I don’t know if good cooks are born, or made, or slowly cultivated. I do know I am in a family of excellent ones. My mom is amazing. She meticulously follows recipes and then slowly adapts them to her own. She always says, “If you can read a recipe, you can cook.” My brother on the other hand, has taken a completely different approach. The same way men will never stop and ask for directions, my brother does not read recipes.
His specialty is Bar-B-Q. I’m not talking about grilling a few burgers and steaks. That’s great for the casual weekend. I’m talking about Bar-B-Q: 24 hours of slowly smoked meat. It’s deliciousness, which falls apart at the touch of a knife and melts in your mouth.
His “Freedom Bar-B-Q” was this Saturday, which means he started the smoker around 4pm Friday. If you didn’t do the math already, this equals very little sleep, endless food and lots of fun! Between the beers, Jell-O shoots, and tending the smoker, there was playing with the dogs, throwing the football and genuinely having a good time.
For those who arrived on time, the reward was bacon wrapped venison, compliments of my brother’s friend Dano. If you haven’t had wild game, you should. The flavor of the meat is taken to a whole new level. Next came Sausage Stuffed Turkey, Brisket, Pulled Pork, and of course RIBS. All of which were smothered in my brother’s BAR-B-Q sauce. The recipe is his closely held secret, which I find ironic, because he doesn’t read or write recipes.
There were a few sides, which didn’t involve meat – pasta salad and Cheddar-Stuffed Bell Peppers. The peppers deserve their due. They’re FABULOUS. The shredded cheddar is tossed with a little Worcestershire, salt and pepper (plus whatever else you might feel like – jalapenos, onions, ground beef). Once the peppers are halved and seeded, they’re stuffed with cheese and thrown on the grill until the cheese melts. The result is an amazing comfort food, with a hint of freshness from the pepper. Did I mention nothing about this day is thinning?
If you haven’t guessed yet, the “Freedom Bar-B-Q” is all about celebrating America. So for my part I brought Red White and Blue Scones. When it’s an all day drinking event, you need carbs early. The fruit not only fit the theme, but it made me not feel as bad about having one, two, okay maybe three. The folding technique I used gave these scones a lighter feel, creating layers in the same way you would with a puff pastry. The tang of the sour cream mixed with the sweet from the berries had the finish for the perfect early bite.
Red, White and Blue Scones
8 TBS butter frozen (1 stick)
½ cup fat free milk
½ cup sour cream
2 cups unbleached flour
½ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 TBS baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cup blueberries
¾ cup strawberries, chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grate butter and return to freezer until needed. Whisk milk and sour cream together and return to fridge until needed.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Add butter and toss with fingers until butter is fully coated and broken up.
Add the milk and sour cream mixture to the dry ingredients and fold together. Turn onto floured surface and kneed until just combined.
Roll dough into a large rectangle (roughly 12″x8″). Fold hot-dog style and then tri-fold hamburger style (you will now have a small square).
Note: If you are having trouble getting the dough off the board, use a butter knife to help you.
Re-roll the dough into a large rectangle. Cover evenly with fruit and press down lightly. Tri-fold hot-dog style (creating layers of fruit and dough).
Cut into 12 triangles. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer scones to cookie sheet.
Whisk egg. Brush Scones with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown.Recipe in print-friendly format