Saturday, March 29, 2014

Side Dishes for a Pulled Pork Meal - Killer Smoker Beans - Blue Cheese Potato Salad and Firecracker Cole Slaw - 52 Do Ahead Sides

Hi again!

Fresh Baked Hamburger Buns
Firecracker Coleslaw
Blue Cheese Potato Salad
and my own KILLER Smoked Beans

Better grab a second cup of coffee, all 4 recipes in one post.  But, it's one meal, one perfect (to me) meal...

Remember yesterday's post?

I have finally come  up with a Raspberry Chipotle BBQ sauce/paste just as good as the top notch commercial brand.  Thick and rich and full of sweet taste, with a big jalapeño and adobo heat aftertaste.

I used the paste to season a mop and finishing sauce for some of the best pulled pork I have ever had.  But a pulled pork sandwich (no matter how good) does not a BBQ meal make.

A great sandwich needs great side dishes.

These are my favorites...

My Buns are fresh baked.  I use my own recipe I call Eng Bread.  Eng bread is a French bread recipe with just a little bit extra sugar in the mix.

Makes 6-8 hamburger size buns
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water (about 100º F)
1 tablespoons granulated yeast
1  tablespoons kosher or other coarse salt
3 cups all-purpose white flour (no need to sift)
2 1/2 TBS Sugar

Extra 1/4 cup Flour  to aid in kneading
a pinch of Sea Salt

An egg for an egg wash

Herb mix to garnish the top

  1. Mix the dry ingredients first.  I like to do the mixing stage in a gallon size ziplock bag.  Aids in keeping a bowl clean, or your  countertop.
  2. Add the water and mix well.  Be sure the water is warm, but not too hot.  Anything above 110 degrees will kill the yeast before it gets a chance to do it's magic.
  3. Now it's time to knead the bread.  Keep the extra flour handy, as the dough at this stage is very wet.  Knead for at least 10 minutes.  You will need to add flour to get to a sticky, but not too sticky phase.  With experience, you can feel and see the bread become hydrated.  That is when the ingredients mix completely, and it is ready for a rest.
  4. Modern Bread makers call it proofing, old timers call it rising.  But whatever you want to call it, form the dough into a ball, cover with a towel and let it rise for 2 to 3 hours.  The dough will double in size in that time (again, reminds me of my fat cat, who also doubled in his preferred size)
  5. And now, it's time to punch the dough down,  form the loaf, add toppings and allow the final rise...
  6. Punching the dough is exactly what it sounds like.  The yeast releases gases.  That is why the dough doubles in size.  When you take a punch at the dough, the gases are released.  The dough returns to it's original size.  If you are dividing the dough, use a knife to cut the dough, instead of tearing.
  7. Divide into 8 equal portions (6 if you like big buns).  Form them into balls.  arrange them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper and press down slightly to get the bun shape
  8. And now, a few tricks I have learned...
  9. Do an egg wash.  Just a beaten egg, brushed on.
  10. sprinkle a bit of an herb mix on the top for a garnish.
  11. Sprinkle a little rough cut sea salt. 
  12. I bake the bread (350 degrees) using a remote read thermometer, with the prob inserted into the center of the bread.  The bread is done when it reaches an internal temp of 190 degrees.  If you cook by time, it takes about 25 minutes.
  13. Allow to cool for 30 minutes before cutting!


But man does not live by bread alone.  He also needs a very colorful, flavorful Cole Slaw.  I first saw this recipe on Sam's blog, MY CAROLINA KITCHEN.  Sam did a pre-4th of July post of a red, white and blue FIRECRACKER COLESLAW.  But with the light dijon mustard vinaigrette replacing the heavier mayonnaise base in many slaws makes this a recipe deserving of year round serving.  Their is plenty of "weight" to the next two side dishes that will make you feel full and a little bloated (totally worth it).  But this... Dare I say diet food?, this light vegetable (yes, cabbage is a veggie) dish is a great complement to the heavier aspects of this meal.  Or, as I like to do, use this slaw as a topping for the sandwich...

Firecracker Coleslaw
Adapted from Simply Shellfish by Leslie Grover PendletonAs seen on  MY CAROLINA KITCHEN

½ cup natural rice vinegar (unseasoned)
½ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons sugar
4 cups finely shredded red cabbage
4 cups finely shredded white cabbage
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin slivers
½ cup toasted sliced almonds

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar together with the oil, mustard and sugar. Just before serving, add the two cabbages, bell pepper and almonds and toss well. Season with fleur de sel and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serves six to eight. Easily doubled.


I have a couple of secrets in my potato salad that makes this special.  Neither are so over powering that you immediately know what they are.  But, the little subtle aftertaste of both make this recipe my very favorite in the whole world (and I learned to eat in church basements, I have seen my fair share of potluck dinners).

My two secrets, Blue Cheese and a tsp of Raspberry Chipotle BBQ paste!

5 Pounds Red Skinned Potatoes, 3/4" diced, unpeeled (healthier, adds texture and appearance)
8 ounces 
Blue Cheese (one of those pre-crumbled packages)
4 hard cooked 
Eggs, chopped
1 medium size finely chopped 
Vidallia Sweet Onion
4 TB fresh 
Chives, minced, divided half in the taters, half as garnish
2 TB 
Salad Sprinkle, McCormick brand, divided half in the taters, half as garnish
1 TB fresh ground Black Pepper
0 TB Ground sea salt (yes, ZERO salt, there is plenty in the Salad Sprinkle)
3 TB Pourable 
Yellow Mustard
2 cups 
1 tsp 
Raspberry Chipotle BBQ paste.  The paste is a concentrate.  1 tsp is plenty to season 5 pounds of potatoes.

Cook the potatoes til just done, cool immediately. Combine all the other ingredients into your kitchenaid mixer and mix on low for about three minutes. Once the potatoes are completely cooled, mix in about 1/4 of the potatoes and 1/4 of the goo in a serving bowl. Then add about 1/2 the remaining potatoes and goo, mix that layer, then the final layer. Cool in the refrigerator for at least three hours prior to serving, preferably over night.

A word about cheese quality. Ordinarily, I believe that the better quality cheese, the better quality your food will be. This is NOT the case with this recipe. I made this once with a top quality Blue Cheese, and the taste was overpowering. just a word of warning, the package seems to be the right mix.


Alright, sit back, maybe grab that third cup of coffee, 'cause this is going to be a long portion of the post.  

I know a lot of smokers (not the Marlboro men, the indirect grilling, long and slow cooks, with a hint of Wood smoke in their food).  EVERY SINGLE SMOKER IN THE WORLD THINKS THEY HAVE THE BEST BEAN RECIPE.  Want to start a fight, tell one of these smokers that your beans are better than theirs.

My beans are better than theirs (sorry Chris).  There are lots of little details in the beans that add up to ... better.  I will pretend to be humble about my beans, and not use the word best.  But I have eaten a hundred smoker's beans... so far, mine are better.


And here's the difference...  First, like every great bean recipe, this is sweetened with not only a little brown sugar, but also molasses AND sorghum!  The M & S adds deep color, as well as extra layers of texture (makes it thick) and taste.

But the key is the spices.  With the exception of some dry mustard powder, I do not add any new spices to my beans.  Instead I add 1/2 pound of spiced meat scraps.  Either some pork tenderloin or brisket frozen from a previous cook session or I fire up the grill or smoker a few hours early and cook a few scraps before putting the beans on.  Remember what your mom served you... Pork and Beans.  Well, these are pork and beans with a bite.

For my latest session, I had smoked some pork tenderloin, stuffed with sausage..  I had already reached temperature on the pork, and was going to wrap them in foil.  I knew I was going to use this to flavor my beans.  So, I cut off an end piece (end pieces have extra spice rub on them).  I diced it up and used it in the beans.  Believe me, plenty of seasonings.

One word of caution... This technique for spicing your beans works best when you add the meat as it cooks, not at the end of the cook session.  Think making a stew or a soup.  You do not add the onion in at the end of the session, but at the beginning, when the flavor of the onion will flavor the entire pot.  Same theory with adding spice rubbed meat scraps.  It does take planning ahead, but so does any successful BBQ...

And my final secret...

Look close at the photo on the left...

I smoke my beans below the pulled pork.  Beans take about 3-4 hours to smoke.  during the last couple of hours of the cooking of the pork shoulder, I drizzle some honey on the shoulder and put the beans below the pork.  The drippings from the pork (there aren't many, it is at the end of the session remember) drop into the beans and add yet another layer of flavor and heat from the mop and dry rub that the drippings drip through.

Layers of flavors, built around different layers of flavors.  This is the menu item that people come back for seconds.

It's just pork and beans (wink nod).

OK, here's the recipe for the beans...

Ingredient list...

1/2 pound of cooked smoked meat scraps, well spiced already with spicy rub, save the end pieces from a previous cook session.
1 large white onion, finely chopped
1 medium size red onion, small diced (about 1/4 inch square) ... save these to add just prior to serving
6 ounces tomato paste
1/3 cup Brown sugar
1/3 cup Brown Sugar ... save to add just prior to serving
1/3 cup Molasses
1/3 cup Sorghum Syrup
1 TB Dry Mustard
1/4 cup White Vinegar
1-27 ounce can BUSH'S brand Country Style BBQ Beans
1-16 ounce can BUSH'S brand Pinto Beans
1-16 ounce can BUSH'S brand Great Northern Beans
1/2 bottle of 
Killians Irish red (or your favorite) Beer
Place all the ingredients in a heavy baking pan, stir well to blend ingredients. Add a full bottle of Killians if using an offset smoker, or just 1/2 bottle if using an oven. Place in cooker and allow to cook along with the meat for 2 hours, leave them in the smoker as long as the residual heat is at least 200, after you remove the meat and foil the meat (foiling the meat allows the juices to be absorbed into the meat, making it more moist and tender... but I digress).  The moisture in the bean pot will help to keep moisture circulating in your cooker.

Garnish with the red onions and a bit of brown sugar.
And fellow smokers or grillers... These are worth leaving your bean recipe behind for a try.


It's just a simple meal, a little tater salad, some beans, a pork sandwich with cole slaw on the top.  And a dash of Panache.


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Grilling Time Secret Extras" or "52 Ways to Cook BBQ and Grilling Recipes"!!!

Well over 52 recipes actually as I just can't stop... Over 100 in one grilling season (I love to grill!). But not just leat... Drinks, Condiments (LOTS of different BBQ sauces), Drinks, Desserts... even specialty items like GRILLED Pizza, and fun shaped Watermelons.  Easy and these ideas will make you the MASTER of your Backyard Domain!


Come and find me on Pinterest... Any of my "52 Ways to cook" Boards are worth following.  If you like this post, please take a second and "Pin" this to your own boards... Better yet, if you are part of a foodie group board please take a second and add this post to your group pins... best way to show your Love!

And BTW, if you are not yet part of a group board, drop me an email at and request to be added to my group board... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! (be sure to include your pinterest ID when you write)  Once you are added, any pins you add will be seen by 10s of THOUSANDS of followers of the board (and growing daily).

Rules, only 2... 
  1. In order to join you need to start following the group board as well as at least one of my boards.
  2. And you must ONLY pin original sources, posts from food related bloggers only.  If you are a blogger, this is a great way to have thousands of potential readers see your work,  If you are a fan of bloggers, a great way to share your favorites...
    Come and be a part of ... FAVORITE FOOD BLOGGERS! on Pinterest

No comments:

Post a Comment