Who needs a reason to travel to Florida. Many of my most important years were spent there, but Major League Baseball spring training is very appealing, so here I go again. Time permitting, I’ll stay off the Interstate and visit some of my favorite places: White Springs, Monticello, Live Oak, Chiefland, Fannin Springs and Cross Creek. The food is different and delicious. The BBQ Shack and Bett’s Big T are must dinner stops. Florida has its own barbecue culture and rightfully claims birth to pulled pork and baby back ribs. Hernando deSoto brought 13 pigs to Tampa in 1539 and cooks soon learned about the magic of hardwood slow-cooked pork.
Enjoy these Sunshine State-inspired recipes:
Old Florida Garbanzo Bean Soup
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
10 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (if using canned, rinse thoroughly)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Basil pesto (for garnish)
Serve with warm Cornbread
1. Preheat olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Transfer onion, celery, pepper, carrots, garlic to pot and saute for 8 to 10 minutes. Add green beans, tomatoes, chicken stock, garbanzo beans, basil, oregano, rosemary, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. Add additional salt and pepper if necessary.
2. Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with a dollop of pesto, and serve immediately
Cracker Cattle Barbecue Brisket
1 beef brisket, 3-5 pounds,
1 cup Famous Dave’s Rub
olive oil as needed
Coat beef brisket with olive oil and 1 tablespoon of spice mixture per pound of meat.
Place in smoker or oven with the fattier side facing up.
Cook for 1.5 hours per pound at 225 degrees Fahrenheit, rotate at the half-way point.
Let brisket rest for 2 minutes per pound before serving.
The brisket should be ready when its internal temperature has reached between 180 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
Note that the temperature can rise another 10 or more degrees once it is pulled out of the smoker or oven.
Beach Life Barbecue Sauce
24 oz Bottle Ketchup
1 lb Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 tb Coleman’s Mustard
1 tb Black Pepper
1/2 c pureed Onion
1 clove fine grated garlic
3/4 c Fresh-squeezed Orange Juice
3/4 c Pineapple Juice
3/4 c Mango Juice
4 tb Corn Starch
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Combine all ingredients in a 1 gallon non-metal container. Mix well. Pour into a Dutch oven. Cook over low heat until mixture begins to thicken. To thicken, add more cornstarch.
Sir Verde’s Wine Suggestion: Dakotah, a winery and wine bar in Chiefland, Florida is no more. What a loss. Always a lively group of locals and tourists enjoying conversation and Florida vino among Native American artifacts and tribal symbols that would fill a museum. For the brisket, serve a bottle of Dry Creek’s delicious 2017 Meritage, The Mariner.
Stay safe. Bonne dégustation. Love one another.