CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA (Indian Butter Chicken)


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My wife is from the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia Canada. We go there at least twice a year to visit her family. There is a large East Indian population throughout the area and Indian food is very popular. One of our first stops every trip is a place simply named, Best of India. For many years the owner,  Jaswinder “Jas” Sidhu and his wife, Mandeep have run this small restaurant. They are wonderful people from the Indian province of Punjab and they make the best Tikka Masala (Butter Chicken) we have had anywhere. We have been stopping by for lunch year after year and year after year I have asked Jas to teach me how to make this dish. Time and time again he has just smiled, patted me on the shoulder and said “It’s a secret recipe”… I would go home and try to make it by guessing with no success. However, this year, he actually finally said, “ok Ken… you come tomorrow and I will teach you”. My wife, Andi and I went the next day and spent the afternoon in his kitchen at the restaurant cooking and learning. He did not just hand me the recipe but I took notes the best I could and this is the result. He shared with us the purpose of each ingredient as he sees them as “medicine for the body”. Some of the spices, he believes, offer great health benefits from boosting the immune system to anti inflammatory to blood flow. Some of the ingredients were foreign to me but I found them easy to get online and worth discovering. I hope you will enjoy this cooking process and this delicious recipe! Pairs very well with a fruit forward white wine with a dry finish.

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Cooking oil (canola, corn or vegetable)

Chopped Garlic (2 tablespoons)

Chopped Ginger – no need to peel (2 Tablespoons very finely chopped)

1 medium chopped Onion

1 Green Chili pepper seeded and chopped… (leave seeds in for spicier dish)

1 tablepoon ground tumeric

1/2 teaspoon Whole Coriander (crushed to open up flavor)

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon black mustard seed

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 bay leaves (remove before serving)

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 lb of cubed chicken breast (cut into 2×2 inch cubes)

14 oz tomato sauce

1 cup whole buttermilk

2 pinch of dried methi fenugreek leaves

1 teaspoon ground malathi powder

i teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach

1 tablespoon ground red chili paste

1/2 cup ground cashew (crushed in ziplock bag with mallet works well)

1 1/2 cups Basmati Rice cooked according to directions. (Stir in 1 tbsp butter, 1 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp salt before cooking… set aside and keep warm)

Naan Bread (Just before serving dinner toast in oven directly on rack 6 minutes on 400)

Have all ingredients pre chopped / measured etc and right in front of you so that you have them ready quickly when you need them.

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Boil chicken cubes in 3 quarts of salted water for 8 minutes or until cooked thoroughly. Set aside.


In a small sauce pot heat 1 tbsp of oil and add tomato sauce… Stir and keep on low heat until needed…


Heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium high heat in skillet

Saute chopped onion for 3 minutes then add half of your garlic, ginger and green chili (set aside other half of each for later in process)

Stir then add:

1 tbsp tumeric

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp black mustard seed

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 bay leaf

Stir to blend ingredients in skillet…


crush 1/2 teaspoon whole coriander between hands in a circular motion and add to pot…

Stir then add:

Cooked chicken

1/3 of the warm tomato sauce

1/2 of the whole buttermilk

Reduce heat to medium…

Stir then add:

dried fenugreek leaves

1/2 tsp malathi powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp Salt

Stir then add:

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

half of chopped baby spinach

Stir then add:

(equal amounts as before of)




Tomato Sauce

Stir then add:

ground red chili paste

1/2 cup finely ground cashews

1/4 cup more of water

rest of tomato sauce

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Taste to see if you need more flavor… add salt pepper turmeric and ground coriander to adjust…

If you like spicy food you may want to add more heat (red chili paste).

Stir together well and simmer on low heat…

Serve over basmati rice seasoned w salt, turmeric and butter…

Top with fresh chopped cilantro and baby spinach.



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Best of India’s Tikka Masala Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice and Naan Bread
Best Of India in OLIVER, B.C. CANADA

© Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2017


“Family Style” Hillbilly Supper Club Featuring Grayton Beach Catering

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This week I am excited to bring you some very special recipes from the very special folks at Grayton Beach Catering in Grayton Beach Florida. Owners Donald Reeder and his mother Cheri Peebles recently hosted a fantastic dinner party where they prepared some of their favorite dishes.  My wife, Andi and I were fortunate enough to attend and we brought our buddy Kyle Jacobs along with us. It was a fantastic night at a table full of fellowship with great friends and family as well as amazing cuisine. All of the food was presented “family style” on large platters and passed around the table to share. I thought I would share with you and hopefully inspire a family style Hillbilly Supper Club of your own!

– Ken


Scallop BLT
Serves 10, 2 per person.

3 slices of smoked bacon
4 heirloom tomatoes sliced
½ cup arugula
¼ cup remoulade
1 lb. of large 10/20 scallops
seafood seasoning


Roast bacon to medium, not crispy.
Clean scallops and slice in half across the width.
Season all sides or the scallops with seafood seasoning.
Sear in a cast iron skillet

Top one scallop with bacon, arugula and remoulade. Place a second scallop on top and finish with a small skewer to hold it all together.

Tenderloin Crostini
Serves 10, 3 per person.

2 8 oz. beef tenderloin filets
8 oz. horseradish cream sauce
8 oz. onion and red pepper marmalade
½ cup arugula
1 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper
30 crostini

Season steak with salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. 
Allow it to rest until steak has come to room temperature.
Grill on high until medium rare. Let rest. Slice in thin strips.
Top crostini with arugula, thinly sliced steak, onion and red pepper marmalade, finish with horseradish cream sauce…. Then put it in your mouth.

Horseradish Cream Sauce
1/3 cup horseradish (may be adjusted to taste)
1 cup sour cream
1 lemon, juiced
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
splash of Sriracha
splash of Worcestershire

Mix all ingredients together and chill for 2 hours.
Yellow Onion and Red Pepper Marmalade
2 large yellow onions, diced medium
4 large red bell peppers, seeded and diced medium
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. red pepper flakes (may adjust to taste)
olive oil

In a large skillet heat oil. Sauté onions and peppers until tender. Add red pepper flakes and sauté for an additional two minutes. Deglaze the pan with vinegar. Add brown sugar. Stir and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the liquid reduces. May be served warm or cold.

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Shrimp and Grits 
Serves 10
1 recipe gouda grits
1 recipe grilled shrimp
3 green onions, diced for garnish
1 tomato, diced for garnish

Gouda Grits

2 cups stone ground yellow grits (must be stone ground not instant)
2 cups smoked gouda, shredded
4 cups heavy cream
6+ cups cold water
Salt and white pepper to taste. Season throughout cooking process.

In a larger saucepan, bring heavy cream and four cups of cold water to a boil. Whisk in grits. Continually stir with a whisk until the grits begin to thicken. Once grits begin to thicken, reduce heat to a simmer. Slowly add two cups of cold water. Stir continuously so grits do not to stick to the bottom of the pot. Simmer on low for at least one hour, stir frequently and add cold water as needed to maintain consistency. In the last ten minutes of cooking, add shredded smoked Gouda. Once cheese is incorporated, add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

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2 ½ lbs. jumbo Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined.
Stinky’s seafood seasoning
 2 tbs. olive oil
Season shrimp with Stinky’s seafood seasoning to taste. Sauté in olive oil until fully cooked.

Place grits in a bowl. Top with shrimp and garnish with green onion and diced tomato.

See more on cherry season with Kellie and Kyle at

Every July it is cherry picking season where my wife is from in The Okanagan Valley of British Columbia Canada. We try to go every year if we can to help her parents and enjoy the festivities. This year we took Kellie Pickler and Kyle Jacobs with us and had a great time at the harvest. We picked a ton of cherries and then canned them. We asked Donald and Richard at Grayton Beach Catering to use some of the cherries in a recipe and this is what they came up with. It was delicious!

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Smoked Duck with Cherry Balsamic Glaze
Serves 10

10 – 6 oz. duck breast
2 tbs. fresh thyme
2 tbs. fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 gallon of water
6.5 oz. kosher salt
6.5 oz. brown sugar
2 lemons
1 orange
10 cloves of garlic
1 small handful of black peppercorn
2 bay leaves

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a large sauce pan. Cool completely.
Place duck breast in brine and allow to rest in fridge for 24 hours.

Remove duck from brine and pat dry.
Season with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary.
Smoke duck at 200 to 225 degrees for 6 hours.
Check internal temperature. It should be 165 degrees. If necessary, bring to temperature in the oven.

Sear duck breast fat side down over high heat in cast iron skillet until golden brown.
Remove from heat. Rest briefly. Slice and top with cherry balsamic glaze.



Cherry Balsamic Glaze
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. shallots, minced
2 green onions, thinly sliced
4 oz. white wine
2 cups cherries, pitted and chopped
½ cup balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 tbs. white sugar (optional)
1 tbs. olive oil

Heat oil in a medium saucepan. Sauté garlic and shallots until tender. Add green onions. Sauté for two minutes. Add cherries. Sauté for two minutes. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Allow alcohol to cook off. Add balsamic vinegar. Stirring periodically, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Allow mixture to reduce until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add sugar as desired to even out tartness.

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Suggested Serving
 We suggest serving the smoked duck breast with cherry balsamic glaze over risotto or your favorite starch.

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Chef Richard McCord  of Grayton Beach Catering

Creamed Collards

This recipe is great for left over collard greens. To make from scratch, we suggest using your grandma’s recipe. If she doesn’t have one, we think this own is pretty darn good.

5 lbs. chopped collards, rinsed
½ lb. of bacon (or your favorite pork product)
1 large Vidalia onion, diced large
20 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup white wine
1 small handful of cracked black pepper
1 qt. chicken stock
kosher salt, to taste
1/3 cup pepper vinegar
2 tbs. red pepper flakes
2 tbs. Crystal’s Hot Sauce

In a large pot, sauté and render bacon over medium high heat. Once rendered, sauté garlic, onion and black pepper until soft. Deglaze with white wine and cook for two minutes. Add collards. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Stir periodically. Cook for at least 2 hours. The longer they cook, the better they are.

Cream Sauce

1 qt. heavy cream
1 cup shredded parmesan
1 cup shredded gruyere
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 ½ tsp. garlic powder
2 cups bread crumbs

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In a saucepan over medium heat bring cream to a boil. Simmer and reduce by 1/3
Add garlic powder, salt and pepper. Stir in cheese until incorporated. Remove from heat.

Drain collards and remove as much of the pot liquor as possible.
Add cream sauce to the collard greens.
Place in a casserole dish. Top with bread crumbs.
Bake at 325 until bubbly and delicious.


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Sweet Heat Peach Cobbler

10 peaches, peeled and sliced.

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For Peaches:
½ cup cinnamon whiskey
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
2 ½ tbs. cornstarch
1 tbs. bacon fat (omit from marinade)

Mix ingredients together. Coat peaches evenly and allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to two hours.

For Biscuit Topping:
1 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, grated cold
3/4 cup heavy cream

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. With a pastry cutter or fork, cut in cold grated butter until mixture is course. Fold in heavy cream. Mix until a dough ball forms. Do not over mix as it will create a dense topping.

In a 12-inch cast iron pan, heat 1 tbs. of bacon fat. Sauté peaches with their marinade for 5 to 10 minutes stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Cover peaches in topping. We recommend placing one spoonful of biscuit dough at a time, leaving space between each drop biscuit.

Brush with heavy cream and dust with white sugar. Bake at 375 for 45 minutes until golden brown.

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I hope you enjoy trying some of these recipes from my post this week!

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Chef Richard McCord and Chef/Owner Donald Reeder from Grayton Beach Catering with Kyle Jacobs and Ken Johnson


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Owner Cheri Peebles from Grayton Beach Catering with Andi Zack-Johnson and Ken Johnson
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Laughing with friends Annie & Brandon


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© Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2017

All photos by Shelly Swanger Photography

THE B-4 BURGER (Bison, Barbecue Sauce, Blue Cheese and Bacon)


“B-4” you decide on another traditional cheeseburger… Try this Hillbilly Supper Club favorite!

What you’ll need…

Fresh ground Bison (1/3 lb per person)
Bacon (1 slice per burger)
Bbq Sauce
Crumbled blue cheese (2 tbsp per burger)
1 large sweet Onion (sliced)
Brioche or bakery made buns
garlic salt
Worcestershire sauce

For a vegetarian option try eliminating bacon and grilling a portobello mushroom cap instead…
Marinate mushroom first in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar.


Prepare grill to medium high heat…


In a skillet… fry bacon. When done, remove bacon and set aside on paper towel. Discard grease but do not wipe out skillet yet. There will still be enough fat to saute onions in.

Saute sliced onions over medium heat in small amount of bacon fat stirring frequently until onions become caramelized.
Remove from heat and set aside.

Gently form bison meat into 5 to 6 oz patties.
With your thumbs, form an indention in the center.
When you cook a burger it tends to swell in the middle. If you form an indention in the center it will swell to normal instead of becoming a meatball.


Add a splash or two of worcestershire sauce to each burger.
Then sprinkle with garlic salt and pepper. (about 1/3 of a tsp of each per burger)


Hint:  Let meat sit a short while so it is not cold when it hits the grill. (it will cook more evenly)

Place burgers on grill and cook about 5 minutes per side or to desired temp then add crumbled blue cheese. Place on a plate loosely covered with foil or in a 175 degree oven to keep warm.
I prefer to cook fresh ground bison to medium which is an internal temp of about 145 degrees but food safety guidelines suggest ground meats should be cooked to 160 degrees. Just FYI. It’s your call.

Preheat broiler in oven to high.
Slice buns in half horizontally and butter both sides. Place under broiler for 1 or 2 minutes until toasted golden brown. Only toast inside of bun. Do not flip.
The inside will be toasted and the outside of the bun will still be soft.

Place a tablespoon or two of barbecue sauce on each bottom bun then add grilled bison burger with blue cheese…
Top with caramelized onions and bacon, top bun and enjoy!

In this recipe we used Stubbs Barbecue Sauce, one of our favorites from Austin Texas.


© Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2017

Grilled Salmon with Blueberry and Fig Balsamic Reduction, Red Wine Mushroom Risotto and Caesar Salad


I arranged the recipes for each of these three dishes separately so make sure and read through to decide when to make what according to your preference. Remember to look for responsibly farm raised fish when wild is not in season or available. Fresh is always better if you can get it. Some coastal seafood markets will overnight to you and you can find them online.

What You’ll Need…

For fish… 

Fresh salmon filet – skin removed (plan for about 6 oz per person)

1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Prepare grill and bring to medium high heat…

Wash fish and pat dry.


Coat fish very lightly with 1 tsp olive oil and sprinkle lightly with black pepper.

Grill fish on one side for about 3 minutes then flip and grill for 2 until medium rare on inside.

Remove fish and cover loosely with a sheet of tin foil. It will continue to cook a bit after removing so be careful not to over cook.

Serve with reduction sauce spooned over top.


For reduction sauce…

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 tbsp fig infused balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tbsp butter

1 tsp finely chopped shallots

1/2 cup red wine


In a small pot melt butter over medium heat…

Add shallots and stir for 1 minute.

Then add sugar, vinegar, wine and blueberries.

reduce to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.

Set aside to cool and serve over fish.


For risotto…

1 1/2 cups arborio rice

1 tbsp butter

48 oz chicken or vegetable stock

8oz crimini mushrooms (sliced)

1/2 medium onion (chopped)

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 lemon



Warm chicken or vegetable stock and red wine in a pot over medium low heat and have a ladle handy.


In a large skillet over medium heat, add sliced mushrooms and stir occasionally until cooked. They will produce enough liquid of their own to cook in and no oil or butter is necessary. Once cooked transfer to a bowl and set aside.



Add butter to skillet and melt.

Then add dry arborio rice and stir in pan (so as not to burn) and continue to stir until rice is toasted (about 2 to 3 minutes)

Ladle about a cup of warm stock over rice and stir. Continue to stir on and off until liquid is absorbed.

Repeat this process continuously adding 1 ladle of liquid at a time and stirring until rice is cooked “al dente” (tender with a slight firmness to bite), then reduce heat to low.


Add mushrooms and parmesan cheese and stir. Squeeze lemon over top and serve hot.


For salad…

2 heads of fresh chilled romaine lettuce (washed and cut)

Caesar dressing

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of half a lemon

1 tsp fresh finely chopped garlic

1/2 tsp worchester sauce

1 tsp mayonaise

salt and pepper to taste

1 tsp finely chopped anchovies (optional)


To make…

Mix ingredients for dressing well and in a large bowl, toss desired amount with chilled cut lettuce and croutons.

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This caesar salad recipe was shared with me by one of my oldest friends and bandmates, Stanton Langley, from Birmingham, AL. He is a great cook and has perfected the recipe over the years. I think you will enjoy it. It does not call for a raw egg like classic caesar dressing does but if you want to add one then by all means do. It does however, call for anchovies. I am not very interested in eating anchovies alone but chopped up very finely and in the dressing it adds a great flavor. You may want to start with a smaller amount of anchovy and add to suit your taste.


Kellie & Kyle miss our Hillbilly Supper Club‘s while Andi Zack-Johnson and I are playing our Huck & Lilly shows down at the beach! 


© Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2017

Iron Skillet Snapper over Garlic Creamed Potatoes  with Lemon Aioli Marinated Vidalia and Heirloom Tomato Salad



What You’ll Need…


For Fish…

(4) 6oz pieces of fresh red snapper

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs

1 cup corn flakes (crushed)

salt and pepper

extra virgin olive oil

6 medium sized potatoes (peeled and cut into quarters)

4 tbsp unsalted butter (divided in half)

1/2 cup whole milk

1 tbsp organic garlic powder (We use Russell Farms Vernon, B.C.)



For Salad:

1 small Vidalia Onion (chopped)

1 medium heirloom tomato (chunks)

2 big handfuls mixed greens (spring mix)

1/3 cup olive oil

juice of half a lemon

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp sugar

salt and pepper

First prepare salad…

In a small bowl… Whisk together olive oil, lemon, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper…

Pour over onion and tomato pieces… Stir to coat, cover and set aside to marinate for at least an hour. (do not refrigerate because refrigerating tomatoes makes them lose their flavor)


For Potatoes…

In a large pot bring 2 quarts of water and 1 tbsp of salt to a boil over hight heat.

Place peeled and quartered potatoes in pot. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Boil potatoes until they can be pierced with a fork but don’t wait until they are falling apart. Check after 20-25 minutes.


When ready, do not pour ALL of the water out

– Drain potatoes but reserve about a 8 ounces of starchy liquid…

Leave that in pot and return to medium heat.

Add butter, organic garlic powder, whole milk and 1/2 tsp both of salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 30 seconds and then pour half of the liquid into a mixing bowl and set aside to cool for use with fish.


Add potatoes to remaining mixture. Remove from heat and with a hand mixer on a low setting, cream potatoes…  Salt and pepper to preferred taste… Add more organic garlic powder if desired. Then place on lowest stove top setting to stay warm until ready to serve, stirring occasionally.  Add a splash of milk and blend again just before serving.

Gord and Lisa package their amazing organic garlic powder at Russell Farms in Vernon, British Columbia Canada. Check them out on Facebook to learn how to get some in your pantry! 

For Fish…

Try to find freshest fish available. If you are in an area where it is not available look online. Some seafood markets will overnight their product to you (on ice) at a reasonable cost.

Cutting fresh red snapper at Pat Miller’s Goatfeathers Seafoood Market in Seagrove Beach, FL on 30A                (pictured here left to right) Jerry Walker, Ken Johnson & Roger Butler

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place fish fillets on a plate

In a mixing bowl, mix panko bread crumbs, Italian style bread crumbs and crushed corn flakes…

Place mixing bowl with reserved starchy water (now cool) next to bread crumbs.

Heat 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in iron skillet on stove over medium to medium high heat…


Place fish in starchy liquid bowl and flip over to coat evenly on both sides of filet.


Then place transfer to bread crumb bowl and turn to coat both sides with bread crumbs… Quickly place in skillet. Cook for 2 minutes then turn fish over and cook other side for 2 minutes.



Place fish in 400 degree oven for 5 minutes… Remove and lightly salt… Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and cover loosely with foil.

Next… Toss marinated onions and tomatoes with fresh greens.


To Plate…

Place a scoop of warm creamed potatoes on center of plate and top with fish. Accompany with tomato and onion salad and serve with lemon and remoulade or tarter sauce.

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Pairs well with 30A Chardonnay
Kellie, Kyle, Ken, Andi, Dave & Allison Cheers to an awesome Hillbilly Supper Club accompanied by 30A Chardonnay and 30A Red Blend
The Hillbilly Supper Club Gang: Kellie, Kyle, Allison, Dave & Andi & Ken

© Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2017

Pea Stuffed Pasta and Royal Red Shrimp


Andi tells me that this is one of her favorite dishes that I make for her and that I should share it with you so… I’m doing what she says. I came up with the recipe one night while just trying to use up some stuff we had in the pantry and freezer. Except for the peas! Fresh is best when you have it. It’s always so nice to use fresh ingredients from Andi’s garden and the green peas this year are delicious. You can certainly use frozen but fresh is always best so check with your farmer’s market if you aren’t growing your own.

You can absolutely use regular wild shrimp if you can’t find royal reds but if you can find them they are a little sweeter and almost like a cross between crawfish and lobster. They usually come “heads on”.  Fresh or frozen is fine. When you boil them it creates a nice light seafood stock. After you remove the shrimp, add your pasta to the same water and it will turn out with a very nice flavor.

As always, it’s best to practice good Mise en Place, (the French term for “everything in it’s place”).  If you prepare all of the ingredients ahead of time and have them at your fingertips, it makes it easier for you to relax and enjoy a glass of wine and the whole cooking process.

One more thing about this dish… Don’t worry! You don’t have to stuff a pea into every shell. They will find a way in there on their own… So pour a glass of wine, put some music on and here we go…

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What You’ll Need:

I tsp liquid crab boil (i.e. Old Bay or Zatarain’s)

1 lb of Royal Red shrimp

1 stick of butter (unsalted)

1 teaspoon fresh chopped garlic

I tbsp creole seasoning (i.e. Zatarain’s, Tony Chachere’s or Louisiana Brand)

1 cup of fresh or frozen green peas

16 ounces of small pasta shells

2/3 cup of half and half

2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

2/3 cup of dry white wine (pinot grigio works well)

1/2 cup chopped fresh green onion or chives

lemon wedges

salt and pepper


Add a pinch of salt and 1 tsp liquid crab boil seasoning to at least 3 quarts of cold water and bring to a boil in large pot.


Boil shrimp for four minutes then carefully remove them with tongs or spoon and set aside. Save water and let it continue to boil to use for pasta.

Next… Check “al dente” cooking time on the box and subtract 1 to 2 minutes…

For small pasta shells – 5 minutes. They will cook at bit more after they boil.

Set timer… Add pasta to the same boiling water that the shrimp was in.

NOTE: Two things that are important about getting good results with pasta… Use lots of water and don’t over cook. Remove pasta promptly after timer sounds pour into colander and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, peel shrimp and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Set aside.

Bring it all together…

In a large skillet, over medium heat, melt half a stick of butter. Once butter has melted add creole seasoning and garlic and sauté for 1 minute while stirring well.


Add white wine, stir and reduce heat to medium/low… Quickly add shrimp, half and half, peas, green onion, grated parmesan and pasta… stir for about 30 seconds. Add a pinch of black pepper.


Almost done…

Mix well until peas find their way into the pasta.

Let simmer for 2-3 minutes on medium/low heat. Taste and add more creole seasoning if desired.


Squeeze fresh lemon juice over top and serve hot with crusty french bread.


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© Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2017

Grilled Rack of Pork with Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Turnip Root Purée 

Chef Stephen Bucalo’s Texas Style Brisket and Burnt Ends


For my wife Andi and I, it has been a joy and a pleasure being a part of the cast of two seasons now of Ryan Seacrest Production, “I Love Kellie Pickler” on CMT. We have really enjoyed working on the show with our dear friends. One of the things we love about the show is that it is often is about shining a light on others and their talents, their passions and what they have to offer to the world. Kellie and Kyle have said from the beginning that they wanted the show to lift up others. It is in that spirit that I would like to use this week’s Hillbilly Supper Club blog to shine a light on my friend, Chef Stephen Bucalo.


Stephen is the Executive  Chef at The Hub. This wonderful beach venue is a gathering place for friends and family (and dogs!), located along beautiful scenic Highway 30A in Watersound Beach, Florida. It is a multi-mix venue with several restaurants all under the direction of Chef Stephen. The space also hosts the Gulf Coast’s largest LED Jumbotron, where sporting events, movies and live-recorded concerts are shown. We love to watch college football games on the big screen and get some BBQ and cocktails on Saturdays in the Fall. There is a faux grass lawn for corn hole, lounging and screen watching. You can enjoy indoor or outdoor seating, relax by the fire pit or by the fireplaces in the screened in porch & get a drink at one of the two bars onsite. On top of all of that, my good friend, Ashley Grimes, Director of Marketing and Events at The Hub  is on her game when it comes to live music and manages to bring in some of the best national touring artists around during the vacation season 5 to 6 nights a week at no additional cost to Hub customers. Wednesday nights are reserved for family movie night and a picnic. Fun for kids and adults alike all in one place!



One of the favorite Hub restaurants Stephen takes great pride in is called “Local Smoke”. The BBQ is pretty great. I asked Stephen to share his very popular brisket recipe with us as well as his approach to “Burnt Ends”… a very sought after delicacy in Texas and now in the Florida panhandle that you don’t find everywhere.

Chef Stephen Bucalo’s Texas Style Brisket


Hint from Stephen: 

“So there are three main things about brisket… “

1. Time

2. Temperature

3. Slicing

Ingredients you will need:

1 – 13 to 14 lb beef brisket

1 cup of course ground black pepper

1 cup of your favorite bbq dry rub

1 pint of your favorite barbecue sauce

Sliced white sandwich bread

To make brisket:

1. Combine pepper and dry rub and mix well. Apply mixture to brisket by pouring into hands and “rubbing” in to meat until well coated all over then set aside…

2. Prepare smoker and adjust vents to set heat at 205 degrees.

Use preferred wood… mesquite, cherry, pecan or hickory are all good choices.

3. Place brisket in smoker and smoke for 12 hours* maintaining  205 degrees throughout.

4. Remove from smoker and allow to rest for 30 minutes.


*You want to aim for about 12 hours for cooking your brisket. However, it may take as little as 6 hours or as much as 18 hours to reach an internal temperature of 180 degrees depending on the heat distribution of your smoker. Using a meat thermometer, monitor temperature while your brisket is cooking.

It should work out for you to cook your (13 to 14 lb) brisket at 205 degrees for around 12 hours… Chef Stephen says… “ Shoot for 12 hours, but no matter what, even if it’s after 6 hours, once it hits an internal temp of 180 degrees, pull it off smoker and let sit for 30 minutes to rest.” After 30 minutes, you can wrap in foil and return to a warming drawer or oven set at 160 degrees until ready to serve.

Slicing your brisket:


Slicing your briskit is the 3rd thing to pay attention to Stephen says… “It is very important to identify the “point” of the brisket, then slice across from the end of the point. This will insure you are cutting across the grain which will allow meat to pull apart easiest and will result in the juiciest most tender end result.”


Slicing across the grain will give you that tender, pull apart signature brisket goodness!

Serve with sauce on the side or as a sandwich with the side items you prefer. Potato salad, baked beans, collard greens, mac and cheese, squash casserole slaw, pickles etc.

Chef Stephen Bucalo’s Burnt Ends:


First of all… what are “burnt ends”?

When you cook a brisket, some parts of the cut of meat are thinner on the outside of the cut and when done, tend to be cooked more perhaps losing all fat content. However these parts of the meat, when mixed with sauce and smoked an additional amount of time, become more tender and offer a delicious almost concentrated intense smokey flavor. Burnt ends are considered a delicacy in southern cooking circles and are excellent when chopped and added to baked beans or on sandwiches or on their own.

To make burnt ends…

Dice ends of brisket into 3 to 4″ cubes.

Toss cubes of brisket in sauce and put in oven proof container then return to smoker for about six hours at 205 degrees.

Stephen serves them on top of good ol’ fashioned white bread with extra sauce drizzled over the top. His customers seem to be pretty ok with that.

In the southeast it’s all about the pork and Stephen can do that like nobody’s business but he started out as a student of Texas BBQ which is all about the beef. That means using dry rubs during cooking and then adding sauce as a condiment. “Your bbq should speak for itself” he says. “The sauce is just a little something extra”.

Stephen Bucalo is an all around good guy and a 2002 graduate of the Western Culinary Institute in Portland Oregon. He is recognized by his peers as an expert in the “farm to table” movement and was head chef of the critically acclaimed, Fox Brothers BBQ in Atlanta Georgia before being “whoo’d” over to The Hub in early 2016.



©Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2016

Cajun Shrimp Stuffed Jalapeños

This past week my wife Andi and I went to New York City with Kellie Pickler and her husband Kyle Jacobs to promote CMT‘s ILoveKP. While there, we were all in the audience of the television show, “Harry”, where Kellie was a guest. Much to my surprise, I was asked with a moment’s notice to perform a duet with Harry Connick Jr. by the man himself. This came about as a spontaneous move on Harry‘s part after Kyle told him that I was in the audience and was one of the writers of “Every Time I Fall In Love”; a song Harry recorded on his new album, “That Would Be Me”. It was a little nerve racking with only a minute to think about it but I couldn’t pass it up and I knew I was very fortunate to have an opportunity to sing with him. It was quite an honor to say the least.

So… For this week’s Hillbilly Supper Club, in honor of Harry Connick Jr., I thought I would take it to NOLA with some cajun inspired cooking. Thanks to my cowriters Sarah Buxton and “Big Al” Anderson for writing the song with me and thanks to Kellie and Kyle for including me that day.

It was a special moment for me and I won’t forget it.

Cajun Shrimp Stuffed Jalapeños


Hint From Ken:

Setting each ingredient on the list out on the counter first makes preparation much easier. Use fresh or previously frozen wild shrimp if possible for best results. Delicious served with steamed white rice and french bread and a crisp, dry white wine or cold ©Abita Beer.


16 medium/large fresh shrimp (peeled and deveined)

8 large jalapeño peppers (seeded and halved long ways)

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

8 oz monterey jack cheese (shredded)

1/2 cup green onion (finely chopped)

8 strips bacon (halved)

1 cup cooked andouille sausage (chopped)

1 tbsp Louisiana Brand© cajun seasoning

2 tbsp butter

1 medium tomato (chopped)

Lemon wedges

1/2 cup parsley (chopped)

Louisiana  Hot sauce

Louisiana Brand© Remoulade Sauce

To make:

Set out cream cheese and allow to soften…

Preheat oven to 425 degrees…


Melt butter in sauce pot then pour in a medium sized bowl…

Add raw peeled and deveined shrimp and 1/2 of cajun seasoning. Stir well to coat shrimp evenly with butter and seasoning.


In a mixing bowl…

Using your hands combine softened cream cheese, monterey jack cheese, chopped green onion, andouille sausage and the other 1/2 of cajun seasoning.

knead and fold until well blended.



Spoon cheese mixture into jalapeño pepper halves and arrange on baking sheet.

Lay one or two shrimp long ways on top of each stuffed pepper then starting at one end wrap with bacon across to the other.



screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-35-44-pmArrange on baking sheet and bake at 425 for 25 minutes or until golden brown.


Serve over steamed who rice with Louisiana© brand remoulade sauce, hot sauce, chopped parsley, tomatoes and lemon wedge.

Cheers to Harry Connick Jr. In this weeks’s NOLA inspired Hillbilly Supper Club

©Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2016