Book: “Everyday Barbecue: At Home with America’s Favorite Pitmaster”; 320 pages, $24, by Myron Mixon with Kelly Alexander. Published by Ballantine, 2013.
About the book: Mixon is a New York Times bestselling cookbook author and a judge on “BBQ Pitmasters” on Discovery’s Destination America; he calls himself “the winningest man in barbecue.” Chapters are divided into these topics: The Essentials, Burgers and Sandwiches, Smoked and Grilled, Barbecue-fried, Swimmers, “Drunken” Recipes, Barbecue Brunch, Leftovers, Salads and Sides and Dessert. I want to try Grilled Pimiento Cheese Sandwiches (Page 65), Smoked Meatloaf (P. 92), Barbecue Shrimp Cocktail (P. 134), Smoked Whiskey Wings (P. 161) and Barbecue Jalapeno-cheddar Hushpuppies (P. 253), among so many others that look scrumptious.
In his own words: “Listen, you’re busy, you’ve got to get dinner on the table, so you’d better get to it. Go ahead, fire up your grill and see how easy it is to make a meal no matter how little time you’ve got,” Mixon said.
What we made:
CHOCOLATE CAKE ON THE GRILL (P. 265)
¾ cup (1½ sticks) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 large eggs
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1½ cups sour cream
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Optional: shredded coconut, toasted; whipped cream and fruit; or crumbled bacon
Make the cake: Heat a charcoal grill or gas grill to medium heat. Alternatively, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Generously grease an 8-cup Bundt pan with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the remaining ¾ cup butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla and beat until the batter is smooth. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the sour cream.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.
Place the cake pan on the grill and cover, or place it in the oven; grill or bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Remove from the grill or oven and let the cake cool in the pan completely, about 1 hour.
Invert the cake onto a serving platter. Brush a thin layer of the glaze over the cake and let dry slightly. Repeat 3 more times, letting the glaze dry slightly before brushing the cake again. Top with toasted coconut or crumbled bacon, if you’re using. Cut into wedged and serve with whipped cream and fruit if you like. It also goes well with Georgia Peanut Peanut Butter Ice Cream (P. 281).
Our assessment: The morning crew at News Talk Radio WHIO (95.7 FM and AM 1290) graciously agreed to be my taste-testers. Here’s what they had to say:
Larry Hansgen, host: “The bacon gives it that sweet-savory combo, which I personally like. This would be a great standalone dessert.”
Jim Barrett, anchor: “The cake crumbled in my hands when I picked it up, but that didn’t stop me from scooping up the crumbles on my desk and eating those, too.”
Chris Collins, co-anchor: “The chocolate and glaze aren’t overly sweet. It’s just enough.”
Sgt. Mark Bowron, traffic: “Bacon is the magic fairy dust of the food industry. And I’ve never had it with chocolate before, but if you would make some scrambled eggs, I would eat this for breakfast.”
Sandy Collins, news director: “Cake on the grill? This was so light, chocolatey and delicious. The bacon, well, it was OK. That’s the difference between men and women!”
We did all agree that this cake would make a Father’s Day celebration extra special. We recommend serving it up with a copy of this cookbook, which Dad will enjoy for cookout seasons to come.
For weather, traffic and news, tune in to News Talk Radio WHIO with Larry, Jim, Chris and Mark every weekday morning.