Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Grilled Thai Butter Bomb Burgers with Bok Choy Slaw

I have thought about trying "butter bomb" burgers for quite a while but it took a trip to Vegas to finally get me to make one.

A "butter bomb" burger is kind of like a Jucy Lucy [sic] but instead of cheese in the middle, you just stick a pat of butter.  Why?  I guess 20% fat isn't enough?  Actually, most use some type of compound butter so it is more about adding flavor than fat or moisture.  But first, back to Vegas.  Skip ahead to the recipe if you must. 

I am lucky enough to be a part of the 2014 Char-Broil All Star team and flew out to be a part of the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas. 

I'll go more into our exploits there later in this post but the part pertinent to the recipe was our hands on cooking session at Le Cordon Bleu.  One of the recipes that we prepared with Chef Tony Ramos was a pan seared strip steak, Tahi chile butter, stir fried vegetables, and Furikake Musubi.

The plate that I cooked with my partner, Curt.

People had their favorites but everyone loved the Thai chile butter.  So fast forward to this past Friday night when I was doing a full practice cook for a KCBS BBQ competition (chicken, ribs, butts, and brisket) on the our trailer pit at the front of our house.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook Huge Grilling Gear Giveaway

To mark the release of my book, I am doing the biggest grilling gear giveaway I have ever done on Nibble Me This.

The book is The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook and it releases on June 24, 2014.  (Yeah, I know I have been saying it releases in August but apparently that date has moved up to June*).  Here's the official blurb.
The ultimate in barbecuing tools, the kamado style grill features a ceramic shell and charcoal pit that allows you to slow roast, smoke, and grill meats to perfection.  Packed with recipes, photos, and techniques unique to the kamado, this essential guide will turn grilling neophytes into masters of backyard barbecue.
The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook is obviously written for kamado grills, such as; Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Vision Grills, Grill Dome, Komodo Kamado, and Primo.  It has over 50 techniques that I use when cooking on the kamado and each technique includes an original recipe that uses that method.  Whereas I try to write this blog for all grills, the book is specifically meant for the kamado grill and to teach new owners how to use theirs or inspire existing kamado owners to further explore their ceramic cookers.

If you don't own a kamado grill you should go buy one and then buy my book!  Kidding (sort of - cough cough) but most of the recipes can be converted to a regular grill, just ask me for ideas if you run into that. 

So here is the giveaway package.  I'm excited about this because I'm including prizes from some of my favorite sponsors (although I'm footing the bill for it this time, not them).

The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook - Ulysses Press
signed hardcover copy (yeah, I know, too valuable to assign a price, right?)

If you have paid any attention to my blog at all, you have seen this grate relentlessly.  I use it constantly and it appears in almost all of my cooking pictures.  In addition to being an exceptional cast iron cooking grate that is non-stick and gives gorgeous sear marks, it also has removable inserts that make it easy to add fuel or swap out with one of their unique accessory grates (griddle, veggie wok, or grilling stone).  Winner gets the cooking grate (ring and 3 inserts) for an 18.5" kamado and one accessory grate of their choice.  If you have another sized grill or if you already have the Craycort main grate, I'd be happy to apply the $100 towards other Craycort sizes or accessories.  

Thermoworks is THE name in professional cooking instant read thermometers.  I had a hard time choosing the prize so I'm not.  I'm making YOU choose.  If you win, you can have either a Thermapen in the color of your choice OR a package of the Chef Alarm (remote probe), ThermoPop (instant read), and TimeStick (timer) in color of your choice.

L to R:  Original Thermapen, Splashproof Thermapen, ChefAlarm, Thermopop, TimeSticks

National Pork Board prize pack ($50 value)
Prize pack from our friends at, including a set of stainless steel grilling tools (not the cheap stuff), heavy duty neoprene grill glove, prep trays, Pork Board branded silicone basting brush, digital thermometer, and apron.

That's easily over $250 worth of some fantastic grilling gear. 

How To Enter and Rules
  1. To enter, leave a comment below telling me whether or not you have a kamado grill and if so, what type.  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 June 23 at 11:59pm. Drawing will be held June 24th at noon (All times are Eastern Time zone).  Winner will be announced in an update to this post. 
  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. 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.
Good luck! 

*I found out about the change on Amazon when someone noticed the new date and told me.  I still haven't heard anything about it from the publisher so if this turns out to be incorrect, I'm still running the contest now instead of August.

The winner of the contest is Rustwood, a member of the Kamado Guru forum, who wrote:

I have a Vision Classic. I post as Rustwood on the Kamado Guru forums.

Rustwood chose a yellow Thermapen to go with his new Craycort cast iron grate, a copy of my book, and the other items. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Book Review: Fire and Smoke - A Pitmaster's Secrets by Chris Lilly

The Big Bob Gibson team did it once again this weekend.  Chris Lilly, Don McLemore, Ken Hess, and the crew from Decatur, Alabama won the World Championship BBQ Cookoff at Memphis In May, making them the first team to win 4 of these coveted World Championships. 

Pitmaster, Chris Lilly, makes his smooth as glass presentation to one of the three onsite judges at Memphis In May this past Saturday morning.

Chris Lilly and Don McClemore serving up their World Championship pork shoulder.
How would you like a peek at this World Championship pitmaster's grilling secrets?  Well you're in luck.  Just before Memphis In May, Chris released his second book...Fire and Smoke: A Pitmaster's Secrets

Chris Lilly

One of the best things I ate last year was the Southwestern Smoked Brisket Hash from this book.  Last Spring, I was lucky enough to help out at the photo shoot for this book and Ken Hess made a batch of this for the photo but made eggs to order for everyone too.  It was easily the best breakfast I have had in 10 years and I knew right then, that this was going to be another special book from Chris Lilly. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

How To Grill Raised Direct Using A Craycort Grate On A Kamado Ceramic Grill

I received a grate question from Brian S. this week:

I am new to the BGE and I found your blog, and I have to say I have tried a bunch of recipes off of it and have enjoyed them all especially the Asian wings.  I bought a cast iron grate from Craycort I was just wondering how you do a direct raised cook with it?  Any info would be great. 
Kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Vision, etc) users often use a technique called "raised direct". Moving the food up from the direct heat of the fiery coals and closer to the reflective heat from the dome balances out heat and minimizes the need for frequent flipping.  With a spatchcocked chicken done with the raised direct method at 350-375°F for an hour, you don't even have to flip the bird at all.  

This is one of the 50+ tips, tricks, and techniques from my book, The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook, which comes out this August.  Each technique is paired with an original recipe for you to practice on your kamado grill. 

There are several ways to do this while using my favorite cooking surface, the Craycort cast iron grate.  You can use the same techniques as a regular grill grate but because the Craycort has removable inserts (so you can use accessory inserts or add fuel/wood), you just have to make sure to position it carefully on a few of these methods.

Raised Direct Using A BGE Grid Extender
The Grid Extender is a piece of equipment sold by Big Green Egg to provide an elevated cooking surface and/or add capacity to a kamado cooker.  I put the Grid Extender on a regular cooking grate and then just lay the Craycort on top of the Grid Extender as shown.  You have to position it so the three spindles or "arms" of the Craycort aren't tilting on the metal loops of the extender legs.
Grid Extender shown on a regular grate.  Yes, my extender has seen some years of use.

Craycort cast iron grate placed on top of a grid extender.

Top view.

Raised Direct Using A Homemade Grid Raiser
Doug H. does a fantastic job running The Naked Whiz, a superb website resource about kamado ceramic grills.  He gives step by step directions for easily and cheaply building your own raised cooking grate.  I use a homemade rig the majority of the time.  Just put it on a standard grate and then put the Craycort on top of that.
Homemade grid raiser in place.

Craycort on top of a homemade grid raiser.
Raised Direct Using Three Cans
I have seen many people suggest using 3 empty cans on top of another cooking grate to support a raised grate as shown.  I haven't used this method because I haven't had too, but it seems like it would work in a pinch.  I would be careful about how much weight you load on top of them.  Also, I would not use this often or for long, just because I'm not sure what fumes might gas off from the paint/metal on the cans at higher temps.  You can also do the same thing using fire bricks instead of the cans, which is more stable.
This method raises the cooking grate significantly higher than the other methods but it depends on your cans.

Raised Direct Using A Double Fire Ring
If you are lucky enough to have two kamado grills, you can steal the fire ring from one and double it up on the other.   The advantage to this method is that it still lets you use all of the Craycort inserts, like a veggie wok, griddle, or chicken throne.  This is also the most stable method.

Double fire ring in place.

Craycort on double fire ring.
Raised Direct Using A Spider Rig
A spider rig is a useful wire bracket sold by the Ceramic Grill Store.  You can use it for a wok stand or for lowering a 13" grate just above coals for high power searing.  If you invert it on a regular cooking grate, you can also use it for a raised direct cook that isn't as tall as the other methods.

Spider Rig inverted to use as a grid raiser.

Notice the Craycort is lower than the top of the base here, compared to the other methods.

Thanks for the question, Brian! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Inteview with Ray "Dr BBQ" Lampe and Memphis In May

I had the chance to do a very quick interview with the renowned Ray Lampe, aka Dr. BBQ a few weeks ago.  

You have probably seen Dr. BBQ on one of his many nationally televised appearances, whether cooking or as a judge on a competition style show.  Ray Lampe is also a prolific writer with seven books under his belt and an 8th title on its way.  I think Slow Fire is probably my favorite of his works and I'd highly recommend it to anyone starting out.  His web site has a lot of great free content, as well. Of course, my favorite thing about Ray is that he has a thing for kamado grills, just like me.

We only had a few minutes but that was enough time to talk about what you can do to fire up the tastes from your grill this summer and a bit about the Top #ChopGriller contest that runs through the end of this week. 

Take Ray's advice and go enter the Top #ChopGriller contest for your chance to win $15,000 towards a backyard makeover, a large Big Green Egg in Mahogany Table, Custom EGG® tools, Big Green Egg Organic Lump Charcoal, and a summer's worth of free pork!    But be quick about it, the contest ends this Friday.

If you need some inspiration, here's a quick video with grilling tips from the pros.  Robyn
Grill Grrrl Lindars gets quick tips from some of the biggest names in BBQ.  If I'm not mistaken, these clips come from last year's Memphis In May, when she and I were on the same team.  Speaking of which...

Memphis In May
By the time that you read this, I will be at Memphis In May with 100,000 other people for the World Championship BBQ Cookoff.  Ray will be there too, I think doing a VIP presentation for Big Green Egg like last year. 

While there are many categories, MIM is all about pork and to win the World Championship, you have to do it with ribs, shoulder, or whole hog.   Once again, I'll be honored to be cooking with my BBQ brothers at Too Sauced To Pork.

We'll be in space R080 in the Rib section right by the river.  If you're there, stop by and say hello.  If I'm not in the middle of cooking, I'd be glad to meet you!

[Standard Disclaimer]  Technically this is not a sponsored post but because I am working with Kroger and the National Pork Board, I'll go by the spirit of the law and let you know that. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Grilled Butter Rum Pork Chops

Winter is just a memory in most parts of the country and people are rolling their grills onto their decks and patios.  Is your grilling area up to the task or is it sad and in desperate need of a makeover?  

  • If you can't walk across your deck without shoes on, for fear of splinters from your aging deck, it's time for a backyard makeover.
  • If you can't find your dog because the weeds are taller than Fido, it's time for a backyard makeover.
  • If your patio furniture has more mildew than a wet towel left in your trunk for a week, it's time for a backyard makeover.
  • If your grill has more rust than the HMS Titanic, it's time for a backyard makeover.
Yeah, yeah, I know, that takes money.  But if you have what it takes to be America's Top #ChopGriller, you can win $15,000 towards a backyard makeover, a large Big Green Egg in Mahogany Table, Custom EGG® tools, Big Green Egg Organic Lump Charcoal, and a summer's worth of free pork!

This is the thing, you don't even have to submit an actual recipe.  You only have to do two quick easy things:
  1. Pick your favorite pork chop (bone in ribeye, boneless ribeye, porterhouse, or NY strip) and
  2. Submit a mouth watering 140 character description of why yours is the best.
For example, here's mine:

My pork chops are the Top Chop because the butter spiced rum injection makes them sinfully lip smackin’ luscious!
So stop reading this, hop over to the Contest Entry page over at Pork Be Inspired and quickly enter.  Go ahead....I'll wait.

I wasn't kidding.  Go do it, you DO want $15,000, a ton o' pork, and a Big Green Egg, don't you?

Okay, back to those lip smackin' luscious pork chops...we loved these and they really did leave me licking my lips.  Brines and marinades are awesome at complimenting the flavor and juiciness of pork chops but they take time to work.  Injecting works faster than you can say hypodermic needle! 

Grilled Butter Rum Pork Chops
Makes:  4 servings
Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time:  12 minutes plus preheating the grill

  • 4 boneless ribeye pork chops, 1+ inches thick
For the Butter Rum Injection
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 "stick")
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ancho chile pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 ounce spiced dark rum
For the Rub
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
For the Optional Glaze
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup peach jalapeno jelly

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in the remaining ingredients.  Set to the side and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Mix the rub ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Stir the BBQ sauce and peach jalapeno jelly together in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until combined, just 3-5 minutes. 
  3. Preheat your grill to medium high heat (450-500°F).
  4. Using a meat syringe (see notes), draw up some of the butter rum and carefully inject each pork chop through the sides in 6-8 evenly spaced places. 
  5. Slather the pork chops with any of the butter that leaks out.  Season with the dry rub.
  6. Grill the chops until they reach an internal temperature of 140°F, about 5 minutes per side. 
  7. Remove from the grill (glaze if desired) and let rest for 5 minutes, then serve with the sauce on the side.
I headed to the nearest Kroger to grab some thick pork chops for my Top #ChopGriller example.  I have to give it to them, they are totally ready for grilling season and have everything your cookout needs, from the tender cuts of pork to even stocking grills!  Before I can get 50 feet past the door, they had a display with a kamado grill, charcoal grill, and a Char-Broil TRU Infrared gas grill.  That's convenient because this recipe works on any of these.  

I have the hardest time walking by their grilling accessory section.  Ooooh shiny things...

When picking chops, I look for them to be "two fingers" thick with a nice red color. 
This recipe is written for using boneless ribeye pork chops but we have also used it on the boneless NY strip and the bone in ribeye with equally great results.   Just make sure yours are at least 1" thick so you have plenty of space to inject.

Making the injection mix on a side burner.

Injection delivers immediate results, no waiting required. 
A stainless steel injector like mine is a great investment but if you're not sure, grab one of these low cost versions that comes with a jar of injection. This was how I bought my first meat syringe. These are right next to the BBQ sauces at my Kroger.

Ancho chile gives a smoky red chile flavor without the heat of cayenne or even chipotle.
Very optional.  Chunky as is or use an immersion blender for smooth.  Don't use it at all, serve on the side, or glaze the entire chop.  It's up to your preference. 

What kind of BBQ sauce?  The options are up to you, but for this recipe I like using a smoky sweet sauce.

Stick the needle in and then push down on the plunger as you draw the needle back out.  You'll get some squirts here and there.  No problem, that will be your slather to bind the rub to the chop.

By seasoning from 6-8 inches above, you'll get more even distribution without clumps of spice on the meat.
Pork chops are easy to cook, grill them just like a steak!  Just don't overcook them. 
If you want cross-hatch marks, rotate the chops 1/4 turn half way through the cooking time of each side, about 2 1/2 minutes.

Can you hear the sizzle and smell the smoke yet?

Get the internal temperature between 145 degrees (medium rare) and 160°F (medium), followed by a 3 minute rest time.  I'm a medium rare guy.
 Serve how YOU like it.
"Naked" with no sauce...


Or just a drizzle....
We've made these three times now and everyone devoured them with high praise.  Finger licking, lip smacking, and fan-freaking-tastic.  

Seriously?  You haven't entered the contest yet?  GO!  Speaking of contests....

Grilling With Kroger/National Pork Board Giveaway
Kroger and  the National Pork Board are giving one of my lucky readers the tools and gear to help grill delectable pork all summer long!

The prize package includes
  • Pork Be Inspired grilling apron - because things happen and when they do, it sounds like "splat!". 
  • Pork Be Inspired digital thermometer - for ensuring your chops are perfectly done between 145°F and 160°F.
  • Pork Be Inspired Silicon basting brush - for basting those chops with your favorite glaze
  • Kroger Gift Card ($250 value) - so you don't have to decide between ribeye, porterhouse, or NY Strip pork them all!!! 
  • Set of Grill Prep Trays - red for raw, brown for cooked food, never the twain shall meet.
  • Neoprene Grill Mitt
  • Set of quality stainless steel grilling tools.  
How To Enter and Rules

  1. To enter, leave a comment below telling us your favorite cut of pork to grill.  You can have a second entry for a tweet about this giveaway using the hashtag #NMTPorkGiveaway 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, etc) in case you win. 
  2. Giveaway entry period begins as soon as this is posted and ends Friday, May 16th at 11:59pm. Drawing will be held Monday, May 19th at 7:00pm (All times are Eastern Time zone).  Winner will be announced in an update to this post. 
  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. I am the final judge regarding any discrepancies, interpretations, grievances, etc about this drawing.
  6. The National Pork Board and Kroger are only sponsoring the prize. They are not responsible for the drawing or the giveaway.
  7. 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.

[Standard Disclaimer]  This post is sponsored as part of Grilling with Kroger and the National Pork Board.

The winner of the giveaway drawing was a tweet by Neddy R

Congratulations, Neddy, I'm sending you an email to get your shipping info.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review of the Vision Grills Classic B Series Kamado

I had to buy a new kamado back when I was writing The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook.

My next door neighbor, John, is a fellow kamado owner and we bounce a lot of grilling/bbq ideas off of each other.  He has had a Big Green Egg for as long as I have known him and he pays meticulous attention to detail so I thought that he would be a natural to review the Vision Grills Kamado for my blog.  Here is his in-depth review.  (Note:  I added the captions but I think they are consistent with his thoughts.)

black kamado grill
John smoking a brisket on the Vision Grills kamado.

Review of the Vision Classic B Series Grill (Sam's Club Version)

I first noticed this grill back in 2012 at an Atlanta Costco; it’s obvious similarity to the Big Green Egg caught my attention and its price heightened my interest.  It was an all ceramic grill, apparently well made, though the ceramics did appear different from the BGE, I was unsure if that meant it would be inferior.  On my return home I mentioned this grill to my neighbor Chris, we discussed it briefly, then pretty much never spoke of it much again… 

That is until he was authoring a kamado style grilling cookbook.  He needed a kamado style grill to shoot for the cover shot and the BGE was out since they have their own cookbook and might frown on having theirs pictured on other cookbooks.  He thought of the Vision; I thought it would be a good choice.  So off to Sam’s he went and came back with a Vision Classic B grill  (btw- make sure you check the grill before you leave as the first was cracked pretty bad and had to be returned).  We assembled it in approx. 40 minutes and brought it to the deck where it was used in photos for the cover of Chris’ forthcoming book.  He then asked if I would be willing break it in and write my comments on its use.  Of course I said yes.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2014 Blogger Party

With the 2014 Blogger Party only five weeks away, it’s time to begin making our final plans and see who is planning to attend.  For those who may have missed the earlier posts, here are the details:
Date: June 7, 2014
Time: 1pm til we quit (appetizers at 1:00, meal around 2:00)
Place:  Almost heaven South (Larry’s Dock on Tellico Lake)
Theme:  East Tennessee Italian Fest
Folks who have already committed, besides Chris & Larry:
Sam & Meakin (My Carolina Kitchen)
Dave & Jackie (Inspired By eRecipecards)
Stu & Sandy (My Carolina Kitchen)
Penny & David (Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen)
Dave & Laurie (Big Daddy Dave)
We would love to have you join us and asked that you let us know by May 15, 2014.  We’ll send out the final details to the attendees shortly thereafter.