Men in the kitchen

Grilling Safety

Grill Hot Charcoal

Grilling outside on your gas or charcoal grill is an American rite. It is also the source of many injuries and even death. Now I don’t want to scare you all, but I do want you to have a safe Fourth of July, so I’ve put together these grilling safety tips.

According to the National Fire Protection Association’s report “Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment,” by Marty Ahrens, November 2010

  • In 2004-2008, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 7,700 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year, including an average of 3,200 structure fires and 4,500 outside fires. These 7,700 fires caused an annual average of 13 civilian deaths (to the nearest ten), 120 civilian injuries and $70 million in direct property damage.
  • More than one-quarter (29%) of the home structure fires involving grills started on a courtyard, terrace or patio, 28% started on an exterior balcony or open porch, and 7% started in the kitchen.
  • Flammable or combustible gas or liquid was the item first ignited in half of home outdoor grill fires. In 49% of the home outdoor fires in which grills were involved, 56% of the outside gas grills, and 39% of gas grill structure fires, the fire started when a flammable or combustible gas or liquid caught fire.

According to the Tennessee state Fire Marshall half of grill fires begin on an exterior balcony or unenclosed porch. Their office recommends following these safety guidelines:

  • Keep the grill away from siding, desk railings, overhanging eaves and branches.
  • Keep the grill away from lawn games, foot traffic and play areas.
  • Create a 3-foot “safe zone” to keep children and pets away.
  • Use grilling tools with long handles; keep several handy.
  • Periodically remove grease buildup in trays to prevent ignition.
  • Do not leave the grill unattended.
  • Keep combustibles away from heat in case gas grills leak.
  • Check the hoses for leaks before first use each year. (Applying a light soap and water solution will reveal any escaping propane.) If there are leaks, turn off the valve and have the grill serviced by a professional.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.
  • Gas cylinders should have an overfill protection device (identified with a triangle-shaped hand wheel).
  • Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
  • Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside.
  • When using charcoal grills, avoid using starter fluid – use a chimney starter instead. This is a cylindrical metal tube that uses paper to start the coals. Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid.

Oh, and do  download this PDF on Grilling Safety.

Photo credit: flickr user Ashley R. Good

Declare Independence

Digitel CHS Farmers Mkt Photo

This year on the Fourth of July declare your independence from mass market products and focus on fresh foods, condiments, and produce that are made or grown in your town, your state and your region.

Embrace and use products that are made with integrity. Like Slatherin’ Sauce or locally raised grass fed beef or butcher made hot dogs.

Right now in the United States we are at a tipping point. It is increasingly easy to find foods made without gluten or without preservatives. Just three years ago, it was hard to find chicken that was raised “free range” and without hormones in a regular supermarket. However, now, with the support of organizations such as Lowcountry Local First, your area farmer’s market and your supermarket have a wide range of products available each week. Websites like Local Harvest can help you find local products from local farms in your area.

And supermarkets have changed drastically. In our state, stores like Piggly Wiggly Carolina have been leading for the last several years with produce from within our state and explicitly marking it to reflect the source farm. And even WalMart announced last year that they sell local produce.

So remember as you light your grill, is that chicken local?

Photo credit: flickr user Charleston’s TheDigitel

Slatherin’ It On at the Taste of Chicago with Chef Julius

We’ve got our traveling shoes on and we’re on the road. This week, not only do we have many tasting and demo events in New Jersey and environs, we join up with our friend Chef Julius Russell of A Tale of Two Chefs for The Taste of Chicago!

The “Taste of Chicago” is the world’s largest celebration of food. Each year, on average, more than 3 million people visit the “Taste”.  On June 30th at 4:30pm, Chef Julius will be the headlining chef at the Dominick’s Cooking Corner. His live cooking demonstration will include showcasing new recipes and giving great cooking/grilling tips. And I’ll be right there with him. Chef Julius will also give out a “chef goodie bag” to those who are in the pavilion and Slatherin’ Sauce will be part of it!

Share the news with all your friends up in Chicagoland. Come out out and experience Slatherin’ Sauce with Chef Julius and me.


Spicy Slathered Grilled Summer Corn, Red Pepper & Sweet Onion Salad with Basil & Bacon

( Serves 6 – 8 )

Recipe developed for Slather Brand Foods by Holly Herrick

The heat of the outdoor grill or your indoor broiler, brown and sweeten these best-bets from the summer garden in this unbelievably easy and unforgettably delicious salad. Spice Slatherin’ Sauce gives the corn just the right kick, which is tempered with the peppery, sweet bite of fresh basil. This is the perfect salad to pair with barbecued anything and can be prepared all summer long.

8 ears fresh, sweet summer corn, husked and rinsed

1 large Vidalia or sweet onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2”-thick slices

1 sweet red bell pepper, cut in half, seeded, and rinsed

About 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil to coat the vegetables for grilling

6 slices bacon, browned and drained

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup Slather Brand Spicy Slatherin’ Sauce

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Pre-heat your broiler to high or your gas/fire grill to medium high heat. Prep the corn, onion, and red bell pepper as directed. Brush each lightly with the olive oil and arrange in a single layer either in a baking sheet for the broiler or directly on the gas/fire grill, over the hottest part of the flame. Rotate and turn the corn, pepper and onion to char/cook evenly. Meanwhile, cook off the bacon in a sauté pan over medium high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Remove the vegetables from the grill or broiler when tender and slightly charred – about 5 minutes. Allow to cool.

When ready to assemble the salad, cut the corn away from the cob using a large, sharp knife. Slice the pepper halves in thin, julienne strips. Combine the corn, onion, bell pepper, cooked bacon, fresh basil and Spicy Slatherin’ Sauce in a large bowl. Toss gently to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Serve at room temperature. (Note: The salad can be made several hours ahead, covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. Bring back to room temperature before serving. You can taste it better that way!)


Tasting Spoons Going Green

Plastic spoons don't biodegrade

Every time we do a tasting, we use the familiar small plastic spoons. You know the kind I’m talking about? You get them in ice cream shops all the time.

I have a great commitment to reduce/reuse/recycle and I’ve been bothered by the hundreds of spoons that get tossed by all vendors at tastings and shows.

At the upcoming NASFT show, we’ll be using a new solution to mitigate the issue of plastic spoons. Our solution is called the EcoTaster. Marketed as “Ecotaster®Award Winning, Ultra-Green Biodegradable, Recyclable, Renewable Tasting Spoons” they are really clever! And invented by a women too!

Photo credit: flickr user Renee McGurk

Charleston Food Blogger Loves Slatherin’ Sauce

Y’all, the word is out among so many food bloggers that Slatherin’ Sauce is great for just about all your cooking. Charleston Food Bloggers’ Scott Wink authored an awesome post about how he used Slatherin’ Sauce to spice up his cookout. Scott, we want some of those ribs! Click this link to read Scott’s blog about how he cooked ribs using Slatherin’ Sauce.

Charleston Food Bloggers  Slatherin  Sauce and Pig Swig  2 ways SC spices up your summer

Thanks, Scott!

Alice (Ally) D’Antoni Phillips Gives Slatherin’ Sauce Mad Props

Alice D'Antoni Phillips Master Chef Season 2 CompetitorI love watching television shows about cooking and and eating. So when Alice D’Antoni Phillips met our Slatherin’ Sauce demo team member Dwayne in Myrtle Beach and said, “I love your product, and would love to support you in any way I can,” we were intrigued. You see, Ally is one of the 100 finalists who were considered for MasterChef, the Fox television show where home cooks compete to show what they have. We’re eagerly watching the show to see how the competition goes.

Ally used Slatherin’ Sauce to cook ribs for her Memorial Day cook-out and she said. “Slather Brand bottle was on our table last night as we pulled the ribs off the grill…talk about the ‘sounds’ coming from everyone…no words, just sounds…uuuummmmmm,  oohhhhhhhhh, uuutttuuutttuttt…”

Ally used Slatherin’ Sauce to create her own recipe for roast chuck called “Drunken Slather Stringy Beef.” We asked her if we could share her recipe with you and like the gracious lady that she is, she said, “yes.”

Alice D'Antoni Phillips Slatherin' Sauce Beef

Drunken Slather Stringy Beef
a recipe created by Alice D’Antoni Phillips

Serves: 6 (unless you have people like me who eat Paul Bunyan portions!)

“Drunken Slather Stringy Beef is kinda the epitome of “Bohemian Bold”…taking a ‘peasant’ cut of meat and bringing it to the next level of gourmet and exquisite in its taste and presentation! **Robin’s note for more photos, please view Ally’s Kitchen album.

One thing that I’ve discovered is a product called “Slather Brand”…and, boy, does this take food from being hummmmdrummmm and mundane to having a real buzzzzzz of talk happening! And, it’s talk about how GOOD the food is!

I decided to take a chuck roast, which is a very inexpensive cut of meat, and ratchet it up to luxurious…here’s what you do!”

What you need:
2 to 2 1/2 lb chuck roast
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt/pepper
1 1/2 tsp garam masala (you can get at WM & Sonoma…it’s a combo of Bohemian spices!)
1 cup red wine (I used cabernet)
1 medium shallot diced
4 medium garlic cloves sliced crossways thin
12 oz of Slather Spicy Sauce
Green onions/tops chiffonade cut for garnish

NOTE: Garam masala in Hindi means ‘hot mixture’…it’s a blend of ground spices from North Indian and South Asian cuisines…try it…awesome!! It’s pungent ‘hot’ rather than chili pepper ‘hot’!

What you do:
Place chuck roast in roasting pan w/lid. Put EVOO in pan. Rub into meat the garam masala, salt and pepper( both sides). Place shallots and garlic on top of meat. Pour red wine over meat. Cover w/lid and allow to marinade for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Meat should be so tender it just falls apart when separated with a fork!

Pre-heat oven to 300. Cover tightly and let roast cook slowly for 2 hours. Remove and drain off all but about 1/2″ of the broth into another container. Pour on Slather Brand Hot Sauce and blend excess into broth. Cover and allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
You may want to add back some of the broth that was reserved.
Garnish with chiffonade cut green onions.

I served with purple/green cabbage/cuke/carrot slaw and oven roasted crispy red skin potatoes!

The Slather Sauce is great for dipping the potatoes!!”

Recipe and photos courtesy of Alice D’Antoni Phillips. For More from Ally, go to her Facebook Page

Father’s Day in my family

Spring 2011 244As Father’s Day approaches and the market is flooded with gift giving ideas to make those special men in our lives feel loved and appreciated, I am reminded of my beloved father, Earl Henry Rhea. The perfect gifts for Daddy were a box of Sophie Mae Peanut Brittle, a can of Prince Albert tobacco, and a package of new undershirts.

Father’s Day was always celebrated by going to church with Momma and Daddy followed by a magnificent picnic in the backyard. My Father was a native Charlestonian and we were true Southerners feasting on fried chicken, red rice, potato salad, butter beans and okra, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, homemade lemonade, and hand churned peach ice cream.

The celebration always ended with Daddy opening 1 of his 6 boxes of Sophie Mae AJC Staff (There were 6 kids and no matter what else we bought him…we all bought him Sophie Mae). He would give each of us one piece and maybe two if we asked but he never opened more than 1 box. These were his private stash and rightfully so. He never asked for much and gave unselfishly… he deserved it.

This Father’s Day I will be celebrating in the same style that is reminiscent of those wonderful times growing up. I will be hosting a backyard picnic in honor of three special fathers who grace my life and give me reason to celebrate this joyous day: Curtis Mitchell, Dustin Barnes and Craig Snyder, (at left holding his daughter and my granddaughter, Carolyn Grace). And as always I will do what I have done for at least the past 50 years. I will purchase a box of Sophie Mae Peanut Brittle, eat a piece, and lovingly remember Daddy.

Men in the kitchen

In 2009 according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics,

“–On an average day, 85 percent of women and 67 percent of men spent some time doing household activities such as housework, cooking, lawn care, or financial and other household management.”

Some of us may wonder exactly how these numbers break down, but many of us live with men who are grabbing whisks, pans and knives and preparing food for not just themselves, but for the household.

Increasingly, Eric Steinmen notes, men are accepting responsibility in the kitchen. Some of this may be attributed to more men working from home and the economic changes that have led more men to be Mr. Moms.

Or it could be with the rise of food as entertainment or because of the rise to awareness of the imperative to improve how we eat, that men are modeling the coolness of cooking. Perhaps men are emulating television chefs and celebrity chefs.

What’s true is the grill has long been the province of men, but now, they’re moving inside and we celebrate their relocation to the stove-front, because for whatever reasons they find themselves there, we all need more conscious cooks in our homes.

Men in home kitchens

It seems logical to ask, why shouldn’t men cook at home? They eat at home. And as Adriana Velez reports in her article on,

“If more home cooking is essential to changing the food system, men had better get into the kitchen as well.

It’s happening. In 1965, fathers accounted for only five percent of the time spent cooking for the family; now they’re in the kitchen nearly one-third of the time.”

With Father’s Day coming up on June 19, we have the perfect opportunity to find a unique gift for the fathers in our lives and we suggest Man with a Pan: Culinary Adventures of Fathers Who Cook for Their Families by John Donohue (and a gift pack of Slatherin’ Sauce.) According to it’s publisher, the engaging series of essays contained in this book,

“…celebrates those who toil behind the stove, trying to nourish and please. Their tales are accompanied by more than sixty family-tested recipes, time-saving tips, and cookbook recommendations, as well as New Yorker cartoons. Plus there are interviews with homestyle heroes from all across America—a fireman in Brooklyn, a football coach in Atlanta, and a bond trader in Los Angeles, among others.

What emerges is a book not just about food but about our changing families. It offers a newfound community for any man who proudly dons an apron and inspiration for those who have yet to pick up the spatula.”

To which we say, “Yes!”

Are you a man who cooks? Do you have a man in your life who cooks for the family? Share your own story with us!