Sunday, June 30, 2013

Recipe: Pulled Pork with Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Based on a recipe for "South Carolina Pulled Pork" from the June 2008 Cook's Country.  The number of servings depends on the size of the pork shoulder roast you cook. A small 3-lb roast provided 8-10 servings.

Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for Two.


3 tablespoons dry mustard
1½ tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 boneless pork shoulder roast (3 to 5 pounds)
4 cups wood chips
½ cup yellow mustard
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup distilled (white) vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Combine dry mustard, brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, and cayenne.
  2. Pat the pork roast dry and rub generously with the spice mixture.
  3. Wrap the roast with plastic and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
  4. Soak the wood chips in water for 15 minutes.
  5. Seal the wood chips in an aluminum foil packet the top of which is pierced creating several vent holes for smoke to escape.
  6. Place the packet of wood chips directly on one burner of a gas grill.
  7. Turn all burners on high and close the grill, heating until the wood chips begin to smoke, about 15 minutes.
  8. Turn off all of the burners except the one under the wood chips.
  9. Clean the grill, spray with a vegetable spray made for grilling, and place the roast on the cool side of the grill.
  10. Close the lid and smoke the roast for 2 hours until it develops a rosy hue.
  11. While the roast smokes, make the sauce by whisking together the ingredients until smooth.
  12. With a rack in lower-middle position, heat the oven to 325°.
  13. Put the smoked roast in a roasting pan and brush on ½ cup sauce.
  14. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake 2 to 3 hours until a fork inserted in the meat can be removed with no resistance.
  15. Remove the finished roast from the oven and let it rest, still covered, for 30 minutes.
  16. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and with two forks pull the meat apart, discarding large pieces of fat.
  17. Toss the pulled pork with barbecue sauce to taste and serve on buns. If desired add additional sauce, pickles, or slaw.
Dry the roast, rub it with a spice mixture, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate.
(This is a boneless roast and was tied by the butcher, bone-in roasts are good, too.)
Put a foil packet of wood chips on the burner of a gas grill; you can see it peaking though the grill grates here.

Smoke the pork on the cool side of the grill for 2 hours.
To make the sauce, whisk together hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, yellow mustard, salt, and black pepper.
Brush the roast with sauce, cover, and bake at 325°.
The roast is done when a fork can be pulled from the meat without resistance.

After resting, use two forks to pull apart the pork.
Add sauce to taste and serve on buns.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Recipe: Easy Grilled Pizza

Based on a recipe from the August 2010 Cook's Country. Serves 4.

Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for Two.


2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
Fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus additional to brush on the dough
1 tablespoon sugar
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (1 envelope)
13¾ ounces all-purpose flour plus additional to dust work surface
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2½ cups grated mozzarella cheese


  1. Sauce: Drain the diced tomatoes, discarding the juice.
  2. Chop enough fresh basil to make 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together tomatoes, basil, oil, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Dough: In a measuring cup, heat water to approximately 110°. 
  5. Add 1 tablespoon oil, sugar, and yeast; whisk to combine, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  6. In food processor, pulse flour, Parmesan, and salt to combine.
  7. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the yeast mixture and process until the dough forms a shaggy ball that pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute.
  8. On a floured work surface, knead the dough several times until it becomes smooth and uniform.
  9. Pizza: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and dust them with flour.
  10. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces.
  11. Pat each piece flat of dough then stretch and roll it into a 9-inch circle.
  12. Place the dough on a baking sheet and dust it with flour.
  13. Heat a covered gas grill on high for 15 minutes then clean and oil the grates and reduce the heat to medium-low.
  14. Brush the dough rounds with olive oil and place on the grill, oil side down.
  15. Close the gill cover and cook until the bottom of the dough is spotty brown and the top is bubbly, 3-5 minutes. (Pop any large bubbles.)
  16. Oil the tops of the pizzas and flip them over. 
  17. Add one quarter of the sauce and one quarter of the mozzarella to each pizza and cook until the cheese is melted and the bottom is spotty brown, 3-5 minutes.
  18. Serve immediately.
Mix together pressed garlic, chopped basil, salt, diced tomatoes, and olive oil; set aside.
Whisk together water, oil, sugar and yeast; set aside for 5 minutes.
Pulse flour, Parmesan, and salt to combine.
With machine running, slowly pour in the yeast mixture.

Knead the dough a few times to form a uniform ball.
Divide the dough into four equal portions and roll into 9-inch "circles".

Coat with oil and grill oil-side down, coat the top then flip to cook the other side.

Add sauce and cheese and cook until the cheese is melted and the bottom is spotty brown.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Recipe: Glenn's Pepper Steak, "Goop 2"

Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for TwoAs described in the story, this is not my final version of this recipe but rather just the first attempt at putting specifics behind a general home recipe, "Goop 1". Give it a try and let me know in the comments what you like and what you might change.

Rather than use this recipe you should use the final version.

Serves 6.


1 pound top round steak or London Broil
½ teaspoon garlic salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounces button mushrooms
1 medium onion
1 bell pepper
4 stalks celery
28-ounce can whole tomatoes
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon allspice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce 
¼ teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
Table salt and black pepper


  1. Slice the steak across the grain into ¼-inch strips.
  2. Clean the mushrooms and cut them each into thin slices.
  3. Remove the stem and ribs from the bell pepper and cut it into thin strips.
  4. Clean the celery and cut it into ½-inch pieces.
  5. Peel the onion, cut it in half pole-to-pole, and cut each half into ¼-inch slices
  6. Season the beef with garlic salt.
  7. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.
  8. Add the beef and cook, with stirring, until browned, 5-10 minutes.
  9. Reduce the heat to medium and add the mushrooms, onion, celery, and bell pepper; cook with  frequent stirring until the onion starts to soften, about 10 minutes.
  10. Add the remaining ingredients, including the juice from the tomatoes.
  11. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes, and simmer with occasional stirring, until the vegetables are cooked through, about 20 minutes. 
  12. (If you're serving this over steamed white rice, start the rice now.)
  13. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve over steamed rice.
Cut the steak into small pieces ¼-inch thick.
Cut the mushrooms into thin slices.
Prepare the onion, bell pepper, and celery.
Assemble the other ingredients: spices, hot sauce (if using), Worcestershire sauce, and tomatoes.
Season the beef pieces and brown in oil.

Add onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, and celery and cook until the onion starts to soften.

Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until the vegetables are cooked.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Recipe: Monkey Bread

Based on a recipe from the April 2005 Cook's Country. Makes many servings, up to 64 if you have a lot of self control.

Read the story behind this dish in Sunday, Dinner for Two.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup milk
⅓ cup water
¼ cup sugar
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast (1 packet)
16¼ ounces (3¼ cups) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons table salt
Brown Sugar Coating
1 cup packed light brown sugar (do not use dark brown sugar)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar
2 tablespoons milk


  1. Dough: With a rack in the middle position, heat the oven to 200° then turn it off and keep the oven door closed.
  2. Soften 2 tablespoons butter and melt 2 tablespoons butter.
  3. Combine the milk and water in a measuring cup and heat in the microwave to about 110°.
  4. Stir in the melted butter, sugar, and yeast.
  5. Using a standing mixer, mix together the flour and salt using the dough hook.
  6. With the mixer on low, slowly add the milk mixture and stir until the dough comes together.
  7. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough until it is shiny and smooth, 6-7 minutes.
  8. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough by hand briefly to form a smooth, round ball.
  9. Put the dough ball in a large bowl coated with vegetable spray, turning to coat all sides of the dough with the oil.
  10. Cover the bowl and place it in the warm oven until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  11. Coat the inside of a Bundt pan with the 2 tablespoons of softened butter and set aside.
  12. Sugar coating: Mix brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.
  13. Melt 8 tablespoons butter in a bowl and set aside.
  14. Form the loaf:  After the dough has risen, remove it from the oven.
  15. Heat the oven again to 200° and then turn it off with the oven door closed.
  16. Working gently, remove the risen dough from the bowl and pat it into a rough 8-inch square.
  17. Cut the dough into 64 pieces. (Cut it into quarters, then cut each quarter into 16 pieces.)
  18. Roll each piece of dough into a ball, dip it in the melted butter allowing the excess to drip off,  roll the ball in the brown sugar mixture, and place it in the buttered Bundt pan.
  19. Cover the Bundt pan with plastic wrap and place it in the warm oven until the dough balls are puffy and have risen to the top of the Bundt pan, about 1 hour.
  20. Remove the pan from the oven and heat the oven to 350°.
  21. Bake the loaf until the top is deep brown and caramel is bubbling around the edges, 30-35 minutes.
  22. Cool the bread in the pan for 5 minutes then turn the loaf out onto a plate and cool for another 10 minutes.
  23. Glaze: Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk in a bowl until smooth.
  24. Drizzle the glaze over the warm bread.
  25. Serve warm.
Mix together warm milk and water, melted butter, yeast, and sugar.
Mix together flour and salt then slowly pour in the yeast solution with the mixer on low.
Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough until smooth and shiny.
(The towel helps keep the mixer from walking around the counter.)
Form the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl to rise in a warm oven.

Raise until the dough has doubled in volume.
Gently pat the dough into an 8" square, cut into 64 pieces, roll each piece into a ball, coat with butter and cinnamon sugar.
Place the seasoned dough balls in a buttered Bundt pan.

Cover and let rise in a wam oven until the balls are puffy and fill the pan.

Bake until dark brown.
Turn the loaf out onto a plate, drizzle with glaze, and enjoy it while it is still warm.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Recipe: Grandma's Roast Beef and Gravy

Based on a recipe from the January 2011 Cook's Country and served for Sunday dinner on May 26, 2013. Makes many servings.

This recipe was inspired by the roast beef dinner a Test Kitchen cook had every Sunday with her grandmother. It uses a relatively inexpensive cut of beef (you can use either top round or top sirloin) and with the gravy can provide delicious meals for a week or more. As a bonus, everything is cooked in a single skillet making the dish washer happy.



1 boneless top round roast, 4-5 pounds with a ¼ inch fat cap
table salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 carrots
1 onion
1 celery rib
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon tomato paste
2 10.5-ounce cans beef broth
1½ cups water


  1. Pat the roast dry and tie it with kitchen twine spaced at 1-inch intervals.
  2. Rub the roast with 2 teaspoons of table salt, wrap it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1, and up to 24-hours.
  3. Peel the carrots and cut them into 2-inch pieces.
  4. Peel the onion and cut it into ½-inch rounds.
  5. Clean the celery rib and cut it into 2-inch pieces.
  6. Heat oven to 225° with a rack in the middle position.
  7. Pat the roast dry and season it with 2 teaspoons black pepper.
  8. Heat the oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking.
  9. Brown the roast on all sides, about 10 minutes, and transfer to a plate.
  10. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the melted fat from the skillet, turn the heat to medium, and add the butter.
  11. When the butter has melted, add the carrots, onion, and celery and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes.
  12. Add flour and tomato paste and cook until the flour is golden, about 2 minutes.
  13. Remove the skillet from the heat and push the vegetables together in the center of the pan.
  14. Put the roast on top of the vegetables and bake in the oven to an internal temperature of 125° (medium rare), about 2½-3½ hours.
  15. Transfer the finished roast to a cutting board, tent loosely with foil, and rest for 20 minutes.
  16. Move the skillet with vegetables to a burner on medium-high heat and cook until the vegetables are deep golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  17. Slowly stir in the beef broth and water, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate those delicious brown bits into the gravy.
  18. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  19. Strain the gravy through a fine mesh strainer into a serving bowl.

Pat the roast dry, rub with salt, tie at 1-inch intervals, and refrigerate for 1-24 hours.
Pat the roast dry, rub with black pepper, and brown on all sides.
Prepare the vegetables, butter, flour, and tomato paste
Lightly brown the vegetables in butter and juices from the meat.
Cook flour and tomato paste then roast the beef on top of the vegetables to 125°.
Set the beef aside to rest then brown the vegetables.
Add water and broth and simmer until the gravy is thickened, strain and serve.