Biscuits and Gravy… No Cookies Here!

biscuits
This is a Biscuit.
cookies
This is a cookie.

OK. OK. I know that we have conflict here with international language but while you may have invented English we improved upon it! First off, the word biscuit here in the States refers to dumpling sized bread with a firm golden brown crust and soft interior. A cookie is what we call your biscuits. Don’t ask me why, I never made any of this stuff up.  If you really want to know, I mean really want to know, Google it!  Now that we have all that out of the way.  Biscuits and gravy is a meal in its own.  It can be served for breakfast, lunch or supper.  I have never found anyone that doesn’t like a big hot plate of biscuits and gravy.  Talk about your comfort food.

All of this can and has been made at a camp site with the right tools and know how.  Being just a bit lazy, I prefer to bake my biscuits ahead of time and smother them with piping hot gravy at the campsite to warm them up before eating.  Biscuits will keep just like bread.  Place them in a plastic bag and seal them up and they are good for days.

The best part about biscuits is that you don’t have to be a master baker to make them.  This is all you need.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup lard or shortening
  • 2/3 cup milk

Directions

  • Preheat oven 450F, 230C or Gas Mark 8.  Make sure the rack is in the center.
  • In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in lard until it resembles small peas.
  • Stirring with a fork, gently add milk to make a soft dough. With floured hands knead dough gently 4 times in bowl.
  • Put the dough on lightly floured surface. Roll or pat the dough to about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.
  • Cut with a floured 2″ cutter. Place the cut-out biscuits about 1″ apart on ungreased baking sheet. (I normally use a coffee cup to cut out the biscuits.)
  • Bake on a large ungreased baking sheet, until biscuits are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

I keep mentioning gravy and it just dawned on me that most of you might not know what I am talking about with this ether.  To be more descriptive I am talking about Milk Sausage Gravy.  I think you all might know it better as a Bechamel sauce or something like that.  I don’t know but that sounds way too French to me.  Who knows maybe the French did do something right with food.  We just had to fix it up a little.

sausage_gravy
Perfect Sausage Gravy

Now the gravy make over the fire in a cast iron skillet.  I start by browning a half pound of ground sausage.  I mean minced sausage (I have to remember you speak different English).  I prefer an Italian sausage but you can use any kind you like.  Once the minced sausage is good and browned take out the meat but leave the grease in the skillet.  If you do not have very much grease in your skillet because you used some of that healthy turkey so called sausage you can add bacon grease or a couple of table spoons of butter to make up for it.  Now add all purpose flour slowly while constantly stirring with a fork until you get a smooth texture.  Keep stirring so that it does not stick or lump up to much.  Once it starts turning brown slowly add milk (Still Stirring!) Add milk and stir until any lumps are gone and it is a nice and creamy.  Now add your sausage back into the skillet and salt and pepper to taste.  I like the fresh cracked black pepper in this.  That don’t make me French or anything, does it?  Anyway.  Let it simmer until it thickens then pull it off the heat.  If it gets too thick just add a touch more milk.  And POOF! you have done it… you made good old fashioned milk sausage gravy!

Biscuts_Gravy
Now don’t this look good!

Now take two of those homemade biscuits and split them in half and lay them on a plate and smoother them with the sausage gravy.  Dig in!

 

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Midwest Staple the BBQ Pork Steak

If you live in the Midwest United States you do not have to read any further just go ahead and fire up the grill and toss on the pork steaks.  If you have no clue what I am talking about read on and your taste buds will fall in love with you all over again.  For everyone that does not know, pork is one of the best meats to cook on the grill and can be even better if cooked over an open flame.

Boston_buttWhere to buy

Let’s backtrack a little for people that can’t just run down to the local market and pick up a lovely package of these babies. Pork steaks, some times known as pork blade steaks, are cut from the pork shoulder.  If your store doesn’t have these, you’ll have to find yourself a butcher.  Ask for a nice pork butt shoulder roast (this is also known as the Boston Butt) and have the butcher cut it into one inch thick steaks.  My mouth is already watering and we’re not even out of the shop yet.  Now this is not your lean ‘new wave’ healthy steak at all.  The flavour is in the fat!

Decisions, decisions

Now that you have your steaks what to do with them… so many choices.  Do we do a dry rub or wet sauce?  Do we slow smoke them or cook them hot and fast with crispy edges?  (This does not mean BURNED!)  There are so many options.  I think for our first time cooking these babies you should just do a basic hot and fast cook with crispy edges and finish up with some BBQ sauce.  Ooh so good!

Fire up the pit

barbecuepitFor your first time cooking these and to make it a bit easier, let’s cook them on a BBQ pit if you have one. A BBQ pit is a covered barbecue (every truck should have one). With these, you’ll find it easier to regulate the cooking heat compared to an open fire.  Start up your barbecue like you normally would to make a good hot fire.  I do this by stacking the briquettes in the middle of the pit and giving them a good douse of lighter fluid.  After a few minutes the coals will start to turn white.  Spread them out so you have a larger hot area to work with.

While the charcoal is getting going and before you spread them out you have time to do the prep work on the steaks.  Now you can get fancy but all you really need to do is rinse the steaks off in cool tap water and season them on both sides with salt and black pepper.  Yep that’s it that is all I use.  Next the sauce!  I prefer using my own but you do not have to and I will be adding my favorite BBQ sauces in the future.  If you do not have one yet any store brand that you like will work.  Pour the sauce into a large enough bowl that you can submerge the steaks into later one at a time.  Now we cook!

porksteakdoneOnce you have your coals spread out and the steaks are ready place them on the grill with about a inch between them.  You should be able to get six to eight on the grill at one time depending on the size of your grill of course.  If the fire flares up give it a little squirt of water to knock it back.  Close the lid and leave it sit for around 10 minutes.  Now I am not going to tell you have to put the crisscross patterns on them to make them look all pretty or anything like that.  Come on now we are here to eat not play checkers.  After around 10 minutes take a look at the steaks and see if they are done on the bottom side.  They should be a nice brown with little charring on the edges.  Time to flip and rotate the steaks if need be to get them all nicely cooked the same.  Close the lid and give them another 10 minutes or so to be cooked until they are done on both sides.  This is pork so I cook it until it is done all the way throw.  Once the steaks are done to your liking it is time for the BBQ sauce.  One at a time remove the steaks and completely submerge them into the sauce and return them to the grill.  Do this until all of them are covered.  Close the lid for about 3 or 4 minutes or until the sauce starts to turn sticky and coats the steaks.  The Meat Is Ready.

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Thomas’s Stick to the Ribs Pancakes

pancakebaconI don’t know anything about any small or dainty pancakes.  I like good old homemade pancakes that stick to your ribs and warm the belly and keeps it that way until lunch where you get to do it all over again.  Well I guess first off I have to say that when I go camping I don’t like going out and hiking for twenty miles or anything like that.  If I can’t get my truck there I ain’t going!

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