Monday, July 26, 2021

Portobello Marsala Strip Steaks

[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post. After being big fans of Thermoworks products since 2010, I have recently enrolled as a Thermoworks affiliate.

We don't do a lot of sauces for steak. Dragging fresh slices of steak through the juices, seasonings, and melted butter on the cutting board is my standard MO. But every now and then, I like to shake things up and get a little saucy like I did with this Portobello Marsala Strip Steak.

Portobello Marsala Strip Steaks from the Big Green Egg kamado grill
The salty sweet flavor of the sauce and mushrooms pairs excellently with the steak.


Slight confession, we typically split a steak between the two of us for dinner because our appetites have slowed down as we have gotten older. The good news is that means we get to have steaks for dinner two nights in a row. 

The full recipe is at the bottom of the post. Here are a few pictures and tips from the cooks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Brown Sugar and Bourbon Peaches with Grilled Pound Cake

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This is a cheating dessert because it is so easy. We even used store-bought pound cake. But being easy doesn't make it taste any less delicious. The lightly toasted pound cake adds a bit of texture. The sweetness of the fresh Georgia peaches is complemented by the caramel and vanilla flavor notes of the bourbon and brown sugar. It all comes together for a low-effort, high-reward dessert. 

Brown Sugar and Bourbon Peaches with Grilled Pound Cake from the Big Green Egg
Oh yeah, we threw some vanilla ice cream in there too, just for good measure.

The full recipe follows the pictures.

Monday, July 12, 2021

BBQ Leftovers: Brisket and Fire Roasted Corn Pizza

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When you smoke a lot of BBQ, you often have freezers full of extra BBQ. We pit hounds get creative with our leftovers. Here is a pizza that Alexis made this weekend that was loaded with smoked brisket and fire-roasted corn. 

Smoked brisket, fire-roasted corn, red pepper, fresh tomato, mozzarella, cheddar, and a creamy salsa verde pizza sauce top this pizza that we cooked at 500°f on the Big Green Egg.

The Dough

This pizza was hilariously thick because I don't listen well.  Alexis used one of the pizza dough recipes that we typically use. But after she made and rested it, I divided it by 2 instead of as written for 3 pies. Oops. Still tasted great.

Monday, July 5, 2021

Smoke Brisket and Pork Butt Cook on the Deep South Smokers GC36

[FTC Standard Disclosure] We received the BBQ UltraQ free of charge last year to review. I also use Amazon Affiliate links for products that I use and I receive a small commission for those. We received no other compensation for this post. 

We smoked a pair of briskets and pork butts on the gravity-fed Deep South Smokers during the 4th of July weekend.

Smoked brisket platter with mixed chili beans, roasted jalapeno potato salad, and Texas toast.
Sliced brisket platter with meat from the point and flat. Loved our fire-roasted jalapeno potato salad. Served with Bush's Mixed Chili beans, Texas toast, and the Texas BBQ sauce from Ray Sheehan's Award-Winning BBQ Sauces and How to Use Them.

I have to be honest and admit that this is the least-good brisket I've made in two years. When I say least-good, it was still edible and better than most I've had at restaurants; it just wouldn't place in the top half at a BBQ competition. It was a little tight (not tough), not as juicy, and a bit underwhelming in flavor.

So why am I posting about it? Because sometimes, there is more to learn in failures than successes. The lesson I reiterated or confirmed this past weekend is this:  When making changes to your brisket (or pork, chicken, ribs) program, change only one thing at a time. I changed way too many variables to get meaningful data.

  • Changed the brand of beef due to availability issues.
  • I used choice instead of prime beef due to availability issues.
  • Changed 1 of my 2 brisket rubs.
  • I did not inject the brisket at all.
  • I did not give the brisket a 12-hour dry brine.
  • Cooked the brisket whole instead of separated into the flat and point.
The pork? Oh, it was fantastic, up to my usual standards - juicy, tender but not mushy, and flavorful.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Knoxville Style Dry Rubbed Wings

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What food is your city or town known for?

  • Memphis has Memphis style dry ribs (dry-rubbed, not dry meat)
  • St Louis has pork steaks
  • New Orleans has beignets
If Knoxville has a food style like this, I think it might be the naked or dry-rubbed wing. When I think of wings in town, the first ones that come to mind are Big Kahuna Wings. They have been doing dry-rubbed wings since the early 90s. There is also Dead End BBQ with their Naked Wings, KTown Tavern's Jumbo Ole Smokey Naked Wings, and Sweet P's Downtown Dive's has wings tossed in Soul Rub. These all have a few things in common.
  • Jumbo-sized wings
  • Heavily seasoned, almost coated, with a bold dry rub
  • Smoky flavor (Note: BKW's aren't smoked at the restaurant, but the Fire has a smokiness to it)
  • Extra crispy skin
Here's my version of the Knoxville-style Dry Rubbed Wings. 

Knoxville Style Dry Rubbed Wings on the Big Green Egg
I served these with a potato salad that I'm working on for this weekend's brisket. The base is a fire-roasted jalapeno and garlic mayo.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Cowboy Ribeye Steak with Crispy Potatoes and Black Beans

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This weekend, we bought a 20-ounce, black Angus, cowboy ribeye steak from Butler and Bailey Market. We grilled it on the Big Green Egg and served it with some crispy skillet potatoes and black beans for a delicious meal.

Cowboy Ribeye Steak, crispy potatoes, and bush's best Sidekicks

Well, it was labeled as a cowboy steak but semantically, there is room for debate about that. What exactly is a cowboy steak?

Bone-in Ribeye, Cowboy Ribeye, and Tomahawk Ribeye

This was definitely a bone-in ribeye steak but it depends who you ask as to whether it is a cowboy steak. All three of these steak names come from the beef rib primal. The cowboy and tomahawk are both derivatives of the bone-in ribeye. 

  • Bone-in Ribeye Steak - Any ribeye steak with a bone is a bone-in ribeye, duh. Typically when I see that term used, it is referring to a ribeye steak with a small piece of the rib bone still attached.
  • Cowboy Ribeye Steak - The Field Guide To Meat declares that a cowboy steak is simply a bone-in ribeye steak (38). Other sources, such as this Certified Angus Beef page state that a cowboy ribeye has a short frenched bone. In other words, the wedge of meat called the lip is removed to show barebone at the end.
  • Tomahawk ribeye steak - The tomahawk is a ribeye steak with the full rib bone exposed. It makes the most dramatic presentation but it adds nothing to the flavor compared to cowboy or bone-in ribeye steaks.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Event Coverage: University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture's Smoking School

 [FTC Standard Disclosure] We received no compensation for this post and we paid full price for our admission. 

What a fun weekend! Alexis and I attended the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture's (UTIA) Smoking School. The class agenda was focused on brisket and ribs. We learned a good bit, saw old friends, made new friends, and ate well. 

Univerity of Tenneessee Institute of Agriculture Smoking Shool 2021

If you've never taken a grilling or BBQ class, I highly recommend doing so. Even if you are a proficient griller, this is the best way to add skills, expand your repertoire, and challenge your existing notions. I can't share recipes or all of the details but here's a recap of this event.

About The Event

The 2021 Smoking School is the first such program offered by the UTIA and I would say it was a smoking success. The UTIA is about research, academics, and outreach, so Smoking School fits nicely into its mission. The content UTIA brought as a learning institution was a nice addition to the usual BBQ class agendas.