Friday, December 5, 2014

Tango Joe Cooks Up Pigs In A Cornfield

One of the many great things about the cooking community on YouTube is the wide variety of awesome video recipes which are presented by folks who truly enjoy sharing their passion for food.
It is in this spirit that I attempt to recreated a Dutch Oven dish which I saw over at Outdoor Cast Iron Cooking.
Thank you to Joanie & Dean for posting your great videos, the food you present and the locations you film are always awesome.
Here is a meal called Pigs In A Cornfield - with a name like that you know it has to be incredible!
After watching their video of Pigs In A Cornfield, we knew that we had to set aside a day to be outdoors and cook this one up.
Here is what we cooked and how we cooked it.
Our version has a few different ingredients and the cooking method was different as well. I cooked this over a wood fire and used some small lit logs on top. Using briquettes is a more accurate way to regulate your temperatures, but for me, a wood fire is more fun. We used a 12” Dutch oven.

Pigs In A Cornfield!

Pigs In A Cornfield

1 Lb Breakfast Sausage
1 Lb Pork Kielbasa
3 Pork Steaks / thin cut works best
12 Cobbette Style Corn On The Cob
3 Russet Potatoes / large dice
1 Spanish Onion / rough chopped
5 Cloves Garlic / chopped
4 Jalapeños / sliced lenghwise - seeded
1 Can Cheese Soup
1 Can Cream Of Broccoli Soup
1 Can Cream Of Celery Soup
Tango Spice Southwest Sunset

Spread the cheese soup in the Dutch Oven
Place the cobbettes of corn, standing on end, around the oven wall
Add one half the potatoes, onions & garlic in the center
Sprinkle on some Southwest Sunset
Add a few jalapeños
Add half the sausage
Add half the Kielbasa
Spread one can creamy soup over ingredients
Add the other half the potatoes & onions
Add the other half of the sausage
Add a few more jalapeños
Add the rest of the onions & garlic
Add second half of the Kielbasa
Spread another can creamy soup over ingredients
Sprinkle on some more Southwest Sunset
Place pork steaks over everything ingredients 
Top with Southwest Sunset!
Place the lid on and get cooking

My Dutch oven was set on a rack which is about 8 inches above the floor of my cooking area. Before starting the food prep I started a fire going with some charcoal and a few small splits of oak. As the wood burned down I just added more splits until there was a good coal bed and some nice sized chucks.
Once the Dutch over was full of ingredients it was placed on the rack with a some of the hot coals moved underneath. Also a couple of small chunks were placed on top.
The coal method was calling for 8 coals under and sixteen on top. I kept this is mind while using the oak splits.
After one hour I removed the lid and flipped the pork steaks. The aroma was very, very nice and the dish was happily bubbling away.
Place the cover on and cook for one more hour with the same method, keeping the coal bed going and keeping nice hot chunks on top.
After the second hour I just took the Dutch oven off the fire, cleaned off the lid and let it sit for 20 minutes to cool a bit.
I will say that this was a great meal for a cool autumn evening, very hearty and satisfying.
Flavor wise it was well balance, the taters were perfect and heat level from the Southwest Sunset was really nice. I like the pork steaks and the sausage was excellent. I will say that the next time I make this I will forego the Kielbasa. Not that it was bad, but it seemed a little overkill and Kielbasa tastes better in other dishes.

All in all this was a very fun and tasty cook and I hope that you give it a try.

As Always, Thank You For Reading!
Tango Spice Company!
Tango Spice On YouTube!
Tango Joe On YouTube!
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This Is The Basic Setup

Just Like Camping

Good Cookin'!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tango Cajun Smoked Duck with Southwest Pear & Sausage Dressing!

On a beautiful day in November here on Long Island it was a great day for a test run of two new recipes!
The first time we have ever cooked duck and smoking it on the WSM seemed like a great first cook.
So Gosh Darn Good!

Cajun Smoked Duck
1 5 1/2 to 6 Lb Duck
2 Oranges / peeled and halved
2 Small Yellow Onions / peeled and halved
Tango Spice Cajun Rub

The bird was cleaned and stuffed with the oranges and onions. I cut a couple fine slits in the breast skin and along the back bone, then applied a nice coating of our Cajun Rub, this was in the hope of draining off some of the fat. Easy as that and it was ready for the smoker.
The WSM varied between 300 and 320 degrees for the entire cook. We did not baste or rotate the duck at all, just checked it after the first hour, then again at 20 minute intervals to make sure it was not getting too crispy. Yeah, I know, crispy duck is a good thing.
The cuts in the skin really helped with the fat, so the meat was moist and not overly fatty.
We will certainly be smoking up duck like this again a few times over the winter in order to get it down pat.

To go along with the duck what better side dish than a nice pan of smoked dressing?

Southwest Pear & Sausage Dressing
1 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Cup Chopped Celery
1 Cup Chopped Red Bell Pepper
5 Cloves Smashed Garlic
2 Asian Pears / peeled and diced
2 Cups Diced Smoked Sausage
Some White Wine
Some Chicken Broth
Some Bread Cubes / Martins Stuffing Bread is awesome!

The sausage we used was a fennel Italian from Tuscany Gourmet Market in Miller place, NY that we put on the Weber Kettle a few days prior, as we knew we’d be needing it for this recipe.
This is a standard type dressing.
Saute the onions, celery & belle pepper in some bacon fat for a few minutes, then add the garlic and pears.
Once the pears start to break down a little add the sausage and cook for a few more minutes.
Deglaze the pan with some wine and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Allow to cool for just a couple of minutes, then add the bread cubes. You can add some more wine or chicken broth to add moisture to the bread and get it to the consistency you like.
We placed the dressing in an aluminum pan then placed it on the Weber Kettle that was running about 275 degrees for an hour or so. Sometimes the more a dressing cooks on the grill the better.
Have to say that this made for a great dinner and we even recreated it for Thanksgiving dinner the a couple of days later.

I hope that you give these recipes your personal spin and let me know how great your turn out.

As Always, Thank You For Reading!

Tango Spice Cajun Rub!

Stuffed With Oranges & Onions!

Let's Get Smokin'!

Hear The Sizzle!

Autumnal Smoke Signals!

Dressing On The Kettle!

How Do You Like My Duck?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Midnight Espresso Corned Beef in the Crock Pot!

The other day I was cruising the meat department at the local grocers and found that their corned beed brisket was on sale. Not that this is a very expensive hunk of meat, but any sale on beef is just fine with me.
Of course, usually you’ll see me cook up this on the WSM or the stick burner so this time I wanted to cook with something a little different.
This is going to be a Crock Pot cook. Not everyone has a grill or a smoker to be cooking up some meat and a crock pot is something that I think most kitchens should have.
Here is how this was done.

Midnight Espresso Corned Beef in the Crock Pot

3 lb Corned Beef Brisket
4 Carrots / peeled & chopped into 3” pieces
6 Small Red Potatoes / unpeeled
1 Spanish Onion / rough chopped
3 TBS Yellow Mustard
2 - 3 TBS Tango Spice Midnight Espresso
1 Small Head Cabbage / cored & quartered
1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Honey
2 TBS Grainy Mustard
2 tsp Horseradish
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
1 TBS Tango Spice Midnight Espresso

1. Rinse the corned beef under cold water and pat dry.
2. Place the corned beef, fat side down in a 6 quart crock pot.
3. Add the potatoes, onions and carrots around the beef.
4. Spread yellow mustard over the top of the corned beef.
5. Pour the beer around the beef.
6. Sprinkle Midnight Espresso over top the beef, veggies.
7. Cook on low for 7 hours.
8. Remove the lid and add the cabbage wedges, cut side down.
9. Cook for 1 more hour.
10. Remove meat from the crock pot and set aside. Tent with foil 
11. With slotted spoon, remove veggies to a bowl.
12. Stain juices into a medium pot.
13. Place the pot over high heat.
14. Bring to a boil, add the 1/4 cup water, honey, grainy mustard, horseradish, Worcestershire, Midnight Espresso and mix.
15. Lower to a simmer & reduce the sauce by half 20 - 25 minutes.

16. Slice the meat against the grain and serve with the glaze.

   I have to say that this was a good dinner, very tasty and hearty. The one thing is that the corned beef shredded as I sliced it so the next time I may back off an hour on the initial cook time. The taste was awesome, and the left overs were even better.
    I hope that you give this a try, as crock season is here!

As Always, Thank You For Reading!

Gather Your Ingredients!

Coated In Midnight Espresso!


Gotta Have Carrots!

Onions & Mustard!

Had To Add More Midnight Espresso

Cabbage Cabbage!

Dinner Is Served!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Grilled Oysters!

Long Island is a seafood lover’s east coast dream, with the fresh catch of the day availably in almost every town. In spite of this fact, there are a few creatures of the sea I have yet to try.
One of these are oysters. Nope, never could bring myself to try them. That is until I read about grilling them. Indeed, everything tastes better when grilled.
I picked up a dozen oysters from Peconic Pearls and set about getting these gems of the sea cookin’.
Now the method I used is probably not 'the right way', but no biggy, as they finished ‘product’ was darn tasty.
When I got them home I fired up the 18” Weber kettle with some Kingsford Blue. While the coals were getting all heated up I put a cast iron pan on the propane stove and heated up some butter and garlic.
Once the coals were nicely ashed over I placed the the oysters rounded side down directly over the heat. After a couple of minutes they started to open, at which point I moved the opened ones off to the side and removed the top shell. When they were all open and the tops of the shells were taken off I put about a tablespoon-ish of the garlic & butter in with the oyster. I moved them back over direct heat for about two minutes, when the butter garlic oyster juice started to boil.
Once they were all bubbling away nicely I took them off the heat and put on a plate to cool just enough to eat.
I will say that the oyster was pretty darn good, with just the butter and garlic, but with a splash of Louisiana style hot sauce, they we fantastic.

After this I will definitely be enjoying oysters again.

As Always, Thank You For Reading!

Oyster Directly Over The Coals

Peek A Boo - The Oyster Sees You!

The Oysters Were Great With Garlic & Butter

But They Were Awesome With Some Hot Sauce!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Pan Spicy Quinoa!

Yes Indeed, when I first saw that word I mentally placed a question mark after it. It even took me a while just to learn how to pronounce it correctly.
My first thought was what the heck is Quinoa. I had heard people say how much they enjoy it, read recipes with it as the main ingredient, but had sadly never tried it.
I would now like to say thank you to Angie Spada from over at the FB group Motivational Fitness, Strength & Nutrition for posting a recipe the other day for a quinoa dish the inspired me to give this ‘new to me’ pantry staple a try.
Of course, my version is just a little different from the original, but that is the beauty of the internet recipe collective. You find a recipe that you like, you write it down with a #2 pencil then change it up as you cook.
This is a VERY TASTY dish - a real must try. Hat tip to Angie for posting this one and inspiring me to give quinoa a try here at the Tango Test Kitchen.
Please, give this a go in your kitchen and let Angie & I know how much you enjoyed it.
I have included links to her FaceBook Group and her YouTube page. Stop by, join in on the conversation and let Angie inspire you as well.

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

1 TBS Olive Oil
3 Cloves Garlic / minced
1 Jalapeños / minced

1 Cup Quinoa
1 Cup Crawfish Stock (sub vegetable stock)
1 (15-ounce) Can Black Beans / drained & rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) Can DelMonte Petite Diced Chili Style Tomatoes
1 cup Corn Kernels / frozen or canned
1 tsp Tango Spice Southwest Sunset (sub chili powder)
1 tsp Cumin
1 Avocado / diced **
Juice of 1 lime
2 TBS Chopped Fresh Cilantro

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and jalapeño, sauté 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in quinoa, crawfish stock, beans, tomatoes, corn, Southwest Sunset and cumin.
Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro.
Serve immediately.***

I will let you all know now that this was a great dish, tasty and a really nice texture. I whole heartedly recommend you giving this a try as soon as possible.

** Do not dice the avocado until the dish is off the heat. Keep that crispness as you serve & enjoy.

*** This was great while it was hot, though you should know that it was darn good as a cold side as well. If you make extra, set aside what you are going to cool before putting the avocado in. Dice one and add it just before serving cold.

As Always, Thank You For Reading!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dutch Oven Corned Beef - Tango Verde Style!

This past Sunday was a really nice day outside, and as such called for more outdoor cookery before the temps turned cold again.
Last Saturday's cook was chicken thighs in the Dutch over in the fire pit. Sunday I decided to give the Dutch oven a go over actual coals, Kingsford blue. Found a handy online coal count calculator that helped out a lot, though I did not follow it exactly. As I get better at using the coals I am sure I will become more confident in Dutch oven cooking.
What was cooked up was a simple corned beef and cabbage. Getting ready for St. Patrick's Day for sure.
Once again this is a write up on the method used for this cook. True Dutch oven folks would have way better methods, though I am really enjoying this tasty learning curve.
Out back I laid out a layer of fire bricks and added a few around the sides for a wind break. I used a propane burner for lighting the charcoal in a chimney, only lighting as much as I needed to get going then more as I needed to change out the coals.
The Dutch oven is a 12" with a lid which can take coals, I also have a rack that keeps food 1 inch off the bottom when needed, like for this cook. I have another 14" dutch oven with a rounded lid, which sometimes makes no sense to me.
Here is what when down on Sunday.

Irish Whiskey & Tango Verde
Corned Beef & Cabbage

Very Tasty Dinner For Sure!

1 2.5 Pound Corned Beef Brisket / rinsed and patted dry
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
3 tsp Tango Spice Tango Verde
1 1/4 Cup Irish Mist Whiskey

1 Small Head Cabbage / cored & halved

Blend the brown sugar and Tango Verde in a small bowl, set aside.
In the morning I placed the corned beef in a container of cold water, let it sit for 20 minutes then drained it. Repeated this once more.
Patted the beef dry then coated it with the brown sugar mix. Reserved 1/4 cup.
Placed the corned beef fat side down on a rack in the Dutch oven. I used the rack because I wanted the meat to steam rather than boil in the liquid.
On either side of the beef I placed half a head of cabbage, cut side up. It all fit nicely.
The remaining 1/4 cup of Verde brown sugar was divided between the two halves of the cabbage as a topping.
Into the Dutch oven I poured the Irish Mist, drizzling a little on the beef and each half head of cabbage. Ready to cook.
For the coal count it was 12 on the bottom and 24 on the top.
Every 20 minutes I rotated the oven 1/4 turn clockwise and the lid 1/4 turn counter clockwise. Keeping an eye on the coals as well, replenishing them as they neared exhaustion. After the first hour, after hearing the bubbling liquid I peeked in and was treated to a wafting cloud of very aromatic steam. Oh wow this smelled GOOD!
Kept this up for about one more hour. I think all totaled the cook time was just under 2 1/2 hours. I will be doing this again and will fine tune the coal count and the times.

The beef as very flavorful and moist, the cabbage was sweet and tender, with just a few pieces of crunchy goodness where it got just a hint of char.

As Always, Thank You For Reading!

Cabbage, Mist & Tango Verde!

Getting Hungry Already!

Verde Sugared Beef!

Add The Two Halves Of The Cabbage!

Topped Cabbage - Irish Mist On The Verde Beef!

Let's Cook!

Getting Close!


The Aroma Was Amazing!

Beef Perfection!

Look At The Color!

Time To Dig In!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Twist & Shout Chicken Thighs!

Saturday was an amazing day for the simple fact it was not raining, it was not snowing and the temps were in the 50s! A spring-like day in winter, we take the little joys where we can get them.
While out back taking stock of how the ice and snow has messed with the yard and the plants it seemed like a good day to light a fire in the fire pit and whip up something tasty in the Dutch oven.
One thing you will note about most of my Dutch oven cooking is that I am not good at coal counting and getting the temps just right. I have counted coals a few times, but mostly I am lazy and just light a fire and get cooking.
Here is a cook inspired by a recipe I saw at Every Day Dutch Oven. This is a superb resource that I found and will be going back to over and over.
Saturday's meal was a very good one with just 8 plump chicken thighs. I placed a wire rack in the Dutch oven to keep the chicken off the bottom and this worked out really well. I was lucky enough to find a small, round rack in our 'stash of stuff' that fit perfectly.
After a nice bed of coals had formed I put a rack in the fire pit that was about eight inches above the heat. I was able to add some smaller pieces of wood to keep the heat up and also take some of the coals to place on the lid of the DO. Every once in a while after the first 40 minutes I would lift the lid and see how the chicken skin was looking. I kept a nice amount of hot coals on the lid until the skin got nice and crisp.
Have to say that these were some of the best chicken thighs I have ever had, super moist, just a tad bit spicy and the skin was very crisp. Because of the rack the fat rendered out of the skin and did not make the meat greasy.
Here is how I cooked these up. All on the fly, so you may have to adjust times and such when you try this in your back yard. I will definitely be making these again, many times!

Twist & Shout Chicken Thighs - Dutch Oven Style!

1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
juice of half a lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
2 TBS Tango Spice Twist & Shout

8 chicken thighs / bone-in, skin on

My method:
Combine yogurt, lemon juice and Twist & Shout whisk until smooth.
Place chicken in large zip-lock bag; add yogurt mixture, turning to coat.
Refrigerate over night, or at least 4 hours.
Lightly grease dutch oven, place rack in the bottom.
Remove chicken from marinade and arrange in single layer on the rack.
Bake over hot coals for 50 to 60 minutes with hot coals on the lid as well.
After 40 minutes lift the lid to check the doneness of the skin.
When the skin looks good to you, remove the chicken to a platter and let cool for a few minutes.

This cook was inspired by a recipe found at Every Day Dutch Oven.

As Always, Thank You For Reading!

Get That Fire Started!

Those Coals Were About Perfect!

Ready To Cook!

Now We're Cookin' Dutch Oven Style!

You Could Hear The Sizzle Down The Block!

Time To Crisp That Skin!

Almost There!

We Need More Heat For The Skin!

Now Those Are Some Nice Thighs!

Look At That Color!

This Is A Meal!

Dig In Everyone!