Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ Charleston

Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ Charleston

Pork Over Grits

I’m a Certified Barbecue Judge and eat my share of BBQ throughout the year. When I’m told that I have to have BBQ at a certain place because “it’s the best BBQ I’ve ever had”, I’m slightly suspicious (thanks Chef Bryan for being the person in my ear telling me I had to go to Scott’s). On a recent business trip to Charleston, when I had barely no down time, I decided to make my way to Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ for a ‘snack’ before a business dinner.  

Rodney Scott’s been around his family BBQ business since birth. He’s well-known as the king of whole hog in America. In July of 2016, Scott left the family business, a little roadside joint in Hemingway, SC., to open his own place and start his own legacy. Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ Charleston takes all the things that Rodney values about BBQ and his time in the family business and marries them with a larger space and an expanded menu that allows him incorporate his life experiences into the foods he loves to eat.

While other menu items looked tantalizing and I’ll return for them, I was here for pig. I’m a huge grits fan so I opted for the pork on grits with one side and cornbread for $14 – insane deal. The grits were cooked perfectly and had just the right amount of cheesiness to them. I chose coleslaw as my side and it was some of the best I’ve had.

Scotts Outdoor Seating

Back on topic – the pig! Whole hog is smoked over oak coals with a little hickory and pecan hardwood. The hogs are initially cooked for 12 hours belly down then flipped on their backs, seasoned and mopped liberally with Rodney’s Sauce and cook a little longer to let the flavors permeate the meat. The outcome is the moistest hog meat I’ve had the pleasure of testing. The perfect porky flavors aren’t overpowered by the sauce – everything is magically balanced.

I’m bringing friends next time so I can sample the fried catfish and the spare ribs. Oh, and the ribeye sandwich and the BBQ chicken…basically the entire menu.

There’s indoor and outdoor seating and one places his/her order at the counter and staff delivers the food to the table.

Don’t miss a chance to taste what is perhaps the best BBQ pork in America – stop in at Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ when in Charleston.

Cheers,

Veronique

2012 Joseph Drouhin Santenay

2012 Joseph Drouhin Santenay

Brought this lovely Pinot Noir to my favorite gourmet pizzeria in anticipation of having forest mushroom pizza and it was a stellar pairing.

Looks: Deep ruby in the glass.

Smell: Wild strawberries with some earthy notes on the nose.

Taste: Raspberry and cherry flavors with woodsy notes.

Texture and Finish: Round, nicely-balanced with medium tannins and medium finish.

Young wine but very drinkable and enjoyable Burgundy. Good price point.

Pairings: Mushroom-based dishes, roasted/grilled salmon, pork, turkey.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Pinot Noir

Region: Cote de Beaune, Burgundy, France

Price: $29

Phyllo Easter Pie

Phyllo Easter Pie

My friend Linda posted this gorgeous pie photo on Facebook that she made for Easter that I’m glad she shared the recipe for with all of us! I love phyllo dough so this recipe called my name. She uses extra powdered sugar, so have to love that!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp. orange extract
  • Zest of 1 orange, about 1 Tbsp.
  • 1 (15-­ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup cooked short­-grain rice, like arborio
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 10 sheets fresh phyllo sheets or frozen, thawed
  • ¾ stick (3 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Blend 1 cup of powdered sugar, eggs, vanilla, orange extract, orange zest and ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the cooked rice and pine nuts. Set the ricotta mixture aside.
  3. Lightly butter a 9-inch glass pie dish. Lay 1 phyllo sheet over the bottom and up the sides of the dish, allowing the phyllo to hang over the sides. Brush the phyllo with the melted butter. Top with a second sheet of phyllo dough, laying it in the opposite direction as the first phyllo sheet. Continue layering the remaining sheets of phyllo, alternating after each layer and buttering each sheet. Spoon the ricotta mixture into the dish. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the top of the filling to enclose it completely. Brush with the remaining melted butter.
  4. Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet to catch any drips and bake the pie until the phyllo is golden brown and the filling is set, about 45 minutes (if golden brown after 35-40 minutes, remove from the oven). Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool completely. Sift the reserved powdered sugar over the pie and serve.

Serves 8.

 

Recipe adapted from this Giada De Laurentiis recipe.

Vegas Uncork’d – April 27 Through 30

Vegas Uncork’d – April 27 Through 30

Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appétit is the premier culinary and wine event in Las Vegas with a culinary lineup that is unparalleled in scale.

The Cosmopolitan, Caesars Palace, The Venetian, The Cromwell and MGM Resorts International roll out the red carpet for food devotees with exclusive dinners, the must-attend Grand Tasting and chances to meet some of the culinary industry’s biggest names from April 27 through 30. Some of the chefs and culinary personalities in the lineup are Think Gordon Ramsay, Giada De Laurentiis, Bobby Flay, Nobu Matsuhisa, Scott Conant and Alain Ducasse.

Bigger and better than ever, Vegas Uncork’d features exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences over four days that embodies the spirit of Sin City and the imagination of any culinary enthusiast. It’s hard to say which event I’d most like to attend but the Lunch Like a Spaniard with Chef José Andrés, the Picnic in The Park with Alain Ducasse, Charlie Palmer, Julian Serrano, Tom Colicchio, Shawn McClain, Roy Ellamar, Akira Back, and Michael Mina or the Ultimate Teppan Experience with Nobu Matsuhisa top my list!

There are a zillion Las Vegas travel deals available via Vegas.com to get you there – what are you waiting for?

Tickets to the events vary in price and can be purchased at http://www.vegasuncorked.com.

Cheers,

Veronique

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Petite Sirah

2012 Jean Edwards Cellars Petite Sirah

I decanted this California Petite Sirah for 45 minutes before drinking, drank it over 60 minutes and it opened up beautifully.

Looks: Darkest purple in the glass.

Smell: Dark fruit/berries with some peppery notes on the nose.

Taste: Blackberry flavors with plum, tobacco and leather notes.

Texture and Finish: Well-structured, balanced and elegant. Long finish with peppery notes.

This is still a young wine but delicious after some decanting. This proves once again that there’s not a bad Jean Edwards Cellars wine to be had.

Pairings: Beef short ribs, roasted lamb, grilled steaks.

Style: Red Wine

Grape Type(s): Petite Sirah

Region: Calistoga, Napa Valley, California, USA

Price: $35

Zoodles Shrimp Scampi

Zoodles Shrimp Scampi

Yes, I’m officially on the zoodles bandwagon. Not familiar with zoodles? They’re made by spiralizing vegetables and using as you would pasta. Many grocery stores even have already-prepared zoodle packages in the produce department – mine does. Zoodles are a good way to reduce carbohydrates intake, thus reducing high blood sugar – it’s why they grace my fridge every week instead of perfectly-cooked pasta.

In this dish, I’ve made a ‘standard’ scampi recipe and topped sautéed zucchini zoodles with it. It’s very tasty and I almost forgot I wasn’t eating delicious, starchy, al dente pasta (yeah, right LOL).

I know many don’t believe in cheese over fish/seafood but, what the heck, if it tastes good, use it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 cups zucchini zoodles
  • Pinch of salt and pepper for the zoodles
  • 1 stick of butter (8 Tbsp. or ½ cup)
  • 2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound of medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and tails removed
  • ½ tsp. each salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese (optional, purist, just omit)

Directions:

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the zoodles and the pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so they don’t stick to the pan. Set aside with a lid on the pan.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring to prevent scorching. Add the shrimp, salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for 5 minutes, turning the shrimps periodically. Add the lemon and toss one last time.
  3. Divide the zoodles between two serving bowls, top with the buttery, garlic shrimp and sprinkle each bowl with parsley and cheese (if using).

Serves two.

Cheers,

Veronique

Easy Cilantro Parsley Chimichurri Sauce

Easy Cilantro Parsley Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is a traditional Argentinean condiment typically made with parsley and served along with grilled steak. I sometimes make mine with just parsley, but since I love cilantro so much, I often combine the two herbs for a twist on the traditional.

I use chimichurri not only on steak but also on grilled fish, as a condiment on a burger and tossed with vegetables – there are a million uses for this bright, tart sauce. Just throw all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and purée!

Since a little goes a long way with chimichurri, I store leftovers in a canning jar with a tightly-fitting lid in the fridge for up to 10 days. Just be sure to bring the sauce to room temperature before serving if storing in the fridge as the oil will set and the whole thing will be solid until it warms up.

Cilantro and Parsley

Ingredients:

  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. diced red onion
  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley leaves (no stems)
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (no stems)
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes

Chimichurri Sauce on Steak

Directions:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or a food processor and purée until mostly smooth, about 30 seconds.

8 servings (3 Tbsp. per serving).

Cheers,

Veronique

Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XIX

Barrel Aged Old Rasputin XIX

Wow just wow with this big boy. The bourbon flavors aren’t over-powering, which I find happens a lot in these types of brews. Rich caramel and chocolate flavors with a hint of vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Dry, lightly smoky finish. One of the best Imperials I’ve tasted.

Brewed by: North Coast Brewing Company, Fort Bragg, CA

Style: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 11.2%

International Bitterness Units (IBU): 38

Color in the Glass: Darkest shade of chocolate with an inch of fizzy tan head.

Format(s): Bottle, on-tap

Ideal Glass: Snifter

Cheers,

Veronique

The Halal Guys Opening in Union

The burgeoning nationwide brick-and-mortar expansion of New York City’s world-famous halal food cart concept continues with the opening of The Halal Guys Gyro and Chicken at 2317 US Route 22 in Union, NJ, slated for an April 22, 2017 debut.

The Halal Guys will be a highly-anticipated neighborhood destination serving the same delicious halal food that first gained acclaim at the corner of West 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue, more than 25 years ago. The finest quality Chicken, Beef Gyro or Falafel sandwiches and platters, or Chicken over Rice, all complemented by The Halal Guys’ renowned White or explosive Hot Sauces, will quickly become a neighborhood staple. All ingredients are fresh, never frozen, including high quality, responsibly sourced halal meats; marinated and seasoned overnight, they are cooked on the sizzling grill right in front of guests’ eager eyes. Sides include house-made hummus, baba ganouj, tahini, falafel or fries; flaky baklava provides a sweet ending to any meal.

Located conveniently on Route 22, minutes from Union County retail centers, Kean and Seton Hall Universities and more, The Halal Guys in Union promises to be as immensely popular among families, students and business people as the team’s recent East Brunswick, NJ opening, delighting each and every one with unparalleled hospitality and mouthwatering food at great prices. Delivery and catering will also be available.

The Halal Guys Gyro and Chicken / 2317 US Rt 22, Union, NJ 07083. 908-623-3521.

Easy Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

Easy Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy)

Beef Burgundy on Polenta

Warm weather’s on its way and with that, the end of slowly simmered or roasted dishes at our home. In anticipation of warmer days, I decided to make one of my favorite cold weather dishes: Boeuf Bourguignon or just beef cooked in Burgundy wine (I actually like a heavier wine for this dish, don’t judge).

If you haven’t invested in a heavy duty cast iron Dutch oven, just do it. You’ll use it all the time. If you want to, you could make the recipe through step 4 and throw everything in a slow cooker to cook for 8 hours. Up to you….I just love the long, slow simmered cook and the periodic stirring of the pot.

For you purists, this isn’t a very traditional recipe, just go along, it’s tasty. I served this dish over my Easy Creamy Polenta.

Ingredients:

  • 9 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, for dredging
  • 1 tsp. each salt and pepper
  • 3 pounds beef chuck, cubed into large bite size pieces (you can find this already done in your grocery store)
  • 4 slices slab bacon, diced
  • 1 large Spanish onion, medium diced
  • 2 carrots, medium diced
  • 3 celery ribs, medium diced
  • 1 pound Cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 cups Cabernet Sauvignon or other dry full-bodied red wine
  • 32 ounces beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme

Directions:

  1. Warm 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
  2. Add the salt and pepper to the flour then sprinkle over the beef. Toss to coat then shake beef pieces to remove excess flour.
  3. Sear half the beef in the hot oil until browned, about 4 minutes total and then remove to a platter. Repeat with the second half of the beef and 3 more tablespoons of oil and transfer to the first batch of beef on the platter and set aside.
  4. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the bacon and cook stirring occasionally until a little browned, 4 minutes. Add the onions, the carrots and the celery to the bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the wine and broth and scrape all the brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the beef back to the pot with the bay leaves and the thyme.
  5. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover tightly and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to low and cook for another 2 hours, covered.
  6. At this point, you can serve the beef or cool the pot completely and refrigerate overnight. To reheat the next day, an hour prior to serving, take the pot out of the fridge and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Warm the beef in the oven for about an hour, basting the meat with the sauce every 15 minutes.

Makes 6 hearty servings.

Easy Beef Burgundy (Boeuf Bourguignon)
Print
Ingredients
  1. • 9 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  2. • 6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour, for dredging
  3. • 1 tsp. each salt and pepper
  4. • 3 pounds beef chuck, cubed into large bite size pieces (you can find this already done in your grocery store)
  5. • 4 slices slab bacon, diced
  6. • 1 large Spanish onion, medium diced
  7. • 2 carrots, medium diced
  8. • 3 celery ribs, medium diced
  9. • 1 pound Cremini mushrooms, chopped
  10. • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  11. • 3 cups Cabernet Sauvignon or other dry full-bodied red wine
  12. • 32 ounces beef broth
  13. • 2 bay leaves
  14. • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. 1. Warm 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat.
  2. 2. Add the salt and pepper to the flour then sprinkle over the beef. Toss to coat then shake beef pieces to remove excess flour.
  3. 3. Sear half the beef in the hot oil until browned, about 4 minutes total and then remove to a platter. Repeat with the second half of the beef and 3 more tablespoons of oil and transfer to the first batch of beef on the platter and set aside.
  4. 4. Lower the heat to medium-high, add the bacon and cook stirring occasionally until a little browned, 4 minutes. Add the onions, the carrots and the celery to the bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for a minute. Add the wine and broth and scrape all the brown bits that have formed on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Add the beef back to the pot with the bay leaves and the thyme.
  5. 5. Lower the heat to medium-low, cover tightly and cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Lower the heat to low and cook for another 2 hours, covered.
  6. 6. At this point, you can serve the beef or cool the pot completely and refrigerate overnight. To reheat the next day, an hour prior to serving, take the pot out of the fridge and preheat oven to 275 degrees. Warm the beef in the oven for about an hour, basting the meat with the sauce every 15 minutes.
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