Thursday, September 21, 2017

Touchdown Torta

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] This post is sponsored by Smithfield and their line of Fresh Marinated Fresh Pork.

This fusion sub sandwich is ideal for game day menus.  Loaded with double smoked bacon, smoked Gouda cheese, and thick sliced roasted pork on a crusty and light bolillo roll, you won't walk away hungry.  

This huge sandwich is based on the torta, a Mexican sandwich served on a crusty roll.   Tortas are usually large and stuffed with pork, chicken, or beef.  They are finished in a sandwich press and then served warm. We get tortas frequently from a little unnamed food truck near our office and came up with this idea when I noticed the bolillo roll resembles a football.

Torta from a local food truck.

We put our own spin on the torta by adding the red pepper mayo, bacon, and Gouda cheese, so it's not a traditional torta. Then we made it quick and easy by using Smithfield's Fresh Marinated Pork Golden Rotisserie Flavor Sirloin.

Smithfield Fresh Marinated Pork starts by using only 100% fresh pork and then carefully blends their seasonings to give you a quick, ready to cook item.  These handy pork sirloins, pork chops, tenderloins, fillets, and pork roasts come in a variety of flavors, including:

  • Roasted Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper,
  • Slow Roasted Golden Rotisserie Flavor, and
  • Hardwood Smoked Bacon and Cracked Black Pepper.

If you have the space on your grill, you can cook bacon and pork at the same time to save time.  Or you can just pre-cook the bacon and pork sirloin and then just put the sandwich together and warm it up at the tailgate.  If you like, you can just use a panini press for the last part.  

Smithfield Fresh Marinated Pork recipe golden rotisserie flavor#realflavorrealfast

Give this big sandwich a try.  It is so good and ideal for tailgates, it doesn't matter if you are watching football or f├╣tbol.

Touchdown Torta

Published 09/21/2017


Friday, September 15, 2017

Tex-Mex Brisket Benedict

This dish was inspired by a breakfast that Alexis and I had a few weeks ago at First Watch in the Bearden district of Knoxville.  Their Barbacoa Benedict was a summer special menu item that had braised barbacoa, 2 poached eggs, Hollandaise sauce, and sliced avocado on a ciabatta roll.

First Watch barbacoa benedict
First Watch's Barbacoa Benedict

Although I was inspired by First Watch's Barbacoa Benedict, I didn't want to just copycat it - I wanted to riff off of it.  
  • Beef - Our waitress didn't know if their barbacoa was beef cheek or brisket but whichever, it was braised.  I used smoked brisket for my protein.
  • Saucy - Although Hollandaise is traditional for Benedict, I borrowed a page from Croque Madame or Kentucky Hot Browns and used a Mornay sauce.
  • Extras - I wanted to kick up the flavors a bit with fire roasted tomatoes and Hatch green chiles.

leftover brisket idea - tex mex brisket benedict
My Tex-Mex Brisket Benedict was a wee bit different.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quick Fajitas on the Grill

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  I am sponsored by Char-Broil but this is not a sponsored post.

Sometimes I don't plan out my meals too well.

This was the case earlier this Summer when I had a flank steak and was craving fajitas.  I didn't have a long time for a marinade so I did a few things to work around that.
  1. Boosted the acid in the marinade - Normally I do about 2-3 parts of oil to 1 part of acid but for shorter marinade times, I up that ratio to 1.5 parts oil to 1 part acid.  In this case, the acid was lime juice.
  2. Increased the seasoning - Since the fajita seasoning wasn't going to have time to absorb into the meat much at all, I increased the seasoning by 50% to make it bolder.  This doesn't get any more flavor in faster, it just means a little more will cling to the meat.  
  3. Scored the meat - I scored the meat a little deeper than I normally do.  I put a little more pressure when dragging a sharp knife across the raw flank steak, which opens more surface area up to the marinade.
If you have the time for a proper marinade, check out my recipes for

Quick and easy fajita marinade

Quick Acting Fajita Marinade

Published 09/13/2017


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Event: Tony Stone BBQ Cook-off

This weekend was the 27th and final running of the Tony Stone BBQ Cook-off in Cookeville, Tennessee. This cook-off is a professional BBQ contest sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society and it is held at the same time as the idyllic town's Fall FunFest.  

Last year, we registered for the contest but couldn't attend. Mick Chessor agreed to compete in our place in 2016 as long as Alexis and I competed with him this year.  I just had two heart procedures ten days before this contest and was on limited duty, but I wasn't going to miss the final year of the Tony Stone BBQ Cook-off.  Alexis and Mick just did all of the "heavy lifting"

I didn't take my camera but here are some phone pictures from the event.

The cook-off was well organized and I hate to see it go, but I understand how difficult it is to maintain such an event over so many years.

Tony Stone BBQ Cook-off Cookeville, TN #bbq #bbqcompetition
This was our first contest using a Deep South Smokers insulated box smoker instead of kamado grills (Big Green Egg, Grilla Kong, Grill Dome, Primo, etc.).  Not having to break down and move four 200-lb kamado grills was so much easier and faster.  But with all that red, I might have to buy a Kamado Joe to have on the trailer.

Jackie and Sherry Price's rig for their team, Smoke on This.  They are seasoned pros and win more than their share of these contests.  He uses Backwoods cookers (see them through the window), a drum smoker, and a PK Grill. 

Tony Stone BBQ Cook-off Cookeville, TN #bbq #bbqcompetition
A nice Yoder Smokers pull behind pellet smoker.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Rotisserie Garlic Roast Beef Wraps

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  I am proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef.  This is a sponsored post but any opinions stated are my own.

Summer break is over and school is back in session.

For parents who have kids involved in after school extracurricular activities like sports or band, getting dinner on the table can be a challenge because of  the timing.  We never know exactly what time they will be home but they will be ravenous - ready to eat right away.

Trevor plays football for his school and has after school practice or workouts every school day. Two of the ways we deal with having food ready quickly once he does get home are:

  • Cook once, eat twice - This is simply "leftovers on purpose".  For example, if I'm firing up a grill to cook a chicken, cook two chickens instead - one for dinner and one for leftovers.  For these wraps, we cooked a Certified Angus Beef whole beef eye round.  Half was for dinner with mashed potatoes, the other half was for lunch meat.
  • Wraps/Burritos - These are a fast way to compile a bunch of leftovers and fridge finds into something that resembles a planned meal without much cooking.
These Rotisserie Garlic Roast Beef Wraps are a good example of that.  We slathered a Certified Angus Beef whole beef eye round with a garlic paste and fire roasted it on a rotisserie.  The crust adds intense flavor to an otherwise mild cut of beef.  We sliced it thin and then used it for a few meals this week.  Roast beef and mashed potatoes one night, sandwiches for lunch one day, and then these great wraps for dinner the next night.

The wrap is as simple as a fridge dive but here is how we made the Rottisserie Garlic Roast Beef.

Rotisserie Garlic Roast Beef


Friday, August 18, 2017

Quick White Sauce Chicken Wings

[FTC Standard Dislcaimer] I received no compensation for this post.

I have a lot of great wing recipes that I like to cook.

Sometimes, though, I want wings but only want to put out a minimum effort.  Today was one of those days and I was craving wings for lunch.  So I used used a reliable commercial rub and sauce to make these easy but fantastic tasting wings.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Scallop Diving Trip

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] I received no compensation for this post.  Certified Angus Beef is a sponsor and I received the Grill Dome as part of a sponsorship package a few years ago.

We went diving for scallops in the Gulf of Mexico with my sister and several good friends last weekend.  My sister's beau had use of his friend's house that is on a canal and is just a stones throw from the Gulf.  

I had never gone scalloping before but anything out on the water is fun for me.  It was a very quick 72 hours but well worth the drive. 

View from the deck.  Just two right turns from here and you are in the Gulf.  We were so grateful that his friends were so gracious to share their home with us for the weekend. 

The hot tub was a welcome relief after a 10+ hour drive down from Tennessee.

Putting green in the back yard.

Sean made beef chimichangas for us the first night. 

They were crispy and delicious!  I topped mine with guacamole, crema, salsa verde, and cheese.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Cooking For A Crowd

When your kid is on a high school extracurricular program, you get roped into fund raising "opportunities".  Our youngest plays football and when we had the team parents meeting at the end of last school year, one of the opportunities was a BBQ party to kick off the 2017-18 season and school year.  Obviously, that's the one I went with!

We were told to plan for 600 portions.  We said that we would just do pulled pork but we decided to add in chicken, slaw, and BBQ beans too.....because why not, right?

Here are the few snapshots that we took during that weekend and a little insight in to how we prepared for such a big event.

How to Calculate How Much Pulled Pork For A Crowd

  1. Determine your crowd size.  This is the biggest unknown and being off will make you run out of food or have too much waste.  That's why my biggest advice for fundraisers is to pre-sell tickets!!!  This gives you hard numbers to use and keeps you from suffering from weather related poor turnouts.  They told me 600-700 people but it was a guess based on the annual team dinner plus extra people invited.
  2. Calculate how much cooked pulled pork you will need.  You will do 4 oz per person for regular sandwiches and 5.3 oz for large sandwiches.  We usually go with 4oz.  So 700 x 4= 2,800 ounces or 175 pounds
  3. Calculate how much raw pork you will need.  Conservative figures are about a 50% yield for pulled pork and 60% yield for chopped smoked pork.  We were doing chopped so 175 pounds divided by .6 (60% yield) comes out to just under 300 pounds of raw pork needed (291.6667).

Another great tool is SoEzzy's Free BBQ Catering Planner Spreadsheet.  It's much more in depth and takes a lot of factors into consideration, such as; # of meats, # of sides, types, and costs.  This also provides much more information to help you ensure a profit.  

Smithfield Prime Reserve pork butts from Sam's saved us time in trimming.
Our calculations showed that we needed about 37 pork butts so we bought 5 cases of Smithfield Prime Reserve pork butts from our nearby Sam's Wholesale Club.  Another supply store had butts for $.15/lb cheaper (case price) but there was a lot more fat on theirs which would require more time trimming, plus a lower yield.  It's not always about price - it was worth paying more.

The Flame Boss 300 is the engine to my Deep South Smokers GC36
The Deep South was going to run for 36 hours, the Flame Boss 300 had a lot of work to do. The orange tie downs?  We were getting a strong series of storms coming through during the cook so we had to tie that EZ-up down.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Bratwurst Stuffed and Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] This post is sponsored by Smithfield.

When I went to Smithfield VA last year, I learned about both the town and the company's storied history.  So I wasn't surprised to see them team up with Yuengling, America's oldest brewery, to bring a little excitement to your grill this Summer.  Smithfield has introduced their new Craft Collection by rolling out their Yuengling Traditional Lager Bratwursts.

Alexis found these this week at the Kroger on Northshore Drive in Knoxville.  Of course, the first thing that we did with them was grill some on grill over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes.  They were just what you want in a brat - juicy, well seasoned, and a kiss of beer.  

Then I had an idea for a recipe - stuff center cut boneless pork chops with the bratwurst sausage, then wrap them with Smithfield Hometown Original bacon, and smoke them on the grill.  I know, smoking usually takes hours, right?  But this is a quick smoke at a bit higher temperature, so you get all of that smokehouse flavor in just an hour and a half.

Smithfield Yuengling Bratwurst Stuffed Pork Chops
Bratwurst Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops on Smoked Cheese Grits

Your cooking times are going to vary depending on how thick of pork chops you use and how thick you stuff them, so always go by your internal temperature instead of time and cooking temperature.

Bratwurst Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Pork Chops

Published 08/02/2017
A pork trifecta - center cut boneless pork chops stuffed with Smithfield's Yuengling Traditional Lager Bratwurst and then wrapped with bacon.  Normally wouldn't cook pork chops past 145 but the fat from the bacon and sausage makes it okay.


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Steak, Black Bean and Rice Burritos

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  We received no compensation for this post. Smithfield and SABER Grills are two of our partner brands but this isn't a sponsored post for either brand.

This is one of our "go to" recipes when we want something quick, delicious, and satisfying.  Even our ultra picky, in house food critic (aka our son) loves these steak, black bean, and rice burritos.

recipe for steak, black bean, and rice burritos

The Components
  • Steak - We use whatever looks the best and is the least expensive between flank steak, flat iron, skirt, and sirloin flap.  I have really become a fan of the sirloin flap in the last year or two, we just can't get it all of the time. The main thing is that the steak has to be thin sliced and medium rare.
  • Rice - Sometimes we use a version of this Mexican Rice recipe.  Other times I'll just do regular basmati rice with some fire roasted poblano tossed in while it cooks.  If I have leftover plain white rice, I'll even use that just to get rid of the leftovers.
  • Cheese - Ideally, this should be fresh shredded and something like Monterey jack, pepper jack, Chihuahua, or our favorite, Oaxaca. Oaxaca is like Mexican mozzarella, rich, buttery, and melts well.  But as a confession, there are times we use pre-shredded cheese....yeah, I know, it's coated with stuff to keep it from sticking together and drying out.  When we do pre-shredded, we like Sargento's the best because it seems the least processed.  
  • Tortilla - We use Mission style sized flour tortillas for our burritos.  
  • Black beans - We usually use the black bean recipe below.  It has more onion and bell pepper than I would normally use when making black beans for eating as a side dish. We usually use Ranch Style brand or Bush's unseasoned black beans. 

Black Bean Mix for Burritos


  • 4 slices Smithfield Homestyle Bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon taco or fajita seasoning

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Beef Filet and Pineapple Skewers With Pepper and Onion Stir Fry

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef and this is a sponsored post.

Grilling food on a skewer is popular around the world and you can find examples of it in almost every culture.  Whether it is Middle Eastern shish kebabs, Japanese yakitori, Greek souvlaki, Brazilian rodizio, or African sosatie, grilling on skewers is fast, convenient, and tasty.

There are grills specifically made for skewer cooking but it is easy to build your own by using fire bricks to make a trough 10"w x 12"h x however long out of fire bricks.  For me, skewers are easy enough to do on any gas or charcoal grill, I don't think you need any special equipment other than a bag of bamboo skewers.

5 Tips for For Easier Skewer Grilling

  1. If using bamboo skewers, soak them for 30 minutes before using them to keep them from burning.
  2. If using metal skewers, buy the flat blade style instead of round.  It will hold the meat in place better.
  3. When using round skewers, use 2 skewers parallel to each other through each kebab to keep the food from spinning.
  4. Put your meat and veggies on different skewers so they can cook the appropriate length of time.  When you cook meat and veggies together, you'll often end up with under cooked veggies if the meat is cooked correctly or overcooked meat when the veggies are cooked right.
  5. If using wooden skewers and a lot of excess skewer is sticking out, either wrap foil around the exposed wood or just trim it off closer to the food. 

Regardless of which flavor profile I choose or which grill I plan to use, I always start with quality beef, preferrably, Certified Angus Beef from my local Food City.  I think their quality control standards and grading make their beef consistently better than the other selections available to us.  

Here is a recipe that we made this week using the "scraps" from a whole beef tenderloin that I was trimming in to a center cut roasts.  At your butcher, they might sell these as "tenderloin tips".  

Beef filet and pineapple skewers with pepper and onion stir fry from Certified Angus Beef #gorare #bestbeef
Beef Filet and Pineapple Skewers with Pepper and Onion Stir Fry featuring Certified Angus Beef.

The sweet, slightly earthy, and spicy glaze brings out the best in the pineapple and the beef.  Using tenderloin for kebabs is a little expensive but I promise you that these are some of the most tender kebabs you'll ever eat.

Beef Filet and Pineapple Skewers With Pepper and Onion Stir Fry

Monday, July 24, 2017

Smoked Beef Back Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received my Grilla Grill and extended rack from Grilla Grills for no charge as thanks for cooking on their Memphis In May BBQ team.

These are the best beef back ribs I have ever tasted.

Smoked beef back ribs with chimichurri sauce

Types of Beef Ribs

There are two types of beef ribs - back ribs and short ribs.

  • Short ribs can be either "chuck" or "plate" but either way, they are very meaty and have a taste/texture similar to chuck roast.  
  • Beef back ribs come from the primal that gives us rib eye and prime rib.  In face, beef back ribs are basically just the bones removed from a prime rib.  
  • Not as meaty - because it comes from that expensive cut, there usually isn't much meat left on back ribs.
  • Steak on a stick - but because it is from that section, the meat is more like a steak than a roast.
Argentina loves beef so I put a Argentinian spin on these beef back ribs.  I made a simple seasoning that adds smoky chiles and a little bit of heat to a basic salt and pepper rub.  Next I smoked these hot and fast, they are thin and don't have a lot of connective tissue so they don't need the low and slow treatment.  Finally, I served them with a chimichurri sauce that was just over the top good.  

I should note that chimichurri sauce in South America is typically more thin and almost like a vinaigrette or Eastern Carolina BBQ sauce.  Mine isn't authentic because I add a secret ingredient to it that makes it a bit thicker and I added cilantro instead of just flat leaf parsley. So it's "chimichurri-ish".

recipe for Smoked Beef Back Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce

The ribs are very good with the seasoning alone but the chimichurri sauce takes them over the top. Plan on 2-3 ribs per person.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Wood Fired Pizza

I wrote a post about How to Make Wood Fired Pizza at Home for my partnership with Char-Broil™.  They came out with a kamado grill this year, the Kamander, and I wanted to show the new kamado owners how to make pizza on their new grill.  

How to make pizza on a kamado grill
We made this one with fire roasted onions and peppers, pepperoni, salami, and more.

The recipe is at the link above, here are a bunch of extra footage from that post.

We'll buy pizza sauce in a pinch, but I'd much rather make my own. We do a modification of this sauce recipe.

Picked up a Char-Broil pizza stone and pizza peel for just $20 at Lowes. It's pretty thin compared to a BGE branded one that I have but about the same as a Pampered Chef one that we own. People complain about the Pampered Chef one breaking on the grill but I've used mine for 8 years without a problem.  For $20 for this one, I figured I'd take the risk and so far, it's done fine.

Kick Ash Basket in a Kamander kamado grill #shakethatash
Like all my other kamados, I use a Kick Ash Basket in my Kamander.  I think it makes the air flow a bit more fool proof and certainly makes reusing the leftover coal easier.

Well, that's the last time that pizza stone will be THAT clean.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Strip Loin Grilling Class at Mannix Pools and Grills

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] Certified Angus Beef is one of our favorite sponsors ever and we are proud to be on their influencer team

Earlier this month, I taught a strip class.

No! Not a stripping class - but a grilling class on how to use a whole beef strip loin like the dish below.   

Reverse pan seared NY Strip Steak with roasted garlic and bourbon sauce recipe

The class was at Mannix Pools and Grills in Winter Haven, FL. When BJ asked me to do a class I thought I would talk about how to break down a Certified Angus Beef whole beef strip loin into 4 delicious recipes including:

Pepper Crusted Strip Loin Roast
NY Steak and Cheese Mini Subs with Smoked Chile Mayo
Umami Manhattan Filet with Shiitake Stir Fry
Reverse Pan Seared NY Strip Steak with Roasted Garlic and Bourbon Sauce

It was a whirlwind 48 hour trip that included a lot of fun and 20 hours of driving (not a lot of fun). Here are some pictures from our weekend trip and class.

Certified Angus Beef whole beef strip loins
The class was in Florida. Since it was the same week as July 4th, I was worried I might have a hard time finding enough strip loins for the class down there.   So before we left Knoxville, Jeremy at Food City #674 helped us get 3 Certified Angus Beef whole beef strip loins.

Does Certified Angus Beef really matter so much to go to that effort?  I mean, Walmart carries Angus now, why not just buy it at the Walmart down there? 

Because not all Angus is Certified Angus Beef.  It's not just a label that sets C.A.B. apart from other Angus programs, it's what is behind that label.  I am a big believer in their 10 quality specifications.  

What makes Certified Angus Beef the #bestbeef
These standards are on top of USDA grading and are why only 1 in 4 Angus qualify for the Certified Angus Beef program.  That's why I go out of my way for C.A.B. beef.

Friggin' Atlanta any time of the day.  This was 10:30 or 11am.  Exciting trip so far....

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Roasted Garlic and Herb Pork Chops Stuffed with Boursin Cheese

[Standard FTC Disclaimer]  I am proud to be a sponsored contributor for Smithfield and their premarinated fresh pork selections.  

This is probably the easiest recipe that I will ever post here. It is just two ingredients, I almost feel bad for calling it a recipe. But easy is nice to have during the sometimes chaotic schedules of summer, right?

Roasted garlic and herb pork chops #realflavorrealfast

This recipe was so easy because I used one of the items from Smithfield's selection of preseasoned fresh pork - Roasted Garlic and Herb Center Cut Pork Chops.  These come already seasoned with herbs, roasted garlic, onion, and red bell pepper so all you have to do is take them out and throw them on the grill.

The garlic and herbs on the pork made me think of garlic and herb Boursin cheese so I thought I would stuff the chops with the herbed cheese.  How easy is that?  It literally took me longer to preheat my grill than it did to make and grill these delicious pork chops.  

That's what Smithfield's Marinated Fresh Pork is all about - easy and tasty.  They start with quality, fresh pork cuts like chops, roasts, tenderloins, sirloins, and loin filets and then perfectly season them. Sure I like custom making my own recipes but it's wonderful to have a go-to 30 minute or less short cut on nights when I just don't feel up to it.  

Roasted Garlic and Herb Pork Chops #realflavorrealfast

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chattanooga BBQ Contest at Bass Pro Shops

The Chattanooga chapter of the American Culinary Federation is hosting a BBQ Competition.

When:  Saturday, August 5th   12-6 PM 
Where:  Bass Pro Shop in East Ridge TN
Prize:  $500 grand prize, $250 for first place in each category

Photo credit:  From ACF-Chat Facebook page about the contest
This is a bit different than the usual KCBS contest that we normally do.  
  • The entries are chicken, ribs, and pulled pork.  No brisket is required.
  • The judges will be local professional chefs (instead of BBQ judges).
  • It is a single day event with teams setting up at 6am and turn in times at 3:30 to 4:30pm.
  • Entry fees are $75 per category or $200 for the whole event.
So it's a bit smaller prize but it's also a smaller contest so you have better chances to win.  This is the type of contest that's especially well suited for newer teams or people that don't want to do a full blown,  2 day sanctioned BBQ contest. We'd consider going except we'll be in Florida on a scalloping expedition that week.

More information, rules, and contest entry form can be found at the ACF-Chattanooga's Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken - A Grilling Classic

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] This is not a sponsored post; however, some Char-Broil products are shown and they are a sponsor. 

There are certain grilling recipes that everyone has done, right?  Several come to mind.

  • Chicken parts marinated in Italian dressing
  • Burgers stuffed with more add ins than meatloaf
  • Steaks marinated in a red wine, olive oil, and soy sauce concoction
Grilled teriyaki chicken is one of those, I think.  Who hasn't marinated chicken with a bottled teriyaki sauce? Here's how we do ours.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken recipe

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken 

Servings: 4 servings

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Craycort Cast Iron Grate for Large Big Green Egg, Grill Dome, and Primo

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  We are proud to have had Craycort as an equipment sponsor of our blog since 2009.

Craycort has redesigned their modular cast iron grate system for large Big Green Eggs for 2017.  I received one in January and have put it through 6 months of heavy use on our kamado grills, including Big Green Egg, Primo, and Grill Dome.

I've had my original Craycort for 8 years and it still works just fine. Why did they want to redesign it?

Albukirky pork chops grilling on my older Craycort cast iron grates.

That was the first thing I asked Rolf and he told me that originally these grates were designed for any 18.5" grill. The new models are designed specifically for the Large Big Green Egg for a more exacting fit when used with a plate setter.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bacon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Summer Squash Succotash

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  This post is sponsored by Smithfield's line of Marinated Fresh Pork products.  Any stated opinions are my own.

Summer time is here and that means time for some of the best vegetables of the year.  Summer can also mean chaotic schedules but that doesn't mean you don't have time to make a quick dinner like this Bacon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Summer Squash Succotash.

Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork #RealFlavorRealFast

I was able to get this done in about 30 minutes because I used Smithfield's Hardwood Smoked Bacon and Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Tenderloin for the main course.  They already did the prep work for me, including that bacon crust.  I didn't have to do anything other than take it out of the package and roast it.

Since Smithfield uses only 100% fresh pork in these products, we wanted to use the freshest vegetables.  So we headed to the Farmers Market in Maryville, Tennessee to see what the local farms had to offer.

We ended up buying corn (not all of it!), yellow squash, yellow and green zucchini, bell pepper, sweet onion, and some small variety tomatoes.

Normally I lean towards contrasting flavors but Alexis had the idea to echo the tastes of hardwood smoked bacon and cracked black pepper in our succotash.  She was absolutely right because this was perfect together. The roasted tomatoes brought it all together with their sweet, slightly acidic flavor brightening the entire dish. 

Bacon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Summer Squash Succotash #RealFlavorRealFast

Bacon Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Summer Squash Succotash


Sunday, June 25, 2017

Event: The Big BBQ Bash - Maryville Tennessee

The Big BBQ Bash benefiting the Helen Ross McNabb Center was held this weekend in Maryville, Tennessee.  

The original Big BBQ Bash was THE first BBQ contest that I ever attended. I volunteered and was hooked.  Now this BBQ competition is sanctioned by the KCBS and it has grown into a State Championship.  

We didn't compete or judge at this year's contest because I was supposed to be at the Blythe Ranch in Kansas the same weekend.  Unfortunately, that trip was scrubbed for me due to medical reasons.  To cheer me up, Alexis took me to The Big BBQ Bash to see our friends.  Here are some pictures from the contest.

The Smokers

I love checking out all of the smokers that the cook teams are using at BBQ competitions. There are all kinds.
  • Stick burners
  • Insulated cabinet smokers
  • Bullet smokers
  • Drum smokers
  • Pellet cookers
  • Kamado grills/smokers
Some of the rigs are homemade. Some can be bought at stores for a few hundred bucks.  Some are custom made rigs that start in the $10-15k neighborhood.  But they all have one thing in common - being owned by a pitmaster who loves cooking BBQ.

This is what comes to mind as a smoker for most people.  It's an offset stick burner, called that because it burns split logs.  This particular one belongs to our friends, Greg and Melanie Edmonds of Paradise Que.  It is a reverse flow stick burner made by Mike Lang.

Blount County The Big BBQ Bash KCBS BBQ Competition 2017
A small box or cabinet cooker. These are usually heavily insulated and have tightly controlled airflow for long, even cooking temps.

Blount County The Big BBQ Bash KCBS BBQ Competition 2017
This is a fancy version of the offset stick burner.  This is Chairman of the Boar's smoker.  It is a Champion Smoker made right here in Knoxville, TN.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  No compensation was received for this post.

This was a quickie that we cooked the other night. Storms were moving in and I just wanted something quick and easy for dinner so we made grilled chicken sandwiches.

Grilled chicken salad recipe

They were nothing fancy, just quick.  If you want something a bit more evolved, check out these other chicken sandwiches we've made.

But here is how I made this chicken sandwich.

I took 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves and butterflied them. Then I seasoned them liberally on both sides with some Pork U Masters Degree rub.