay leaves.

Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 2.25 to 2.5 hours, until the liquid has reduced and very little remains. Turn twice during this time. When tender, remove the pieces and pull apart into 2″ bite sized chunks. Trim away any excess fat and discard the bone and bay leaves.

At this point you should have an outdoor charcoal grill preheated with enough coal for a medium-hot fire.
Preheat a 12″ heavy cast-iron skillet, (coated with some non-stick cooking spray) on the grilling grate until very hot (a drop of water should vaporize on contact in the skillet.)

Add the chunked pork to the skillet and spread out evenly. DO NOT TOUCH for two minutes, until a nice carmelized char has formed on one side. Using a wide spatula, carefully flip the pork over and repeat. Remove from the fire and immediately transfer to a warmed covered serving dish.

Serve in tortillas with Rajas de Chili Poblano, lime slices and hot Tomatillo Salsa Verde. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Serves 8-12

pork carnitas simmering in a cast-iron pot

Grilled Pork Carnitas

Grilled Pork Carnitas

Grilled Beer Can Chicken


Grilled Beer Can Chicken

Note the disposable pie pan that acts as a heat shield to prevent flare-ups. Coals are moved to either side for indirect grilling. Cover the chicken with the vents fully open and grill for about 1 hour until the internal temperature of the breast reaches 165 degrees F.

The art of grilling a whole chicken with a can of beer stuck up its butt originated in southeast Texas. It is pure genius, because the added moisture from the beer ensures the juiciest chicken you will ever have.

I spent a fair amount of time reviewing recipes, before I came up with this variation using many of the key spices based on my signature pulled pork rub. I use a 22″ Weber® kettle grill. If going this route, ensure that the bird you choose is small enough to fit under the domed lid, when closed. And don’t make your fire too hot. Slow and low is the way to go.

I can definitively say there isn’t a better bird. The skin will crisp to perfection due to the alcohol in the beer, and the infused flavor is simply amazing.

Rub Ingredients:

2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh-ground black pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tbs. onion powder
2 tbs. smoked Spanish paprika
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. thyme, ground in a mortar
1 tbs. ancho chili powder
2 tbs. packed brown sugar

For the Chicken:

1 whole fryer chicken with giblets removed
1 12-oz. can of beer
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, mashed
2 tbs canola oil
1/2 small potato or onion
Mesquite wood chips (about two handfuls) soaked in water for at least three hours
Disposable aluminum pie pan
Steel “beer can chicken” support trivet (available at many specialty cooking stores)
1/4 cup water

Directions:

Prepare the dry rub ingredients in a small mixing bowl and set aside. You’ll use most of it for this recipe.

Thoroughly rinse the chicken in cold water, including the chest cavity. Pat dry and let stand to warm up in a baking dish so that it is not ice cold before you throw it on the grill. Rub 2 tbs. canola oil over the skin of the bird, ensuring it is completely coated. Next, apply the rub to the skin and chest cavity.

Prepare your grill with enough charcoal for a medium-hot fire. When ready to grill, divide and move the white-hot coals to either side of the coal grate, leaving the center clear for indirect heat.
Pop the can of beer and pour off or drink half (I wholeheartedly recommend drinking it.)  Add 1 clove crushed garlic and the juice of 1/2 lemon to the can.

Place the pie pan on the center of the grilling grate. Quickly place the can of beer in the support trivet and slide the bird’s cavity over the can ensuring it is seated evenly on the trivet. Place the bird and trivet on the pie pan in the center of the grilling grate. Place 1/2 onion or small potato in the neck opening to seal it off. Next add 1/4 cup water to the pie pan (this will help prevent flare-ups) and cover with the kettle cover (leave it vented half way.)  And here’s the challenge – if your bird is small enough, it will allow the cover to seat properly with just enough clearance for grilling. If not – well you’ve got a big ol’ mess because it’s either going to tip over, or you’ll have to proceed to Plan B and use your oven.

Grill covered for about 1 hour, adding mesquite chips to the coals after 1/2 hour, until the skin is crispy golden-brown and the internal temperature of the breast measures 165° F.
Carefully remove the bird with a long grilling fork (spear it under the breast bone) and transfer to a covered roaster pan. Let stand for ten minutes before serving.

Notes:
Recipe cooking time shown is for a 22″ Weber® kettle grill. Your cooking time will vary. Experimentation is mandatory – on some grills the time will be closer to 1.5 hours at 375° F.

Ensure you wash your hands and disinfect your counter top after handling poultry.  Enjoy!