Thursday, September 20, 2018

Brand The Barn #33 - Catering at Wincrest Angus

FTC Standard Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef® Brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions are my own.

The Certified Angus Beef® Brand is celebrating their 40th Anniversary this year.  One of the things they are doing is a Brand The Barn campaign in which, they are painting their logo on 40 barns in 25 states across the country.  

Last week, Alexis and I were honored to cater the lunch for 100 people at the 33rd barn painting of the year at Wincrest Angus up in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Wincrest Angus' barn is the 33rd of 40 barns in the Certified Angus Beef's #BrandTheBarn campaign.

We arrived at dawn on a lightly foggy morning.  Owner, Sam Widener was already there working.  He welcomed us and got us set up so we could get cooking early.  It was only Alexis and me cooking, so we had a lot to get done.

The Nissan Titan XD makes hauling our BBQ equipment over the East Tennessee hills easy. #NissanTitan

We would have liked to have just brought the truck; however, there was a high percentage chance for rain, so we brought the trailer along to be on the safe side.  It didn't rain, but it was nice to have the air conditioning.

Set up and ready to roll.  We brought one of our offset smokers to use as a grill and our big gravity fed Deep South.

Here is the menu that we put together with the people at Certified Angus Beef® Brand. It was centered around our Green Chile Crusted Flank Steak Tacos.

Certified Angus Beef #BrandTheBarn

Sunday, September 16, 2018

NY Strip Steaks with Sweet Potato Fries

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] The Certified Angus Beef® Brand is one of our favorite sponsors; however, this is not a sponsored post.

On weekends, Alexis and I will often do a single mid-afternoon meal instead of lunch and dinner.  

I searched Google and saw terms like lupper, linner, and dunch but none of those really have the catchiness of brunch, do they?  Maybe it's because they don't come with Bloody Marys or mimosas?  Regardless, we like that single meal.  Fewer calories, fewer dirty dishes, and the timing just works for an activity-filled weekend day.  

We made these straightforward steaks and frites for halftime of yesterday's Florida State and Tennessee football games. 

Grilled Garlic and Herb NY Strip Steaks and Sweet Potato Fries. #BestAngusBeef #Steakholder

The Prep

Alexis picked up a nice pair of Certified Angus Beef® Brand NY Strip steaks from our Food City.  Before the game, we:
  • Patted the steaks dry.  Water is the enemy of the Maillard reaction (browning).
  • Lightly coated the steaks with a high temperature cooking oil.  Olive oil isn't good for grilling, it's smoke point is too low.  Go with something like beef tallow, canola oil, peanut oil, or avocado oil.
  • Seasoned it all over with a moderate to heavy coat of Meat Church Garlic and Herb Seasoning.  I didn't measure but I would guess about 1 to 1.5 teaspoons.
  • Placed the seasoned steaks on a resting rack at room temperature for an hour or so.  
    • The resting rack helps minimize the seasoning from sticking to a plate.  
    • Leaving it out of the fridge lets the steak temper.
    • The hour gives the process enough time so that the salt in the seasoning stops wicking out moisture from the steak and begins pulling back into the steak.  A very brief dry brine.

The Cook

My weapon of choice for this cook was my Big Green Egg Mini-Max set up with GrillGrates. A small kamado grill like this is aces for a pair of steaks.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Cajun Seasoned T-Bone Steaks with Black Beans

[FTC Standard Disclosure] This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef® Brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions are my own.

This past weekend I picked up a pair of excellent T-bone steaks when we were out brisket shopping and used one of them to make this Cajun Seasoned T-Bone Steak with Black Beans.

Cajun Seasoned T-Bone Steaks with Black Beans

Actually, these were labeled as T-bones but they were actually porterhouse steaks.  T-bone and porterhouse steaks both come from the short loin and both have the distinctive T-shaped bone in the middle.  Both contain an NY Strip steak on the longer side and a filet of tenderloin on the shorter side.  The difference is...
  • T-bone steaks have a tenderloin filet that is 1/2" to 1 1/4" across, as measured at the widest point.
  • Porterhouse steaks have a tenderloin filet that exceeds 1 1/4" across, as measured at the widest point.
It doesn't make that much of a difference, but I love getting the bigger portion of filet with a porterhouse.  Speaking of portions, this steak weighed in right about 30 ounces, so it was ideal for Alexis and me to share - a beautiful steak for two.

Courtesy of Certified Angus Beef® Brand.

Dry Brine

When possible, I like to give my steaks a dry brine to retain moisture and bolster flavor.
  • I wiped this dry and then lightly oiled it with avocado oil.  Canola oil or peanut oil would also work well.  
  • Then I seasoned it lightly with sea salt and a moderate coat of my NMT Cajun Beef Rub.  
  • I let that rest on a resting rack for about 75 minutes before grilling.  Resting on a rack keeps the seasoning on the bottom from sticking to a plate when you go to grill it.
  • The rest period at room temperature also lets the steak temper at the same time it is dry brining.
NMT Cajun Beef Rub recipe

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Tomahawk Ribeye Steak with Spinach and Goat Cheese Orzo

FTC Standard Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef® Brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions are my own.

I was excited as a kid at Christmas when my Food City  (Morrell Road) started selling Certified Angus Beef® Brand tomahawk ribeye steaks this past Summer.  

How to grill a tomahawk ribeye steak on a kamado grill, such as; big green egg, kamado joe, primo, or vision grills.

Tomahawk ribeyes are those fancy steaks with a brontosaurus-sized Fred Flintstone bone sticking out of them.  They usually show up on the menu as a "steak for two" because they are often 40-50 ounces each.  They also typically sport a price tag of over $100 at a steakhouse. But I bought this 3+ pound tomahawk for under $40 at Food City.

What is a tomahawk steak and how does it relate to a regular ribeye?  
  • It's the same meat, just presented differently. 
  • If you cut the rib bone down to where the steak meat ends, it would be a "bone-in" ribeye.  
  • If you "french" that bone so it is exposed, it's a cowboy ribeye steak.  
  • Cut the bone off altogether and it's the classic ribeye steak.  
  • Typically, the cowboy and tomahawks are much thicker than your typical ribeye steak.

Because they are so thick, tomahawk steaks are a prime candidate for either a sear/roast, sous-vide, or reverse sear methods.  I chose to use the reverse sear method on a kamado grill.  Shocker, right?

Tomahawk Ribeye Steak with Spinach Orzo


  • 40-50 ounce Certified Angus Beef® Brand tomahawk ribeye
  • 1/4 cup NMT Beef Rub v.2 or other beef seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons peanut, avocado, or other type of high temperature cooking oil

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Chorizo and Poblano-Pimento Cheese Fritters

This is a recipe that we shared at our griddle class at Mannix Pools and Grills last month and it was a big hit. It is a crispy golden fritter that has homemade poblano-pimento cheese and minced chorizo with red pepper jelly sauce.

We got the idea from K Town Tavern here in Knoxville.  See, who says Happy Hour can't be productive?  We were there having drinks and appetizers and tried out their Big Orange Ham and Jam Fritters.  They have chopped country ham, pimento cheese, and panko breadcrumbs.

Big Orange Ham and Jam Fritters at K Town Tavern in Knoxville.
They were the best thing we ate that night and before we left, we were already scheming about how we would make ours.
  • We use cured chorizo to boost the flavor of the pork.
  • For our homemade pimento cheese, we use fire roasted poblano, not just pimento.
  • Instead of deep frying, we flatten our fritters into medallions so that they cook better on a griddle or skillet.
  • To take our red pepper jelly sauce to the next level, we use Albukirky's Red Pepper Jelly.

Chorizo and Poblano Pimento Cheese Fritters

Yield: 18-20 fritters

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Hand Shaken Grilled Lemonade

Is there anything better than fresh lemonade on a warm Summer day? 

Steamboat Sandwiches, a local place that we go for lunch, makes THE BEST lemonade. They make it fresh.  I don't mean that they make it fresh each day.  They make it to order and shake it by hand.  

Steamboat Sandwiches decorated the exposed brick wall with ancient black and white pictures of buildings in Knoxville from years gone by.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Skillet Mac and Cheese on a Big Green Egg

This is just a quick post because several people asked for Alexis' Skillet Mac and Cheese recipe for kamado grills, such as; Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, or Primo.  Any good grill would really work but the ceramic kamado grills are like a coal-fired oven, gracing the creamy mac and cheese with a golden crisp crust.  

Skillet mac and cheese recipe for big green egg kamado grills

This is one dish where I absolutely don't have a problem using Velveeta. We use other cheeses too.  But for my baked mac and cheese, something about it's "processed cheesefoodishness" is just fitting. For the other cheeses, you can use whatever you like.  We find that mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese make for a great gooey cheese.  A sharp cheddar gives a bold taste of cheese.  

For baking, it is important to have a clean burning fire.  The cheese sauce will soak up off tastes from the smoldering of poorly burning coals and you don't want one wants that.  You need good airflow so remember to use your Kick Ash Basket to shake off that ash from any coals you are reusing.  We've bought them for every kamado grill that we have.

Alexis' Skillet Mac and Cheese

servings:  8-10