Monday, May 21, 2018

Green Chile Steak Seasoning

[FTC Disclaimer]  This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef® Brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions are my own.

I'm a believer in that good steaks only need a little salt, pepper, and garlic.  But sometimes you want to shake your seasonings up a bit.  That's why I came up with this Green Chile Steak Seasoning this weekend for a pair of Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steaks.  

Green Chile Steak Seasoning recipe for ribeyes, strip steaks, flank steaks and more.

I tweaked the usual salt, pepper, garlic base with cumin, coriander, and poblano chile for something that is more "Summer-ish" to me.  Poblano is very mild, it is more fruity than spicy to me. Hatch chiles are another great chile to use for this.  If you want to elevate the heat, switch it out for jalapeno or even serrano chiles.

Green Chile Steak Seasoning


  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarse black pepper (16 mesh, Malabar preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon ground dried poblano chile
  • 1.5 teaspoons granulated garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground dried shallot or onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Candied Bacon French Toast Casserole with Mixed Berry Syrup

We served Candied Bacon French Toast Casserole with Mixed Berry Syrup at the Sunshine State Eggfest.  

Candied Bacon French Toast Casserole with Mixed Berry Syrup

This dish was Alexis' idea, and it was a huge hit.  There is a lot of sweet in this dish, with the homemade syrup and whipped topping but the candied bacon has just enough saltiness to balance out the sweet.

With 4,700 people attending, our sample sizes were a wee bit smaller.

This dish is suitable for serving at an Eggfest because about 90% of is can be made ahead of time.  That also makes it great to serve the family on a weekend morning.

Breakfast on a Big Green Egg

Candied Bacon French Toast Casserole with Mixed Berry Syrup


For the Candied Bacon

Friday, May 4, 2018

Event Recap: 2018 Sunshine State Eggfest - Vero Beach Florida

Last weekend, thousands of hungry tasters descended on the 2018 Sunshine State Eggfest hosted by Wassi's Meat Market like a horde of ravenous locusts.  They were there to do 4 things:
  1. Taste samples of foods cooked on Big Green Egg kamado grills by some of the best backyard chefs in the country.
  2. Raise money for a good cause, Candlelighters of Brevard.
  3. Take advantage of fantastic deals on Big Green Eggs, grilling supplies, and accessories.
  4. Chew bubblegum.
They were all out of bubblegum.

In addition to cooking at the event, I was part of a Big Green Egg Dream Team cooking the dinner for 400+ people at the Friday night Meet and Greet.  Here are some behind the scenes pictures from this fantastic Eggfest.

We added branded aprons to our cook team's uniform this year.  We were having problems with getting these done but Alexis' friend, KS Customs in Knoxville was able to embroider them for us on short notice.
Being a successful cook team is like an iceberg.  The effort that you see on Saturday is just 10% of the work that goes into it.  The other 90% is a ton of preparation, planning, and sweat equity from cook teams, vendors, and the sponsoring Egg dealer.

All of our Eggfest gear loaded in our Nissan Titan XD
Doing a successful and food safe cook at a big Eggfest like this one requires a good bit of equipment. Here are 4 Cambro hot boxes for keeping food warm, a large Igloo cooler, a Yeti 75, prep table, my grilling gear box, a griddle, tent, adjustable rigs, chairs, and cases of foil steam pans.
It's a 700+ mile trip to Vero Beach so everything has to be neatly stacked, waterproofed, and tied down.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Leftover Brisket: Brisket, Egg, and Cheese Biscuits.

[FTC Disclaimer]  We have no affiliation with Deep South Smokers.  Flame Boss has given us samples but we have also bought units from them at full price too, they are worth it.  We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef Brand but this is not a sponsored post.

We smoked a couple of briskets a couple of weekends ago to practice for upcoming BBQ competitions.  The next morning I woke up at 5am with this idea in mind.  It's a brisket, egg, and cheese biscuit, complete with a cheese skirt.

  • The brisket was shredded from the point, the best part of the brisket IMO.
  • I seasoned the egg with a little of our beef rub recipe and fried it sunny side up.
  • I made a "cheese skirt" using Bojangle's concept for the Cheddar Bo biscuit that they used to sell.  I took the bottom half of a biscuit, topped it with fresh shredded Colby-jack cheese, and put it on a sheet pan in a 425f oven for 3-4 minutes.  This melts the cheese in a "skirt" around the biscuit.
  • Alexis made the lemon pepper sour cream biskets.  

I could have done the briskets on our kamado grills but since it was for competition practice, I used the Deep South Smokers GC36.  This is a gravity fed, insulated box smoker.  

The Flame Boss is an electronic controller that maintains a specific temperature in your cooker and monitors the cooking temperature of up to 3 meats.  It is wireless via wi-fi so it lets me keep an eye on things on my smart phone.  These work with a pit like my Deep South or something smaller like Big Green Eggs.
 I use several factors for selecting my briskets.
  • Source - When possible, I like to get Certified Angus Beef Brand briskets because I find their 10 quality standards provides a consistent brisket.  My second choice is prime briskets, usually from Costco because they are about the only store that routinely carries prime brisket in my area.  I'll do wagyu from time to time but I've scored better without it.  
  • Size - It depends. For competition I look for 17-18 pounds.  If I'm cooking it whole on a large Big Green Egg, the length limits it, usually around 13 pounds. 
  • Shape - For competition I buy 2 briskets. One with a very nice flat and the other with a big point. I get two because on one, I trim the point short so part of the point protects the flat. I'll take my slices from that flat and the burnt ends from the other point.  The flat should be well marbled, flexible, and have "mostly even" thickness. It should also have color to it, I don't like pale briskets.  If I am just buying one for home, I look for the one that has the nicest flat with a decent point.
We separate the brisket flat from the point for competition.  It makes the cook time faster and it gets more bark on my point for burnt ends. 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Unboxing a Humphrey's BBQ Smoker - Battle Box

[FTC Disclaimer]  We have no affiliation with Humphrey's BBQ, and John paid advertised pricing.

My neighbor and BBQ teammate, John, took delivery of his new Humphrey's BBQ Battle Box this morning. It is the Wounded Warrior Project version of the Battle Box which means 10% is donated to the Wounded Warrior Project and it comes in this cool dessert camo color scheme.

Humphrey's BBQ Battle Box Wounded Warrior Project
The Humphrey's BBQ Battle Box is an insulated box-style cooker.

The smoker made its way from Limerick, Maine, where Humphrey's BBQ is located, to Knoxville, Tennessee packed well in a crate.

You can see that the unit was well protected.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

BBQ Class: Georgia BBQ Championship Champions Cooking Class

The Georgia BBQ Championship organization has put together a Champions Cooking Class in Atlanta on June 30th this Summer.

The three category winners from last year will be teaching the class, sharing the BBQ expertise that put them on top.  
  • Chicken and Pork - Yes Dear BBQ
  • Ribs - Angry Jack BBQ
  • Brisket - Bald Hawg BBQ

Plus, one lucky class attendee is going to win a bad ass Primo Oval XL400.  How cool is that?! 

The class cost is just $200.  If you have ever priced BBQ classes, then you know this is a bargain price.  For more information or to register, go to the Georgia BBQ Championship website.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Brown Sugar and Honey Bacon Smoked on a Pellet Cooker

[FTC Disclaimer] I have no affiliation with Thermoworks or Beswood.  I genuinely my Grilla a few years ago as a thank you for cooking on their Memphis In May team.

I love bacon but who doesn't?  I recently cured, smoked, and sliced a batch of Brown Sugar and Honey Bacon.  

How to smoke bacon on a pellet cooker smoker

Curing and smoking your own bacon takes a little time and refrigerator space, but it is well worth the effort. 
  • You get truly smoked bacon, not something that was sprayed with aerosolized liquid smoke and cooked in a big oven.
  • You get to make choices about the seasonings.
  • You get control of the thickness of your slices.
  • You save a good bit.  I pay less than $3 a pound for pork belly, but bacon at the stores is running $5 to $7 per pound depending on the type.

Bacon smoked on a Grilla pellet smoker

One tip, wear gloves when handling the bacon cure.  First, it's just a good idea any time handling curing salts.  Second, if you don't, you will find that minuscule paper cut that you forgot existed.

Brown Sugar and Honey Bacon

adapted from Chris Lilly's Fire and Smoke: A Pitmaster's Secrets


  • 8 pound pork belly, skinless
  • 6 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1.5 teaspoons pink curing salt (Prague powder #1)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup black pepper, coarse ground/16 mesh
  • 1/2 cup local honey


Friday, April 13, 2018

Ribeye Steaks with Cajun Butter

[FTC Disclaimer]  I have a sponsorship with Certified Angus Beef® Brand; however, this is not one of the sponsored posts.  I have no affiliation with Big Green Egg, Grill Grates, or Walker and Sons.

I'm a big believer in the fact that quality beef doesn't need much more than salt, pepper, and a bit of fire to make a brilliantly tasty steak.  But I'm also a believer in the truth that sometimes you have to shake things up a bit.

These Ribeye Steaks with Cajun Butter fall into the latter category.

I had gone to Food City to buy some chicken, but I saw this pack of pretty Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steaks sitting in the meat case, just taunting me.  I had to buy them, it was a matter a principle. 

I felt like being a little wild with them, so I planned to hit them with some Cajun seasoning and finish them with a Cajun compound butter.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Creamy Chicken and Penne

This is just a quickie recipe that we put together last night for dinner.  It was really just to get something on the table, but it turned out too good not to share it.

We used leftover fire-braised chicken thighs but you can substitute the meat from a rotisserie chicken instead. I'll explain the fire braising process after the recipe if you are interested in that.  But this chicken is creamy, delicious, and straight up comfort food.

Creamy chicken and penne casserole recipe for quick weeknights using leftovers.

Creamy Chicken and Penne


  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups fire-braised chicken
  • 1/2 cup smoked Alpine white cheddar or other cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced green onion
  • 12 ounces dry penne, cooked according to directions


Monday, April 2, 2018

Steak Fajita Bowls

[FTC Disclaimer] This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Fajita bowls are a favorite at our house.  First, they are delicious. Second, they are suitable for using up ingredients in the fridge. Third, because you get to pick and choose your ingredients, they accommodate the picky eaters in your family.

Steak Fajita bowls are ideal for that picky eater because you get to choose your own toppings.

Fajita bowls are a fajita without the flour tortilla. 

  • They have a base of seasoned rice.  I like to use either cilantro lime rice or a Mexican style rice.  
  • They have a grilled protein.  Typically this is steak or chicken that has either been marinated or heavily seasoned.
  • They have a melange of grilled peppers and onions.
  • The rest of the ingredients are up to you.  We like to make a buffet of ingredients and let everyone compose their own fajita bowls.  Some of the ingredients we put out are:
    • avocado 
    • black beans
    • tomatoes
    • fire roasted corn
    • Mexican crema
    • Cotija cheese
    • Shredded Oaxaca cheese
    • Tortilla strips
    • Pico de gallo
    • Store bought black bean and corn salsa for those shortcut nights
    • salsa verde
    • cilantro

The main attraction, of course, is the grilled steak.  Skirt steak is more traditional, but I like the thickness of a good flank steak.  I start off with a Certified Angus Beef® Brand flank steak that I bought at our local Food City. 

You can buy pre-made fajita seasonings at the grocery store.  Typically those are made for 1 pound of meat so you would need to buy 2 for a good sized flank steak. I prefer to make my own NMT Fajita Seasoning Dry Rub recipe, and that is what we used for this steak.

How to score meat
I score my flank steaks by running a sharp knife across the surface making 1/4" deep cuts, which open it up for seasoning and give the edges a neat texture once it is sliced.  TIP:  Hold the steak stretched out like this when seasoning it.

Grilling tip - stretch your meat when seasoning, compact it when cooking.
Holding it open like that lets the seasoning get down into all of the nooks and crannies.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bourbon Cherry Cobbler with Smoked Ice Cream

This recipe is based on the worst recipe from my book, The Kamado Smoker and Grill Cookbook

Dessert recipe bourbon cherry cobbler with smoked ice cream

Actually, the real recipe is delicious, a sinful way to have cobbler for breakfast.  But I decided to upsize the recipe from a small skillet to a Dutch oven and somewhere in the writing process, the milk and flour did not get doubled while everything else did.  Ugh! 

That recipe was more for breakfast, a sort of cross between cobbler and cheese Danish.  This one is a dessert – sweet with sultry notes of smoke and bourbon mixed in.

Dutch oven dessert recipe cooked on a grill

Bourbon Cherry Cobbler with Smoked Ice Cream


  • Premium vanilla ice cream

For the filling

  • 3 cups cherry pie filling (about 1.5 cans)
  • 1 cup premium cherries, drained
  • 1 ounce bourbon

Friday, March 23, 2018

Baby Back Ribs on an Offset Pit

[FTC Disclaimer]  I have a contract with Oklahoma Joe's Smokers but that is unrelated to my blog and social media channels.  I am not paid to promote their products or publish content about them. Whenever I post them here, it's because I just felt like using Oklahoma Joe's for a particular cook.

I'm still breaking in my Oklahoma Joe's Smokers® and smoked these pork loin back ribs.  Here's a little insight about that cook.

Baby Back/Loin Back Ribs

Ever since Chile's came out with their infectious jingle, it seems that all loin back ribs got lumped in as "baby back ribs".  Technically, baby backs are loin backs that weigh less.  Here are some tidbits on these tasty ribs.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Korean Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin Onions

[FTC Disclaimer] This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Optimum grilling season is here!  Sure I grill all year long but it is much more enjoyable when Daylight Savings Time changes, warmer temps arrive, and the grey winter skies take a hike.  

Earlier this week, Alexis found a gorgeous Certified Angus Beef® Brand flank steak at Food City, and I couldn't wait to get it on the grill.

Cooking Korean style flank steak on a Big Green Egg mini-max.

Of course, Springtime means trying to fine tune that "beach body."  Flank steak is a wise choice for that because according to Men's Health, flank steak is low calorie, high protein, and is rich in flavor. So we decided to make these Korean(ish) Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin Onions - they have the big taste but won't give you a big waist.

Korean Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin Onions

Korean Flank Steak Lettuce Wraps with Hoisin Onions


Friday, March 9, 2018

Jerk Chicken Wings

I made some Jerk Chicken Wings this week.  The flavor of jerk chicken makes me weak in the knees.  

Spicy Jerk Chicken Wings recipe on a Big Green Egg

Like Cajun food, some mistakenly thick of jerk food as just "hot."  Instead, it is highly seasoned.  That powerful blending of earthy, spicy, sweet, acidic, and smoky tastes are a wild party on the palate.    The Jamison's refer to it as an "assertive combination" in their highly regarded book Smoke and Spice.

  • Jerk food is typically seasoned with seasonings like allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, thyme, onion, and Scotch bonnet chiles.  
  • This seasoning can either be a dry seasoning or a wet paste/marinade.  
  • Pork and chicken are used most often. 
  • A favorite commercial jerk marinade that can be found in stores is Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning.  
  • The marinade recipe that I have used and loved for years is Jamaican Jerk Chicken from the book Sugar Reef Caribbean Cooking [Amazon Affiliate link] by Devra Dedeaux.

Marinade recipe for jerk chicken

I use the marinade recipe as written in the link above except for a few alterations.
  • I use turbinado sugar instead of white sugar.
  • I use Bragg's Liquid Aminos instead of Soy Sauce
  • I use habanero instead of Scotch bonnet chiles because they are more readily available.  But when I can get the Scotch bonnets, I use them.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

2018 Chain of Lakes Eggfest

The inaugural Chain of Lakes Eggfest, presented by Mannix Pools and Grills, was held last weekend in Winter Haven, FL.  Teams of spectacular grilling teams gathered lakeside under the moss-laden oaks to fire up a plethora of Big Green Egg kamado grills.  

Photo Credit:  Laurie Walls

They came from all over the country to

  • have a bit of a grilling throwdown,
  • serve creative and tasty grilled bites to hundreds of "tasters,"
  • have a blast with friends, and
  • most importantly, to raise money for Girls Inc. and the Citrus Center Boys and Girls Club.

I wasn't able to attend this year because I had to have a little work done "under the hood" 3 days earlier and wasn't released by my doctor.  But Team Nibble Me This was there and kicked ass without me. 

From L to R:  Carson, Rhonda, Sean, Carrie, Marcia, Laurie, and Scott.

I may not have been there in person but I definitely was in sprirt....and Facebook.  I stalked my friends' Facebook accounts to see what was going on.  [Note:  I have tried to give credit based on the Facebook page where I found it; however, some pictures appeared on multiple pages.]

We like to get an AirBnB rental so the team can all be under the same roof.  Our team members roll in on Thursday/Friday and get right to prepping the food.  You have to be fully prepped or you will be "in the weeds" on the day of the event.  

Friday Night - Meet and Greet

Friday night is the "meet and greet," a social event that lets cook teams, sponsors, vendors, attendees, and the organizer hang out together.  The day of the Eggfest is too crazy for socializing much, if at all.

The trophies were on display at the Meet and Greet.  These bad boys are actual grilling grates custom made by East Georgia Metals.  If you have a design in mind for your grill, they can make it. Photo Credit:  Teena Schweier

Friday, March 2, 2018

Flank Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry

[FTC Disclaimer]  We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef® Brand; however, this is not a sponsored post. I am personal friends with Chad Romzek, the owner of Kick Ash Baskets.  I have no affiliation with the Ceramic Grill Store, the source of the wok and spider rig.  I am a student at Rouxbe Online Culinary School, but I am not an affiliate partner and receive no benefits from them. I have no affiliation with Thermoworks.

I've been trying to eat a bit more heart healthy and stir-frying is an excellent technique for doing that without sacrificing flavor.  Earlier this week we made this Flank Steak and Broccoli Stir Fry on one of our kamado grills.

Recipe for flank steak and broccoli stir fry on a kamado grill

Advantages of Stir-Frying

Stir-frying offers several benefits, even more so for stir-frying on a kamado style grill. 
  • Stir-frying is low-fat because it utilizes leaner cuts of meat, such as flank steak, shrimp, flat iron steak, chicken breast, and skirt steak.
  • Stir-frying is a balanced diet meal because it encourages the use of more vegetables, especially fresh seasonal ingredients.
  • Stir-frying's high heat cooking retains more color and nutrients of the vegetables.
  • Stir-frying is economical because it extends smaller portions of meat with more veggies.
  • Stir-frying helps clean out some of those leftover ingredients in your fridge.
Stir-frying over the intense heat of a kamado style grill (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, etc.) offers an advantage over stir-frying inside.  According to Rouxbe Online Culinary School, heat is one of the most essential elements of stir-frying.  Most home stovetop ranges are only rated at 15,000 but while a commercial wok burning can draw as much as 200,000 but.  A rocket hot kamado grill can out produce your stovetop any day of the week. 

That said, you can cook this inside.  Just use the hottest burner that your range top has.

How to stir fry on a kamado grill such as Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, or Primo.

Flank Steak Broccoli Stir Fry 


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Smoked BBQ Wings

[FTC Disclaimer]  I will be doing content work elsewhere for Oklahoma Joe's Smokers this year, so they have sent me their smokers to use.  But any content appearing on NibbleMeThis isn't their sponsored content, just my personal use. I have no affiliation with Academy Sports.  We are personal friends with both Big Moe Cason and Trace Scarborough who's rubs appear in this post.

Usually, I like to grill or fire roast my chicken wings in one of my kamado grills.  But every now and then I like to smoke wings on a pit.  I did two versions a couple of weeks ago.

How to smoke wings on an offset BBQ smoker

I have been excited about working with Oklahoma Joe's because offset pits are the first type of smoker that I used to learn the craft of BBQ.  To this day, I still love working a black iron offset smoker, it makes me nostalgic.  

I have enjoyed using the Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Reverse Flow Smoker.
On this day, I chose to use the Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn Reverse Flow.  I'll do a review post sometime soon, but I am enamored with this pit.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

Bacon Lettuce Avocado Turkey and Pepper Jack Burger

[FTC Disclaimer]  Certifed Angus Beef® Brand is a sponsor; however, this isn't one of their sponsored posts.

I had a craving for a good burger this weekend.  Despite the soaking rain, I fired up one of my kamado grills and made a favorite of ours - the BLAT Burger.  

Yeah, that's a horrible name, but that's what we call it at our house.  
  • It started out being a BLT burger long time ago.  
  • Then it morphed into a club sandwich burger by adding grilled turkey.  
  • Finally, I swapped the tomato out for avocado and added the pepper jack cheese.

I'm not doing a recipe for this post because I think you get the basic idea from the pictures.

I grilled these on the flat side of my GrillGrates, instead of straight grilling them. I just wanted a hot, flat surface. I could have also used my Little Griddle, a cast iron griddle insert for my Craycort grates, a cast iron skillet, or my flat top grill.

Griddle cooking turkey on GrillGrates on a large Big Green Egg kamado grill.
Griddling the turkey does 2 things.  It warms it up, and it creates the Maillard reaction that makes the flavor.

Schweid & Sons are my preferred burger patties if I am not making them myself.
For the burgers, I used Schweid and Sons C.A.B. All American burgers that we bought at Food City.  They also sell The One Percenter, which is the same thing except made with USDA Prime Certified Angus Beef.  These are my preferred burger patties when I'm not making them myself.

Grilling burger patties on GrillGrates in a kamado grill, such as Kamado Joe, Big Green Egg, Primo
I grill my burgers in the 450-500f range and do 4 minutes per side.  I don't worry about using oil on the GrillGrates.  The seasoning is enough, and the burgers will only stick if they aren't ready to flip yet.

Burgers on GrillGrates
Grill marks look good on a burger, but the crust from a hot flat surface is unbeatable, IMO.  When I flipped the burger, I seasoned this side with finely ground salt and pepper.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Fire Roasted Potatoes Au Gratin

I've had a couple of people already ask about the Fire Roasted Potatoes Au Gratin from my post this week for the Beef Medallions with Cipollini Onion Red Wine Sauce.

Fire roasted potatoes au gratin recipe for the grill is a good grilled side dish.

Potatoes au gratin has been one of my favorite comfort foods as far back as I can remember.  I learned this from my mother.  It was one of those "some of this and a little of that" type of recipes, based on what she had on hand.  I haven't changed it much.  

I've done fancier versions where I make reduced and seasoned cream sauce, similar to bechamel.  But I use this "old reliable" recipe more times than not.  Yes, it uses condensed soup, but I'm okay with that, just like I'm okay with some Velveeta in my mac and cheese sauce.  

Fire Roasted Potatoes Au Gratin

  • 6 Yukon gold potatoes, thin sliced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, peeled and thin sliced
  • 1 cup shredded Gouda or Fontina cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese blend
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 can reduced sodium condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 tablespoon NMT Beef Rub v.2
  • panko breadcrumbs for sprinkling on top 

Friday, February 9, 2018

Beef Medallions with Cipollini Onions and Red Wine Sauce

[FTC Disclaimer] This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef ® brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

This dish is just the ticket for Valentines Day.  It's simple and doesn't require advanced cooking skills. Even though any dolt can make this, it has an elegant flair to it and will make you look like a gourmet hero.

Certified Angus Beef brand #BeefCookAlong

This is Sautèed Medallions with Pearl Onions Red Wine Sauce.  It is the #BeefCookAlong recipe from Certified Angus Beef® Brand for February.  This is a series where Chef Michael Ollier and Chef Gavin Pinto walk you through a specific recipe in a Facebook Live video and answer questions from viewers.  If you miss it live, you can still catch the video - here is the video for this month.

This is my #BeefCookAlong.  I followed the recipe.....mostly.  Here is where I deviated:

  • Fire - They did their demo live from the Certified Angus Beef® Brand Culinary Center, but of course, I did mine over live fire.  
  • Beef - I intended to use medallions cut from a top sirloin petite roast, but my Food City was out.  It was early, and they had a truck coming in, but I didn't want to go back, so I substituted beef tenderloin.
  • Onions - I upgraded from pearl onions to cipollini onions.

Certified Angus Beef
I forgot to buy fresh thyme, but fortunately, my thyme plant in the front yard still offered a few small sprigs.  You can tell the beef fillet were cut from the butt end of a tenderloin.  I planned to bisect them and then cut the 4 pieces into medallions.

Cipollini onions are small but bigger than pearl onions.  They might be small, but they are full flavored.  I like fire roasting them or braising them until tender, it brings out their sweetness.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Just some smoked BBQ ribs

Here are some ribs that I smoked a couple of weeks ago, just to practice.

BBQ spare ribs smoked on a Deep South Smoker

I was very disappointed in the ribs that I bought.  They were from one of my two trusted, longtime suppliers and they weren't cheap at $18+ per rack.  I can get ribs a LOT cheaper, but I pay the premium price to avoid problems like this.  

Both racks were racked with shiners.  Shiners happen every now and then, it's inevitable.  But when I'm paying $6.99 a pound, I sure as [bleep] don't expect to get SEVEN SHINERS on just 2 racks of ribs.

What's a shiner?  A shiner is where the meat on the spare rib has been trimmed too closely, so the bones are "shining" through. This means the ribs aren't very meaty because the meat was trimmed off with the pork belly and it also causes appearance issues.

What is a rib shiner? It's when the butcher trimmed too closely to the ribs, exposing the bones.
The yellow lines show 3 shiners where you can see the rib bones poking through.

Four more shiners on this rack.  These definitely are not premium ribs, they below in the discount bin.
I cooked these ribs on my Deep South Smokers GC36 while I was also cooking a couple of briskets and some wings.  But my process differs little between whether I'm cooking on a kamado, bullet smoker, an offset pit, or an insulated box cooker like the Deep South.  On all types, I cook at 290°f. Differences include:
  • Kamado grills (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, etc.) - I use an adjustable rig with an oblong heat shield to protect the ends of the ribs. I use lump charcoal with wood chunks mixed in. Kamados don't smoke as much so for competition ribs, I foil them later in the process, based on color.
  • Offset pits (Oklahoma Joe, my "Warthog") - These really lay the smoke down, so I foil earlier in the process.  
  • Rack and sheet pan - In kamado grills and bullet smokers, I put the ribs right on the grill grates.  For offsets and box cookers, I put the ribs on a rack over a sheet pan just because it keeps the smoker cleaner.
  • Spritzing intervals - Kamado grills and box cookers both retain moisture like a sponge so I'll spritz less frequently - maybe 1x an hour.  Offsets and bullets run drier so I spritz more regularly and might add a water pan in the mix.

Deep South Smokers work great with Kamado Joe charcoal and a Flame Boss controller
I finally tried some Kamado Joe Big Block charcoal in the Deep South, because Alexis found it at Costco.  Man, that charcoal ran superbly in this cooker!  Easy to light and clean burning.  I had my Flame Boss 300 (sponsor) running the pit, and temps stayed steady and recovered quickly after opening doors.  I'll be buying Kamado Joe charcoal as long as I can keep getting it.

Ribs prepared and ready to go into the smoker.
An example of the rack and sheet pan that I use in the Deep South or my offset pits.

Flame boss controller running the Deep South Smoker
I've updated my rib process this year, incorporating bits from 2 classes and adjustments from my own experience.

Ribs out of the smoker and ready to go into the foil wrap.
Here are the ribs before going into the foil wrap.  If they start getting too dark, I'll wrap them a bit early.  If they aren't getting dark enough, I'll switch to cherry wood.

Smoked BBQ ribs
Ribs fresh from the foil wrap, before being glazed.

Smoked BBQ spare ribs
After smoking and braising (the foil rap), the ribs get sauced and go back in the smoke for 10-15 minutes.  
Then it is just a matter of slicing the ribs.

Sliced BBQ spare ribs

The ribs turned out juicy, smoky, sweet and tender.  Very good but I always could use more practice.