BBQ tips with Hill Country Barbecue

June 7, 2009 7:51:14 AM PDT
Creating that perfect barbecue this summer could turn into quite a chore, taking the fun and flavor out of the whole experience. Expert pitmaster at Hill Country Barbecue Pete Daversa joined us with tips. The words grill and barbecue seemed to be used interchangeably: What's the difference?
Grilling is using direct heat and cooking items relatively quickly.
Barbecuing is a slower process and most of the time uses indirect heat (low and slow).

Home cooks don't have access to a state-of-the-art smoker like you've got at Hill Country. Any DIY tips for stepping up one's game at home?
For people trying to cook BBQ, at home the most important thing to remember is "Low and Slow"! Whether you choose to cook using your grill, smoker or oven, the most important thing is to be patient. Also, using charcoal is an acquired skill. Practice using charcoal on your grill or smoker a few times. Adjusting how much charcoal you use and writing down temps for the amount used, how long it lasts and any other details you may find relevant will help you master cooking 'cue.

What's the most common mistake an amateur makes when trying to replicate BBQ at home?
In my opinion, the most common mistake is when people play with their food. Move it around, open the grill, flip it, etc. Remember: if you're lookin' you ain't cookin'!

Hill Country Pork Ribs

1 Rack full slab pork ribs
2 cups Hill Country Rub
1 small package of wood chips (and smoke box if using gas grill)

Hill Country Rub

1 cup kosher salt
3/4 cups Butcher Block Black Pepper
1 tbsp cayenne pepper

Evenly coat the Pork Ribs on both sides with "Hill Country Rub" This can be done up to a day in advance.

Set up the grill for indirect grilling placing a drip pan in the center. If using a charcoal grill, preheat it to Low. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in a smoker box and preheat to high; then when smoke appears, lower the heat to Low. Once you have achieved the correct temperature place the Ribs on the grill. Keep a constant eye on the temperature to make sure it does not climb over 225F or below 215F.

Cook For approximately 4 hrs

Hill Country Sunshine Slaw
Makes 10-12 servings

¾ pound sliced bacon, diced
1 red cabbage (about 3 pounds) cored and shredded into ¼ to 1/3-inch wide strips
4 carrots, peeled and shredded
1 small yellow bell pepper, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, minced
1 cup golden raisins
1 ½ cups good quality mayonnaise
½ to 1 cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
½ cup minced fresh dill
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Cook bacon in a heavy skillet until crisp. Drain and reserve cooked bacon. Reserve 1/3 cup bacon drippings. In a large mixing bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, peppers, onions and raisins; toss well.

In a small bowl, whisk reserved bacon drippings together with mayonnaise and sour cream until smooth. Whisk in mustard, cumin and paprika. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour dressing over slaw mixture, tossing well to coat evenly. Mix in dill and the reserved cooked bacon. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve chilled or slightly above room temperature.

Note: This slaw is better after mellowing overnight

©2009 Recipe courtesy of Elizabeth Karmel, executive chef of Hill Country

Hill Country (Praise the Lord) PTL Potato Salad

6.5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes, medium diced
1 ¼ cups Hellmann's mayonnaise, plus more to taste
¼ cup prepared creole mustard
2 tbsp. yellow mustard
¾ tsp. celery salt
1 ¼ tbsp white cider vinegar
½ cup sweet pickles, chopped
1.5 tbsp. sweet pickle juice
1/4 cups pickled jalapeños, chopped
½ heaping cups red onion, chopped
½ heaping cups red bell pepper, chopped
½ cups of celery, chopped fine
6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
½ tsp Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ tsp Kosher salt to taste
Smoked hot paprika, for garnish

Peel potatoes and cut into a large dice. Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes or until a sharp knife easily pierces the potatoes. Meanwhile, mix mayonnaise, mustards, celery salt, vinegar, pickles, pickle juice and jalapeños until smooth and completely incorporated. Add red onion, bell pepper, celery and hard boiled eggs. Mix to incorporate and set aside.

Remove potatoes from pot. Drain. Immediately add still warm potatoes to the chunky dressing. Mix very gently. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper, if desired.

Shape into a mound with a spoon or spatula and dust the top with the smoked hot paprika. Cover and chill. Serve cold.

Recipe from Taming the Flame by Elizabeth Karmel
(John Wiley & Sons, 2005, $24.95)

Beer-Can Chicken


Grilling Method: Indirect/Medium Heat

1 whole roasting chicken, 4 to 5 pounds, preferably Amish or organic
Olive oil
3 tablespoons dry spice rub, divided, or Classic Barbecue Rub
1 12-ounce can domestic beer, such as Budweiser

Remove the neck and giblets. Rinse the chicken inside and out, if desired, and pat dry with a paper towel. Coat the chicken lightly with oil and season with 2 tablespoons of the dry rub. Set aside.

Build a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Open the beer can, pour out about ¼ cup of the beer and make another hole in the top of the can with a church-key can opener. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of the dry rub inside the beer can. Place the beer can in the center of the cooking grate over indirect medium heat and sit the chicken on the top of the beer can. The chicken will appear to be sitting on the grate.

Cover and cook the chicken for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the internal temperature registers to 165 F in the breast area and 180 F in the thigh. Remove it carefully to a platter, holding the can with tongs. Let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.

Hill Country Corn Succatash

2 ½ lbs yellow corn
2c sliced okra
1c jalepeno's (small dice)
1c red onion (small dice)
¼ can roasted red peppers (small dice)
¼ c blended oil
¼ c apple cider vinegar
6 T lemon juice
¼ T cumin ground
½ t cayenne pepper
½ T white pepper ground
6 T kosher salt

Directions: place all ingredients in a bowl and toss, and more cayenne or salt to taste, if necessary.

Prep time: 25 minutes

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