The Plainsman's Kitchen: Bye week is test week

Michael Chang

Chris Davis, please come back. We miss you.

I tweeted earlier this week I was excited for a bye week because it meant I could finally stop chewing my fingernails off while coming out of a bourbon haze. A bye week also means I have time to test out a few recipes I have been eyeballing.

If you know me, you know that I am constantly on the road. I tried adapting this recipe for feta dip but hotel plasticware and lack of proper kitchen tools rendered me with something quite different.

If you are curious, I used a 5-ounce cup of crumbled feta, 2 tablespoons of chopped roasted garlic, 2 tablespoons of chopped kalamata olives and 2 tablespoons of chopped sundried tomatoes. I mixed everything together and added the juice of 1/3 of a lemon. It is not really a dip, so if I were at home, I would have added some good olive oil and pulsed a few times in the food processor. Oh well. Sometimes life falls short of expectations.

I am definitely testing these recipes this weekend to determine which ones are feasible for tailgating on the Plains and which ones are better suited for tailgating at home.

We do a lot of crockpot mains in the tent because they can be precooked on Friday, tossed into a storage container and then reheated in a crockpot in the tent. This is a favorite because it only requires four ingredients: Boston butt, sea salt, garlic, and bacon. I recommend it with Saws red sauce or Miss Myra's white sauce. Or both. I am looking to test out a Mexican take on pulled pork -- more ingredients and more prep but maybe more flavor. I will keep you posted.

I have never been a big fan of baked beans, maybe because my mom made them with canned beans, ketchup and brown sugar. If that is how your momma makes them, no offense, I just need something more savory. I came across these beans, and since they have both BACON AND BOURBON, I am sold.

We have two trusty Yetis as cooler workhorses and have recently discovered the joys of dry ice. We had dry ice last year for the Kickoff Classic and enjoyed popsicles on Opening Day. I had almost forgotten about that, but with recipes like butterscotch pudding pops and chocolate bourbon pops,  I think I need to make something cool before the warm weather disappears. I may have already missed my window, so pumpkin cheesecake will just have to do.

Bloody Marys are common in our tent (1 part Bakon vodka, 2 parts Fat & Juicy mix, dash of Cholula hot sauce and garnished with a lime wedge and a pickled okra) but I constantly go back and forth on making my own bloody mary mix from tomatoes, horseradish, Worcestershire, lemon, celery salt and a shot of Guinness. Then I found this elegant take on it all. Decisions, decisions, decisions.

I'll close this post with -- what else -- a bourbon cocktail. I give you a jalapeno-spiked bourbon julep from my favorite cookbook of the moment, Smoke and Pickles by Edward Lee.

What are you eating and drinking this weekend?

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