BELDEN • Beau Hill didn’t spend much time in the kitchen when he was growing up in Memphis. He loved going to his grandparents’ farm in Hernando and eating big meals there, but cooking just wasn’t his thing.

That changed about five years ago when he and his wife, Michelle, received a Big Green Egg barbecue cooker as a wedding gift.

“That’s when my interest began,” said Hill, 32. “I probably cook 70 percent on the Big Green Egg now and 30 percent on the electric smoker.”

Hill, the older of two children, remembers his mother cooking the family’s meals – maybe a whole chicken or a small pork tenderloin. He thought that’s what a typical meal looked like.

“And then the first time I ate with Michelle’s family, they cooked a beef tenderloin the size of my leg,” said Hill, a financial planner. “Now, I like to cook big and use different types of meats. You can do so much with them.”

His specialties are pork shoulders, pork loins and turkeys, but he also does chicken, wings, brisket, sausages and prime rib. He also grills fresh corn in the husk, onions, zucchini and squash.

“I don’t cook a lot during the week,” he said. “I might cook a pork shoulder on Saturday or Sunday and we’ll eat on that for the week.”

“I love it when he cooks a turkey,” said Michelle, a speech language pathologist. “We can have turkey sandwiches and make turkey quesadillas with leftovers.”

The Hills, who have two children – Emerson and Hardy – are in a supper club with 11 other couples. Both times they’ve hosted the monthly get-together, he’s made his signature bird.

“We host Friendsgiving and I do my turkey,” Hill said. “I also smoke turkeys for Michelle’s family at Thanksgiving. I get to make at least a half-dozen turkeys in November.”

Now that Hill’s palette has grown a bit, he’s gotten more adventurous in the kitchen.

“I get frustrated when I go out to eat and the food’s not any good,” he said. “I get home and think about what I can do to make it better. I try to duplicate the dish with the flavors I think should have been there. I don’t really follow recipes. I just see what’s around. If I don’t have an ingredient a recipe calls for, it’s not the end of the world. A recipe is just a guide. It gives me an idea of what to do, but I probably change it in some way or another.”

BBQ NACHOS

1 (8-pound) pork shoulder

1/2 cup yellow mustard

4 tablespoons kosher salt

4 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika

4 1/2 tablespoons lemon pepper

3 tablespoons cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

2 bags tortilla chips

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

3 fresh jalapenos, sliced in rings

1 red onion, diced

White cheese dip, melted

Barbecue sauce

Ranch dressing

Cover pork shoulder completely with yellow mustard. Combine salt, paprika, lemon pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and black pepper and sprinkle over the mustard on the pork. Wrap pork shoulder in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 12 hours.

When ready to cook, remove pork shoulder from fridge, unwrap and allow shoulder to reach room temperature. Heat smoker to 250 degrees. Smoke the pork until it reaches 190 degrees. Wrap pork in foil and let it rest for 1 hour before shredding.

Spread chips on large rimmed baking sheets. Cover with pork and shredded cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Top with jalapenos, red onion, cheese dip, barbecue sauce and ranch dressing.

HONEY-BRINED SMOKED TURKEY

1 pound kosher salt

Peppercorns

2 bay leaves

2 quarts vegetable broth

1 (16-ounce) jar honey

1 bag of ice

1 (15- to 20-pound) turkey

Vegetable oil, for rubbing turkey

Combine the salt, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large pot and add water. Heat until mixture begins to boil. Stir in the vegetable broth and most of the honey. Add the ice and stir. Place the turkey in the brine, breast side up. Brine overnight, up to 12 hours.

Remove the turkey from the brine and dry thoroughly. Rub the bird thoroughly with the vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the smoker to 250 degrees.

Once the turkey hits 150 degrees, pour the remaining honey over the top and let it smoke until it reaches 160 degrees. Pull the turkey at 160 degrees and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

SWEET BACON-WRAPPED

PORK LOIN

1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, divided

4 tablespoons kosher salt

4 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika

4 1/2 tablespoons lemon pepper

3 tablespoons cayenne pepper

3 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1 (7-pound) pork loin, trimmed

2 (16-ounce) packages bacon

Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar with salt, paprika, lemon pepper, cayenne, garlic powder and black pepper. Spread mixture over all sides of pork loin. Wrap pork with bacon. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Smoke at 250 degrees until meat hits 135 degrees. Remove from smoker, and sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar over bacon. Finish in the oven at 400 degrees until meat hits 140 degrees and the bacon is crisp.

CARNITAS

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons salt, or more, to taste

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 (4-pound) pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed

8 cloves garlic, peeled

3 onions, quartered

2 oranges, quartered

2 oranges, juiced

2 limes, juiced

Mix chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper; season pork.

Place garlic, onions, oranges, orange juice, lime juice and seasoned pork shoulder into a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.

Remove pork shoulder from the slow cooker and shred the meat before returning to the pot with the juices; season with salt and pepper, to taste, if needed. Cover and keep warm for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to broil. Place meat onto a baking sheet and broil until crisp and crusted, about 3 minutes. Serve carnitas meat in taco shells/tortillas or over lettuce with toppings of choice.

DO YOU KNOW A GOOD COOK? Send your nominations to Ginna Parsons, Cook of the Week, P.O. Box 909, Tupelo, MS 38802. Or you can call Ginna at (662) 678-1581 or email them to ginna.parsons@journalinc.com.

ginna.parsons@journalinc.com

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