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Archive for the ‘Side Dishes’ Category

How could you not like grits?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Bigmista makes grits with veggies. Portabella Mushrooms, onions, bell pepper, spinach, tomatoes

Grits with veggies!


I love grits!

I grew up in Southeast Texas and we had grits all the time. As a kid, I ate mine with butter and sugar. When I got a little older, I changes to butter, salt, pepper and some hot sauce. But in the past few years, I started experimenting with ideas from other parts of the country (Hooray Internet!). Grits & gravy, shrimp and grits, cheesy grits and so on. You can say that I have expanded my grits vocabulary.

Grits are not hard to cook. They just take a little patience to get them right. I use the quick grits (not the instant) and they are usually done in five to 10 minutes. For all you purists out there who think the only good grits are the ones that you cook for 20 minutes, more power to you. I’ll be eating while you are stirring.

What I have been doing recently is cooking my grits with chicken base or bouillon in the water. This will give you a great flavor without adding the extra fat from butter. To this I will add some sauteed veggies to the mix when the grits are done. I like portabella mushrooms, onion, bell pepper and spinach topped with a little diced tomato but feel free to experiment with the vegetables that you like.

Grits are great as a side dish or an entree and the can be served at any meal so go crazy an get your grits on!



I Yam what I Yam – Daniel Fast Recipe

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Ok folks this is a quick on as we are in the last days of our fast. I found it was hard doing a recipe a day because we had lots of leftovers. We also like some of the recipes so we went back and made them again.

Anyway this is a quick recipe for skillet fried yams.

Skillet fried Yams - Daniel Fast Recipe from Bigmista's Barbecue. BBQ Caterer In Los Angeles. Catering for every occasion.

Skillet fried Yams – Daniel Fast Recipe



2 Jumbo Yams peeled and cubed.

1 onion, rough chopped (I like big pieces)

1 bell pepper, rough chopped

2 tbsp Olive oil

1 tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium high heat. Add the yams, onion and bell pepper. Stir occasionally. Cook until the yams are starting to brown and are fork tender. Sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. Give them a final stir to scrape the botom and distribute the seasonings. Sit down and eat!


Here is a quick tip: If you are a soda junkie (don’t act like it’s just me) you should try drinking flavored mineral water. Not the kid with the sweeteners in it that just make it clear diet soda. Get mineral water that has a hint of fruit flavor with out the added chemicals. This is my favorite right now.

Mixed Berry Mineral water from Trader Joe's

Mixed Berry Mineral water from Trader Joe’s

I get my bubbles and some flavor without it being soda. Check it out.

As always Please leave a comment and let me know what you think. And feel free to share this with your friends.



Fresh & Easy – My New BFF

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I know most of you know that Bigmista has been the Grillmaster Spokesperson for Fresh & Easy for the last three years. What you may find surprising is that I had never stepped foot into a Fresh & Easy until the middle of this year. And that was only because Neil was out of town and we needed something for a catering gig. DIGRESSION – I hardly ever go to the grocery store (another story). I pick up stuff here and there because I have to for work stuff and that’s about it.

Anyway, time passed and maybe a few months ago, Neil brought home some pineapple from Fresh & Easy. I’m sorry Dole but this stuff made my taste buds tingle and sing at the same time. Neil had another one in the fridge for him but what’s his is mine and what’s mine is mine. ;> I snagged it and me and Morgan hit the road to pick up my mom for church. I made the mistake of letting my mom try some. And she tried some more, then again. Woman, don’t make me pull this car over. I snatched (gently took) my pineapple away from my mom and went on to church.

So anyway, after asking Neil to bring some home a couple of times I decided he wasn’t going to Fresh & Easy often enough to satisfy my new found addiction. I had to take matters into my own hands. The Fresh & Easy on Atlantic is not too far out of my way after dropping Morgan off at school so I took my raggedy tail on over there. I hadn’t paid attention on my first trip (different store though) but I was instantly struck by the orderliness of it all. Then wait, what is that heavenly smell of something baking slapping me in the face. I really don’t care what it is just give me some. Then a woman passed me with something that had fruit, granola and what I later found out was yogurt. So I put it on the ‘to try’ list but right now I’m on the hunt for pineapple.

I walked down the first aisle, which was the one I needed. There it was (angels sing – halo effect) my delicious pineapple. But wait; look right there, there’s that yogurt stuff. Smiling from ear to ear, I venture on around the corner. Oh my damn! Is that Waldorf salad I see? I love Waldorf salad – haven’t had it in years. DIGRESSION – I hardly ever cook (another story). I MUST HAVE IT. So I took it and went to see more. Walked right passed the freezer section because it would require some form of cooking. My pineapple, Mixed Berry Yogurt and Waldorf salad cradled in my arms, I turn down the next aisle. MORE ANGELS – BIGGER HALO A discounted refrigerated section that held all the items I now held in my arms but it was CHEAPER!!! Now I gotta go get a daggone on basket. Don’t let anyone take my stuff. I happily filled my basket and decided, “Let me get on this damn store before they take all my money.”

Now I’m at Fresh & Easy 3-4 times a week (no I don’t stock up) every morning buying my salad, fruit and yogurt. It gives me my fruit and vegetables for the day. DIGRESSION – I don’t like most vegetables (no story needed). I get two servings of dairy and hot damn (I’ve used the word damn a lot today, huh?) a meatless Monday is a doable thing for me; heck, meatless any day.

Fresh & Easy has truly made it easy for me to eat a little healthier throughout the day as well as a healthy snack of apples, grapes or strawberries for Morgan. Now that I’m TRYING to eat healthier, don’t be surprised if a sista get a little slimmer on ya’ll.

Bigmista teams up with Fresh & Easy!

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Cooking for Fresh and Easy employeesBIG MISTA HELPS GET YOUR GRILL ON

Fresh & Easy partners with award-winning grilling expert to offer tips for the perfect BBQ

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market is partnering with pitmaster and grilling expert Neil “Bigmista” Strawder of Bigmista Barbecue to share tips for this 4th of July holiday. He is a resident of Long Beach, California-and is a food vendor at various farmers market’s across Los Angeles. He is sharing some of his award-winning barbecue tips that will help you impress family and friends at your upcoming cookouts.

“Anyone can put a piece a meat on a grill,” says Bigmista. “But if you want that tender, melt in your mouth flavor, there are a few simple techniques that will guarantee a delicious barbecue.”

1. Grill – Buying an expensive grill will not make your barbecued food taste better. Find a kettle grill at a local supply or hardware store for less than $50. This classic grill distributes heat more evenly and when the lid is on, it holds in the flavor-enhancing smoke from the grease or smoking wood added to the charcoal fire.

2. Fire Management – You don’t need a big fire to barbecue. Use 15 coals for chicken and 20 coals for steaks and burgers. Never use lighter fluid as it leaves a chemical taste on the meat. The secret to a great barbecue is a chimney grill starter, which is a tool to heat the coals that is also available at supply or hardware stores. Place the coals on the top chamber and place newspaper on the bottom chamber. Light the newspaper with a match and in fifteen minutes the coals are ready to use.

3. Coal Placement – Place all coals on one side of the grill. Slow cook the meat with the indirect heat on the opposite side of the grill. Then crisp the skin with the direct heat. This allows for meat to cook thoroughly, preventing a burnt outside and a raw inside.

4. Wood Chips – Add hickory, apple-wood, cherry-wood or mesquite-wood chips to the coals to infuse flavors into the meat. Wrap a hand-full of wood chips in foil, poke holes through the tent and place it on top of the coals.

5. Brine – To get chicken as tender and juicy as possible, Bigmista recommends soaking it in brine which is made up of:
1/2 cup salt
1/2cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon allspice
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1/2 gallon of water
Put all ingredients in a large plastic bag or a 16-quart pot and soak chicken for up to four hours in the refrigerator. Discard the brine and then rinse the chicken, pat dry with paper towels, and rub it with a flavorful marinade.

6. Savory Rub – A basic rub that can be used on any type of meat with great results is created by combining the following ingredients:
4 parts kosher salt
4 parts garlic powder
2 parts black pepper
1 part cayenne

7. Pineapple Coleslaw – Bigmista is sharing the recipe to his very popular side dish that compliments any barbecued meat. This pineapple coleslaw is a guaranteed hit at cookouts.
1 bag pre-shredded cabbage
1 can crushed pineapple
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pour the juice from pineapple into a bowl. Add the vinegar, salt, pepper and sugar. Mix and set aside. This is the dressing. Put the pineapple in a large bowl with the cabbage. Pour in the dressing and toss well.

So when you can’t make it to one of the markets for some of Bigmista’s award winning barbecue check out Fresh and Easy for your grilling meats and sides, they have you covered. A few customer favorites include:
o fresh&easy Grill Pack – over 4½ pounds of quarter-pound beef patties, chili-seasoned chicken thighs or drumsticks and Italian pork sausages $5.99*
o Buxted Pork Spare Ribs $1.59/lb*
o fresh&easy BBQ Macaroni Salad $3.99/30oz*
o Taurino Beer $12.99 for two 12 pack bottles*
o fresh&easy 9” Apple Pie $3.99 each*
*Promotional prices valid from July 1st through July 7th while supplies last. Promotional price for Taurino beer is valid when purchasing multiples of two.

About Neil Strawder, a.k.a. Bigmista
Award winning and seasoned pitmaster/griller, has been competing in California barbecue competitions since 2005. He has won numerous awards for perfecting his briskets, pulled-pork and ribs. His catering business, Bigmista’s Barbecue, has a following at Farmer’s Markets around Los Angeles County. To contact Neil Strawder, visit his Web site

About Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market
At roughly 10,000 square feet, Fresh & Easy markets are smaller than the typical supermarket to give customers a faster, easier shopping experience. In addition to fresh, high-quality prepared meals and produce, Fresh & Easy offers everyone’s favorite national brand products and household items, all at budget prices. More information regarding Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market can be found at

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

Broccoli Bacon Salad, Pork Chops, Bigmista, The Survival Gourmet

I went to Wichita, Kansas last weekend and I did a lot of eating with some of my BBQ buddies. While I was there, Janet, the wife of our host, made an incredible Broccoli Bacon salad. I decided to try and recreate it last night without the recipe (silly me!) because I haven’t received my copy yet (nudge, nudge Mr. BBQ Grail!). Here is my approximation of this great salad.


2 small heads of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1 small red onion, chopped
1/2 lb. bacon, fried crisp and chopped or crumbled

3 oz. Miracle whip
1 oz. white wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sugar

Put the first three ingredients in a large bowl that has a lid (yes, pull out your tupperware). Put all of the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and mix well. Pour the dressing in the large bowl and put the lid on. Shake well untill all of the ingredients are covered. I served mine with fried pork chops and rice.

The Survival Gourmet's Broccoli Bacon Salad

I’d love to hear how you served this recipe. Leave me a comment and tell me what you did.



The Survival Gourmet


Bigmista's Barbecueon