Menu ideas?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by chef k-dude, Aug 27, 2016.

  1. Planning on doing a couple racks of back ribs for a small gathering in a week.

    I'm thinking mac and cheese, maybe potato salad...pasta salad...having a hard time deciding on the thousand combinations I could do.

    I want to do a second meat too. Doesn't have to be smoked but the smoker will be

    So this goes out to the forum.

    What are you feelin'?
  2. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Tri tip!
  3. thedigitale

    thedigitale Fire Starter

    I usually do chicken with ribs just because the cook time isn't as long as a pork butt or brisket. If you want to go outside of just meat, make a couple of fatties. As far as sides, I like doing collard greens, or making baked beans from scratch and tossing them on the smoker for that smoky molasses flavor that you can only get from homemade. 
  4. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Spare Ribs, Mac & Chz and Collard Greens, always a favorite combo...JJ
  5. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    From another post of mine on the same subject: 

    Along with the ribs..

    Corn bread.. Ain't nothin' wrong that.. Make it with diced green chili or minced up Trappys hot peppers (that'll make some brows sweat) or some Ro*Tel diced tomatoes-well drained.   Twice baked ( or once baked once smoked) potatoes are good as they have endless options for ingredients. Deviled "Scottish" egg mini fatty. Make deviled eggs, re-assemble them, wrap in thin layer of chorizo if you like, then a thin layer of HOT Jimmy Dean sausage, then a bacon weave and smoke.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
  6. Oh man, I knew I would get some great ideas. There are a gazillion ways to go, but sometimes certain things won’t come to mind until someone else says them.[​IMG]


    Beef is an excellent idea. For a couple of reasons.

    One, my dad is one of the folks who will be here and he does not care for chicken. Yep, weird I know, but he had to slaughter so many of them as a child, he got his life dose by the age of 18. Sad, because I cant imagine life without chicken…or most other meats actually…

    Two, I think I have a couple small chuck roasts that need to be dealt with in my freezer…and man do I need to free up some freezer space…hunting season starts soon.

    Tri-Tip is one I have never seen here in Virginia but I usually shop the deals. Maybe it just never goes on sale. You have gotten my interest though, and I will be on a mission to find it now.

    I have become a big fan of Better Than Bouillon. I’m not pushing the stuff, but I contacted them about trying to find certain versions of their products. Turns out, you are lucky to find a lot of their stuff in any one place. So they were really cool when I finally got someone on the phone and email, and they sent me full size samples of several of their products. One of them is really impressive, its an Au Jus base, and let me tell you, for a concentrated base/bouillon, it tastes just like the stuff you get with a beef dip sandwich at a great restaurant. It has changed my beef world. I can’t find it around here, so I’ll have to order it when I run out.


    I would, and did automatically start thinking “bird” to balance the pork, but as I wrote above, I then remembered my dad was coming. It’s bad enough I’ll be making a chicken wing feast for lunch because my mom reminded me I haven’t made her the wings I am always bragging about. Still trying to figure out what I’ll deep fry for dad as a wing substitute variation…maybe a pork loin cutlet…but then its pork on pork all day!

    Now, the fatty? That is something I had forgotten that I wanted to make after seeing them for the first time here on SMF. I started to look around for what people are doing…then stopped and thought to ask you and everyone else since this is a suggestion thread: What’s your favorite Fatty recipe? I’m quite creative and have a lot of instinct to figure this stuff out, but hey, had I not asked, I wouldn’t have even thought about the fatty. Oh, also…that freezer? Got some chubs of custom slaughtered Angus ground getting long in the tooth that also need to be dealt with. Sounds like this will be a freezer cleaning feast! Got the bacon stashed in the freezer already too!

    Collards and beans? H.E. Double Hockey Sticks yea! A couple of grocery stores around here always have collards at a good price and I have some dry beans that also need to be dealt with! Perfect![​IMG]

    And really, I am not promoting the stuff, but Better Than Bouillon makes a ham base that has changed my “greens” world. I don’t even bother with ham hocks anymore.  Their chicken base was also voted best above all better branded chicken broths by Americas Test Kitchen. I’ve stopped buying chicken broth and just use that stuff if I’m out of homemade. I swear I’m just sharing this as a home cook to other “smokers/chefs” on here, I am not representing, but can’t speak highly enough of the stuff. NOT[​IMG], just a good product line.


    Yep, I think the Mac-N-Cheese needs to happen. And again, I have most of the ingredients already!


    You know, all my peeps who will be here would really appreciate the cornbread. I’m not a big fan of cornbread for some reason. I can eat it but I prefer white yeast breads or flat breads. When I do make corn bread I usually step all over it like you said…even with cheese along with the peppers or rotel. I might even do a cast iron stovetop version on my garage 6 burner range since my portable outdoor oven will be occupied with the mac-n-cheese and probably a baked dessert for my mom’s B-Day. And everyone loves cornbread with greens.[​IMG]

    The potatoes are an excellent option. I found a recipe for “Crash Hot” potatoes by Rhee Drummond I have been using for years now…oh, man…you talk about good. Twice baked is real good, but crash hot is a brand new bag. Adding some smoke would be real tasty.  I could see kissing them with smoke by putting the pan of “crashed” potatoes in the smoker for even just a few minutes before finishing in an ultra-hot oven.

    And just like the fatty, I’ve been wanting to do scotch eggs. My wife makes a great deviled egg and I don’t know why I can’t make them as good…I guess some things just taste better when someone else makes them! I stand there and taste test for her while she makes them…it’s not like I don’t see what goes in them!…I don’t get it. Making a Scotch egg using deviled egg makes my knees buckle thinking about it. Plus, I keep 2 deep fryers staged in my garage I am always looking for excuses to use! What a great way to use leftover deviled eggs…besides stuffing them directly in to my pie hole of course…[​IMG]

    Great feedback all! Time to start meat thawing strategy and get a head of this menu.[​IMG]
  7. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Can't go wrong with some ABT's ! As an app or a side, we always like em !
  8. I had to look that up! Shows I'm still wet behind the ears here...

    Smoked Jalapeno Poppers are something I also want to, and haven't done yet. I've made tons of baked and fried versions when my plants are off the hook producing, and lost my mojo because they were so much work to make. I just read a thread on here though that has the bacon just laid on top, I like that idea. In the past I have always breaded my ABT's, but the idea of them naked, stuffed and paired with bacon is getting me interested again. A local grocery store sells them already made and I have tried them just baked and they are delicious! The bacon is so much easier than breading which is the most aggravating part of standard poppers.

    Is the max temp of an MES at 275 enough to get the bacon cooked while not cooking the pepper to oblivion?
  9. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    That's a staple in the grilling / smoking scene. I can't imagine you didn't know about them.. 

    What have you decided on?
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016
  10. 3montes

    3montes Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been doing a cheesy cream corn with bacon side dish thats been a hit. Just a corn bake but I have adapted it to the smoker. Just google and you will get ton for it and you can go from there but it will be in my rotation from now on.
  11. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    The BTB Bases are restaurant quality and I keep an assortment on hand. Try putting a teaspoon or so of Chicken Base in mashed potatoes instead of Salt. Adds a TON of flavor but does not scream chicken if you are having the potatoes with some other meat. The Turkey Base is similar with a more Roasted flavor. The Veg Base is great in tomato sauces and with sauteed vegetables...JJ
  12. I didn't know "Atomic Buffalo Turds". I've seen a bunch of folks doing smoke jalapeno poppers...I just didn't know ABT as a nickname.

    I am seriously leaning fatty for the second meat.

    Still working on sides decision. I might make just about all of the suggestions! I have to pare down though...I always put too much on my schedule. I'm thinking the greens and cornbread plus mac and cheese...maybe even beans...I've got a week to work on it and beans are always better once they have sit in the fridge for a couple days.

    This is starting to need some acid I think. Maybe a cucumber tomato salad or just make it easy and put out some of my pickled vegetables I already have. Some call it Giardinera, but mine is not the Chicago version in oil, mine is vinegar based, a real pickle.

    Good news is I have a week. So I’m still open to ideas. I’ll be referring back to these suggestions for future stuff too!

    3montes and dirtsailor,

    Corn is always a good idea!

    I did some mexi street corn here: and I just discovered I never put up my smoked corn on the cob Q-View. I have it all edited, just never posted it. I have been really busy and haven’t had time to chill like this in a while

    Here's a pic of the final product all dressed up. I'll get that Q-View up here at some point

    JJ...great ideas on the BTB bases. I never thought of the veg base in a tomato sauce. Brilliant! That and the mushroom base are the two I'm not a huge fan of but had no problem using them up when I had them.

    So...anyone have a fave fatty? Sure you do! And what about adding a sauce? Wonder what would be most appropriate? I dont want to just do BBQ sauce like I'll have on the ribs...I want something "different"

    I'll be sure to come back with results after next weekend. Getting many pics may be hard since I'm feeding a full table so I'll be pretty busy. I'll do what I can and try not to drink too much!
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2016
  13. stickyfingers

    stickyfingers Smoking Fanatic

    Andouille sausage is always a hit at my house with ribs.... glaze with a little BBQ sauce at the end.
  14. I love me some Andouille. Mmmm...its almost gumbo season. Need to place me an order. Hard to get the real thing in Virginia...craving some Don's Boudin now too. You can only get the good stuff in Louisiana...although I do have my boudin recipe tweaked better than any imitator I've tasted.

    Thanks Sticky, I wont be able to get that out of my mind now...
  15. Alright folks, the menu is getting tightened up, but before I get in to it, I want to ask again:

    Any ides for a sauce for the Fatty? (This is called a Roulade in general cooking, I cant wait to make the ground meat version, I've done it with many other meats)

    What I have done is made a beef sausage...sort of a Romanian take but I stepped all over it with a myriad of spices and herbs. I taste tested it and its pretty good. I used a little Prague powder/Cure #1 in correct proportions as well as some baking soda, a trick I keep finding buried deep in cooking info; and its been curing in the fridge for a couple days. I'm going to flatten it of course, and I have already sweated/sauteed some onions, garlic and some of my semi-spicy garden peppers and plan to use sliced Muenster as my cheese. And of course a bacon weave exterior.

    I don't want to use the same sauce as my ribs which is a modified Sweet Baby Rays stepped on with cider vinegar and Texas Pete. A sauce that keeps me from even thinking of making scratch homemade...of this type...I make lots of other types.

    I was thinking just an au jus that would just add a little moisture and not blow out the flavor too much?

    Here's how the menu is shaping up. A couple more people coming now, so getting heavy on the food to be sure everyone is fat and happy.

    Starting around noon and rolling out:

    -Misc. snack bowls...pretzels, chex mix, goldfish

    -Cheese and cured meats platter with crackers and pickles.

    -Mexican Style layered dip with tortilla chips

    -Hand made Guacamole if the avocados are ripe (separate served cause some people are strange and don't like guac)

    -Deep fried chicken wings to order with a wet or dry buffalo coating and maybe an Asian version too

    -Steamed shrimp with cocktail sauce, and deep fried shrimp with House Autry's to order

    Smoker starting up after noon with:

    -Back ribs

    -Fatty (Beef with bacon)

    Others rolling out by 6pm with the smoked meats:

    -Shrimp cocktail carryover (It'll be in a cold serving platter all day keeping from spoilage

    -Shrimp to order. Can deep fry, grill, pan-fry/blacken

    -Any chicken wings still in the fridge deep fried to order

    -Mac and Cheese

    -Cold pasta salad

    -Potato salad

    -Corn bread (cast iron skillet baked in my outdoor oven started on outdoor cooktop)

    -Pot O beans. Already made them, they are Delicious and will get better in the fridge by Saturday (small red beans)

    -Corn on the Cob

    -Collard Greens

    -Cucumber salad

    -Pickled vegetables/Giardiniera (already in the fridge home made. NOT the Chicago oily sandwich topping)

    Wife is still working on the dessert menu. It's my moms birthday, so something has to hold a candle!

    Still some tweaking and a lot of prep. But its coming together.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  16. Thanks for all the interest and suggestions everyone.

    Since I didn’t get any response asking for sauce ideas for the fatty, I went with a chimichurri. It worked well with the flavors I built in to the fatty. A lot of the base recipes and stuff I found on Fatties were using breakfast sausage...that sounds great for breakfast…but not alongside a full county style meal like I was trying to do.

    So…the menu. I bailed on the Mac N Cheese. I had way too much on my plate and everyone was like, “good grief man, relax bro!”…there was plenty of food, I was feeding everyone all day anyway, including deep dried chicken wings and shrimp. I don’t just smoke food, I pretty much do it all at my house.

    Also, I totally forgot to make the cucumber salad until the last minute, so I bailed on that too. I had it on my printed menu, I just flaked.

    We all had a great visit with my kids, parents and grandson.

    Here are the ribs…I almost forgot to take a pic at this point but got in there before too many people had taken some. I would call these “competition texture” because they were done, but you had to bite in to the meat and then it readily released from the bone. Seems like thats what judges are usually looking for. Me? I prefer them falling off the bone, so these we a bit “under” for me.

    Everybody loved them and I served with a sweet and a spicy choice of a plating sauce.

    Here’s the beans, collards, grilled corn and the fatty all cut up. I broke out the Bain-marie setups for serving these. It really helped me get ahead of the beans and greens since they can hold hot for a while without getting too overdone.

    Of course we did have the pasta and potato salad and I made a skillet corn bread in my portable oven everyone seemed to like.

    I will do a Q-View on both the ribs and the Fatty at some point. Don’t have the time right now.

    I will actually be eating some of this for the first time tonight as leftovers. I don’t know about you other chefs and home cooks, but when I spend all day on my feet cooking and serving food to people…I’m not really that hungry at the end of the day for some reason…and not because I nibbled on it either!

    Once the final dinner spread was served, I turned the cleanup, the care packages for the kids to take home and other stuff over to the wife and the rest of the clan and sat down and began to drink some fine bourbon, and continued to do so for the rest of the night.

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