Mitch Benjamin has helped open BBQ restaurants in Paris, served his smoked meat to baseball legends at Yankee Stadium, and taken home some serious hardware from just about every major BBQ competition.
In this book, he throws open the doors to his kitchen (or as he calls it, his “Mitchen”) and takes BBQ on a wild ride! The book starts with his behind the scenes look at competition BBQ and smoking, then winds its way through chapters both classic and creative:
Learn the ins and outs of competition BBQ, including some of Mitch’s award-winning recipes for sauces, rubs, and meats from brisket and burnt ends to short ribs and pork butt.
Take a trip behind the scenes of Kansas City’s Char Bar, with some of their most popular recipes like their burnt heaven and smoked chicken nuggets. Mitch even breaks out the smoking gun for some smoked cocktails!
Next up, some truly revolutionary BBQ. Leave your expectations at home as Mitch showcases recipes with reverse smoking, sous vide, and other techniques. Master non-traditional mains including smoked salmon, jackfruit, bone marrow, and much more.
There’s never “que” much of a good thing! In a full chapter on making the most of smoked meat, Mitch whips up Japanese steamed buns; candied pork belly; and barbeque-stuffed tacos, quiche, and poutine.
Last but not least, Mitch shares some of his legendary sides and “amusements.” Think addictive pimiento cheese, deviled eggs, whoopie pies, and more!
Whether you’re relatively new to BBQ or a seasoned pitmaster, you’re sure to find new ideas, techniques, and flavors if you hang around with Mitch. What are you waiting for? Join the revolution!
Charred Salmon BLT
At Char Bar, we quickly found that not everyone wants beef, chicken, and pork every day. Weird, right? Anyhow, our corporate chef, Michael Peterson, created this sandwich, which has become an excellent alternative and works well when heirloom tomatoes are in season. Michael is super passionate about getting local heirlooms from Kurlbaum Farms and prefers using wild-caught salmon. Wild-caught salmon has a richer flavor due to its high-fat content, while a farm-raised salmon will be mellower in taste. As in any protein, higher fat means a more buttery bite.
8 slices thick-cut bacon
4 skinless salmon fillets (6 to 8 ounces, or 170 to 225 g each)
¼ cup (24 g) Meat Mitch All-Purpose Rub (see below)
Nonstick cooking spray or neutral oil
¼ cup (60 g) Barbecue Ranch (see below)
4 potato buns (I prefer Martin’s)
¼ cup (56 g, or ½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 large slices ripe tomato
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large leaves iceberg lettuce
To cook the bacon, line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Arrange the bacon slices in a single layer on the baking sheet, with no overlapping. Turn on the oven to 400°F (200°C, or gas mark 6), with a rack in the middle of the oven. Don’t wait for the oven to preheat; place the baking sheet on the middle rack and cook for 12 to 17 minutes until the bacon is done to your preferred crispness. The timing will vary depending on how thick the bacon was cut, so start checking at 10 minutes, when you begin to smell that sweet aroma. Remove the bacon from the oven and transfer to a platter lined with paper towels.
To prepare the salmon, pat the fillets with a paper towel until dry . Season with the rub and spray each side with the cooking spray or a neutral-tasting oil.
To prepare the grill, start with a clean grill and preheat on high (450 to 500°F [230 to 250°C]) with the lid closed for 15 minutes. Lightly soak a paper towel in vegetable oil, wrap the soaked towel around a pair on barbecue tongs, and quickly rub the hot grill grates to season them and prevent sticking. To grill the salmon, reduce the grill heat to medium. Place the fillets on the seasoned grill grates and cook, uncovered, gently flipping with a flat spatula after 6 minutes. The sugar from the barbecue rub will begin to char the exterior of the fish. When the center of the fillets reaches 120°F (49°C) on an instant-read thermometer, transfer the fish to a platter, loosely cover with foil, and let it rest a few minutes to allow for carryover cooking.
To start assembling the sandwiches while the salmon is resting, brush the potato buns with melted butter and place on grill to toast for 30 seconds until golden. Spread each toasted bottom bun with 1 tablespoon (15 g) of the Barbecue Ranch sauce.
Season the tomato slices with a pinch each of salt and pepper. Layer each bun with a cold iceberg lettuce leaf, large tomato slice, two slices of crisp bacon, and the charred salmon fillet. Top with the bun and serve.
TIP: To determine the grill temperature, hold your hand 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) above the grill grates. When you can hold your hand in place for no more than three “one–one thousand” counts, the grill is the right temperature to start grilling.
MEAT MITCH ALL-PURPOSE RUB
This is a nice compliment to the WHOMP rub that dazzles your taste buds.
1½ cups (336 g) kosher salt
¼ cup (50 g) granulated sugar
¼ cup (60 g) packed light brown sugar
²⁄³ cup (75 g) sweet paprika
¼ cup (30 g) chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cayenne
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ cup (24 g) plus 2 tablespoons (12 g) freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup (40 g) plus 2 tablespoons (20 g) granulated garlic
2½ teaspoons (6 g) granulated onion
½ teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon dried marjoram
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Using a funnel, pour the spice mix into a plastic shaker and cover with plastic wrap until you are ready to use it. Store at room temperature for up to a month.
Makes about 3¾ cups (720 g) (enough to season 10 pounds [4.6 kg] of meat)
1 cup (225 g) mayonnaise (I prefer Duke’s)
½ cup (230 g) sour cream
½ cup (132 g) Char Bar Table Sauce, store-bought or homemade
1 packet (3 tablespoons) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Seasoning Mix
1 packed tablespoon (15 g) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) Tabasco sauce
At Char Bar, this tangy sauce is smeared on our famous Burnt Heaven and our charred Salmon BLT Club and is used as one of the four colorful dipping sauces for our crispy Smoked Chicken Nuggets. What doesn’t taste good mixed with ranch seasoning?!
Combine all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl until well combined. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
Makes 2 cups (480 g)
Recipe reprinted with permission from Quarto Publishing Group.