Friday, October 24, 2014

Smoked Brisket Sliders, A Tailgate, and El Diablo Giveaway

One important rule about tailgating is to always have a Plan B.  

El Diablo Mustard offered to sponsor one of our tailgates this year so we planned an outdoor event at our older son's house for one of the University of Tennessee away games.  We were going to do everything outside and the day had been beautiful blue skies.  But just as we were getting set up in the back yard a few hours before the game, the winds blew, the skies turned dark, and the temperatures dropped.

Dark clouds rolling in...

We weren't sure if it was going to rain but the wind was blowing everything over and it was cold so we just went with Plan B and moved everything indoors.  The food tasted just as good inside and everyone had a blast.  The menu we picked was:

Nachos and Red Hatch Chile Queso
Smoked Bologna
Smoked Beef Brisket Sliders with Crispy Fried Onions
Golden Chipotle Wings
Mango Mustard Slaw
Pit Beans

Shot recreated on a much less windy afternoon...with leftovers that were still great!

It may seem a little counter-intuitive to make a big meat like brisket or pork butt for a tailgate but it actually makes logistical sense.  You can cook those meats at home, put them foiled in a cooler or Cambro, and hold them for 4 hours.  All you have to do at the tailgate is slice or pull it.

For this brisket, I used the El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard as a slather.  Mustard slathers are nothing new in BBQ, the mustard acts as a binder for the seasoning rub and the vinegar in the mustard also provides a tenderizing effect (although I think the latter is more "old pitmaster tale" than fact). But the varieties and heat that El Diablo Mustard has bring something new to the game - a more complex flavor.  

Dat smoke ring...

Smoked Beef Brisket Sliders with Crispy Fried Onions
Serves:  10-12

  • 12-14 lb whole beef brisket, fat cap trimmed to 1/4" thick
  • 1/2 cup El Diablo Steakhouse Mustard (divided)
  • 1/2 cup beef rub (see recipe)
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 cups crispy fried onions
  • 1 cup spicy BBQ sauce
  • 24 slider rolls
  1. [Optional Step] Mix 1 tablespoon of the mustard and the cup of beef stock together. Bring to a simmer, strain, and cool.  Use a meat syringe to inject the mixture throughout the brisket.
  2. Slather the brisket with the remaining El Diablo Mustard.  Season liberally on all sides with the beef rub.  Let rest refrigerated for 2 to 4 hours.
  3. Set up your smoker or grill for indirect heat and preheat to 225°f (temp measured at the level of your cooking grate). 
  4. Place brisket, fat cap down, on the grill or smoker over indirect heat and smoke for 2 hours.  
  5. Raise the smoker or grill temperature to 250°F and keep cooking until the brisket reaches a dark mahogany color, which usually occurs around an internal temperature between 160 to 175°f in my experience.  At this point you can wrap the brisket in foil (stops the browning and speeds up the cooking) if you like or you can just keep cooking it "naked" without foil.  
  6. When the brisket reaches an internal temperature of 195-197°f, start checking it for tenderness by inserting a BBQ skewer or thermometer probe into it.  When it slides in like butter, your brisket is done.
  7. Wrap the brisket in a double sheet of foil (if you already didn't in Step 5), place in a warm, empty cooler, cover it with a towel, close the cooler and let it rest for at least an hour or up to 4 hours.
  8. Slice against the grain.  Usually brisket is sliced in pencil thick widths but for sliders, I like to go thinner. 
  9. Top the beef with a LIGHT drizzle of sauce and the crispy fried onions and serve on slider buns.
Serving Tip:  Brisket dries out quickly once it is sliced.  If you are serving in a heated chafing dish over an extended period, add the drippings from the foil and a little extra beef stock to the dish to keep the beef from drying out.

For the beef rub you have a couple of options.  You can do a simple rub of 3 parts kosher salt, 2 parts cracked black pepper, and 1 part minced dried garlic.  I used the following variation of my NMT Beef Rub.  I mix all of the ingredients except the salt and coarsely grind them, then add in the salt to taste.  I find the using the coarse grind is the key because when I finely grind this exact same recipe, it tastes mostly like salt.  

beef rub, brisket rub, Nibble Me This

mustard, brisket prep
I've mentioned this before but I use the resting rack to keep the mustard and seasonings on the bottom from sticking to a tray instead of the brisket.

BGE, Big Green Egg brisket, kamado brisket
I put liquid in the drip pan below the brisket.  This does two things.  First, it keeps the drippings from smoldering a nasty, greasy smoke.  Second, it adds moisture to the air, creating good conditions for forming a smoke ring.

Looks like a burned hunk of meat, right?  But look at the juices still welling up on top of that brisket and check out the slices.

bbq brisket, beef brisket, smoked brisket, Big Green Egg Brisket
For a BBQ competition, this would be too done as this was falling apart tender but it was still very moist and perfect for sliders.

BBQ brisket
The crispy fried onions add a nice flavor and texture contrast to the tender brisket.

My two boys and Brett's girlfriend killing time while we got set up.

Notice the Cambro at the front left.  This was strategically placed to help hold it down after the wind flipped the EZ-Up the first time.
Alexis getting the buffet set up.

After everything kept getting blown off of the tables and the fuel canisters for the chafing dishes kept blowing out, we decided to move the food service indoors. 

Getting the appetizers going.

Once the dinner bell rang, the crowd of my son's friends started loading up their trays.
Good times all around, we had a blast.
Game time!
A funny side note.  One of his friends was 9 1/2 months pregnant (kidding, but due to be induced on the following Monday).  We got a text from Brett the next morning...

Happy Birthday, Baby "O"!

Giveaway - El Diablo Mustard
Our friends at El Diablo - The Mustard That Bites Back - are giving a set of their flavor popping, spicy mustard varieties to one lucky reader.  

I just found out about these mustards at Memphis In May this year but have grown real fond of them.  As a condiment, they really kick up the taste.  But I like them even more as an ingredient.  Add some to your favorite slaw or BBQ bean recipe, or any recipe that calls for mustard, and you have upped your game.  The thermometer icon on the front lets you know the heat level of each variety.

How To Enter and Rules
  1. To enter, just leave a comment below.  You can have a second entry for a tweet about this giveaway including my twitter handle @nibblemethis so I can find it.  NOTE:  If you are using the anonymous comment option, please make sure to leave a way to reach you (email,  forum user name, twitter etc) in case you win. 
  2. Giveaway entry period begins as soon as this is posted and ends October 31, 2014 at 11:59pm. Drawing will be held November 1, 2014 at noon (All times are Eastern Time zone).  Winner will be announced in a new post about the Chipotle Mustard Wings. 
  3. Comments will be numbered by order received and will generate a random number for the winner.
  4. Limited to residents of the continental United States unless you wish to pay the extra shipping charges.
  5. El Diablo Mustard is sponsoring the prize but I am the final judge regarding any discrepancies, interpretations, grievances, etc about this drawing.
  6. Winner must respond to claim the prize within one week of the winning announcement and/or email contact. I do attempt to contact the winner directly if contact information is provided.  If a winner does not claim the prize during the specified time, a reserve winner will be drawn from the original entries.
Please note that I use comment moderation to weed out spam.  Your comment will not appear immediately.  If you don't think your comment goes through, just shoot me an email and I can double check for you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Product Review: Kamado Grill Accessories by Innovations by Chance

One of the cool things about going to regional Eggfests is that you get to see the newest accessories for your Big Green Egg or other kamado grill.  At Porkopolis in Cincinnati this Summer, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Mike Chance in person. 

Mike is the founder of Innovations by Chance, a company producing some rather cool accessories for kamado grills like the cast iron platesetter pictured above.  We spent some time talking about some of his new rigs, his new table, and his current line up of products.  Mike talked about how he got into this line of business.  Like often is the case, necessity was the mother of invention.  Mike needed somewhere to put hot and greasy grill grates when working in the Egg so he created his first Eggvention - the Great Rack.   

Mike followed up our conversation by sending me several of his products to try out.  I'm not someone to use a product once and then review it - I put the items through about 6 weeks of use and then I put together these following video reviews.

Fishbones Charcoal Grate
Retail: varies by dealer but in the $30-35 ballpark

Raiser Rig
Retail: varies by dealer but in the $30-35 ballpark

The Claw
Retail: varies by dealer but in the $18-22 range

You can find these and other Innovations by Chance products for sale at these dealers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Smoked Brisket Nachos and the 2014 Kentucky State BBQ Festival

I had the craving for some smoked brisket nachos last weekend.

brisket leftover, tailgating

Normally I would grab a pack of sliced brisket from the freezer but alas the freezer was bare. So I smoked a brisket just so I could have some brisket nachos.

smoke brisket, bbq brisket, kamado grill

I'll do a full post about the brisket later, I did do a few tweaks that worked well but this post is about the nachos.

This isn't really a recipe per se, just an idea that a lot of barbecue folks often use when we have leftover pulled pork or brisket.  It is just a base of tortillas and cheese sauce with the meat of your choice and whatever toppings you want. If you don't have leftover BBQ, just pick some up at your local BBQ joint.  Most sell take out by the pound or quart.

This particular time, it was:
  • Nachos
  • cheese sauce - not too much, just a zig zag of it across the chips
  • chopped brisket - about one slice per order of nachos
  • BBQ rub
  • another zig zag of cheese sauce
  • shredded colby jack cheese
  • black olives
  • sliced jalapenos that my neighbors jarred and are HOT 
  • bbq sauce drizzled across it all 
  • topped with chopped green onion
beef brisket, tailgate

These really hit the spot while watching the weekend's football games with Trevor.  They also reminded me of the Kentucky State BBQ Festival from a few weeks ago because BBQ nachos was one of the things we served.

Kentucky State BBQ Festival 2014 - Danville, KY
Before I get into what a great event this was, how wonderful the team was, and how nice Danvillle is, let's get one thing out of the way - this was the hardest BBQ event I have ever done.  I was physically exhausted after the weekend. That said, it was a blast.

The Kentucky State BBQ Festival isn't a contest like most of the events that you see me doing.  This is a big party and culinary event celebrating all things BBQ.  There are just 7 pitmasters and their teams feeding the throngs of people.  I heard a crowd number of 50,000 and that would not surprise me.  Our team alone literally served more than one ton of food. 

I was lucky enough to be cooking with Shane Draper's team - Draper's BBQ.  I couldn't ask to be a part of a better team - EVERYONE busted their butts. We ran like a well oiled machine at times.  Other times we were in the weeds but we pulled together, cranked up the weed-eater, and got ourselves back up to speed. But at all times, we did it together.

Our Menu
Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Smoked Bologna Sandwiches
BBQ Nachos
Kentucky Cheese Steaks

I didn't get much time to take pictures and when I did, it was very rushed and some are mobile phone shots, but I wanted to share the chaotic and fun experience.  

The first task for me was cooking 150 pieces of bacon for the BBQ quesadillas that we were serving for the festival's VIP dinner.  High noon and hot as fire, but we were already moving fast.

Later we engineered some shade for the cook area where the griddle and two Ole Hickories were.

The back end of "the house" was where the cooking got done.  In addition to the Ole Hickories, we had a Tucker Cooker.  Here Shane is fixing a gremlin in one of the Hickories.

The back of the house crew kicked butt all weekend.  I don't think we ever stopped prepping, cooking, wrapping, or shredding pulled pork.

Getting set up on Friday, the tent area is where we were going to serve and the trailer was for food prep. See all of those cases on nachos on the trailer?  Yeah, those didn't last through Saturday.

Loading coal up for a long burn in the Tucker Cooker.

Here Mike, Alethea, and I are prepping for the VIP dinner.

Frying up some of the nearly 300 BBQ quesadillas that we served up to the VIPs.

Do we look beat already?  Yes we were but as soon as the VIP dinner was done, Alethea and I were back in the trailer making pulled pork sandwiches, smoked bologna sandwiches, cheese for the nachos, and making Kentucky Cheese Steak sandwiches to order.  She was my wingman for the weekend.
Other teams were just as busy prepping for the crowds.

17th Street BBQ getting set up.
Rick and Moe Cason taking a minute to catch up.

Side note:  Moe Cason (pictured above, right), from Ponderosa BBQ and a judge on BBQ Pitmasters, announced this week that he has quit his day job so he can do barbecue as his full time career now.  Congratulations on chasing your dream, Moe!  Moe and I will be judging at the Pensacola Eggfest Presented by Pensacola's Kia Autosport in November.  Come out and join in the fun! 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fire Roasted Chorizo and Green Chile Rice Casserole

This is just a quickie - in fact, I didn't even intend to make a post about this but it was too good not to.  We have made the Chile Rellenos Rice from Tyler Florence's book, Family Table, a few times now.  Each time has been a little different but this has easily been our favorite version.

I know that I have been doing a lot of Tex-Mex dishes on here lately but I'm almost out of green chiles so I'll be getting back to more traditional grilling and BBQ.  In the mean time I have been loving eating green chiles on just about everything.  One of the best pairings for green chiles, in my opinion, is raw or Mexican chorizo.  Brown a little chorizo with some scrambled eggs and cheese, top that with a little diced green chile and you have yourself an amazing breakfast.

This casserole is super easy to make and is one of my new favorite comfort foods.  This would be good for tailgating since you could either assemble it ahead of time and then cook on the grill at the game.  Or you could cook it at home and carry it in an insulated package and it would stay warm for a good while.  It reheats well too.  You can change the colby-jack cheese out with any other cheese you like and can substitute sour cream for the crema. 

Fire Roasted Chorizo and Green Chile Rice Casserole
adapted from Chile Rellenos Rice in Tyler Florence's Family Table

  • 3 links Johnsonville Chorizo sausage
  • 2 cups of long grain rice, cooked according to direction
  • 12 ounces colby-jack cheese, cubed
  • 2 cups Mexican crema
  • 1 can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup diced fire roasted green chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • handful of sliced black olives 
  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  1. Set up your grill for indirect heat and preheat grill to 375°F
  2. Remove sausage from its casing, brown the sausage in a skillet, and drain.
  3. Mix all ingredients, except for the olives and bread crumbs, in a large bowl.  Spoon into a greased half steam pan or casserole dish and tightly cover with foil.
  4. Place on the grill, close, and roast for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the foil, sprinkle with the olives and panko bread crumbs, and cook until the top is golden brown and bubbly - about another 20 minutes.
  6. Garnish with green onions and cilantro and serve. 
Just to clarify, you take 2 cups of uncooked rice and then cook it for this recipe.  You aren't using 2 cups of cooked rice.

I'm using a kamado grill so my indirect set up this time involves using a pizza stone and a Raiser rig from Innovations by Chance.  You could also use a plate setter.  You would set up a gas grill like this or a basic charcoal grill like this.

I love Mexican chorizo sausage and Johnsonville is my preferred brand because they only use premium cuts of pork. Mexican chorizo is raw ground pork and seasonings compared to Spanish chorizo which is a cured, hard sausage.  Always know which type a recipe calls for, big difference.

I didn't think this was all going to fit into one steam pan but Alexis was right, it fit.

I go through a shameful amount of steam pans and lids each year but at least they are recyclable.

The cheese will bubble up through the top as it cooks during the uncovered portion. One tip for getting the top brown is to get the pan as high up in your grill as possible.  This keeps it closer to the reflective heat coming down off of your grill lid.

Alexis and I both agreed that our favorite parts were the crispy edges.

It makes a lot but warms up great in the micro-nuker-thingy. 

Competition-ish Chicken
My post for the Char-Broil All Stars over at Char-Broil live this month is about taking tricks that competition cooks use and adapting them to use at home.   Hop over there to check out my Competition-ish Chicken.

On a related note, since I am one of their All Stars, I can get you a 25% discount on a Char-Broil grill through their website. It's not a "friends and family discount" so you don't have to act like you are my crazy uncle, just use the discount code C14NT4.   (Again, it has to be through their website.  If you go to a store to buy a Char-Broil grill and say, "I know Chris and C14NT4." they will probably just give you a blank stare.) 

[Standard Disclaimer] I am a member of the Char-Broil All Star team but I don't get any commission or anything. I paid full price for my Johnsonville sausages which is crazy since I have free product coupons from them that I can't ever seem to remember until I'm at the store.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Smoked Pork and Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas

Don't you love the aroma of fresh chiles roasting over a fire?  I have a Pavlovic response to it, in literal terms of the word.  One day soon I want to attend a big chile festival, where hundreds of chiles are being tossed and roasted in drums, just so I can overdose on that smell.

Recently, we ordered a batch of fresh Hatch green chiles from The Hatch Green Chile Store.  A friend of ours, Kirk of AlbuKirky Seasonings, just happened to order us some fire roasted Hatch green chiles as a surprise from the same the same time.  So picture me confused when I get two shipments a day apart.  I thought Alexis had accidentally ordered the fire roasted ones when she was first browsing the site while she insisted she didn't.  Fortunately Kirk let us in on his secret and Alexis got to say "I told you so".  I hate it when she's always right ;)

You can't have too many green chiles, in my experience.  They disappear quickly into soups, sauces, on grilled meats, and on scramble eggs and - well about anything.  I have fire roasted about half and the other half I dehydrated to use to make some green chile rubs.

When I made my Hatch Green Chile Sauce and Tex-Mex smoked pork in the previous two posts, I made it with this idea in mind - to make a green chile enchilada sauce for smoked pork enchiladas that are fire roasted on the kamado grill.

Smoked Pork and Hatch Green Chile Enchiladas
Makes:  4 servings

  • 2 cups chopped TexMex Smoked Pork
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 4 ounces pepper jack cheese cut into 8 slices about 1" x 4" 
  • 1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese 
  • Garnish ideas:  cilantro, cotija cheese, Mexican crema, green onions
For The Green Chile Enchilada Sauce
  1. Make the Enchilada Sauce:  Preheat a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Add the Hatch Green Chile Sauce, heavy cream, and Albukirky Casa Seasoning and stir together. Reduce heat to low and maintain sauce warm but below a simmer.  (Note:  You will add the Mexican crema later.)
  2. Set up your grill for indirect heat and preheat to 375 F. 
  3. Lightly grease a half sized foil steam pan (or a medium sized casserole dish). Ladle enough of the Green Chile Enchilada Sauce to LIGHTLY coat the bottom of the pan, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. 
  4. Assemble the Enchiladas:  Dip a tortilla in the warm enchilada sauce until warm and flexible, about 6-7 seconds.  Remove and place on a flat surface.  Place a piece of cheese down the middle and top evenly with 1/4 cup of the chopped smoked pork.  Roll up edges and place seam side down in the foil pan.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.  
  5. Fold the Mexican crema into the remaining sauce.  Taste for seasoning and add a little salt if needed.  Ladle enough of the sauce to lightly cover the tops of the enchiladas.  Reserve the remaining sauce and keep warm over very low heat.
  6. Cover the pan with foil and place on the grill, lid closed, for 20 minutes.    
  7. Carefully remove the pan from the grill and remove the cover.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded colby jack cheese. Return pan, uncovered, to the grill.  Close the grill lid and cook until the tops are golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.  
  8. Remove from the grill, drizzle the remaining sauce over the middle of the enchiladas and serve.
For the pork, I made my Tex-Mex style smoked pork butt, which is super easy and has a good flavor profile for using in nachos, tacos, and enchiladas. But if you don't want to bother with smoking your own pork, you can just buy some pulled pork from the grocery store or a BBQ joint as long as it isn't drowned in BBQ sauce.

Silicone tipped tongs like this makes shuttling the tortillas in and out of the warm sauce easier without tearing the softened tortillas.  Note:  In this picture we were just warming the tortillas in warmed cream that we added to the sauce later.  The next time we just did it all together as written in the recipe.  Both ways seem to work just fine.

Tex-Mex pork
Soaking the tortillas first makes them pliable so they roll without breaking.

8 fit perfectly in a half steam pan but you can use a casserole dish if you are so inclined.

Tex-Mex Pork, green chile sauce
I think this sauce would also be great with cilantro added into it but my family doesn't like cilantro so I skipped it this time.

indirect, BGE, Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Vision, Primo, Grill Dome
Indirect set up for a kamado grill.  This time I am using The Raiser (Innovations by Chance), a pizza stone, and my favorite Craycort cast iron grate.
Then the pan goes right over the pizza stone/heat deflector for even, indirect fire roasting.

Indirect set up if you are using a gas grill.  Notice only the far right burner is on.  Grill lid would be closed while grilling with this set up, I just have it open for the example on my Char-Broil Gourmet TRU-Infrared.

Indirect set up if you are using a kettle style charcoal grill.  The pan shown just keeps the coal to the sides.  The enchilada pan goes on the cooking grate directly above the lower pan and then you shut the grill lid.

The kamado grill makes it easy to hold my temp of 375°F once it is stablized.

Big Green Egg roasting

It is finished when the edges get a little crispy.

These were so good that we made them twice in a week.  The green chile rice that we served with them was just basic rice pilaf with onions with 1/4 cup of my hatch green chile sauce substituted for some of the stock I normally use.

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] I received no compensation for this post and paid full price for our hatch chiles from The Hatch Chile Store.