Thursday, October 11, 2018

Competition-ish Style Ribeye Steak on a PKGrill

[FTC Disclaimer]  We have a professional relationship with Certified Angus Beef® Brand, but this is not a sponsored post.  We did receive a discount on the PK Grill, but the same discount was available to all SCA members.

I am so excited that Alexis bought me a PK Grill for my birthday.

Review of the PK Grill that I got for my birthday.

We have wanted a PK Grill for many years.  They are legendary for their durability, simplicity, and effectiveness.  But I already have so many other grills and smokers (had gotten down to 13 of them) that it was hard to justify getting one.  Several things changed my mind over the summer.
  • Alexis and I became certified judges for the Steak Cookoff Association, and the PK Grill is one of the most commonly used cookers on that circuit.  In fact, it is THE official grill of the SCA.
  • Our friend, Josh Tahan of True Craft BBQ got his this Summer, so I had "grill peer pressure" to get one.  I mean, all the cool kids are getting them...
  • Most importantly, members of the Steak Cookoff Association recently got a major discount on a PK Grill, which saved me about $180.


My first impressions are that the PK Grill is built like a tank but performs like a sports car!

PK Grills are tough and long lasting.

The PK Grill has a reputation for being tough and long-lasting.
  • The design is minimal with few moving parts, so there isn't a lot to go wrong.
  • The two cast aluminum shells are lightweight but robust.  If you hit it with a baseball bat, I think your bat will be damaged as much or more than the grill.
  • Because they are aluminum, they can't rust.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Honey Bacon BBQ Pork Chops

Matt Pittman of Meat Church is like a mad scientist playing with his seasonings.  Once again, he has proclaimed "It's ALIVE!" and rolled out a limited edition rub - Honey Bacon BBQ.


As the name would imply, this BBQ seasoning has the salty/sweet honey profile of Honey Hog and the smoky/bacon flavor of Bacon BBQ seasoning.  It comes out of the gates with a punch of flavor and finishes strong.

The day that I received my free sample from the Mad Scientist himself, I just happened to have a nice pair of Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork.  So I took the easy road and grilled these killer pork chops along with some grilled zucchini and couscous. 


I patted the chops dry, lightly rubbed them with oil and gave them a moderately heavy coat of Meat Church Honey Bacon BBQ.  Then I let them rest at room temperature for an hour so the rub could start acting as a dry brine - pulling the flavor into the meat.

I preheated a large Big Green Egg to 400°f.  The set up was direct heat with GrillGrates in place.  I grilled the chops for about 5 minutes per side (with a quarter turn halfway through each side) and brushed them with a glaze of stock, honey, and several pinches of the Meat Church Honey Bacon BBQ.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

It's Tailgate Time! Open Faced Meatball Sliders on a Kamado Grill

The college football season is just really getting rolling and the teams that I follow are pretty much all already out of contention for a National Championship.  That doesn't matter, it is still fun to watch the games with friends, share a few frosty adult beverages, and fire up the grill, right? 

I have just the recipe for you - Open Faced Meatball Sliders.  They are cheesy, easy, and over-the-top delicious.  Alexis got the idea from So Yummy and this was our spin on it.

Gameday food ideas for the tailgate - Open Faced Meatball Sliders

These are slammin' for any party, office function, or event.  I like to cook them on one of our kamado grills but you can easily do these in an oven.

We used store-bought dinner rolls, meatballs, and marinara sauce, that just makes it easy and it seems more like tailgate food that way.  But if you get the urge, you could certainly make everything from scratch.

Open faced meatball sliders or mini-subs

Here's what you'll need
  • 12 pack of dinner rolls (we used Sara Lee Artesano Bakery Rolls)
  • 12 premade meatballs (we used Carando Sicilian Style)
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon roasted garlic or minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 12 slices Sargento Ultra Thin Provolone
  • 1.5 cups marinara sauce
  • 6 ounces shredded mozzarella (about 1.5 cups)
  • 1-2 ounces parmesan cheese, fresh shredded
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • basil or fresh parsley for garnish
  • a 9"x13" casserole dish or a half-sized steam pan, lightly greased

Monday, September 24, 2018

Fire Roasted Chicken Breast with Chipotle White Sauce

In November 2016, I was at a hog pickin' in Smithfield, Virginia.  Robyn Lindars, Clint Cantwell and I got to spend a good bit of time with Tuffy Stone.  


He excitedly talked with us about the book project on which he was working, both the ups and downs.  He spoke of creating delicious recipes that were memorable yet also approachable for the home cook.  

Tuffy Stone is renowned in the BBQ world for his achievements 
  • Two-time champion at the American Royal
  • Three-time champion at the Jack Daniels Invitational (only team to ever do that)
  • Judge on BBQ Pitmasters
But a lot of people don't realize that he's also a former U.S. Marine and a classically trained chef.  

At the time, it seemed like it would be FOREVER before the book came out but Cool Smoked - The Art of Great Barbecue finally came out late this Spring.  And a classic BBQ book, it is.


Book Review Tuffy Stone Cool Smoke the Art of Great Barbecue

Last week, I decided to make Tuffy's Chipotle White Sauce and use it on some fire-roasted, bone-in chicken breasts.

Fire roasted chicken with chipotle white sauce

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