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

Fettuccine and Roasted Vegetable Cream Sauce with Fresh Grilled Wild Mahi

I have had a lot of people ask me what recipes are the biggest hits at Hillbilly Supper Club so this week I am throwing back to one of our favorite dishes from Season 1 of “I Love Kellie Pickler”.

screen-shot-2016-10-29-at-10-00-16-amFettuccine and Roasted Vegetable Cream Sauce with Fresh Grilled Wild Mahi and Oregano Lemon Butter and Sautéed Asparagus…

serves 8

Hint From Ken:

It’s a good idea to plan on putting pasta in boiling water about the time you put the fish on the grill so that everything ends up ready together…

The texture and temperature of food will be more on point as well as the appearance. This dish may seem like a lot of work but is actually quite simple if you have your ingredients out and ready and someone to share a glass of wine with while you cook. Might be helpful to give the recipe a good read through first to familiarize yourself with the process.

As always…Buy the freshest and best ingredients you can afford. Note that this recipe serves 8 so adjust accordingly for fewer servings. Serve with fresh crusty bread and *salted rosemary butter…

This dish is a favorite at Hillbilly Supper Club.

What you’ll need:

-3 lb. of Fresh Wild Mahi (Ask ahead of time to find out when it comes in to your local market to buy at it’s freshest)

-Good extra virgin olive oil

-Balsamic vinegar

-1 lemon

-1/2 cup dry white wine

-1 stick of butter

-Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

-32 oz fettuccine pasta

-1 large red bell pepper

-1 large green red bell pepper

-2 pints of cherry tomatoes (Any kind will do but pick

what ever is freshest)

-1 large red or white onion (A white onion tends to be

milder if you prefer)

-6 peeled garlic cloves

-2 peeled shallots

-1 cup of half and half

-1 cup of fresh grated parmesan – reggiano

-1 handful of fresh oregano (about 2 tablespoons of

leaves separated from stems)

-1 handful of fresh basil (about 15 Leaves)

-1 large bunch of fresh asparagus

-1 tablespoon of sugar

Sauce for pasta:


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a large cutting surface, slice peppers and onions into about 1 inch pieces and place in large bowl. Next, slice shallots and garlic cloves in half and add to bowl along with tomatoes. Drizzle 1/4 cup of olive oil over vegetables then sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper and and equal amount of kosher salt. Using 2 wooden spoons, toss everything in bowl together with and pour contents onto a flat baking pan layered with a sheet of parchment paper…

(Can use a non-stick pan if you don’t have parchment paper but parchment makes for a no stick easy clean up)

Bake for 40-45 Min…(set aside bowl)

When vegetables are roasted and nicely browned transfer from oven back to bowl…

Add 1/2 of oregano and all of basil and toss…


Next, spoon vegetables in to food processor or blender along with half and half and 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar…


Puree mixture into a cream sauce. Transfer to stovetop in a pan and add salt and pepper to taste…


Keep on low to medium low heat until needed stirring occasionally.



Prepare grill…(Preferably wood or charcoal fire but a clean, evenly heated gas grill is fine)

Lay fish out on a flat baking pan skin side down. Very lightly drizzle olive oil over the fish…and then rub over meat to coat with clean hands.

Add fresh ground pepper and Kosher salt but use sparingly. (You want to taste the fish not the salt.)

Next, grill 6 to 8 inches over hot coals skin side down with grill top closed for about 2 minutes. (Monitor for flare-ups because of olive oil.)

Next, gently slide metal spatula between skin and fish and carefully flip.


(With a fork remove grilled skin and discard.)

Grill for 2 more minutes with grill top closed…(based on a 3inch thick filet…Maybe a min longer if thicker but do not over cook or will be dry…Try not to flip more than once)

Transfer fish to pan and loosely place a sheet of tin foil over…

Let rest for 5 minutes.

Sauce for fish:

In a skillet melt butter on medium heat and add juice of fresh squeezed lemon, white wine and other half of fresh oregano. Whisk together and keep warm on medium low heat.



Wash asparagus and gently bend one at a time until they break. Discard tough ends. In a deep enough bowl, mix sugar and cold water…soak asparagus for at least 30 minutes to return fresh taste. Remove and pat dry. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pat of butter on medium/high heat…



Sauté asparagus for 5 minutes stirring often and reduce to low heat.

Squeeze a lemon over top of asparagus and salt lightly…


Prepare al Dente in large pot with lots of well salted water. Strain and drain pasta and then transfer servings to wide shallow bowls or plates…add a scoop of vegetable cream sauce over top of pasta…

In a skillet melt butter on medium heat and add juice of fresh squeezed lemon, white wine and other half of fresh oregano. Whisk together and heat.

Next plate fish with salt and peppered side up on side of pasta and vegetable sauce…Sprinkle parmesan – reggiano over top of cream sauce and spoon lemon butter sauce over fish and serve hot. Accompany with fresh crusty bread and salted rosemary butter.

Throwback to behind the scenes from Season 1 of “I Love Kellie Pickler”

Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2015


Huck and Lilly’s Yumbo Gumbo and Mama’s Homemade Sugar Cookies


serves 8

Hint From Ken:

After last week’s episode of “I Love Kellie Pickler” on CMT featuring Huck and Lilly, I thought it would be fun to post a couple of recipes inspired by Huck and Lilly songs from their album, “There’s A Tree Growing In My Room” which is available on iTunesYumbo Gumbo can be made the day before, refrigerated (or even frozen) and then reheated… No Problem. The flavors will come together more and more in the pot as they sit. You can add more or less stock depending on your own preference for thickness of gumbo.

Huck & Lilly‘s “There’s A Tree Growing in my Room is available on iTunes!

What you’ll need:

2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped celery

1 medium to large white onion diced

1 half of large green bell pepper diced

1 pint of cherry tomatoes sliced half-wise

2 tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 bay leaf

2 dashes of cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: salt, pepper, garlic powder and creole seasoning

1 lb 30 count peeled and deveined wild shrimp

1 lb of small fresh wild scallops

1/2 lb fresh white fish such as maui or grouper cut into bite sized pieces

1 lb Andoullie sausage sliced in 1/4 inch slices

1 cup of diced fresh okra (can use frozen if fresh is unavailable)



32 oz organic chicken stock (may substitute for vegetable stock or seafood stock)

1 cup white rice

2 cups chicken broth

pat of butter

file powder

1/2 cup fresh chopped green onions


In a heavy stock pot or dutch oven on medium low heat, melt the butter then add vegetable oil…Then add flour and and stir constantly for 15 or 20 minutes until a browned paste (roux) is formed…Next…Add celery,onion, bell pepper and tomatoes and stir until covered with roux… then add okra, parsley, tomato paste, bay leaf, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, garlic, powder, creole seasoning and stock.


Use a whisk or fork to get rid of any lumps in flour…Add sausage, bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to low… simmer for 45 minutes…

While waiting, prepare your rice…

Bring 2 cups chicken broth to a boil.

Add 1 cup rice and pat of butter.

Cover and reduce to med low to low heat. After 20 min,

Remove pot from heat and let sit for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork and leave loosely covered

Back to the gumbo…

Raise heat to medium and stir in fish, shrimp and scallops and cook uncovered for 5 minutes then bring to low…

Simmer 15 minutes.

Ladle gumbo into bowls and top with a spoonful of rice sprinkled with file powder and chopped green onion.

Serve with crusty buttered french bread.

And if you care for dessert… And you know you do…

Sugar Cookies


Cream until foamy:

2 sticks of butter

1 C. Sugar

1 egg and 1 egg yolk

Then add:

3 C. flour sifted

1 t. vanilla

1/8 t. salt

Very Important Step: Leave dough in the fridge for 5 hours.

Roll dough and cut with a cookie cutter, sprinkle with sugar and place cookies on buttered cookie sheet.

Cook at 375˚ until golden brown. These also can be dropped with a nut or jelly put in the middle.

Original recipe by Mrs. S. W. Reese

Be sure to listen to Huck & Lilly’s “Sugar Cookies” while you bake! Because They are just bound to come out better! Get it on iTunes here:  While you are cooking watch Kellie Pickler, Kyle Jacobs, Allison & Dave Baker and Ken and Andi Zack-Johnson (AKA: Huck & Lilly) here!

Watch KP and the gang making sugar cookies here : )
Screen Shot 2016-10-22 at 10.34.39 PM.png
This week’s interview with Phil The Fiddler Crab and Kellie & Kyle…watch here : )

© Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2016

Curried Butternut Squash Bisque


Hint From Ken

The butternut squash is often skipped over sitting there in it’s thick khaki skin in the produce section looking all boring but… it’s what’s on the inside that counts right? The bright yellow-orange flesh of the butternut squash is healthy and delicious and very versatile in the kitchen. Next time you are in the store grab a couple and make one of my favorite Hillbilly Supper Club recipes for this time of year. This week I am making a big pot of curried butternut squash bisque for my fellow cast members of I Love Kellie Pickler and a few other friends who are stopping by. I recommend pairing with a cold Good People Pale Ale and a football game!

What you will need:

2 butternut squash (halved and seeded)

2 tbsp unsalted butter

1 tart apple (peeled, cored and chopped)

1 medium white onion (diced)

1 celery stalk (chopped)

1 clove garlic (chopped)

5 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

4 teaspoons yellow curry powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

Extra virgin olive oil

To Make:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Arrange halved squash on a roasting pan lined with parchment paper or tin foil and brush with olive oil

IMG_3398 (1).jpg

Place in oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until tender when pierced with a fork.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.


While squash is in the oven…

Heat butter in a stock pot, on medium high setting.

Sauté garlic for 30 seconds then add onion, celery and apple

Stir in chili powder and curry powder… continue to cook until onions translucent (about 6 to 7 minutes)


Scoop the roasted squash out of it’s skin with a spoon and add to pot with cooked apple onion mixture and stir

Then add broth to pot

Bring to a quick boil then immediately reduce to medium low setting

Let simmer for 30 minutes


Use an immersion blender to puree into a bisque. You can puree in a blender on a low setting if you prefer then transfer back to pot

While continuing to simmer on low heat, add cream, salt, pepper, nutmeg and fresh thyme and stir well.

Transfer to bowls, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with fresh tarragon leaves.*

*Try adding a dollop of Daisy Sour Cream


Hillbilly Supper Club pickin’ party after Kellie and Kyle cooked us up a delicious vegetable soup on last week’s I Love Kellie Pickler
KellieKyle want to cook a Hillbilly Supper Club dinner? –Ken Johnson & Allison Baker on I Love Kellie Pickler on CMT
Kimberly from Little Big Town teaching Kellie and Kyle how to “bohl” water and then put something in it.

Ken Johnson

© Hillbilly Supper Club 2016

End of Season Homemade Tomato Sauce




Hint From Ken

Every year about this time, thanks to Andi and Kellie’s garden, we have a bounty of tomatoes because we want to pick everything before the first frost. These end of season vegetable-ish fruits seem to pile up and take over.  At our house they are sitting around the kitchen, ripening in window sills or on the kitchen and dining room tables in big bowls.  A few late bloomers are still showing up on yellowing vines. They are everywhere… and kinda in the way. Though they may be a nuisance now, soon enough, we will really be missing our precious summer tomatoes. What a shame it would be not to do something with them. This is a sauce I make for Andi to then “can” in Mason jars so we can enjoy a taste of summer again when the winter comes. If you are not growing your own, go to your local tomato truck and buy them up to save some summer for yourself.


What you will need:

5 lbs of tomatoes (peeled and  quartered) * See below for peeling technique

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

6 garlic cloves (chopped)

1 medium white onion (chopped)

1/4 cup of chopped fresh oregano leaves

about 25 whole fresh basil leaves

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon of sea salt

1/2 tablespoon black pepper

1 teaspoon of sugar (The sugar is a small amount but it is there to reduce acidity not to sweeten)


fresh oregano 


To Make:

Heat olive oil in a stock pot, on medium high setting.

Saute garlic for 30 seconds then add onion and continue to cook until onions translucent (about 6 to 7 minutes)

Add quartered tomatoes and reduce heat to medium.

Continue to cook for 30 minutes stirring every few minutes.

Reduce heat to low and add oregano, bay leaves, salt, pepper  and sugar.

Cover and simmer on low for 1 hour – stirring every 15 minutes.

Tomatoes should slowly break down as sauce simmers.


Very important to remove bay leaves and discard because they can be a choking hazard.



Add basil leaves and stir in to sauce.

Toss your favorite pasta with desired amount of sauce…add fresh grated parmesan reggiano cheese and you have the perfect comfort food!


Canning is an excellent way to store for the winter.


* To peel tomatoes easily…

Prepare a large bowl of ice water and set aside.

Slice green tops off of tomatoes.

Boil a large pot of water. place tomatoes (4 at a time)  in boiling water for 30 seconds at a time.

Remove and immediately submerge in ice water for 5 minutes.

Remove from icewater and tomatoes should be easy to peel by hand.

At Hillbilly Super Club on Season 2 of I Love Kellie Pickler on CMT

Ken Johnson

© Hillbilly Supper Club 2016


Chicken Fried “Riced” Cauliflower



Hint From Ken

Once you prepare all of your ingredients and set them out on the counter in front of you, you can make this fairly quickly and easily. “Riced” cauliflower is the result of grating a head of raw cauliflower on the side of a box grater (like you use for grating cheese). You get a large portion of what looks like white rice and when used in place of rice, can work well in some recipes. If you cook it first it will lose it’s firmness but if you mix it with hot stir-fried chicken and vegetables right before you serve it, it will be just right. This is a very flavorful and healthy way to get your asian food fix without so many carbs or heavy oils and you get a good dose of raw vegetables. I know it’s hard to believe but you won’t miss the rice. I don’t use cauliflower just because it is a rice alternative and low carb… I use it because it is good! I make this for my family all of the time. At Hillbilly Supper Club this is brotha Kyle‘s favorite dish but Kellie and some of our other guests don’t eat meat so I substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth and set aside some of the vegetable and cashew stir fry with the honey/soy sauce mixture before adding the chicken so that there are options for everyone. Try it yourself and let me know what you think!

Pepper and garlic from Andi‘s parents farm in Oliver, B.C.

What you will need:

2 boneless raw chicken breasts (diced)

4 boneless and skinless raw chicken thighs (diced)

1/4 cup of low sodium Kikkoman© brand soy sauce

2 tbsp of honey

1 14 oz can chicken broth

5 fresh red chili peppers

1/2 cup of fresh ginger root (peeled and sliced into chunks)

4 whole garlic cloves (crushed)

1 bunch fresh cilantro (divided in 2)

4 garlic cloves (sliced and divided in 2)

2 tbsp sesame oil

1/2 red bell pepper chopped

1/2 green bell pepper chopped

1 medium white onion cut into 1/2 “ pieces

2 fresh carrots (chopped)

1/2 cup green peas (frozen or fresh)

small can of sliced water chestnuts

1/2 cup unsalted cashews

1 large head cauliflower (green leaves removed)

3 green onions chopped

3/4 tspn salt

1/2 tspn pepper


To make:

In a small pot… combine chicken broth, ginger root, 5 fresh red chili peppers, 4 whole crushed garlic cloves and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce to low and simmer… This will create the spicy garlic ginger broth to add later…

After 15 minutes remove 5 fresh red chili peppers and set them aside to cool and then add add 1/2 bunch of cilantro

Leave broth on low heat to keep heated

Heat sesame oil in a large skillet on medium high heat and add *1/2 of diced chicken and brown until just cooked through. Transfer cooked chicken to plate and set aside. Next, cook the remaining raw chicken the same way… Transfer that chicken to same plate.

In same skillet add 2 of the chopped cloves of garlic and saute for 30 seconds… then add onion, red and green bell pepper, carrot, and cashews… (add more sesame oil if needed) Stir fry vegetables and cashews until softened but not too much… (carrots should still have a little crunch to them)


Next, Stir in green peas, water chestnuts and green onion… pour in (through a strainer if needed) 1 cup of spicy garlic ginger broth and reduce to low.



Using the small cheese grating side of a box grater, grate all of raw cauliflower and set aside.


Take reserved 5 red chili peppers and chop into very small pieces… place chopped red pepper in a small mixing bowl with soy sauce and honey and remain 2 cloves of chopped garlic…whisk until well blended.

In a skillet on medium heat, combine chicken, remaining spicy garlic ginger broth and honey/red pepper/soy sauce mixture… coat chicken well and heat until steaming then mix with vegetables to combine all cooked ingredients.



Mix in grated raw cauliflower and remaining cilantro (chopped) and serve immediately.


*RE browning the chicken… Cooking all of the chicken at once in the skillet may make chicken a bit gummy and rubbery. If you cook 1/2 at a time there will be more room in the skillet it should brown nicely and have a better flavor. This is the case many times with proteins. Don’t crowd the skillet for better results.


Ken Johnson

© Hillbilly Supper Club 2016

Rosemary and Fennel Roast Pork Loin with Carrots, Squash and Swiss Chard


This week we are in the incredible Okanagan Valley wine country of beautiful British Columbia, Canada, where my wife Andi grew up, promoting “I Love Kellie Pickler” on CMT Canada. With the tremendous bounty available here this time of year on Andi‘s family farm, I thought it would be fun to bring some Canadian influence to Hillbilly Supper Club. The cuisine here reminds me in many ways of  where I grew up in the south. Many of the same ingredients are used in the cooking and getting together around the table with family and friends after a hard day’s work like we do in the south is a big tradition here too. Yesterday, we  explored the farm to see what herbs and vegetables were available to us. I hope you will enjoy making all three of these dishes that are a result the inspiration that always seems to come from a walk in the garden.

Hint from Ken

I prepared the pork in the morning and placed in the refrigerator so that it would have time to absorb the flavor of the rosemary, fennel and garlic and to get the prep work out of the way so it would be ready to go in the oven later.The carrots and the chard will heat up again nicely if you want to make them ahead of time and refrigerate. This is a great meal for the beginning of Fall! We also determined without a doubt that this goes really well with a glass (or two) of good red wine.

Rosemary and Fennel Roast Pork Loin


1 to 2 lb boneless pork loin (Ask butcher to wrap in twine netting if preferred but fine without)

2 tbsp of fennel seed (crushed)

2 tbsp of fresh chopped rosemary leaves (finely chopped)

6 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

Combine 6 cloves of finely chopped garlic, 2 tbsp of crushed fennel seed, 2 tbsp of chopped rosemary leaves, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp salt

and 1 tsp pepper in a mortar and pestle then crush into a paste. (You can also cut dry ingredients very finely with a sharp knife and then add olive oil and stir if you do not have a mortar and pestle handy)

Place pork on a plate and rub herb and herb and garlic paste all over meat until completely covered.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in refrigerator for at least 4 hours.

Remove Pork from fridge and let sit on counter for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.

Place roast in baking dish and place in preheated oven (uncovered) for 45 min.

After 45 minutes…

Remove and flip meat over and spoon pan juices over top

Insert meat thermometer if desired and return to oven for an additional 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees.

Remove from oven and transfer meat from pan to platter but reserve juices in pan

Loosely cover with sheet of tin foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes


While pork rests… scrape very flavorful bits from bottom of baking dish… Add a pat of butter to pan juices and stir in until melted.


Slice pork diagonally into 1” slices, transfer to seeing platter and pour pan juices over meat

Pureed Carrots and Butternut Squash with Cream











1  lb of fresh carrots (halved)

1 cup of cubed butternut squash

1 cup chicken or vegetable broth

3 cloves fresh garlic

5 tbsp heavy cream

1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 tsp salt


Peel carrots, cut in half and set aside…

Peel butternut squash, scrape out seeds – cut into 2″ cubes – set aside 1 cup for this recipe

In a pot, combine broth, garlic cloves and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium/low heat, add carrots and squash and cover.

Cook for 20 to 25 minutes until soft.

Add heavy cream, nutmeg and butter and puree with an immersion blender or electric mixer.

Serve hot.


Top carrots and squash with chopped green onion

Swiss Chard with Stewed Tomatoes

Farm fresh veggies and a good farm dog named Jackson.

10 to 15 fresh swiss chard leaves (chopped in to 4” pieces)img_3156

2 large tomatoes (quartered)

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 tsp of fresh lemon juice

8 oz tomato juice

1 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

In a 2 quart pot, heat olive oil and butter on medium heat until butter completely melted

Add green onions and tomatoes and stir occasionally

Heat until tomatoes break down then add tomato juice

Heat and stir 5 more minutes then add swiss chard, lemon juice and salt and pepper

Stir in with tomatoes and cook until greens are wilted and reduce heat to low stirring occasionally until ready to serve

Wadman Farms in Oliver, British Columbia

After having access to Andi and Kellie’s garden all summer and now a whole farm, I am a little spoiled on fresh produce! The grocery store trip was a quick one after gathering most of what we needed right out of the back yard. These are all simple ingredients so that you can taste the food itself for what it is. Like they say… “God don’t make no junk” and these simple gifts from the farm will taste as fancy as the city when you invite your family and friends to the table.  Just smile when they say “I don’t know how you do it”. The simplicity part can be your own little secret.

©Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2016


Plantain Crust Pizza



Hint From Ken:

I know it sounds weird – but… Trust me… It is really, really good. I came across this
approach to homemade pizza by accident. One night, Andi and I were
trying to make a healthier, baked version of “patacones ticos”, a Costa Rican version of fried plantains… While it didn’t taste anything like what I was going
for, Andi pointed out that it tasted like pizza crust. It was crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. So… we had to experiment to see if we could make a guilty pleasure
like pizza a little less sinful. The lower carb aspect is a bonus but now we make it this way often! Kind of a Carribean take on an Italian favorite!
Baking this crust a little longer than traditional flour crust is important to give it the right consistency. It’s different and a big hit at Hillbilly Supper Club. You can find most of these
ingredients online if not in local store. The crust freezes well too for future use. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

What you’ll need:

2 GREEN plantains (make sure they are green and not soft like a banana)
1 packet of active dry yeast
2 tspn honey
¼ cup warm water
3 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 tspn of salt
1 egg (beaten)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tspn apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp corn meal
2 tbsp all purpose flour
Parchment paper


To Make:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
1. Dissolve the yeast ¼ cup warm water, then stir in honey and let it sit a few minutes until a bit of foam appears…
2. With a knife, remove peel from plantains and chop them into 5 chunks per plantain.
3. Place only the chunks of plantain into a food processor or powerful blender and blend until smooth.
4. Place the pureed plantain in a large bowl. Add the coconut flour, tapioca starch and salt and stir till well blended.
5. In a separate bowl, combine egg, oil and vinegar and mix, then pour over the plantain and flour with the water and yeast mixture. Combine ingredients well to create pizza dough.
6. Place a large piece of parchment paper on counter top. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour and 2 tbsp of corn meal in center of parchment… Place the dough on top and push into a circle
turning and kneading. With a rolling pin, roll out very thin. Lift parchment paper with flattened dough and set on top of baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and carefully flip over on to a fresh piece of parchment… Return to oven for 15 minutes.
8. Remove from your oven and top with your favorite sauce, cheese and toppings… Return to oven directly on the rack for 10 to 15 minutes or until bubbling hot.


Try with Hillbilly Supper Club Basil and Kale pesto from Andi & Kellie’s Garden (click here for recipe), sliced whole milk mozzarella cheese and sliced grilled chicken breast!


From left to right: A very serious looking Hillbilly Supper Club discussing Ken Johnson‘s fear of cotton balls (Sidonglobophobia), Kellie & Kyle looking concerned at the dinner table, Ken‘s special desert for Kyle in retaliation of Kyle trying to get Ken to jump into a cotton ball pit and the girls of course having a fun time taking a selfie…(KellieCarolineJenAllison & Andi)

©Ken Johnson Hillbilly Supper Club 2016