A Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue

A Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue - CookinGenie

03 Mar 2021

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A Whirlwind Tour of US Barbecue

“Southern barbecue is the closest thing we have in the US to Europe’s wines or cheeses; drive a hundred miles and the barbecue changes. 

 John Shelton Reed, sociologist, writer, and all-around expert on all things Southern.  

 At its most basic, barbecue is meat that’s cooked low and slow over a smoky fire. But barbecue aficionados will tell you that “authentic” American barbecue is so much more—and, just like the wines and cheeses of Europe, the answer to just what real barbecue is will vary state-to-state, even region-to-region, with each area insisting that their version is the one true style. 

 The variations by region can be dizzying. Some swear barbecue needs a vinegar-based sauce, others swear by a tomato-based sauce. Some sauce their meat with mustard, some with mayonnaise. Up your barbecue IQ by taking a quick tour of American BBQ with us and learn about just some of each region’s specialties.  

North Carolina

You’ll find not one but two distinct styles of barbecue in North Carolina. In the Eastern method—which John Shelton Reed calls the “original” American barbecue—whole hogs are smoked and then chopped and served with a vinegar-and-pepper-based sauce. Further west another style of barbecue, known as Lexington-style, emerged. Here, just the pork shoulder is smoked and it’s served on a sandwich with a bright red tomato-based sauce.  Confused yet? Hang on, we’re just getting started… 

South Carolina 

South Carolina is just one state to the south, but their take on barbecue is worlds away. Like its neighbor to the north, pork is largely the meat of choice but South Carolinians put their own spin on the sauce. A very specific condiment developed in the area stretching from Charleston to ColombiaAccording to the South Carolina Barbecue Association, German settlers brought a love for mustard with them to South Carolina, and were soon pouring golden, mustard-based, vinegary sauce they christened Carolina Gold on their pulled pork.1  

Texas 

Deep in the heart of Texas, barbecue is all about the beef—brisket specifically—smoked low and slow over oak, mesquite, pecan, or hickory wood for up to 20 hours until it’s so tender it falls off the bone. How it’s served depends on where you are: in East Texas, brisket is marinated in a sweet tomato-based sauce, while in South Texas, the sauce is molasses-based. Near the Rio Grande, Mexican-style barbacoa dominates, while in Central Texas they do without sauce altogether and settle for a simple rub of salt and pepper.2  

Kansas City 

In Kansas City, all kinds of meat are smoked—beef, pork, chicken, or sausage—but what makes it unique is the thick sweet molasses- and tomato-based sauce that the smoked meat is smothered in. The most famous specialty of KC barbecue is burnt ends, the crunchy, caramelized, intensely smoky ends of brisket. Once considered a throwaway piece of meat, these tasty nuggets have become a favorite of barbecue enthusiasts.  

Memphis 

Hold the sauce in Memphis! Here, another style of barbecue developed: slabs of pork ribs are flavored with a dry rub of garlic, paprika, chili pepper, cumin, and other spices and cooked over a hickory fire. And in Memphis, they like to think outside the box: barbecued meat is added to nachos, pizza, and even spaghetti.3  

Alabama 

Last but not least is Alabama, famous for its unconventional white barbecue sauce. This combo of mayonnaise, vinegar, apple juice, and cayenne pepper has been served with smoked chicken since the 1920s and has gradually gained national attention. In fact, Texas Monthly declared 2015 “the year of Alabama barbecue.”4    

 Our virtual road trip through American barbecue just scratches the surfaceSt. Louis, Kentucky, Georgia, and more.. they’ve all developed their own local barbecue traditions and have their own share of passionate fanatics who swear their regions are the best 

 Our newest Genie, Ryan Pascoe, brings his passion for BBQ to your home. Choose one of Ryan’s falling-off-the-bone, slow-smoked specialties and he’ll arrive at your house in the morning to set up his smoker in your backyard, driveway, or garage and get your meat going, then come back later that day to finish it off. He offers everything from traditional finger-lickin’ favorites like Saint Louis Ribs smothered in a homemade barbecue sauce, to a tender, Coffee-rubbed Brisket, to a decadent Smoked Prime Rib with Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes. Let us know when you like the food done and we will work the right start time with you. Ryan brings the smoker with him. And takes it away – no cleanup for you. All you need to do is to find a dry spot for the smoker and a regular power outlet. Fresh meat from the nearby butcher shop, slow-cooked to perfectionIit’s not raining, even a chilly February day will not hamper an outdoor smoking event from CookinGenie 


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26 Apr 2021

“All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” 

—Abraham Lincoln 

The second Monday of every May is dedicated to the women (Mother’s day) who take care of us the other 364 days of the year: Moms.  

 And don’t they deserve a day just for them? In many homes, moms are the ones who get it all done: making home cooked meals, buying groceries, packing lunches, folding laundry, organizing schedules, running the carpool, and so much more. Even in today’s more enlightened times, with a generation of dads who take on more than any group before them, a Gallup poll showed that women still shoulder the primary responsibility for doing the laundry, cleaning the house, and making meals.1  

 So this Mother’s Day, how can you show that special mom—your own mother, the mother of your children, a mom-to-be, or a special mom in your life—that you care? Sure, flowers and handmade cards are great. But this Mother’s Daywe’ve got a better idea: get her a Genie, and leave the meal shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning up to us.  

Whether you want to treat her to brunch, lunch, dinner, or a week’s worth of meals prepped and ready to go for the days ahead, CookinGenie can arrange for a chef to show up at the door with all the ingredients needed to make a fresh, home-cooked meal from scratch. Our Genie will prepare and plate the food and leave the kitchen as clean (or maybe even cleaner!) as it was before they arrived. 

 Not sure what to order? Check out this sample Mother’s Day menu 

How about starting your meal with Genie Michael Booth’s decadent Baked Brie, a show-stopping starter of creamy brie wrapped in crisp, flaky puff pastry and topped with a nutty bourbon glaze.  

 

Or maybe begin with a springy Arugula Salad studded with marinated red onions, shaved Parmesan and toasted walnuts, and tossed with a refreshing lemon vinaigrette. 

 

For the main course, try a light and refreshing Cioppinoa delicate seafood stew in an aromatic tomato-fennel broth— 

 

or, if you want something more hearty, Filet Mignon with Fingerlings, Broccolini and Chimichurri. 

 

And end on a sweet note with a Fruit Crostata topped with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.  

Don’t see mom’s favorites on our menu – message us and we are going to put a custom home cooked meal together for the special mom.  

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Personal Chef -a Safer Way for dinner party - cookinGenie

25 Aug 2021

One of the hardest things about the pandemic is that we haven’t been able to celebrate the significant events in our lives the same way. Gathering for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays has become much riskier and with restrictions in place, much harder too.

With all of those events, one of the best ways to celebrate has always been going out to eat. For a special occasion, there’s nothing better than having someone else cook delicious food for you, while you sit back and relax. But in the era of Covid, celebrating with a dinner out may not be something you, or your family, would be totally comfortable with, especially with an infectious new variant swirling around.

But what about that birthday party? Wouldn’t it be nice to still have someone take care of all the cooking and cleaning for you, even if you don’t want to go out? Well, you could do takeout, but by now, we’re all pretty well sick of opening up Styrofoam boxes. Instead, why not book a personal chef with CookinGenie?

A CookinGenie chef will do all the shopping, arrive at your home, and cook a delicious restaurant quality meal for you and your guests. CookinGenie has a wide variety of delicious chef-inspired dishes to choose from, representing a multitude of different cuisines.

Many of the dishes we offer are great for sharing, making them excellent for a casual or formal gathering. Get a bowl of genie Christian’s Guacamole and Chips to pass around, or perhaps dazzle your guests with genie Dylan’s artisanal charcuterie board.  For the bacon lovers in your group, genie Jared offers delectable appetizers of bacon-wrapped dates and water chestnuts. Whatever your party needs, our chefs are very adaptable and can tailor the amount of food to fit your number of guests.

When you choose to hold your gathering at home, you have much more control over everything. At a crowded public restaurant, you may be seated indoors, you’ll be unsure of the vaccination status of the people around you, and there may or may not be mask wearing. At home, you can choose to eat outside, choose to enforce masking, and you can reduce the risk of your gathering by keeping it just between close friends and family. At home, whatever you’re comfortable with, you can do.

But the best part is that even with all those added health measures, there’s no comprising the quality of the food! CookinGenie will still deliver a restaurant quality meal from your kitchen and there’s no cooking or cleanup that you have to do. You can feel comfortable having a CookinGenie chef come cook for you. Each of our genies undergoes a health questionnaire the morning of the cooking appointment and are required to wear masks the entire time they’re in your home. You will also see our genies practice frequent handwashing and other good hygiene and food safety measures.

In these crazy times, we all just want a little bit of normalcy. So, for your next celebration, book a genie and experience a safer way to celebrate.

 

Written by:  Jared Kent

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team dinner at home to celebrate a work anniversary - cookinGenie

01 Nov 2021

For some, going through the motions of getting to work and clocking out is as much effort as they want to put into their job. Often, they don’t feel that connection with their coworkers that makes them want to do more than the bare necessities to get their paycheck. For managers and leaders that want to inspire their employees to feel more like a family and a true team, it’s important to implement a workplace that has a more personal touch. One excellent way to do that is to organize team dinners to celebrate work anniversaries and other events.  

Why does Team Dinner Matter? 

There is something special about food and the act of sharing food. Throughout the past, there have been rules about breaking bread and how it can be a bonding action to the point where it could bring opposing parties together. Team dinners can be an amazing opportunity that offers more benefits than meets the eye. It can be more than a meeting outside of work hours to have a meal.    

Increase Retention by Developing Friendships  

One of the biggest expenses that companies can have is turnover. Having to go through the motions of recruiting new talent only to have them leave later on is expensive. It’s also can be costly when you consider that your loyal employees can often start to feel burnt out by having to pick up the slack for open positions or helping out with new trainees. It can turn into an unhealthy cycle. Celebrating work anniversaries and other work events with dinner parties thrown at your home can help to make your existing employees feel seen and important. It’s great for their morale while also being great for increasing your employee retention. 

Foster Highly Engaged and Productive Teams 

It’s hard to be dispassionate about the people that you work with when you know each other on a more personal basis. You can create a team that’s engaged and productive when you find ways to build a team spirit. Each member of a team will be more willing to work with each other and ensure that their work helps to support each other. It’s easy to put off working on a task or not put your best effort in if you don’t care about the next person that will be working with the product you created, such as a report or data collection. Creating camaraderie can help people feel more involved and want to be productive.   

Exchange Ideas 

You may find that your team has great ideas, but sometimes, these ideas can be lost in the shuffle at work. Organizing a team dinner can be an excellent place to talk about work with the exchanging of ideas. You may find that team members in a different area that have other tasks may have ideas that impact other portions of the team. In a regular work setting, these ideas might never see the light of day, but you’ll be creating a more comfortable setting where it can be discussed. 

Communication Links  

Communication is a skill that a lot of people feel is easy, but good communication can be hard. It takes practice. There is more to communication than meets the eye. Active listening is essential with communication. Hosting team dinners for work anniversaries and other occasions is the perfect opportunity to work on the communication skills among everyone in a more relaxed setting. 

How To Turn Team Dinners into a Meaningful Experience  

Food Tours 

You can make your dinner about more than just a mandatory meeting outside of work, but make it fun. Food tours are a great way to incorporate a fun element that turns your dinner into a worthy occasion to celebrate a work anniversary or other event. Food tours are when you take a particular country’s food and create dishes that only come from that area. Often, during food tours, you learn a little about the culture of the area along with getting to try out the most popular dishes from the area. Sometimes, the food tour may be a specific region in a country, like creating dishes from Tuscany, or from around the country.   

Personal Chefs 

Personal chefs can be a great idea for your at-home work dinner. It’s hard to handle ice breaker games, friendly chats, and relaxing with your coworkers when you’re trying to handle all of the cooking. Utilizing a personal chef allows you to host your dinner without being absent from all of the festivities. Why miss something fun by being trapped in the kitchen? You could get takeout, but why risk the food being cold when personal chefs are a comparable option price-wise with all of the benefits of your food being cooked in your very own kitchen. It’s a win-win for everyone involved. 

Team Building Activities  

As your team is sitting around eating dinner, it’s the perfect time to enjoy team-building activities. The food and conversation can help to relax your team members while they get to know each other better. Throwing in some team-building activities can be a fun way to spend time with everyone in a more personal setting without work tasks hanging over everyone’s head. You get the benefit of helping your group of workers feel more like a team while enjoying themselves. Some fun team-building activities include two truths and a lie, office trivia, blind drawing, virtual escape rooms, and you could even have a murder mystery or similar games. Any activity that makes you come together to problem solve, work as teams, or learn more about each other can be good activities to enjoy during your time outside of work.  

 CookinGenie can be an excellent way to explore the possibilities that are available when it comes to team dinners. It can be stressful enough getting your home ready to host a team of coworkers in your personal space, so why add to your to-do checklist before the event? When you use CookinGenie, you free up a lot of time to handle all the other last-minute tasks. Your private chef will do all of the shopping, meal prep, and even clean your kitchen after they are done preparing your dinner choices. What could be easier? Check out the CookinGenie website today to find your new favorite personal chef to cook for your upcoming work dinner party or other events. 

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