A Day to Honor the Sooner State

Today we recognize the 46th State to join the Union – Oklahoma. Oklahoma gave us Will Rogers, Chuck Norris, Garth Brooks and my Dad, so it truly holds a special place in my heart.

The panhandled state of Oklahoma is a dotted series of granite mountain peaks, sloping sandstone ridges, rolling hills, and plains. In 1803, the land became part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase.

Across the state, significant sites record the result of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Trail of Tears National Historic Trail crosses nine states and describes the brutal impact on the lives of Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles.

In 1889, several counties in Oklahoma became open to settlement by Land Run. Settlers could claim quarter sections of land only after a specific time (usually noon) on a set date. Some eager settlers would cross the boundary into the county seeking their preferred quarter section sooner than the stroke of noon, earning them (and the state) the nickname “Sooners.”

The official state meal of Oklahoma consists of fried okra, cornbread, barbecue pork, squash, biscuits, sausage and gravy, grits, corn, strawberries (state fruit), chicken fried steak, pecan pie, and black-eyed peas. Now you noticed I began this paragraph with “state meal” and not Meals – so this would be one heck of a meal. Oh my goodness, bless their hearts in Oklahoma. And if you know southern lingo, you know just what I mean.

When I realized that today was National Oklahoma Day two things happened. The first was my brain began to hum an old, familiar song and slowly the words floated by . . .

Proud to be An Okie from Muskogee
We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee
We don’t take our trips on LSD
We don’t burn our draft cards down on Main Street
We like livin’ right, and bein’ free

We don’t make a party out of lovin’
We like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo
We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do

I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares can have a ball
We still wave Old Glory down at the courthouse,
And white lightnin’s still the biggest thrill of all

The second was that researching popular dishes of Oklahoma brought me to Barbecued Bologna. Yeah, what the heck? As it just so happens, a cookbook that I bought while on vacation in Oregon a few years back actually has a recipe for Barbecued Bologna. Wow – what are the odds? Inspired by Barbecued Bologna and the fact that Okies love anything barbecued, smoked or fried, I thought I’d create an Oklahoma menu of my own.

Proud to be An Okie Menu
Oklahoma Caviar with Chips
Barbecued Bologna

Beer Butt Chicken
Fried Zucchini
Grilled Baking Potatoes

Pecan Pie Monkey Bread

Pecan Pie Monkey Bread

Oklahoma Caviar with Chips
2 large Roma Tomatoes
1/2 large Red Onion
4 Jalapeño Peppers
1 cup canned Yellow Corn
1 (15 oz) can of Black Beans
1 (16 oz) can of Kidney Beans
1 Garlic Cloves
1/2 cup of Salsa
1/4 cup Italian Dressing
2 Avocados
1 Lime, juice only
Tortilla Chips for serving

Split tomatoes in half, remove seeds. Dice and place in a medium-size mixing bowl. Cut onion in half from root to tip, retain one have for another use. Peel remaining half, then dice and add to the bowl with the tomatoes. Split open the Jalapeño Pepper, remove some or all the seeds. Dice peppers, add to the bowl.

Drain and rinse the corn, black beans and kidney beans. Add to the tomato mixture.

Finely mince or press garlic, add to the tomato mixture. Stir in the salsa and Italian Dressing, cover and refrigerate overnight.

Just before serving, cut lime in half and set aside. Split open the avocados, remove the pit and score the flesh. Squeeze lime juice over the avocado halves. Season generously with salt and pepper. Scoop out avocado pieces, fold into the tomato mixture.

Serve with thick tortillas or home-made chips.

Barbecued Bologna
1 medium Onion
2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup Clam Broth
1 tablespoons dried Parsley Flakes
1/2 teaspoon Roasted Garlic Powder
1 (2-lb) Bologna Tube

Peel and mince onion. Set aside. Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat. Sauté onion in the butter until translucent. Add tomato sauce, clam broth, parsley flakes and roasted garlic powder. Lower heat; continue to cook for 5 minutes.

Score bologna tube to a depth of 1/8-inch all over. Place tube on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour sauce over the bologna and let sit for 25 minutes, turning occasionally, to allow the sauce to seep in.

Set up grill for indirect cooking, bring grill to 250-degrees. Grill bologna tube for about 90-minutes or until warmed through and the sauce has crusted over. Slice to serve.

Barbecued Bologna can be served alone or arranged on a platter with crackers and assorted cheeses for an Oklahoma-Style Cheese Board.

While Beer Butt Chicken is not an official Oklahoma thing, I knew I had to include this barbecued chicken in my salute to Oklahoma. For one thing, Okies love anything barbecued. And they have been known to enjoy their beer. My Dad is proud to be an Okie. And recently Pops asked me if I knew how to make Beer Butt Chicken. It’s something he’s been interested in trying. So this bird’s for my Dear Old Dad.

Smoked Beer Butt Chicken
The Bird
1 (4-1/2 lb) Roasting Chicken

Rinse chicken well inside and out, removing any giblets. Pat dry with paper towels and set aside.

The Dry Rub
1-1/2 teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 teaspoons Roasted Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Cayenne Powder
1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Dry Yellow Mustard
1/2 tablespoons Hickory Smoked Salt

In a small bowl, mix together the dry rub. Generously season the chicken inside and out with the rub. Work mixture well into and under the skin as much as possible. Set chicken aside; covered, for an hour for the rub to blossom into the meat. Meanwhile, make the basting spray and prepare the grill.

Basting Spray
1 cup Apple Cider
1 tablespoon Hickory Balsamic Vinegar

In a spray bottle used for food, mix together the apple cider and vinegar. Shake well, set aside until ready to use.

Build a fire in the smoke box of your grill. Once the grill is hot (about 400 degrees) and smoky, start the chicken.

Beer Butt
1 (12 oz) can Beer

Drink or otherwise empty about half of the can of beer. Steady the can on the grill and lower chicken over the beer, can up its butt, with the legs supporting the squatted bird.

Smoke the chicken for 2 to 2-1/2 hours, spraying every 20 to 30 minutes with the basting spray. The chicken is done smoking when the internal temperature is about 175 degrees.

Carefully remove the chicken, still perched on the beer can, and transfer to a cutting board. With heat-resistant gloves; carefully remove the chicken from the beer can. Cut, arrange on a serving platter, and enjoy.

Fried Zucchini
2-1/2 cups Milk
3 cups Flour
3 cups Italian Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs
2 Zucchini
Peanut or Vegetable Oil for frying

Place milk in a bowl, set aside. In a resealable gallon bag, measure flour and set aside. Place breadcrumbs in another resealable gallon bag, set aside. Slice each zucchini into 1/4-inch thick round slices.

Working in batches, place about 10 zucchini rounds at a time into the bowl of milk. Add the milk-coated zucchini rounds to the bag of flour, shake to coat. Return the zucchini to the milk for a second dunking, then place in the bag with breadcrumbs. Shake to coat. Transfer breaded zucchini to a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat until all the zucchini has been breaded.

In a deep-sided skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, fry zucchini until golden brown, turning gently as necessary. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb any excess oil. Repeat until all the zucchini is fried.

Arrange on a serving platter, tent to keep warm until ready to serve.

Grilled Baking Potatoes
4 large Baking Potatoes
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Roasted Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons dried Crushed Rosemary
Kosher Salt to taste
Italian Parsley, chopped for garnish

Scrub potato skins well. Quarter the potatoes lengthwise to create large wedges. Place potatoes in a large pot with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil, cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until tender but firm.

Set up grill for indirect cooking and heat to medium-high heat.

Drain potatoes and place potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet. Coat potatoes with olive oil, then season with fresh black pepper, crushed rosemary and kosher salt to taste.

Place the potato wedges skin-side down over indirect heat on the grill, reserving the oil-liquid in the baking sheet. Grill the potatoes for about 15 minutes. While the potato wedges are grilling, chop parsley for garnish and set aside.

Remove potatoes to a serving platter. Drizzle with reserved seasoned oils from the baking sheet. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Pecan Pie Monkey Bread
Bread Dough
1 (1/4 oz) package Active Dry Yeast
1/4 cup Warm Water (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
5 cups Flour, plus more for dusting
1-1/4 cups warm Milk (110 degrees to 115 degrees)
1/3 cup Butter, plus more for greasing
1/4 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 large Eggs

Dissolve the yeast in the water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 3 cups of the flour. Warm the milk, melt the butter and add to the yeast-flour mixture. Stir in the sugar, salt and eggs. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.

Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a firm dough. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Pecan Caramel
6 tablespoons Butter, plus more for greasing
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
6 tablespoons Pecans, chopped
6 tablespoons Heavy Cream

Generously butter a 10-inch bundt pan and set aside. Cube the butter, pack the brown sugar and chop the pecans. Set aside.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring the brown sugar, butter and cream to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Pour half into the prepared bundt pan and sprinkle with the pecans. Set aside.

Finishing Touches
1 cup Sugar
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Butter, melted
6 tablespoons Pecans, chopped

Remove the bread dough from the refrigerator. Punch dough down, then shape into 40 balls (1 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter). Set balls aside.

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl, set aside. Melt butter and chop the pecans. Create an assembly line. Pour the melted butter into another bowl. Roll the balls in the butter and then roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 20 balls in the bundt pan and top with remaining caramel and the pecans. Lastly, place the final 20 balls of dough into the pan. Cover the bundt pan and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 350-degrees. Bake monkey bread in the heated oven until the top is a deep golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm.

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.

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