Bubba & the Bobcat

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     I’m not sure I can do this story justice, so I’ll relay the facts as best I can. One really had to be there, in the woods of Northern Alabama, sharing conversation and campfire-cooked wild animal, to truly appreciate the enormity of the event.      “The Event,” of course, was a loud and boisterous man, all too appropriately named Bubba, a “flatlander” from central Alabama, conveniently deposited to our front porch one Friday afternoon as a friend of a friend joining the night’s camping trip. He emerged from a new model dark blue pickup truck with an open Budweiser in hand and an unlit Pall Mall in the corner of his mouth. In his substantial shadow, a diminutive woman in a flannel shirt and Victoria’s Secret sweatpants followed: Bubba’s Old Lady.      As...

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Sweet Tea

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     It wouldn’t be summer in the South without sweet tea. Perfect for sipping on porch swings, lake docks and the like, this refresher is often reported to have originated at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Though the drink was popularized there, most culinary historians now agree that sweet tea actually developed in the South long before 1904.      The first tea plants in the US were harvested around Charleston, South Carolina in the late 1700’s. Shortly after, many American (and English) cookbooks began including recipes for serving tea cold, though most of the early recipes were for green tea to be brewed and served with copious amounts of booze for tea punches. Sweetened iced black tea recipes began appearing the latter half of the nineteenth century, most notably in The Kentucky...

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Sweet Tea

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Sweet Tea Yields 1 gallon Ingredients 1 gallon of cold water, divided 1 cup granulated sugar 2 family sized iced tea bags, such as Luzianne mint leaves or lemon slices, for serving Procedure Bring 2 quart of water to a boil over high heat. Add the sugar, stir to combine, remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes. Add the tea bags to the sugar water and steep for 8 minutes. Remove the tea bags. Combine the tea and remaining water in a large pitcher. Chill before serving. Fresh brewed tea lasts about a week in the...

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Sweet Tea Grilled Pork Chops

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Sweet Tea Grilled Pork ChopsYield 4 servings Ingredients 2 cups Sweet Tea1/4 cup kosher salt1 teaspoon red pepper flake4 12 ounce bone-in pork loin chops, approximately 1 inch thick Procedure Combine the sweet tea, salt and red pepper flake in a gallon sized zip-top bag. Add the pork chops and brine the chops for at least 2 hours or overnight. Heat a gas grill to high, or ignite a chimney starter’s worth of lump charcoal for a kettle grill and wait until the coals are ash-white to dump them into the grill. Remove chops from the brine, rinse and pat dry. Set the chops on the grill and cook covered for 4 minutes. Rotate the chops 45 degrees, cover, and grill for another 4 minutes. Flip the chops, cover, and grill for 4 more...

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Approaching the Canning Jar

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     People often speak of “lost arts” of homemaking, and canning is a skill that may fit into that category. Though survey of food blogs will reveal a host of canning projects for the home cook (Food in Jars is a notable example), canning isn’t as ubiquitous as one might expect.      Canning isn’t trendy like cupcakery or any of the recent food revivals, but it’s definitely evolved. What was once a survival skill on the farm is now more often a hobby of foodies; that’s not necessarily bad, though.      For many, the thought of canning evokes images of hot days in big country kitchens, sweat pouring, pots steaming. It sounds like a hell of a lot of hard work. More than that, it’s intimidating. What if the jars aren’t sterilized? What if...

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