Celebrate North Carolina with a Barbecue

Welcome to North Carolina Day. Flight began in North Carolina and Pepsi was invented here. Dinosaurs once roamed the area. And pirates once made sailing the Carolina coast almost as dangerous as sailing the outer banks.

Like most states, North Carolina has its share of nicknames. One of those nicknames is the Tar Heel State. Yeah, that’s a strange one. It’s believed that long before the Civil War, Tar Heel was the handle given to those who went barefoot while collecting sap used in the production of tar and pitch. It was meant as an insult. However; during the Civil War, soldiers from North Carolina began calling themselves Tar Heels, bringing a sense of pride to the once humiliating nickname. It’s interesting to note that the name continues today despite that fact that the barefooted workers were actually slaves and the soldiers were Confederates. Today the Tar Heels play college football for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They do so with great sense of school pride.

Did you know that the world’s second tallest brick Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras, is in North Carolina? It protects one of the most hazardous sections of the Atlantic Coast. At 210-feet tall, it is the tallest brick lighthouse in American, topped by only a brick lighthouse in Poland.

West of the Mississippi, we have Catalina Island or those who seek a slower pace of life, even if only on vacation. Catalina really slows down – as in the folks on Catalina get around via golf carts, bicycles or on foot. No cars are allowed on the island. The same can be said for North Carolina’s Bald Head Island. The island boasts 14 miles of beaches, and the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldly. Bald Head island is a fragile barrier island with four ecosystems – beachfront, dune ridge, maritime forest and the marsh. Those who call Bald Head home strive to live in harmony with nature. Visitors to the island are asked to do the same.

Finally, if you find yourself in Lexington, North Carolina on either of the last two Saturdays in October, be sure to check out the Lexington Barbecue Festival. At the first Barbecue Festival in 1984, an estimated 30,000 people attended, and the barbecue chefs cooked up 3,000 pound of barbecue. Ten years later, the crowd was more than 100,000 and more than 11,000 pounds of Barbecue was served. Since then, it’s continued to grow. The food is amazing, the music great and the people warm.

Since Lexington claims to be the Barbecue Capital of the World, much to the dismay of Kansas City and all parts of Texas, barbecue seemed a fitting way to celebrate the day. At lease in spirit, since these amazing Country-Style Barbecue Rib never actually hit the grill. It’s all done in the oven, from start to finish. Yet the ribs are oh so tender and oh so “barbecued”. The best part of these ribs is that they slow cook for a while all on their own, freeing the cook up to do other things, such as sit with your feet up.

North Carolina Country Ribs
Dry Rub
3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Dried Thyme
1/4 teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
Pinch Cinnamon

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl to create the rub. Set aside until ready to use.

Country Ribs
4 lbs boneless Country Style Ribs
Water as needed
2 tablespoons Liquid Smoke
2 cups Favorite Barbecue Sauce

Remove any excessive fat from the country ribs. Some fat will add flavor, too much fat is just too much. Most country ribs are already trimmed, so it’s a matter of cut quality.

Rub ribs with seasoning mix. Wrap in plastic wrap, let flavor develop for a least 8 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Remove ribs from the refrigerator, set aside.

Line broiler pan with foil for easy clean up. Cut slits in foil for vents on top broiler pan. Arrange ribs on top broiler. Place water with liquid smoke in bottom. Cover tightly with foil to create a steam chamber

Slow cook ribs for about 2-1/2 hours or until very tender. Remove from oven, unwrap ribs. Brush generously with barbecue sauce. Broil ribs for about 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn, brush with more sauce and continue to broil another 3 minutes.

Serve with additional barbecue sauce and enjoy.

The perfect sides has to be cornbread and ranch beans. And let’s not forget dessert . . .

Today is National Strawberry Cream Pie Day. While this isn’t exactly a traditional Strawberry Cream Pie, or even a true Banana Cream Pie, it’s the marriage of both. Enjoy!

Strawberry Banana Cream Pie
Graham Cracker Crust
1-1/2 cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/3 cup Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
6 tablespoons Butter, melted

Heat oven to 375-degrees.

In a bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and cinnamon together. Dump graham cracker mixture into a 9-inch pie pan. Melt butter, add to the graham crackers and mix until well blended. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.

Bake in the heated oven for about 7 minutes. Remove from oven, set on a rack and allow curst to cool.

Creamy Custard Strawberry Banana Filling
1 Banana
3 Egg Yolks
1 tablespoon Butter
2-1/2 cups Milk, divided
2/3 cup Sugar
Pinch Salt
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1 Egg
1 tablespoons Vanilla
1 pint small Strawberries

While the crust cools, peel banana, thinly slice and set aside. Separate 3 eggs, reserving whites for another purpose such as an egg-white omelette. Set yolks aside until ready to use. Dice butter, chill until ready to use.

To make the custard, whisk 2 cups of the milk, the sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Place pan over medium heat; bring to a boil.

In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk remaining 1/2 cup milk with the cornstarch. Whisk the whole egg and egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Slowly whisk a third of the hot milk into the cornstarch mixture to temper the eggs.

As milk continues to boil, whisk tempered egg mixture slowly into milk, whisking constantly until mixture comes to a gentle boil. Whisk constantly for a couple of minutes until mixture thickens. While whisking; allow custard to cook for 30 seconds more.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.

Pour half of the custard filling into the pie crust. Layer all of sliced banana over the custard. Ladle the remaining custard filling over the banana.

Use the spatula to smooth out the top of the custard. Press plastic wrap directly onto the filling and refrigerate the pie until cold, at least 1 hour.

Before serving, let the pie come to room temperature for 30 minutes. While the pie sits, clean and slice the strawberries. Arrange sliced strawberries in a spoke pattern over the top just before serving.

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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