Bless Your Spoon: Fuelin’ up with premium recipes

Published 4:00 pm Wednesday, May 24, 2023

By Stephanie Williams Dean

As I approached the home of the king, the only sign of royalty I noticed was a gold “P” in the middle of the wrought iron gate — and the man himself — having reached the golden age of 85. I stood in awe of the king. Not for his racing, although I’m a fan of the sport, but for all the good this man’s done in the world.

Car racing legend Richard Petty had opened the gates surrounding his home — a simple, ranch-style house. The sporty car — a Dodge Challenger — sat out front. A mess of fans had come from far and wide to the dressed-down fundraiser, a Blue Jeans and Boots Dinner — a name that bespeaks of the man’s simple nature. Guess who sat in a chair waiting to greet us as we entered? The king himself. Every person who walked through those gates received a friendly handshake, a hearty, white toothy grin and their picture made with Petty. I was mesmerized. In my book, Petty is still a winner and leads the pack.

Petty fans were in for a treat but they’d paid for it as tickets cost somewhere upward of $200. Guests were entertained with live music and a buffet that generated many oohs and ahhs. Perfect for an upcoming holiday, a traditional BBQ menu was served consisting of beef brisket, racks of tender, meaty ribs, fresh green beans, barbecue beans and Southern favorite — mac and cheese. And no down-home meal would have been complete without an old-fashioned banana pudding, the scratch kind.

Sweet tea and lemonade were choice beverages but the flow of Shine Girl moonshine and Titos vodka moved auction bidding much higher. One might have believed the offerings were made of pure gold. The live auction generated $3,000 for a Petty wall clock with the king’s signature on the back and the watch Petty removed from his arm — signing the band in person — fetched a whopping $2,000. Amazing moments. As the sun set for the day, tiny glistening lights on trees gave the Petty compound a magical feel.

Look at the difference one man has been able to make in society — he’s still making money and giving it away. Petty’s life has been nothing less than admirable. What amazes me most are not all his race wins or what the Petty name means to racing, but the success he’s achieved through personal generosity. I have such admiration for this man. So much good work has been performed through the Petty Family Foundation, a benefactor supporting causes that have long-term impacts in focused areas of the community.

Bar-B-Q Beef Brisket

• 1 6-pound beef brisket

• ¾ cup red wine vinegar

• ½ cup packed light brown sugar

• ½ cup canned pineapple juice

• 1/3 cup molasses

• 1/3 cup prepared mustard

• 1 Tbsp. minced onion

• 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 1 tsp. chili powder

• ¼ tsp. Texas Pete hot sauce

In a Ziploc heavy-duty bag, place the brisket. In a bowl, combine vinegar, brown sugar, pineapple juice, molasses, mustard, onion, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder and hot sauce. Mix well. Pour over brisket in the bag and seal bag securely. Shake bag to thoroughly coat meat with mixture. Refrigerate to marinate for at least 4 hours and turn bag occasionally. Drain, reserve marinade. Place brisket on grill over medium-hot heat. Grill until brown and turn once. Close lid and grill for 15 minutes. Turn brisket and baste with reserved marinade. Lay foil out on table. Take brisket off grill and place in center of foil. Wrap foil around brisket but leave opening at the top. Pour remaining marinade into the opening in the foil. Then seal the top tightly. Place brisket back on grill and close lid. Grill over medium heat for 2 hours or until very tender. When cutting, cut across grain into thin slices.

Calico Beans

• 12 ounces sliced, cooked, crumbled bacon

• 12 ounces cooked ground beef

• 1 chopped onion

• 16 ounces brick-oven style baked beans

• 16 ounces drained lima beans

• 16 ounces drained kidney beans

• 16 ounces drained butter beans

• ½ cup packed brown sugar

• ½ cup ketchup

• 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

• 2 Tbsp. vinegar

• 1 Tbsp. reserved bacon drippings

In a skillet, cook bacon until crispy. Drain well and reserve drippings. Crumble bacon and set aside. In same skillet, brown beef with onion. Drain well. In a large baking dish, combine beef mixture with cooked, crumbled bacon. Gently fold in all beans. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, catsup, mustard and vinegar. Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes. Add to bean mixture and mix well. Drizzle with bacon drippings.

The Beef Ribs BBQ

• 4 pounds baby beef back ribs

• ¼ cup teriyaki sauce

• 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

• 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar

• 2 Tbsp. sweet sake

• ¼ cup sugar

• ½ tsp. salt

• ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1 Tbsp. sesame seed

• 1 tsp. minced garlic

Score ribs between bones. Place ribs in a shallow dish. In a bowl, combine teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, rice vinegar, sweet sake, sugar, salt and pepper. Stir until sugar dissolves. Pour marinade over ribs and marinate overnight in refrigerator. Turn and baste occasionally. On high heat grill, place ribs bone side down. Grill until crispy and brown or done to taste.

Sautéed Green Beans with Herbs

• 1 pound trimmed green beans

• 2 quarts water

• 1 Tbsp. salt

• 2 Tbsp. salted butter

• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, basil, and oregano

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large pot, bring water and salt to a boil. Add green beans and cook 6-8 minutes or until tender. Drain immediately. To retain their color by shocking them, place cooked beans in a bowl of ice-cold water until cooled. In a saucepan melt butter and add beans. Quickly saute the beans until heated through. Then stir in the fresh herbs and add salt and pepper, to taste.

Gruyere and Cheddar Macaroni

• 1 pound large shell pasta

• 1 Tbsp. olive oil

• 10 ounces grated extra sharp cheddar cheese

• 8 ounces grated gruyere cheese

• ½ cup softened, salted butter

• ½ cup all-purpose flour

• 3 cups half and half

• 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs

• 4 Tbsp. softened salted butter

Cook pasta al dente per package directions. In a 12-inch cast iron skillet, add pasta. Add olive oil and toss. Set aside. In a bowl, combine cheddar and gruyere cheeses and set aside. In a saucepan, melt ½ cup softened, salted butter. Add flour and stir until combined. Add half and half a little at a time while stirring and heat until it reaches a simmer. Add cheeses a little at a time, lower heat, and continue using only half of the cheese mixture. Pour cheese mixture over pasta that was set aside in skillet. Evenly sprinkle bread crumbs over top. Slice half stick butter and scatter over top of pasta. Evenly sprinkle top with remaining half of cheese. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 minutes or until top of cheese has melted and browned.

Chicken Barbecue

• 6 8-ounce boneless chicken breasts

• 2 Tbsp. soy sauce

• 1 Tbsp. Wesson vegetable oil

• 1 Tbsp. Sherry

• 2 minced cloves garlic

• ¼ tsp. ground ginger

• ¼ tsp. Chinese five-spice seasoning

Pierce chicken breasts with a fork. In a bowl, combine soy sauce, oil, sherry, garlic cloves, ground ginger and five-spice seasonings. Mix well. In a shallow dish, place chicken. Pour mixture over top and marinade for several hours. Grill over hot coals on each side until cooked through.

Petty’s Real Deal Pudding

• 6 egg yolks

• 3 cups sugar

• 1 cup all-purpose flour

• 4 cups whole milk

• Sliced ripe bananas

• 1 box vanilla wafers


• 6 egg whites

• 12 Tbsp. sugar

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Separate eggs. In a mixer bowl, beat egg yolks. Add sugar and flour. Mix well. Add in milk a little at a time until smooth. Cook over medium heat until thickened. In a 9 x 12 glass dish, starting with wafers on the bottom, layer in order, the wafers, bananas and custard, ending with custard. For the meringue, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Continue beating while adding sugar and vanilla. Top pudding with meringue and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven until golden brown.

Wine Slushie

• ½ gallon red wine

• 2-liter bottle 7-Up

• 12 ounces canned, thawed, undiluted frozen lemonade

Combine red wine, 7-Up, and thawed frozen lemonade. Use frozen pink lemonade if you can find it. Freeze until of a slushy consistency.

A Gallon of Sweet Tea

• 7 regular tea bags

• 12 sprigs of fresh mint

• 3 lemon rinds

• 8 cups boiling water

• 7 juiced lemons

• 2 cups sugar

• 8 cups cold water

In 8 cups of boiling hot water, steep seven tea bags, fresh mint and lemon rinds for 12 minutes. Discard tea bags, mint and rind. Add the juices of 7 lemons or oranges and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Stain into a large pitcher. Add 8 cups of cold water. Yields 1 gallon.