Saturday, January 29, 2011

Marilyn Pit Beef

Oh, I know, it is supposed to be called Maryland Pit Beef or Baltimore Pit Beef.  But when I wanted to make a somewhat authentic pit beef I turned to the first people I could think of in Maryland, Brian and Marilyn of Hot Sauce Daily.  So it is Marilyn Pit Beef!  

Marilyn spoke with Tom from their local meat purveyor because he used to cook the pit beef for the Mount Airy Volunteer Fireman Carnival.  Considering that the best/first BBQ I ever had was from the volunteer fireman fundraiser in Lisbon, North Carolina, I figured Tom knew what he was talking about.  And boy did he ever.  

I'm not going to follow standard recipe protocol, I'm just working through what Marilyn shared point by point.

Don't marinate it, don't put any extra stuff on it (i.e. garlic, paprika, none of that)
Oops.  My bad.  I had already started adapting this recipe from Big Fat Daddy's and had rubbed it with
1 Tbsp Dizzy Pig Cowlick 
1 Tbsp paprika (my homemade batch)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano (some of the last of our dried from summer)
1/2 tsp black pepper
But his point is well taken.  Good beef needs little more than salt and pepper.  But since mine was already rubbed for 12 hours, I couldn't undo it.

Use a whole top round, about 20 pounds.(You can use a smaller cut, of course)
I used the smaller cut option, a 2.5 lb eye of round, which comes from the same portion of the cow (top, eye, and bottom round).

The main thing is to have a nice even heat, using charcoal. Make it pretty hot.  The secret to cooking a good pit beef is to get a nice dark brown crust, turning often to make sure you cook all sides well and  evenly. 
Turning often - That calls for using my rotisserie on the Brinkmann Professional Charcoal grill.  Our Big Green Eggs get the day off.
Nice even heat - When I took a cooking class with Chris Lilly last May, he recommended Kingsford briquettes for grilling with long steady heat compared to using lump which burns hotter but faster.   Outside of a ceramic cooker (Big Green Egg) or insulated cooker (Stumps, etc), I agree.  Since this was "open pit" cooking and it was slightly breezy on this spring like day, I turned the grill so the open lid would serve as a wind screen.
Don't mop it.. otherwise you won't get the flavor of the beef
I started to second guess this one.  But as soon as the fat cap on the roast began cooking, it rendered, dripping over the rest of the roast, self basting!   That is just one trickle but by the time it was done, it was mostly covered.

Tip:  Because this will only baste one side, reverse the direction of your rotisserie every 10-15 minutes.  This will get both sides basted.  Some rotisseries have a two way switch.  My cheap one just changes direction each time you turn it off and back on.  Don't think that only top end $1,000 grills have rotisseries.  Just about any grill can be retrofitted with a $35 kit like mine from Lowe's Home Improvement

It will probably take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours, a smaller cut 40 min. or so. Internal temp should be around 120.
I was using the smaller cut and it was almost exactly 40 minutes when it hit 125f.  I took it off and let it rest for 15 minutes.  I never glazed or mopped it, that juiciness in this pic is all from the meat itself.

Then cut it in half so I'd have flat sides to work with on the slicer.

Use a meat slicer to get really thin slices.
I was halfway through doing this....

when my 2 year old Waring Pro slicer gave up the ghost.  There was a clunk, a second or two of smoke, another clunk and then a high pitch whine like a broken fly wheel or clutch.  Then it just stopped.  Dead. 
"I think he would have wanted to go out that way in the end," I playfully mourned as Alexis walked into the kitchen to see what the mechanical ruckus was.    I finished the rest by hand, you just have to have a very sharp carving knife.

Place a pile (as in "a big fistful" ) of the meat on a kaiser roll

Serve with horseradish and thinly sliced white onion
I cheated and added some thinly sliced tomato.  Winter tomatoes are weak, I couldn't even taste them.  My horseradish sauce was the one from the linked recipe
1/2 cup mayo
3 Tbsp horseradish
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp black pepper

Yes, served on paper plates.  Because it's better that way!  These were the perfect late lunch for a Saturday afternoon while our house watched college basketball and tried to recover from the flu.  You know what they say, "Feed a fever, starve a cold".

Thanks so much to Brian and Marylin for the help on this Maryland classic.  Stop by their site at Hot Sauce Daily and check out their recent 2nd Annual Week of Wings. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BBQ Nachos - Super Bowl of Nachos

I smoked a pork butt this weekend (click here to find why this cut from the shoulder is called a "butt"). The cook went pretty much as expected. Here is the cooking log from that cook. It took right on the nose of 1 1/2 hours per pound. (Double click the pic and zoom in to see detail)

One of my favorite things to make with pulled pork other than sandwiches is BBQ Nachos.

I like mine with "built from the floor up" as follows:
  • White tortilla chips
  • iceburg lettuce (save the fancy stuff for salads!)
  • Colby jack cheese mix shredded
  • pulled pork
  • a blend of diced red, green, and white onions
  • black olives
  • jalapenos
  • BBQ sauce (something sweet like Smoky Mountain Smokers or Blues Hog)
  • homemade queso sauce with red peppers, cilantro, and BBQ rub (something hot like Dizzy Pig Jamaican Firewalk)

What do YOU like on your nachos?

A few reminders:

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Our Grills January

These are challenging times....

The On Our Grills challenge is a monthly challenge where a group of grillers is challenged with creating a meal based around 4 ingredients and at least the protein has to be cooked on the grill (or some sort of live fire). There is no winner and no one gets voted off. It is just an exercise in creativity and pushes ones culinary preferences. This month's ingredients are:

Ground Beef
Winter Squash

Hmmmm how about a quinoa, squash, pear burger? No? Okay, instead I went with an "upscale diner" theme.

To be perfectly honest, this month's challenge was full of "near-hits". Except for the chopped steak patty (which was a no brainer), I would have changed everything else next time.

Ground Beef
I made a diner classic of chopped steak with mushroom gravy. I mixed the beef with some panko, egg, minced onion, minced garlic, S & P and of course worchestershire sauce. Grilled it 5 minutes a side. The gravy was sauted crimini mushrooms, a dark roux, demi glace and a cup of beef broth.
I used red quinoa to make mini stuffed cherry peppers. I parboiled the peppers. The stuffing was simply cooked quinoa, mushrooms, shallot, the pepper tops, and cilantro. The flavor was good but the stuffing needs some cheese mixed in to help bind it together and to keep moist.

Winter Squash
Instead of the ubiquitous diner mac and cheese, I opted for Butternut Squash Gratin. It was an adaptation from Joy of Cooking. The flavor was good but Alexis and I both agreed it needs something more in texture. It was too soft like a souffle. Next time I think I'd add double the amount of flour and a 1/2 cup of corn kernals. The good news is that it cooked quite well on the grill.

I was going to substitute dessert with a pear crisp for diner apple pie but I ran out of time and patience. So I simply fire roasted the bosc pears topped with gorgonzola, a trick I stole from Greg at SippitySup. I drizzled agave nectar over them to finish.

Again, not my most successful outing but I did learn a few things in the process.

Check out the other participants to see what they came up with using these same 4 ingredients.

About the "On Our Grills" 4 Ingredient Challenge Bloggers

Grill Grrrl- Adventures of a Girl on the Grill
Robyn Medlin-Lindars is the "grill girl" behind Her focus is on healthy, simple and creative recipes on the grill. She encourages women to learn to grill as it a great way to create healthy, flavorful dishes without all the fuss and clean up in the kitchen. This "grill girl" holds quarterly "Women's Grilling Clinics" as a way to encourage women to not be intimated by the grill. As a McCormick's flavor correspondent for their "This Week in Grilling Campaign", Robyn shares fun, tropical video recipes documenting her grilling adventures from her backyard in Sunny, Hollywood, Florida.
Robyn's January Challenge Recipe

Grill Adventures by Broadcast Marc
Grill Adventures by broadcastmarc was started in March of 2010. I started the BBQ thing when I was 30, before that we ate a lot outside. had fun, but when the kids came into our life we started serious cooking. Most of it is really healthy I think). The grill has a special place in my heart because we love to do things outside. Everything I make is an adventure, and sometimes we use the books. We try to grill as much as we can year round.
Marc's January Challenge Recipe:

The BBQ Grail
The BBQ Grail website was created in 2007, initially to document the author’s quest to find the perfect backyard BBQ experience. Since that time The BBQ Grail has become one of the more popular BBQ blogs on the internet and is listed as one of the top BBQ blogs.
Larry's January Challenge Recipe

Into the Flames
Rob launched Into The Flames in the summer of 2010 as a way to share his passion for cooking, eating, and exploring food.
Link Pending

No Excuses BBQ
The No Excuses BBQ website was started in January of 2009 as a way to record the author's goal of cooking outdoors at least once a week throughout the year and showing the results to the world. Somewhere along the way things got out of control...
No Excuses BBQ’s January Challenge Recipe

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Podcasts, Pineapple Jalapeno Chutney, and a Giveaway

Right now I am smoking a pork butt on my Big Green Egg. It has just entered his stall point at 175f ....

So I'm guessing I have another 2 hours before it's time to pull from the cooker and rest it. That's enough time to knock out this quick post.

Hot Sauce Weekly Podcast

The Hot Sauce Daily blog is having it's second annual Week of Wings. On Tuesday, I participated in their Hot Sauce Weekly podcast in a Hot Wing Roundtable with some of my favorite food bloggers.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN IN. You'll pick up some good wing tips from the panel. Ha ha....I said "wing tips".

Fire Day Friday

I also posted my Vegetable Burritos this week at Our Krazy Kitchen where I co-host Fire Day Friday with Jenn from Jenn's Food Journey.

Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Jalapeno Chutney

Speaking of Hot Sauce Daily, that is where I first found out about Tropical Island Gourmet Company and my now favorite Fire Ant Juice. I bought another shipment this week (3 bottles of Fire Ant Juice and 1 of his Chipotle Garlic Sauce) and Chef Wayne tossed in an extra jar of Hobo Howey's Pineapple Jalapeno Chutney.

This chutney is an interesting thing. It hits you up front with a nice sweet flavor and just as you think it is mild, a heat kicks in on the back side. I thought it would get along nicely with a grilled pork tenderloin.

My Big Green Egg was busy kicking butt on the pork butt, so I fired Alexis' Egg up to 350f with indirect heat. I was using straight lump coal - no wood chunks.

Since tenderloins typically come in two packs, I took a calculated risk. I marinated one in some of the pineapple jalapeno chutney and rubbed one with Dizzy Pig Jamaican Firewalk rub. I thought the chutney might burn given the natural sugars from the pineapple and apricots. Then I grilled them both for 21 minutes, turning every 6-7 minutes.

The chutney marinated one did char a little from the burned sugars but that's on me. It is a chutney, not a marinade. It didn't taste bad at all, it just looked very dark.

Next time I'll just glaze it on in the last 5 minutes of cooking of an already rubbed tenderloin. Regardless, it ROCKED when served across the sliced pork tenderloin (the way it is intended to be used....I'm not good at following directions).

Why yes, that IS a black bean and rice volcano. I came up with it tonight as a spin on my double timbale technique and thought it looked cool. I'll be using this again.

Brett had a friend over and between the 5 of us, both tenderloins disappeared with second and third helpings. No leftovers.

January Giveaway
Since Chef Wayne Howey has been so gracious in adding free samples in with my orders, I am going to pay it forward with my January Giveaway. I am going to give one lucky winner a jar of Hobo Howey's Pineapple Jalapeno Chutney and a bottle of Fire Ant Juice from my personal stock. To enter, go to the Tropical Island Gourmet site and leave a comment below stating which product would be your favorite.

I'll draw the winner from qualifying entries on Wednesday, January 26, 2011 at 7 PM est.

[Standard Disclaimer] I pay full price & shipping for the products I buy from Tropical Island Gourmet and have no affiliation with them other than enjoying Chef Wayne's products. I receive no compensation for this post although they do throw in a freebie sample here and there when I place an order of several jars.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fire Ant Juice offer

I know how it is. You want to mail order that special bottle of sauce or jar of rub but think about how the cost of shipping makes it prohibitively expensive.

Chef Wayne of Tropical Island Gourmet also understands that which is why he is making this special offer through February 24th, 2011.

For orders placed between now and then, Tropical Island Gourmet will include a FREE BOTTLE OF FIRE ANT JUICE, the 2010 SCOVIE Award winning hot sauce. Just include the word NIBBLE ME THIS in the comments section for your free bottle.

That will make up for the shipping costs. I also order several bottles at a time in order to lower the overall per bottle costs once shipping is added in.

[Standard Disclaimer] I pay full price & shipping for the products I buy from Tropical Island Gourmet and have no affiliation with them other than enjoying Chef Wayne's products. I receive no compensation for this post although they do throw in a freebie sample here and there when I place an order of several jars.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Comfort Food: Beef and Noodles

It has been a long week.

I have been on the road and Alexis has been working more 12-hour shifts back to back at the hospital because she was helping a co-worker out by exchanging shifts. So dinner wasn't ready and served until 8:48 PM tonight.

Fortunately that was right when Alexis walked in the door from work. I was actually going to make beef stroganoff but I didn't have several ingredients so I used what we had on hand. This really isn't an exact recipe because I was just winging it and not measuring but it's pretty close. I think... maybe....kind of.

Beef and Noodles

2 cups baby carrots
1 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 lb beef strips (I used milanesa style sliced sirloin)
1 ea shallot, peeled and diced
1/4 cup marsala wine
2 cups beef broth
1 cup water
2 springs thyme
2 tsp demi glace
slurry made from 2 Tbsp water 2 Tbsp corn starch
2 cups of cooked egg noodles (about a cup pre-cooked measurement)

Toss carrots in 1 Tbsp of melted butter and then roast them for 30 minutes in a 400f oven. I like to use a preheated cast iron griddle pan like this to get the sear marks. Flip them half way through the cooking time.

Meanwhile boil your noodles.

A heavy cast iron skillet works best for this dish. Have you ever noticed how most comfort foods are better when prepared via cast iron grates, dutch ovens, roasters or skillets?

Preheat a cast iron skillet and add your oil. Season your beef with salt and pepper. Working in small batches, sear your beef strips, tossing them rapidly to cook all sides. This should only take 1 minute or a little more for each batch. Remove cooked beef to a plate to rest.

Add a little more oil if necessary and saute the diced shallot for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. It probably took 3-5 minutes for mine to get the softened texture I was looking for.

Leaving the shallots in, deglaze the skillet with the marsala wine. Reduce heat and simmer until all but about 2 Tbsp has evaporated.

Stir in the beef broth & water, bring to a simmer. Cook uncovered until reduced by half (about 10-15 minutes).

Add the demi glace & thyme - simmer covered for 5 minutes. (Strip the leaves from the stem.)

Add the corn starch slurry as needed to thicken the sauce. Taste for seasoning (more salt and pepper if needed).

Return the beef and collected juices to the skillet. Add the cooked carrots. Cover and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Add the noodles and serve.

I also made some mozzarella biscuits to go with this because comfort food requires biscuits.

I am desperately looking forward to this weekend so I can relax and have fun cooking at a relaxed pace. And maybe even eat dinner before 9pm!

Our average dinner time is around 8pm. I'd rather it be earlier but with our work schedules it doesn't work out. What time do you usually get dinner on the table? Any tricks for getting it done sooner?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Piri Piri Wings in the Style of Nando's

About a year ago, I stumbled on Michael Symon's Sriracha wings at Hot Sauce Daily. I fell in love with them because of their well developed spiciness and flavor. Since then, no other wings I have tried have come close to matching the taste excitement of Sriracha wings...

Until last night about 8:37 PM when I made this recipe from Steven Raichlen's Planet Barbecue! These piri piri wings bring a gauntlet of sensation. It's kind of like if you build a washing machine made out of heat (spicy), flavor, and "mouth-wateriness" and then throw yourself into it on spin cycle.

(Yeah, if you're counting that's about the eleventieth successful recipe I've made from this book. If you're going to even LOOK at a grill this summer, go buy this book. )

I didn't have Piri Piri chilies or sauce, so I used Raichlen's substitution recommendations. Here's a link to the original recipe.

Piri Piri Wings
adapted from Planet Barbecue!

24 wing pieces

1/4 cup Fire Ant Juice or other gourmet, premium, extra good hot sauce
1/4 cup chilies, seeded and chopped (see note)
1/4 cup garlic, coarsely chopped
1 ea Vidalia salad onion, chopped (white and green parts)
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup cilantro
1/4 cup lemon juice and pulp (from one large lemon)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp kosher salt

Tossing Sauce
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 Tbsp cilantro
1 Tbsp red bell pepper, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp Fire Ant Juice
2 Tbsp lemon juice

First, these are supposed to be hot but I know not everyone likes the sweet burn of capsaicin. I consider myself as a "medium" heat kind of guy leaning towards "hot". Here is how I think I'd adjust this recipe for varying tastes. I haven't tried these, just my thoughts.

Put the marinade ingredients...

into a mini food processor...

And process about 6-10 pulses until well blended.


Yes. I have a Magic Bullet, don't be a hater. I got it as a birthday gift last year.

It is actually quite handy for marinades and dipping sauces. While their informercials would make any foodie cringe (who needs a food processor for an omelet?), it doesn't take up much space, it's easy to clean and I find I use it about once or twice a week for quick jobs. Plus it is super portable and easy to use out by the grills.

Marinate the chicken wings. Look how colorful and rich the marinade is. I can't wait to try the same thing on shrimp this summer.

The original version calls for overnight, Raichlen recommends 6-24 hours. I didn't have that kind of time so I broke out a tool I've had for about a year but haven't used - a FoodSaver Quick Marinator. The theory is the vacuumed atmosphere will make the marinade soak in quicker.

I doubt the "science" behind that but after making the same recipe yesterday and today, only using the quick marinade tonight, it does seem to have made a visible difference. I'll do some kind of a side by side comparison later because I know the Engineer in Larry wants to know. Maybe he and I will do a controlled experiment this year. (Sounds like another good excuse for us to get some folks together for a taste test.)

I departed from Raichlen's instructions at this point and followed my general wing cooking technique - 30-20-10 wings. I set up the Big Green Egg for indirect heat at 350 -375f. I cooked the wings for 30 minutes....

Then flipped and cooked for 20 more minutes.

Then I tossed them in the "tossing sauce" and let them cook another 5-10 minutes. Just long enough for the sauce to cook onto the wings. I reserved about 1/4 cup for a finishing sauce.

I'm actually disappointed in the pictures because the wings were so much better than they look. I know...they don't look horrible. But damn they rocked the taste. The pictures just don't do them justice.

[Standard Disclaimer] I didn't receive any compensation for this post. I got the Raichlen book for free last year from his publisher but have bought more of his books since then. The Magic Bullet was a gift from a family member. And Fire Ant Juice is just the best hot sauce on the face of the planet, it makes everything else look ridiculous. Oh, we also bought the FoodSaver Quick Marinator at retail.

Friday, January 14, 2011

True Grit: Buffalo Cheese Grits

I see your polenta and raise you my grits. Here in the south, grits aren't just a breakfast staple. They are a classic side dish for fish fry and BBQ dinners. I'm not talking about that thin, watery, and bland white stuff some people call "grits". I'm talking about True Grits!

This is one of my favorite movie scenes about grits and it raises a point. Okay, it's the only grit movie scene I can think of bit it still raises a point.

There is a world of difference between "instant grits" and true grits. Instant grits are weak in taste and texture. Real grits have body and their own subtle flavor. You can see the difference between the two even before cooking. That isn't kosher salt on the right, those are instant grits compared to real grits on the left.

My preferred brand of grits is Charleston Favorites stone ground yellow grits. I buy ours locally. If you can't find them in your grocery store (look for the small burlap bag) you can order them online.

Here is one of my favorite grit recipes that I came up with just this year. It's based on the flavors from buffalo wings and have everything but the chicken. They are hearty, creamy and deliver just the right kick. I was alone the first time I made them and when I told Alexis the ingredients...

she made a funny face because she thought the ingredients didn't go together. But when she tried them, she devoured them.

Buffalo Cheese Grits
Source: Nibble Me This

3 Tbsp butter (divided into 2 and 1 Tbsp)
2 Tbsp celery, very very finely diced
2/3 cup Charleston Favorites yellow stone ground grits
1 cup water
1 1/2 cup chicken stock (I used homemade)
2/3 tsp kosher salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup gorgonzola or blue cheese
1 Tbsp Fire Ant Juice or other gourmet hot sauce

Melt 2 Tbsp butter and saute the celery until softened, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the grits and then add salt, the water, and 1 cup of stock. NOTE: True grits will have some bran in them. This is a part of the corn grain and will not soften during cooking. When you first add the liquid, the bran will float to the top. Skim these bran flakes off with a spoon and discard. For this quantity of grits, you can expect 1 Tbsp or less of bran.

Bring grits to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, stirring often. They will start to thicken at about 15 minutes into the cooking time. Gradually add the remaining 1/2 cup of stock in small increments during the last 15 minutes to keep the desired texture. Think of it like you are cooking risotto.

In the last 5 minutes add the gorgonzola or blue cheese. I like just about 1/2 cup. If you prefer milder, use less. Stir in the Fire Ant Juice. You can use a plain hot sauce but I prefer the more complex flavor of the combined jalapeno, cayenne and habanero peppers that Fire Ant Juice brings. It's my favorite hot sauce and won a first place Scovie award in 2010. 1 Tbsp is just about right for a mild but noticeable kick. If you like spicy food, use an ounce. If you like less, go with a teaspoon.

Add in the last Tbsp of butter as you take the grits off of heat.

Feel free to garnish with more gorgonzola and/or hot sauce.

[Standard Review Disclaimer] I am a paying customer of these two products. I don't get any compensation from Charleston Favorites. When placing a paid order for Fire Ant Juice, I do occasionally get an extra 'freebie' jar of something new to try from Chef Wayne but he does that for other people too, it's not "compensation" for a review.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Grilled Chicken with Red Chile Veloute Sauce

Several people asked about the recipe for the dish I made last night for my 10 Tips for Cold Weather Grilling post. It was actually "homework".

I have been taking a few lessons at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. After watching the lesson comprised of several short videos (the one below was one of 8 for the lesson) you have practice assignments to apply what you just learned. This dish was what I came up with for my assignment.

Grilled Chicken with Red Chile Veloute Sauce
Source: Nibble Me This with an assist from Rouxbe

4 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp Poultry Perfect Rub (recipe follows)
3 Tbsp butter, unsalted
3 Tbsp flour
2+ cups chicken stock
salt to taste
white pepper to taste
1-2 red chile
1 Tbsp parsley, finely diced
1 Tbsp butter cold

Season the chicken with the poultry rub and let sit at room temperature. Fire up your grill and let it preheat.

Start making your veloute sauce.

In case you can't get video, it's basically making a blond roux with the butter and flour. Gradually whisk in the stock in small increments, kind of like a risotto. Use the best stock you can get because it is the star of this sauce. I had made two quarts on Sunday so I used a little over two cups of that. It's not an exact measurement because you go by the texture of the sauce to know when you've added enough.

After it has simmered lightly for 20 minutes, I add in the chiles and parsley. I break one end of the chiles and pour out the seeds so I'm using mostly only red pepper flake.

Grill the chicken over direct heat at 400f for 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 4-5 minutes, or until the breasts hit 160f on an instant read thermometer. Remove and let rest.

Add the 1 Tbsp of very cold butter to the veloute sauce and stir until slowly melted and emulsified into the sauce.

Slice the chicken in 1/4" slices, fan it out, and spoon some of the sauce across the chicken. I served ours with Reeni's Roasted Lemon Garlic Ginger Carrots. It all disappeared quickly.

Poultry Perfect Rub
from the wonderful book Smoke and Spice by Cheryl and Bill Jamison

3/4 cup Hungarian paprika (don't use Spanish, the type DOES make a difference)
1/4 cup black pepper freshly ground
1/4 cup celery salt
1/4 cup sugar (use Sugar In The Raw or turbinado sugar instead)
2 tablespoon onion powder (I coarse grind dried onion flakes instead)
2 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons cayenne (I reduce it by 1/2 t and replace it with 1/2 t of red pepper flakes)
2 tablespoon zest from 3 to 4 lemons dried and minced

Mix and store.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Ten Tips for Cold Weather Grilling

You know how great that chicken, steak or burger tastes in the summer when it's warm, right? So don't settle when it is cold out! I want to pass along some tips for grilling when cold weather abounds.

Tonight's dinner was grilled chicken with a red chilie veloute sauce.

Sure I could have pan seared or broiled the chicken inside, but to me you just can't beat or substitute the taste of grilled chicken.

So despite the fact I had to walk back and forth through this.....

the results were worth it!

Here are my ten tips for grilling in cold weather -

  1. Plan on dishes with shorter cooking times . Lean meats and thinner or smaller cuts cook quickly over high heat. Chicken breast, pork loin, and steak cook fast.
  2. Preheat your grill longer. Preheating takes longer in the winter. Your grill grate that contacts with the surface of the meat is much colder to start with. Let your grill grates heat at least 30 minutes. This will help with sear marks and reduce sticking.
  3. Use the cold to your advantage. Stick your beverages in the snow. If you have to marinate under refrigeration and it's 30f out, don't take up space in your 'fridge.
  4. Use quality charcoal that is warm and dry. Cold and wet charcoal will take forever to light and come to temp. Use lump charcoal, it burns hotter and faster.
  5. Wear shoes that you can slip on and off. You don't want to keep tracking in snow, mud and ice into the house.
  6. Carry your timer with you. When it is really cold out, there is no need to stand out there watching the minutes tick away. Go back inside even when you are only flipping every 5 minutes.
  7. Mise en place. While having all your ingredients lined up is a luxury when cooking indoors, when cooking outdoors in freezing weather it becomes a necessity. Have all your rubs, glazes, and sauces ready ahead of time.
  8. Gimme' Shelter. While the idea of keeping your grill "covered" from rain and snow above is obvious, you also want to shelter it from the wind if possible.
  9. Don't forget YOUR comfort. This is fun, remember? Dress warmly and in layers. Wear a jacket/coat that you won't have a stroke over if it gets a grill stain.
  10. Appreciate your environment. Grilling when snow is falling and everyone else is huddled inside is something special and peaceful. Don't think of it as a chore, enjoy the solitude.