April 2002 Old Fashioned Southern BBQ Southern Potato Pancakes Steak Au Jus Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! As I sit here this late winter morning (March 11) writing April’s column, the hillside next to my house is full of wild birds. They’re either searching for insects and worms or enjoying the bird feed I put out for them every day. While observing them this morning I was struck by the fact that you can compare different species to particular Bluegrass musicians. For example, the Red Headed Woodpecker, pecking on the oak tree there would obviously be the bass player. The little Junco with its quick movements would be the mandolin player. Then the bright and flashy Oriole could only be the fiddle player! The methodical, quick paced Robin certainly is the rhythm guitar player. That leaves the Jaybird, who is loud, raucous and will eat anything, to be the banjo picker! Then, off to one side, is a flock of Doves which is obviously the audience. The vocalist you ask? Why the Lark, of course! Yeah, yeah, I can hear some of you now saying, "J.D’s been on that mountain by himself too long!" Maybe so, but a mountain man I am, and will be until I die. Here’s a cute little poem about another bird that I copied off of the menu at Prince’s Restaurant in Pioneer, California. The Hen Alas my child, where is the pen That can do justice to the Hen? Like royalty she goes her way Laying foundations every day. Though not for public buildings Yet for Custard, Cake and Omelet. No wonder child we prize the hen, Whose egg is mightier than the pen! I’ve always enjoyed this poem and thought that you folks might like it too. Well, a Cooper’s hawk just made a lightening fast swoop past the window and the entire assemblage of "Bluegrass Birds" flew off to the safety of the forest in a panic, not wanting to be Mr. Hawk’s breakfast! Well, it’s a sunny morning here on the mountain, so come on into the kitchen and grab a chair in the sunny spot while I pour us a big cup of hot Cowboy Coffee, and we’ll swap some good vittle fixin’s. In my August 2001 column, I recounted how they fix Barbecue down south in Virginia. It’s totally different from the Western style. They cook the meat, chop it up, mix the sauce with the meat, and then serve it in bread or a bun, as a sandwich. As a young boy, I remember my mother used to fix barbecued beef that way, but soon got used to the western style of barbecuing meat. She said it was easier and faster and if there was one thing my mom liked it was anything that made the daily cooking chores easier! However, during a recent conversation with one of my aunts, lo and behold, she told me she had a recipe for the old fashioned southern style of barbecue that she got from my mom back in the 1940’s, when she and my uncle first got married. Wow! I also got her recipe for potato pancakes too. So, without further ado, let’s whip up a big mess of real old-fashioned Southern Barbecue. Old Fashioned Southern Barbecue 1/3 cup shortening 2 lbs. Diced lean beef 1 cup diced celery 1 cup diced onion 2 TBSP vinegar 1 TBSP lemon juice 2 TBSP brown sugar 1 TBSP salt 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce 1-cup ketchup 1 bouillon cube dissolved in one cup boiling water Melt shortening in a heavy skillet. Brown the meat, onions and celery. Stir in everything else. Cover and cook on low heat or in a 325º oven until meat is tender (1 to 1½ hours). Serve on toasted buns. Just smelling a big skillet full of this cooking nice and slow will give you a huge case of the slobbers! This dish sure brings back memories of my youth. Now to do this the right way you have to serve big dill pickles with it. Southern barbecue just ain’t complete without dill pickles. If you don’t believe me, just ask my ol’ pickin’ buddy John Murphy. That Carolina boy is a Southern barbecue expert! Now for some good ol’ Arkansas Potato Pancakes. A couple of months ago I featured one of my favorite potato pancake recipes here in the column. However, these feature some different ingredients and have a slightly different flavor, but boy are they yummy! A big stack of these, along with some scrambled eggs and sourdough biscuits hot from the oven, and you have a breakfast that even ol’ King Solomon never had! Southern Potato Pancakes 6 large potatoes, grated 1 large onion, grated 3 eggs, beaten 2 tsp. sugar 1 TBSP flour 1 TBSP fine cracker crumbs 1 tsp. salt Pepper to taste Place grated potatoes in a couple layers of cheesecloth and squeeze out all excess water. Mix everything together well. Drop by large spoons full into hot oil and flatten cakes. Brown well on both sides. I can eat these for any meal, any time of the day. They’re especially good with cream gravy slathered all over ‘em! I get the slobbers just writing about them. (Guess what I’m having for supper?) This next recipe is one that I’ve been cooking for about 50 years. What I like about this one is that it’s not only easy to fix but it comes out great every time. It’s literally fool proof, and makes enough sauce for yer taters too! Steak Au Jus 1 1/2 lbs. Round steak, 3/4” thick 1 tsp. salt 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. pepper 3 TBSP olive oil 3 onions, sliced 3/4-cup hot water Chopped fresh parsley Cut steak into portion size. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; dredge in flour. Pound to 1/2 inch thick with tenderizing mallet. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Brown the meat on both sides. Reduce heat, place onions over meat and add hot water. Cover tightly and cook in a 300º oven for 30-45 minutes. Serve with pan juices. Zowie! I’d be hard pressed to put a number on the times that I’ve cooked this dish in hunting camps or for family and friends. Whether you cook it in a Dutch Oven over a wood fire or in your oven at home, it comes out great every time. Sometimes I’ll throw a big hunk of butter in the pan juices, stir in some flour that I mixed in a bowl with a little hot water and make some of the most wonderful gravy that’ll make yer tongue slap yer brains out when you’re eating it! Well, I am definitely ready for some good, warm spring weather so I can fire up my outdoor barbecue and cook up some good barbecued meat! I hope you folks enjoy this spring as much as I am. Get outside and start cookin’ the way God intended for us to. Namely over a good wood fire. That’s it for the April edition of the ol’ Bluegrass Kitchen. Meet me by the cook fire here next month and we’ll palaver over some more good vittles. May God grant you all peace and health and God Bless America! Yer friend, J.D. Rhynes Click to all columns.

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