It's football time in Carolina once again, and that means another edition of "Made from Scratch" bringing you the heat, the meat, and the grub you can't beat. This Sunday the Panthers will host the Chiefs at Bank of America Stadium in a primetime, nationally televised night game. The Panthers did not get a taste of the KC Masterpiece last season, but they share many similarities with them, particularly in that they both feature a young and hungry defense. Both teams should give us a good look at their first string players, with coach Rivera indicating that the Panthers starters may play as late as the 3rd quarter due to the short week.
Dishes that were so popular, we brought them back for another week!
Kelvin Benjamin - Chef's fresh catch of the week. Served with 2 sides, and a green Gilmore salad.
Welcome to the NFL rookie! A highlight reel catch for a touchdown while working against one of the best young corners in the league will make you a weekly staple on our chalkboard. This week, iron chef Cam Newton is back on the grill, and we'll see what kind flavor he can add to the dish.
Bene Benwikere - Traditional baked spaghetti, covered in cheese. Served with garlic bread.
One of the best things you can see in a young player is the assurance that the pro game is not "too big for him" and that he can carry over college success onto the professional field. While the sample size is small, Bene looked a lot better in preseason action than the more established corners on the roster, and more importantly looked like a fit for his role in the defense.
Joe Webb - Heat Rating - Dry-rubbed slow smoked brisket
The smokey beef flavor is a kick in the taste buds to the the pork purists in the Carolinas, but diners with an open mind will find themselves appreciating the new kid in town. In relief of the well-seasoned Derek Anderson last week, Webb performed admirably nearly leading the Panthers to a come from behind "victory" while keeping the offensive playbook open. While the DA's job is not in any serious danger, Webb is making Panther fans (and possibly Panther coaches) re-shuffle their 53 man roster predictions in an effort to include the young dual-threat passer, as he may be a great long term backup solution for Cam.
Tavarres King - Heat Rating - Spicy Denver omelette with home fries
Another imported dish brought in to scramble the roster, Tavarres King is reinforcing the popular fan mantra of "In Gettleman we trust." Like the popular breakfast sensation, King has introduced himself nicely into the fold at wide receiver, and is forcing the coaching staff to look at breaking other eggs. His 100% catch rate in the first pre-season contest is impressive, and is sure to result in more playing time, possibly with Cam Newton juggling the pan.
Darrin Reaves - Heat Rating - Oven fresh peach cobbler a la mode
While he won't be the first or second course on this roster, there is always room for dessert! Like the popular southern delicacy, he needs a little cold ice cream to be a great option. Kenjon "Vanilla" Barner is happy to oblige, after proving that his probable peak is melting into a messy puddle when he feels warm contact. Reaves is also aided by resident dumpster diver and "green-living" advocate Bill Belicheck, who scooped up the 6th of our 53 flavors when it hit the floor and we walked away hoping no one noticed. While Reaves won't burn anyone, he has shown reliable power and decisiveness when making his cuts, and has the work ethic all coaches look for in young players.
Antoine Cason - Heat Rating - Week old potato salad
While you certainly won't throw him out based on his initial performance, you can't help but notice the container hasn't moved since last Friday's barbecue. All your guests told you it was "fine" but didn't help themselves to seconds. Did you go too light on the mustard? Perhaps more dill... maybe add hard boiled eggs next time? Like your internal spud induced conflict, Cason looked a bit confused against Sammy Watkins and the Bills offense last week. Abused on several routes, his assignments led to large gains, and were only minimized by a heroic goal line stand. For someone projected to start at outside corner, he better hit the books and gain a better understanding of the defense, or he'll be replaced by deviled eggs before you can say Cover 2.
Robert Lester - Heat Rating - Week old pasta salad
Not to be outdone by your piss poor potato salad offering, Lester also showed a distinct lack of zest in his coverage assignments last week. Your guests wouldn't even give you feedback to your face for this culinary atrocity, instead opting to post Yelp! reviews about it (yes, your backyard BBQ is on Yelp! So step your game up. Chump.) such as these...
Cason looked bad. Robert lester taking horrible angles in both pass and rush defense.
... thank god for your masterful 7-ingredient burger, which is the only reason you still have 4-stars overall. Lester clearly needs work. He isn't beyond saving, he just needs some refining. Let's remember that he is a 2nd year player originally acquired as a UDFA, rather then a valued draft pick. He took some bad angles on friday, and displayed poor tackling form, which is very undesirable from your safeties. He'll benefit from another year of learning on the bench, and will gain a bounty of knowledge from Roman Harper.
Cam Newton - Heat Rating - Thick cut USDA Prime grade T-bone steak
Just because something is cold right now, doesn't mean it won't be your signature dish later. While national steak-eaters will tout the merits of the more recognizable filet mignons in New England, Denver, and Green Bay... your local butcher knows that the true way to beefy nirvana comes from the dual-threat T-Bone steak. Why the T-bone? Because it is the only way to eat both the prized filet AND get a huge helping of New York strip, while assuredly keeping both cuts juicy and tender thanks to it's bone-in approach. Cam Newton knows all about the importance of a good bone (TWSS), having spent the off-season resting his ankle in preparation for the big grill-off this fall. Those who have seen Cam in action already report that he is "more accurate than ever" and has a greater command of the offense than in prior years. Now cleared for full action after a week of dry-aging that left Panther fans salivating, he is ready to be paired with his trusty garlic mashed potatoes and bacon-simmered brussel sprouts in Greg Olsen and Kelvin Benjamin, respectively. As long as Byron Bell doesn't drop him as he takes him off the grill, Newton is sure to sate the appetites of everyone at the table.
Still cold. Still terrible.
Tiquan Underwood - Frozen grocery store bagel
The frozen bagel is the most appropriate comparison for Underwood right now, as he managed to record ZERO catches in last weeks preseason outing. Combine that with another shoddy week of practice and he is in danger of not making the 75 much less the 53. I don't even want to waste time thinking of a bad hair day joke right now, that is how little of an impact he has made on me thus far.
Tater's "Game-day" food of the week
The Panthers play at home again this week, so I'm going to give you a slow-cooker recipe that you can make ahead of time and bring to your tailgate party. As last week, this dish has a tie to our opponents geographic location, and like our opponent, will be voraciously consumed by hungry cats.
Slow-Cooker Pork Loin with Kansas City BBQ Sauce
- 3-4lb. pork tenderloin
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup paprika
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder/li>
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
I recommend buying one of the many great ready-made brown sugar based BBQ sauces available for the sauce, as making your own is quite a bit of effort. My favorite brands are Stubb's and Sweet Baby Ray's. If you want to spend the time, here is a great recipe for KC style sauce that takes "some doin"
- Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl and toss well until evenly mixed. Set aside.
Meat Preparation and cooking:
- Trim fatty membrane from underside of pork-loin. Leave a little bit of fat, but usually this part is very thick and tough, and can benefit from some trimming.
- Liberally pierce pork loin with a fork in many places, set inside crock-pot.
- Pour half of rub evenly over top surface of the pork, massage gently into the meat using your hands to spread evenly.
- Flip pork loin and do the same to the other side. After coating, turn meat back over so the fatty side is on the bottom of the crock pot.
- Cover crock-pot and allow to slow cook on low for 8 hours.
Note: Many people think that you need to add some sort of liquid to a crock pot. In the case of a large pork loin, this is not necessary. There will be plenty of natural juices escaping as it slowly cooks ensuring that the meat is kept tender and that none of the sugar will burn to the bottom of your crock pot. This is part of the reason for scoring the meat using a fork.
Once fully cooked, take 2 forks and start shredding meat apart. Leave in crock-pot so the meat will continue to stay moist in it's own juices and seasoning, do not apply any sauce until food is served onto a plate. May be taken to the game or consumed immediately.
Goes great with your favorite buns, King's Hawaiian rolls, or eaten with a side of cole slaw.
Eat your dinner Panther fans, and eat Hearty (but don't eat Hardy, he's more likely to eat you), for tonight... WE DINE... IN CHARLOTTE!!!