Miners Mix Carolina Style Barbecue Sauce

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To be honest, when we cook, we normally cook sans sauce.  Not that we don’t like sauce, but when you make the world’s best gourmet spices and rubs, there’s not all that much call for sauce in your cooking.  When we DO want sauce, we have friends like Rob’s Frog Sauce, Hutch’s, and Pa Paw’s who do pretty damned good sauces.

Having said that, we think you can make some pretty spectacular sauces using Miners Mix products.  We’ll post some of our favorite recipes here from time to time, and we invite you to try them.  First up, our Carolina sauce using Poultry Perfection!

A word here:  all of our sauce recipes are aimed at the mainstream palate.  To heat it up, add a half teaspoon of our Hotbanero to any recipe!

Place the following ingredients into a blender:

1/2 C yellow mustard

1/2 C honey

1/2 C cider vinegar

2 Tbsp ketchup

2 Tbsp Poultry Perfection

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp Worcestershire

1 Tbsp melted butter

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1 tsp whiskey (we use Jack Daniels)

Blend on low until well combined.  Really good stuff, friends!  It’ll be a little sweet when it’s done, but when you get it on your cook, it levels out nicely.

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Miners Mix Oven Fried Chicken

Miners Mix Oven Fried 2 Comp

As summer closes, many folks ask us if there’s any way to use Miners Mix indoors.  Now, our first thought is yes, but why would you?  Then we realize that most folks don’t enjoy the weather advantages of living on the West Coast.  Now we still know some die-hard folks who cook outside regardless of weather.  Our friends at Patrons of the Pit  in Minnesota leap to mind!  Still, there are a TON of ways to use Miners Mix inside.  One of our absolute favorites is oven fried chicken.  Want to try it?  It’s pretty easy:

Miners Mix Oven Fried Chicken

 Prep Time 20 mins

Cook Time 40 mins

Total Time 50 mins

Ingredients:

  • 5 lbs chicken (we prefer thighs)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 TBSP baking powder
  • 1 TBSP Miners Mix XXX-Garlic
  • 1 TBSP Miners Mix Original Steak and Veggie or Poultry Perfection
  • 1/2 TBSP. Miners Mix Wholly Chipotle
  • 1/2TBSP salt
  • 4 TBSP butter

Instructions

  1. Place the skin-on chicken parts in a ZipLock plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk. Squeeze as much air from the bag as possible and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  2. Preheat your oven to 425°F. In a medium bowl mix together the flour, panko, baking powder and the Miners Mix seasonings. Set aside.
  3. Put the butter into a large cast iron skillet or oven proof baking dish (we avoid glass here – the darker the pan, the better the result) and put into the oven to get hot for about 10-15 minutes. While pan is heating up remove the chicken from the buttermilk and shake off the excess. Dredge each piece in the seasoned flour mixture.
  4. Arrange the chicken pieces on the skillet or baking dish top with plenty of room on each side. We want the chicken to fry and get crispy. If the pieces are too close together they tend to steam and end up soggy.
  5. Depending on the pieces of chicken you’re oven frying, the bake time will vary. Thighs take longer, about 20 minutes per side, uncovered. Boneless chicken or breasts don’t take as long to reach an internal temperature of 165F. Turn the chicken pieces over and bake another 20 minutes or so (thighs) until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.  Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes and then serve.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Skin On Pork Belly

Pork Belly

Recently we posted this picture on our social media feeds, and the overwhelming response was “How did you do that?”  In truth, it ain’t hard, and much to our chagrin, the method doesn’t use any Miners Mix product at all!  Anyway, here ya go!  Enjoy.

Place in smoker, skin side up.  Apply a thick (1/4-1/2″) layer of salt on the skin surface.  Smoke 5 hours at 250 degrees.

Remove from smoker.  Salt will have formed into a solid layer.  Remove salt cap/layer.  Save for smoked salt (this is a seriously good condiment!).

Brush off the little remaining salt from the skin.  Skin will be dry but not crispy yet.

Place in oven at 465F for an hour or so to crisp up skin and so it becomes crunchy.

Remove from oven and flip upside down so you can cut through belly and then crisp skin.

The result is going to be delicious and DECADENT! We cut ours into inch and a half cubes.  One or two at a sitting is about what we can handle! Have fun, and, as always, eat well.

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Hot? Whaddya Mean Hot?

Photo Sep 01, 12 28 50 PMWhen first we embarked on the Miners Mix adventure, we had a stable of rubs and spice blends of which we were very proud. We set about the genial task of marketing them to a hungry public, and we enjoyed a measure of steady success.  However, everywhere we went, we met with that curious brand of person, the pepperhead, and each time, these unusual folks would pose the same query: “Don’t you have any hot rubs?”.  Now, at the time, we were sanguine in our offerings, since we offered even then our Wholly Chipotle.  Wholly Chipotle is a spicy rub made from actual smoked jalapeno, imparting the relatively “hot”, fruity taste and smokiness of true chipotle.  For most “mainstream” palates this rub is plenty hot, and delivers a satisfying spice.

For the pepperhead, however, this rub apparently did not qualify as hot.  We were puzzled, and so we turned inward to a couple of true pepperheads in our own Miners Mix family.  Why, we asked, do some people taste Wholly Chipotle and with their eyes and nose running, cry for water, and some simply smile and say “Yes, that’s nice.  Do you have a hot rub?”?

That is when we were introduced to the world of the pepperhead.  These folks, we learned have, um, unique palates.  “Hot”, it seems, is a highly individual experience.  Faced with this new insight, we did what we always do to solve a Miners Mix conundrum: we called a Miners Mix family meeting and we developed a “simple” strategy.  The Ole Miner developed a “base” rub – flavorful, and multi faceted.  Delicious all by itself.  Then he opened a case of wine, and gave the pepperheads (and the rest of the family) a simple challenge: drink lots of wine, and using this base rub, develop a rub that YOU folks would consider reasonably “hot”.  That is, something you (the pepperheads) would consider very hot, but would still use on food.  AND, don’t use any artificial ingredients, no enhancers, no capsaicin oil or powder.  Real peppers and spices ONLY.  And don’t lose the flavor of that delicious base rub.  You may, he said, ADD flavor, but you may not detract flavor.  It is way too easy to make something just hot.  Witness the glut of stupidly “hot” products on the market.  None of them have any flavor – they’re just designed to be hot.  This hot rub had to adhere to the Miners Mix standard of real, eye rolling, OMG, that’s fantastic, way above expectation flavor.

Huh. Um, any other simple chores you’d like us to knock out for you?

And so, we began.  After much experimentation, several failures and a lot of wine, Miners Mix Hotbanero rub was born.  It is a fruity, flavorful, full bodied Southwestern hot flavor, that is sure to make a true pepperhead smile with pleasure.  It DEFINITELY is not for everyone.  This rub is truly hot, and it is exquisite.  It’s heat is fairly intense, and is right up front and in your face, but the true flavor of the base rub and the fruit of the various peppers is prominent on the tongue.  And it contains nothing artificial, and no “heat boosters” save the peppers themselves!

The Miners Mix family was busily shaking hands all around, and toasting success (maybe a bit sloppily at this point) with good wine.  Everyone was smiling – especially the Ole Miner.  He said, “Good job, gang.  Now – do it again, only this time take it to the limit of what is still Miners Mix good, but as hot as you can go and stay on this planet.  And make it different, materially different, from Hotbanero.”

One more round for the crew, and in we jumped.  We pushed the envelope.  Once or twice a bit too far (thanks to the wine!).  In the end, we created an even hotter rub with a distinct Asian surround, and just a hint of sweetness on the fire.  Once again the base rub is discernable with the fruit flavors of  host of peppers, including some of the hottest peppers on the planet.  This delicious rub is designed to be used in small quantities, perhaps in concert with other Miners Mix rubs.  It’s fiery flavor is absent at first taste, but then you will feel it creeping across your tongue from the back of your mouth, and an intense heat will cover your palate, always remaining true to the flavors of the base rub and the pepper fruit tastes.  As always for Miners Mix, it is all natural, with no “enhancers” or additives.  Once again, celebration ensued.  This rub was HOT, but man, it was GOOD. The Ole Miner called this one Fire in the Hole (with good reason).

Most of the rest of the evening is foggy for most of us, but we rose the next morning (er, afternoon), with a horrible question!  Sure it was great last night (what wasn’t great last night!), but was it all a wine soaked illusion, or had we actually succeeded.  Once again we tasted.  Once again we celebrated (quietly and with coffee).  We had indeed done it.

We’re pretty proud of the whole Miners Mix line, but nowadays, when someone says “But don’t you have a hot rub?”, we smile and break out Hotbanero and Fire in the Hole.  We’ve yet to meet someone who asks for something hotter.

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Don’t Feel Like Cooking Outside?

We happen to cook outside most days of the year.  Grilling, smoking and barbecue pretty much make up how we cook about 300+ days of the year, sun, rain, snow or hail.  We do, however occasionally retreat indoors.  When we do, we of course take MinersMix with us.  One of our favorite indoor meals is oven fried chicken!  There’s no oil and no frying involved, but you’ll be hard pressed to prove it with the crunchy product!  Here’s how we do it:

Soak the chicken pieces in a quart of buttermilk from a few hours to overnight.  While the chicken is soaking:

Place a dark baking pan or sheet (dark color works better! – we never use glass baking dishes) into a cold oven.  Heat oven to 425, heating pan with it.

In a medium sized bowl mix 1 1/2 cup flour, 1 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (we have substituted pancake mix for the flour and crushed plain corn flakes for the panko – both work really well!), 1/2 teaspoon of salt (we use Kosher),1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 1/2 tablespoon of Miners Mix Poultry Perfection and 1 1/2 tablespoon of Miners Mix XXX Garlic.

Note: Miners Mix makes a wide variety of spice blends and rubs,  and we’ve used them all in this recipe.  If you want a bit of a bite, add a teaspoon (or tablespoon!!) of Wholly Chipotle, HotBanero, or Fire in the Hole to the base recipe.  Or, if you want a barbecue flare, add a teaspoon (or a tablespoon) of Maynard’s Memphis Barbeque rub.  Alternatively, for a peppery bite, add some Steak and Veggie.

Using tongs, remove the chicken a piece at  a time from the buttermilk, shake of excess, and dredge thoroughly in flour mixture. Using another set of tongs, remove chicken from flour mixture and set each piece on a plate.  Once all the chicken is dredged, open the oven and drop three to four tablespoons of butter onto the hot baking pan.  Allow to butter to melt, and use a brush to cover the bottom of the pan with butter.  Place the chicken onto the pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes (until golden brown on the bottom.  Turn the chicken and bake another 12 to 15 minutes until internal temperature is 165.

We think you’ll like this chicken recipe.  We sure do!  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  If you find a new way to use Miners Mix, drop us a line!

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Smoke ‘em if you’ve got ‘em…

One of the tastiest methods of preparing food is often avoided by neophytes to the joy of outdoor cooking. Smoking meat appears to be couched in mystery, and the methods thereof whispered like some dark secret held close by the high priests of the craft. In fact, with some simple tools and a modicum of patience, anyone can open the door to a world of delectable flavor.

Virtually any type of protein can be smoked. From a brisket to tofu, from fish to poultry, almost anything can be cooked this way. We will talk here about using smoking as a cooking method. It is also possible to “cold smoke” foods, but this is NOT a cooking method, and is a topic for another post.

The idea of cooking “low and slow”, while applicable to other methods of barbecue is especially essential to smoking. In order to smoke proteins properly, temperature should be held somewhere between 200 and 300 degrees Fahrenheit on indirect or moderately distant heat for a relatively long time. While it is certainly possible to smoke foods on any type of grill or barbeque, in our opinion, the best results come from an appliance designed specifically for smoking. Most smokers are designed either for horizontal use (often called a “pit smoker”) or vertical use (usually called a “drum smoker”).

 File Sep 07, 7 18 26 PM                            File Sep 16, 2 12 57 PM

 As with all things barbeque, if you asked five folks for their thoughts on smoking, you’d get ten different responses! Your style will develop with practice – the more you do it, the better you get at it. There are volumes devoted to this method of cooking, and well we highly recommend that you do some research, there’s certainly not room here to do a deep dive. Having said that, we think we can get you started if you’ll pay attention to a few smoking basics:

  1. Protein. The object of your smoke is certainly important. Well you can smoke most food, it is, in our view, important that you start with good quality, fresh protein. It’s a good idea, we think, to start out with maybe a pork butt or perhaps a chicken. Both are relatively “short” smokes in terms of time.
  2. Temperature. There are two important temperatures to mind here. You need to monitor the internal temperature of your protein, AND the air (or ambient) temperature inside your smoker. Both are absolutely crucial, and you need two separate thermometers to do the job. We recommend a probe thermometer for the internal temperature. Make sure the business part (usually the first quarter inch of the probe) is in or near the center of the protein. Most smokers come with a thermometer for the temperature in the smoker, but beware! There are two potential “gotchas” here. The first is that the thermometer needs to be monitoring the air right above the grill surface. A thermometer mounted very high up (like in the lid!!) may be measuring the wrong spot, and will likely read lower (or higher) than the actual temperature near the grill surface. The other problem is that frankly these mounted thermometers are often pieces of crap. A notable exception is the thermometer in our Big Poppa. We love it! Your ambient temperature needs to be between 200 and 300 degrees (we like 260 for most things), and it needs to stay steady throughout the cook. Use a meat chart like this for your finished (target) protein temperature. There are great two-channel (for both the protein and the ambient temperature) digital thermometers on the market if you discover that your built-in is untrustworthy.
  3. Heat. In our opinion, building your fire out of wood is a great idea. If that’s not practical, use a good quality lump charcoal for the heat, and once your coals are silvered, place a nice chunk (or chunks) of the wood of your choice on top of the coals. Different woods impart different flavors! Don’t be afraid to experiment with fruit and nut woods. Oak is also a nice choice! You probably don’t need to worry about soaking your wood. If you mind the temperature carefully, the wood you choose should smoke instead of burn. On longer burns you may have to add fuel, although some smokers (like the two above) are notoriously stingy burners making a load of fuel last a very long time indeed.
  4. Air flow. You’re probably wondering just how you’re supposed to control the ambient temperature so carefully! The answer is to control the air flow into (and out of) the smoker. That’s what those fancy vents are for. It’s hard to overstate the importance of providing and monitoring the air flow to the heat. Too much air, and your wood will just burn, so it’s important to keep the air flow low – just enough to keep the smolder from going out! The smoker will draw air from the bottom, and expel smoke from the top. A good smoker will have a vent (or vents) both above, and below the location of the heat source, and the bottom vent of vents should be well clear of the ash accumulation. Some folks say the key to heat control is the top vent, some say it’s the bottom. The fact is, you need them both. Work with both sets until the ambient temperature is where you want it. Then monitor carefully to keep the temperature static. We think you’ll find that both sets will end up choked down pretty far. Just don’t completely close either set! A burn set at 200 something is just a sort way from snuffing out altogether so the air flow must be constant! We like to use the vents at the fire box (or below it) to adjust the heat as necessary, but do what feels comfortable.
  5. Time. You cannot rush the smoking process. It takes as long as it takes, and frankly, for most proteins, the longer the smoke the fuller the flavor! Plan for a nice, long smoke – 2 to 12 hours and even more in some cases! As with all really good barbeque, take your time. Enjoy the process. Don’t keep popping of the lid to check the food – all you’ll do is screw up the ambient temperature inside and lengthen (or possibly ruin) the cooking process.
  6. Flavor. The smoke is the major player here, and that’s where your unforgettable flavor comes from. That is NOT to say that you don’t season the food prior to the smoke. This is where a really good rub comes in handy. Obviously we recommend Miners Mix. For pork or beef we’d use Maynard’s Memphis, and for a chicken, duck, goose or turkey we recommend Poultry Perfection. Whichever you choose, rub it liberally all over the protein and let it sit in the fridge for 4 – 24 hours prior to the cook.

We hope we’ve encouraged you to give it a shot. Remember, it’s supposed to be fun! If you’re stressed, you’re doing it wrong! Don’t expect your first couple of attempts to be perfect – this takes practice! One final word about temperature: when we’re smoking a turkey or even a chicken, we set a slightly higher target temperature (say 290 – 300) to get the meat out of the bacteria danger zone (below 140) as quickly as possible. Remember, smoking is not tough, and the rewards are great indeed!

 

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Miners Mix Tips and Tricks

So you took the leap and stepped up your barbeque game by buying some Miners Mix.  Now you’re thinking, well I’ve got the stuff, but how do I use it?  Read on, McDuff and we’ll share some tried-and-true methods, and some not-so-intuitive tips as well!

Photo Sep 01, 12 45 15 PM  This is one of our most popular products, guys.  This not only makes the best garlic bread you’ll ever put into your mouth, it has a ton of other applications as well!  To make the bread, we recommend you use sliced sour dough.  Yes, it’ll work on any bread, but sour dough makes one incredible taste treat.  Mix the contents of one package with a cup of mayonnaise.  You can use butter if you must, but the mayonnaise is way better.  When you spread the stuff onto the bread slices put it on thin, and push the product into the bread.  Thicker is NOT better.  Pop it under a broiler or into a toaster oven and watch it carefully.  It goes from “done” to “oh, crap” pretty fast.  You can also make some fantastic poppers by mixing the package with a brick of cream cheese.  Split the peppers length wise, clean them out and stuff with the mixture.  Grill on the barbeque until the pepper skin turns black, or mix the package with a cup of sour cream for a great dip, or pop the sour cream mixture into a pot of mashed potatoes!

This stuff makes some really great chorizo!  Using our blend and supplying your own Photo Sep 01, 12 46 05 PMmeat makes for a winning dish – way less greasy than store bought, and adding your own meat gives you control over the dish.  We like using a blend of ground pork (75%) and ground lamb (25%).  Just follow the directions on the box – but avoid lean meats, because chorizo needs some fat to work out well.  Adding this stuff to packaged scalloped potatoes makes for a really good dish, and for those of us who love macaroni and cheese, adding this stuff makes for a delicious change up!  You might also consider adding Chorizo Mix to a large pot of homemade chili.  Which, of course, you eat with OMGarlic Bread!

Our Salmon Marinade is not only fantastic on salmon, but on virtually ANY firm fillet fish – like halibut, tilapia, catfish or sword fish.  You can also get great results using the marinade on pork chops!  Just remember, for fish pop the fillets into the marinade for only 15 minutes or so, and then straight onto the grill.  Marinate longer (a few hours to overnight) for pork.

Photo Sep 01, 12 45 30 PM  Our bean dip will blow you away!  This stuff makes the smoothest, most flavorful bean dip you’ve ever had.  Serve this stuff on game day, and people will be talking about your bean dip for days afterward!  When they ask, just tell ’em it’s an old family recipe!  You can change this up by changing the beans you use.  Our particular favorite is refried black beans!  You can expand on the theme by making a pretty incredible 7-layer dip.  Just follow the directions on the package!

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Of course, Miners Mix has a full line of rubs.  As anyone who cooks outdoors will know, each application requires its own rub!  All Miners Mix products are low salt, and there are no preservatives in anything we make.

Our Steak and Veggie is great for grilling or smoking any cut of red meat, and is fantastic on grilled vegetables!  For meat, simply rub generously, and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight.  We like to wrap the meat cut tightly in plastic wrap after we’ve applied the rub.  For those who prefer a marinade to a rub, we recommend blending a generous amount of S&V with olive oil and an acid like wine or a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar, with maybe a dash of hot sauce!  We also like to make a marinade of black coffee and S&V!  For truly phenomenal grilled veggies, we recommend cutting your veggies (potatoes, mushrooms, squash, asparagus, onions, radishes, beets, carrots, yams, parsnips, or any combination thereof!) into one inch pieces.  Pop the vegetables into a gallon sized plastic bag with a quarter cup olive oil and a generous amount of Miners Mix Steak and Veggie, seal and shake vigorously.  Dump the veggies out into a grill basket and slide it onto the grill.  Stir until the vegetables are cooked!  Aside from being an incredible rub, we often use this product in our kitchen instead of salt and pepper!

Maynard’s Memphis Barbeque Rub is formulated for low and slow barbeque!  This stuff is incredible on ribs, butts, chicken and anything else you want to get that real Memphis style flavor on.  A great choice for smoking, this sweet spicy rub will change your barbeque game forever.  Like barbeque sauce?  This rub is perfect as a base for your own unforgettable homemade sauce recipe!  This stuff will set your ‘Q apart, and make you a star!

Poultry Perfection is exactly that!  Every Thanksgiving, our sales of this stuff are off the chart!  Whether your barbequing, roasting or frying your bird, this stuff will give you incredible flavor.  We’ve used it on ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys, always with the same satisfying results!  Anytime poultry is on the menu, this should be your go-to!  It’s also very tasty on pork chops!

XXX Garlic Rub is our secret weapon!  There are three kinds of garlic in this bad boy (hence the XXX!), so it’s all garlic with a distinct beginning, middle and finish.  We use this rub on EVERYTHING!  From grilled tofu to a standing rib, on fish, chicken, veggies or anything else headed for the grill, this garlic rub will provide incredible results!  Used by itself, or in combination with any other Miners Mix rub we believe you’ll become as addicted to this stuff as we are!  Remember those grilled vegetables we talked about?  Substitute XXX for the S&V for a yummy change up!

File Jan 06, 6 50 20 PM  This is our newest rub!  Just recently released this rub was specifically designed for prime rib and roasts of any kind.  It is phenomenal on wild game and lamb as well.  While all of our other rubs are designed to be used on a barbeque, grill or smoker, this rub actually comes into its own in the oven!  To be sure, it can be used outside as well, but if you’re oven roasting a cut of meat, we highly recommend this one!  You will be ecstatic with the result!  This is also great on scrambled eggs, and is very tasty on fish as well.

Photo Sep 01, 12 28 50 PM

Last, but not least are the hots!  These three rubs have a bit of a kick,  Our Chipotle rub is based on smoked jalapeno peppers.  It has a nice smoky, fruity flavor with just a touch of heat, and is great form brining a Mexican flare to any barbeque.  Great on fajitas, carne asada, or to sprinkle a bit into a pot of refried beans!

Both the Hotbanero and the Fire in the Hole were developed for Pepperheads!  These two rubs are seriously hot, so be smart about using them.  Hotbanero is based on the Habanero pepper, and FitH is based upon the Bhut Jolokia (or Ghost Pepper).  Both have a great flavor.  The Hotbanero is fruity and full bodied, with an immediate heat.  The FitH is a more oriental heat.  Slow to arrive, it brings the heat of Asia along with a complex, delightful flavor.

Check our last blog piece for an incredible candy recipe using the Hotbanero rub!  The candy is not particularly, but the rub gives the chocolate a brand new dimension that is really great.

Check our web site for more recipes, and do let us know if you find a yummy way to use our products!  As always, we welcome questions and comments at info@minersmix.com!

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