Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Well, we considered heading down to the Wal-Mart and buying a big bag of Tyson chicken tenders for this meal. But, we figured that Arkansas must have some more interesting food traditions than big box stores and factory chicken!
My new favorite state cookbook suggested an Arkansas Barbecue Salad, which sounded like a pretty good idea to us. Basically, a chef's salad with lots of veggies, only instead of chicken or ham, you use slow, smoked pork barbecue for the meat. Conveniently, we had a boneless pork shoulder in the freezer that was just itching to be cooked.
We thought about using our slow cooker and some liquid smoke, which Marc's friend (and real-live chef) Tim said was perfectly acceptable. But, it was a lovely day out and we couldn't resist improving the crisp Fall air with the aroma of smoking hickory chips in our backyard.
Most recipes called for Iceberg lettuce, which I used along with some chopped Romaine. I also used up some of the stray vegetables in the fridge: radishes, blanched green beans, carrots, red pepper and tomatoes.
Our cookbook recommended using either barbecue sauce or your favorite dressing to top the salad. I put out our whole arsenal. Marc used bit of homemade vinaigrette (red wine vinegar, chopped garlic, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, sugar and fresh thyme blended with olive oil). Maia used ranch, I chose bleu cheese and Lucy continued to work her way through the bottle of honey barbecue sauce that I bought for our chicken wings last week.
I made everyone a separate salad, putting on their favorite veggies (Lucy prefers green beans to carrots, Maia doesn't like tomatoes, etc). This was a hit with everyone, and is a really good way to use up leftover bits of fresh meat and produce. The salty, smoky barbecue was great with the crisp, fresh lettuce and veggies.
I think I might incorporate a "salad night" into our regular repertoire.
We drew our next four destinations tonight: Oklahoma, Illinois, Kentucky and Washington!