By Chef Mick Brown
Courtesy of www.BBQRESCUES.com
BACON! Need I say more? The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook bucks the culinary tradition of the big alluring Food Photo cover. Instead, the outside sports a butcher paper theme, with a few small BBQ Pics on the back. However, the inside photos do not disappoint. They boast amazing full page images of some very creative BBQ Dishes. For Example- who would have thought of Pulled Pork Egg Rolls? Or using a “Tortilla” of weaved, Smoked Bacon on a Quesadilla?
Joined by Tim O’Keefe, main Author Bill Gillespie is regularly seen on the National circuit of BBQ Competitions. He has lead his Smokin’ Hoggz BBQ Team to loads of victories, including Championships in both the American Royal and Jack Daniels’ Invitationals. They also offer Smoking’ Hoggz BBQ Sauce for available shipping on their website. As an added personal Bonus, my all-time favorite Food Network Judge- Simon Majumdar- is quoted in the back cover.
The Smoking Bacon and Hog Cookbook is as insightful as it is indulgent. It opens with a discussion of the various breeds of Pigs, and is straight-forward and easy to read. Next, Gillespie offers his take on several types of Smokers, Wood Chunks and Charcoals. Chapters include Recipes for Curing and Smoking Homemade Bacon to Pork Sausages, Side Dishes to Ribs, and even Tips for Cooking a Whole Hog. The final section features Recipes for a nice variety of Seasoning Rubs and BBQ Sauces.
Instructions and Techniques are clear and easy to follow. The level of difficultly is mostly based on Commitment. How much time are you willing to commit to learning Barbecue? For example, the Bacon curing process can take up to 7 days. Smoking Pork Butt or Shoulder can take 12 to 14 Hours. While a 200 lb. Hog can go from 23 to 25 Hours to fully cook. Sometimes you can utilize shortcuts like store bought Bacon and Sausage while keeping the Recipes for inspiration.
Thankfully, we have been given permission to share a couple of my favorites. The Bacon Weave Quesadilla puts Chicken, Cheese and Salsa in-between two layers of Smoked Bacon (I’d suggest also adding Chopped Fresh Cilantro to take it even further over the Border). The Grilled Bacon, Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwich will have both you and (the late) Elvis “All Shook Up”.
[Excerpted from The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook by Bill Gillespie and Tim O’Keefe]
Bacon Weave Quesadilla
What’s a Bacon Weave Quesadilla? It’s a quesadilla with bacon in place of the tortilla shell. Let me repeat that for ya: a quesadilla with bacon in place of the tortilla shell. Think about melty cheese, smoky chicken, chunky salsa and spicy jalapeños melding into the crispy bacon layer. Now let your taste buds be happy!
Serves: 4 • Cook time: approximately 15 minutes
2 Bacon Weaves (page 42), precooked
½ cup (60 g) shredded cheddar cheese
1 lb (455 g) chicken, cooked and sliced about ½ ” (1.3-cm) thick
1 cup (160 g) thinly sliced cooked onion
1 cup (150 g) thinly sliced cooked red and green peppers
½ cup (60 g) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
½ cup (120 g) queso fresco (Mexican cheese)
1 cup (240 g) chunky salsa
¼ cup (60 g) diced jalapeños
1 cup (240 g) sour cream
½ cup (50 g) sliced green onion
Lay out one of the bacon weaves and cover with cheddar cheese. Add the chicken, onion, peppers, Monterey Jack, queso fresco, salsa and jalapeños, then top with the other bacon weave.
Fire up your charcoal grill for two-zone cooking. Fill up a charcoal chimney with hardwood lump charcoal and light it. When flames start coming out of the top of the chimney, the coals are ready. Dump onto one side of the cooker. Keep the other side clear for indirect cooking.
Place the quesadilla on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and then place the foil onto the cooking grates. Cook on the indirect side of the grill for about 10–15 minutes, until the cheese is melted. You may want to spin it 180 degrees after about 5–7 minutes so it will cook evenly. Once the cheese has melted, remove from the grill and let sit for about 5 minutes.
Cut into squares and serve with the sour cream and green onions.
Bacon, Banana and Peanut Butter Sandwich
Elvis has just reentered the building. The King, whose favorite sandwich was banana and peanut butter, would be proud of this one! The crispy bacon adds a hint of crunch to the softness of the sandwich.
Serves: 4 • Cook time: 5–7 minutes
8 pieces thick-cut Texas Toast
1 cup (260 g) all-natural chunky peanut butter (I like Teddie brand)
½ cup (120 g) pepper jelly
4 medium bananas
16 pieces thick-cut Maple-Smoked Pork Belly (page 18), cooked
½ cup (112 g) butter, softened
Set up your charcoal grill for two-zone cooking. Fill up a charcoal chimney with hardwood lump charcoal and light it. When flames start coming out of the top of the chimney, the coals are ready. Dump onto one side of the cooker. Keep the other side clear for indirect cooking. Start heating up a cast-iron skillet.
To assemble the sandwiches, lay out 2 pieces of Texas Toast. Spread ¼ cup (65 g) of peanut butter on one side and about 2 tablespoons (30 g) of pepper jelly on the other side. Slice up 1 banana and place the slices on the peanut butter side of the sandwich. Put 4 pieces of bacon on top of the banana slices. Place the second piece of toast on top, jelly side down. Repeat for the other 3 sandwiches. Spread 1 tablespoon(14 g) of softened butter on each side of the sandwiches.
Place a sandwich in the cast-iron skillet. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until it is a nice golden-brown color. Flip over and do the same for the other side. Depending on the size of your pan, you may be able to cook 2 sandwiches at one time.
When the sandwiches are cooked, cut each in half on the diagonal and serve with a nice glass of ice cold milk!
The Smoking Bacon & Hog Cookbook by Bill Gillespie with Tim O’Keefe. @2016 by Page Street Publishing. http://www.pagestreetpublishing.com/
Barnes and Noble- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-smoking-bacon-hog-cookbook-bill-gillespie/1121862021
Website- Smokin’ Hoggz BBQ Shop http://www.smokinhoggzbbq.com/#!shop/c3oe
Chef Mick Brown is a Food Blogger/Purveyor based in Los Angeles, with over 30 years BBQ and Grilling experience. Aside from Caterer and Private Grilling Instructor, his passions are creating Easy Grilling Recipes and searching for the World’s Best Flavors. General Manager of Tastee BQ Grilling Co. and the new California Gold BBQ Rubs. In May of 2015, he won Grill Master Champion on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen on special BBQ episode “Grill or Be Grilled” (Season 8, Episode 3). He also recently appeared on Bravo TV, catering for the Cast of Vanderpump Rules (2016 Season Finale). He is also author of web blogs The Adventures of Tastee BQ and BBQ Catering Confidential. His newest project BBQ RESCUES!, includes a Blog Talk Radio Show, Youtube TV Channel and Podcasts on iTunes. Email- Mick@BBQRESCUES.com