Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse Texas Hot Pepper Sauce

Hot pepper sauce can be found on nearly every table in just about every Texas BBQ joint. Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse is no exception. While some joints rely on familiar national brands, Meyer's serves their own take on the traditional vinegar and pepper blend. Their sauce, however, isn't just a spicy condiment to drop on your favorite sides, it also doubles as a wing sauce.

Meyer's Texas Hot Pepper and Wing Sauce is a thin red pepper sauce with a bold, spicy flavor. It's a simple blend consisting of just vinegar, peppers and a couple incidentals. Despite the standard recipe, the flavor manages to stand out from the national brand pepper sauces that I typically use.

I've used the sauce on multiple occasions with positive results each time. I first used the sauce for grilled chicken wings. It was too thin to brush on the chicken, so I essentially dipped the wings once they finished grilling. The tangy, spicy sauce was excellent on the grilled chicken, but would have been even better had it clung to the bird better. Perhaps it would be better suited for fried (breaded) chicken which would hold more of the sauce.

Like Frank's or Texas Pete, Meyer's pepper sauce is an all purpose flavor enhancer. It adds a new dimension to everything from eggs to potatoes and tacos. I primarily used the sauce on Mexican dishes like tacos and nachos.

Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse is known for BBQ, but their Texas Hot Pepper Sauce deserves some notoriety as well. It's every bit the equal of any national brand sauce. Versatile enough to cover wings or drip over nachos. For any occasion, it's a solid choice.

For more information about Meyer's Elgin Smokehouse, check out Cuetopia online.

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wontons

Buffalo chicken dip is an uber popular party food that everyone seems to enjoy. It's creamy, meaty, spicy and declicious. It's one of my favorites as well, but it seems like it's being served at EVERY get together I attend. To change things up a bit, I made the dip portable by stuffing it into crispy fried wontons, ala crab rangoon. The recipe is simple and fun, but most of all, TASTY!

1 to 1.5 cups of finely diced cooked chicken (grilled or smoked)
8 oz package of cream cheese
1/3 cup of Buffalo style hot wing sauce
24 wonton wrappers
Oil for frying

Makes 24 wontons

Mix the chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce in a bowl. (Tip: let the cream cheese soften by setting at room temp for several minutes before mixing).

Spoon a small amount of the mixture into the center of a wonton wrapper. Dip your finger in water and run it along the edge of the wonton to help seal the edges.

Fold the wonton into a triangle and seal the edges. Pinch the exterior with your fingers.

In a large pot, heat your choice of oil to 325-350 degrees. Fry the wontons in batches for about 2 minutes. Flip after one minute.

Serve them immediately, but exercise some caution. The filling gets incredibly hot. They're great little snacks that will disappear in a hurry.

Jake's Tri-Tip, Steak and Rib Rub

I'd been holding on to a shaker of Jake's Tri-Tip, Steak and Rib Rub for over a year, but it wasn't because I didn't want to use it. Knowing how good Jake's other products have been, I was just saving it for the right occasion. By the beginning of September I had pretty much exhausted my supply of rubs. Thus, it became "the right occasion."

Jake's rub is described on the label as a "Premium blend of Central California Ranch style seasonings." Oddly enough, the base ingredients (paprika and brown sugar) are the standard beginnings for any BBQ rub from the Southeastern US. I also found this interesting because most beef/steak rubs start with the standard salt, pepper and garlic base. All three ingredients are featured in Jake's rub, but not as prominently as one would have guessed. Coarsely ground herbs like parsley and oregano are fairly noticeable as well.

I put Jake's rub to the test thoroughly. I used it on steaks, pork shoulder, armadillo eggs and pork ribs. Though each meat was quite different and cooked using varying techniques, Jake's performed well every time. The herbs and pepper were excellent on the grilled steaks while the brown sugar melted nicely into the pork.

It seems unusual to have a product work equally well on steaks and ribs, but Jake's rub managed to find that balance. After enjoying the rub on two giant porterhouse steaks, I worried about the salt content on pork ribs. To my surprise, the salt was not overwhelming and the herbs added something a little extra that most rib rubs don't have.

I would file Jake's Tri-Tip, Steak and Rib Rub under the "All Purpose" category. It's the type of rub that back yard cooks should always have on hand. It's a versatile, high quality product that works as a flavor enhancer for just about anything.

Bib's Downtown (Winston-Salem, NC)

Since starting this blog, I've made a list of local BBQ establishments to visit and reveiw. After hearing so much positive feedback from the patrons of Twin City Ribfest, Bib's Downtown instantly went to the top of the list. The hometown establishment took home the People's Choice award, beating out several other outstanding BBQ teams.

Bib's is located in the downtown area of Winston-Salem, just a long foul ball (a couple blocks) away from the newly opened BB&T Ballpark. The building was formerly a Firestone Auto Care and still maintains the same structure and character of the vintage tire dealership. Bib's has a spacious dining area with both table and booth seating. The entire menu is scrawled on a giant chalkboard situated behind the ordering counter.

Before I get to the actual food, I have to mention the exceptional service we received. The entire staff working Saturday evening (July 10th) was friendly, prompt, and attentive. Being newbies to Bib's, we had plenty of questions about the menu. The counter attendant was very patient and helpful. The servers brought the food quickly and repeatedly checked in to refill our drinks and make sure that we were satisfied. I was thoroughly impressed with the overall service experience. Were I in the business of rating customer service, I would give the staff at Bib's a well earned 5 stars.

It had been a couple of weeks since I'd had BBQ so I was counting on Bib's for a much needed fix. I decided on the Rib Triple to get a sampling of the what Bib's had to offer. I chose beef brisket and 1/4 chicken to accompany my ribs. The plates at Bib's come with hush puppies, red or white slaw, texas toast, and one additional side.

Bib's scored big points with me as soon as the food was delivered. The portions were incredibly generous, especially considering the modest prices. My three meat tray looked like a BBQ feast should. The masses of meat were matched by hefty portions of beans and slaw.

It's hard to classify the BBQ style of Bib's. Though, not a traditional Carolina joint, there are certainly Carolina influences. The red and white slaw offered at Bib's are Carolina staples. Their original sauce, though thin and vinegar based, is much sweeter than you'll find in most joints in Piedmont region of the state. They also offer a spicy and mustard sauce options that I did not try.

All the meats were freshly basted with sauce before being served. The brisket was incredibly flavorful. The fat had nearly melted off completely. The meat featured a nice dark crust and the hickory smoke created a deep, red smoke ring. The hickory flavor was also quite evident in the chicken. The vinegar sauce was perfect compliment to the light meat. The ribs were thick, meaty spare ribs with rich hickory aroma and flavor. All of the meat was mouth watering and the sauce really accented it well.

The one gripe I had about the BBQ at Bib's was that it was actually a bit too tender. The ribs and chicken nearly fell apart when picked up. I'm guessing this is the result of sitting for hours in a warming oven before being served. This is really the only thing keeping me from giving the meat very high marks. I would love to have tried the meat right off the smoker. I have a feeling it would have been perfect.

Bib's Downtown definitely satisfied my BBQ craving. I can always get down with a place that serves up large helpings of real deal BBQ with a smile. I look forward to many return visits. There are dozens more menu items to sample and intriguing weekly specials. Recent specials include BBQ meatloaf, lamb chops, and BBQ eggrolls.

Recipe: Huli Huli Wings

Huli Huli chicken is a classic Polynesian dish cooked rotisserie style over an open flame. Literally translated, "huli huli" means "turn turn" in reference to the traditional cooking method. This recipe adapts the Hawaiin favorite to grilled wings for an awesome sweet and salty treat. Additionally, our wings are given an added dimension of spice with crushed pepper flakes.

4 lbs chicken wings (30-35 wings)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Huli Huli Sauce:
2 Cups Pineapple Juice
1/2 Cup Ketchup
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1/4 Cup Asian Chii Sauce
1 teaspoon dried ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
Red Pepper Flakes (optional)

Drizzle the wings with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss the wings in a bowl to ensure that they are seasoned evently.

Grill the wings over medium heat for about 30 minutes. Be sure to "huli" them after 15 minutes. When grilling with charcoal, keep a close eye on the wings. They will char quickly.

While the chicken cooks, it's time to work on the sauce. Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for several minutes (stirring occasionally) until the sauce thickens.

When the wings are done and the sauce has thickened, place both in a large bowl and toss together.

These wings are sweet, salty, sticky and delicious. The flavor is akin to General Tso's sauces I've had at Chinese takeout joints.

This recipe was inpsired by an episode of America's Test Kitchen.

powered by Blogger | WordPress by Newwpthemes | Converted by BloggerTheme