Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as "The Deck Chef," is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He's also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram @thekentwhitaker, and Twitter @thekentwhitaker. Easter is the holiday that kicks off Spring and opens the door for Summer grilling. When it comes to Easter one of the most traditional menu items for many family dinners is ham. So, it makes perfect sense, at least to backyard grilling gurus, that it’s a perfect time to grill some ham. However, grilling a huge ham meant to serve several people may be too much for an Easter dinner for two. That’s the situation we found ourselves in last year. Allyson and I had visited with our out-of-town family the week prior to Easter so on the day of the actual holiday we only had two people to cook for. The solution, switch from a 12-pound ham to a couple of nice center-cut ham steaks! Why do We Eat Ham for Easter? Easter meals traditionally include ham. But why is that? Besides the fact that ham is a tasty dish to serve at a family meal, ham has been an Easter favorite for centuries. A long time ago in Europe and Asian countries, pigs were slaughtered in the fall and early winter, then cured/smoked, and ready to eat when Spring came. What timing! Easter is in the spring holiday and ham is ready to be eaten! That combination which was based on everyday life has carried on as a tradition. What’s a Ham Steak? In case you’re wondering, steak is a term that is used in many countries to describe a nice thick cut of meat or seafood. I guess the beef industry is just better at marketing the term than other producers. A ham steak is a center-cut slice of bone-in ham roast ranging from 1/4 inch to 1 inch thick. The thinner slices are often called breakfast ham steaks. The great thing is that these cuts are most often fully cooked if bought pre-packaged. Just check the label and it will let you know. And, they come brine d with a salt solution or smoke cured [...]
The Puyallup Spring Fair starts on April 11th and runs thru the 14th. This is a pre-fair interview with Stacy Van Horne, Public Relations Manager. We talk a bit about the history of the fair, fair foods and what there is for kids and seniors to do. There is a lot of work that goes into putting this fair up and a lot of imagination. The have The Farm at Sillyville - which is a rather unique idea and very cool. There is Creative Kids Entertainment and Brad's World Reptile Show, and BBQ Playoffs. There are also Fireworks on Friday and Saturday evening. There is a KidZone and a Stunt Show. In Expo Hall they have too. This fair has a lot of everything. It makes you wonder how exactly it differs from the Washington State Fair that is later in the season. Stacy and I talk about that. They are also known especially for Motorsports and Monster Trucks. The fair takes place on the Washington State Fairgrounds. ********************************************************************
The Maricopa County Fair, in Phoenix Arizona runs from April 10th to the 14th at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. This is an interview with Karen Searle, Executive Director about what is old what is new and exciting about this years fair. We talk about the age of the fair, and what is new and exiting about this years fair - what there is for kids ans seniors, and their Community Stage - which is one of the main things this fair known for.
Rebecca Day and her sister Jen Day Thompson make up a swampy feeling band called "The Crazy Daysies". They are an acoustic based country music group out of Jacksonville, Florida. Both of the sisters write music. They also feature a percussionist Beau Littles when called for. Rebecca is a full time musician and also performs solo. Some of their wonderful regular clients are : Ragtime Tavern at the beaches of Jacksonville ,Brick Oven at Fleming Island in Florida, and Sven Bridges Brewery in Jacksonville. They have released an EP, several singles, and most recently a full album called Mile Markers. They have performed too at fairs and festivals including the Greater Jacksonville Fair, The Blue Crab Fest in Palatka (Florida) and and Porchfest in Jacksonville. Here is a list of their : Upcoming Shows Below is a podcast interview with Rebecca done on March 6th, 2019. It is also being featured on our website Countyfairgrounds.net - on our EntertainersforHire page - . YES, we are back to doing interviews - and hopefully we can help some of you entertainers get booked!
Discover the Fun at the Florida State Fair Pre Fair interview with the Assistant Manager of the Florida State Fair - Mike Rogalsky. We talk about what is new and exciting at this years Fair. We talk about parking, Seniors and what is good for children under 12 to do. Of course we talk about fair food, the exhibit building the animal exhibits, the carnival and a lot of their entertainment.
Have you ever taken a bite of something and wondered what spices were used to season it? In the world of barbecue and grilling spice combinations are called rubs because the mixture of spices is rubbed into the meat. I get several emails a year asking about making rubs and how to find combinations for different flavors. The simple answer is that rubs are whatever you want. Heck – salt and pepper is a rub! But, for developing certain flavors combinations it’s probably a good idea to do some research on the spices you like in your favorite dishes. For example, if you want an Asian inspired rub then research oriental spices and Korean barbecue. Tex-Mex rubs include spices found in South of the border cooking. The same goes for Greek and Mediterranean cooking, Italian foods etc. If you like that “flavor” learn the basic spices associated with that style of cooking and start playing with spice combinations. Or, you can cheat! More on that below. Here’s a few things to keep in mind when developing your own spice combinations – AKA, rubs! Add Before Long before Cooking The secret to using a spice rub on any meat is getting a head start. I apply my rib rub on my ribs a day before they hit the smoker. This allows the spices to dissolve as the meat soaks up the flavor. At the very least, apply your rub several minutes before cooking. Allow the rub to turn from dry to moist – you’ll see a notable difference over the course of ten to thirty minutes. If you plan on more than a few minutes, then cover and place in the fridge. But don’t go crazy with the above suggestion when it comes to delicate items like seafood. A few minutes to allow the seasoning to sink in will be perfect. Watch the Sugar and Salt! Going healthy is a great thing when you start mixing up your own batches of rubs. Don’t get me wrong – you can add a pinch of salt – just don’t go overboard. Avoid doubling up on sodium when you use salt and then another ingredient such as Garlic Salt. Suddenly you have double the salt! I include dashes of brown sugar, and even table sugar, in several of my rubs and seasoning blends. However – if you use a lot of sugar in your mix and heat things up too quickly you could end up with a bitter [...]
Winter temps are dropping across the land and this probably causes outdoor cooking angst for those who consider themselves grill masters! Yes, some will trek to the grill or smoker no matter how deep the snow is or how cold the temperature may drop. This is especially true for die-hard tailgate fans watching NFL playoff football. But, for many others… it’s just to dang cold to fire up the charcoal or gas in order to grill a couple of burgers or steaks when you can cook inside or dine-out. So, what’s a grilling junkie to do? You can either go for it and invest in a heavier coat… or, try some new things in the kitchen that can be moved outside when the temperature rises! Even if it’s just one warm day in the middle of January or February. Here’s my suggestion for surviving the winter season – turn your attention to a dish you’ve always wanted to try but were afraid to do for a crowd. Chances are your outdoor cooking parties are limited so a first shot a new dish can be cooked, taste tested and perfected before you next official cookout party with guests. Take on a few quick and easy recipes that can be easily tweaked for both indoor and outdoor use. I like trying to perfect new sauces or rubs during the winter, so I can serve them up in the Spring and Summer months. Here’s a suggestion to get you started starting with a tasty mustard that would be perfect for hot dogs and brats broiled in the oven for the Big “Super” Game! Homemade Beer Mustard Making your own mustard is easier than you may think. It’s a simple four step process that requires added time for the finished mustard to rest. You need some mustard seeds and liquid. Most people use a combination of vinegar and water. Here's where you can begin to play with things. Beer can replace the water! Here's the four basic steps: They are the same if you are using water, beer, wine, etc. as your liquids. Step 1 – SOAK your mustard seeds with enough liquid to cover the in a covered, non-reactive bowl. Soak for 2-4 days in the fridge. Check every day or so and stir slightly. Step 2 – BLEND the soaked seeds in a blender or food processor. Short bursts produce a chunkier mustard. Longer makes a creamier mustard. Step 3 – FLAVOR your mustard using additional ingredients. How about [...]