South Carolina Style BBQ…in San Diego

bbq2I, (like anyone with taste buds) love BBQ.  If  my wife wasn’t so rad, I might’ve married it. (I looked into it..totally okay in Mississippi.)  BBQ comes in all shapes, flavors and sizes and everyone tweeks their recipe just a little different than the next.  So much variety from just a few basic principles.  Season meat…smoke or slow-cook meat…dress meat with vinegar and sugar.  How you get those three rules done is up to you.




Another regional wrinkle in the BBQ tradition is the mustard based style made popular in South Carolina.  The areas from Columbus to Charleston were settled by German immigrants…Maybe the Germans familiarity and love for mustard led to the regional style loved there today?  I dunno…seems logical enough, Germans do some rad crazy shit.  Here is a recipe full of yums and is versatile for any pork product or fatty meat.  The addition of the liquid smoke in the recipe is for those who can’t, or don’t smoke their meat…the butter is for those that like a little cheat to their meat ;-)

2c prepared yellow mustard  bbq4
1c sugar
½c brown sugar
1½c cider vinegar
½c water
½tsp cayenne
2 tsp ground cumin
4 garlic cloves minced
4T minced onion
1tsp fresh black pepper
2tsp Worcestershire sauce
2tsp liquid smoke (Hickory)
2T butter (optional)

Simmer everything together for about twenty minutes over low heat; then whisk in the smoke and butter.  Season to taste with salt…I can’t remember if I added any because I usually hook it up in the spice rub for the meat.  Speaking of spice rub…

2T kosher saltbbq7
1T sugar
1tsp paprika
1tsp black pepper
1tsp cumin
1tsp dried thyme

Mix and liberally dust over your pork shoulder before baking or crock potting.   Always good to do this the night before, but if you didn’t…just do it as soon as possible before baking, mine was 5 minutes :-|



























The Bounty of a Wine Pairing Dinner

Sunday was another wonderful wine pairing dinner that left 8 people very happy, a little full and perfectly faded. Those three ingredients always make for a memorable evening.


If you don’t know me or know how I roll; I use the San Diego farmers markets to guide my menus.  Most of my parties, (especially pairing dinners,) are driven by what is seasonally awesome.  I’ll get an idea of what you want–and don’t want, then I head off to the market and pick what is interesting and/or beautiful.  The host usually has a request regarding proteins; for this party, no red meat.  I actually love dietary requests because I enjoy narrowing my scope of thought.  Sometimes I get a little twitchy if I have too many options.  If you’re curious what I did, here is a synopsis.  Sorry I don’t have more pics, but the ones I took, don’t do the food justice.  Maybe I need to hire a photographer.


The Cherry peppers were stuffed with a luscious onion bread pudding and roasted. Drizzled with praline olive oil.

The baby green tomatoes were kept whole, breaded with corn flour and ground panko, fried in peanut oil and served with sweet jalapeno remoulade. (cute as shit they were)

The corn was used for corn soup with crispy onions, oregano flowers and avocado that was pressed in sea salt and smoked paprika (Chardonnay)

corn soup

Baby turnips were braised in achiote butter with wilted spinach around pickled and seared Armenian cucumber, seared scallop and peeled white plum. (Pinot Noir)

The tomatoes were simply roasted and plated with ricotta gnocchi, sauteed shitakes and fresh thyme; topped with cinnamon and sugar broiled grouper and soy truffle broth. (Cabernet Sauvignon)

Strawberries were macerated with habanero over a fresh orange, vanilla biscuit filled with passion fruit crème fraiche. (Riesling)

No chocolate sauce, the dark is the plate design







Thermo What?

photo (9)

Hot soup.  How do you cool it down and why?  For those that don’t know why this has anything to do with anything—Soup or broth is a protein rich environment for bacteria to quickly propagate when the liquid is between 40 and 140 degrees.  So, cooling broth down for refrigerator storage should be done as quickly as possible.   To do that; the best way is to place your pot or bowl into an ice bath and stir regularly.  Ice bath = ice water in a plugged sink or ice water in a much larger pot or bowl.

Things being as they are, sometimes your choices for action are limited.  Some people might decide to place the hot broth in the refrigerator because, “that’s surely better then leaving it out at room temperature.”  The problem is not, whether or not the broth cools better in the fridge; but that the difference in heat reduction is miniscule, and does nothing more then condensate and heat your fridge.  I still have people ask me about this and sometimes it’s nice to know the whys along with the actions.  So if an ice bath is not an option for you, leave it on a cool dense surface and stir regularly to distribute heat and incorporate cool air.