Tag Archives: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Call me utterly predictable and completely unoriginal, but it’s Pi Day, an arbitrary holiday/designation that is supposed to celebrate math but has been hijacked by food media, so I’m sharing a pie with you. I know.

But, whether it’s Pi Day or any random day, this particular pie absolutely deserves a space on my blog, and in your belly. Such a simple, unpretentious, beloved classic comfort food pie this is; I’m pretty sure every American has a favorite and familiar version in their arsenal.

Chocolate Icebox Pie

This one is particularly awesome because the crust is made from store-bought Oreos, but the filling is made from scratch. I love that unholy juxtaposition.

Chocolate Icebox Pie

I won’t blather on about how delicious this pie is, because everyone already knows the chocolate-y, creamy goodness that is this lovely concoction of chocolate pudding topped with whipped cream. I’ll just advocate for this particular version, it is simply wonderful. Enjoy!

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Source: The Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cookbook by John Stage

Ingredients:

CRUST:
20 Oreo sandwich cookies
3 tbs unsalted butter, melted

FILLING:
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbs cornstarch
1/3 cup flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 tbs vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream, for garnish

Directions:
Make the CRUST: preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a regular 9” pie plate. Process the cookies down to crumbs in your food processor. Add the melted butter and process again to combine. Press the cookies evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake 8 minutes. Let cool completely.
Make the FILLING: whisk the sugar, cornstarch, flour, salt and cinnamon together in a mixing bowl and set aside.
Combine the chocolate chips and milk in a saucepan and set it over medium heat, stirring constantly. As soon as the chips are melted, shut off the heat and pour half of the chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix well.
Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla together. Slowly pour the yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture in the saucepan, whisking constantly to make sure the yolks don’t scramble. Now add the chocolate and dry ingredient mixture. Stir to combine, then set the saucepan back over medium heat and whisk constantly. Once the mixture starts to thicken, keep whisking and cook for 2 more minutes. Pour the chocolate filling into a clean bowl and cool for 10 minutes. You can place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pudding to prevent a skin forming.
Pour the filling into the pie shell and level the top. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. Spread the whipped cream all over the top and cut into wedges. Keep in the refrigerator.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Fried Green Tomatoes - dip in ranch dressing

Alright, I’m done posting rhubarb for a while, promise! Fried green tomatoes are seriously one of my faves. It’s probably a good thing that I don’t see green tomatoes in the grocery store all that often, but when I do, I grab them and Matt knows what we’re having for dinner that night.

green tomatoes

Currently, I don’t have any yard space, but we hope to buy a house in a few years, and when we do, I’ll most likely try my hand at gardening. I’m really on the fence about planting tomatoes, though. I mean, it sounds great and we eat a lot of them, especially during the summer; but I have to wonder if I would be able to restrain myself from picking all of the tomatoes when they are green, just to make this dish… Yeah, it’s a serious question to ponder…

sliced green tomatoes

Growing up, I occasionally indulged in fried green tomatoes, but Matt didn’t taste his first one until about five years ago. Before that, he wasn’t even aware that they were a real food that people, you know, ate. He thought it was just the title of a movie. A movie he has never seen, I might add.

breaded green tomatoes

But he’s quite the fiend for them now – yea! I’ve eaten many different incarnations and preparations of fried green tomatoes myself, but what I’m sharing here is my absolute favorite method. The Whistle Stop Café probably didn’t use panko, but I’m telling you, it works and produces the best fried tomato. Don’t cheat and skip the step where I tell you to let them chill in the fridge. If you do, the breading will fall apart on you when you’re frying them. And if green tomatoes are hard to come by for you too, then you might be tempted to throw a hissy fit. Don’t ask me how I know this.

breaded green tomatoes for frying

Just follow this recipe exactly, and before you know it, you’ll be sitting down to a plate of absolutely addictive fried green tomatoes. Enjoy!

Fried Green Tomatoes

Source: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cookbook

Ingredients:
4 large green tomatoes
Creole seasoning
2 eggs
Black pepper
4 cups panko bread crumbs
4 tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Grated pecorino romano cheese
Ranch Dressing

Directions:
Core the tomatoes and cut off the ends. Slice them into ½-inch rounds and pat them dry to get rid of any excess moisture. Sprinkle lightly with Creole seasoning on both sides.
Whisk together the eggs and a pinch of black pepper in a shallow bowl, like a pie plate. In another pie plate, combine the panko, salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Dip the tomato slices into the egg mixture, then into the panko mixture. Press to coat both sides very well, and make sure you get some crumbs up on the sides of the tomatoes. Place the tomatoes in a single layer onto a wire cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator for half an hour to set the breading.
In a large skillet over medium heat, pour in about 1 inch of canola oil. Test the oil for readiness by sprinkling in a few crumbs of panko. If they sink, the oil is too cold; if they burn right away, the oil is too hot. Perfect oil means that the crumbs will float to the top and start bubbling but not browning.
When the oil is ready, slide in a few tomatoes but don’t crowd the pan. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until browned. Remove the slices from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat in batches until all tomatoes have been fried.
When the tomatoes are done, arrange them on a platter or plate and sprinkle a pinch or so of romano cheese in the center of each. Serve with ranch dressing for dipping.
Note: cookbooks always say you can leave fried tomatoes in a 200 F oven while you’re frying up the rest of them, but every time I’ve done that, they have gone soggy. So I just keep things casual and let people, myself included, eat them as I cook them.

Classic Barbecue Chicken

New York City is one of the food capitols of the world.  There are literally too many restaurants to count.  Matt and I try to take full advantage of living here by eating out often.  After 8 years up here, we’ve built a decent repertoire of favorite places.  It will continue to grow, as there are probably, oh, I don’t know, a few thousand places we haven’t yet tried.  One of my favorite places to eat in New York is Hill Country.  It’s not only a barbecue restaurant; it’s specifically a Texas barbecue restaurant.  Texas barbecue does two things extremely well: salt and pepper beef ribs, and mesquite smoked brisket.  The brisket is definitely the specialty at Hill Country.  It’s served on a piece of parchment paper with barbecue sauce and some toast.  It’s phenomenal.  It’s not surprising for them to sell out on any given day.  So when I get up to the counter at Hill Side, and I order the barbecue chicken, my dining companion always gasps and says, in shock, “You’re not getting the brisket???”  No.  I’m not.

Because that’s how much I love barbecue chicken.

First of all, I just plain love chicken, especially dark meat.  Crisped chicken skin is one of my vices.  So when you add in barbecue elements to something I already love so dearly, it’s a version of food heaven for me.  I love that crispy, spice-crusted skin, all lacquered with sweet, spicy, tangy barbecue sauce, which takes on that wonderful sticky quality when it’s been glazed over the smoker or the coals.  It just doesn’t get better than that for me.  We make barbecue chicken all summer long on our charcoal grill.  And I’ve even been known to oven roast some barbecue chicken in the winter, when it’s too cold to grill outside.

You can play around with barbecue chicken.  There is an infinite number of ways to vary barbecue sauces and spice rubs.  You can make this ethnic in any direction, you can add pureed fruit of any kind to the sauce, you could add alcohol or soda to the sauce, it really doesn’t matter.  You are only limited by your imagination and culinary chops.  I’ve certainly played around with it a fair amount over the years.  But I always come back to the American classic version.  That may just be my favorite.  And this is honestly one of the best classic versions I’ve ever tasted.  We come back to this one over and over.  Over the weekend my sister and brother-in-law came for a lovely visit, and we made this for them.  It was met with many compliments and second helpings.

Source: slightly adapted from Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Cookbook
Note: Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is a New York restaurant with a cult following. We’ve eaten at the Harlem location several times, all with an hour plus wait. They released a cookbook and sometimes it’s just easier to make the stuff yourself.

BARBECUE CHICKEN:

Ingredients:
8 chicken quarters (leg and thigh, breast and wing)
7 tbs All-Purpose Red Rub (recipe to follow)
2 cups Dinosaur Mutha Barbecue Sauce (recipe to follow)

Directions:
Sprinkle the chicken with the rub and massage it in to make sure every inch of the chicken is covered. Use more than the stated amount if necessary. Let chicken rest in the refrigerator while you prep the grill.
Preheat your grill for medium-high heat. Oil the grill grate.
Arrange the chicken pieces skin side down. Do not touch for 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, check the chicken to determine skin crispiness. If the chicken won’t raise from the grate easily, leave it alone for another 2-3 minutes. If the chicken will raise easily but the skin is still flabby, leave another 2-3 minutes. Check again, and leave another 2-3 minutes if skin still hasn’t crisped.
When skin is crispy, flip chicken pieces. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of one chicken breast. When it reads 165 F they are cooked through.
When the meat thermometer registers 135 F, take the reserved barbecue sauce and baste the chicken pieces as they are, skin side up, then flip and baste the other side. Leave them as they are and close the grill lid. When the thermometer says 145 F, baste the chicken again as they are, then flip them and baste again. Leave them as they are and close the grill lid. When the thermometer reads 155 F, baste the chicken again as they are, then flip and baste again. Leave them and close the grill lid. When it registers 165 F, take them off, for they are done.
Let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes uncovered. Serve more barbecue sauce alongside at the table.

ALL-PURPOSE RED RUB:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sweet paprika
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup garlic powder
6 tbs onion powder
1/4 cup chili powder
1 tbs black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a whisk or your fingers. Store in a plastic or glass container. For long-term storage, place in the refrigerator.

Yields about 2 3/4 cups, so feel free to cut the recipe by half or even quarter it.

DINOSAUR MUTHA BARBECUE SAUCE:

Ingredients:
Olive oil
1 cup minced onion
1/2 cup minced green bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
Pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs minced garlic
1 (28 oz.) can tomato sauce
2 cups ketchup, preferably organic
1 cup water
3/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup hot sauce, such as Frank’s RedHot
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbs chili powder
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tbs liquid smoke

Directions:
Drizzle olive oil into a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onions, green peppers, and jalapenos. Season with salt and pepper and cook until softened. Add the garlic and cook one more minute. Add in everything else except the liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes, then add the liquid smoke, stir to combine, then let it cool. Buzz it down with an immersion blender if you need to have it smooth, like me. Store in a storage container in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Yields 6 to 7 cups, so again, feel free to halve the recipe. This is a great all-purpose barbecue sauce that goes with anything. I take cooled leftovers, store it in a large Ziploc baggie, and freeze it. When I need a little sauce for something, I break off a chunk and microwave it until it’s thawed.