September 30, 2010

The BBQ Queens' Menu Hints at Border War Strife

Today's Missouri Menu comes from the superhero chefs/grillers/cookbook authors nationally known as the BBQ Queens -- Karen Adler and Judith Fertig. 

I knew I'd be missing out on a big part of Missouri if I didn't get a Kansas City barbecue meal in this week. And I'm keeping their e-mails handy for when I need to call on them again for the rub or sauce to save the day -- the day I finally commandeer my husband's grill and go to town grilling only to burn some expensive cut of meat. (I'm the indoor grillmeister and chef, but outside on the patio it's my husband's domain, much in the same way his basement is his man "batcave." I know better than to disturb this last sense of male dominated space in the house.)
The BBQ Queen's menu calls for weekend cooking -- it's super easy, but just takes a while to slow cook. And it's got the added bonus of making the next week's meal planning a breeze. Gotta love that!
Beyond recipes for a great family meal, there's history in these here parts for the entrees hint at the time when this western part of Missouri was anything but comfortable. There was a lot of smoke but it was NOT leading up to a barbecue bash.
Judith writes: "I'm a Kansas girl myself, but Missouri roots go back to a hog and hominy diet. I got this from a Come Into My Kitchen interview with Katie Armitage, a food historian in Lawrence, who advised the "Ride with the Devil" film crew replicating Civil War Missouri."
Judith's writing has appeared in many publications over the years, including the Kansas City Star's weekly food column titled Come Into My Kitchen that spotlights local cooks and their family recipe.


Smoked Pork Butt for Shredded BBQ Pork Sandwiches... 
Slow smoke the pork butt on the grill (indirect) or smoker for 3 hours, then bung it in a pan and let it finish cooking overnight in a low 250 degree oven.  It's a weekend project but it results in lots of delicious leftovers for lunches and dinners.  

... slathered with Missouri BBQ sauce
Thin down  -- or doctored up --  a quintessential bottled Missouri BBQ sauce (KC Masterpiece) with a little apple juice or Missouri cider, to taste, to drizzle over it.


Smoked Corn, Ham and Hominy Casserole:
Use either white or yellow hominy for this unique casserole, which can be made with or without the ham. By all means, use leftover ham if you have it, page 411 of "Big Book of Barbecue" has a Double-Smoked Ham recipe. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large baking dish.

In a large bowl, combine:
2 cups smoked corn kernels, about 4 ears
2 cups canned hominy, drained well on paper towels
1 cup cubed or shredded smoked ham (see notes above)
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, beat:
2 cups whole milk (this will make it taste good, check out Shatto Milk, a local dairy north of KC)
4 large eggs (check out Campo Lindo farm fresh eggs if you're near KC)

Whisk in:
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
Pour seasoned milk and eggs over the corn mixture. Bake until set and the top is bubbling, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Serves 6 to 8.
Recipe courtesy of The BBQ Queens, from "Big Book of Barbecue" published by The Harvard Common Press.
(My notes in parentheses above.)

Cole Slaw of your choice
Here are some links for "Missouri" slaw, but any kind (even from a carton) make this meal quicker on the draw for busy families.
"Missouri Cole Slaw"

Easy Missouri Jam Cake -- as featured at the wedding in "Ride with the Devil" 
Make a two-layer spice cake (from a good mix) and use seedless blackberry jam as the filling. Top with powdered sugar or frost with cream-cheese frosting. 

Jam Cake seems to be a good Southern dessert. Both Paula Deen's and a Kentucky version use caramel icing. I love this idea of having a quick and tasty cake with a real sense of its place in history. If your kids are up for a discussion on the Civil War, this is a good way to start an after-dinner conversation about the time our country was at odds, and the conflict that developed right between the Jayhawkers in Kansas and Quantrill's Southern-sympathizing men/guerrilla fighters in Missouri in the Border War  prior to the start of the war. Here's a link to a book about Order No. 11 written by my friend, Tom Rafiner, that better explains the tensions of the times.

RESOURCES FOR KIDS ON THE CIVIL WAR (given that watching "Ride with the Devil" isn't suitable for children with all it's depictions of shootings and other crimes in battles.)
One book with activities is "The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities (For Kids series)" by Janis Herbert.

I really like the educational videos offered at BrainPop. Here's one on the Civil War.

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