Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Bend in the Road: Spicy Barbecue with Creamy Coleslaw and Hushpuppies

I'm breaking a couple of rules with this post:

1. I mostly blog about what people cook in Nicholas Sparks' novels, not what they eat in restaurants. For A Walk to Remember, I didn't have a choice (click here and here to learn what I cooked, even though they didn't). Since barbecue is what A Bend in the Road's leading man Miles orders when he visits his favorite diner--and there's plenty of cooking in A Bend in the Road; the other night I made stuffed halibut and rice pilaf, stay tuned for that--I really didn't need to make this. But it was Larry's birthday, and he wanted barbecue. A perfect excuse, don't you think?

2. Miles probably ate North Carolina-style barbecue, cooked with tangy vinegar and a few seasonings, but it was Larry's birthday and he wanted barbecue sauce. Our favorite kind, KC Masterpiece. We'll pretend that the diner in New Bern, North Carolina fixed their barbecue Texas style. (See this post for more about the story of Miles and Sarah.)

I used this recipe from About.com, one I found the last time I wanted to cook barbecue. I love it because it's delicious, it doesn't require a lot of preparation, and the Crock Pot does most of the work:

•1 cup thick barbecue sauce
•1 medium onion, thinly sliced
•2 cans (4.5 oz each) diced green chilies
•3 tablespoons chili powder
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•1 teaspoon dried oregano
•1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 boneless pork shoulder roast, 2 1/2 to 3 pounds, trimmed
•1/2 cup chopped cilantro


Combine sauce ingredients in a bowl. Place pork in crockpot; pour sauce mixture over the pork, lifting pork slightly so sauce will flow under the roast. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours, or until pork is very tender. Remove pork to a cutting board and chop or shred with forks. If sauce is very liquid, cook down on the stovetop until desired thickness and flavor is reached. Pour sauce into a serving bowl or leave in slow cooker; stir in the cilantro and the shredded pork. Serve with flour tortillas or split sandwich buns. Serves 8.

Pour this over the meat.

I like to season the meat with a little salt and pepper before covering it with the sauce.

Larry also wanted to eat his barbecue sandwich on a homemade bun. No problem; that's what a bread machine is for. I pulled out my book of bread machine recipes and followed the one I always use:


1 egg (or 1 1/2 tsp Egg Replacer and 2 tbsp water)
7/8 cup milk (I use soy and/or rice milk)
4 1/2 tbsp butter (I use a combination of butter and margarine)
3 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour (unbleached all-purpose flour works just fine)
1 tbsp yeast
3 tbsp milk
sesame seeds, optional

Put all ingredients except 3 tbsp milk and sesame seeds in bread pan in order suggested by your bread machine instructions. Set for white bread, dough stage. Press start. When dough is ready, remove from bread machine and punch down. cut smaller recipe into 9 equal pieces. Let dough rest 5 minutes while you butter two baking sheets. For hamburger buns, roll each piece into a ball and flatten it to form a patty about 3 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. For hot dog buns, roll each piece into a 6-inch rope and flatten it to 1/2 inch thickness. Place rolls on baking sheets. Cover loosely and set in a warm place to rise for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly brush tops of rolls with milk and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired (I usually skip that part). Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until a skewer inserted in a roll comes out clean. (From p. 127 of The Bread Machine Cookbook by Margie Lambert.)

When we had our fall picnic, I used my mother-in-law's coleslaw recipe. I wanted to try something different--something nice and creamy that would go well with spicy barbecue, and Bobby Flay came to my rescue:

1 head green cabbage, finely shredded
2 large carrots, finely shredded
3/4 cup best-quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons grated Spanish onion
2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons celery salt S
alt and freshly ground pepper


Combine the shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl. Whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, onion, sugar, vinegar, mustard, celery salt, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl, and then add to the cabbage mixture. Mix well to combine and taste for seasoning; add more salt, pepper, or sugar if desired.
See my Christmas present? I've taken to looking up and viewing my recipes with it.

The dressing


For most of my life I haven't been a huge fan of coleslaw, but after making this I am quickly becoming one. I'm making this one again in the near future.

I had just made hush puppies for New Year's, and I wanted something slightly different--more like the hush puppies we had at the Cook Out Restaurant where we stopped for lunch somewhere in North Carolina on our way to Atlanta for Christmas. I figured Paula Deen would know how to fix hush puppies right, y'all!

6 cups peanut oil (I used canola oil because Moe is allergic to peanuts)
1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup buttermilk (since Moe is allergic to milk, I used a combination of soy and rice milk)
1 egg, lightly beaten (or 1 1/2 heaping teaspoons
Egg Replacer beaten with 2 tablespoons water)


Using a deep pot, preheat oil for frying to 350 degrees F. Using a mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the onion. In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk and egg. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until blended. Drop the batter, 1 teaspoon at a time, into the oil. Dip the spoon in a glass of water after each hushpuppy is dropped in the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning the hushpuppies during the cooking process. (source)

Now THIS is what a hushpuppy should look like. And the taste? Just how a hushpuppy should taste--crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, with just a hint of onion flavor. YUMMMM!!!

A perfect birthday dinner! (We're a little slow getting our Christmas decorations put away. And where did that remote control robotic spider from Moe's Christmas stocking wind up on the table??)

Larry also wanted a banana cake for his birthday, and I was happy to oblige. Even though banana cake doesn't appear anywhere in A Bend in the Road, I was so proud of myself after making this one I just had to show it to you!

It was amazing; even better than the dairy-free egg-free one I've made for Moe's birthdays, and that one is pretty yummy, too. Click here for this fabulous banana cake recipe! I was so proud of myself because it looked just like the one in the picture. And like I said, it was to die for.

I don't know if or when we'll see any more barbecue in Nick's books. (Yes, I've read all of them, but my memory isn't that good.) No matter; next time we have a hankering for barbecue, we'll try cooking it North Carolina style, and I'll share that adventure with you here.

Next up: Stuffed halibut, rice pilaf, and spinach salad.

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