Oklahoma! Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains

Come on, you know the music was playing in your head the moment we started with Oklahoma. I know it was blaring in my brain. Oklahoma! was the first musical written by the duo of Rodgers and Hammerstein. It is set not in the state of Oklahoma, but the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.

The famed musical is set in farm country outside the town of Claremore, Indian Territory, in 1906. It tells the story of a farm girl named Laurey Williams and her courtship by two rival suitors, a cowboy named Curly McLain and a sinister farmhand named Jud Fry. At the end of our musical, Laurey and Curly are married as everyone celebrates the territory’s impending statehood.

The realty was that in 1906, Congress passed and President Teddy Roosevelt approves the Oklahoma Enabling Act. It was the first step to statehood. On November 16, 1907 President Roosevelt signed the proclamation establishing Oklahoma as the nations 46th state. So while the wedding celebration revolving around statehood may have been a bit premature, statehood was on the horizon.

So let’s talk menu – there are reasons behind every dish. The Cowboy Caviar was inspired by Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman. If you’re a fan, then you know her cattle ranch is in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. It’s a fairly safe bet the Ree knows a thing or two about Oklahoma cooking.

Everything from the salad to the bake potato and Ribeye steak screams welcome to my Steak House. When it comes to a relationship with cattle, Oklahoma has a long history. Cattle raising goes back to the 1830s when the Five Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole) were uprooted and resettled in Indian Territory. Unlike the migratory tribes of the plains, these Nations had been ranchers and farmers in their homelands. In addition to bringing large herds of cattle, the Five Tribes worked in unison to create a communal land ownership that favored open range grazing. By the 1861 the Cherokee Nation alone had nearly a quarter-million head of cattle. Unfortunately, the havoc of civil war and a plague of cattle rustlers resulted in a loss of 300.000 head among the Five Nations by 1865. Determined to turn things around, cattlemen from Texas and Kansas began negotiations with the Cherokee Nation to place cattle on a six-million acre strip of good grass lands that had been granted to the Cherokee. In the ten-year existence of the association, it grew into the greatest livestock organization in the world. Despite protests from both cattlemen and the Cherokee, the U.S. government ordered the removal of all cattle in order to open up the Cherokee outlet for white settlement. In 1895 the open range was declared closed by the territorial legislature. By the turn of the century, nearly all Indian lands had been settled. This didn’t mean an end to cattle ranching in Oklahoma, but it did change who now controlled both the lands and the livestock. It is only fitting that the main course reflect the Cattleman’s stamp of excellence.

No barbecue would be complete without a refreshing beverage. Our Cherry Limeade is a direct “steal” from Sonic Drive-In’s beverage menu. And why not? The car-hop franchise got its start in Oklahoma.

As for the dessert – Pecan Pie is my Dad’s favorite. He’s an Okie from Oklahoma, and that’s good enough for me. Enjoy!

Celebrate Oklahoma with a Backyard Barbecue
Starter –
Oklahoma Cowboy Caviar

Salad –
American Toss Salad

Main Course –
Oklahoma Rub Ribeye Steaks
Old Fashion Baked Potato
Instant Buttery Cob Corn

Beverage –
Sonic Cherry-Limeade

Dessert –
Oklahoma City Pecan Pie

Oklahoma Cowboy Caviar
Oklahoma Dressing

1 Lime
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Pickled Jalapeño Brine
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher Salt to taste
Fresh Black Pepper to taste
5 tablespoons Olive Oil

Cut lime in half, reserve half for later, squeeze remaining half into a small bowl.

Whisk in the vinegar, pickled jalapeno brine, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Vigorously whisk in the oil to make a smooth dressing.

Set aside until ready to use.

Cowboy Caviar
1 (15 oz) can Black-eyed Peas
1 (15 oz) can Black Beans
1 cup frozen Corn
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 Red Onion, diced
1/2 cup fresh Cilantro
1 Avocado
Tortilla Chips for serving

Rinse and drain the black-eyed peas and black beans, place in a large serving bowl. Rinse corn under cold water to thaw, let drain, add to the bean mixture. Seed and chop tomatoes, add to the bean mixture. Cut onion in half from root to tip, reserve half for another use. Peel and roughly chop remaining half, scatter over bean mixture. Roughly chop cilantro, scatter over mixture.

Peel and dice avocado. Squeeze remaining half of the lime over the avocado to help retain color. Add to the bean mixture.

Toss gently to blend caviar. Whisk dressing if necessary to blend. Pour dressing over the caviar mixture.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend the flavors before serving. Serve with tortilla chips for scooping.

American Toss Salad
1/2 head Romaine Lettuce
1/2 head Iceberg Lettuce
1/2 Red Onion
1 cup Grape Tomatoes
1 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic Croutons as desired
Salad Dressing of choice as desired

Rinse both types of lettuce, break half of the leaves from the Romain head. Cut Iceberg head in half from root to tip. Reserve half of the lettuce heads for another use, tear remaining lettuce leaves into bite-size pieces.

Scatter the lettuce together into a large salad bowl or rimmed platter.

Cut onion in half from root to tip. Reserve half of the onion for another use. Cut remaining onion in half through the middle, then cut into half-moon slivers. Scatter onions over the lettuce

Scatter tomatoes and cheese over the lettuce. Season with salt and pepper, toss salad to blend. Chill well until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, plate salad on chilled salad plates. Top with Croutons and dressing as desired.

Oklahoma Rub Ribeye Steaks
4 tablespoons Coarse Salt
1 tablespoon Black Peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried Minced Garlic
1 tablespoon dried Minced Onion
1 tablespoon dried Thyme
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Cayenne
4 (1-inch thick) boneless Ribeye Steaks

In a grinder or mortar and pestle, grind salt, peppercorns, garlic and onion into small pieces. Grind in Thyme, then add paprika and cayenne. Mix well.

Rub steaks with the spice and set aside in refrigerator 2 hours Bring to room temperature before grilling.  

Heat a grill until very hot. Place steaks on the grill and cook, turning every 2 minutes or so, until crusty outside and medium-rare inside, 120 to 125 degrees. Time will vary depending upon how hot the grill is.

Remove steaks, tent and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Old Fashioned Baked Potato
4 large Baking Potatoes, washed
Olive Oil as needed
Sea Salt to taste
Butter as desired
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Sour Cream as needed
1 cup shredded Colby Cheese
Bacon Bits as desired
Chives for garnish

Heat oven to 400-degrees.

Wash potatoes, pat dry and rub skin with a small amount of olive oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cut a small X in the middle of the potato on one side to allow steam to vent.

Place potatoes in the oven directly on the rack and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending upon size. (To see if the potatoes are cooked, remove largest potato from oven, and squeeze. Potatoes are done when there is no resistance.) Turn off heat, wrap potatoes in foil and leave potatoes in the oven until ready to serve.

To serve, unwrap potatoes most of the way, leaving foil on lower half. Press ends inward so potato “pops” open. Fluff potato with a fork, plate and serve with individual cups for garnishings: Butter, sour cream, chopped chives or green onions, shredded cheese and bacon bits.

Instant Buttery Cob Corn
4 Ears of Corn
3/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Milk
Butter as desired
Salt to taste

Peel corn, clean silk from the cobs. Trim ends, set aside.

Pour water and milk together into the insert of the Instant Pot. Place trivet into the pot. Arrange the corn on the trivet.

Secure lid, select PRESSURE COOK – HIGH (Custom setting) for 2 minutes. Once the corn has been cooked, use the quick release valve, then open the lid.

Serve corn with butter and salt as desired.

Sonic Cherry-Limeade
1 (2-liter bottle) Sprite
1 (12 oz) frozen Limeade Concentrate
1 small jar stemless Maraschino Cherries
Limes for garnish if desired

In a large pitcher, combine Sprite, frozen limeade and the entire jar of maraschino cherries with syrup.

Mix slowly to prevent Sprite from going flat and loosing its fizz.

Pour into glasses over ice. Cut lime into wedges and garnish as desired.

Oklahoma City Pecan Pie
Pastry Shell

1 cup Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Shortening
1 tablespoon additional Shortening
2 to 3 tablespoons Cold Water

In medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening, using pastry blender, until particles are size of small peas. Sprinkle with cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until all flour is moistened and pastry almost leaves side of bowl.

Gather pastry into a ball. Shape into flattened round on lightly floured surface. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate about 45 minutes or until dough is firm and cold, yet pliable. Allows the shortening to become slightly firm to helps make the baked pastry more flaky. If refrigerated longer than 45 minutes, let pastry soften slightly before rolling.

Heat oven to 375-degrees.

With floured rolling pin, roll pastry into round 2 inches larger than an upside-down 9-inch glass pie plate. Fold pastry into fourths; place in pie plate. Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. Trim overhanging edge of pastry 1 inch from rim of pie plate. Fold and roll pastry under, even with plate; flute as desired. Set aside to make the filling.

Pecan Filling
2/3 cup Sugar
1 cup Light Corn Syrup
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs
1/3 cup Butter, melted
1 cup Pecan Halves

In another medium bowl, beat sugar, corn syrup, salt and eggs together. Melt butter, add to the filling mixture. Stir in pecans. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate.

Cover edge of pastry with 2- to 3-inch-wide strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set, removing foil for last 15 minutes of baking. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until chilled before serving.

Store in refrigerator.

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.

4 thoughts on “Oklahoma! Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plains”

  1. A great post filled with fun information and fabulous recipes. Did you know that Oklahoma was the 1st musical to debut on Broadway after World War 2. It was written to celebrate the American spirit.


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