Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

March 1, 2013

BBQ My Way: Five-star sides


We covered how to make a five-star steak indoors recently using a cast iron skillet and your oven.
This week's column is going to cover two simple side dishes that are traditionally offered at the upper end steak houses as the perfect compliments to the delicious, rich, beefy prime steaks.
The Baked Potato
I know what you're thinking right now. You're saying to yourself, “Dave, you wash it and nuke it in the microwave until it's fork tender. Not a big deal.” You could do that, but the end result would not be a five-star potato.
So, please follow me on this.
First, purchase a genuine Idaho potato, also known as a russet potato. Wash the skin thoroughly with a brush and dry thoroughly. The oven should be preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Now rub the potatoes with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet.
Liberally sprinkle the entire potato with kosher or sea salt. Table salt would be too bitter and will not result in a good texture.
Bake until a fork slides through the potato easily. This will take 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of your potatoes. The result will be a firm, crispy and salty skin that should be eaten and enjoyed along with the moist, creamy potato. Serve with butter and an option of sour cream. Now that's a five-star potato my friend.
Creamed Spinach
There are a variety of recipes out there for this creamy side dish. I've tweaked this recipe over time but have kept it simple. You can get pretty involved with some of the recipes out there if you want to.
Personally, I like keeping things simple if the end result tastes good.
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 onion – coarsely chopped
1 to 2 cloves of garlic – chopped
½ to 1 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper (depends on how peppery you want it)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 block of cream cheese
2 10 oz. bags of frozen spinach
½ tsp of nutmeg
Saute' the onion and garlic in olive oil over medium to medium-high heat until tan in color. The tan/golden color means the sweetness is coming out. Add the pepper, salt and cream cheese. Stir until fully incorporated and smooth.
In the meantime, empty the bags of spinach into a microwavable bowl. Place a lid on the bowl and cook on high in the microwave for six to seven minutes. Add the cooked spinach to the cream cheese mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the nutmeg and mix in as well. Basically, you are done. But, you could take it to another level by sprinkling shredded Parmesan cheese on top and placing in the broiler for a minute or two.
You can view videos we made for both of these recipes by going to
Search for “spinach” and “potato.”
Dave Lobeck is a barbecue chef from Sellersburg, Ind., who writes a column for CNHI News Service. Visit his website at