Super Simple Chicken Stock with Wing Tips

Chicken Wing Stock

I go through a LOT of chicken stock in my kitchen, so I like to make my own, and this simple chicken stock is my go to.

I discovered a few years back the those chicken wing-tips that I usually cut off the wings before cooking, have a near perfect ratio of skin to bone for making a rich, delicious stock.

I keep a zip-bag in the freezer and toss my wing tips in it whenever I cook a chicken, or chicken wings. About once a month, I’m usually ready to make a half-gallon batch of stock.

Note: If you don’t have the wing-tips, you can use the leftover carcass of a rotisserie or roasted chicken, instead.

Here’s the recipe…

Enjoy!

Chef Perry
joinmykitchen.com

Simple Chicken Stock

  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 lb chicken wing tips
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 Tbs salt
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Note: You can customize your stock based on the recipe you plan to use it for, I made my last batch specifically for some roasted mushroom udon soup, so I also added 2 Tbs of Thai fish sauce, 1 cup of roasted mushrooms, star anise, and fresh cilantro to the stock.

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Heat butter in a pan over medium heat, and sauteed thawed wing tips (sprinkle with 1/2 of the salt) until browned. Transfer to a stock pot with water.

Wing tip chicken stock recipe

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a low simmer, and cook until liquid is reduce by half (about 2 hours).

Strain the stock into a bowl to remove solids. Taste and add additional salt, if needed.

Wing tip chicken stock recipe

Refrigerate overnight, and then remove the solid fat that rises to the top.

Wing tip chicken stock recipe

You can throw this away, or (better) save to to fry with as you would butter. Jewish cooking calls this fat “schmaltz” and it makes the best scrambled eggs ever!

Wing tip chicken stock recipe

Stock will keep 2-3 days in the fridge, or several months in the freezer. I like to freeze it in ice-cube trays, so it’s ready in pre-portioned cubes when I need it.

Wing tip chicken stock recipe

Want to turn this lovely, simple chicken stock into the perfect chicken gravy? Start with a Roux! Here’s how…

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9UmtN0NDZUQ[/embedyt]

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Home Chef Cookbooks

A Chef’s Tips for Reheating IN-N-OUT Burgers

Tips for reheating a IN N OUT Burger

Had the good fortune to stop at the Medford, Oregon IN-N-OUT Burger on my way home from the International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento. I, of course, grabbed a half dozen extras to bring home for the family.

When I finally rolled in around 1am, I was too exhausted to eat, so the whole box went into the fridge for later, and I collapsed into bed.

The next morning, I posted a picture of my treasure on Facebook, and a friend of mine replied, Hamburgers taste horrible after being refrigerated. To which I replied, “Not if you know how to reheat them, they don’t.

In retrospect, I realized (as  I often do…) that my knee-jerk response, while correct, was a little snarky and not particularly helpful. Also that, while perhaps a bit of a buzz-kill, my friend was technically correct ~ a cold, congealed burger is a pretty awful thing.

God doesn’t want is to eat like that.

So, in the sincere hope that nothing as glorious as a Double Double Animal Style is ever eaten chilled, or even worse, microwaved, I give you…

Tips for reheating a IN-N-OUT Burger

How to reheat an IN-N-OUT Burger

First of all…never, EVER, reheat a burger fully assembled!

Microwaving is about the worst thing you can to to both ground-beef, and lettuce. The way the microwave works in by causing water molecules to vibrate at high speeds until they get hot. This is an instant method for draining all the good juices out of a burger patty, as well as rupturing the water-holding cells in your lettuce, turning it into limp, gray, sludge.

  1. Take the veggies off and put them back in the fridge. If you can’t replace them with fresh, shock them in a little ice water just before serving (be sure to pat them dry.) This will crisp them back up…some.

Reheating IN N Out Burger

 

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  1. Seal the buns, single layer, in a zip bag, and set aside at room temp.

Reheating IN N Out Burger

3.  Heat 1/4 inch of chicken stock or water in a microwave-safe container (with a lid) big enough to lay   the burger/cheese patties in a single layer. Heat the liquid until steaming, then set the patties in (liquid should not cover, just be on the bottom). Set the bagged buns on top. Place the lid on and set aside for 2-3 minutes.

Reheating IN N Out Burger

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  1. If the buns are soggy out of the fridge, you can toast them, cut sides down, in a dry pan first (optional), or if they’re just plain cheap burger buns, use fresh one (they’re like 8 for a dollar, you cheap bastard…)
  1. When meat has heated through, and the cheese is soft, drain the patty on a paper towel, reassemble and enjoy!

Reheating IN N Out Burger

You can do the same in a liddled skillet. Just make sure it’s off the heat (move to a cold burner) before adding the meat.

Reheating IN N Out Burger

Personal opinion: ANY hot sandwich, once assembled, should be wrapped fully in foil and allowed to “rest” at least 5 minutes.

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Just can’t get an In N’ Out in your neck of the woods? Here’s my favorite to make at home, the “Dungeon Burger!”

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp9E6gukWOU[/embedyt]

-Chef Perry


For more tips on grilling the ultimate burger, from grinding your own beef blend, to seasonings, sauces, and styles, check out my new Home Chef guidebook: Grilling!

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My Most Popular Appetizer: Dragon Claws

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Baby bell peppers stuffed with a combination of hot (or sweet) Italian sausage, beer brats, or even ground beef, turkey, or chorizo. Wrapped in bacon, grilled to perfection, then glazed with your favorite barbecue sauce! (I like Sweet Baby Rays, thinned with a little apple cider vinegar.)

Dragon Claws at RibfestThis is one of my signature recipes, and it never fails to rock my customer’s worlds! I had great fun preparing these at the Kenmore booth at the 2013 Ribfest in Chicago, as a Sears’s Grilling in Happiness blogger , with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition superstar Ty Pennington (who is an awesome, funny, crazy guy, btw!)

Sticky sweet, spicy goodness…with just a breath of fire! And…trust me on this, MUCH easier to make when there isn’t a live audience and 3 television cameras in your face!

Even so, it’s totally worth it!

Oh, sooo good…

Dragon Claw BBQ AppetizerChef Perry’s Dragon Claws

  • 24 whole baby bell peppers
  • 12 slices (thin sliced) bacon
  • 1 lb. Johnsonville Beer Brats

Glaze

  • 1 cup Sweet BBQ Sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted

Slice the tops off each baby bell, and remove the seeds and veins from each pepper, and rinse again.

Mix glaze ingredients over medium low heat, and keep warm.

Remove the meat from casings (if using bratwurst).

Stuff each pepper with sausage, and packing it tightly.

Drgaon Claws grilled peppersWrap each pepper with 1/2 slice of bacon, and secure with a pre-soaked toothpick, or pre-soaked skewers.

Repeat with all remaining peppers.




Fire up your grill and prepare for indirect cooking over medium-high heat. About 25 briquettes in a Weber Smokey Joe.

For gas grills: have the two outside burners on high, and the middle on low.

Add a few chips of fruit wood to the fire about 10 minutes before adding the peppers (optional). If you’re using a gas grill, use a smoke box.

Dragon Claws

Grill the Dragon Claws over direct heat, 8-10 minutes, turning as need,  until the bacon begins to crisp.

Dragon Claws AMNW2

Move grilled peppers to indirect heat, glaze one side of each pepper, flip and repeat. Keep brushing with glaze, and turning until the glaze is set (about 5 minutes).

Dragon Claws on the grill

Remove, allow to rest at least 15 minutes, and then serve warm.

To make these on the Traeger:

20 minutes on “Smoke”, then grill 15 minutes at 300F (lid down), brush with glaze and flip, brush with glaze and grill 10 more minutes (lid down).

For a full-meal-deal, try this same recipe using larger Anaheim Peppers! (This was the original recipe, hence the name “Dragon Claws!”)

Sausage Stuffed Anahiem Peppers wrapped in Bacon

Now, get out there and grill!

~Chef Perry

PS ~ For even more BBQ and grilling articles and recipes, check out my outdoor cooking blog at www.lacajachinacooking.com


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Did you Know? – Why eggs are harder to peel than they used to be.

badly peeled eggs

I overheard two older ladies talking about making deviled eggs, the other day, and one of them commented: “Hard-boiled eggs were so much easier to peel when I was young, I don’t know what’s happened to them!”

It was one of those wonderful, if rare, moments where I actually know the answer to something, in this case due to some inane piece of cooking trivia I learned growing up in restaurant kitchens.

There are a zillion tips out there for how to make a hard-boiled egg easier to peel (and I’m sure I’ll get most of them in the comments to this post), but far fewer on why eggs are so hard to peel in the first place, or why it’s become more difficult.

You can blame those rage-enducing egg-peeling moments (is it just me?) on advances in food processing and delivery time in the last four decades. The store-bought eggs you ate growing up, could take up to two weeks to get from chicken-butt to shelf.

These days, that same egg could be less than 36 hours old.

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(Side note: I spoke to an employee at my local Winco, who informed me that all SIX floor-to-ceiling coolers of fresh eggs have to be completely re-stocked every 8 hours!)

Now, in most fresh foods, this is great news, and it’s great news if you’re preparing your eggs in any other fashion. For easy-peel eggs, however, it’s a huge disadvantage.

In fresh eggs (used within a week from laying), the albumen (egg white) tends to stick to the inner shell membrane due to the less acidic environment of the egg.

As an egg sits in the cooler for several days, the pH of the white albumen increases and the hard cooked eggs become much easier to peel. The egg white also shrinks slightly, so the air space between the eggshell and the membrane grows larger, resulting in boiled eggs that are easier to peel.

That whole pH thing, btw, is why the old yarn about using a half-teaspoon of baking soda really does work. Adding baking soda to the water to raise its pH level, effectively dissolving the gorilla-glue that God uses to attach the white to the shell.

BTW, you probably won’t hear phrases like “the pH of the white albumen” or “less acidic environment” in the commercial kitchen…

Someone just yells, “Hey a**-hole, use the eggs at the back of the f’in’ walk-in next time!”

Welcome to my childhood. 😉

For ideal peeling, use eggs that are 7-10 days old. To be safe, buy your eggs a week before you plan to boil them, label the carton “For Boiling”, and stick them in the back of the fridge.

Using a (clean) needle to poke a tiny hole in the fat end of the egg also helps, allowing a small amount of steam between the egg and shell, separating the two. That’s how our grandma’s did it.

So…there you go!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

 

Beef Masala Curry in Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Oven,

Beef Masala Curry

First, let’s get our terminology right…

Cooks in India typically use the word “curry” when referring to something with a sauce or gravy, rather than a specific blend of spices.

Bengal_Native_Infantry_1880The word curry was created by the British when they ruled India. It was their rendition of the Tamil word “kari”, meaning sauce.

Now the term is used to mean almost any stew-type of food from India.

Most of us Americans mistakenly use the word “Curry” when we’re actually talking about a “Masala” (meaning a mix of spices.)

Many of us, when we hear the word “masala” immediately think of Garam Masala, the popular Indian spice mix. “Garam” means warm or hot, and there are probably as many different recipes for Garam Masalas as there are grandmother’s in India…and there are a LOT of grandmother’s in India! 😉

Personally, this is my favorite curry recipe…

Beef Masala Curry

  • 2 lbs stew beef, 2 inch cubes
  • 1 lg yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cup fresh peeled and crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
    2 tbsp garam masala (store-bought or see my recipe, below)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (opt)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 2 tbsp ghee (clarified butter), or olive oil
  • 1 cup strong beef stock
  • 1 cup coconut cream

Beef Masala Curry: The Meat

Pat beef cubes dry. (Remember, wet meat doesn’t brown, it turns grey.) Sprinkle the cubes with sea salt and black pepper, and toss with flour.

Stew Beef browning for Beef Marsala CurryHeat a saute pan over medium heat, add ghee or oil, and brown the beef top and bottom in batches. Don’t overcrowd the pan.

Remove each batch of browned beef cubes to a bowl, and add ghee to the pan as needed.

Instant Pot Beef Marsala Curry Recipe

The Curry Paste

When all of the beef has been browned, add more ghee, the chopped onions, garlic, spices, salt and pepper.

Cook until onions become translucent, for about 5-6 minutes.

ABeef Marsala Currydd your crushed tomatoes, brown sugar and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes.

Pour the mixture into your slow cooker, Instant Pot, or Dutch Oven. and mix in the beef cubes.

(I like to make a double batch of the paste, to use in other recipes throughout the week!)

Beef Marsala CurryAdd stock, coconut cream, and lemon zest, and stir to combine.

COOK TIMES:

Instant Pot: 25 to 30 minutes
Slow Cooker: 8 hours on low/4 hours on the high
Dutch Oven (350F): 5 hours, stirring once.

If your Beef Masala Curry isn’t as thick as shown here, and you want it to be, switch your Instant Pot to “saute” mode, or place your Dutch Oven (uncovered) on the stove-top, and simmer until reduced, stirring constant.

Serve your Beef Masala Curry over steamed Jasmine steamed rice and top with fresh chopped cilantro, if you like it.

HOME CHEF Note: This is actually my SECOND favorite curry, as I love the richer, slightly gamier flavor of lamb over beef. The rest of the recipe remains the same.

Chef Perry’s Favorite Garam Masala

1/4 cup cumin seeds
2 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp tellicherry peppercorns
1 tsp cloves
2 dried red chilies
2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 star anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Add all of the spices in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly.

Keep cooking until they just start to turn brown, and you can smell the aroma. Be very careful not to let them burn.

Remove from heat and, while still warm, toss it all into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.

HOME CHEF Note: This Garam Masala recipe not on;y makes a fantastic curry, but it’s also amazing with potatoes cooked in coconut milk, and makes for a tasty surprise in Deviled Eggs.

Love Curries? Be sure to check out these recipes, as well…

Thai Red Fish Curry

Thai Red Fish Curry

Salmon Curry with Couscous

Salmon Curry with Couscous

Pork and Sweet Potato Curry 2

Pork and Sweet Potato Curry


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Recipes from “Frugal Fine Cooking ~ A Home Chef’s Guide.”

This is the first in the series of guidebooks delving deeper into specific cooking styles and ingredients  discussed in, “The Home Chef: Transforming the American Kitchen”

Available on Amazon at: www.perryperkinsbooks.com

 

Chicken a la Wilkinson

Chicken a la Wilkinson recipe


21751631_1337601499702816_2967138024778684282_nThe Wilkinsons are not only old and dear friends, but they’re also staunch supporters of our MY KITCHEN Program, and my best personal chef clients.

For marketing purposes I won’t say that they’re also my favorite clients (but…they’re also my favorite clients.)

Don’t tell anyone.

I have had the honor of cooking in their beautiful kitchen many times, and when Ron called and asked if I could prepare a nice, upper-end, chicken-breast dinner for them and a few of their friends, I immediately thought of an old favorite: Chicken Georgia.

A simple recipe, Chicken Georgia is easy to prepare, lends itself to a fancy presentation, and with its thick, creamy mushroom sauce, falls solidly in the umami comfort food category.

As his lovely wife, Karen, requires a gluten-free menu, I’d incorporate the old-English method of using egg yolks, instead of flour, to thicken my sauce.

However, this was Ron, and Ron appreciates a little “over the top” when enjoying a fine meal. So, I took my old recipe to the drawing board…

Bacon, of course, would be absolutely essential and, along with a flavorful compound butter stuffed inside, would virtually guarantee that the chicken breasts remained juicy inside and out. Replace the onions with diced shallots – check. A little of my favorite pecorino romano to add a bit more depth to the sauce, and I give you…

Chicken a la Wilkinson!

The test dish received rave reviews from the home team, and was a smashing success at the party, served along with some Southern-style green beans, cilantro-lime rice, a nice green salad, and warm Dutch rolls. It was…lovely.

The Brine:

  • 1 cup fine sea salt
  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 3 quarts very hot water
  • 4 cups of ice

The Chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless, thawed
  • 4 tsp. Mushroom Garlic Compound Butter (recipe below)
  • 1 raw egg, beaten
  • 4-8 strips apple-wood smoked bacon, thin
  • 4-8 toothpicks
  • 2 oz. grated mozzarella cheese

The Sauce:

  • 4 tsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 Tbs. mushroom powder*
  • 2 pinch ea. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. minced shallots
  • 1 cup homemade chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temp
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 oz. grated pecorino-romano cheese

brining chicken breastsBrine the Chicken:

Combine the salt, sugar, and hot water and stir until completely dissolved. Add ice to chill.

Once chilled, add the chicken breasts and brine for 4-6 hours.

Remove breasts from brine, rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and set aside.

Prep the Chicken:

Egg Eash: Whip your raw egg yolks in a flat-bottom bowl, and set aside.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

how to stuff a chicken breast with compound butterUsing a small knife, slice a deep pocket in the side of each breast (be careful not to pierce the other side!) and insert a teaspoon of chilled compound butter, pushing it as far back into the pocket as possible.

Dip the outside of the breast, along the pocket seam, in egg wash to seal.

Refridgerate breast for 20-30 minutes to set the seal.

IMG_5751Wrap each breast with 1-2 strips of back (depending on size) slightly overlapping, and secure the end with a toothpick.

(If you have trouble with the breast being slippery, use 2 toothpicks and secure the beginning end, first.)

Melt butter over medium heat and add the olive oil, mixing to combine.

Pan searing bacon wrapped chickenWhen hot, add the bacon wrapped chicken and sear 1-2 minutes on each side, just long enough to start the bacon browning.

Remove chicken to a baking dish, top with mozzarella, and place in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes*** while making your sauce.

Bacon wrapped chicken with mozzerella

Mushroom Cream Sauce recipeMushroom Cream Sauce:

Put the pan back on the burner and lower the heat to medium. Deglaze your pan with 1/2 cup of chicken stock.

Add mushrooms and shallots and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook 15-20 minutes covered, stirring often, until your mushrooms have reduced by at least half (the more they reduce, the more flavor they’ll have).

Add chicken stock and mushroom powder, and bring to a low simmer. Add your raw egg to the heavy cream, whisk to combine completely. While whisking the sauce vigorously, slowing pour in the cream/egg mixture until incorporated.

Whisk in the grated pecorino-romano cheese, reduce heat to med-low, and let the sauce reduce slightly, stirring often to keep it from separating.** (A sauce “separates” when the milk content curdles, creating an unappetizing texture.)

bacon wrapped chicken with mushroom sauceWhen the chicken reaches an internal temp of 160F, remove the roasting pan from the oven, pull out all of the toothpicks, top the chicken evenly with mushroom sauce, and pop it all back in the oven for 5 more minutes.

Serving:

Allow the dish to rest (the sauce will thicken slightly) about 5 minutes, then serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or polenta.

Mushroom Garlic Compound Butter
Mushroom Garlic Compound Butter

  • 1 stick of sweet cream butter, very soft
  • 1 Tbs. coarse black pepper
  • 1 Tbs. mushroom powder
  • 1 tsp. roasted garlic, or more to taste (you can sub this with garlic powder, but it won’t be as good.) 😉
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley

Using the back of a metal spoon, combine all until mixed evenly (If using the compound in another recipe, which do not include brining, add 1 tsp. of fine sea salt before mixing.) Spoon the mixture onto a sheet of plastic-wrap and roll into a cylinder and twisting the ends to seal. Chill until hard.

Compound butter is great in soups and sauces, to top burger or steaks, and it’s a lovely way to fry or scramble eggs!

HOME CHEF NOTES:

*If you can’t find mushroom powder, you can make your own with dried mushrooms and a spice blender.

**If you get distracted and your sauce DOES separate (it’ll look like you’ve mixed cottage cheese into it) don’t panic, it happens! 😉 Using a slotted spoons, remove the mushrooms from the sauce. Using a stick-blender, or traditional blender, blend the sauce briefly until it’s smooth again. Wipe the pan clean. Rinse the mushrooms very briefly in hot water to remove the milk curds, and return to the pan with the mushrooms.

***If you’re using those huge “factory chicken” breasts, you may want to pound them slightly flatter (before brining), and add 10-15 minutes to the roasting time. Be safe – use a thermometer and cook to temp.


Home Chef Cookbooks

 

Peanut Butter Cookie Secrets

Peanut Butter Cookie Tips

Awesome Reader Elizabeth M. asks:

Hey Chef, How do you make peanut butter cookies more peanut-buttery?

——–

Thank you for asking, Elizabeth!

The problem: The simplest way, adding more peanut-butter, throws off your fat-to-flour ratio, and you end up with cookie pancakes with no backbone. I’ve tried adding powdered peanut butter in the past, but the aftertaste of the preservatives was off-putting.

Okay, so I’ve never told ANYONE my PB Cookie secret, but what the heck… 😉

“De La Rosa Marzipan Peanut Candy” (Amazon Link)

de la Rose mazapan candy

I first found these uber-peanut-buttery confections on a trip to Mexico City in my teens.

Replace 1/4th of the flour in your cookie recipe with an equal amount (by volume) of this amazing powdery candy, and you will find peanut-butter nirvana! It will also make them sweeter, so if that’s a problem, try cutting back on the sugar in your recipe until you reach a balance that’s right for you.

de la Rose mazapan candy

They’re FANTASTIC in a smoothie, too!

Spanish Peanuts for Peanut-Butter CookiesAlso, I like to add a couple of handfuls of whole, salted Spanish peanuts (hulls removed) to my dough.

Let me know how it goes!

~Chef Perry

PS: The link above us to buy them on Amazon, but if you have an Latino market nearby, they’re almost sure to carry them.


Home Chef Cookbooks

 

Reverse Seared Prime Rib Roast

Reverse Seared Prime Rib

HomeChef Michelle asks:

Hi Chef Perry, I have a couple questions. Fixing prime rib tomorrow, 9 pounds. Family wants it cooked medium, serving at 3 pm. When should I put it in?

Also, how much salt?

Saw you on AMNW this week!

Thanks!

—–

Hi Michelle!

Thanks for asking (and for watching the show!)

Here’s how I do it:

Dry out the surface of the roast by salting, and then resting it uncovered in the fridge overnight.

For a 10# prime, I’d use 4 Tbs of coarse sea salt, spread evenly.

Bring the prime rib to room temperature before roasting. It usually takes about 2 hours out on the counter.

Preheat the oven to 200°F

Reverse Seared Prime Rib

Pat the prime rib dry, and set on a roasting pan bone side down (fat side up). Add any additional spices. I like Montreal Steak Seasoning.

Roast until the center reads 130°F for medium doneness, about 3.5-4 hours.

NOTE: Personally, I like my center cuts to be medium rare, which gives me a couple of more well done slices at either end, so I roast mine to an internal temp of 120°F, then follow the remaining steps.

Remove the prime rib from the oven, cover with a foil and rest for 30 minutes.

Increase the oven temperature to 500°F

10 minutes before serving, pop the prime rib into the oven, uncovered, and cook it until it’s nice and brown, and crisp on the outside, about 6-10 minutes.

Reverse Seared Prime Rib
Medium Rare Center Slice

Serve immediately.

Let me know if you have any questions along the way, I’ll be watching FB for notifications!

Merry Christmas!

~Chef Perry


Looking for more great holiday recipes? Check out the new guidebook, “Holiday Cooking: A Home Chef’s Guide.” NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!

Holiday Cooking: A Home Chef's Guide

The Best Pulled Pork Sliders

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Okay, I like to cook with wood and charcoal, but I get a lot of emails asking how to modify my recipes to a gas grill (yes, I own gas grills) and even for the oven.

Some recipes just can’t be adapted, others can with decent results, and some…well, as much as this is going to tick-off the die-hards…some you can hardly tell the difference! Here’s one of my favorites.

Oh, and if you want to recreate a true “Southern pulled pork sandwich”, and really take ’em to the next level… be sure to add a couple of tablespoons of our Simple Tangy Slaw on top of the meat and sauce. Yeah, baby!

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Pulled Pork BBQ

(In the  gas grill, oven, or smoker) 1 Pork shoulder (6-8lb) Burnin’ Love Rub (see below) Basic BBQ Sauce (see below)

Rub the shoulder with spices. Set it aside for a few minutes and rub again over any wet spots. Keep doing this until there are no wet spots, the heavier the rub, the better. This makes the “bark” of the shoulder. Wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and fridge 12-24 hours.

Take shoulder out of fridge and let sit 60 minutes to bring the temp up.

 

For the gas grill:

You want indirect heat for cooking, you can easily do this on a conventional gas grill. Just keep the meat as far from the heat source as possible, or it will burn during the long cooking time. You want to cook this at 250 degrees Fahrenheit; you can go as high as 275, but no higher. You don’t want to go lower than 250, as you will start to dry out the meat before it is cooked.

Put the shoulder on the “cool side” of the grill, and  place a disposable pan with a couple of cups of apple juice underneath it to add moisture and catch the drippings. A spray bottle with 50/50 apple juice and cider vinegar is nice for basting, as well.

A lot of folks like to use apple chips, soaked, for smoking. You can add 1/2 cup to a disposable tin pan over the “hot” side of your gill, every 30 minutes for the first 3 hours.

Personally, I prefer to use a small, nearly indestructible smoke box, called the “A-Maze-N Smoker”. It’s a metal-mesh maze that holds your favorite flavor of smoking pellets, and burns slowly enough to allow a three-hour smoke without constantly having to lift the cover and let all of that precious heat out. It’s cheap, and I’ve used my dozens of times with no visible wear or tear.

Here’s a quick video I did on using this unit with my La Caja China, but the principle would be the same in anything from a gas grill to a Weber Kettle.

A-Maze-N Smoker Review

If you don’t trust your on-board thermometer, get a cheap instant read (or better, a digital probe) and stick the probe all the way through a halved potato. Set the potato cut-side down on the grill. This keeps your thermometer off the grates.

After three to four hours, remove the shoulder from your grill, and roast (uncovered) in a pre-heated oven at 225d for 10-12 hours. The pork is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer (you should really get one) the meat is done when it pulls apart easily with a fork.

Pork Shoulders

In The Oven

Follow the same prep directions as above. Pre-heat the oven to 225F, and roast the shoulder, fat-cap up, uncovered, for 14 hours (yes, I said fourteen. I usually roast mine overnight.)

Follow the “Finishing” steps, below.

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On the Traeger

Once the shoulder(s) are prepped, start Traeger on “Smoke” with the lid open until it’s cruisin’ (4 to 5 minutes). Set temp at 225F and preheat, lid closed, for about 15 minutes.

Place shoulders on the grill, fat-cap up, and smoke for 3 hours, spraying with a mix of apple juice and cider vinegar (50/50) every hour after the three hours.

Put shoulders in a large disposable aluminum foil pan and up the temp to 250F.

Roast shoulder for 8 more hours, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part, but not touching a bone, registers 190 degrees F.

If the skin starts to get too dark, cover it loosely with foil.

Finishing

Remove the pan from the heat, tent shoulder(s) loosely in foil, and let rest for 30 minutes. Pour the juices from the bottom of the pan into a fat separator. Mix broth (fat removed) with some salt and cider vinegar, to taste, and pour back over the meat after shredding. Allow to rest an additional 10 minutes to soak up the juices.

Serve either as sliders, or with a sauce on the side (see below) and some white bread slices to use as edible napkins!

Pork shoulder in smokePulled Pork Tips:

For “oven only”…before applying the dry rub, brush the entire shoulder generously with Stubbs (brand name) Mesquite Liquid Smoke, allow the surface to dry, and repeat. The apply the dry rub (while still damp.) Note: this is the ONLY liquid smoke that I’ll allow in my kitchen. For the smoker, I like a wood chip/chunk blend of 75% oak,

 

Perk’s “Burnin’ Love” Rub

(Shh…it’s a secret!)

¼ C fine sea salt
¼ C light brown sugar
2 Tbs garlic powder
2 Tbs onion powder
4 Tbs Italian seasonings (spicy, if you can find them)
2 Tbs smoked paprika
2 Tbs coarse black pepper
2 Tbs hickory salt
1 teaspoon cayenne powder (opt)

Northern Carolina Vinegar Sauce

Personally, I think this very old, very traditional recipe is the best and only sauce for pulled pork.

  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbs. smoked paprika
  • 2 Tbs white sugar
  • 4 tsp, fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Combine all, simmer and cool. The longer it sits, the better it is!

But if you MUST have your thick, sweet, ketchup-based sauce…here’s a great one…

Basic BBQ Sauce (my cheater version)

1 cup Sweet Baby Rays Brown Sugar BBQ sauce
½ cup honey
1/2 stick sweet cream butter
Red pepper flakes to taste (opt)

Combine all, simmer and allow to cool.

NOTE: This makes a fantastic sauce for grilled chicken but replacing the honey with an equal amount of Thai sweet chili sauce!


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The Secret to Crispy Turkey Skin

Perfect Turkey Skin
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

I picked up this trick a few weeks ago from a fellow chef’s blog (I wish I could remember, but whoever you are, thank you!) and tried it for the first time with this year’s Thanksgiving turkey…it’s magic!

First of all, I ALWAYS brine my turkey, which, while making for moist, succulent meat, can cause problems with getting the skin, saturated by the brine, to crisp and brown evenly. And, let’s face it…crispy is skin is the whole reason for roasting a turkey in the first place!

Here’s the trick to perfect, crispy skin on a brined turkey…

Brine your bird for 24 hours (this is the brine I use).

Then, remove the bird from the brine, pat it dry (inside and out), and place it breast-side-up in a baking dish in the bottom of your fridge, UNCOVERED, for another 24 hours.

Remove from the fridge 2 hours before roasting, and let it rest on the counter.

Then, of course, roast it uncovered.

The skin on this turkey was amazing, by far the best results I’ve ever gotten.

If you’re a skin-junkie (that didn’t sound right…) like me, you gotta try this!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

~Chef Perry
chefperryperkins.com

Looking for more great holiday recipes? Check out the new guidebook:

“Holiday Cooking: A Home Chef’s Guide.” NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON!

Holiday Cooking: A Home Chef's Guide

 

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