Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sheboygan style Brat Gyros

Brat Days is this coming weekend in Sheboygan, WI.  If you are in the area, I highly recommend trying it out, Alexis and I had a wonderful time in that lakeside town last year.  One of the exceptional meals that we had there were gyros made from brats, a special that Alexis got at Brisco County Wood Grill.


The idea seemed a little weird but it tasted surprisingly like real gyros and she loved them.  I've made gyros from scratch before with lamb and beef using Alton Brown's method on a rotisserie.   They are good but a bit of a pain to make, not something you'd want to cook on a weeknight. Brats are an easy alternative.

Last night, I made my own brat gyros.  I made a Greek version of Johnsonville's brat tub technique and a homemade tzatziki sauce to go along with it.



Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Schomburger

How does a burger topped with bourbon sizzled ham and cheese sound?  This burger has 100% the USDA of nostalgia for me.

I grew up on the North Eastern beaches of Florida.   When the waves were breaking, we would chase our favorite breaks up and down the coast from Fernandina down to Flagler, where ever the waves were firing the best.  When the waves were dead, we'd hang out at social spots on the beach with our group of friends.  

One of those spots in the late 1980's was at A Street in St Augustine.   You could drive onto the beach, park next to your friends and discretely party on the beach.  There is a shack called The Beachcomber where A Street meets the sand.  You walk straight onto their deck from the beach.  

Their deluxe burger was called the Schomburger and it was named after my buddy's cousin, so that's what I always got there.  It was one of the biggest burgers that I had up until that time and buried in hot ham and cheese.  It rocked in the best way.  Looking back I realize it was probably just a food service frozen burger cooked on a flat top like any fast food joint.  But on those sun bleached days of my hazy youth, it was fine dining!

I haven't been to The Beachcomber in over 25 years.  I was happy to see that it is still open and still serving up the Schomburger.  I live over 500 miles away now so I tried my own updated version tonight.  


The Schomburger

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Boneless Beef Rib Roast

Usually, I associate prime rib with festive occasions like Christmas or anniversaries.   But I found a nice boneless rib roast on sale Friday night so I decided to make it in the middle of summer, "just because".   For the price of dinner for two at a casual dining restaurant, I was able to make a nice dinner for six.



I have written about Twenty Tips For Making Prime Rib and Ribeye Roast - Reverse Seared before.  This just adds to that body of information in terms of giving additional time and temp charts from the cook.

How To Repair A Broken Big Green Egg Plate Setter

It is no secret that I love my Big Green Eggs.  I think a quality made ceramic cooker like the Big Green Egg is the best grill/smoker/pizza oven for the back yard.  

The ceramics do a phenomenal job insulating, reflecting, and storing heat much better than any metal cooker that I have used.  The down side is that ceramics can break if dropped or knocked over.  While it isn't likely that you are going to knock over a 200+ lb BGE, the plate setter is a much more likely victim of "acute deceleration syndrome" (aka - hitting the ground after being dropped).  

Alexis' plate setter on the left, mine on the right.

The plate setter is the insert used in an Egg to convert it to indirect cooking.  The legs make it tempting to place it upright on its side when not using it.  Never do that, you're just asking to break it.  I know.  I've done it twice now.  

Fortunately, there is a relatively easy and durable fix.  I broke my plate setter in 2008 and it has worked flawlessly since the repair.  A few weeks ago I broke Alexis' plate setter so I thought I'd document the repair process.

You'll need
  • 1 or more broken plate setters
  • JB Weld
  • gloves
  • paper plate or disposable tray
  • plastic knife or a putty knife
  • clamps or weights

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dry Rub for Grilled Chicken Wings

We grill a lot of chicken wings at our house.

We grill them indirect.  We grill them direct.  We grill them with commercial rubs and sauces.  We grill them with homemade rubs and sauces.  We are equal opportunity wingers.  

This is the basic wing rub that we have come to use.   It provides a medium spicy-heat level and works with a variety of sauce flavor profiles.  If you like it hotter, up the chipotle and red pepper flake.  If you want mild, drop the quantity of the same two.  

 
NMT Wing Rub

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Easy Appetizer - Bacon Wrapped Dates

We went to the Market Square Farmers Market on Saturday to pick up a few things.  While there, Alexis got her favorite thing from the Savory and Sweet food truck - bacon wrapped, almond stuffed dates.

My favorite thing is their smoked pork tacos with chipotle cream, fantastic.

I have seen bacon wrapped dates appearing on menus all over the place in the past two years, so I guess they are a trendy appetizer.   I thought I'd try my hand at smoking some on my Big Green Egg.  Instead of almonds, I decided to use a seasoned goat cheese, smoked sausage, and slivers of jalapeno.  I reasoned that if bacon was good, prosciutto would be even better but it didn't work out that way.  The ones wrapped in prosciutto weren't as good as the ones we did in bacon, we think because it is so lean and these need the fat from the bacon. 


They are pretty simple to make since the dates come pitted and already sliced.   You can do these in your oven but they taste better cooked in a smoker or indirect on a grill.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

How To Make Beer Braised Corn on The Grill and an Easy Tex Mex Corn Salsa

Salsas tend to brighten up during the summer with vivid colors and fresh flavors.  Plain ole "stick a corn nacho chip in me" tomato salsa takes a back seat to seasonal fruit and vegetable salsas.   A colorful bounty like this salsa I made not only tastes good, it's good for you.

Stoneware by Stony Claystation, Lenior City, TN. 

In general, eating a brightly colored diet is more healthy for you, as noted in the article Color Me Healthy - Eating For A Rainbow of Benefits in Today's Dietitian.  Of course, it is relative because eating a pound of Skittles doesn't count, I don't care how colorful they are.  

I used the beer braising method for the corn part of this salsa.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Quick and Easy Chicken Sliders with Root Beer BBQ Sauce

Summer schedules, while loaded with fun, are often chaotic and busy.   Sometimes you barely have time to make lunch or dinner and you get tempted to just go through drive through or pick up some subs.  Don't give in!

In just about 30 minutes can whip up this crowd pleasing, hunger appeasing recipe from Jamie Purviance's latest book, Weber's New Real Grilling.    The pulled chicken is grilled instead of smoked, so it's ready in a jiffy.  The rub and sauce give it a sweet and spicy flavor. 
 


Our oldest son stopped by the house last night.  He and our 13 y/o ate 4 of these in no time flat.  Since I used these mini-sub rolls, that is like eating 4 sliders EACH!