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Sensational Spring Snacks

By Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker

I needed a light spring dish with some smoked chicken. What could be easier than chicken salad? The problem was Ally and I had been invited to a dinner that was based on an Irish Food. It could be anything as long as it has some traditional Irish ingredients. Thankfully, Ally and I have a neice in Ireland and decided to Skype her. Sadly, I am bad at getting Skype to work even though Ally and our son Mace say that it’s a piece of cake. In fact, my mother in law even knows how to do Skype.

Lacking that piece of technology, I relied on email and Facebook posts. Tiffany emailed me back that as long as we did something with any of the following ingredients, we were ok. She said bacon, prawns, potatoes, cabbage, caraway, and salt and pepper seemed to be in just about anything.

So Ally knocked out five pounds of red potatoes cubed, drizzled in olive oil and tossed in Rosemary and a few other ingredients, and I went to work on the chicken salad. The caraway, just a pinch rubbed in my palm before adding, made a very hearty flavor, but don’t use too much or it may be over powering. I’m pleased to report that everything turned out great. Everyone loved the recipes and nobody made fun of the fact that my Irish beer of choice was actually Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Here is the recipe for Caraway Smoked Chicken Salad with Mary Rose Sauce.

Irish Chicken Salad & Mary Rose Sauce
2 c. cubed cooked & cooled smoked chicken
1/2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. parsley
1/4 c. finely chopped shallot
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1 Granny Smith apple, fine chopped
2 stalks celery, fine chopped
1/2 c. carrots fine chopped
1 c. shredded red cabbage
1/3 c. mayo
1/4 c. crushed almonds
Salt and pepper

Smoke chicken cool and cube small. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl except for the chicken and toss to mix evenly. Stir in chicken, toss to coat evenly adding more mayo if desired. I prefer mine without extra mayo because of the addition of the Mary Rose Sauce. Toss, cover and chill for an hour. Serve on bread, crackers or even Irish Soda bread. The Mary Rose sauce should be served on the side. It can actually be left out as it is traditionally used for seafood. But it does make a neat addition and is perfect with this recipe if prawns or shrimp meat is used instead of chicken.

Mary Rose Sauce
1/2 c. mayo
1/2 c. ketchup
Caraway seed (SMALL Dash)
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Combine, cover and chill for a few minutes before serving.

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned family get together with some good food. Add in a fish fry and hushpuppies and you are good to go.  For some reason, I have always been a bit of a hushpuppy addict. Even if the fish was bad, too greasy, or cold at a restaurant, I would give a thumbs up if the cornbread balls were good. Thankfully, Ally shares my love for the golden balls of seasoned corn meal. Now that’s a good woman.

I decided when Pabst Blue Ribbon asked me to do a few favorite recipes that included my favorite beer that my hushpuppy recipe would be one of the first ones I passed on. And it was one of the first ones to which they gave thumbs up.

As usual, add and subtract some of the seasonings to your own liking. We all have our own tastes, but I think you will like these straight from the recipe. The secret to any good hushpuppy is too have hot oil for frying, not frying too many at one time, and not too make them too big. That being said, I hate tiny hushpuppies.
 Hope you enjoy!

Pabst Puppies
3-1/4 c. self-rising cornmeal
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 Pabst Blue Ribbon, room temp
3/4 c. finely chopped onion
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
Hot vegetable oil for frying

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes while oil gets hot. Use a deep fryer. Drop batter by the spoonful into oil and cook until golden brown. They will expand slightly. Try a few to master the size of the batter ball. Larger sizes will not fully cook in the middle. Add additional flour if needed. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Kent Whitaker is the author of eight cookbooks, ranging from hometown cooking with a culinary history twist to titles for NASCAR tailgating and barbecue. He has also written and illustrated two books for children, is a trained USCG AUXCHEF, and is the winner of the Emeril Live / Food Network Barbecue Contest. His latest book, Bullets and Bread,  is in bookstores nationally and is also available online at, as well as at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon.

Photo courtesy of Kent “The Deck Chef” Whitaker

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Barbecue is now!
By Paul Kirk CWC, Ph.B., B.S.A.S.
Kansas City Baron of BBQ
Barbecue Guru
Order of the Magic Mop
Ambassador of BBQ
Certified Master BBQ Judge

Barbecue season is heating up, except for the ones who BBQ 365 and so on.
There are a lot of marinades that competitors are using to marinate and inject chicken, brisket, pork butt, and even ribs.

Sweet Brine for Pork or Poultry
3/4 c. kosher salt
1/2 c. molasses
1/4 c. white cane sugar
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1/4 c. white pepper
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice
12 oz. ginger ale
3-3/4 qt. distilled bottled water

Combine all of the ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil reduce heat and simmer until all of the ingredients have dissolved.   Cool to room temperature.

Our next recipe is great marinate for brisket.

Beef Marinade
1/4 c. non-iodized sea salt
1/4 c. white cane sugar
2 c. water
1 c. soy sauce
1 c. apple cider
1-1/2 oz. Jack Daniels
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Fill a large container with above ingredients. Mix thoroughly until well dissolved.  Marinate as desired.

Our next recipe is great for chicken.

Chicken Marinade
1/2 c. dry white wine
Juice & zest of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 Tbsp. snipped parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. dried basil leaves
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and blend well. Enjoy!

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