Couple’s Night StoryFebruary 17th, 2012
On January 20, my wife and I helped plan, decorate, and cook for couple’s night at our church. The barbecue (yes, ‘que of course! ) turned out well, except that I totally forgot to glaze the ham with sauce and honey before serving it. Oh, well, I got quite a few good comments and no bad, so apparently it wasn’t too serious.
Whether you’re trying to plan a sweetheart banquet or just love good barbecue, you will find some great inspiration in this post. It was a bit stressful getting everything ready and I didn’t get as many pictures of the food as I wish, so I will try to fill in the blanks with my story.
I made smoked ham and smoked skinless turkey breasts on my SQ36 Offset Meadow Creek Smoker. My wife planned the rest of the menu: Creamy Potato Sticks, green beans, 7-layer salad, butterhorn rolls, and three different kinds of ice cream pies. (Keep reading this post for recipes.)
We also had a Valentine party mix (very romantic), fruit cups, and little bags of candy for appetizers. Fruit punch, coffee, and tea to drink.
Creamy Potato Sticks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cup milk
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can condensed cream of celery soup, undiluted
1/2 pound American cheese, cubed
5-6 large baking potatoes, peeled
1 cup chopped onion
In a saucepan, combine flour and salt; gradually whisk in milk until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; whisk in soup and cheese until smooth. Set aside. Cut potatoes into 4″ x 1/2″ x 1/2″ sticks; place into a greased 13″ x 9″ x 2″ baking dish. Sprinkle with onion. Top with cheese sauce. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with paprika. Yield: 6 servings.
Layered Lettuce Salad
1 head lettuce, shredded
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, shredded
4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
2 cups slightly cooked peas
1 medium onion, chopped
8 slices bacon, fried, crumbled
2 cups mayonnaise
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup shredded cheese
In a 9″ x 13″ pan, layer the first 7 ingredients in the order given. Make sure the lettuce is not wet. Mix mayonnaise and sugar; spread on top. Top with cheese. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Serve layered or toss. Toss in tomatoes if desired.
For the ham, I took a pre-smoked spiral sliced ham and added seasoning to the entire surface and put it on the smoker to ramp up the flavor. A few hours should be fine if it’s eating temperature. When it’s about done, you brush on a glaze made out of sauce and honey. I hope to publish a recipe soon with a little more detail, but that’s the gist of it.
I used Butterball brand turkey breasts. It was a first for me, smoking skinless boneless turkey breasts, plus I didn’t even marinate them. Yet it turned out to be the best turkey I’ve ever eaten. So the take-away here is, start with good juicy meat, take a risk, do it so fast you can’t take notes, shake together some seasonings, and it just might turn out awesome.
I can’t quite remember exactly how I seasoned them, but here is what I’m thinking. Meadow Creek Traditional Rub, Smoken’ Dudes Chicken Rub, and on of KA-Ranch’s seasonings. Then I melted some butter and mixed in Worcestershire sauce and a spicy rub of some sort and brushed it on the meat.
The turkey took less than an hour to do. For the last part of the cook time, I laid them on foil in the smoker to protect them from the heat. I still can’t believe how tender and tasteful that meat was.
Here are links to the ice cream pie recipes we used:
I hope you are inspired with how easy it can be to integrate authentic, southern-style barbecue into all kinds of experiences. Not just backyard get-togethers, but even more formal settings such as a sweetheart banquet at your church or a corporate meal at your business.