Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hog's Ass Wings & Posting Frequency

The holiday season has been a little crazy and sometimes I need to cook something easy and reliable.  For me one of those "old faithfuls" is wings on the grill.

Sure, I have posted lots of great recipes for wings.  But if I'm in a hurry, I'll just grab a commercial rub and make a basic wing sauce (1:1 butter/Franks hot sauce w/ splash of worcestershire sauce). 
For flavor on this particular day I used a cajun rub, Hog's Ass Garlic Habanero Sauce, and Char-Broil Whiskey Barrel Chips.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grilled versus Griddled Steaks

Which do you like better, a steak from the grill or a steak cooked in a pan?

Steak cooked on a cast iron griddle.

Both have their advantages.  
  • Grilled streaks have that smoky or char flavor and it's hard not to "eat with your eyes first" when you see nice cross hatch marks.  Getting to play with fire is just a bonus.
  • Pan seared steaks have an even Malliard browned crust across most of the steak surface, bringing more flavor to the steak.  It's like having grill marks that cover the top and bottom. Pan searing steaks also gives you sucs or fond in the pan to use in a delicious pan sauce. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mustard Glazed Smoked Bratwurst with Chow-Chow

When I first got my "Warthog" bbq trailer, I jokingly guestimated that I could fit 250+ bratwursts in it at one time.  

We were going to make a bunch of smoked bologna for some friends and co-workers this weekend so I decided to toss a pack of Johnsonville brats in the smoker too.  I have yet to determine the actual "maximum brat capacity" of the Warthog, but these sure tasted good.

Grilled brats have a golden color while smoked brats take on a deep hue of mahogany.   Grilled brats usually also get cooked in liquid but these smoked ones would not, so I added a simple mustard glaze to help retain moisture and encourage a smoke ring.  Smoking them also takes at least 3-4 times as long but the extra flavor is worth it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Equipment Review: St Louis Charcoal Company Fire Grate for Kamado Grills

I recently bought an improved lower fire grate from the St Louis Charcoal Company for my Big Green Egg.   The fire grate for a kamado grill is the metal piece at the bottom and it has two functions
  1. Hold the burning coals
  2. Allow ash to drop through and air to flow into the fire box/chamber
 There are two issues that I have found with the original manufacturer's (OEM)  fire grates.  First, many of the kamado manufacturers use cast iron.  The frequent extreme temperature changes can cause the grates to crack wide open like mine on the left below did.  It still works like that and I have used this one in this condition for 3-4 years. Mine kind of looks like Pac-Man trying to eat Alexis' fire grate, doesn't it? 

Clockwise from upper left:  cracked Big Green Egg grate, intact Big Green Egg grate, and the improved lower fire grate from St Louis Charcoal Company.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fajita Chicken Cheeseburger

I know, could there be a more ambiguous recipe title?   I mean, is it fajitas, grilled chicken, or a cheeseburger!?!   Yes! 

We were in the middle of the "after-Thanksgiving/Black Friday lull" and I wanted to grill something different to eat while watching the exciting rivalry games this past weekend.  I was staring at plain boring chicken and this is what I came up with.  
Served with sweet potato fries.  What?  You have never drank from a mason jar? 

I used a fajita marinade to add flavor to the chicken.  I butterflied the breasts to shorten marinade and cooking times since I didn't want to miss the action.  I topped it with pepper-white cheddar cheese and served it on a crispy toasted kaiser roll like a burger.