By Eric Capstick
DennyMike’s ‘Cue Stuff
I’ve always loved barbeque but never really sought out sauces or rubs to use in cooking. I never wanted to spend the money because I had figured out that all I needed was a good amount of ketchup and some vinegar, and whatever else I could find in the kitchen, to make a barbeque sauce with tang and kick to use on the grill. Then, by virtue of writing this column, I was presented with a duty to try out all sorts of BBQ rubs and sauces made by DennyMike’s Cue Stuff in Maine. DennyMike caught the BBQ bug while in a Texas college back in the 70′s. Since then he’s studied himself up to become a specialist in barbeque as a chef, restaurateur, and purveyor of handcrafted high quality rubs and sauces that are all natural, gluten free and contain no junk or fillers. The entire DennyMike’s ‘Cue Stuff line is also exceptionally priced with all items available for five bucks individually or bundled in a variety of gift sets. The rubs come in fabulous tins that are playful and full of colorful info. We’re going to save ‘em for other uses when the rub runs out!
I first broke out the Cow Bell Hell rub and, not really following the guidelines, used it on a leftover pork shoulder. The rub, in concert with Sweet and Spicy sauce, managed to transform the ragged-looking piece of meat into delectable faux pulled pork sandwiches. The pork shoulder was still standing the next day so I got to try some of DennyMike’s Sublime Swine spice rub on the thing. I cut the remaining meat off the bone and sprinkled the rub on both sides of the meat, throwing it in the oven. A surefire combination of spices including chili pepper and Turbinado sugar make this a fantastic rub for fresh pork in all forms; baby back ribs, shoulder, butts and roasts.
A couple nights later I smothered Cow Bell Hell on both sides of several shell steaks and put them in the fridge for a bit. The meat browned up beautifully in the pan filling the kitchen with the tantalizing smells of paprika, garlic, sea salt and other spices. I sliced the steaks, medium-rare, onto a platter and the family devoured them in record time. It was the best steak we’d eaten in years.
I was inspired to cook Chick Magnet Fried Chicken and Carolina-Style Collard Greens by a recipe insert found inside the rub box. The collard greens called for DennyMike’s Carolina-Style BBQ Sauce to imbue the greens with a tangy flavor that makes for killer collards. The Carolina sauce is made with vinegar, brown sugar, apple juice, garlic, jalapeno and chili peppers among other all-natural goodies that make for award-winning pulled pork sandwiches. It’s dynamite on all kinds of meat and seafood too!.
The complete line from DennyMike’s includes a total of five rubs and four BBQ sauces and they are available in gift sets like the 4-Pack Gift Set for $19.95, that includes Hot & Nasty and Sweet & Spicy sauces along with Chick Magnet and Cow Bell Hell rubs. It’s an awesome combination of ‘cue stuff that will get any BBQ enthusiast going in the kitchen or on the grill. 2-Packs can be had for $9.95 with a sauce and a rub that would make for a hot and spicy stocking stuffer. And you can’t go wrong with the Full BBQ Set which includes all nine of the DennyMike’s ‘Cue Stuff sauces and rubs for $49.95, enough to bring six months of joy into any kitchen. This set includes all previously mentioned items in addition to Pixie Dust and Fintastic rubs, and Mesquit-O-Madness barbeque sauce for meats and wild game.
There are all kinds of recipes to be had at http://www.dennymikes.com, and you can do your ordering there too. An unexpected treat I found was the Bloody Good ‘Cue Cocktail, a kickin’ Bloody Mary concoction. DennyMike’s excellent and efficient website makes it easy to do business with a master of all things BBQ, DennyMike’s ‘Cue Stuff!
We all have different ways of dealing with stress during the course of our busy and hectic lives. Some take pills while others drink beer or booze. Others self-medicate using other substances or seek meditate or work out the stress through exercise. There are a number of relaxation drinks on the market these days that claim to offer benefits to the stressed out, most of which contain ingredients that promote drowsiness and disorientation such as melatonin. A non-drowsy alternative, Mini Chill, was developed by a formerly stressed out investment banker and entrepreneur, Steven Panzella. In collaboration with a nutrition expert, Benjamin S. Weeks, PhD, Panzella developed Mini Chill as a functional beverage designed to help people relax in a healthy way, Mini Chill contains a patent pending all-natural blend of amino acids and herbs called Relarian that provides natural stress relief. The drink also is the only relaxation beverage on the market that contains 5HTP which is clinically recognized for increasing serotonin levels in the brain. The Berry-Bliss naturally-flavored drink is delicious and fast-acting, producing a calming effect that improves mood and focus. Mini Chill comes in 2-oz shots that can be ordered online in 12-pack cartons. New customers get a 20 percent discount on their first internet order using the code “chill20percent”. I took a shot of caffeine-free Mini Chill before a stressful cross-town drive and was amazed at my calm demeanor while dealing with the traffic!
Code Blue – Recovery Drink
Code Blue trumpets itself as the world’s first complete recovery drink designed by beverage scientists to revive your body by combating dehydration, removing toxins, reducing inflammation and replenishing vital nutrients. The sleek 12-ounce can is all-natural with no caffeine and is low in calories. Code Blue can be consumed, preferably cold though it’s delicious at room temperature too, before, during and after any stressful activity. Of course, Code Blue is also effective as a hangover remedy and I first tried it out after a last hurrah before D-day weekend event with an old friend at Salavar’s, a local Montauk joint by the docks. I was a little banged up in the morning and sure enough the Code Blue treatment put me on the road to a fast recovery. Code Blue’s all-natural ingredients include an enhanced electrolyte solution, vitamin and mineral complex, D-Ribose and Sustamine, in addition to powerful antioxidants, prickly pear fruit extract and agave nectar.