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Archive for May 15th, 2010

While catching the sale for chicken leg quarters for 39 cents for 10 lbs last eve. I also found pork briskets and shoulder steaks on sale for 68 cents a lb.  Of course I couldn’t resist stocking the cart with some of these little gems so two huge briskets and four plump shoulder steak roasts later I happily pushed my meat filled cart to the check out with dreams of pulled pork sandwiches and draped over baked potatoes.

Once home I trimmed most of the fat off the meat, leaving enough to provide flavor.  The fat removed went into a stock pot to be boiled with water to be made into pork stock and broth.  The fat rendered is easy to remove by allowing the liquid to cool and scraping off the con-jelled fat from the liquid broth/stock.  Using a hearty rubbing of the meat seasoning rub (see recipe in blog), I coated the pieces of meat and placed them in roasting pans with enough water to allow them to cook without searing.  It took four hours at 425 degrees (F) before they were falling apart with a fork inserted.  Once at this stage they were removed from the oven and allowed to cool before pulling apart into pulled pork pieces.

When cooled, they were pulled apart and homemade barbecue sauce was added until well coated to point of a light drowning stage in the sauce.  From here the meat was returned to the roasting pan and placed uncovered back into the oven at 350 degrees (F) to glaze.  The entire glazing process took approximately half and hour.  Be sure to watch your meat carefully and stir often at this point or it will burn.  Once caramelized the roasters were removed from the oven and allowed to cool before being bagged and put in freezer in serving size portions.  I used quart bags and took care to be sure all air was pushed out before freezing.

Here is the end product.

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While making up a new batch of meat seasoning I also took the time to replenish my supply of Poultry Rub and Seasoning.  This is a much finer, almost paprika like, rub that I find goes excellent on chicken and other types of poultry.  I have even used it on such things as fish and potatoes.

Once more you will need a large bowl, and I place my finished product in a quart canning jar which I use to refill a spice shaker as needed.  Also the coffee bean grinder comes into play at the “fine” setting to get the desired texture of dried herbs.  If you use store bought herbs you might need to grind them to powder form for oregano and thyme.

Ingredients are:

Onion salt, Garlic salt, paprika, sage, thyme and oregano.  I use equal parts of each except the salts which I do 1/2 amounts of.  (If you use 2 tbsp of paprika you want 1 tbsp onion salt and garlic salt).

As you can see the end result is a very fine rub that works excellent on chicken and poultry.  Hint: If you happen to be grilling,  add a few hickory or mesquite chips to the flame to produce smoke.  Set a heat safe pot of this seasoning atop the grill in the smoke for an hour or two for a delicious hickory or mesquite flavored rub for your meat.

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For seasoning on my steak, pork and roasts I make up the following seasoning mix which I use in a “rub” fashion.  This is made in large batches in a bowl. For the parsley and oregano I dry the herbs in season from my herb garden and then place them in a coffee bean grinder to get the texture desired for combining into the seasoning mix. You can use store bought dried herbs also I just never have.  Combine the herbs and seasonings in the bowl and stir to evenly distribute. Once stirred place in a quart canning jar.  I keep a series of empty spice canisters for refilling from the canning jars as needed for ease in distribution.

Equal parts of Garlic powder, onion salt, paprika, red pepper flakes, lemon pepper, parsley, oregano.

Your end results should look as follows and makes a excellent addition to steak, pork, roasts, venison and other “heartier” meats.

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Found a excellent price on chicken leg quarters in 10 lb bags today.  At 39 cents a lb, there was no way I could resist stocking my cart with $20 dollars worth, or 5 10 lb bags of chicken.  The first thought that came to mind in stocking my freezer with some quick fix, yet healthy food was to make up some pulled chicken BBQ for sandwiches.  This is like the pulled pork many of us are familiar with just with chicken.

To begin with I removed the chicken from two of the bags and laid them out in large turkey roasting pans.  The seasoning involved was very minimal and consisted of seasoned salt and pepper.  I then placed some water in the bottom of the roaster to keep the meat from burning as well as to make a rich broth from the drippings. The pans were then covered with aluminum foil and placed in the oven at 425 degrees (F) to cook until “fall of the bone” ready.  When chicken is falling off the bones, literally, remove from oven and place on cookie sheet to cool.

Once cool, tear meat apart from bones, placing bones in a stock pot for making chicken broth or chicken soup.  For this I made chicken broth by adding additional water and cooking down, I then canned the broth in pressure canner for later use.

The next step involves taking the “pulled” pieces of meat and placing them either back in roasting pan directly, or into a large bowl to add the barbecue sauce onto, you will want stirring room whatever your option.  For this particular batch I used homemade barbecue sauce, but any sauce of your preference will work.  Be sure to use enough sauce to not only coat the chicken, but allow it to lightly swim in the sauce.  The chicken will absorb the sauce in the final preparation step and you will want enough to caramelize on the chicken to get that perfect taste.

For the final step, return the coated chicken to the oven at 350 degrees (F) and allow to bake uncovered for roughly 25 minutes. Be sure to check and stir often as the sauce will caramelize and if not careful burn.  Once it is to your personal glazed liking, remove from the oven and allow to cool before bagging or canning.  I bagged this batch in Ziploc freezer bags to put in my freezer. The end result was 10 quart bags of chicken.

Rich, thick, juicy barbecued pulled chicken just begging to be made into sandwiches.

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Hello world!

Welcome to my kitchen where food is my life.  By this I don’t mean that I spend all my time eating.  Between cooking for my family, school and community bake sales, gardening & preserving, preparing dishes for clients or freezer/weekly meals I find myself facing the food challenge.  As a working mother of two young and growing children, one with autism, and going back to college, this is not always a easy task. I pride myself on fresh, homemade, semi-simple dishes.  I attempt to avoid foods that are not nutritious and are not pesticide, chemical and other unnatural substance made. I attempt to steer away from certain packaged foods that seem to have an adverse effect on my autistic child and lean towards homegrown and homemade creations where possible.  In this house food is made in large batches, canning, freezing, dehydrating and preserving are the norm. It is rare we have take out or purchase quick fix meals from the freezer isles at grocery stores. While I can not promise that some of the recipes and suggestions offered are not going to be a bit time consuming in the making, I guarantee that in the long run they will save a great deal of time and expense.  As with all in the world of recipes, what I offer is not the end all, be all, of cooking. Cooking is an art, it is to be enjoyed and appreciated. Yes, even tinkered with.  Feel free to take the recipes I provide and tweek them to your personal flavor and liking, that is after all what cooking is all about, experimenting and making personal for you and yours.

With that all said, lets get cookin!

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