BBQ, Grilling + Bourbon Sauce

With Mother's Day this weekend, top off your favorite grilled meats this weekend with my Bourbon Sauce.  I dedicate this recipe to my friends in Kentucky; the inspiration for this recipe. I've used this as a great finishing sauce for most proteins; including beef, pork and chicken. Tip: use only the best bourbon!

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Be very careful saying BBQ when you should be saying grilling - especially in BBQ country.

BBQ: It's a science of cooking protein by indirect heat, with dedication. I emphasize the word dedication because there is NO speedy way to BBQ. Two words, low and slow. I spent many years teaching the art of heat and fire, and in this case Q. There really is so much to learn and each Q occasion is always an unique experience with many factors; like air temperature, humidity, moisture, wind, etc. One of the best ways to Know Your Fire is to experience it first hand. It's one of those things you intrinsically feel and only come to understand when you are in the fire pit - so to speak. I tip my hat to all pitmasters. 

Grilling: This is the way most people will cook with their backyard grill; grilling proteins such as burgers, steak, chicken, seafood, as well as veggies. This is the use of direct heat cooking at a higher temperature for shorter cooking times over the fire. Again, practice makes perfect, so there's no time like the present to learn or expand your current grilling skills. 

Bourbon Sauce

Makes 5 cups

chefgeorgehirsch.comGrilling with Chef George Hirsch cookbook 

1 cup Dijon Mustard

1 cup steak sauce

1 cup bourbon 

1 cup honey and 1 cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon orange zests

Juice of one lemon and one orange

In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients; simmer gently for 4-5 minutes. Serve with ribs, steak, or grilled meats.

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Hush Puppies

Depending on where you are in the world I believe there is some variation of hush puppies or cornballs cooked in every culture, either savory or sweet - such as the falafel, sorullitos and festivals. Typically you may think of hush puppies as a BBQ or seafood side dish; originating in the southern region of the USA - tasty comfort food. Yes, I included my own version of it in my Know Your Fire Cookbook. Perfect to serve along with fish and shellfish, such as my ultimate Seafood Chowder from George Hirsch Lifestyle TV series. 

Where the name HushPuppies came from:

The name "hushpuppies" is often attributed to southern cooks who would fry some basic cornmeal mixture (possibly that they had been bread-coating or battering their own food with) and feed it to their dogs to "hush the puppies" during cook-outs or fish-fries.

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Hush Puppies 

chefgeorgehirsch.com |  Know Your Fire cookbook | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

2 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon fine chopped parsley

Vegetable oil for frying

* optional suggestions: onions, hot pepper, crisp cooked bacon, finely chopped ham or crab meat

Combine cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add the milk, add egg and beat with a whisk or fork until the batter is smooth and no lumps remain. Stir in the butter, parsley and set the batter aside for 15 to 20 minutes. 

Fill a deep saucepan or deep-fat fryer with 2 to 3 inches of vegetable oil and heat to 360 degree F. Scoop up a scant tablespoon of batter off the spoon into the hot fat and when the hush puppies rise to the top in about 1 minute, turn them over and cook until evenly brown, about 2 minutes total. Remove and drain on paper towels. Hush Puppies should always be served piping hot.

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New Years Eve, Cotechino Con Lenticchie

In Italy, people welcome the New Year by tossing old things out of their windows to make room for the new and bring luck into their lives in the upcoming year. In regards to food traditions, Italians cook up a dish called Cotechino Con Lenticchie, pork sausage served over lentils. This dish is eaten during the New Year because of the presence of a rich and robust pork sausage with lentils in the dish. Cotechino sausage is a symbol of abundance because it is rich in fat; while the coin-shaped lentils symbolize money. 

I love it served with a steamy dish of gnocchi and sautéed garlicky greens, another symbol of prosperity. 

Cotechino Con Lenticchie: Pork Sausage Served over Lentils

by George Hirsch | Makes six servings

chefgeorgehirsch.com

If you can't find cotechino, a high quality fresh pork sausage flavored with nutmeg, and pepper a good hearty italian style sausage will suffice. 

1 pound cotechino, pork sausage
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
1 large carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf
8 whole black peppercorns
1 sprig fresh thyme 
1 pound dry green lentils
4 cups chicken broth
1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped 

Pierce the cotechino with a fork in several places. 

Pre heat a large pot and add olive oil, chopped onion, garlic, carrot, 1 bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme. Simmer vegetables for two minutes and add cotechino, cook two minutes and add lentils, cover with 4 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 45 to 50 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add additional water if necessary. 

Remove the bay leaf and discard. Spoon the lentils into a serving dish, drizzle with olive oil and slice rounds of the cotechino over the top. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.