Game Day Menu Week 5 – Bears vs Panthers

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North Carolina is known for many firsts: power flight, public university, mini-golf course and Krispy Kreme doughnut. Now Charlotte, named after the British Queen Charlotte Sophia, is a typical metropolitan city that has an amusement park, Carowinds, the NASCAR hall of fame
and The Billy Graham Library that I would suggest visiting if one has sinned so much during these Bears’ games that he or she feels a need to be saved.

In addition to touring these places, the Bears team, and even their fans, may want to stop at a few places for a bite to eat before heading to the Bank of America Stadium. But if you are unable to travel, here are the recipes for you to recreate a taste of Charlotte right at home.

Let’s start this week with a native classic: Tabasco Fried Pickles from Mac’s Speed Shop

I will warn you, there is a bit of spice with this appetizer and in the two mains, so be sure you have plenty of cayenne pepper. If the heat intimidates your guests, make sure you cut back, or at least keep some milk on hand. Once you marinate the pickle slices with their juice and a hot sauce, you then dry them and drench them in a flour mixture of flour, cornmeal, paprika, cayenne pepper and granulated garlic. This recipe calls for soybean oil, but I much prefer the flavor of corn oil when I fry these traditional Southern dishes. I think many of you would agree with me since corn oil is the most commonly used in fast food restaurants.

What else would one expect from North Carolina? Sushi? I don’t think so, so I found two main recipes for you to use one or the other, or both, if you are really fired up!

Meal #1: For those of you who have a smoker, here’s Hickory Smoked Beef Brisket
from Mac’s Speed Shop

The rub used on this one includes: paprika, garlic, cayenne, red chili flakes, ground mustard, onion powder, celery seed, salt and pepper. If the heat may be too hot for your group, you may want to reduce the two tablespoons of cayenne and red chili flakes Chef Ryan Scott calls for. Be sure to let the meat rest overnight, so take care of this step Saturday, then early Sunday morning, place the brisket in the smoker for four to five hours. What I appreciate about this recipe, is that after the meat rests once it is fully cooked in the smoker, you need to grill it and then smother it in a cider vinegar, ketchup and brown sugar sauce. You can make sandwiches with this meat; I would suggest adding cole slaw on top.

Macaroni and Cheese Carbonara

Suggested side for the brisket, is this ridiculously good macaroni and cheese from Bobby Flay. This version calls for five different types of cheeses plus bacon in the Italian form of pancetta. But if you prefer a basic form of this classic side, try Alton Brown’s macaroni and cheese.