Comprised from The Prepared Pantry Magazine “Country Home Kitchen.” To sign up for a free subscription to the magazine click here
Grilling and meat are often associated with the summer season and this summer is no exception. Grilling is a great way to cook meals for your family and friends, and the following recipes are to help you make every person a happy one.
When we moved to the Midwest (Minnesota) we were amazed at the popularity of the bratwurst. It seemed like everyone was eating brats at every outing. Brats were the star at picnics, company parties, and tailgate gatherings. The grocery stores offered more kinds of bratwurst than we ever dreamed existed.
Many times they were grilled. Sometimes they were steamed. They were occasionally simmered in beer and then grilled. Some folks said they simmer them for five minutes and others say fifteen. Some simmered them in straight beer, with onion slices, and others added apple slices.
We learned to love brats. We usually buy the fully-cooked kind. If you buy the uncooked variety, use a thermometer and make sure the interior of the brat reaches 160 degrees.
Weve grilled brats. Weve roasted them over open fires on sticks like we used to do with hot dogs (once we discovered brats, we never went back to hot dogs). Weve fried them on the stovetop. Weve loaded them with sauerkraut and weve eating them plain. We discovered cheddar-filled brats.
The only rule we had about brats was that we had to cook them slow enough so they didnt split wide open and lose a bunch of juice. We’ve learned to load them up with sauces and relishes.
Brats have a pronounced flavor, enough so that its hard to overpower them even with a spicy relish. And its hard to find a relish, or a sauce, or a chutney that doesnt go well with a brat.
But alas, a brat isnt a dieticians dream. So we try to go easy on our brats, eating them as an occasional splurge, not an every weekend event. That just seems to make us relish them more.
There are lots of recipes for beer-steamed brats. We thought we could do the same thing with apple cider. We poked holes in the sausage casings with the point of a knife, cut up an onion, and simmered both the brats and the onion in apple cider – thats the technique used for steaming brats in beer.
It made for great brats but the apple flavor was weak. More holes didnt seem to help. We finally concluded that we couldnt get enough apple flavor this way.
We started looking for a fresh apple relish. We found one that we liked and spiced it up.
Bakers Note: This relish is spiced with curry and fresh ginger. Curry is a mixture of spices and one curry may differ from another. We have a curry that we like and used plenty of it in this recipe.
Those who like curry and spicy accompaniments will like this relish. Keep pickle relish, mustard, and ketchup on hand for those who don’t.
Brats are also very good with chutney. You can make your own chutney or purchase sweet mango chutney, hot mango chutney, or plum chutney.
Spicy Apple Relish
1/2 cup apple juice
2 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger, or to taste
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely diced
1.Pour half of the apple juice and the vinegar into a small or medium saucepan.
2.Add the diced pepper, onion, ginger, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook for about five minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Add the curry and cumin and set aside.
3.Place the cornstarch in a cup. With the other half of the apple juice make a slurry by adding a little of the juice to the cornstarch, stirring until it is absorbed, and then adding more.
4.Add the cornstarch slurry and diced apples to the pan.
Cook until cornstarch thickens and the apples are crisp-tender. Serve hot or cold.
Baker’s Note: Brats can be cooked on the grill or in a frying pan. If cooked too fast, they will split open and lose some of the juice. Make sure you cook them slow to avoid losing the moist, juicy texture.
Toast the buns over a fire or on a grill if desired. Serve the relish with bratwurst.
How to Make Super Easy Barbecue Ribs
Occasionally, I would get a hankering for ribs. Then I would go to town, stop at a BBQ house and order them. Or go without. I would never make them. But I plan on making them this weekend.
My daughter, Debbie, started me on this. Shes a heck of cook and baker. We were over at her house and she went out on the deck and came back with a big plate of barbecue ribs. When I asked her how she made them, she showed me an easy way.
She cooked them in a Dutch oven set on the grill and slow cooked for about 90 minutes. But it really doesnt matter where you cook them in as long as its slow. A crockpot works well. You can use the side burner on your grill.
The slow cooking will make the ribs tender, the meat will slide from the bones, and your barbecue sauce will flavor them.
3 to 4 pounds pork spare ribs
1 large sweet onion or two smaller ones, sliced
1 1/2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce
1.Trim most of the fat from the ribs. Place a layer of ribs in the bottom of a Dutch oven or other heavy pan that you can use on the grill. Place a layer of sliced onions over the ribs. Repeat the process with the remaining onions and meat. Pour the barbecue sauce over the meat and onions.
2.Cover with a tight lid and cook for 90 minutes or until the meat is tender and slides easily from the bones.
3.Homemade BBQ sauce is better. We tried recipe after recipe so you don’t have to. See our best versions of these famous BBQ sauce recipes.
Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
A Kansas City BBQ sauce is thick and tangy. This one uses minced ancho chilies for heat. You can leave them out or use hot sauce as a substitute.
1 1/3 cup ketchup
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons molasses
1 Tablespoon onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon dried minced ancho chili peppers
1.Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Cook over a medium heat stirring often for about five minutes.
2.Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce is thick. Set aside to cool. Store in the refrigerator.
Baker’s Note: Ancho peppers are a very mild, earthy pepper. You may substitute chipotle peppers which are hotter and have a smoky flavor.
Hot is a matter of opinion. You may want to add more chili peppers. Taste it while simmering and add more if needed.
Carolina Barbecue Sauce
Carolina sauce is sweeter, spicier, and has more complex flavors than most other barbecue sauces.
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon diced or granulated chipotle peppers or to taste (See notes.)
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 Tablespoon dark cocoa powder
<p style="margin-bottom: 0.
<hr class=’system-pagebreak’ /><hr class=’system-pagebreak’ />0001pt; text-indent: 36pt; line-height: normal; text-align: left;”>1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon salt
1.Cook the onion and garlic in the butter until it is soft and translucent.
2.Add the tomato sauce, chipotle peppers, maple syrup, coriander, cocoa, brown sugar, allspice, ground thyme, and cinnamon.
3.Cook over a medium heat, stirring often, for five minutes or until the sauce thickens.
4.Reduce the heat to low. Simmer for another few minutes. Set aside to cool. Store in the refrigerator.
Bakers Note: Hot is a matter of opinion. You may want to add more chili peppers. Taste it while simmering and add more if needed.
The Prepared Pantry sells a variety of diced and granulated peppers for cooking. Use whatever you please and adjust for heat.
Saturday was delightful. Diane Jensen, the founder of Gresham and Myers spice company, came to the store and made ribs. She recruited her son and husband to help. Wonderful people, terrific ribs.
Time and again, people told us they were the best ribs they had ever tasted.
They were surprised that they were so simple to make.
The meat is not expensive either. Diane paid $2.05 a pound at Sams Club. Someone said that they were $1.79 at Albertsons.
Ive never made ribs. They seemed too involved. Diane made them easy, in basically three steps.
2.Slow cook them in a crockpot or wrap them in foil and cook them on low heat in the oven.
3.Coat them with sauce and finish them on the grill or under the broiler in your oven.
Her barbecue sauce is terrific, made with the same spice blend and few simple ingredients.
Another Great Ribs Recipe
A four-ounce canister of Gresham and Meyers Barbecue Rub will make 3 slabs of regular ribs or 4 slabs of baby back ribs plus one recipe of barbecue sauce, about 22 ounces or 2 3/4 cups sauce. Extra sauce can be refrigerated.
Its best to start these the night before. Then you can let the meat absorb the flavors of the spices overnight. Total cook time, including the slow cooker and grill, is three to four hours.
Both the sauce and the ribs can be made ahead of time. To make the ribs ahead, cook the ribs in the slow cooker or the oven and then store them in the refrigerator for up to ten days or the freezer for up to four months. Thaw the ribs before finishing them on the grill.
1.Season the ribs generously with Gresham and Meyers Barbecue Rib Rub . Wrap the seasoned ribs in aluminum foil and store them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and as long as overnight.
2.To cook them in the oven, place the foil wrapped ribs in an oven set at 250 degrees and cook for two to three hours for baby back ribs and three to four hours for large ribs or until cooked and tender.
3.To cook them in a slow cooker or crockpot, remove the foil and cook for the same times or until tender.
4.For dry ribs, open the foil and sprinkle the ribs with more spice rub and cook them uncovered on the grill on under the broiler in the oven for about 20 minutes checking frequently to make sure the molasses in the rub does not burn.
5.For sauced ribs, open the foil and cover the ribs with sauce and cook uncovered as above.
Serve hot with more barbecue sauce as desired.
Diane’s Easy Barbecue Sauce Recipe
This can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for two weeks.
<p style="margin-bottom: 0.
<hr class=’system-pagebreak’ />0001pt; text-indent: 36pt; line-height: normal; text-align: left;”>1 1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1.Mix all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce is hot.
To see more Gresham and Myers spices, click here
How to Cook the Perfect Steak Every Time
Never go to the grocery store hungry. You buy too much. And the wrong things. I went last week, starving.
They had sirloin steaks on sale for $2 each. I could tell they werent the best cuts of meat. I bought them anyway quite a few of them. They were tough. Sure I could help them with a good steak tenderizer but you cant make a perfect steak with a poor cut. Which takes us to:
Step number one: Buy a good cut of meat.
I think I know what a good cut of meat looks like good color, shiny, uniform thickness so that it cooks evenly, and with minimal sinew but with marbling. But Im guessing. Its better to ask the butcher or the meat manager.
There are eight grades of meat based primarily on marbling and the age of the animal: Prime, choice, select, standard, commercial, utility, cutter, and canner. If you want a good steak, choose one of the first three. Prime is used in restaurants. You may need to go to a butcher.
My $2 cuts didnt stand a chance. They’re in the freezer. They’ll make good stew meat.
Step number two: Choose and prepare the pan.
Choose a pan that is large enough just to accommodate the meat without the pieces overlapping. It should be a heavy metal pan that will distribute heat evenly (triclad pans distribute heat better than nonstick pans but I usually use a nonstick pan because it requires less fat to keep the steaks from sticking). Add enough fat to lightly coat the pan. (I prefer oil because it wont burn and taste like butter does).If there is enough marbling, it may require no more fat than already exists in the meat.
Step number three: Season the meat properly.
Season the meat before you start cooking. Season foods with salt and pepper, as well as with any spice blends or rubs before you begin cooking. Doing so will cause the meat to absorb the flavors more efficiently than seasoning the meat while it is cooking.
We carry two lines of spice blends: Colorado Cattle Company and Teeny Tiny Spice Company . I absolutely love both but for steaks, Im going with Colorado Cattle Company.
Step number four: Preheat the pan.
Add the meat only after the pan is thoroughly heated. On my stove at home, thats medium high. If you have oil in the pan, heat the oil until the surface ripples and looks hazy. This is a more intense heat than is required for white meats and fish. Dont let the oil burn.
Step number five: Cook the meat properly.
Its essential to keep the pan hot through the cooking process. The hot pan sears the meat and seals in the juices. Cook the meat on one side and then turn the meat to cook the other. Meats should be turned only once. Additional turns will lose juice and cause the pan and the meat to lose heat. Because meat will continue cooking after it is removed from the heat, allow for the “carryover” time in determining how long the meat should cook.
Once upon a time I worked in a bakery in a construction camp. Bakers work at night. But there were construction workers that worked at night also and our staff was required to cook for them.
The chef, who worked in the day, taught me to tell how done a steak was with a poke of my finger. As the meat cooks, it becomes firmer. I still poke meat but a surer method is with an insta-read thermometer. A medium rare steak is 130 to 135 degrees and should be warm through the middle with a hint of red. The insta-read thermometer that you use for baking works just fine for meats.
Herb and Garlic Topping for Steaks, Chops, and Chicken
<p style="margin-bottom: 0.
0001pt; text-indent: 36pt; line-height: normal; text-align: left;”>This recipe makes enough topping for four large steaks.
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
6 tablespoons of butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 2/3 cups bread crumbs
Mix all the ingredients together and blend well. Spoon over your cooked steaks, chicken, or chops. Brown under the broiler element in your oven if desired.
Top of FormDennis Weaver has burnt food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking;, available free in an e-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon for $10.
He loves to help people bake and is giving away Free Digital Cookbooks and Magazines. There is no cost or obligation. To sign up for the FREE subscription of “Country Home Kitchen” and other great E-books and giveaways, click here.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children.