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Kent Whitaker

Kent Whitaker

Kent Whitaker, also known as "The Deck Chef," is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He's also penned Young Reader 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.

It's Bowl Season Again!!

Man, how fast this last year went. Here are a few of my New Years resolutions that pertain to my cooking. One, I'm going to finish this new book on deadline. I'm sure my editor would love that. Two, I am going to do a better job of cooking healthier foods. I don't know if that counts since Ally and I have already started doing that. Three, I will no longer consider Halloween candy corn as a vegetable.

BBQ Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers - Sometimes when you have only a few ounces of barbecue in the fridge you have to either make a skimpy sandwich or just grab a fork and enjoy the two or three bites. Either way, it seems like a waste. I hate skimpy pulled pork sandwiches and a few bites would just leave me wanting more barbecue.

 Thank goodness for my love of leftovers and philosophy of using what you have and not stressing out over things.

The other good news is that I was grilling stuffed jalapeno peppers. If you have read any of my articles, you can guess what happens next. Yep, I chopped up those few fork servings of hickory smoked pork and tossed them in the following recipe.

My recipe for stuffed jalapenos is pretty standard except for the following. If I add real bacon bits or pulled pork, I use barbecue sauce. If I use crab meat I add a dash or two of Old Bay seasoning, if I use something like beef BBQ or ground beef I lean towards steak sauce. You'll see in the recipe.

The other tip - more people comment on the seasoned breadcrumbs than I can count. People love that touch. Here is the basic idea!

Pulled Pork Stuffed Jalapeno Poppers
It goes without saying. Use protective gloves when working with hot peppers! Remember, this is a base recipe, I also add things from time to time including minced onion, parsley, garlic and such. I suggest making a base recipe, slapping some on a cracker and testing it. If you feel it needs something else, add it.
12 nice sized jalapeno peppers, halved and cleaned
Milk / Water
1 package cream cheese - eight ounce
1 cup shredded taco blend cheese (more if desired)
1/2 cup fine chopped pork barbecue
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons steak sauce or bbq sauce
Seasoned crushed croutons
Light dash of Cajun or Creole seasoning
Directions: In a bowl, combine the ingredients except the peppers and the crushed croutons or breadcrumbs. Test, adjust as needed, cover and start slicing peppers while wearing gloves. Don't worry about the next step if you would like a crunchier pepper. If you desire a softer texture then do a quick boil.

Bring a large enough sauce pan filled with water and some milk to a rolling boil. Drop the peppers in and boil for about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and drain off the water. I rinse with cold in a colander. Next, stuff the pepper halves with mix, place on the grill and cook until the cheese begins to bubble and brown.

I generally place them on a sheet of foil with a bit of non-stick spray on the top rack. About halfway through the grilling process I sprinkle the peppers with the crumbs. When done, remove from heat and allow to rest for a few minutes then serve.

Kent Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author living in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He is the winner of the Emeril Live BBQ contest and winner of an American Authors Association Gold medal. Mr. Whitaker's books are in bookstores nationwide and are available online. Visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com or twitter.com/theKentWhitaker

I'm in Good Company! - The late great Patrick Swayze and I have a very loose connection thanks to Pabst Blue Ribbon. And I mean loose! As in - no connection at all - but it's fun!

Quick, Easy & Budget Friendly

Need to fill out a brunch menu quickly? Here are five easy brunch menu ideas that will offer great taste, pleasing colors and which are budget friendly.

Keep this in mind, not everything has to be made from scratch! Sure, it would be nice. But more often than not time, budget, oven space and other brunch roadblocks get in the way. Combining pre-made, frozen, packaged and store bought items while adding a simple "home-made" touch can do a lot for a simple plate of pancakes. And, speaking of pancakes!

Mini Pancakes with Fruit - Sounds nice, but why not use mini-pancakes from the frozen food section of your grocery store? Sure, they are not home made. But if thawed, heated in a warmer with a cover and not allowed to dry out these little skillet treats are easy to prepare and are cost effective. Instead of just a bottle of syrup and butter make sure you add some sliced fruit, berries and nuts as possible toppings.

Baked Bacon & Cheese Hash Browns - That dish sounds nice! A savory baked dish offering hash browns and more. You can make this dish budget friendly by combining frozen hash browns, cheese, real bacon bits, onions and whatever tastes good to you. You can even add in cream of mushroom soup if desired. Bake, serve hot! A simple version of this is lining a baking dish with non-stick spray with a layer or pre-shaped hash brown patties. Add a thin layer of soup, cheese and bacon and the repeat ending with cheese. There are countless versions of this online, look for one that fits your skill level, budget and tastes.

Toast, Toast, Toast - Why not a toast and bagle station? Why just have white bread and toast? A nice tray with toasted wheat, white, rye, Texas, French and other assorted breads with bagles. is always a crownd pleaser. Add butter and flavored cream cheese to the side for a tasty offering. You can also add mini muffins, English muffins and a toaster for those who want to toast their own. The great thing is that all of the bread can be bought on sale or at a bread store. Do the same with the mini muffins and other pastries - look for items on sale!

Frozen & Fresh Fruit - Sure, all fresh would be better! If you have the time to clean, cut, dice, slice and arrange. If you use frozen fruit, allow it to thaw and drain before serving. However; don't let it sit out too long. For frozen fruit it’s best to use a brand that you are familiar with. And, why not add some fresh fruit if you are able to. Bananas, apple slices, fresh cut water mellow. Again, look for sale items and fruits that are easy to clean, handle, prepare and serve.

Now for the coffee fans, Creamer! - Add a nice selection of creamers to the coffee table. You can buy store brand flavored creamers and place them in nice serving containers with labels. And, why not make your own French Vanilla, a few dashes of vanilla flavoring to creamer or milk does the trick. And for the kids and chocolate lovers, why not have Hot Coco ready to go!


A Cookie with a Paranomal Twist - Well, actually... there is no paranomal twist to this tasty cookie. The recipe however does come from Lawna Mackie who happens to be an author of paranomal books.

Easy Bayou Beer Can Chicken - I've noticed that chicken breasts are huge these days. I am told it's because they are pumped up with all kinds of stuff to make them larger. One the other hand... have you tried to find a whole chicken large enough for a beer can chicken recipe. It seems like these are getting smaller. Go figure.

And who was the first person to think of shoving a beer can into a chicken? It's almost like the first person that ate a snail. Were these progressive culinary folk just sitting around daring each other to try stuff. "Hey Louie, bet you won't eat that snail."

Regardless, I'm happy that somebody decided to shove a beer can into a chicken and grill it. That being said, here is a pretty simple recipe that you can use with some Creole or Cajun seasoning. Take note that the two are not the same. To safe time lets just say that the Cajun seasoning is often spicier that Creole seasoning.

This recipe also offers a bit of citrus flavor with some garlic. And, of course, beer. People are amazed about beer can chicken because they expect it to taste like old beer, but this is full of flavor.

You may need to squeeze the top of the can, or split the chicken if it is too small. Don't worry you can use some oven safe ties to hold things together.

Easy Bayou Beer Can Chicken
1 large whole chicken
lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons Creole or Cajun seasoning
1 (12-ounce) can beer1 teaspoon garlic powder
Directions: Thaw chicken in the fridge and clean out the insides and rinse with cool water. Open your beer and pour a small amount of it into a glass, or have a sip. Sprinkle some of the seasoning into the beer can and some inside the chicken. Do the same with the garlic powder and a splash of lemon. Put the can into the chicken and use its base and the legs to balance the chicken in a foil pan in the grill. (of course you can use a store bought holder if you have one. If you want to add some beer and seasoning to the pan. Cook until skin is deep brown and the wings of the bird rise up as the cooked skin tightens.

From the book Smoke In The Mountains Barbecue - by Kent Whitaker
Kent Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He is the winner of the Emeril Live BBQ contest and winner of an American Authors Association Gold medal. Kent’s books are in bookstores nationwide and are available online. Kent lives in Chattanooga. Visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com or via twitter at twitter.com/thekentwhitaker

Original article by Kent Whitaker posted June 14, 2011 www.Chattanoogan.com

The Best Brunswick Stew Ever FRom Chip Walters! Voice of the Blue Raiders - It has been a wonderful couple of football seasons working with my old college - Middle Tennessee State University, during football broadcasts.

There are some things that just seem to go together. Pork, apple butter, pecans and Double Cola are some of those things.

Easy Pabst Blue Ribbon Chili - Here is a great starter recipe for chilli using simple ingredients including some Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. This recipe is from my PBR cookbooklet which is available now as a PDF FREE!Look in more of my cookbooks for additional great chili recipes.

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