Posts Tagged With: bbq

What The Heck Is Liquid Smoke????

Liquid Smoke

Liquid Smoke - Schmmokin'!

You’ve probably seen me now rattling on endlessly about the marvel that is Liquid Smoke, but do you have the slightest clue what it is? No, neither do most people I talk to about it INCLUDING one of my best friends in America where the flipping stuff is from!!!

Basically, if you love the smooth smoky flavours that only a log burning BBQ can offer you but you don’t have the time, equipment or indeed the inclination to cook using this method – you need this stuff…

It is essentially smoked wood in a bottle. You’ve probably already tasted it, ever had cured smoky bacon or processed hot dogs? Then you’ve probably already had Liquid Smoke without even knowing it.

So here’s the science bit… A substance produced from smoke passed through water, Liquid Smoke consists of smoke which is produced through the controlled burning of wood chips or sawdust (usually hickory), which is then condensed into solids or liquids and dissolved in water. This method is called destructive distillation and the solution produced can be then be modified to develop a wide range of smoke flavours.

Many chefs and cooks don’t advocate the use of Liquid Smoke, but I treat it just like any other herb or spice in the kitchen.  Overused it can be horrible, but used with care, it can produce some of the best flavours you will ever taste! I use it in pulled pork, rubs, pasta dishes, burgers, meatloaf, soups, sauces and more… it’s great in baked beans and it really is my best friend in the kitchen.

You can buy Liquid Smoke mostly online, I haven’t yet found it in supermarkets in the UK, but I do know that it is widely available in the US, you can import it or buy on a marketplace such as eBay, though be careful, you could end up paying more than if you visited a UK supplier such as Hot Headz.  This is the brand of choice for me, followed by Stubbs because they are the easiest to find in the UK, but when I visit Boston this summer I will be testing out a few other varieties!

Check out these sites for decent Liquid Smoke, I do prefer Hot Headz for a couple of reasons though,

1. it is additive and preservative free and

2. it has a handy little dropper in the neck of the bottle so you can’t overdo it!

Happy pretend smokin’!

Categories: Herbs & Spices, Quick post! | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Honey Jack BBQ Sauce

Honey Jack BBQ Sauce

Honey Jack BBQ Sauce - perfect with pork or chicken!

This Honey Jack BBQ Sauce is a gorgeous addition to any pork based BBQ meal, and it is SO easy to make and it keeps well in the fridge in a lidded jar or bottle or an airtight container for about a week. You can use it as a dip or a topping – I like to warm it in the microwave for a few seconds before pouring it over pulled pork or chops and you can also add it to chicken breasts as you griddle them in a pan for a delicious and quick BBQ chicken meal.

You can make your own BBQ sauce base, but I prefer to  use Paul Newman’s Hickory BBQ Sauce, and YES! It IS ok to cheat a little here and there in the kitchen, I don’t usually make my own pastry either!  There are some great brands of sauce out there available both online and in supermarkets, I would avoid using BBQ ketchup though, this isn’t the same as BBQ marinade sauce, you’ll find the right stuff in the aisle with the other marinades in the supermarket. Nandos do a good one too, but it has a bit of a hot kick to it which I prefer not to have. I also avoid using supermarket own brands as they tend to be very vinegary.

Try and get Jack Daniels for the bourbon part of the sauce, it really is superior as far as bourbon goes, Canadian Club is ok as is Jim Beam, but neither really holds a candle to old Jack, if you don’t want to invest in a big bottle (for further use… ahem I have no idea what you mean, one for the sauce, one for me…) then get a small bottle or even a couple of those little aeroplane sized bottles!

Anyway, this is ridiculously easy to make and just as easy and versatile to use so here goes.


  • 1 bottle good BBQ marinade sauce (I use Paul Newman’s Hickory, but you can use any as long as it is good, or you can make your own!)
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 50ml fresh pineapple juice
  • A good dash of Jack Daniels 50ml at least (or any other brand of bourbon is ok if you don’t have Jack)


  1. Into a small saucepan, pour 3/4 of the bottle of BBQ sauce, add the honey, pineapple juice and the Jack Daniels and mix thoroughly.
  2. Bring the sauce to the boil over a medium heat for about 5 minutes then remove from the heat and serve however you need it.

Categories: American Dishes, Dishes of the World, Sauces & Gravies | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Honey Jack BBQ Pulled Pork

Honey Jack BBQ Pulled Pork

Honey Jack BBQ Pulled Pork with a warm cheese baked roll and a side of sauce

Oh, Pulled Pork… you must surely be my only vice… well you and the several other vices that I have.

Whenever we have friends over for dinner and I ask them in advance what they would like to eat, they tell me 8 times out of 10 Pulled Pork. I serve it as part of a bigger spread, with sweetcorn, my Oven Baked Mixed Potato Fries, Homemade ‘Slaw and lashings and lashings of my Honey Jack BBQ Sauce

The thing about Pulled Pork is this, people don’t like to attempt it because they think it is too arduous a task and too tricky a recipe. well that is utter pants I tell you, Pulled Pork is one of the easiest and most delicious meals out there, sure, it’s a bit of a hike as far as the cooking time goes but it’s not that big of a deal, it takes care of itself, really it does!

The other thing about Pulled Pork is this you do NOT need a smoker to cook it in, I have always cooked mine using my slow cooker (although I would love a smoker) where it takes care of itself and I can merrily go about my day.

So in this recipe here, I will show you how to make the Pork itself, I will show you the side dishes too, but not here…

There are 3 parts to cooking a good Pulled Pork and they are as follows:

  1. The rub and overnight marinade
  2. The first cook
  3. The second cook and cut

You begin by making a rub, which can either be dry or wet, my particular rub is wet. This sits on the pork overnight and when in the cooker, helps to give it a bit of a crust. Then you have the first cook, where the pork sits in the slow cooker on low for at LEAST 6 hours (the longer the better really). Finally you have the second cook followed by the cut, where you add your BBQ sauce and cook for another few hours before removing the pork form the pot, getting rid of the fat and shredding it for serving.

Pulled Pork Rub Ingredients

So first, the rub. There are a TON of recipes for rubs on the Internet, hot and spicy, sweet and mellow, and I tried and tested many of them before making up my own, which I will show you now along with the method and how to get the pork ready for the next morning and the cooking pot!


  • 1 pork shoulder (big enough to fit snugly in your slow cooker)
  • 1/4 cup soft brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon unrefined sea salt (any will do if you can’t find unrefined)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon english mustard powder
  • 1/3 cup Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce


  1. In a small mixing bowl, put all of your dry ingredients together, followed by the wet. Mis it all together to make a stodgy, gross looking mixture, it smells so strong and you may be tempted to taste it, but trust me, you don’t want to do that just yet, better save it for later…
  2. Unwrap the pork shoulder – you can leave the butcher string on the joint, otherwise it will fall apart before you even cook it and you don’t want that, better to remove it when shredding it later on.
  3. Take a sharp knife and make deep cuts all over the fat on the pork joint. Then, rolling up the old sleeves, grab handfuls of the rub and smear it all over the pork shoulder, on the top, in the sides, across the bottom, in any little crevices you find… everywhere.
  4. Next, take some cling film and wrap the pork up snugly for the night. Don’t be stingy, its going to bed in the fridge, would you like it if you weren’t wrapped up warmly? Wrap the pork in double amounts of cling film, followed by a couple of layers of kitchen foil.
  5. Then, put it inside a larger mixing bowl and pop it in the fridge overnight.
  6. That’s it for now, off to bed you go, see you about 8am for the next step!

Ok then, it’s the next morning and you’re up nice and early, grab yourself a coffee and turn your slow cooker onto LOW.  What we’re going to do now is get the first cook going.


  • The marinated pork shoulder
  • 100-150ml of liquid, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, ginger ale or water all work


  1. So, take the marinated pork parcel out of the fridge and unwrap it carefully, trying not to lose too much of the juicy marinade from the edges in the process.
  2. Add about an inch of liquid to the bottom of the slow cooker, this will stop the pork form gluing itself to the bottom later on which is going to make your life a lot easier than you might think! You can add ANYTHING, some good suggestions are Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, ginger ale and good old fashioned water. The acids break down in the pot and make the meat juicy and sweet.
  3. Pop the pork snugly into the cooker, pop the lid on and head off to work or whatever it is you are planning on doing until about 5-6pm. A quick note here, yes, I have said to run the first cook through from 8am till 5-6pm BUT it doesn’t matter if you are unable to do this, if you get home at 7 or 8 even it will be fine because to be honest, the longer this baby cooks, the better it will taste.

Right, onto the final stage now, it should be late in the afternoon and you have just arrived home, good day at work dear? Here is the method for the last part of the cook and the recipe for the gorgeous tangy sweet Honey Jack BBQ Sauce that will follow the pork all the way from this part of the cook to the table and your mouth!


  • The slow cooked pork shoulder
  • 1 bottle good BBQ marinade sauce (I use Paul Newman’s Hickory, but you can use any as long as it is good, or you can even make your own!)
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 50ml fresh pineapple juice
  • A good dash of Jack Daniels (or any bourbon if you don’t have Jack)


Remove the pork shoulder from the slow cooker and place it on a chopping board.

Discard the liquid from the bottom of the slow cooker pot, this is mostly fat and juices from the meat and the now boiled liquid from before. You can keep a little to add to your sauce if you wish, but I don’t bother as a rule.

On the chopping board, remove the butcher string from the pork and cut off the thick layer of fat from the top of the shoulder. Then place it back in the slow cooker.

Into a small mixing bowl, pour 3/4 of the bottle of BBQ sauce, add the honey, pineapple juice and the Jack Daniels and mix thoroughly.

Pour the mixed sauce over the meat in the pot and replace the lid.

Leave to simmer in the pot for another 15-30 mins while you get the other sides ready to serve.

When you are ready, remove the pork from the pot again, leaving the sauce in the pot. Place on a chopping board and begin to pull the joint apart with a couple of forks and a sharp knife for those big chunky strips.  Place all of the pork you have shredded onto your serving platter.

Over a small bowl, sieve the sauce that is left in the pot, then pour that into a jug. You can either pour the sauce over the meat now before serving or you can put it on the table for those who don’t want a lot to choose how much sauce they use (my preference, you don’t want to force it on people!).

Slice up some nice warm cheese topped subs or rolls and serve up the pork, delicious in the rolls topped with the BBQ sauce and a large spoon of my Homemade ‘Slaw.

Categories: American Dishes, Dishes of the World, Meat Dishes, Pork Dishes | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Oven Baked Mixed Potato Fries

Mixed Potato Fries

Mixed Potato Fries, perfect with BBQ!

We threw out our chip pan years ago, it was doing us no good at all and one day we went to a restaurant in Caernarfon called the Black Buoy where they serve the most amazing tasting chips. I spent ages trying to figure out what it was that made them taste so good until I realised that it wasn’t the potato or the way it was cooked, but rather the OIL it was cooked IN.  Turns out that frying chips in rapeseed oil is not only better for you health-wise but it makes them taste amazing too and I recommend that you try it immediately!

Of course, deep frying in rapeseed oil is a pretty costly way to cook chips, so, I came up with a great, simple way to make great tasting chips that have a lovely flavour and go well with almost anything! I don’t fry my chips, I bake them in the oven!

The thing about my fries is that I don’t just use white potato, I also use sweet potato, the two combined make for a great taste experience and together with the olive oil and my special seasoning are a great overall side dish for any BBQ, I always make them with my Honey Jack BBQ Pulled Pork as well as my Lime and Coriander Peri Peri Chicken and they go really well with a side of Homemade ‘Slaw.

This recipe makes enough for 2-3 people but if you want to feed more then simply make more! Also, if you like a heat kick, pop 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper into the seasoning mix. Avoid using fresh garlic over the garlic powder as fresh garlic (though it may well sound more appealing) actually burns in this hot of an oven and tastes bitter and horrible whereas the powder survives the heat and tastes great.



  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about the size of both of your fists together)
  • 2 large white potatoes (Maris Piper are my preference, again, the size of two fists)


  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons rapeseed oil


  1. Begin by preheating your oven to a massively hot 230C/210C Fan/Gas Mark 8.
  2. Wash your potatoes and peel them if you wish (I don’t bother, the skins add flavour and texture and they contain most of the nutritional value of the potato), then cut the edges of of them until they resemble a rough square or rectangular block.  If you don’t do this then you will end up with horrible skinny brunt edge fries which do not taste good!
  3. Slice the blocks of potato into fries that are just over 1.5cm in thickness, then pop them in a colander and drain them for a few minutes.
  4. While the fries are drying off a little after rinsing, mix your spices together in a bowl, you can experiment with your spices by all means, but I love this particular mix, the five spice really does something special to the sweet potatoes in particular!
  5. Spread your fries over a couple of large baking trays or roasting tines, don’t crowd them or overlap them, if you do this you will end up with soggy fries, they need room to breath in the oven so if you on’y have 1 tray or tin, do the fries in 2 batches.
  6. Sprinkle the seasoning and oil over the fries then pop them into the oven for 15 minutes.
  7. After 15 minutes, take the trays out of the oven and give them a shake, loosen the fries from the bottom of the tray and turn them over with a fish slice. Then pop them in the oven once again for a further 15 minutes.
  8. When the buzzer goes, take the fries out of the oven, place them on some kitchen towel for a few moments to get rid of any excess oil (of which there should be none really if you have done everything correctly), then mix them together in a serving bowl and serve with a nice dip or sauce.
Categories: Hot Sides, Side Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mushroom & Chorizo Stuffed Pan Fried Pork Chops

Chorizo & Mushroom Stuffed Pan Fried Pork Chops shown here with Honey Glazed Carrots and Mixed Potato Mash

I love pork, I think that I must seriously cook with pork more than just about any other meat, it’s cheap, versatile and goes down a treat if cooked correctly… and no, it is NEVER, EVER plain, dry OR boring in my house!

So, with the humble piggy in mind, it is with great delight, that I bring to you, my first ever blogged recipe… Mushroom and Chorizo pan friend pork chops… yum… I’m trying not to drool on the keyboard here, perhaps blogging about food wasn’t a great idea in hindsight.

These chops are delicious served with Honey Glazed Roasted Carrots and Mixed Potato Mash or my Roasted Seed Root Vegetables (all of which you will find recipes for on this blog under ‘Side Dishes’), when cooked correctly, the oils from the chorizo melt into the chops and just add to the flavour… delicious! You can fry them in a plain old frying pan, but they really do get that lovely charred flavour if cooked on a cast iron griddle so it is worth investing if you haven’t already got one. You could also BBQ them if you like… but be careful of those juices on an open flame!

Now there are a few ingredients here that you may not recognise, and that is perfectly fine, but do not be afraid!!! Many supermarkets are now selling a fantastic range of specialist ingredients and failing that, you can often get great deals on herbs and spices on eBay and Amazon, and often for less money! I will be covering a lot of these ingredients such as liquid smoke and sweet smoked paprika in my Tips area so don’t panic…

This recipe will serve 2, but for 4 people you just double it, or for 6 treble it and so on…


  • 2 thick cut pork chops (thicker the better)
  • 50g chopped sweet smoked chorizo (if you like a kick go for spicy instead)
  • 50g chopped chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic – finely chopped
  • Pinch of Gyros-Souvlaki herb mix (Recipe and info here: Gyros-Souvlaki Herb Mix)
  • Pinch of sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp of liquid smoke
  • Olive oil for frying


  1. Begin to prepare your chops by cutting off any thick pieces of fat from the edges and removing the bone if you wish (not necessary, but it saves hassle on the dinner plate!).
  2. Take a very sharp knife (and be careful, this isn’t a recipe for finger stuffed pork chops) and cut a pocket into the side of the main flesh of the pork, you don’t want to cut the chop in half, just make a slit and then poke about in there with your knife to make it a little wider.
  3. Put your chops to one side or in the fridge and grab a frying pan in order to prepare the stuffing. Add a glug of olive oil (or if you want to be luxurious, butter) to the pan and thrown in the liquid smoke, garlic, chorizo and mushrooms. The mushrooms are like a sponge and will soak up a lot of the lovely savoury sweet smokey flavour that will ooze out of the chorizo turning everything red in the process – it’s awesome. Fry for a couple of minutes until everything is nice and soft. If you like you could throw in a small amount of diced pepper or some chilli if you like things hot…
  4. Let the stuffing cool down so it is ok to handle and sit down with a brew for 5-10 mins.
  5. Head back to the kitchen, pop a glug of olive oil into a cast iron griddle (or a frying pan if you don’t have one) and put it on the stove on a medium high heat.
  6. Grab your chops and taking half the stuffing mixture (so half per chop if you are using 2 chops), gently open the slit in the meat and stuff the cooked chorizo and mushroom mixture inside taking care not to tear the meat in any way.
  7. When the chop is suitably stuffed, take a pinch of Gyros-Souvlaki herbs and a pinch of smoked paprika and gently rub it into the top of a chop. Then, making sure you don’t burn your fingers or lose the stuffing from the side of the chop, place each chop into the griddle herb side DOWN. Then, when they begin cooking you simply take another pinch of herbs and paprika and rub it on the upturned sides of the chops.
  8. Fry the chops on the heat for about 5-8 minutes either side or until they are a nice golden brown colour with a spot of charring for flavour from the griddle.
  9. Serve on a bed of my Mixed Potato Mash, surrounded by Honey Glazed Carrots either dry or with a nice mushroom gravy or sauce. If cooking on the BBQ, perhaps one of my Crisp Baked Potatoes with a nice salad accompaniment or some of my simple Homemade ‘Slaw (yes, I’ll give you the recipes, geesh, what do you think this is? A cooking blog?)…
Categories: Meat Dishes, Pork Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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