Monday, June 26, 2017

Bacon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Summer Squash Succotash

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  This post is sponsored by Smithfield's line of Marinated Fresh Pork products.  Any stated opinions are my own.

Summer time is here and that means time for some of the best vegetables of the year.  Summer can also mean chaotic schedules but that doesn't mean you don't have time to make a quick dinner like this Bacon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Summer Squash Succotash.

Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork #RealFlavorRealFast

I was able to get this done in about 30 minutes because I used Smithfield's Hardwood Smoked Bacon and Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin for the main course.  They already did the prep work for me, including that bacon crust.  I didn't have to do anything other than take it out of the package and roast it.

Since Smithfield uses only 100% fresh pork in these products, we wanted to use the freshest vegetables.  So we headed to the Farmers Market in Maryville, Tennessee to see what the local farms had to offer.

We ended up buying corn (not all of it!), yellow squash, yellow and green zucchini, bell pepper, sweet onion, and some small variety tomatoes.

Normally I lean towards contrasting flavors but Alexis had the idea to echo the tastes of hardwood smoked bacon and cracked black pepper in our succotash.  She was absolutely right because this was perfect together. The roasted tomatoes brought it all together with their sweet, slightly acidic flavor brightening the entire dish. 

Bacon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Summer Squash Succotash #RealFlavorRealFast

Bacon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Summer Squash Succotash

Ingredients


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Event: The Big BBQ Bash - Maryville Tennessee

The Big BBQ Bash benefiting the Helen Ross McNabb Center was held this weekend in Maryville, Tennessee.  


The original Big BBQ Bash was THE first BBQ contest that I ever attended. I volunteered and was hooked.  Now this BBQ competition is sanctioned by the KCBS and it has grown into a State Championship.  

We didn't compete or judge at this year's contest because I was supposed to be at the Blythe Ranch in Kansas the same weekend.  Unfortunately, that trip was scrubbed for me due to medical reasons.  To cheer me up, Alexis took me to The Big BBQ Bash to see our friends.  Here are some pictures from the contest.


The Smokers

I love checking out all of the smokers that the cook teams are using at BBQ competitions. There are all kinds.
  • Stick burners
  • Insulated cabinet smokers
  • Bullet smokers
  • Drum smokers
  • Pellet cookers
  • Kamado grills/smokers
Some of the rigs are homemade. Some can be bought at stores for a few hundred bucks.  Some are custom made rigs that start in the $10-15k neighborhood.  But they all have one thing in common - being owned by a pitmaster who loves cooking BBQ.

This is what comes to mind as a smoker for most people.  It's an offset stick burner, called that because it burns split logs.  This particular one belongs to our friends, Greg and Melanie Edmonds of Paradise Que.  It is a reverse flow stick burner made by Mike Lang.

Blount County The Big BBQ Bash KCBS BBQ Competition 2017
A small box or cabinet cooker. These are usually heavily insulated and have tightly controlled airflow for long, even cooking temps.

Blount County The Big BBQ Bash KCBS BBQ Competition 2017
This is a fancy version of the offset stick burner.  This is Chairman of the Boar's smoker.  It is a Champion Smoker made right here in Knoxville, TN.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  No compensation was received for this post.

This was a quickie that we cooked the other night. Storms were moving in and I just wanted something quick and easy for dinner so we made grilled chicken sandwiches.

Grilled chicken salad recipe

They were nothing fancy, just quick.  If you want something a bit more evolved, check out these other chicken sandwiches we've made.

But here is how I made this chicken sandwich.

I took 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves and butterflied them. Then I seasoned them liberally on both sides with some Pork U Masters Degree rub.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Smoked Chicken Salad - Lower Calorie Version

We're trying to eat a little better at our house with 3 different goals.

  • One of us is trying to eat more heart healthy.
  • One of us is trying to eat to lose weight.
  • One of us is trying to eat high protein, low fat for athletic training.
Hint....the last one is neither Alexis nor I! 

We love chicken salad but our usual recipe for that does not exactly fit any of those three categories. Most of the fat comes from mayonnaise so we cut the fat by using a blend of light mayonnaise and non-fat Greek yogurt instead.  The light mayo alone could cut about half of the fat from regular mayo.  But by mixing in the non-fat Greek yogurt and light mayo, we cut about 310 calories from fat compared to the chicken salad made with regular mayo.  

I'm good with that.

Recipe for a low calorie version of smoked chicken salad

Lighter Smoked Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped smoked chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 ounce Dukes Mayonnaise Light
  • 1 ounce non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon juice from grilled lemon
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake

Instruction

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse several times until you get the texture that you like.  
  2. Eat it.  That's it.

Smoked chicken on a Deep South Smokers GC36
John and I were smoking a bunch of pork butts and beef ribs on the Deep South Smokers GC36.  Since we already had it running, we threw some chicken in there too.  We love how this thing cooks.

Smoked chicken
For chicken salad, we smoked a blend of bone in split breasts and bone in thighs.  After smoking, we pull off the skin and pull the chicken into chunks like this.  

Ready to make our chicken salad.  The red pepper flake was added later after we tasted.  It just gave the chicken salad that pop it needed.

If our figures are correct, this works out to about 128 calories per half cup serving.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bacon Jam and Tomato Burgers

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef.  We have no affiliation with Food City or Schweid and Sons.

This is a crazy good burger. It's one of my favorites that we've ever made.  It has a Certified Angus Beef prime burger with quite possibly the best burger condiment ever - bacon jam.

Bacon Jam and Tomato Burger featuring Certified Angus Beef Schweid and Sons

This burger started on the meat aisle at our Food City when Alexis pointed out these gourmet 1/3rd pound burgers that they had just gotten in.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

SABER Elite SSE 1500

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] SABER Grills is a sponsor of Nibble Me This; however, any opinions stated herein are my own.

I am excited to be working with SABER Grills this year and was thrilled when they upgraded my SABER Cast 500 with this SABER Elite SSE 1500.  


Before I get into any drawn out review of the SABER grill, the short version is that I love them because they replicate the power and style of the grills that I have gotten to use in commercial kitchens.

Working with grill & smoker manufacturers like I do, I have put together a lot of grills in the past decade and many of them are a real pain to assemble.  The quality of the SABER Elite 1500 was evident as soon as I started putting it together.



Assembly

The SABER Elite 1500 was a piece of cake to assemble.  That's no accident, they engineer it that way.
  • The main part of the grill - the cooking container - is 100% pre-assembled.  You just have to build the base cart, put the cooking container on top, and attach the side pieces.  Easy peasy.
  • The entire assembly only uses two types of connectors - one size/type of bolt and one size/type screw.  Most grills come with blister packs of over a dozen types of connectors that can be confusing when reading the instructions.  With the SABER, it's almost impossible to use the wrong connector.
  • This seems like a small detail but I noticed it - even the bolts and screws are quality. Some grills have cheap bolts/screws made of softer metal and it is easy to strip out a screw head. They sometimes aren't machined just right, so they don't screw in easily.  That was never an issue with the SABER, the bolts and screws seem to be made with harder metals and are precision made.
  • There are touches that aren't necessary but make assembly SO much easier.  For example the side shelves and doors hang in place on their own, so you don't have to try to hold them in place while you try to fasten a screw or bolt.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Quick Camping Trip to Norris Lake

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] Certified Angus Beef is one of our sponsors and GrillGrates is an equipment sponsor.  

We did a quick 1 night camping trip at Norris Lake a few weekends ago to test out our truck tent and to see how Ramsay would deal with camping.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel with fitted tent accessory
The tent is fitted to the truck, so it pops up in the bed. The plus side is you are sleeping a few feet off the ground, making it less likely for ants, snakes, and creepy crawlies from bothering you. The down side is that you have to break camp if you need to drive anywhere.

We stayed on the East side campground and it was nice because it wasn't crowded at all due to vacancies.

Our site's previous occupants left us a stake on the grill.  Not sure if this was a meant as a pun   (steak/stake on the grill) or if they made this for self defense against nearby Sasquatches.

Turns out, Ramsay likes camping.
 
I brought Certified Angus Beef ribeyes #bestbeef #gorare and a set of #grillgrates with us
For dinner, Alexis bought and packed a few Certified Angus Beef ribeye steaks and some fresh corn. I brought a small grill because you never know what type of grill equipment you'll get at a campsite.