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What is Allspice? How Can I Use it?



It is often used to substitute cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg but there isn't a single spice that can capture the essence of allspice.

Allspice is often confused with the term ‘mixed spices' but it isn't a spice blend at all. It is a fragrant berry used in both savory and sweet dishes. Curious to know more about allspice? We've got you covered!

What is Allspice?

Allspice is native to Jamaica. It is one of the spices Christopher Columbus encountered on his trip to the island back in 1494. He mistook it for black pepper, the main spice he set out for, which is why the tree that produces allspice is referred to as the pimiento tree (pimiento is Spanish for pepper).

Prized as a preservative and warming agent, allspice is commonly used in food, beverages, candy, perfumes and medicine.

Fun fact: During the Napoleonic wars Russian soldiers sprinkled allspice in their boots to keep their feet warm.

Uses for Allspice

Round and small, allspice is used in Jamaica's famous jerk seasoning.

Its antiseptic qualities made it ideal for the preservation of meat centuries ago. Germans and Scandinavians still use it for that purpose, whether its in sausage making or pickling fish or meats.

Allspice is also an ingredient in some recipes for Mexican chicken mole (such as the one pictured below).

Allspice is featured in the French spice mix quatre épices and is also used to season the classic Greek recipe of stuffed grape leaves.

While it is used in many savory dishes, allspice is famous the world over for its use in pastries. It's found in everything from pumpkin and apple pies to gingerbread cookies.

Allspice is also widely used in the production of soft drinks, flavored rums and liqueurs. It is also popular as a mulling spice.

How to Buy Allspice

When buying allspice, opt for buying it whole. The berries should be round, even textured, dark brown and aromatic. The spice loses a lot of its potency when ground so it is best to grind only when needed.

via Bulgarian Spices

How to Store Allspice

Keep allspice in an airtight container away from light and moisture.

Medicinal benefits of Allspice

Allspice is full of antioxidants and has warming and antiseptic properties. It's been used to treat athlete's foot, alleviate rheumatoid arthritis and ease menopausal symptoms. Studies have shown it can also help lower blood pressure, according to Healing Spices, written by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD and Debora Yost.

Interested in other spices? Get to know more about cardamom.

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Cooking Tips

Smoked Chicken Salad



When I first got out on my own, I could cook four things: bacon, eggs, toast, and cheekun salad.  I'd learned the chinese method to cook a juicy breast: bring water to a boil, drop in one or two breasts, slap on a lid and kill the heat; let it set for an hour, and you have perfectly juicy (if bland as hell) chicken breast, which I'd zip up in my $60 Oster with mayo and sometimes celery.  
Haven't made it in decades.  This past week I noticed a recipe for "Smoked Chicken Salad" in the Texas BBQ Monthly newsletter, decided to give it a go:
Smoked Chicken Salad

330 grams smoked chicken*

60 grams celery (1 stalk, halved lengthwise and finely chopped)

30 grams pickles, finely chopped

80 grams mayonnaise

10 grams sugar

20 grams pickle juice or apple cider vinegar

Chopped fresh herbs like parsley, tarragon, or cilantro

A few dashes of your favorite barbecue rub

Juice from 1/8 lemon

Salt to taste

Debone the chicken (if necessary) and pull, chop, or mince it. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, celery, and pickles.
Combine the mayonnaise, sugar, and pickle juice, and mix well. Pour the dressing over the chicken/celery/pickle mixture and mix again. Add herbs, barbecue rub, and lemon juice, and mix again, adding salt as needed for taste. I like to let the chicken salad spend a few hours in the refrigerator before eating. Enjoy.
*Be sure to weigh the amount of chicken you use to get the correct ratios for the dressing. The quantities are shown by weight because I swear to you that it is so much easier to cook using a scale when measuring is necessary, and it’s time you bought one.
Are you texans using metric now?  (four thighs weighed 315 grams, so I went with that and eyeballed the rest).  I thought the dressing was a bit bland, thought about adding some minced chipotle en adobo, thought that might clash with the pickle, but saw on another ewetube someone used curry powder; I added a tsp and that was the ticket (I also left out the sugar, and forgot the rub).  
Toasted some weird buns, made two sammiches w/the salad, tomato, lettuce, and cheese on one and a bit more mayo on the other (the mayo was better).  These were good.

As I mentioned on my "Question for CenTex Smoker" thread, this time I dropped a small chunk of cherry into the bottom of the LBGE bowl, below the KAB, then lit the lump top-dead-center as I usually do.  I didn't notice any "dirty" smoke coming out of the egg as I had when burying the chunk off to the side, so I think this may be my new method; the cheekun tasted great and the chunk was used up at the end of the cook.  
While browsing videos on chicken salad (Retirement: Life in the Fast Lane) I came across Sam the Cooking Guy's:

He did a neat trick that I'm also gonna try.  He started with a pre-rotisseried chicken from the supermarket, and then carefully peeled the skin off in one (well, two) pieces (insert some Hannibal Lector morbidity here), layed them flat on a wire rack, and then hit them, both sides, with a blowtorch, making the skin deeper brown, toasted, and amazing; oh Hellz Yeah!  He used that skin as the top layer of his sammich (bacon on the bottom.  Bacon?) and I bet that's delicious!  
This is definitely into my rotation, especially this summer when it gets hot.  

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By: Botch
Title: Smoked Chicken Salad
Sourced From:
Published Date: 02/08/21

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Cooking Tips

Skirt Steak Recipes for the Win!



What do the words arrachera, fleica, or ahnchangsal have in common? Respectively, they are Spanish, Romanian, and Korean terms for one of the beefiest-tasting cuts of meat on Planet Barbecue—skirt steak.

In the US, skirt steak is practically synonymous with fajitas, a specialty of the Tejano culture. Food historians say Mexican ranch hands working near the Rio Grande in the late 1930s and early 1940s resourcefully turned humble cuts like skirt steak into satisfying meals by marinating the meat, grilling it over their campfires, and serving thin slices in tortillas.

Although peddled by a festival vendor who called himself the “Fajita King” and a couple of local restaurants, skirt steak may have remained an obscurity were it not for a German-born chef, George Weidmann. In 1982, he presciently put “sizzling fajitas” on the menu of the San Antonio Hyatt Regency. They proved to be immensely popular, and the fajita gospel spread quickly.

But as noted above, skirt steak is appreciated by grill masters in disparate parts of the world. Like flank steak and hanger steak, it comes from the short plate primal. There are four skirt steaks per animal. However, they are not the same: One is called the outside skirt steak (NAMP 121C, or 121E, if the outer membrane is peeled); the other is the inside skirt steak (121D). The former is longer and thinner than the inside skirt steak, but is considered the most desirable of the two due to its superior flavor. You’ll pay more for it, too—up to $17.99 a pound (few are larger than 11 or 12 ounces) at my local market. Fortunately, it’s available from online meat purveyors at lower prices. Inside skirt steaks sell for as little as $5.99 per pound and are still a relatively economical choice.

Because skirt steak is quite lean with a pronounced grain, it should be cooked quickly—about 3 minutes per side—over high heat. It is best when served medium-rare and sliced sharply on a diagonal. (That technique shortens the meat fibers, giving the steak a more tender chew.)

The meat’s unique accordian-like folds give it a deceptive amount of surface area, making it a good candidate for your favorite marinade. Because skirt steak is thin, a couple of hours in a marinade is sufficient. Be sure to dry the meat thoroughly before grilling, however, to get the best caramelization on the exterior.

Sauces, like Argentinean chimichurri, or your favorite salsa make good accompaniments.

Romanian Garlic Steak (Fleica) is another recipe you’ll want to add to your grilling repertoire. Skirt steak (or flank steak, if skirt steak is unavailable) is for true garlic lovers—appropriate since Bram Stoker’s malevolent character “Count Dracula.”

Or you can take things in an Asian direction by marinating skirt steak in a soy- and sake-based marinade reminiscent of Korean bulgogi. The meat is grilled (we like to use a hibachi for this), sliced thinly, then served in lettuce wraps with a variety of condiments. It’s a quick—and healthy!—preparation.

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By: Molly Kay
Title: Skirt Steak Recipes for the Win!
Sourced From:
Published Date: 02/14/21

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Cooking Tips

Include Barbecue Shrimp Recipe



shrimp, grill, spit

Include Barbecue Shrimp Recipe

Summary: Get a barbecue shrimp recipe to create a variety of dishes you can serve on your next barbecue party.

How do you like the taste of barbecued chops or steak? If you love them, you must try barbecued shrimp for a change. Barbecued shrimp is as tasty as any barbecue can be. Just by imagining barbecued shrimp makes my mouth watery. You have tried pork, chicken, sausage, hotdogs, and other barbecued meat. Why not try barbecued sea foods this time. If you tried it probably in a party or in a restaurant, and you want to know the recipe, worry no more for you can have the barbecue shrimp recipe you fell in love with.

Barbecue shrimp recipe is a very simple one. The ingredients are not hard to find. Unlike other barbecue recipes you might have read which have “never-heard” ingredients. You know what I mean. I once saw a recipe book with a picture that made my stomach growl and when I tried to look at the ingredients, hoping I could have a taste of that delightfully, tasty, appetizing, and tempting dish, my jaw literally dropped up to my chest. And then I said where on Earth I can find these unfamiliar ingredients. The dish looked so simple that I thought it’s chicken feed and that I could do it even with my eyes closed (kidding!). I was so upset for a week because I lost the chance of savoring the unforgettable recipe. I don’t mean to sound so bubbly. I just want you to realize how a recipe can be if the ingredients are not available on the market. Well, barbecue shrimp recipe is not only simple to do, but the ingredients are literally available in any supermarket.

Barbecue Shrimp Recipe Ingredients:
o 2 lbs large raw and fresh shrimp, peeled
o 1 cup olive oil
o ¼ cup lemon juice
o ½ cup onion, finely chopped
o 3 shallots, fine chopped
o 2 garlic cloves, minced
o ¼ cup parsley, finely minced

Directions for cooking:
Prepare your outdoor grill or barbecue to medium heat. In a large bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, onions, shallots, garlic, and parsley. Mix in the peeled shrimps. Cover and marinate in your refrigerator for at least two hours. Drain shrimp, reserve the marinade in a clean container for basting, place shrimps on skewers or on aluminum foil. Barbecue for 6-8 minutes on each side, and make sure to baste shrimps with marinade to enhance the flavor and to prevent from drying. Place shrimp on a large platter and garnish with thin lemon wedges on the sides. Serve with a creative salad, garlic bread, and most importantly the sauce for a more tempting presentation. This barbecue shrimp recipe serves 8-10 persons.

No matter how you cook the shrimp, it will still be yummy. But, I can assure you this barbecue shrimp is more than delicious. Actually, delicious in an understatement! Just the smell of it, makes your mouth watery! Try it and let your family and friends have a taste of your new discovered shrimp barbecue recipe.

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