Tag Archives: chicken stock

From Dry Rub to BBQ Sauce

I really love the dry rub I have been using, borrowed from Chowhound and only slightly varied. It’s salty and spicy and just a little sweet—it’s everything I want in a BBQ sauce, without the vinegar/tomato/molasses base. I have bad reactions to that base; anything with strong vinegar or tomato makes my head and face break out in a sweat and it’s very uncomfortable, so I avoid the bottled sauces when I can. It’s also why I don’t eat salads with a vinaigrette. Plus, bottled BBQ sauces use way more sugar than anybody needs in a savory meal. So I figured I could turn my rub into a sauce without those extra ingredients; after all, we eat the meats cooked in the rub without additional sauce.

As the Chowhound recipe for pulled pork in a slow cooker works (and I use the same method in a dutch oven, on the grill or in the oven), sliced onions and garlic and some stock or beer sits in the bottom of the cooker, under the rubbed meat. Adapting that for my sauce, I simply sauteed the onion and garlic, then added the rub and 3 cups of stock and cooked it down to 2 cups. Then I lightly thickened it with cornstarch. Same flavors, but in a sauce. I used the sauce with some poached, pulled chicken for BBQ chicken sandwiches. I recommend it to anyone who wants to try a lighter BBQ sauce that still has a distinctive BBQ flavor.

If this is too mild for you, simply consider using a dry rub as the flavor base for any vinegar/tomato/molasses sauce. In the case of this rub, cinnamon is the odd ingredient that we like, but there are a lot of rub recipes, both commercial and homemade that would make a good sauce.

Now if I could just find a slaw dressing without too much vinegar or sugar.

Dry Rub BBQ Sauce

  • Servings: makes 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
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1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

2 tablespoon olive oil

dry rub, as below or doubled for more flavor (or about 1/4-1/2 cup of your favorite rub)

1 tablespoon packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups chicken stock ( or any other flavorful stock)

mixture of 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  1. Mix the dry rub ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat in small saucepan until translucent.
  3. Stir in garlic and dry rub, stirring to combine and to develop the spice and herb flavors
  4. Stir in the stock and bring to a medium boil. Continue to boil until the mixture is reduced to 2 cups. This took at least 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the water and cornstarch mixture and continue to cook until lightly thickened. This is not enough cornstarch to make the sauce too thick.

Pork Tenderloin: Two Spanish Dishes

I had one of those packages of two pork tenderloins, about 3 pounds, and I didn’t feel like just using one and freezing the other, because I’m all about the cook once, eat twice way of cooking when I can, so I can do other things, like finish the pirate costume for my granddaughter that you can read about on my sewing blog. I almost didn’t get to the second meal on this trip, though, as the first dinner was so good, my husband went back for more. But it’ll work out because the second dinner is one where a smaller amount of meat can be stretched.

The first meal was Spanish-Style Pork Kabobs from the Weber Grilling site, without the onion and peppers, and substitutes of rice vinegar for sherry vinegar and ground chipotle for cayenne. I think I cut my chunks a little larger than the original, but the important thing was the marinade, which set up the meat for the second meal of Spanish Rice. Sometimes it’s hard to find marinades or sauces for grilling that aren’t sweet, but this one scores on that point. In addition, it has that splash of vinegar that brightens up a spicy dish.

You can follow the link above for the specifics, but it’s really just 3 steps: marinate, skewer, and grill. Here are the ingredients for the marinade, with my substitutions:

  • ⅓ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced or grated
  • ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper

The second meal is a Spanish Rice made with tomatoes from our garden, roasted poblano peppers from our friend Greg, and the remaining grilled pork, shredded. Spanish rice is one of those dishes that is often simply an accompaniment to a meal, but it becomes a main dish with the addition of meat. Technically a Mexican recipe, not a version of the Spanish Paella, I’m going to slip in a pinch of saffron for a nod to that famous Spanish dish. The marinade used for the pork kabobs has the flavors I’m looking for, but there won’t be enough on the cooked meat to flavor the rice, so I’ll be adding a little more of some of the original marinade ingredients.

Spanish Rice with Pork Tenderloin

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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The time depends on the kind of rice you use and how quickly it cooks.

12 oz cooked pork tenderloin, shredded (about 1-2 cups)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

1 cup long grain rice (mine was Jasmine), rinsed

about 8 small-medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and pulsed in a food processor

1 tablespoon garlic, minced or grated

3 roasted poblano peppers, peeled and seeded

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 pinch saffron threads

1 teaspoon salt

chicken stock to make about 2 1/2 cups of liquid with the tomatoes

  1. Rinse and drain the rice and set aside to dry a bit.
  2. Heat olive oil in large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute onions until translucent, then add rice and continue sauteing and stirring until the rice is well coated with oil and crackling in the pan.
  3. Add tomatoes, mashing them in the pan as they heat. Cook the tomatoes until all the water evaporates or is absorbed by the rice. This gives the rice a head start in cooking.
  4. Stir in the garlic, peppers, and spices.
  5. Stir in the shredded pork.
  6. Add enough chicken stock to make about 2 1/2 cups total liquid. In the end, I used about 1 1/2 cups chicken stock before the rice was done.
  7. Cover and simmer until the rice is done, which could be anywhere from 15 to 45 more minutes, depending on your rice. I have had rice that will not cooperate, so I’m not going to be too prescriptive about the time here. I don’t know how or why it works, but if you have exhausted the cooking time and your rice is not tender, turn off the heat and let it steam, covered, for 15 minutes and it will usually be done.

Cheddar Ham and Rice Casserole

The third of the ham dinners, this casserole is a variation of the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole, with more focus on making a sauce. In the original, the chicken partially cooked in the casserole, and the sauce formed from sour cream and the juices from the chicken as it finished cooking in the oven. It never fails. But I wanted something more reminiscent of a scalloped potato dish, so I did make a white sauce, to which I added a little cheddar cheese. Jasmine rice, carrots, and peas rounded out the flavors that I felt would complement the smoky ham.

Cheddar Ham and Rice Casserole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Prepare rice:

1 cup long grain Jasmine rice

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water

salt, if not using a salted stock

  • Prepare rice as directed on package, usually simmering in stock or water for 45 minutes. Mine needed about 1/4 cup more water before the time was up.
  • Set aside to combine with other ingredients.

Prepare casserole:

Preheat oven to 350°; grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish.

1 1/2-2 cups leftover ham, diced

2 medium carrots, diced and precooked in microwave for about 4 minutes

1/2 bag frozen green peas (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons butter (for sauce)

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/4 cup milk

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1/3 cup dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter, melted (for topping)

  1. In large skillet, saute diced ham and carrots in 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat until heated through.
  2. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour until well blended with no lumps.
  3. Slowly stir in milk until all the flour/butter mixture is incorporated. Continue stirring until the sauce is slightly thickened, then stir in 1/2 cup cheese until melted.
  4. Stir in rice and then the frozen peas.
  5. Pour all into a greased 13″ x 9″ baking dish.
  6. Stir together bread crumbs, 1/2 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle over casserole.
  7. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned.

Grill as Slow Cooker

I like the dry heat of an oven for roasting meats and use my covered roasting pans a lot. Then I found a good slow cooker recipe for pulled pork that gave me another option when I didn’t want to turn on the oven. Unlike a lot of slow cooker recipes, this one did not suck the life out of the meat, but kept it moist and flavorful. Last winter, that slow cooker crock cracked and put an end to that method until I get a replacement, but today, I’m using my newly purchased cast iron Dutch oven to recreate the recipe on the grill.

As I’ve noted in a recent post, the Dutch oven sits into the cooking grate ring on my Weber® grill, almost down to the charcoal grate, so the only option for arranging the coals is in the snake pattern, where the briquettes are placed around the inner edge of the kettle in a ring, except for one opening, so that the snake has a head and tail and doesn’t burn from both ends. You set some lighted, ashed-over coals on the head, and let the snake body light up slowly, keeping the temperature low (as in a slow cooker) for a long cooking period. I ended up using exactly 100 coals, which seems like a lot to me, except for the fact that I expect to cook my pork roast for at least 6 hours. My snake is 2 briquette rows wide and 2 rows tall, with 12 briquettes left over to start the fire. I’m hoping the temperature stays between 225°-250° for the whole time, and like a slow cooker, I don’t plan to open it unless the temperature goes too low and needs more fuel.

  • 3 hours: The temperature is about 290°, so I could adjust the top vents a little to lower the temperature. I have to wonder how much the heated cast iron adds to the overall temperature.
  • 5 hours: Hovering at about 250°. I hope something good is going on in that pot.
  • 6 hours: I just have to look. Oh, wow, it’s beautiful and just falls apart with the touch of a fork. Nothing is burnt or dry; the end result is pretty much like the result from the slow cooker, if you stop the cooking at about 6 hours. Any longer is when meat often loses its flavor in a slow cooker. As with all cooking of meat, you want to hit that right moment of doneness.

About 12 unlit briquettes at the end of the snake tell me the grill could cook for at least 1-2 more hours, while the spent coals have turned mostly to dust. Just a 6-8 inch portion of the snake is glowing, to give you an idea of how many hot coals go in to maintaining the 250° temperature.

I put the dish together exactly as the CHOW recipe says, with onions and garlic and chicken stock on the bottom and the pork roast with rub sitting on top. The only changes I made to their rub is adding a half tablespoon of smoked paprika and increasing the cinnamon to 1 teaspoon. It’s a very good rub, useful for a lot of meats with a little adjusting for your recipe taste.