Wednesday, May 23, 2018

CAJUN CHICKEN FILET SANDWICHES

My husband and I were recently in North Carolina for a Sigma Chi reunion. There is a fried chicken chain of restaurants throughout the South called Bojangles. We had a piece of fried chicken, a biscuit, coleslaw, and of course sweet tea for an early dinner on our way back to the airport. The chicken was spicy and oh so delicious. I decided to make Cajun chicken filet sandwiches with my Cajun Seasoning.


2 boneless chicken breasts
1 egg beaten
¼ cup Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce
½ cup buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 T Cajun Seasoning (recipe below)
½ t cayenne pepper (optional)

Using a plastic cutting board, cut ends off of chicken breasts (save in a small baggie and freeze) and cut each breast in half crosswise. 
You will now have 4 chicken breasts.
Place chicken between plastic wrap and lightly pound to an even thickness.

Pour the beaten egg, hot sauce, and buttermilk in a gallon resealable baggie and place chicken breast in the bag. 
Seal, squeezing out most of the air, and gently swish back and forth to distribute sauce over chicken. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

In a shallow bowl, add the flour, Cajun Seasoning, and cayenne (if using). Stir to combine.
Remove chicken, one at a time, from the hot sauce mixture and dip in the flour mixture.
Place on a baking sheet while dipping the rest of the chicken.

Heat 2 inches of avocado oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. 
Test temperature of oil with a piece of flour that sizzles or put the end of a wooden spoon in the oil and it should bubble around it.

Fry chicken for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until dark golden brown. 
Transfer chicken to a clean paper towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in a 225 degree F oven while making the sandwiches.

Spread mayonnaise or Cajun Mayonnaise (regular mayo with a little Cajun Seasoning) on both sides of a hamburger bun.
Add a chicken breast, a slice of tomato, and a slice of lettuce. 

Cajun Seasoning
3 T smoked paprika
2 T sea salt
2 T garlic powder
2 T cayenne pepper
2 T onion powder
2 T dried thyme
2 T ground black pepper
1 T ground white pepper

Pour above ingredients in a jar fitted with a lid. Shake well and store in a cool dark place for up to one year.




Thursday, May 17, 2018

NORTH CAROLINA-STYLE PULLED PORK BBQ SANDWICHES

There are generally two types of barbecue in the state of North Carolina. The farther west you go, the sauce contains more ketchup. I prefer a 'middle of the state' sauce, which contain some ketchup. I also added a recipe for Eastern barbecue sauce, which has a vinegar base and no ketchup. Either way, there is nothing like a good North Carolina pulled pork BBQ sandwich. My recipe for Izetta's Southern Coleslaw is in the mext post.

Lee's Kitchen Tips:

Here is the difference between a pork butt/Boston butt and a pork shoulder/pork picnic.
The pork butt and Boston butt are the same cut of meat from the top portion of the ‘whole shoulder’ of the hog. It is sold boneless or bone-in.
The pork shoulder and pork picnic are the same cut of meat from the lower portion of the shoulder below the joint and above the shank or leg. It is sold boneless or bone-in. A pork shoulder is perfect for pulled pork that is cooked long and slow and is less expensive than a Boston butt.
If using a gas grill, you can place soaked wood chips in a packet or two of aluminum foil and poke holes in the top.



1 (5 to 6 lb) bone-in pork shoulder or Boston butt
3 T pork barbecue rub (of your choice)

Rub pork with barbecue rub and let sit in the refrigerator, covered, 12 to 24 hours.
Place about 4 cups hickory wood chips in water and soak for 12 to 24 hours.

Mopping Sauce
2 T avocado oil
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 T dark brown sugar

Place ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a couple of minutes and turn off.
When cool, pour into a squeeze bottle to drizzle over pork or just keep in the pan to spoon over pork.  
Place about 20 lit charcoals on each side of the bottom of the grill and place a disposable aluminum pan to spoon over pork.
Place a thermometer on the grill near the edge, if your grill doesn't have a built-in one.
Fold a paper towel into about a 3-inch square and dip into some vegetable oil.
With tongs, rub the oiled paper towel over the center of the grill where the pork will sit.

When temperature reaches 300 degrees F, place pork in the center directly on the grill, fat side up.
Close grill and grill for 1 hour. Open the lid and check to see that the temperature stays between 275 to 300 degrees F. 
Add a few coals at a time to maintain this temperature and a few pieces of soaked hickory. Do this every hour.
When pork internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F, drizzle or spoon on Mopping Sauce every 30 minutes.

Total cooking time should be 6 to 7 hours and the outside of the pork should have a nice dark bark.
Pork is done when internal temperature registers 190 degrees F.
Remove to a cutting board and allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes. Pull off large chunks and shred with gloved hands or two forks. 
Transfer to a shallow baking pan. Drizzle with some of the BBQ sauce, cover with aluminum foil and place in a 300 degree F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.
Serve on buns with extra sauce, coleslaw, and hot sauce on the side.

Middle of the State BBQ Sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 T dry mustard
1 T hot sauce
½ t onion powder
¾ cup ketchup
¼ dark brown sugar
2 T unsalted butter
2 t red pepper flakes
½ t sea salt 
½ t fine ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes.

Eastern North Carolina Vinegar Sauce
1 cup apple cider vinegar
¼ dark brown sugar
2 t hot sauce
2 t red pepper flakes
½ t sea salt 
½ t fine ground black pepper

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer 3 minutes.