Hello Friends,

We hope you have plans to get outside and cook some delicious barbeque this Labor Day Weekend.  This month's newsletter contains a couple of recipes that would be a hit at any party.

Spicy Peanut, Butter & Jelly Chicken Biscuit is a recipe that just won First Place at a contest in Alabama.  The combination of spicy chicken and a sweet dipping sauce is what makes this recipe so unique.  In fact, this dish incorporates one of the secrets that we've used in competition many times to win awards.  Barbeque judges at a contest have to typically sample 24 team's entries.  Most of them will only take one bite of each entry.  As a cooking team, we have to do everything possible to impress the judges with just that one bite.  Our secret that has really worked for us...  good amount of spiciness balanced with a sweet sauce.  The really hard part is getting those flavors balanced.  But when these two flavors are in harmony, they resonate a flavor that is unbeatable!

We've also included a recipe that I had totally forgotten about.  As I was looking thru an old notebook I came across a Bourbon Barbeque Sauce that we developed for ribs.  Now I know what some of you are saying, "Bourbon is for drinking, not cooking!"  Well, this recipe won't use your whole bottle of Wild Turkey so you'll have plenty for sippin'.

Spicy Peanut, Butter & Jelly Chicken Biscuit
Laura's FIRST PLACE Peanut Pizzazz Entry

chicken recipe

I don't know how she continues to do it, but my wife confounds me with her off the wall ideas, but everything she conjures up, WINS!  We tested the recipe once before submitting it at a contest.  The rules for this contest were that the recipe had to contain peanuts and it could not be a dessert.  Laura's recipe won $1,000.00 for 1st Place.

     8 Chicken tenderloins (chicken fingers)
     1 Can of Buttery Biscuits (use 1 biscuit per chicken finger)
     1 8 oz of Raspberry preserves
     ¼  Cup of butter
     1 Cup of crushed roasted peanuts (may need more – depends on how well coated)
     1 Bottle of spicy bbq rub.  We used Cookshack Spicy Chicken Rub.

Coat the chicken tenderloins sparingly with the spicy rub.  Smoke the chicken for about 20 minutes and check them for doneness.  Continue cooking as needed.  They need to be a little underdone (no pink juices should be visible however) because they will finish cooking in the next step. 

Take the biscuits from the can and begin to stretch out the dough until it is a long strip.  Wrap the biscuit dough around the chicken.  Leave a little of the chicken sticking out each end.  Use your hands to form an even amount of dough around the chicken.

Now put the crushed peanuts on a plate and roll the dough covered chicken in the peanuts.  You want to really press the peanuts into the dough.  Cover the dough well.  Bake the pieces at whatever temp and time the biscuit can recommends.  Our can said 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  I cooked them on the smoker in an aluminum pan with a piece of foil loosely on top (open at each end to allow steam to escape).  You may have to cook some of the biscuits longer, just watch them closely.

The sauce is really easy.  Just heat the preserves with the butter!  Now you have a raspberry dipping sauce. Laura used a beautiful patriotic plate and we sat the sauce cups in the middle and placed the chicken so that they radiated out of the center.  Laura then garnished with roasted peanuts.  We literally had no plans on how to present the chicken, we made it up right on the spot!

Bourbon Barbeque Sauce for Ribs

bbq ribs

When we first started cooking ribs for competition, this was one of the sauces we developed.  You can substitute your favorite bourbon for the Wild Turkey.  This sauce gives the ribs a real nice color….and the taste ain't bad neither!  This sauce is excellent to use with the rib cooking techniques found in our book, Competition BBQ Secrets found at  www.bbq-book.com.

     ¼ cup Wild Turkey Bourbon
     2 cups ketchup
     1 cup  Brown sugar
     ½ cup Apple cider vinegar
     ¼ cup Pineapple juice
     3 teaspoon Molasses
     2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
     2 teaspoon Olive oil
     1 teaspoon Lemon juice
     1 teaspoon Salt

Mix all ingredients and simmer on stove until sauce thickens.

Backyard Tips

Don't place meats directly from the refrigerator onto the smoker.  Allowing meat to warm up on a kitchen counter (always keep the meat covered) will not only reduce the cooking time, but also result in a finished product that is more tender.  I'm not talking about leaving the meat out for hours upon hours, but enough time to knock the chill off the meat.  I also don't recommend this with chicken.  Chicken should go from refrigerator to smoker to avoid any problems with bacteria.

You don't have to start from scratch to develop your very own "signature barbeque sauce".  There are a lot of good sauces that can be used as a base for your sauce.  One that I currently use at home is Cattlemen's Classic Barbecue Sauce.  Take the base sauce and then use your imagination and taste bud's to arrive at your own special sauce.  Some of the things you can add to a base sauce are honey, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, red pepper, hot sauce, beer, bourbon, cola, etc.  Just remember to write down measurements and the ingredients you use so that you can duplicate the sauce.  Working on a sauce recipe like this can be a lot of fun!  Just make sure you have plenty of refrigerator space for all of the new sauces you create.

Stop using cheap basting brushes that can leave bristles on your barbeque.  I didn't like the idea of using silicone basting brushes, I had always used bristle brushes.  But Laura bought me a bunch of silicone brushes and after using them I'll never use a bristle brush again.  These brushes cleanup so much easier than bristle brushes.  And they won't rust like the ferrule does on a bristle brush.  Do yourself a favor and try them.

Competition Tips

Wash and pretrim meats at home if it is allowable in the contest rules.  We cook spareribs and cut them St. Louis style.  This is much easier if done at home under controlled sanitary conditions.  Anything you can do at home gives you more free time to enjoy fellowshipping with other competitors.

It's hard to see all three slabs of ribs that are cry vacuumed together when purchasing at a store.  If I buy six slabs, usually two or three slabs may not be good enough for competition.  So try buying more slabs than you normally cook at a contest.  I cook six slabs so I will buy twelve slabs and hand pick the best slabs when I pretrim the ribs at home.  The same idea can be applied to chicken.  I cook 20 chicken thighs at a contest, but I buy 40 thighs and hand pick the best.  I feel it is much easier to finish with a great piece of meat, if you start with a great piece of meat.

Put together any rubs or sauces at home before a contest.  Again this gives you more time to enjoy the competition and you don't have to carry all of those ingredients.  Remember whatever you take to a contest, you then have to pack it back up and unpack it when you get home.  Plus, making your sauce ahead gives time for all the ingredients flavor to blend together.

Happy Barbecuing!
Bill Anderson
Author of Competition BBQ Secrets

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