Sunday, November 19, 2017

VIP Grilling Demo at Pensacola Eggfest 2017

Third in a series of four posts about my food week in Orange Beach AL:
  1. World Food Championships 
  2. Thrilla in the Grilla 
  3. Grilling Demo for Pensacola Eggfest VIP party
  4. Pensacola Eggfest
Each year, we close out our BBQ and grilling adventures at one of the best Eggfests in the country - the Pensacola Eggfest.  This year, Big Green Craig, Big Moe Cason, and I did a grilling demonstration for the 200 guests at the VIP Party on Friday Night.  

Pensacola Eggfest VIP Grilling Demo #bestangusbeef

We did two items for the demo.  First, we showed how to make a beef tenderloin roast the center of your holiday dinner.  Next, we showed some game day beef ribs that are quicker than a 2-minute offense.

The Pensacola Eggfest has a lot going for it.  
  • It is in a great venue - the Blue Wahoos' baseball stadium, right on the gorgeous water.
  • They have amazing organizers that awe me all year long with their dedication, talent, and heart.
  • The cooks are ridiculously skilled, as a food blogger their creativity and execution impresses me each year.
  • But the most important element of the Pensacola Eggfest is its purpose.  
Purpose is what drives this event and it shows.  This year, the purpose behind the smoke and Eggs is Rally Pensacola.  Rally Pensacola is a charitable organization that provides direct financial assistance to families of children battling cancer.  Here is the "why" behind this event that is bigger than just some great food.

So when the organizers asked us to do the cooking demo, the answer was an emphatic yes!  Here are some photos of the action.

Pensacola Eggfest VIP Grilling Demo #bestangusbeef
My sister drove 360+ miles to come help out, we always have a great time cooking together.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

It stokes my coals to announce that Certified Angus Beef Brand® has renewed our sponsorship for another year.  Their support is what makes it possible for the Nibble Me This team to get out on the road to attend grilling festivals and BBQ contests.  

This recipe is based on one of the sample appetizers that we served to crowds this year at grilling festivals.  It's also what we turned in for our beef category at the Memphis In May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest.

At those grilling events, we usually serve the beef shaved and served on roasted garlic crostini with arugula, capers, lemon zest, and the cream sauce.  

Certified Angus Beef tenderloin roast recipe #bestangusbeef

Here is the same beef and cream sauce served as a main course, served with pan roasted potatoes, blistered grape tomatoes, and bacon.

The Gorgonzola Cream Sauce is a variation of an Ina Garten recipe that we have used for years.  It's rich and brings a ton of flavor to the tender but mild filet.

Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Published 11/18/2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thrilla in the Grilla - A Grilling Contest for Veterans and First Responders

Second in a series of four posts about my food week in Orange Beach AL:
  1. World Food Championships 
  2. Thrilla in the Grilla 
  3. Grilling Demo for Pensacola Eggfest VIP party
  4. Pensacola Eggfest
The most rewarding thing I did at the World Foods Championships had to be helping our friends at Grilla Grills run the Thrilla in the Grilla, a contest
  • organized by Veterans
  • competed by Veterans and First Responders
  • table captained by Veterans and First Responders, and
  • judged by Veterans and First Responders
  • on Veterans' Day!

Earlier this year, Grilla Grills ran the online grilling recipe contest, Red, Hot, and Blue for Veterans and First Responders.  The contestants entered their recipe, told their story, and sent a picture of their dish.  A panel selected the Top 10 winners and Grilla Grills invited them to the World Food Championships to compete head to head.  

The contestants lined up for the final cooks meeting and waiting on the "GO!".
 The meeting was important because this contest varies in a few ways compared to most of the World Food Championships contests:

  1. First, the judging uses an open format instead of double blind, so they see which teams are cooking what as the clock.
  2. Second, the contestants only submit 1 entry in 2 hours, not structured AND signature.
  3. Finally, for an "improvise, adapt, overcome" theme, the contestants are given a mystery box of three ingredients that have to be used.  Each contestant got different sets of mystery ingredients.

We were lucky to have Michael McDearman as our emcee.  Michael is a well known competitive grill master and the Director of the Sam's Club National BBQ Tour.   Here he is interviewing Jason as he gloves up to get started.
Troy Winter seasoning his turkey breasts.  By seasoning from up high like this, he is ensuring better distribution of the seasoning.  If you season too close to the protein, the seasoning can have spotty coverage.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

World Food Championships 2017

A week ago today I was in Orange Beach, Alabama for the World Food Championships.

World Food Championships 2017 #wfc2017 #foodfight

My schedule for the hectic week was as loaded as my truck was.  I had 7 events taking place in 3 locations:
  • Judged the World Chef Challenge
  • Judged the Bacon World Championship
  • Judged the World Burger Championship
  • Conducted a grilling demo with friends, Big Green Craig and Moe Cason, for 200 people at the VIP party of the Pensacola Eggfest  
  • Judged the World Open Chili Championship
  • Officiated the Thrilla in the Grilla contest for Veterans and First Responders
  • Judged the final round of the Pensacola Eggfest
Looking back, I'm not sure why I thought this week was going to be a breeze.  It was not.  But the culinary experience was worth everything it took to make it happen.  

I'm breaking this into 4 posts:
  1. World Food Championships
  2. Thrilla in the Grilla Veterans' Day Contest at the World Food Championships
  3. Grilling Demo
  4. Pensacola Eggfest
This one is about the World Food Championships and how someone goes from an itch to enter a contest to winning $110,000 and a World Championship.

Last year, two of my friends, Josh Cooper and Craig Tabor, attended the World Food Championships with me in Orange Beach.  While still on the contest site - they told each other that they would be competing there in 2017. True to their word, both of them qualified and I was damn proud of them and their teams.

To compete in the World Food Championships, chefs and cooks had to have a Golden Ticket.  You earn a Golden Ticket through qualifying events across the country throughout the year.  You must compete in the category that got you into the big dance and those categories are:

World Barbecue Championship
World Chef Challenge
World Open Chili Championship
World Burger Championship
World Dessert Championship
World Sandwich Championship
Bacon World Championship
World Steak Championship
World Seafood Championship
World Recipe Championships (Chicken in 2017)

Here is what goes down during these championships.

World Food Championships 2017 #wfc2017 #foodfight
I ran into my friends, Chad Romzek of Kick Ash Baskets and Tim Shelburn, as they were waiting to get into the kitchen area.  Tim was one of Craig Tabor's Sous Chefs for this event. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

World Food Championship 2017 - Day 1

I am in Orange Beach, Alabama this week for two events.

Today was Day 1 of the World Food Championships.  This food sport spectacle reminds me of the days of the Coliseum.  The WFC pits 1500 highly qualified contestants against each other in the kitchen stadium (arena?) where they slug it out and the last cook comes away with their $110,000 share of $300,000 in total prize money.  

Here's what today was like in pictures.  The event runs all week through the weekend so come on out.  Admittance is free and there is a ton of things going on.  If you're in the area, it would just be fun for the heck of it.  If you are a foodie, this is one worth traveling for.  

There were two sessions today. 
  • World Chef Challenge - Structured (had to make paella) and Signature (whatever they wanted) rounds 
  • World Steak Championship - Structured (had to make kebabs) and Signature

Even though it's only the second year in Orange Beach, the Ferris wheel at The Wharf is already an iconic symbol of the World Food Championships to me.  Personally, I hope they keep it here after the three year agreement ends after next year.  

World Food Championships #wfc2017 #foodsport
When I arrived, crews were scurrying around finishing the final touches on building this temporary community.

If you don't see it get built, you really don't realize how much goes into a major production like this.  Tents built, power lines run, and all sorts of infrastructure don't magically appear.

Cooks start bringing in their tools, supplies, and knife rolls.

World Food Championships #wfc2017 #foodsport
Here is the field of battle - kitchen stadium.  It can host 40 cook teams at once.

Each team gets the same set up.  A Kitchenaid oven and stove top, a Bull gas grill, a microwave, a mixer/grinder, two tables, and an Orion cooler. 
The exception is the BBQ teams who cook on Saturday.  They bring their own rigs and of course, I went around to see who was already set up.  This is going to be a tight contest this year, there are a lot of good cook teams here. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Leftover Turkey Ideas: White, Black, and Green Chili

Thanksgiving is still several weeks away but I have already been cooking a few turkey recipes for clients.  That means I have also already been coming up with ideas for leftover turkey recipes.  This one is my spin on a classic - White, Black, and Green Chili.

I cooked this one in a Dutch oven over direct heat on a Big Green Egg kamado grill but you could cook it on a stove top in a heavy bottomed pot.  When using the grill, keep the lid closed when not stirring or whisking to keep the temperature under control.

White, Black, and Green Chili

Published 11/6/2017

This smooth and mildly spicy turkey chili is loaded with white beans, black beans, and Hatch green chiles.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Ba'Cock Seasoning recipe, divided
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 quart turkey stock
  • 2 cups chopped turkey
  • 15 oz can Bush's Seasoned Black Beans, drained
  • 15.8 oz can Bush's Great Northern beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Albukirky Green Chile Seasoning
  • sea salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups heavy cream


  1. Preheat grill to 325-350°f.  Add the Dutch oven to preheat once the grill is stable.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the Dutch oven and saute the onion, celery, and carrots until tender, about 5-8 minutes.  Season with about 1 teaspoon of the Ba'Cock Seasoning while they saute.
  3. Make a roux by adding the remaining butter and once melted, sprinkle in the flour while whisking continuously.   Now slowly add the turkey stock while whisking until fully combined.  
  4. Add the turkey, black beans, Northern beans, bell pepper, cumin, Albukirky Green Chile Seasoning, and the rest of the Ba'Cock Seasoning.  Allow to simmer until thick and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.  
  5. Remove the Dutch oven from heat and stir in the heavy cream.  Taste for seasoning and add sea salt to taste.  
Yield: 6 servings

The base of this great chili is a homemade turkey stock.  You can use store bought chicken stock but the turkey stock really sets it apart.  

The turkey carcass that I used for this stock was from this Dry Brined, Fire Roasted Turkey Breast with Maple Honey Bourbon Glaze.  I cooked this on my SABER® 1500 Elite SSE (sponsor) on Sunday.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Scenic City Eggfest 2017 - Ooltewah TN

[FTC Disclaimer]  We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef®.

This weekend was the inaugural Scenic City Eggfest in Ooltewah, TN hosted by Elder's Ace Hardware and the Nibble Me This BBQ Team was there to cook.  

Photo credit:  Elder's Ace Hardware

Here are a handful of pictures from the event.  I apologize for the quality and quantity in advance, I didn't have my camera (we just used our phones) and I didn't have time to get out and get shots of the other great teams like I normally do.

Big Green Egg Eggfest
It's a Big Green Egg invasion!  Photo credit:  Elder's Ace Hardware

Monday, October 23, 2017

Fusion Mini Tacos - Teriyaki Pork with Thai Peanut Slaw

[FTC Disclaimer] We are proud to be sponsored by Smithfield's extensive line of Fresh Marinated Pork.  This is our 6th and final sponsored post for the year featuring these time saving products.

There is a fine line between fusion and confusion when blending cuisines.  These Fusion Mini Tacos tip-toe right up to that line and do a little dance. Fusion Mini Tacos take the tastes of Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand and serves them in a Mexican style.  

The light and crispy shell crumbles when you bite into it and contrasts against the tender pork.  Smithfield's Sweet Teriyaki Fresh Marinated Pork pairs exceptionally with the rich and nutty slaw, spicy chile paste, and aromatic cilantro.   These mini-tacos are fun, bursting with flavor, and will brighten up any tailgate or party menu. 

Asian Fusion Mini Tacos featuring Smithfield Sweet Teriyaki Fresh Marinated Pork Tenderloin recipe

The Smithfield Fresh Marinated Pork products are a smart foundation for a quick 30-minute meal and you can find plenty of inspiration at their Real Flavor Real Fast website. Smithfield uses only 100% fresh pork, packed with protein, for these and I've only gotten quality pork from them.

This recipe for Teriyaki Pork Mini-Tacos with Thai Peanut Slaw is crispy and delicious.
The 2 inch sized tacos were the perfect bite.

Teriyaki Pork Tacos with Thai Peanut Slaw


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Shredded Chuck Roast, White Beans and Rice

[FTC Disclaimer]  Certified Angus Beef® is a sponsor of Nibble Me This for 2017; however, this is not a sponsored post. 

I've been hung up on comfort food for the past week and things have been very hectic at home this week.  That means one thing:  Comfort food + hectic schedule = slow cooker (aka Crock-Pot®)  

Yeah, I used a crock pot.  In a perfect world, where I have nothing to do but cook:
  • I would have done a smoke/braise of the chuck roast on a kamado grill.
  • I would have done white beans in a pressure cooker. 
  • I would put some pretty garnish on top.
But life happens and you still need to eat.  We cook this kind of stuff on those days and this is what I cooked for dinner last night.

Lucky for me, I had an extra Certified Angus Beef® chuck roast, from my Food City, sitting in my refrigerator.   

Shredded Chuck Roast, White Beans, and Rice


  • 3.5 pound Certified Angus Beef® chuck roast
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper, coarse ground, dustless
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • tallow or other high temperature oil for searing
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 15.8 ounce can great northern beans
  • 1/3 cup finely diced carrot
  • 3 strips bacon, cooked and finely chopped
  • 3 cups cooked rice


  1. Prepare the chuck roast.  Pat the roast dry and then apply oil to the surface.  Mix together the salt, pepper, and garlic and season the roast with this mix.
  2. Sear the chuck roast.  Preheat a skillet (preferably cast iron) over high heat.  When heated, add oil to the pan and sear the roast for 5 minutes per side.
  3. Braise the roast.  Place the roast in a slow cooker.  Add the onion, beef stock, and allow to cook until fork tender, about 8-10 hours.
  4. Make the white beans.  Saute the carrot in a small pot until tender, 3-5 minutes.  Add the beans and bacon.  Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Shred the beef.  Move the beef to a cutting board, break into shreds using forks and remove any visible fat/connective tissue. Taste the beef and season with more salt/pepper to taste. Return this to the sauce in the crock pot.
  6. Serve.  Place rice in a bowl, top with the beef and the white beans.
Of course, as soon as the picture was taken, I stirred it all together and dove right in.  It was just what we needed for dinner last night.  

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fire Roasted Meatloaf with Honey Whiskey Glaze

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  We are proud to have Certified Angus Beef® as a sponsor of Nibble Me This. 

What is your favorite comfort food?

When Fall turns the Smoky Mountains red, yellow, and orange each year, I find myself craving one of my favorite comfort foods - meatloaf.  If you have never tried your favorite meatloaf recipe on a grill, you are missing out, friend.  Fire roasting meatloaf gives it a crisp, tasty exterior and another level of flavor.

To Pan or Not To Pan

I like to cook my meatloaf without a loaf pan, on a raised rack over a small sheet pan.  I do this for a few reasons.  
  • Better Texture - Cooking meatloaf without a pan lets the rendered beef fat drip away from the meatloaf.  Cooking it with a loaf pan leaves the meatloaf languishing in the grease.
  • More Flavor - Cooking meatloaf on a raised rack lets the entire exterior get the benefit of fire roasting.  A pan shields 5 of the 6 sides of a meatloaf and only lets the top get fire roasted.  

Here is a meatloaf that we cooked this weekend.  The recipe isn't anything radically different, but I do a few things to elevate the meatloaf.  
  • I start with a fresh ground Certified Angus Beef® chuck roast from our Food City.  
  • I add fire roasted red bell pepper and poblano chile to amplify the flavor.  
  • Of course, I grill it as already mentioned.
  • I use a delicious honey whiskey bbq sauce as the glaze instead of the typical ketchup glaze.

Recipe for fire roasted meatloaf with honey whiskey glaze

Fire Roasted Meat Loaf with Honey Whiskey Glaze


Friday, October 13, 2017

Grilled Thick Pork Chops with Apple and Apricot Sauce

One of the friends I have made through online BBQ contacts is Lee, over on the West coast.  He sent us a generous package of his homemade sauces, jams, and jellies a while back.  But I have been saving Lee's stuff for special recipes like these pork chops that I made earlier this week.

recipe for Thick Grilled Pork Chops with Apple and Apricot Sauce

I steal the technique and recipe idea from Chef Adam Perry Lang's BBQ 25 (great grilling resource for intermediate grillers wanting to up their game).  Shuttling the chops back and forth from the grates to a pan of goodness cooks layers of flavors onto the pork chops.  The sauce becomes a smoky, sweet syrup that makes the pork chop sing.  

Grilled Thick Pork Chops with Apple and Apricot Sauce


  • 2 porterhouse pork chops, bone-in, 1" thick
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper (coarse ground Malabar, dustless)
  • 2 gala apples, cored, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 3 tablespoons sweet BBQ seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon apple pie seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock

Monday, October 9, 2017

Event: 2017 Lamar Johnson Classic - A BBQ Event Ooltewah, TN

Alexis and I judged the 2017 Lamar Johnson Classic Saturday in scenic Ooltewah, Tennessee.

The Lamar Johnson Classic is a regional BBQ competition held in the foothills town just a few miles North of Chattanooga. The contest is organized by our friend, Steve Ray.  Lamar Johnson was a legendary pitmaster in the area.  I'll let Steve's own words tell you more about the contest's namesake.

Around 1905 to 1910, when Ooltewah was the county seat of James County, a legendary man named Lamar Johnson smoked whole hog BBQ near Mineral Park just off the old hwy that connected Ooltewah to Cleveland. Travelers by train going and coming from Atlanta to Ooltewah to Chattanooga would stop over at the busy Ooltewah Train Depot and make the short trip east on what was then known as Fitzgerald Pass. It was there at Mineral Park where they stopped and sampled the whole hog BBQ of Lamar Johnson.
The Lamar Johnson Classic is a "non-sanctioned" contest meaning they have not gone through a sanctioning body like the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS), Memphis BBQ Network (MBN), World Food Championships (WFC) or other agency.  Sanctioning bodies provide a framework of rules, judging, and processes for consistency.  Here's how a non-sanctioned event like this one differs from the typical KCBS contests in which we normally compete.
  • Meat Categories - KCBS events typically require the 4 main meats - chicken, pork ribs, pork, and brisket.  The Lamar Johnson Classic categories are burger, pork tenderloin, and pork ribs.
  • Timing - Since the meats are all short cooks (no brisket or butts), these are usually single day contests rather than overnight.  Additionally, the turn in times in KCBS are pretty consistently (but not always) the tight time windows of 12, 12:30, 1, and 1:30.  The Lamar Johnson Classic had turn in times an hour apart.
  • Judging - Sanctioning events prescribe specific judging procedures and often require certification for judges.  The Lamar Johnson Classic used a judging style similar to the E.A.T. Methodology used by the World Food Championships because about half of the judges were either E.A.T. certified, KCBS certified, or both.  

Neither style is better, they are just different.  Non-sanctioned events tend to allow for more creativity from the cook teams.  Non-sanctioned events are often more fan friendly since you can see more of the action with cook teams under tents instead of inside trailers.  Sanctioned events usually have more prize money and have consistency so you know what to expect from contest to contest.

Eppy's BBQ used a small black steel off-set pit.  Off-set steel pits are what most people envision when you mention a BBQ pit. They require constant attention but in the hands of a capable pitmaster, it's hard to beat the BBQ off of a wood fired pit.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Smoked Turkey Breast with Bourbon Orange Glaze on a Grilla Pellet Cooker

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  This is not a compensated post; however, I did receive my Grilla pellet grill as thank you for competing on Grilla's Pro Team at Memphis In May.

Alexis was craving good turkey for lunch meat so we smoked a turkey breast last weekend just for slicing.  It is also good to get some practice in before Thanksgiving, right? 

I opted to use my Grilla pellet cooker for a couple of reasons.  First, I like the color that it builds up on food.  Second and probably more importantly, I was juggling tasks and wanted the ease and reliability of using a pellet cooker.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

Breakfast Bowls with Goetta Sausage, Hatch Chile Cheese Grits, and Eggs

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] I have a agreement with Char-Broil® to provide content (recipes/tips/pictures) for their website and I received the pictured grill as part of that compensation package; however, this is not a sponsored post.

I just returned home from a food related business conference and every time you turned around, someone was giving you some delicious creation to eat. It was nice being catered to but the first thing I wanted to do when I got home was cook for myself.  

It was an absolutely gorgeous Saturday morning with warm sunshine and a pleasant early Fall breeze so it was a day for breakfast outside.  I scrambled through the fridge and found a few things.
  • Hatch green chiles - Big Dude tells me these famous chiles are a regional variation of Big Jim chiles.
  • Oaxaca cheese - A Mexican cheese that has a buttery flavor, semi-soft texture, and melts quite well.  We call it Mexican Mozzarella because it is similar, but we like Oaxaca better.
  • Goetta sausage - a sausage with German heritage from Cinncinati that is pork sausage that contains oats.
I used those to create these fantastic breakfast bowls.

Breakfast Bowls with Goetta Sausage, Hatch Chile Cheese Grits, and Eggs

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Steak & Lobster: Ribeyes with Gorgonzola Butter and Lobster Tails with IPA Butter

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef and received the Cattleman's package free of charge.  We also received the Dizzy Pig IPA Seasoning as a free sample.

Early fall is a perfect time of year for grilling in the evenings.  For starters, it's comfortably warm, not offensively hot.  Also, It hasn't started getting too dark, too early yet.  The chorus of cicadas and katydids is nature's soundtrack.  We took full advantage of this and grilled up a magnificent surf and turf last night.

Steak and lobster featuring Certified Angus Beef

The "surf" was lobster tails seasoned with IPA compound butter.  The "turf" was Certified Angus Beef ribeye steaks crowned with a Gorgonzola-Black Pepper compound butter.

This is more of an idea post than a recipe post, so here's what I did with the steak and lobster tails.

Ribeye Steak with Gorgonzola Butter
  • Made the butter by mixing together 1 stick of softened unsalted butter, 1/4 cup of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, 1 teaspoon of 16 mesh black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of Hawaiian red clay salt.  I left it out at room temp because I wanted to keep it soft and easy to melt.
  • Tempered the steak by leaving it out at room temperature for a little over an hour.
  • Preheated a kamado grill with natural hardwood lump charcoal to 500°f.
  • Seasoned the steaks.  Just before grilling, I patted them dry, put a light coat of high temp cooking oil and seasoned them with my Umami Steak Seasoning recipe.
  • Grilled the steaks at 500°f for 4 minutes a side.
  • Rested the steaks on a cooling rack when they came off the grill and then immediately 
    • seasoned them with finely ground Umami Steak Seasoning and
    • topped them with copious amounts of the Gorgonzola butter

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.