Monday, November 15, 2021

Wedge Salad Burger

 [FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post. Any links which may earn us compensation will be clearly marked [Affiliate Link]. 

I was just trying to make a blue cheeseburger the other night, but we ended up with what Alexis perfectly described when she declared, "It's a wedge salad burger!".  When she's right, she's right.

Crispy, crunchy, smoky and delicious, this burger is surprisingly flavorful.

The burger is a 6-ounce ground chuck smash burger that we top with blue cheese, red onion, and steak rub while still on the griddle, so it melts together.  That deliciousness rests on top of the crispy center leaves of iceberg lettuce and is topped with seasoned diced tomatoes. All of that is on a toasted brioche bun slathered with red wine vinegar and black pepper mayo. All of that is just a long way of saying it is friggin' amazing. 

Wedge Salad Burger cooked on a Big Green Egg kamado grill
Alexis dubbed this the Wedge Salad Burger because she noticed that it had all the typical steakhouse wedge salad ingredients.

A couple of tips. Use the freshest ground beef that you can get. I get mine at Food City because they grind it fresh several times a day. Also, wedge salads are crunchy so use the center core of the iceberg lettuce for the crunchiest lettuce.

I doubt that you need a recipe to recreate this delicious burger, but just in case, here it is. 

Wedge Salad Burger

www.nibblemethis.com

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post. We tag any affiliate links from which we may earn a commission with the tag [Affiliate link]. 

I'm a big fan of stuffed bell peppers. This version takes on a Cajun spin starting with a spicy and smoky dirty rice and finishes on top of a zesty cream sauce.

Cajun Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers
Cajun Dirty Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers with a Zesty White Sauce

Slap Ya Sister

Last month, we went to Charleston for a weekend of food and fun with several members of our BBQ team. While there, we visited Virginia's Veggie Stand at the City Market, where they had an array of spice mixes packed in small bags with hand-written labels. 

You know that I couldn't pass that up and one of the mixes I bought was there Slap Ya Sister. It's a Cajun blend loaded with large herbs and dried chiles and that's what inspired this recipe. 

Slap Ya Sister cajun herb mix from Virgina's Veggie Stand in Charleston, SC
The Slap Ya Sister Cajun herb mix from Virginia's Veggie Stand in Charleston has large pieces for robust flavor. I can't think of a Cajun seasoning that would be an equal swap since these herbs are big and flaky. To substitute for a tablespoon of Slap Ya Sister, I would use a teaspoon or so of Meat Church Holy Voodoo or Slap Ya Mama seasoning. That's about a 66% reduction in volume because one is flaky herbs and the other is ground seasoning.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Smoked Sausage Carbonara on the Big Green Egg

[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post. We tag any affiliate links from which we may earn a commission with the tag [Affiliate link]. 

Carbonara is a fantastic pasta dish. It is creamy yet has no cream. It seems gourmet, yet it is simple to make. 

Technically, this is more carbonara-style than carbonara. I use the carbonara technique of using the heat of the pasta for cooking the eggs. But, like many Americans, I like to add peas to mine, which is a no-no to many classically trained chefs. But what I really like about this dish is the smoked sausage that I finely dice and crisp up in a skillet; it adds such a nice smoky flavor and crisp texture.

Creamy smoked sausage carbonara with garlic toast
Creamy and delicious Smoked Sausage Carbonara from the grill.


Tricks for Skillet Cooking on the Grill

Monday, October 11, 2021

Oostburger Pretzel Sliders

[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post. We tag any affiliate links from which we may earn a commission with the tag [Affiliate link]. 

What the heck is an Oostburger? 

Early in August each year, tens of thousands of bratwurst lovers gather in Sheboygan, WI, to celebrate all things brat at the Brat Days food festival. Alexis and I attended one year and soaked in all of the food, live music, the parade, and tons of fun. One of the things we discovered during that trip was the Oostburger. That delicious concoction is a burger topped with a butterflied bratwurst on a Sheboygan hard roll. This past weekend, we made this slider version of the Oostburger.

Oostburger Pretzel Sliders
An Oostburger is a regional burger from Wisconsin that is topped with a split bratwurst. I sliced my cooked bratwurst on the griddle to give them extra flavor from caramelization.


Our Oostburger Slider is beefy, cheesy, and decadent. 

  • It features a pretzel slider bun. Alexis was craving pretzels and bought a variety pack from an online seller, and the package included these fun slider-sized pretzel buns. The buns are sort of close to the texture of a Sheboygan hard roll. 
  • The burger portion is a 4-ounce beef patty that I made square...well, squarish, to fit the rectangular shape of the bun. Instead of smashing balls into a round patty, I pressed them into one big square and divided it into 4 patties.
  • Instead of a whole butterflied brat, I sliced a fire-roasted brat and cooked the coins on the griddle to give them some sizzle and char. 
  • We add slices of Sargento Smokehouse Cheddar on each layer and a dash of stoneground mustard to tie it all together.


Oostburger Pretzel Sliders featuring Johnsonville original bratwurst
Notice the bit of cheese skirt on the bottom edge...that's my favorite part of any griddled cheeseburger!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Grilling Thick Pork Chops - Bourbon and Brown Sugar Pork Chops

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post. Any affiliate links that may earn me any form of compensation will be tagged as [Affiliate Link].  

Cook your pork chops like a steak. That was the message of one of the pork marketing boards years ago but it still rings true with me. When you take the same techniques and care with a pork chop that you do with a steak, the result is fantastic like these chops. I use the reverse sear method and apply layers of flavor to make these Bourbon and Brown Sugar Pork Chops smoky, sweet, and luscious - fit for a king.

Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Chops
Bourbon and Brown Sugar Pork Chop with BBQ Beans and Collard Greens wtih Bacon


Grill You Pork Chops Like A Steak

So what do I mean by grilling your pork chops like a steak? I don't mean the same time and temps. I'm talking about taking the same types of steps you do with a quality steak, starting from the selection to plating. Here are some examples from this cook.

  • Selection of quality meat - Why is it that people are super picky about which steak they buy but then will buy the first package of top of the pork chops? Here's what I look for in descending order:
    • Color - I look for chops that are nicely pink-reddish. I'm avoiding chops that are pale, dark red, or that weird "I'm ready for the discount rack" shade of grey-green. Blech! 
    • Marbling - It's not as easy to spot marbling in pork as it is beef, but it is there if you look carefully. Look for fine strands of white fat evenly distributed throughout the eye of the chop.
    • Thickness - For thick chops, I'm looking for chops that are at LEAST 1" but preferably more like 1.5".  I am also looking for even thickness, although I will also deal with that in prep.
    • Brand - When all things are equal or if I'm sending someone else to buy my meat, I'll tell them to look for Cheshire or Smithfield. I've used them for years with consistent results.
  • Preparation - Again, people use all sorts of tricks on their steaks, but many people tend to just season chops and throw them on the grill without any kind of forethought or care.
    • Trimming - I French-trim these rib chops in part because I like the presentation but it also helps prevent overcooking the narrow bits of meat on the bone end. 
    • Tying - Once trimmed, I use my hands to compress the eye of the pork chop and tie kitchen twine around each to keep them as even in thickness as possible.
    • Dry brine - I use the dry brine method to impart flavor and help retain the juiciness of the pork chop.
  • Cooking
    • Reverse sear - Direct grilling a thick pork chop can work but it is more likely to overcook the exterior or undercook the center. Going low and slow or using the reverse sear lets the entire chop get up to temp and evenly cooked through.
    • Temp, not times - Use a quality thermometer to cook by temp, not time.
  • Serving -
    • Butter me up! Finish the chops with the brown sugar butter adds a final layer of flavor and makes sure that flavor gets on every bit. 

So let's get into the recipe...

Bourbon Brown Sugar Pork Chops resting on a wire resting rack
Resting after the sear, with brown sugar butter melting its goodness all over these delicious pork chops.

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Smashtastic BBQ Sub Sandwich

[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post. Any affiliate link that might earn a sales commission will be marked [Affiliate Link]. 

The Smashtastic is a hot-pressed BBQ sub loaded with smoked cheddar cheese, pulled pork, crispy bacon, sweet n spicy BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, burnt ends, and deep-fried pickles. 

Smashtastic hot-pressed bbq sub with brisket, pork and bacon
Brisket burnt ends, pepper jack cheese, smoked pork, smokehouse cheddar, bacon, and sweet 'n' spicy BBQ sauce on a crispy toasted sub roll...not bad for leftovers, eh? 

This is just a concept or idea post, you really don't need a recipe to make a sandwich, right? Here is the quick rundown.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Chicken Lettuce Wraps and Deep Fried Green Beans

 [FTC Standard Disclaimer] We receive no compensation for this post.

 Chicken lettuce wraps are sort of Taco Tuesday-ish, aren't they? 

Chicken Lettuce Wraps on the Big Green Egg Grill

These chicken lettuce wraps have that big pop of fresh ginger, a moderate sting of spicy heat, and a bit of crunchy texture. 

Lettuce Talk About Wraps

So which lettuce works best for lettuce wraps? We have two favorites at our house.

  • Iceberg lettuce - Good old, plain iceberg lettuce is the traditional wrap of choice for lettuce wraps at PF Changs. They have a convenient shape and add crispness. Cut the wedges to exclude any big sections of stalk.
  • Boston or bibb lettuce - Butter lettuce varieties have an appropriate size and shape for lettuce wraps. They are tender and have more flavor than iceberg lettuce. We like to buy the "living" lettuce when we can for the freshest wraps.

What is the best lettuce to use for chicken lettuce wraps? We like Iceburg lettuce or a butter lettuce.
Iceberg is on the left, Boston on the right.