Category: skillet cookery

Breakfast Sausage Harvest Hash

Breakfast Sausage Harvest Hast

…this rustic hash features your favorite breakfast sausage and good old North Carolina Sweet Potatoes!

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collards + cabbage + frost = “cabbards” time…. with Crispy Cornbread Cookies, Molasses Bacon Butter & Pot Likker

The time has just about come for the annual “cooking of the cabbards” to fill the freezer!  Like a squirrel stowing away acorns for the winter, I too, “get my cook’n on” once our local collards have had a good kissing o’ the frost.  Some think that’s just an old tale, but not this gal, lovingly called THE “Collard Queen” by those lucky enough to have had some bestowed uponst them by said ‘queen’ or have rubbed their full bellies after a sit’n at her table… served up with a side of Crispy Cornbread Cookies, some Molasses Butter, a warm cup of Pot Likker or cold buttermilk.  And don’t forget the farmers’ market treasures… including a menagerie of homemade chow chows destined to crown a heap’n helping of fall’s green ‘gold!’

So I’m in my kitchen a few days ago cooking cornbread cookies for this here post… setting up my photo shot, and about to savor the very last tidbit of my 2010 stash of cabbards I lucked up and found tucked into a back corner of the freezer when…”ding dong”… my doorbell rings.  My kitchen sidekick and 7YO nephew hollers…“Dee Dee, who is THAT?” (seeing as how it is mid-afternoon and we’re still in our loungy clothes  watching movies, blogging and eat’n).  I looked at him and said… “I have NO idea!” But I surely am hoping it’s somebody that won’t mind my receiving them in my ‘old lady house dress,’ (probably something akin to what my grandmas were wearing when they cooked collards) and Wyatt, running around in his ‘underdraws.’  I swing the door open, and there stands my cousin Mark… who I see fairly rarely, but usually when he drops by (less often than the proverbial blue moon), he has some sort of vegetable(s) gleaned from a nearby garden.  He leads me out to the back of his pick up truck (the preferred method of transportation for most of us country folk)… and what do I see…. THESE!  *C.O.L.L.A.R.D.S*

I’m not believing this… as mere seconds ago I’m in my kitchen, cooking up, photographing and in the middle of writing this very blog post about collards… when a big ole’ mess of them land on my front porch…  the weirdness of this timing is CRAYzee! And as delighted as I am about all this, I’m trying to factor in my head…  when in the world can I squeeze cabbard cook’n into this particular week’s schedule... with a TV show taping (see show video at My Carolina Today!) and a ginormous exciting photo shoot for Our State Magazine (where I’m so blessed to be food stylist and recipe developer…so subscribe if you don’t already, and buy holiday gift certificates too).  But never one to let a little thing like ‘limited hours in the day’ get in my way… a cabbard cook’n will commence!  I decided to just throw ’em in my big chest freezer till that can happen…something I have had to do before, and equates to that sweet kiss of frost… a BIG deep freeze kiss!

So without further ado, here is my much requested method for cooking collards (or in my case, “cabbards”).  These are sooo good, and worth every minute of effort it takes to get from the back end of a truck to your supper (and sometimes breakfast) plate.

Wendy’s Locally Famous Cabbards (Cabbage + Collards)

Wendy’s Cabbards

As THE “throw cooker” that I am (come see my Throw Cooking web page and recipes), I’m going to tell YOU how to throw these together… exactness is not important here!  These are the necessary ingredients and process.  I have, on occasion, cooked these in MASS to fill my freezer for the winter, but you can do any amounts that work for you.  A couple of years ago, I cooked 40 lbs. bacon and forget how many birds to have broth and bacon grease for 100 lbs. cabbage and 50 lbs. collards!  It took me quite some time to figure all this out, but because the collards ‘evaporate’ and disappear in the pot, I decided to see what happened if I added in some cabbage… and it makes the collards even better… sweeter… AND, the cabbage doesn’t disappear as much as the collards… so you end up with a whole lot more “cabbards” to store away and nobody but you knows this little secret, till NOW!

  • Chicken(s) or Hen(s)
  • Bacon (lots!)… more that you think… you need a goodly amount of rendered bacon grease
  • Collards… about 1/2 as much collards as cabbage (washed real good)
  • Cabbage… about twice as much cabbage as collards (washed real good)

EQUIPMENT:

  • BIG pot
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Tongs
  • Time

Put some water in a big old pot and throw your chicken(s) or hen(s) in there.  Bring to rolling boil, then reduce heat and keep cook’n till you have some tender bird and a big ole’ pot of chicken stock.  Take that bird out and make yourself a mess ‘o chicken salad or freeze for cooking in other stuff, like Chicken Pot Pies or Brunswick Stew.

Get that big old cast iron skillet out and fry up a LOT of bacon.  Sometimes on cabbard cooking day I’m outside doing all that AND cooking up a ginormous amount of my “Almost Famous Brunswick Stew”-will post that soon if you ask!… so I invite folks to drop by and eat bacon sandwiches.  Put this bacon grease into a big can (coffee can works great).

Rough slice the cabbage.  Throw some in the pot of broth, alternating with handfuls of torn collard leaves.  As it wilts, keep adding more to the pot.  Let this cabbard mix boil and boil… the more ‘tenderer’ the better.

On a burner beside this pot, put your big iron skillet on med-hi and add (generously) some bacon grease.  With tongs, grab some of the cabbards and plop into the hot skillet, including some of the wondermous Pot Likker they produced.  Start chopping with long-handled veggie chopper… as they cook down and shrink as you chop, continue grabbing more cabbards with your tongs and continue this process, stirring around to incorporate the bacon grease.  Once these are really tender and chopped real good, dump into big bowl to cool before putting into containers and continue doing this until you’ve cooked all your cabbards.

Cool’n Cabbards

When packing into containers, I try to leave good head space and top off with some of the broth so when heating, that is there to give a little moisture while warming.

Serve with Cornbread Cookies with Molasses Butter and mug of Pot Likker or Cold Buttermilk.

Cornbread Cookies with Molasses Bacon Butter

Wendy’s Crispy Cornbread Cookies

It’s really easy to throw together these crispy crunchy Cornbread Cookies and they are the perfect sidekick for your Cabbards.

  • your favorite hushpuppy mix
  • finely diced onions (any kind…sweet, green, scallion, chive, etc.)
  • sugar
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • lard

Mix hushpuppy mix according to package directions.  Add in onions and sugar to taste (you want these to be lightly sweetened and the sugar helps make them crispy too).  Grind in some pepper.  If your mix is really thick, add a little more water or milk/buttermilk, whatever you are using until thinner and pourable/spoonable.  I like to let my mixture sit about 10 minutes before cooking to adjust this consistency as it will thicken as it sits (but also, the flavors will marry a bit).

Heat thin amount of lard in cast iron skillet on med-high heat.  With a tablespoon, spoon into hot skillet and spread thin with back of spoon.  Fry until golden brown and flip; repeat on the other side.  Drain well on brown paper bag or paper towels.

Serve with Molasses Butter alongside Cabbards with mug of Pot Likker or Buttermillk.

MOLASSES BUTTER

  • Softened Butter
  • Molasses
  • Bacon Grease, optional
  • Cinnamon or Apple Pie Spice, optional

Drizzle some molasses over butter and swirl to blend.

VARIATIONS: To make Molasses Bacon Butter, stir in a bit of bacon grease.  A bit of cinnamon or apple pie spice is also tasty in Molasses Butter, depending on what you will be serving it with (especially great with pancakes, waffles or French Toast too)!

Enjoy y’all… and please throw me your comments below AND ‘share’ with all your friends!

“Traditional Southern Thanksgiving Favs…with a Twist”

Twisted Southern Thanksgiving Table

Being the “throw cooker” that I am, those of you that know me know I’m gonna throw a twist into a meal or recipe, any chance I get.  Well there’s no reason Thanksgiving should be exempt from my voodoo.  My friends

Valonda and Sharon invited me back again to their show, NBC17’s My Carolina Today Show, here in the Raleigh Triangle market… those two are so cute and fun I can never say no to their invites… although being a big girl as I am, I feel like Goliath Chef beside them. I’m sure they must wear something like Size -4 or something like that… and so bubbly I just wanna pinch their cheeks… bless their hearts!  I usually take my clogs off during taping to help a little, but forgot when taping this week… the show will air tomorrow (Thursday, November 16th)… so as I post, I don’t have a link to the video yet they always throw up online… I’ll come back with that!

When Sharon asked me at my last visit to come up with ‘something’ for Thanksgiving, I didn’t have any ideas right off the bat like usual… but a couple of weeks ago, as usual, I had a vision… of one thing, and that’s all it takes to get me going.  They asked me yesterday if I just magically ‘come up with this stuff,’ and I told them, “well, actually, yes.”  My inspiration this time was collards. (And when I come up for air in-between this week’s BIG projects…. I’m going to post my “Almost Famous Collards” for you, and how I throw ’em together.)  Once I had the collard vision, everything else just flowed right out of me… and so now, I introduce to you…

My Southern Thanksgiving Table… with a twist!

As you look through these realllllly easy recipes, you’ll see all our usual stuff found on Turkey Day Tables, at least mine anyway… turkey, cranberry sauce, collards, stuffing (AKA dressing), turnips, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and pecan pie ~ just twisted out a bit.  I hope y’all enjoy these and reallllly hope you will give me some feedback down there in the ‘comments’ box, and also, PLEASE SHARE on your Facebook pages and with your friends… I really need to get more folks here and need your help!  I give you entertainment and wondermous recipes, and all I ask is that you invite a few folks to subscribe…

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Gotta run… as Food Stylist and Recipe Developer for Our State Magazine, gotta be up realllllllllll early in the morning and in Greensboro BY 7:30…. to shoot some wayyyy outside the box special recipes I developed for February issue… been working on them for a few months!  Can’t tell ya any more than that… Top Secret, but you just run yourself on over and subscribe right now so it will come right to your mailbox in mid-January! (It’s a perfect gift that gives all year long too… for yourself or others.)  You are just not gonna believe your eyes.  Lordie Mercie, they are bringing in video folk too, to film the ‘behind the scenes’ of the assembly of these recipes and what goes on at a special photo shoot like this, so this gal needs all the ‘beauty rest’ she can get… but to tell you the truth, I’m SOOOO excited about this and feel like it’s my Christmas Eve and don’t anticipate much sleep, ‘tween that and the tornado watches going on thru the night.  I’m about to bust wide open to tell folks about this… by my lips are sealed… for a few more weeks anyway.

So… hope you enjoy these recipes… and Share Away!

FOR 1 page PRINTABLE RECIPES, click HERE! Or, click the recipe name.

Grilled Barbecued Turkey

Grilled Barbecued Twisted ‘n Kicked Turkey

We’re twist’n & kick’n up Thanksgiving this year with some new ways to cook and serve traditional oldies.  Everybody loves grilled goodies and this turkey is no exception.  This recipe features some culinary goodies made here in North Carolina but you can sub your own favorites as well.

 

Recipe By: Wendy Perry
Serving Size:  however much you cook!

Sliced Turkey breast (you can used cooked)
Turkey Legs (raw)
Tiny Town Turkey Rub     (from Savory Spice Shop Raleigh-visit one in your area or order online!)

1          cup                 NC’s Fireside Black Jack BBQ Sauce                         Visit their Web Site
½         cup                NC’s Crooked Condiments Gaelic Ale Mustard      Visit their Web Site
1          teaspoon        jalapeno powder (more or less to taste)   (also from Savory Spice Shop)

TURKEY:  To save time, you can buy cooked turkey breast.

Shake (generously) some Tiny Town Turkey Rub onto turkey.

SAUCE:  Mix BBQ sauce, mustard and jalapeno power in small bowl.

Slice (cooked turkey) and place on grill.  Baste with sauce and grill on each side until well-heated and sauce has caramelized a bit.

Cook raw turkey legs, turning frequently, until at 165° by thermometer.  Once done and before removing from grill, baste generously with sauce and turn a few
times to allow sauce to glaze and caramelize.

Use this to also to baste Bacon Wrapped Collard Rolls with Stuffing.

Recipe Copyright© Wendy L. Perry, Inc.
May be shared with credit cited and link back to this blog

Cranberry BBQ SauSal

Cranberry BBQ “SauSal

Throw your guests a twist at Thanksgiving or any time you serve turkey or chicken with this SauSal… (a little Sauce with a hint of Salsa)
You can throw this together in about 10 minutes with a bag of cranberries and some goodies you probably have on hand!

 

Recipe By: Wendy Perry
Serving Size: 8+

1          bag                 fresh cranberries
¼         cup               favorite BBQ sauce
1           cup                sugar
½         cup               brown sugar
¾         cup               your favorite salsachopped cilantro
1                                  jalapeno, seeded and diced

Throw everything but cilantro and jalapeno into heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil and cook for about 8-10 minutes, until berries have popped and sauce has thickened.

Pour into serving bowl and chill.  At serving time, sprinkle with cilantro and jalapeno.  Serve with BBQ Turkey and Bacon Wrapped Cabbage Rolls and Stuffing.

This is also good on leftover turkey (and ham) sandwiches and wraps.

Recipe Copyright© Wendy L. Perry, Inc.        May be shared with credit cited and link back to this blog

Bacon Wrapped Collard Rolls with Stuffing

Bacon Wrapped Collard Rolls with Stuffing

Collards….
the quintessential southern green, and no traditional Thanksgiving table in these parts would be complete without ‘em.  But this year, throw together some of these and throw on the grill along with your turkey for a real surprising twist… and your dressing, or stuffing, whichever you call it, is tucked inside!  Like most of this meal, these can be made ahead and just throw on the grill when you cook your turkey.

 

 

Recipe By: Wendy Perry
Serving Size: 8

8                                 collard leaves, torn into large pieces
8       slices               bacon
4       cups                 your favorite stuffing
toothpicks

BBQ Turkey Sauce (see that recipe up above)

In deep skillet or pot, heat water 2 inches deep.  Once boiling, throw collard leaves into water (stacked on top of each other).  Blanche several minutes until tender.  Remove and drain in colander being careful not to tear leaves.

Cook bacon in layers of paper towels in microwave (or skillet) several minutes until almost done, but still soft and pliable.

Lay collard leaf onto flat surface.  Spoon ½ cup of stuffing horizontally and roll up.  Wrap a slice of bacon around the roll and secure with toothpick.  Continue until all rolls are completed.

Throw on hot grill and baste with the Turkey BBQ Sauce, turning to glaze while sauce lightly caramelizes and bacon finishes cooking.  Serve with grilled turkey.

 

Recipe Copyright© Wendy L. Perry, Inc.
May be shared with credit cited and link back to this blog

Rosemary Skewered Fall Veggie Kabobs

Rosemary Skewered Fall Veggie Kabobs

These are really easy to throw together for a new twist on traditional Thanksgiving vegetables.  You can also make these ahead of time to throw on the grill with the rest of your Grilled Turkey Day meal.

 

Recipe By: Wendy Perry
Serving Size: 8

8                                   stems of fresh rosemary
8          (or more)     fresh Brussels Sprouts
16       1” chunks      fresh turnips
16       1” chunks      fresh butternut squash
1          large               red onion, cut into 1” square slices
1          stick                butter, melted
Few     sprigs            fresh sage
salt and freshly ground pepper

Strip leaves from rosemary stems, leaving about 2” of leaves on tip end.  Set aside.

Steam Brussels Sprouts in microwave until tender but not mushy, about 3-4 minutes.  (Time will vary depending on wattage of your microwave.)

Steam turnip and squash chunks in microwave until crisp tender being careful not to overcook;  if too done, they will break apart when sliding onto skewers.

Thread onto skewers… squash, turnip, onion, sprout, squash, turnip, onion (or whatever pattern you choose)… I use 1 Brussels Sprout in center but you can add more if you like.

Throw onto grill making sure tips with leaves are over unheated area so they won’t burn off.  Use sage stem with leaves to baste with melted butter while cooking.  Grill, turning gently with tongs, until slightly charred on all sides.  Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper or seasoning of choice.

 

Recipe Copyright© Wendy L. Perry, Inc.
May be shared with credit cited with link back to this blog

BUTTERscoth PECAN Skillet Pie

BUTTERscoth PECAN Skillet Pie

Yummmm….
cooking and serving pie from a skillet just seems to make ‘em taste better!  This pie just says ‘fall’… with the toasty pecans and richness of the butterscotch.  Top with Sweet ‘Tater & Molasses Ice Cream and get ready for accolades all around for your DEElicious DEEssert.

Recipe By: Wendy Perry
Serving Size: 8

1 1/2      cups               pecan pieces
2          tablespoons   flour
3              large             eggs – beaten with whisk till slightly frothy
1      11 ounce bag     butterscotch morsels
1/2          cup               brown sugar
1              stick              butter — melted, cooled
1          teaspoon        vanilla
1                                     unbaked pie shell, (I use Pillsbury from dairy section, not frozen)
Sweet ‘Tater & Molasses Ice Cream
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Spray 10″-12’ cast iron skillet; place crust into prepared pan.  It will naturally ‘ruffle’ as shown in picture.

In medium bowl, mix pecan pieces with flour. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.  Pour into pie shell and bake 350* for about 40-45 minutes.

Let pie cool before slicing as it is easier to cut at room temperature.

Serve with dollop of Sweet ‘Tater & Molasses Ice Cream and pinch of sea salt.

Recipe Copyright© Wendy L. Perry, Inc.
May be shared with credit cited with link back to this blog

NC Sweet ‘Tater * Molasses Ice Cream

North Carolina Sweet ‘Tater & Molasses Ice Cream

Lordie Mercie.
You just don’t get much easier than this when it comes to Throw Cooking.  This is a fun and easy recipe for little ones to throw together with you in the kitchen.  Eat as is, or plop some on top of a slice of BUTTERscoth PECAN Skillet Pie.

 

Recipe By: Wendy Perry
Serving Size: 8

1          ½ gallon         vanilla ice cream, softened
2          large                 sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
1          tablespoons  apple pie spice
½         cup                  molasses
sea salt

Put softened ice cream into mixing bowl.  Throw in sweet potatoes and spice.  Drizzle with molasses and swirl into ice cream mixture.  Refreeze.

Serve as is or over pie with a pinch of sea salt on top!

Sweet potatoes can be cooked in microwave on high power, about 10 minutes.  Cook until soft when squeezed with a towel.  Be sure they are well cooled before adding into ice cream.

Recipe Copyright© Wendy L. Perry, Inc.
May be shared with credit cited with link back to this blog

That’s all for now folks!

Country Style Steak Meatballs… “yes, PLEASE!”

No matter how you serve them, you will get raves on this moist and tender Country-Style Steak Meatballs! Spoon over creamy grits or serve alongside mashed potatoes. Tuck inside slider buns or toasted sub rolls for the best sandwiches!

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Grunt?… or Slump? Campfire Blueberry Peach Fruit Grunt

So which is it…. Grunt? or Slump?  You might have seen these descriptions for fruity desserts and wondered…what the heck?  Well you will be happy to know that grunts and slumps are one in the same!  Now don’t confuse them with cobblers, crumbles and crisps, buckles, brown bettys, pandowdy or the regionally almost-famous North Carolina Sonker!  Are you fully befuddled now?  

Each one of these baked goods are delicious in their own way, but are not the same… and traditionally include fruit, flour, sugar and butter. What can be wrong about any such thing? So, let’s have a quick lesson to un-confuse ya. 

Let’s start out with the grunt, aka slump, since this post’s recipe is just that!  Featured in June’s Carolina Country Magazine, you will find my Campfire Fruit Grunt recipe down below you can easily print out and make for your crowd this July 4th!

Originally an English steamed fruit dessert, a grunt/slump is basically a cobbler, but cooked covered on a campfire or grill… or stovetop, rather than inside the oven. This kinda sorta steams the topping (typically a biscuit type dough)… and when it cooks, it makes a “grunting” noise around the edge and topping… thus, the name “grunt.” And once done, it “slumps” down into the skillet…. voila, “Slump!”  I’m particularly fond of crispy crunchy things, so you will find the topping on my grunt/slump recipe below to have a bit of those features rather than a softer biscuit dough as you will find with traditional recipes.

Cobbler… the name comes from the “cobblestone” appearance of the baked topping of a cobbler. Traditional cobblers are cooked casserole style and topped with biscuit dough and once cooked resemble cobblestones you may see on an old street…. not pie crust as many folks do these days. If you are served cobbler with pie crust on top, that’s pie, not cobbler! Sometimes you might even see a “crust” bottomed cobbler too. The filling cooks down into a fruity syrupy goodness. Nowadays you might see cobblers topped with such things as cookie dough and even cake batter.

Crumbles and Crisps... as the name says, this crumbly-topped fruity baked goodie is topped with an oatmeal struesel mixture…. thus, you have a “crumbly” topping.  Nowadays these have become one and the same. Originally, the main difference was that crisp toppings had oats while crumbs did not. Other toppings might have nuts, graham crackers or cookies in the mixture.

Buckles… these are kind of a cake with fruit on top of the batter and a crumb topping.  They are kinda sorta like a coffeecake, but have a softer and more buttery texture. And of course the name…. because it buckles when cooked!

Brown Bettys…. from Colonial days, this dessert usually features layers of sugared apple slices and buttery crumbs, most often made from stale bread.  Our ancestors wasted nothing and of course, would turn old bread into a sweet treat! 

Pandowdy… this is basically a pie without a bottom crust. Pieces of crust dough are scattered about the top and as ready to serve, broken up into the fruit with a spoon a bit and “dowdied” up so to speak.  Traditionally made with apples, pandowdy can be made with any sort of fruit. Molasses is sometimes used as sweetener in Pandowdy, or Pan Dowdy, spelled both ways.

NC Surry County Sonker… The Sonker is indigenous to North Carolina and so loved that it has it’s own festival (1st Saturday in October) and “trail.”  Over in Surry County, the rich heritage of the Sonker is celebrated and showcased on the trail in cafes and restaurants. Sonkers are cooked casserole style, like a deep dish pie, in a rectangle baking dish. Back in the day, it was often cooked in a big bread pan so there would be a plenty to feed all the farm hands that day.  As for its composure, you will get differing opinions on that. Some say it has a bottom crust while others say only side crusts. Either way, the fruit is often covered with a lattice pastry top.  Pretty much any sort of fruit can be used, combination of fruits…. and some even have vegetables like sweet potatoes… one of the most popular kinds of sonker.  No matter the crusts, a milk “batter” is poured over top, and the cooked sonker is served with milk “dip.”
I could go on and on about the sonker and will one day do a post just on that topic. For now, you can read more about its history at Our State Magazine.

And for a traditional Sweet Potato Sonker, here’s a recipe I prepared and styled for this piece a few years back when at Our State Magazine as food stylist and recipe developer. (This is not my recipe.)

There are other similar fruit desserts, but will save those for another time… like Clafouti, Shortcakes, Boy Bait, Long Cakes, Bird’s Nest Pudding and some I may not even have heard of.  Today’s post will get you started…. so throw yourself together this Grunt/Slump I recently created for Carolina Country’s June edition. I declare, here in mid-blueberry/peach season in North Carolina with folks camping and grilling all around, there’s no reason not to!  So stop by your local peach and berry farms or farmers’ market and get some fresh summer fruits… your favorites, and GRUNT!

Campfire Fruit Grunt

Grunts (also called Slumps) were born in New England and are a steamed cobbler that “grunt” when cooking and “slump” as they settle. This treat will make you the envy of the campground!  Great as a dessert, but also enjoyed as a breakfast treat as well.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Servings: 8
Author: Wendy Perry
Ingredients
  • 12" cast iron skillet
  • about 3 cups each fresh blueberries and sliced peaches
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup self-rising corn meal mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Prepare coals or heat grill to medium high heat. Put fruits, sugar and cornstarch in skillet and stir to combine.

  2. Put all dumpling ingredients except milk into zippered plastic bag. Squish with fingers until butter has been incorporated and you have a crumble mix. Blend in milk.

  3. Add dollops of dumpling batter on top of fruit, leaving space for it to bubble and “grunt.” Close grill lid to cook. If cooking on open coals, cover with foil.

    Cook over indirect heat for about 15 minutes until hot and bubbly.