Saturday, October 20, 2007

Lexington NC Barbecue Festival

Lexington, NC will host the 24th annual Barbecue Festival next Saturday (October 27, 2007). This is one of the biggest and best barbeque festivals in the South. Heck, it's one of the best festivals in the country period. They even have the awards to prove it.

I live about 45 minutes from Lexington, and we make an annual pilgrimage to Lexington. We go other times of the year for the fabulous local vinegar based barbecue, but we make sure to mark the calendar for the official food festival. Government officials were going to name it the state barbecue festival, but barbecuers in other parts of the state got their panties in wads. They just named it the state food festival, but it's definately barbecue.

Don't confuse the festival with a barbecue competition. You don't have to haul in your cooker, and you won't see all the hot dogging. Locals managed to come up with a representative trademark sandwich which is served at the festival from several large tents. That's just for starters on the food. You'll find all the carnival type foods plus some Southern favorites like fried apple pies. The line gets long for those, so don't wait until afternoon. You'll never get one if you do.

Even if you aren't a fan of barbecue and other fast foods, there's plenty to see and do at the Lexington Festival. They have entertainment on several stages. Some of the entertainment is music. Some programs are for the kids but fun for adults too. There are small rides and games and lots of merchant booths. I get a lot of my Christmas shopping done at the festival and have unique items that I can't find in stores.

Lexington is a small southern town, but it's busting at the seams come barbecue Saturday. They have buses running from the Wal-Mart parking lot, and that's the best bet. Just park and catch a ride over. The buses run just every few minutes.

Be sure to look for the cheese ball mix ladies. Yum. Those mixes are wonderful. I always stock up. And keep an eye for the marshmallow shooters. Those are made with PVC pipe and shoot mini marshmallows. My boys had a blast with those the year we picked some up.

If you miss the festival this year, mark your calendar. The Lexington Barbecue Festival is always one of the last two Saturdays in October. They have a web page. Check that out for details.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Lexington Barbecue Festival

If you love barbecue, then be sure to check out the Lexington, NC Barbecue Festival on Saturday, October 27, 2007. This is the 24th year, and this festival just gets better every time.

Lexington BBQ is a chopped pork que served on a bun with a vinegar based sauce. It seems to be an acquired taste, but once you're hooked you will drive miles for this stuff. YUM!

The Festival has been named one of the top 10 festivals in the United States by Travel & Leisure magazine. I'm not surprised. It is fabulous.

In addition to the barbecue tents, there all kinds of food vendors and craft booths. Be sure to try out a fried apple pie. Get one early, since the line for those gets really long.

I do some of my Christmas shopping at the festival every year. There is a guy who has ties, and I get my boss Christmas themed ties which are hard to find. He is a public speaker and does Christmas programs, so he enjoys having new holiday ties. Last year I bought a really neat snake made out of a chain and an airplance made out of beer cans. I also pick up new barbecue sauces. There are always loads of those, and most offer samples.

Cyndi Allison

Monday, September 03, 2007

Grilled Chicken and Grilled Garlic Toast

Cole's Garlic Bread on the grill - indirect heat.

Chicken brushed with cooking oil before adding barbecue sauce the last 10 minutes.

YUM!. Some great eating at our house tonight.

After getting the power bill for the month at $189 (and this is a small brack ranch house), we definately grilled tonight. No problem. We love to grill anyway. And, it does help to do the food outdoors instead of heating up the kitchen.
We decided to grill chicken tonight and use Carolina Pride Barbecue sauce which is kind of a blast from the past. My family used Carolina Pride when I was growing up. It's been years since I've bought any. In fact, I've not even noticed it on the shelves at the big grocery stores, but the little IGA in town has only a few choices - Carolina Pride BBQ was one of them.
Chicken can be kind of tricky on the grill especially if you're cooking large pieces like breasts. The key to getting it done without burning it is to use an indirect heating method. You'll see above in the bread picture how our coals were set up for indirect heat. The lid is then put on for most of the cooking time on the chicken - not for the bread though which cooks in minutes.
To keep the chicken from sticking, brush it with a little cooking oil before putting it on the grill. Then add the barbeque sauce during the last few minutes - 5 to 10. Anything tomato based is going to be bad about burning though not as much so with indirect grilling. We still wait and do the sauce near the end.
I've mentioned Texas Toast on the grill. This time I tried another brand - Cole's - since it was on sale. It was terrific. I think I like it even better than the Texas Toast brand. Either is great though.
We rounded out the meal with cheese potatoes in the crock pot (which doesn't heat the kitchen up) and asparagus in the new Glad Simply Cooking microwave cooking bags - just zip and cook a couple of minutes. Very easy. And another dish that keeps the cool going in the kitchen.

Cyndi Allison

Monday, August 27, 2007

Lazy Days of Summer - On the Creek

Here's the whole crowd - or most of them.

Dad plays Tarzan at the creek near his old home place in Oklahoma.

The little guy gets in on the fun while his brother cheers him on.

This kid-o is a lifeguard, but he didn't learn this trick at the YMCA.

The boys went out to Oklahoma to visit the relatives before the summer wrapped up. They especially enjoyed the rope swing out on the creek.

They also had a great time grilling, and I'm sure they all packed away a ton of grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

Be sure to check out my tips for grilling perfect hamburgers. There are some little tricks that make them much tastier - not that a grilled burger is ever bad. Well, some of the burned ones might not be primo.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Castleberry's Chili Recall - Oops - I have a can of this.

If you have a can or cans of Castleberry's chili sauce in your cabinet or other products made by the company, be sure to read the recall information.
The original recall was July 18 and included only the chili sauce with "use by" dates from April to May 2009. The recall has been expanded. The list includes more products now and also batch numbers rather than just the "use by" dates.
I just checked my cabinet, and I have a can of Castleberry's chili sauce. I usually make my own, but I happened to have a can on hand if I wanted grilled hot dogs and didn't want to take the time to make chili.
The use by date is hard to read. It appears that mine is March of 2009 for "use by," but when I check back on the batch numbers, my can falls in the recall.
The concern with the chili sauce is botulism. Whew. Don't want to get that. That would be one sure way to ruin a barbecue.
Check your cans!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Grilled Chicken with White Sauce

If you've never tried grilled chicken with white sauce, then you've got to whip up a batch of White BBQ sauce. It's a neat zippy sauce that really gives chicken an interesting twist.

Be sure to make plenty of sauce. It's good for dipping once the chicken is done too. When we made this last week in the mountains, we had to make up a second batch before we finished our chicken.
White BBQ Sauce is very popular in Alabama and probably originated there, but it's also a hot recipe in North Carolina where we raise loads of chickens and grill year round.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Texas Toast on the Barbecue Grill

One really easy food we cook on the grill is Texas Toast. Texas Toast is sold in the freezer section at the grocery store. It yummy baked as indicated on the package, but we like it even better with a smoky grilled taste.
If you need extra help or tips on making Texas Toast on the grill, see my article at Barbecue Master. I post all our favorite family grill recipes there at Garden & Hearth.
Texas Toast goes great with steak, chicken or seafood. It only takes a couple of minutes, so it can go on the grill while the meat rests and the flavors settle.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Free - Country Bob's Barbecue Sauce

If you love barbecue sauce, then try out a free bottle of Country Bob's. Just click here and fill out a simple form. They don't actually pack up and mail out the barbeque sauce. Can't say I blame them. That would get expensive. They send a coupon, so you can get a free bottle of Country Bob's at the grocery store.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bluegrass at Southwest Virginia Community College

I headed up to the mountains this weekend and stumbled on a bluegrass shindig at Southwest Virginia Community College. It was a two day party with Rhonda Vincent headlining on Friday night and IIIrd Tyme Out on Saturday night. A number of local bluegrass bands also performed.
The crowd was very low key. I think that's the first time I've been to a bluegrass concert and didn't see folks up clogging or flat footing.

They had some good eats - hamburgers, hot dogs, curly fries.

For any bluegrassers out there, the Tazewell County Old Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers' Convention will be July 13-15, 2007 at the Tazewell County Fairgrounds. Camping is first-come-first serve with primitive and RV. The festival brochure is posted online with all the details.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Kabobs - Tasty but Not That Easy

Well, we got those barbecue kabobs cooked up. Pretty good eating. I think I may buy one of those kabob things to turn on the grill. You stick the kabobs in, and then you just turn the thing over all at once. It's pretty hard to turn kabobs with a spatula, and those suckers get hot. Feel my pain.

I tried some Lipton Onion Soup potatoes on the grill (they are similar to the tin foil potatoes I linked in the last post but not as good). I used the basic recipe for the oven. They were fair, but I doubt I'd make them again. The biggie is that they come out looking kind of brownish and gross with the soup mix there on the grill. They don't get that nice crust like they get in the oven.

I'm always trying new things on the grill. The recipes that make the cut go up on my site Yes You Can Grill. The ones that don't, well, we just eat them.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Chicken Kabobs on the Barbecue Grill

I had some chicken going begging here, so I decided to make some chicken kabobs on the grill. Since the boys don't like much of anything with or on their meat, that kind of limited what I could thread on the kabobs. They figured the green peppers were big enough to pull off and put in my plate. I promised them that the grilled green peppers would not jump over on the chicken and change the taste.

The chicken kabobs turned out good. I just used a basic homemade style Italian dressing to soak them a couple of hours before tossing them on the grill.

One thing I'd say about kabobs is that it sure would take a lot of them to fill a body (especially boy bodies) up. You can't jam them too tight or they don't cook even. With the food spread out over the kabobs, there's really not much on each kabob.

I think I know why folks usually serve kabobs with rice or potatoes. You've got to fill up on something. We, fortunately, made some grilled tin foil potatoes. We also tried grilled olive oil bread, but that Bunny BBQ bread is too soft to throw on a fire. It was tasty, but it looked like heck. I'm going to try that again but with a European bread with more substance.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

OK. I did it. I'm the Squidoo Grill Girl.

A lot of my friends have been raving about Squidoo. I didn't know if I wanted to jump in.

But, hey now, it said I could get rolling in 4.5 minutes. Someone must have been smoking something and not meat when they came up with that figure.

In any case, I'm Squidoo Grill Girl.

It took me about half a day to get the basics up. I'm still doing some tweaking.

If you're familiar with Squidoo, you can build your own web pages (as many as you like). They provide templates. You write materials, paste up links, add photos and videos.

They've got some pretty neat stuff over there. Check them out. You can build your own page, but I'll warn you that it does take some time.

Ribs on the Weber Smokey Mountain Bullet

Yum. These were some darn good ribs. We've been smoking up a lot of ribs and butts, since we got our Smokey Mountain Bullet. That's one of the best purchases we've made in years.

This was our Memorial Day Celebration. Uncle Eric visited. He's in the Army and has been to Iraq twice. He's scheduled to go back again. With only 3 1/2 years until retirement, we are all holding our breath.

The guys did the ribs this time. I was making Onion Parmesan potatoes in the house. We kind of switch off on inside/outside. Works out pretty good.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Most Popular Grilled Foods - Weber Report 2007

Here we are cooking the most popular grill food for 2007. In fact, hamburgers have topped the list for the past four years according to Weber GrillWatch (conducted by Greenfield).
The top foods according to the yearly study (this is the 18th year), the top grilled foods are:
1. hamburgers - 64%
2. steak - 46%
3. chicken - 40%
4. hot dogs - 34%
5. ribs - 14%

See the Weber report for more interesting grilling trends.
If you want to make some really great burgers, then here's my best burger recipe with tips.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

FREE Beer Butt Chicken Holder

It's hard to beat Beer Butt Chicken on the grill. It comes out so moist and full of flavor.

If you don't have a beer (perish the thought) or if you generally use bottles (not at all good to put up a chicken on the grill), then Perdue can fix you up.

Buy a Perdue Oven Stuffer chicken. Inside the package (make sure it's marked with the offer), you'll find a code number. Visit the ChickCAN page and fill out the form, including your special number. They'll send you a metal chicken cooking rack which works the same way as the beer can.

Enjoy the freebie!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Free Sportsman Magazine - magazine subscription

I know some of my readers are true outdoorsmen (and women), so here's a great freebie for everyone who loves the wild life.

Go to Sportsman and fill out a simple form, and you'll start getting a free quarterly magazine. The articles are lively. They also include some recipes.

North Carolina Settles Barbecue Food Fight

Some elementary kids wrote letters to Congressmen in North Carolina requesting that the Lexington Barbecue festival be the "official" BBQ festival of NC. Well, that set some tongues to wagging and articles flying. Barbeque is pretty serious business in NC where everyone minds his, her and everyone elses business (but not in a bad way).

The issue with the que festival request was that there are two styles of BBQ in North Carolina. We've got the tomato based barbecue fans and the vinegar sauce fans. And, minds don't much meet between these two groups.

State leaders did reach a compromise. Politicians are good about those things (sometimes). The Lexington Barbecue Festival will be the "official" Food Festival of North Carolina. See -no mention of barbecue there. But, you head over to the October festival, and I can tell you what you'll be eating. Yep. Barbecue - Lexington style (vinegar). Yum!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

And while I was grilling . . .

While I was busy thinking about outdoor cooking, my mom was hard at work making Raggedy Andy and Ann for a family friend.

Mom has made rag dolls as far back as I can remember. My set is in lavendar.

I made one Raggedy Ann, but it took FOREVER. I don't have that much patience. So, I stick with grilling and smoking. It does take time to make great food, but it's not as tedious as trying to get poly-fill in the arms of little doll babies.

Polar Bear Grilling - Pork Loins

Yes! It's cold. And, yes, I am grilling.
Grab a jacket and join the Polar Bear Barbeque Club. It's really not that bad, and the food sure tastes great.
Tonight I'm grilling a pork loin on my small travel Weber. The big Weber is next door, and well . . . you know.
The last time I got a pork loin, my son wanted to know if it was the pig's leg. Guess I need to get him outside and learning more about barbecue. A visit to a farm might be in order too.
If I ever make BBQ pigs leg, I will take pictures and let everyone know.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mexican on the Grill

Yum. Nachos on the grill are delicious. They only take a couple of minutes to heat. Then, you're ready to eat.

For directions on making Grilled Cheese Nachos, visit Barbeque Master at Garden and Hearth.

I also have a Pica de Gallo recipe that is fabulous with the chips or to serve with any Mexican meal.

Keep checking back. I've been grilling up some great Mexican and Mexican inspired dishes and will continue to post up recipes and directions.