Sunday, August 18, 2019

Grilled Chicken Pita on the Big Green Egg

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

I have been on a Middle Eastern food kick lately so Alexis and I made these fantastic Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki last week.  I marinated the chicken with a spicy oregano vinaigrette and then grilled it to perfection - juicy and bursting with flavor.

Grilled Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki cooked on a Big Green Egg kamado grill

I blame my Middle Eastern cravings on Knoxville's own Yassin's Falafel House.  Yassin's has a message of inclusivity and tolerance and won Reader's Digest's Nicest Place in America last year.  They also happen to make insanely good falafel and one of the best gyros I have ever had.

Yassin's Falafel House in Knoxville has the best gyros and falafel.

We ate at the Yassin's in West Knoxville last week, and it was fabulous as always.  The next night, I was still craving Middle Eastern delights, so we whipped up these pitas.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Recipe Cook: Spiralized Vietnamese Cucumber Salad.....with Chicken!

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

Leave it to me to add meat to a vegetarian dish.

Like everyone, Alexis and I are trying to eat a little healthier as we get older.  Last night, we were going to make this Vietnamese Cucumber Noodle Salad from the May 2019 issue of Eating Well magazine.  It is spiralized cucumbers and carrots tossed in a version of nuoc cham and topped with cilantro and peanuts.  I just had to add some grilled chicken breast.  

I wanted to give the chicken a little Asian flair, but I didn't have time for a marinade, so I improvised.  I used Albukirky Green Chile Rub, which is Southwestern US, but with salt, pepper, chiles, and garlic, it isn't too big a stretch for Asian.  I took 1 tablespoon of the rub and added a 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of Olde Virden's Spicy Verde for heat.  I seasoned two butterflied chicken breasts with that, and the flavor was passable as Asian.

My "weapon of choice" for this small cook was the Big Green Egg Mini-Max.  A small kamado (13-14") grill is perfect for small amounts like this, plus the grill heats up quickly and doesn't use much coal at all.  

My set up was a Kick Ash Basket full of Parker's Tennessee Hardwood Charcoal, a woo ring, and a stock BGE cast iron grate
I grilled the butterflied chicken breasts halves for about 6 minutes a side at 450°f until they registered 155°f on my Thermapen.  Butterflied thin like this, they will cook all the way through on the carryover cooking, so I pull them a bit early to keep them juicy.

So we made the salad as written and just topped it with this spicy grilled chicken.

I'm not a huge fan of cucumber, but this was surprisingly good.  I want to use the cucumber noodles and make some kind of gyro salad with some seasoned ground beef, shaved red onion, and tzatziki sauce.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Pepper Jack and Chili Juicy Lucy Burgers on the BGE Mini-Max

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.  I took a year off of sponsorships this year, but I still like to disclose that I have a close relationship with the Certified Angus Beef® Brand.

Last night, thunderstorms and hail were moving through our area while I grilled these knock-out Juicy Lucy style burgers stuffed with chili and pepper jack cheese. 

Juicy Lucy Style Certified Angus Beef Brand Burger Stuffed with Chili and Pepper Jack Cheese

I haven't done Juicy Lucy-style burgers in a month of Sundays.  The craving just hit me when I was standing at Food City looking at a pretty Certified Angus Beef® Brand chuck roast that was just begging to be fresh ground for burgers.

I've probably tried a dozen burger presses and Juicy Lucy tools.  In general, I find that just making patties by hand is the easiest way to go.  Just make two 3-4 ounce patties, put your cheese between them, and seal the edges.  But last night, I broke out the ol' Burger Pocket Press that I got years ago just for grins and giggles.  It actually does a good job, I just hate cleaning 4 pieces, that's the only downside.  Well, that and the cost.  No way it should cost $40.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Beef Back Ribs with Chimichurri on the Big Green Egg

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I do not receive any compensation for this post; however, I will be paid for my book sales.

The gauchos of Argentina knew what they were doing when they paired grilled beef with chimichurri.  The pungent flavor combination makes my mouth water every time.

This past weekend I found a nice rack of beef back ribs and decided to make the Beef Back Ribs with Chimichurri from my new book, The Offset Smoker Cookbook (Ulysses Press).  The only difference was this time, I used a Big Green Egg instead of an offset smoker.  Everything in this book can be cooked just as easily on a kamado instead of an offset.  The full recipe details are in the book but you can probably figure everything out from the details given here.

Beef Back Ribs with Chimichurri from The Offset Smoker Cookbook
Picture from The Offset Smoker Cookbook.

Types of Beef Ribs

I need to do an entire post about different types of beef ribs, but for today's purpose, I'll generalize and say there are two types of beef ribs (there are more). 

  • Beef Short Ribs - Cut from the Plate or Chuck primals, beef short ribs eat like brisket - luscious and beefy.  We smoke them whole, but in the grocery store, you'll see them trimmed down to half-sized individual ribs or flanken-style (Korean).  They are big, take a long time to cook, and a single rib will feed 1 to 2 people.
  • Beef Back Ribs - These are the rib bones that you see on a bone-in prime rib.   Beef back ribs are the leftovers once the butcher breaks a whole ribeye down into a boneless roast or ribeye steaks.  Naturally, these eat more like ribeye steak.  They LOOK big when you buy them, but they will shrink down quite a bit.  Back ribs are scrappy little things but still delicious.  Count on 2 bones per person.  

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Spicy Potatoes Au Gratin on the Big Green Egg

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.  A few of the links are Amazon Affiliate links, but I paid full price for the products mentioned.

I'm home alone this weekend and had a craving for potatoes au gratin last night, so I whipped this together for my dinner.  Sorry that some of the pictures are dark, it came off the grill right as the sun was almost set.

Potatoes au Gratin cooked on a Big Green Egg Mini-Max kamado grill.

The first problem I ran into was that I had no milk or cream for the base.  But I did have some Mexican crema, so I mixed a cup and a half of that with a half cup of chicken stock and about a tablespoon of my NMT Beef Rub v.2.  Basically, I mixed it to taste.

OXO Good Grips Mandonline slicer
I brought out the mandoline, aka the "destroyer of fingers."  I sliced half of a Vidalia onion at 1/16th inch and Yukon gold potatoes to 1/8th inch.  

Monday, July 8, 2019

Ribeye Steak with Compound Butter

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  I received no compensation for this post.  But in full disclosure, although I took the year off from working directly with Certified Angus Beef® Brand, I have been sponsored by them in the past and plan to return to the program next year.

I stopped by Food City before Independence Day to pick up a chicken for a recipe I had in mind.  But I had to pick up a steak when I saw that they were having a big sale on Certified Angus Beef® Brand steaks.  I still got the chicken...I just got a steak, too.

Certified Angus Beef Ribeye Steaks at Food City
Food City had USDA Choice and Prime C.A.B. ribeyes on sale for a price I couldn't ignore.
Certified Angus Beef Ribeye Steaks from Food City in Knoxville
I hand-picked this beautiful USDA Prime, Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steak.

A Bit about Steak Quality Terms
Are you confused by all of the Angus beef offerings these days?  In addition to USDA grades of Prime, Choice, and Select, at the meat counter you now see vague terms like premium, champion, and more.  Let's take a look at what it all means.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Book Launch Celebration

 My second book comes out later this month on July 22nd.  I'm excited to share that I will be having a Book Launch Celebration at East Tennessee's go-to retailer for BBQ and grilling gear and suppliers - Elder's Ace Hardware.  The event will take place on Big Green Egg Tuesday, July 23rd from 5 to 7pm.

Come out and join us.  Big Green Egg Tuesdays at Elder's Ace Hardware are always a good time.  We keep things informal but informative: sharing techniques, demonstrating recipes, and answering questions.  Think of it like hanging out on a friend's patio, grilling and shooting the breeze about BBQ.

The book is titled The Offset Smoker Cookbook published by Ulysses Press.  While it is geared towards the backyard-level offset smokers, the recipes can be cooked on just about any smoker.  Since the Book Launch Celebration coincides with Elder's Green Egg Tuesday, I will prove that point by cooking the recipes on Big Green Egg's.