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.

Char-Broil Kamander kamado grill review
Several of my kamado friends have asked what I think about the Kamander compared to the ceramic kamado grills that I use.  I need to write a full post about that.  But long story short, I have been surprised at how good it works. Truthfully, I expected to not be thrilled with it since it's only in the $300-350 range.  It is just as easy to use, holds temperature evenly, burns coal about the same rate (haven't done any quantative tests, just observation), and cooks well.  I have heard some "yeah buts" about a metal kamado but those are merely speculative at this point although I would like to see them extend the warranty.

Seasoned peppers and onions going on to roast a bit before putting them on the pizza. 


To fit parchment paper to the pizza stone, I fold it in quarters...

Then cut an arc from one side to the other at the distance of the radius.  What? You're right, this isn't math class.  Cut it like a circle, half the width of the pizza stone.

How to make pizza on a kamado grill
Can't remember where we got this docking tool but going "stabby stabby" with a fork works just fine.  This keeps the pizza from having one of those big bulging bubbles swelling up while cooking.

How to make pizza on a kamado grill
This is making me hungry for pizza tonight.

How to make pizza on a kamander kamado grill
Alexis sliding the pie onto the stone. The peel isn't necessary but it sure makes it easier.

How to make pizza on a kamado grill
Ready to roll!

I like our pizzas between 500 and 550°f. 

How to make pizza on a kamado grill
Just grab the edge of the parchment paper and slide the peel right under there.  I need to get a metal peel for taking them off, I think they are easier.

How to make pizza on a kamado grill
You're [bleepity bleep] right that this isn't "delivery"!

Writing this post has been excruciating because I'm hungry.  I'm definitely making pizza this weekend.

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

Ingredients


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.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Smoked Chicken Salad - Lower Calorie Version

We're trying to eat a little better at our house with 3 different goals.

  • One of us is trying to eat more heart healthy.
  • One of us is trying to eat to lose weight.
  • One of us is trying to eat high protein, low fat for athletic training.
Hint....the last one is neither Alexis nor I! 

We love chicken salad but our usual recipe for that does not exactly fit any of those three categories. Most of the fat comes from mayonnaise so we cut the fat by using a blend of light mayonnaise and non-fat Greek yogurt instead.  The light mayo alone could cut about half of the fat from regular mayo.  But by mixing in the non-fat Greek yogurt and light mayo, we cut about 310 calories from fat compared to the chicken salad made with regular mayo.  

I'm good with that.

Recipe for a low calorie version of smoked chicken salad

Lighter Smoked Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chopped smoked chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 ounce Dukes Mayonnaise Light
  • 1 ounce non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon juice from grilled lemon
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake

Instruction

  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse several times until you get the texture that you like.  
  2. Eat it.  That's it.

Smoked chicken on a Deep South Smokers GC36
John and I were smoking a bunch of pork butts and beef ribs on the Deep South Smokers GC36.  Since we already had it running, we threw some chicken in there too.  We love how this thing cooks.

Smoked chicken
For chicken salad, we smoked a blend of bone in split breasts and bone in thighs.  After smoking, we pull off the skin and pull the chicken into chunks like this.  

Ready to make our chicken salad.  The red pepper flake was added later after we tasted.  It just gave the chicken salad that pop it needed.

If our figures are correct, this works out to about 128 calories per half cup serving.  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Bacon Jam and Tomato Burgers

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef.  We have no affiliation with Food City or Schweid and Sons.

This is a crazy good burger. It's one of my favorites that we've ever made.  It has a Certified Angus Beef prime burger with quite possibly the best burger condiment ever - bacon jam.

Bacon Jam and Tomato Burger featuring Certified Angus Beef Schweid and Sons

This burger started on the meat aisle at our Food City when Alexis pointed out these gourmet 1/3rd pound burgers that they had just gotten in.  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

SABER Elite SSE 1500

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] SABER Grills is a sponsor of Nibble Me This; however, any opinions stated herein are my own.

I am excited to be working with SABER Grills this year and was thrilled when they upgraded my SABER Cast 500 with this SABER Elite SSE 1500.  


Before I get into any drawn out review of the SABER grill, the short version is that I love them because they replicate the power and style of the grills that I have gotten to use in commercial kitchens.

Working with grill & smoker manufacturers like I do, I have put together a lot of grills in the past decade and many of them are a real pain to assemble.  The quality of the SABER Elite 1500 was evident as soon as I started putting it together.



Assembly

The SABER Elite 1500 was a piece of cake to assemble.  That's no accident, they engineer it that way.
  • The main part of the grill - the cooking container - is 100% pre-assembled.  You just have to build the base cart, put the cooking container on top, and attach the side pieces.  Easy peasy.
  • The entire assembly only uses two types of connectors - one size/type of bolt and one size/type screw.  Most grills come with blister packs of over a dozen types of connectors that can be confusing when reading the instructions.  With the SABER, it's almost impossible to use the wrong connector.
  • This seems like a small detail but I noticed it - even the bolts and screws are quality. Some grills have cheap bolts/screws made of softer metal and it is easy to strip out a screw head. They sometimes aren't machined just right, so they don't screw in easily.  That was never an issue with the SABER, the bolts and screws seem to be made with harder metals and are precision made.
  • There are touches that aren't necessary but make assembly SO much easier.  For example the side shelves and doors hang in place on their own, so you don't have to try to hold them in place while you try to fasten a screw or bolt.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Quick Camping Trip to Norris Lake

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] Certified Angus Beef is one of our sponsors and GrillGrates is an equipment sponsor.  

We did a quick 1 night camping trip at Norris Lake a few weekends ago to test out our truck tent and to see how Ramsay would deal with camping.

Nissan Titan XD Diesel with fitted tent accessory
The tent is fitted to the truck, so it pops up in the bed. The plus side is you are sleeping a few feet off the ground, making it less likely for ants, snakes, and creepy crawlies from bothering you. The down side is that you have to break camp if you need to drive anywhere.

We stayed on the East side campground and it was nice because it wasn't crowded at all due to vacancies.

Our site's previous occupants left us a stake on the grill.  Not sure if this was a meant as a pun   (steak/stake on the grill) or if they made this for self defense against nearby Sasquatches.

Turns out, Ramsay likes camping.
 
I brought Certified Angus Beef ribeyes #bestbeef #gorare and a set of #grillgrates with us
For dinner, Alexis bought and packed a few Certified Angus Beef ribeye steaks and some fresh corn. I brought a small grill because you never know what type of grill equipment you'll get at a campsite.