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 that....no 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

Monday, July 23, 2018

Budget Grilling: Chuck Eye Steaks

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.

Chuck eye steaks are easy on the wallet and fantastic on the grill.

Chuck eye steak with red pepper sauce filled jalapeno


We learned a bit about chuck eye steaks when we attended the Chef Summit at the Certified Angus Beef® Brand's Culinary Center.  The main part of the chuck eye steak is a muscle called the longissimus dorsi.  That probably doesn't sound familiar unless you're a meat geek like me.  But the longissimus is the muscle that puts the "eye" in ribeye steak.  

As the name implies blatantly screams, the chuck eye comes from the chuck primal and is immediately next to the ribeye at the 5th and 6th rib bones.  Sharing the same muscle groups and coming from the "same neighborhood," it shouldn't be surprising that the chuck eye steaks have similar marbling, taste, and texture as a ribeye steak.  

What the chuck eye steak doesn't share with ribeye steaks is the price tag.  I bought these Certified Angus Beef® Brand chuck eye steaks at our Food City in Knoxville and they were $2 less per pound than the ribeye steaks.

I seasoned them with Obie-Cue's Steakmaker Seasoning and let them rest for an hour to dry-brine.  It is your basic steak seasoning profile with the usual suspects - salt, pepper, garlic, and onion but it has a moderately strong Worcestershire flavor to it.  You could also use the Classic Steak Rub from this chuck eye steak recipe.

chuck eye steaks on a SABER Elite SSE 1500 grill
Next, I grilled them over high heat for 4 minutes per side. As you can see, the eyes aren't as defined

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Product Review: NEW Big Green Egg Modular Nest Systems

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  I received no compensation for this review.

I have needed a new table for my oldest Egg for a while.  My old table was 10 years old.  It was so worn out and wobbly that it was practically unsafe to move by myself. 

As soon as I read about the new Big Green Egg Modular Nest Systems, The features and design of this new expandable modular table had me sold instantly.  I called Mannix Pools and Grills in Winter Haven, FL and ordered a set.  



I finally got to pick my table up this weekend when we were at Mannix Pools and Grills to teach a grilling glass.  

Assembly

Putting the nest together was relatively easy.  On a "swearing scale" I would give it a 1 out of 5 swear words (an excellent rating, the fewer swear words, the better).

Since this is modular, the individual packages were manageable to move by oneself.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Product Review: Humphrey's Battle Box - Wounded Warrior version

Disclaimer- I/we are not affiliated with Humphrey’s in any way, we received no compensation for this review and I paid full retail price for this unit.

This is a follow up to our unboxing post about the Humphrey's Battle Box - Wounded Warrior version.  My neighbor and BBQ teammate, John Makela, shares his thoughts on his smoker after using it for several weeks.


Fresh out of the crate, now we need to cook something


This whole story starts last year right after Chris took delivery of his new smoker, the Deep South CG36 (aka Big Red). As he says in that review we were just hoping that it would put out food equal to our kamado grills.  It was better than the kamados, it blew me away.  I knew right then I was going to step up with the big boys and get me a very high-end smoker.  I wanted something smaller, something I wouldn’t feel guilty if I just thew one pork butt on but could cook for a decent sized party if needed.  My search was on.

I looked at a lot of brands, read a lot of forum pages and made my spreadsheets to analyze everything.  The other finalist last year in Chris’ search was Humphrey’s, that didn’t automatically make them my choice, the spreadsheet had a lot to say about it too.  Well, Humphrey's came out on top and they had just created the wounded warrior color scheme of their Battle Box where they give 10% of all sales to the Wounded Warrior organization and I loved the color scheme; two birds, one stone.

Humphrey’s BBQ Inc. is based out of Limerick Maine and owned by Chad and Nicole Humphrey, two of the nicest folks you will ever deal with.  They started years ago repairing all brands of smokers from backyard to commercial until they finally said let’s make our own.  So they took all the lessons they learned working on other smokers and applied it to their line.  Customer service is top notch.

Chris posted the unboxing of this smoker back in his April posts so be sure to check that out for a lot more pictures.

Features:

  • Insulated, reverse flow box smoker.
  • Welded Tubular sub-frame (think roll cage of race car)
  • 1200 degree nonflammable insulation.  Moisture resistant, fungi resistant, high K value and military certified
  • 3 slide out cooking racks, Stainless Steel.  14.75” x 22”  Holds full-size hotel pan
  • Stainless Steel 4” water pan (mine is the slide-out version, $100 option)
  • Commercial grade style latches, they call them slam latches, they work great.
  • Tel-Tru thermometer
  • 2 probe Ports (standard on my unit optional on most)
  • 8” No Flat wheels (standard on my unit optional on most)
  • Outer Dimensions 24”w x29”d x 43”h, 325 lbs, its heavy
  • Cooking Chamber dimensions 15.25”w x 22.5d x 18”h
  • 10-12 lbs charcoal capacity with run times up to 12 hours, I’m finding longer.

Charcoal box, which is located behind the lower door.  This was after a 5-hour cook at 290, I think I’d be good for 10 more hours or so.  Shown with optional snake T dividers which makes the fire burn in a snake pattern.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Bourbon and Sorghum Ribeye Steaks

[FTC Disclaimer]  I have an informal relationship with Knob Creek and received a care package from them, including the pictured bourbon.  We are sponsored by Certified Angus Beef® Brand. However, this post is not a sponsored post. 

If you have been around Nibble Me This for long, you know that I love pairing bourbon with beef and pork.  The sweet caramel notes complement pork.  For beef, the smoky and peppery flavors in bourbon enhance a grilled steak like nobody's business.

As a general rule, I don't pair sweet with beef.  My photography instructor once told me that it is essential to know the rules, not so you follow them blindly, but so you know WHEN and WHY to break them.  This Ribeye with Bourbon and Sorghum Butter is my exception to the "no sweet with beef" rule.  The smoky sweet steak just works.

Grilled ribeye with bourbon and sorghum butter on a Big Green Egg recipe

Sorghum syrup comes from a grain crop that was grown heavily in the South.  It has a sweet flavor that then turns dark and sultry, sort of like molasses but not exactly.  Ronni Lundy refers to the taste as "Appalachian Umami."  I decided to tie that flavor tantalizer with a good bourbon in a compound butter for steak.  

I chose the Single Barrel Reserve because Breaking Bourbon's review said it has a "rich and creamy sweetness" and "packs a good amount of spice".

I knew the butter tasted great, but I was curious about how it would match up with the steak.  It turned out fantastic, sweet and smoky but it didn't overpower the steak.  Alexis particularly enjoyed this one.
How to grill a ribeye steak on a kamado grill, such as Kamado Joe or Big Green Egg or Grilla Kong


Bourbon and Sorghum Ribeye Steaks


Ingredients


  • 2 Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steaks
  • 2 teaspoons peanut, avocado, canola, or other high-temperature cooking oil
  • 4 teaspoons NMT Umami Steak Seasoning

For the Bourbon and Sorghum Compound Butter

  • 5 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sorghum syrup
  • 1.5 teaspoons Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • kosher salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare your steaks.  Pat the steaks dry.  Apply a light amount of peanut oil to the steaks and season with the NMT Umami Steak Seasoning.  Allow the steaks to rest at room temperature for at least 1 hour.
  2. Make the compound butter.  Mix the butter, sorghum syrup, bourbon, and black pepper together.  Taste and add salt as needed. 
  3. Grill your steaks.  Preheat your grill to 450-500°f.  Grill the steaks until they reach an internal temperature of 125°f, about 4 minutes per side, for medium rare.
  4. Rest the steaks.  Remove the steaks to a resting rack and immediately top with some of the butter.


The butter will be a bit loose at first until the liquid is fully mixed in.  Just keep whipping it with a fork until it is all combined.

Grill Grates on a Big Green Egg Mini-Max
I grilled the steaks on a Big Green Egg Mini-Max kamado grill set up with GrillGrates.  The ribeyes are in the back.  The two steaks up front are chuck eye steaks. 


I've been doing something a little different with my GrillGrates for steaks lately.  I do 3 minutes a side to get the classic grill marks...



Using GrillGrates upside down as a griddle
...Then I flip the GrillGrates and sear them for about 30 seconds a side to fill in the color between the grill marks just a touch. 


Having the butter left out at room temperature for an hour helps ensure that it melts and gets it's flavoring all over the steak.
grilling asparagus on a big green egg using grillgrates.
For the asparagus, I cooked it without any seasoning.

But as soon as the asparagus came off, I put them on a tray with a room temp compound butter made of garlic salt, black pepper, and dried shallot. 

Grilled steak and asparagus is a classic for a reason - it's just damn delicious.


Tender as you can imagine.  The best part is dragging each bite through the sweet and smoky butter.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Event: 2018 Big Kahuna Wing Festival Knoxville, TN

[FTC Disclosure] This post is not sponsored by anyone.  However in the spirit of full disclosure, we have been sponsored by CharBroil® and SABER® grills, in the past.

A few weekends ago, my youngest son, Trevor, cooked in his first cooking competition at the 6th annual Big Kahuna Wing Festival in World's Fair Park in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Photo Credit Big Kahuna Wing Festival Facebook Page.

  • The Big Kahuna Wing Festival is the brainchild of BKW Wings founder, Matt Beeler. 
  • The event pits 35 teams to serve over 8 tons of chicken wings to 8,000 festival attendees.  
  • Last year the event raised $80,000 for several area charities.
  • This year, the event is a qualifier for the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama.  So the winner takes their first step towards $110,000.
His cook team was composed entirely of 2018 graduates from his high school - 4 football teammates and his girlfriend Ally.  Alexis and I said we would go along as advisors and to make sure they didn't "kill anyone" with raw chicken.  But we let this be his gig and let him make all of the decisions.


Deep South Smokers gravity fed smoker
Trevor firing up the Deep South Smokers GC36 for practice at the house.

He did a couple of test batches.  Part of it was to test flavor profiles but it was mostly figuring out the timing for production.  We had to figure out how long it took to process wings, how much the cooker could hold at once, how long it took to cook them, what equipment was needed, etc.


Albukirky's Seasonings are fantastic for the grill or kitchen.
After taste testing with his friends, they decided on using Albukirky's Anchonero Hot Rub which is fantastic on wings.  One call to Kirk at Albukirky Seasonings took care of everything we needed.  They have customer service that rivals the quality of their amazing rubs, sauces, and jellies.

KS Customs in Knoxville made these shirts for his team.  Aren't they awesome?  They were printed on Nike Dry-Fit shirts which would be needed since it was going to be a HOT day.