Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Antipasto Flatbread on the Big Green Egg

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Alexis and I have been on an antipasto flatbread binge this year. This delicious and easy-to-make flatbread is loaded with artichoke hearts, olives, red onion, roasted red pepper, sliced pepperoncini, grilled chicken, a light amount of cheese, and a sun-dried tomato pesto for the sauce.

Antipasto flatbread pizza on the Big Green Egg

I was inspired by the December issue of Eating Well's Antipasto Sliders.  They were a vegetarian spin on those ham and cheese sliders that you make with pull-apart rolls. We made them as written and they were good but I couldn't help but think they'd be even better with a sun-dried tomato pesto so we made another version of them. The sliders are an excellent idea for heavy hors d'oeuvres.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Event Preview: Mini-Fest at Tuckaway Shores Resort - Indialantic FL

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When I first started out on my BBQ journey, it was the early days of online communities. Instead of social media, #hashtags, and trending, groups of enthusiasts gathered on bulletin boards and forums like a clan of cavemen gathered around a fire in a cave. On the original Big Green Egg Forum, I heard tales of a private gathering of Eggheads (Big Green Egg aficionados) spending a weekend at a beachfront motel cooking great food for each other. 

Because of demand, it was a hard invite to get but I knew that one day, I would get to this legendary Mini-Fest. That finally happened in 2019 and I loved every minute of it. I thought I would preview the 2021 Mini-Fest since it was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Mini-Fest is a weekend-long, end-of-the-Eggfest-season celebration. It is a small group, mostly of long-time Eggfest cooks, that gets together to close out the season.

Differences Between an Eggfest and the Mini-Fest.

Regular Eggfests are awesome. At these regional events, a local distributor and/or organizer hosts an event where teams of Eggheads grill up their best foods to serve to ticket-buying crowds. You can buy demo eggs and eggcessories onsite. Typically the ticket proceeds go to a local charity. They are a ton of fun for the cooks and crowds.

Mini-Fest is different on a number of fronts.

  • It's all about cooking and eating. Mini-Fest is an organic event created by and for Eggheads solely for the purpose of cooking together and for each other. No raffles, no sales, and no stress. 
  • No crowds. The only people you are cooking for is fellow cooks. 
  • Mini-Fest lasts for the entire weekend, morning, noon, and night.
  • No schedule of events. It's just a weekend of freestyle cooking. People cook what they want, when they want, and there is always something to eat.
  • No teams, no competition. This is just individuals cooking for other people. There is a ton of collaboration and sharing. "You've got scallops? I've got some beef tenderloin trimmings. Want to make a surf and turf appetizer for everyone?"
  • Fewer Eggs. Because there is no regional distributor with a supply of demo grills, there are only a handful of users' Big Green Eggs on hand but everyone shares and there's always a grill you can use.
Scallops searing in a cast-iron skillet on a BGE Mini-Max.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Dirty Rice with Cajun Chicken (RIP Popeye's Cajun Rice)

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This weekend, Alexis and I made Cajun Chicken with our quick and easy dirty rice recipe.

We made it because we learned from Southern Living this weekend that Popeye's has discontinued their Dirty Rice, aka Cajun Rice. 

This has long been a personal favorite of mine, as well as Taco Bell's Mexican Pizza, which was also recently dropped from their menu. I mean, I don't eat much fast food anyway, but with these establishments dropping my favorites, I'm starting to take it a bit personally (haha). 

Fortunately, both of these dishes are easy to make at home, and I've had "sort of clone recipes" for years. Here is our version of Dirty Rice. It's not an exact clone; it is more an "inspired by" type thing. 

Dirty Rice recipe similar to Popeye's Cajun Rice

This version has a mild heat to it from the Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning. If you can't tolerate much heat, then drop the Cajun Seasoning to 1/2 teaspoon. If you want more heat, use spicy sausage, increase the Slap Ya Mama, or swap jalapeno peppers for the green bell pepper.

You'll need to cook the rice in a covered pot, so use a large, lidded chef's pan or pot. I used my All-Clad Hard-Anodized 12" chef's pan, but I've also made this in a 3-quart pot as well.

Dirty Rice (aka Cajun Rice)

Friday, January 29, 2021

Gochujang Pork Chops with Noodle Stir Fry

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I'm by no means an expert in Asian cuisine but I sure like to dabble in it. Case in point, these pork chops with a compound butter featuring the amazing spicy, umami, and slightly sweet flavors of gochujang that we made last year. 

Gochujang pork chops with noodle stir fry

If you're not familiar with it, gochujang is a Korean condiment made with fermented bean paste, chiles, and rice. It is often lumped in with sriracha, sambal oelek, and garlic chile paste. They are all similar and based on red chiles, but I find that they each have their own unique taste and texture. For me, gochujang has more of the umami flavor.

I use the compound butter in the sous vide pack and in the stir fry. But the best part is using the butter at the end, letting it melt its deliciousness all over the juicy pork chop.

Gochujang pork chops with noodle stir fry
The gochujang butter is an avalanche of lusciousness and flavor.

Choosing A Wok For The Grill

Monday, January 18, 2021

Shaved Steak Gyros on the Big Green Egg

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I love gyros. A pita stuffed with the heavily seasoned, mildly spicy lamb/beef mixture topped with a creamy, aromatic tzatziki sauce is Nirvana to my palate.  

Quick and easy shaved steak gyros on the Big Green Egg
Shaved steak gyros topped with tzatziki sauce.

To me, the only downside is that the process is time-consuming and usually requires that I start one day ahead of time. I have to find lamb, grind it with beef and seasonings, and then let it rest for a day before cooking.

Quick and Easy Solution

This is another case where the Bertolino's Certified Angus Beef® Brand shaved steak from Food City comes in handy. With a hefty dose of Greek seasoning, it tastes pretty darn close to my usual gyros with hardly any work, and I can have them ready within 30 minutes. So far, I have used this shaved steak in fajitas, stir-fry, cheesesteak sandwiches, and now gyros.

cooking Shaved steak gyros in a Griswold skillet on a Big Green Egg
Cooking shaved steak gyros in an 80-year-old Griswold skillet on a large Big Green Egg. You can see a Kick Ash Basket down there in the glowing coals; that one is 6 years old and holding up well.

Stovetop, Skillet, or Griddle

To be honest, I don't think doing this on the grill adds anything to the recipe; it's just a matter of preference. This recipe works well in a skillet on the grill, on the stovetop, or using a flattop griddle. 

Leftover Gyro Salad

If you have leftovers, this makes for an excellent salad as well. Just put the meat, seasoned onion, and tomato on a bed of mixed greens. Then you can thin the tzatziki with some buttermilk, lemon juice, or stock to make the salad dressing.

Shaved steak gyros with tzatziki sauce

Monday, January 4, 2021

Reverse-Seared Tomahawk Ribeye on the Big Green Egg

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We started off 2021 with a thick, juicy tomahawk ribeye steak that I dry-brined and then reverse-seared on one of my large Big Green Eggs. 

How I Reverse Sear Tomahawk ribeye steaks on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Tomahawk ribeye steak with Worcestershire and shallot salt.

Being quite thick, there is a lot of meat that doesn't get touched by seasoning during cooking, so after slicing this behemoth steak, I seasoned it with homemade Worcestershire and shallot salt. A good finishing salt like this makes the flavor pop.

This isn't a recipe post; it's more about the process. Here's what we did on New Year's Day.

Monday, December 21, 2020

CAB Manhattan Filet with Creamed Spinach and Twice Baked Potatoes

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Have you ever had the Manhattan filet? I learned about this excellent cut from the Snake River Farms folks at Kingsford University back in 2011. It's essentially a NY Strip cut into two filets. I like this cut for the portion control and because it gets a little more crust on your filet.  

Here's a Manhattan filet that we made this weekend, along with the classic sides of creamed spinach and a twice-baked potato. 

Manhattan Filet with Creamed Spinach and Twice Baked Potato
Manhattan Filet with Creamed Spinach and Twice Baked Potato

Here's what we did for each item.

Manhattan Filet

The pictures tell the story for this one.