Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Grind Your Own Beef & Giveaway Announcement

We drew the winner of the Bush's Bean Grillin' Beans Giveaway tonight to determine who get's this great prize package to kick their summer into gear!


Trevor entered the count of comments, tweets, and Facebook posts into Random.org and the winner is:

Kim of Stirring the Pot who said, "Pick me, pick me, pick me! Ha ha...I love the southern pit BBQ with ribs or pulled pork."

Of all the giveaways I have done, I'm pretty sure this is the first time another food blogger that I read and reads me has won.  Congratulations, Kim!  I'll get in touch via email to arrange the shipping.  

Filet Mignon Burgers
Remember the other day when I told you to keep the fatty scraps from trimming a beef tenderloin?  Here's why.


I picked through the pile of scraps, separating lean meat from the fatty pieces.  I tossed any pieces of "silverskin" because that is not the same as fat and will NOT render down.  It will stay tough, chewy and impenetrable.  They should make bullet proof vests with that stuff.  

Were you listening when you told your algebra teacher answered your complaint that "These word problems will never be useful in real life"?  Right now, he/she is snickering at you.

Word Problem (show all work)
Chris has 3.02 lbs of trimmings from the end tips, chain of bull/side meat, and the Chateaubriand portion of a beef tenderloin.   The lean pile of beef weighed out at 1.42 lbs.  How much of the fatty pile does he need to use to get an 80/20 mix of ground beef?  

a)   I didn't think I had to do math to cook
b)  Actual measurements are for bakers
c)  What time did the train from Detroit leave again?
d)  Eleventy

So after dividing by pi, multiplying by the square root of bacon, and carrying the one, I came up with about 20 oz of lean and 5 oz of fat.  Or you just can "eyeball" a 4:1 ratio.


I cut it into 1/2 cubes, mixed it all together and then put it in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.  I ran it through the Kitchenaid grinder attachment with the coarse die plate on speed 4.  Then I put it back through a second time using the fine die plate.

I mixed that with a heaping 1/4 cup of bread crumbs, 2 Tbsp Worcestershire, 2 1/2 tsp bbq rub and one egg.  Then we formed them into 5.3 oz patties (1/3rd lb) and grilled them over a 450f on GrillGrates for 6-7 minutes a side.  


Finally, I simply served them on plain buns,  lettuce, and topped them with the leftover bearnaise sauce.  

Not on your Mickey D's menu.
They were pretty phenomenal.  The tender ground beef and buttery bearnaise sauce really put it over the top.
I'm looking forward to grinding more of my own meats this year.  It's a definite learning process for me but the results are well worth the effort.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Whole Beef Tenderloin

Quick question - What do I have in common with the snow crab in this Filet Oscar?


Answer - After spending the day at the pool with the neighbors, I was also bright red! 

But instead of being covered with Bearnaise sauce, I am slathered with a skin-cooling, fire quenching aloe "sauce".   It was worth it though, getting to take time off with Alexis at the pool while Trevor thoroughly abused an alligator....
as an airplane
as a surfboard
as a foot rest....playing is hard work!
We were famished after swimming and playing the day into twilight.  I was craving something special, something decadent.   I decided to try to make Filet Oscar, which is simply a filet of beef tenderloin topped with crab meat, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce.  I'm not going to post the recipe (because I didn't write it down) but if you're interested you can find a version here over at Confessions of a Foodie Bride.  

I want to just share a few tips about trimming a whole beef tenderloin and a "grilling secret" that will give you the most tender grilled steak ever.

How To Trim A Beef Tenderloin
Instead of buying filet Mignon, we buy a whole beef tenderloin and I break it down into steaks, roasts, etc.  You pay significantly less per pound (about half), get fresh cut steaks, and have total control over steak size. The task can seem intimidating to the uninitiated, but it really comes down to three steps.


Before you start, you want to pick the right knife.  Looking at this big hunk of meat, you might be tempted to grab something just as big to use like a chef's knife (middle) or cleaver (bottom).  But what you really want is something sharp and narrow like a boning (top) or filet knife.  The narrow blade will allow you to work deftly around the meat and fat. 
Bigger isn't always better.

First - Remove all loose fat and membranes by hand.  There will sometimes be a thin outer membrane that will easily pull right off.  Discard.  I didn't get a picture of this because right as I was doing it, we had a "fly-over" and someone got distracted with the camera.
I think he was spying on the Nibble Me This kitchen.


Second - Remove the "side meat" or "chain of bull".  It runs along one side of the tenderloin and you can feel the division.  In this picture, this part was pulled off by working a finger between the tenderloin and side meat, then running my hand down the length of the meat.    (Keep all of these scraps for ground beef! - post forthcoming)

Then remove the more stubborn parts using your knife.

Third - Remove the silverskin by working the tip of your knife under a portion of it as shown.

Then run the blade along the strip of silverskin with the knife edge angled slightly up towards the silverskin.  This is where having a wide blade would be cumbersome. 

Now you cut slice your trimmed tenderloin into filets of your choosing or roast it whole. 

Reverse Sear
Want a "secret" for a guaranteed tender thick steak?  Hard core grillers and bbqrs know this but a lot of weekend grill warriors don't.  Use the reverse sear or "Finney Method".   

In my opinion, the reverse sear gives you better control over getting your steak to your targeted "doneness" (rare, med rare, etc) and it makes the steak more evenly cooked.  It is medium rare throughout instead of well done on the outside, then medium and a tiny bit of medium rare in the middle.  It definitely cooks the most tender steak I have ever had.

Two steps:
  1. Roast your thick steaks over indirect heat at 250f until they reach within 5 degrees of your final desired internal temperature.  For example I was cooking my filet to medium rare (125-130f internal temp) so I pulled them off the grill when they were around 115f to 120f.  
  2. Sear your steaks over blazing hot direct heat.  While the steaks are resting, open up your vents to get your grill HOT.  I had mine at 600f.  Sear them about 1 minute per side as close to the heat as you can get them.  Here I am using a spider rig to lower the Craycort cast iron grate to within a few inches of my coals.  

For more information about Reverse Searing, check out Finney's own page about it HERE.  Amazing Ribs has a great side by side comparison video about reverse searing vs. traditional steak methods.

The final results on my Grilled Filet Oscar?

Super tender medium rare steak was flawless.  The bearnaise sauce was delicious and worth all the bleepity bleep whisking.  However, we forgot the asparagus at the store and the snow crab was slightly over done (I forgot about it on the other grill).   Despite my two slip ups, it was an excellent special occasion meal.  But we all agreed we would prefer "surf and turf" - same ingredients, just not all thrown together.  For us it is a case where the "parts are greater than the sum". 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Grillin' Beans Cookout

This coming weekend, grills will be firing up for cookouts across the United States.  To use a baseball analogy, it's the unofficial opening of “grilling season” and Bush's Beans is throwing the “opening pitch” of the season.  Bush's Beans is sponsoring 9 food bloggers plus myself to have cookouts that include one of their Grillin' Beans flavors.   So this is a sponsored post [standard disclaimer] but I have always used Bush’s Beans because that’s what my mom used.

I was teamed up with their Bourbon and Brown Sugar Grillin' Beans.   


Bourbon is flavored by aging in charred oak wood barrels and the brown sugar is sweet.  Smoky and sweet – I can do that. Let's cook!


Cookouts are about the Five F's:  Food, Fire, Family, Friends, and Fun. 

Family & Friends
Cookouts are about more than just the food.  Cookouts are a social event, gathering around a fire, sharing food, and just enjoying each other’s company.  I think cookouts appeal to the primal side in us, with the idea of the tribe eating their game around a fire.  The “tribe” at our cookout was my immediate family, three of Brett’s friends, and one of our neighbors.

Fun
Whether at the beach, the park or your own backyard, cookouts typically have some form of physical activity.   Games like horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, or cornhole are common.  Some of us just tossed the football around in the back yard.

Didn't say we were good at it.

Fire
I kid around a lot and tease people about grilling with gas.  It’s all just good natured ribbing (BBQ pun, I like it).   I prefer coal and wood but I understand why some people choose gas grills.   I don’t care what you grill on, just get out there and grill something.

Grillin' Beans in Alexis' Egg behind me, the steaks are going in my Egg.

Food
Back to sweet and smoky.

I put the sweet and smoky Bourbon and Brown Sugar Grillin’ Beans in Alexis’ Big Green Egg set up for indirect heat at 350f for about 30 minutes.   The great thing about this whole line of Grillin’ Beans (and I had eaten all 6 varieties before Bush’s Beans ever contacted me) is that they don’t need any add-ins or “doctoring”. 

I had a pair of nice flank steaks so I came up with a smoky and sweet marinade.  First, take one half cup of liquid smoke and add a cup of sugar.....nah, I'm just kidding.  Here it is.

Sweet and Smoky Grilled Flank Steak
Servings:  4

1 flank steak
1 medium shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tsp thyme, fresh
¼ cup parsley, finely chopped
¼ cup bourbon
¼ cup Agave nectar (you could substitute honey, brown sugar or a mix of both)
¼ cup lemon juice
½ cup olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper, coarse ground
½ - 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Mix the marinade together.

Score the flank steak (See my video on how to score meat).  This will open up the steak surface area to accept more flavor and I think it adds to the texture once grilled.  Marinate the meat in a zip top bag for 4 to 6 hours.

Remove the steak from the marinade, oil your grill grates and grill over a PREHEATED 450f fire for a total of 8 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 125-130f for medium rare.  Flip the steak every 2 minutes and rotate it by 90 degrees to get cross hatch marks. 
    

Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing razor thin across the grain.   


Okay, so anyone can make a steak “smoky and sweet” but how do you do that to a salad?  Like this!  The bacon vinaigrette gives it a smoky edge and the honey sweetens the deal.

Grilled Romaine with Warm Honey Bacon Vinaigrette
Servings:  4

2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut in half
4 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp local honey
2 Tbsp coarse grain mustard
1 shallot, very finely diced
1 clove garlic, very finely diced
1 Tbsp parsley, very finely diced
Salt and pepper (to taste)
6 slices bacon, sliced into ¼” strips
3 Tbsp bacon grease

Mix the vinegar, honey, mustard, shallot, garlic, and parsley in a bowl.  Slowly pour in the oil while whisking briskly.   Set aside.

Crisp the bacon strips in a pan over medium high heat.  Be careful to keep the pan from getting too hot, you don’t want burned bacon flavoring your vinaigrette.  Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon. 

Add three tablespoons of the warm bacon grease into the vinaigrette.  Now taste it and season with salt and pepper.  I added a big pinch of salt and maybe a ¼  tsp of pepper. 

Preheat your grill to 350f.   Make sure your grill grates are cleaned and lightly oiled.  Grill the lettuce cut side down just until some dark char starts to form in a few spots.  This should only be 30 – 60 seconds.  Repeat on the other side.

Warm the dressing on the grill but don’t let it simmer. 

Serve topped with the crumbled bacon and the warm dressing.

Add some Texas toast and we were ready to go!

The Results

That plate might look haphazard but it is actually strategic.  I have the toast pushed right up against the beans for some taste “soppin’ action”.  The steak too, since I wanted some of the bean sauce to get on it also.  The sauce from the beans is really that good, you don't want any to go to waste.


Everything was delicious on its own but they also went together very well.  Nothing survived.  Three pounds of flank steak, the salad, a loaf of grilled Texas toast and 66 ounces of Grillin’ Beans were devoured.   That's supposed to be enough beans for 15 people and the 8 of us ate it all!

It was a great cookout and we want to thank the folks at Bush’s Beans for providing this opportunity and my May BBQ Giveaway CLICK HERE TO ENTER (Still TIME TO ENTER through Saturday night).  


I also want to thank Bush’s Beans for all the jobs that they provide in the Knoxville area and for supporting local events like last weekend’s Bloomin’ Barbecue & Bluegrass Festival.  I’m proud to be affiliated with such a company.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bite You Back Pasta

I've made a blonde roux before. I've made a dark roux before. But until tonight, I've never made a “redhead roux”.

But first, here are some shots from this past weekend's Bloomin', Barbecue & BluegrassFestival in Sevierville. Alexis and I spent a sunny day in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains hanging out with the KCBS BBQ comp folks, shopping the vendors, and listening to bluegrass music. I'll post more details about the event and some of the fascinating teams I met later on this week.


I came up with this recipe on the 20 minute drive home from work tonight. I had 4 links of raw chorizo to use and I thought about Alexis' Italian Sausage Alfredo sauce. I day dreamed about making a Tex Mex version of that dish. I zoned out of the traffic on I-640 and went through the mental pantry of what I had at home. It was kind of hard to concentrate about it, with all of the shrieks or terror and honking car horns around me as I drove weaving home obliviously through the interstate traffic. (Kidding...I'm a semi-responsible driver.)


Bite You Back Pasta

3 Tbsp jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
¼ cup sweet peppers, seeded and finely diced
1 ea shallot, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
½ tsp Mega's taco seasoning recipe from Hot Sauce Daily
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp collected drippings (see recipe)
3 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese (I did ½ cup pepper jack, 1.5 cups sharp cheddar)
½ cup sour cream
1 lb pasta, cooked
1 Tbsp oregano, fresh, finely minced

Remove the pasta from the casings, crumble into pieces, and brown over medium high heat. Break the meat pieces up into small pieces as it cooks down, this sauce does better with smaller pieces at the end.

Place a colander over a bowl or plate. Remove the meat to the colander.

Add the peppers and shallow to the pan and cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes or until the veggies are tender. Remove to the colander with the meat.

Pour 3 Tbsp of the collected drippings from the plate/bowl under the colander back into the hot pan. Add the butter and flour, stirring continuously for about 5 minutes until you get a nutty aroma. Don't be alarmed over the flaming red/orange color cause by the chorizo drippings.

Thoroughly whisk in the 2 cups of milk and taco seasoning. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Whisk in the cheese and cook another 5 minutes.

Stir in the meat, veggies, and sour cream.

Serve over cooked pasta and garnish with the oregano.

The peppers & seasonings gave it a flavor punch, the spicy cheese sauce made it creamy, and Alexis couldn't say enough about how much she loved this. It was rich and delicious but if I was just making it for me, I'd add in some diced habanero. If you don't like hot foods, sub some diced green or red bell pepper out for the jalapeno.

Monday, May 23, 2011

On Our Grills May

It is time again for the monthly "On Our Grills" challenge.

On Our Grills is a regular event that tests a collection of grilling/smoking geniuses and/or misfits are tested with making a meal around 4 ingredients.  The only rules are that you must use all of the ingredients and at least the protein must be cooked over some form of live fire (grilling, smoking, stir fire, cold smoking, flame thrower, molotov cocktail, etc).   

There is no winner or prize.  The whole point is to compare notes on how we all approached the menu, cooking techniques, and execution of the meal.  Plus it was a way to get us hard core grillers to realize there are more food groups than meat, bacon, bbq rub, and bbq sauce.  The ingredients for May 2011 were:

Chicken

Wild Rice

Fava Beans

"anything starting with the first letter of your name"
I chose chorizo

This is one of the easiest lists we have had.  Except for the fact I couldn't find fava beans in the 4 stores that I went to.  So I substituted butter beans. 

I also cheated had help.  My chicken dish was 99.9 1/2% stolen from inspired by Mike and Debbie Davis of the world championship BBQ team Lotta Bull.   I took their cooking class at Dead End BBQ this weekend and they did a kielbasa stuffed chicken breast.

So I did pretty much the same thing but used chorizo instead.   I had my Big Green Egg running at 350f set up for direct heat with my grid (grill grate) raised 2 1/2" inches.  I grilled a 4 ounce link of Johnsonville chorizo for about 20 minutes, turning 1/4 turn every 5 minutes.  I sliced it into 1/4" slices.


I sliced a pocket into the side of each chicken breast and stuffed 2-3 slices of chorizo in each.  Seal the edge with a couple of toothpicks.

Then I seasoned them with Lotta Bull's UnBullevable All Purpose Seasoning.  I had it on several things in the class and liked the flavors it brings.  You can order it online or use your favorite season salt or creole seasoning if you have to use what is on hand.
I remembered the toothpicks before grilling.

Finally, I grilled the chicken for about 24 minutes flipping every 5-6 minutes.   About halfway through, I applied a special oil based baste, super secret ingredient.  It comes in a plastic blue bottle, starts with a P and rhymes with "dark day".   I know a lot of BBQrs have used this for ribs on the pro circuit but this was my first time using it.


For the butter beans, I chopped two slices of bacon and par-cooked them in a tin.  Then I added the butter beans and 1 tsp of my rib rub.  I let that cook for about 1 hour on the grill.  Simple but Alexis said that they were the best beans she's eaten.


For the wild rice, I took the easy route, cooked it and served it inside of a reverse timbale of white rice.

The overall results were good.  I'll definitely be making the beans this way again.  Next time on the chicken, I'll butterfly the breasts instead (like Mike did) and season the inside too.  I wish I had done something more with the rice.  It was good but some chopped dried cherries would have been good or maybe some other add ins.

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

Grill Grrrl- Adventures of a Girl on the Grill
Robyn Medlin is the "grill girl" behind grillgrrrl.com. 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.
May 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 May 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 onAlltop.com as one of the top BBQ blogs.
Larry's May Challenge Recipe

Bob’s Brew and ‘Que
Bob started Bob’s Brew and ‘Que in August of 2009 with the intent of sharing his views on food and drink. Originally focused on BBQ and Homebrew, it was inevitable that the influences of his upbringing in the San Francisco Bay Area and it’s wealth of ingredients as well as his heritage as an American of Japanese ancestry would help focus his blog, as it has his approach to food and drink.
Bob’s May Challenge Recipe

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 May Challenge Recipe

Grilling with Rich
I am a young person breaking into the great world of barbecue. I enjoy everything about barbecue from the culture to the food. I am just a regular guy trying to have fun and enjoy the food and the process of cooking the food on the grill.  At Grilling with Rich.com we go beyond just the normal cooking adventures and dig deeper into the large world of BBQ’ing, both professionally and for amateurs. Grilling with Rich focuses on the adventures of a regular guy and his quest to understand and learn as much as possible about the BBQ world.
Grilling with Rich's May Challenge Recipe

The Dutchess Cooks
About Hanneke: After years of cooking, grilling, baking and reading other people’s blogs, I thought “why not start my own blog??” And I did, in 2010, but already after a short period of time, a blog wasn’t enough, and I started my own website. It’s not my goal to publish or come up with fancy and difficult recipes:  just good and delicious food with an international twist! Straight from my plate to yours!
Dutchess' May Challenge Recipe 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Love is Chicken Necks and Backs

When I was little, my mom and her mom used to always say that a mom's favorite parts of the chicken were the necks and backs.  They always wanted to make sure that everyone else got the parts that everyone else wanted.

I hadn't really thought of that lately until tonight when I made my Grilled Bourbon and Cherry Pork Chops for the third time this week.


Since the pork chops are so thick, Alexis and I were splitting one.   That might not seem like a big deal if it was a boneless pork chop, you could just chop that sucker in half.  Both sides taste the same.

But this was a massive, bone in pork chop.  Bone in pork chops have three key zones.  

I instructed and heavily funded the Graphics Department at NibbleMeThis to produce this high quality graphic to demonstrate the flavor distribution of a bone in pork chop.  (I'm not sure I got my moneys worth for that all expenses paid trip to Cancun that they submitted to Accounting.)


But the only way to split a bone in pork chop is to separate the "No Bone Zone" from the "Nibble Zone" and "Flavor Zone".   The "No Bone Zone" only brings flavor from external influences like rubs and bastes, which can be good.  But the other two zones are magiclicious.  The "Nibble Zone" is like eating corn on the cob made out of pork.   And the back side of a grilled pork chop or the "Flavor Zone" is perhaps one of the most perfect bites of food ever.  I would trade the rest of the whole pork chop for the two or three bites of the Flavor Zone.  

So back to my dilemma.  I was splitting a bone in pork chop.  I wanted the Nibble and Flavor Zones.  But I knew those are Alexis' favorites.  I let her have the better parts. 

It reminded me of that Bible verse used in weddings about "Love is patient, love is kind....".   Sure, but True  Love is giving up the Flavor Zone of a pork chop.  I can be patient and kind, but giving up the Flavor Zone is special....

And as settling for chicken necks and back --  Thanks Mom! 

Busy Weekend Ahead
I have a jam packed weekend.  In just a few hours, Alexis and I will be at the KCBS and Kingsford Points Chase event Bloomin' Barbecue and Bluegrass Festival nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  We'll be doing our Bush Beans cookout this weekend (also a sponsor of the Festival).  Finally I'm attending a BBQ class taught by Mike Davis of Lotta Bull (currently 5th in the Kingsford Point Chase) at Dead End BBQ.  

Giveaway
Don't miss out on the chance to win this kick butt set of Grillin' Tools


courtesy of Bush Beans.  Enter to win this set at my previous post

You all have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cookout Planning & Bush Beans Giveaway

I have received my cookout kit from Bush's Best Grillin' Beans this week. 


When they said "cookout kit", I was not expecting Emile Henry ™ and Rosle ™ items.  Very nice, Bush Beans!  And look, they made sure mine was green so it will match our Big Green Eggs:)

For the cook out I'm grilling flat iron steak and Bush Beans has asked me to pair that with the Bourbon and Brown Sugar recipe of Grillin' Beans.  After kicking a few ideas around, here's my "plan of attack".   I'm going to use Alexis' grill set up for indirect heat to cook potatoes and the Grillin' Beans.   I'll use my grill set up for direct heat to grill the steak and make a sauce.  Here's my draft menu:

Grilled Romaine Heart Salad
with a warm bacon dressing

Grilled Flat Iron Steak
thinly sliced and served with a bourbon mushroom sauce

Bourbon & Brown Sugar Grillin' Beans
no doctorin' needed

Twice-Fire Roasted Potatoes
stuffed with herbs & cheese

Do you like my new tool kit?  Do you want it?  You can't have it!  But I will hook up one lucky winner with the same kit.  As part of kicking off the opening of Grillin' season (for you slackers that don't grill all year round, ha ha), Jay, Duke, and Bush Beans are going to give one of my lucky readers the same set up and a supply of Bush Grillin' Beans.  
GIVEAWAY ENTRY PERIOD NOW CLOSED
How To Enter
Each person can receive up to a total of 3 entries as follows:
  1. leave a comment below telling me your favorite grilled dish and which Grillin' Beans flavor you would make to accompany it.  The flavors include Black Bean Fiesta, Bourbon & Brown Sugar, Smokehouse Tradition, Southern Pit Barbecue, Steakhouse Recipe, and Texas Ranchero.  (NOTE: If you use the "anonymous comment" option, be sure to leave an email or your screen name in the comment so I can contact you if you are the winner. Something like "EggerinFL from the Egg Forum" or "swibirun from the BBQ Brethren forum" is enough.)
  2. Do a Twitter or Facebook post linking to this giveaway post and then leave a separate comment below.
  3. Mention this giveaway and link to it in a post on your blog. Then leave a separate comment below with the URL of your post.
The Rules
  1. Giveaway entry period begins Thursday, 12:01am May 19, 2011 and ends May 28, 2011 11:59pm. Winner will be announced May 31, 2011.
  2. Comments will be numbered by order received and random.org will generate a random number for the winner.
  3. Limited to residents of the continental US unless you wish to pay the extra shipping charges.
  4. I am the final judge regarding any discrepancies, interpretations, grievances, etc about this drawing.
  5. Bush Beans is sponsoring the prize. They are not responsible for the drawing or the giveaway.
  6. Winner must respond and claim the prize within one week of the winning announcement. If a winner does not claim the prize during the specified time, a reserve winner will be drawn from the original entries.
  7. Employees, Board Members, pets, indentured servants, and family of Nibble Me This are not eligible to enter.
This post and giveaway are sponsored in partnership with Bush Beans.  [Standard Disclaimer]

GIVEAWAY ENTRY PERIOD NOW CLOSED

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bourbon and Cherry Grilled Pork Chops

Major props to Chris Lilly, Ken Hess, and the Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue Team for taking Grand Champion at Memphis In May this past weekend!
Chris Lilly at Kingsford U 2011.

I have been lucky enough to learn from Chris on several occasions including attending Kingsford University this year.  Chris has a wicked BBQ IQ, is a successful restauranteur, championship BBQ competitor, and author.  But what impresses me most is his business acumen.  If you took him out of the BBQ world tomorrow and dropped him into the field of "full contact, speed crochet", he'd be successful there too.  He really understands how to work it and is one of those people that makes his own good fortune. 

So I've been working on this recipe for the past week and came close a few times.  It finally came together yesterday.  


Grilled Bourbon and Cherry Pork Chops
Servings: enough for 2 really hungry people
Source:  www.nibblemethis.com
Thick pork chops are succulent but can be hard to grill all the way through without burning the outside. This recipe fixes that by combining direct and indirect heat. The smoky flavor of bourbon and the sweet taste of cherries combine over fire to make a sauce that is grillicious!

2 ea pork loin chops, bone in, at least 1” thick
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Black pepper

Brine
1 quart water & ice (see recipe)
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp peppercorns, cracked
1 tsp fennel seed

Baste
¼ cup dried cherries, diced
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp fresh thyme

Mix 2 cups of water, salt, sugar, peppercorns, and fennel seed in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve all salt and sugar. Remove from heat. Add enough ice and more cold water to make a quart. Bring temperature down to 40f. Soak the chops in this mixture for 4-6 hours.

Remove chops from brine, rinse, and dry them. Season with the salt, pepper, and thyme. Let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes while you are starting your fire.

Set up your grill for direct heat at 450f.  Hickory or oak smoke will emphasize the smoky character of the bourbon. I was grilling on my Brinkmann grill and used Kingsford with Hickory (green bag) briquettes. If using lump coal, sprinkle hickory or oak chips just before grilling. If using a gas grill, put a “smoke bomb” (wood chips in a foil pouch or can) on the lava rocks and start grilling when it begins to smoke. This isn't going to smoke the meat per se, but it will give them a hint of smoke flavor.

When the fire is hot, brush your preheated grates with peanut or vegetable oil. Place the chops on the grill over direct heat and grill for five minutes per side.

While that is going on, whisk the baste ingredients in a small heat proof pan (foil ones work great) on the grill top.

After 10 minutes, the pork chops should have sear marks and some browning on the outside but they aren't done inside. Move them to the baste pan, flipping to coat both sides. 

Cook for another 10-15 minutes. During that time, every 2-3 minutes, shuttle them back to the grill grates for a minute and then back to the sauce pan. This does two things. First, it cooks the sauce ONTO the pork chop, layer after delicious layer. Second, it adds a smokey flavor back to the sauce each time the chops come back to the dish.

Pull the chops when they reach an internal temperature of 145f. Let the chops rest for at least 5-10 minutes after taking off the grill. They will continue cooking from carry over heat.

Serve and spoon some of the syrupy sauce over the chops.

These were some of the best pork chops I have made.  Everything came together with the grilling/basting to create an amazing sauce for the pork chops.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Burger Throwdown: Burger Seasonings

Walking down the aisle, I saw these two characters sitting next to each other on the shelf.   It was an impulse buy that I couldn't resist. 

I wanted to try them in an "all other things considered equal" situation so I decided it was time for a burger throwdown, mano a mano.  Or I guess more like burgero a burgero....

Side by side they don't look all that different.  Both have a good blend of textures and colors.  

Emeril's Grill Bam!burger seasoning was $.47 per ounce and Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning was $.49 per ounce.

I took Mike Davis' (Team Lotta Bull, champion BBQ team) BBQ Boot Camp** last year and one of the tricks he taught was to taste rubs straight by themselves to check the balance, blend, and flavors they will bring.   I tried that with these seasonings and both had a lot going on.  Emeril's seemed a little saltier.  Weber's had more of a smokiness to it. 


To minimize the variables, I tried to make this as equal as possible, using the same beef grind and cooking them over the same fire.  I weighed out 3 separate pounds of 80/20 ground chuck.  To each I added 1 egg yolk as a binder and 3 Tablespoons of panko bread crumbs.

Following package directions, I added 2 teaspoons of the Weber to one batch and 2 Tablespoons of the Emeril's to another batch.   Yea, teaspoons vs Tablespoons, I checked the label 3 times because it sounded wrong.  In the third batch I used a simple burger seasoning of 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.

I carefully weighed the mixture into 5.3 ounce portions and pressed them out into 4" patties.  I'm not normally so exact with my burger weight but I wanted everything but the seasoning to be the same.  

I grilled them for 8 minutes, flipping every two minutes, over a 450f fire.

Finally, time for taste testing!  
What?  You didn't think I was going to eat 3 whole burgers, did you?

My preference was the burger made with the Weber seasoning.  I thought it had a spicy flavor but it didn't overpower the burger.  Alexis also liked the Weber burger best.  The two boys (22 y/o and 11 y/o) both chose the burger with basic seasoning as their favorites.  

Nobody liked the Emeril's burger.   My youngest asked if I made that burger out of sausage and my older son said that it tasted like a turkey burger trying to be a real burger.  The seasoning just dominated the flavor of the burger, it wasn't enjoyable at all.  I don't think the seasoning is "bad", I think the instructions calling for 2 Tablespoons is just way too much.  I'll try it again but only use 2 teaspoons next time.

If you need a premade burger seasoning, I'd recommend the Weber.  Overall, I would stick with making your own burger seasoning.  Start with the basic seasoning and then add whatever signature flavors you like, maybe some worcestershire sauce or bbq sauce.  You get to experiment with flavors more that way and it's a lot cheaper than almost $.50 an ounce.

**Speaking of which, Mike Davis is teaching a class at Dead End BBQ next weekend (Sunday 5/22/11), you can still sign up.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Grilled Enchilada Pizza

Remember those two chickens I smoked with hickory and cherry wood recently?


I smoked one intentionally for leftovers, based on the "grill once, eat twice" mantra that we learned at KingsfordU.  It saves time and money for dinner and lunch on Monday!

If it's Sunday and your grilling 4 burgers for the family, thrown on a few extra to have for lunches on Monday.  If you're cooking one chicken, you might as well cook two and use the second for other meals.  Chickens are especially handy because there are so many recipes call for a cup or two of cooked chicken. 

Here is one of the meals I made from the smoked chicken. 
Kind of messy but really good!

Grilled Enchilada Pizza
Serves: 3 pizzas (3-4 servings or 12 appetizer portions)
Source:  www.nibblemethis.com

6 ea flour tortilla (fajita size)
1 can kidney beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup smoked chicken, diced
3/4 cup smoked white cheddar cheese, shredded (you can sub any cheese you like)
1/4 cup black olives, sliced
1 Tbsp jalapeno, finely diced
1 Tbsp oregano, fresh chopped
3/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 
2 Tbsp cotija cheese

Bring the kidney beans and garlic to a boil, reduce heat and then simmer for 15 minutes.  Drain, season with 1/2 tsp of salt, and mash together with a large fork or potato masher.

Preheat grill to 350-400f.  Grill 3 of the tortilla's on BOTH sides until browned and they should be somewhat crispy stiff.  If you hold them up sideways and they don't bend too much, they are ready. 

Grill the other three tortillas one ONE side.

Place the three ONE sided tortillas grilled side up and top each with 1/3rd of the bean/garlic mixture.  Use a spoon to spread it out to the edges of the tortillas.

Top each with 1/3rd of the diced chicken, 1/4 cup smoked white cheddar, and 1 ounce of enchilada sauce.

Place the remaining three tortillas on top.  The trick I learned between the first and second batch is that your tortillas will bend into a concave shape when you are first grilling them by themselves.  The first batch, I had the concave or curved side facing up, which kept all the ingredients bowled up.  The second time I did it concave side down and that worked better because the cheeses and warm sauce melting outwards, giving an even coating of gooey good stuff (technical food term there...). 
See how the first batch was bending upward? 

Top each with 1/3rd of the black olives, 1 tsp each diced jalapeno, 1 teaspoon each of oregano, 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese and an ounce of enchilada sauce.

Cut the heat back on the grill to 300f.  Your grill grates will still be hot enough to toast that bottom tortilla (that's why you left one side ungrilled) but it will take long enough that the cheeses will melt on top, about 3-4 minutes.  For a Big Green Egg, you can just shut it down and let the carry over heat of the Egg finish it off.

Sprinkle with some cotija cheese, quarter each pizza with a pizza cutter and serve.


These disappeared quickly!