Saturday, June 25, 2022

Afghan-Style Game Hens with Harissa Yogurt Sauce on the Big Green Egg

[FTC Standard Disclsoure] We received no compensation for this post. If I use any links that may earn compensation, I will tag them with [Affiliate Link]. 

I have 70+ grilling-related cookbooks on my shelves, but there are only about a dozen that I go back to time after time. Steven Raichlen's classic Barbecue! Bible [Amazon Affiliate Link] is one of those. It has over 500 tried and true recipes with influences from around the world. I recently made the book's recipe for Afghan-Style Game Hens, which was phenomenal.

Afghan-Style Game Hens with Harissa Yogurt Sauce
Afghan-Style Game Hens with Harissa Yogurt Sauce

The recipe has you marinate split game hens in a blend of yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and spices, and then grill to perfection. The marinade results in vivid orange color, tangy flavor, and juicy meat. He suggests using a rotisserie or two-zone fire. I was using a Big Green Egg and decided to use the raised direct method to get a crispy crust.

Raised-Direct Grilling

Benefits of Raised-Direct Grilling

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Steak and Shirazi

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] We received no compensation for this post. If I post any links that may generate compensation for me, I will tag them as [Affiliate link].

This wrap's bright and bold flavors make my mouth do a happy dance. 

Grilled flank steak and shirazi salad wraps featuring Certified Angus Beef Brand

It starts with thinly sliced Greek seasoned flank steak that we top with a sultry tahini sauce. Next, we add a Shirazi salad bursting with Middle Eastern flavors and finally sprinkle on some crumbled feta. We wrap all of that up in a warm, soft piece of naan bread, and it is oh so fantastic! 

Shirazi Salad

Shirazi is named after the region from whence it hails, Iran. We like to call it Middle-Eastern pico de gallo. It is a salad with tomatoes, Persian cucumber, onion, herbs, and an acidic dressing. We can't always get Persian cukes, but English cukes work. Like pico, we find it is best served about an hour or two after making it.

Grilled flank steak and shirazi salad wraps
Shirazi salad is brightly flavored and is fantastic with grilled chicken, steak, or by itself.

Here's the recipe for the whole shebang, with pictures and tips following the recipe.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Garlicky Smashed Potatoes on the Grill

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After my recent post about the Green Chile Flank Steak I had a lot of people ask about my process for making the garlicky smashed potatoes.

Three S's of Smashed Potatoes - Size, Seasoning, Smash

It is a simple method - boil the potatoes until they are fork-tender, smash them, cook them on a griddle, season them and cover them with luscious garlic butter. The trick is to follow the Three-Ss.

  • Size - You can use just about any variety of potato for this, the trick is to use "b-sized" potatoes, which is 1.5 to 2.5" in diameter. We used red bliss potatoes for this batch.
  • Seasoning - A simple SPG rub (salt, pepper, garlic) works the best. I like using my NMT Beef Rub V.2 recipe. For commercial, Fire and Smoke BBQ Company's The Classic is an excellent choice.
  • Smash - You want to smash the potato thin enough to get the maximum flat surface area you can while still leaving the potatoes intact. For me, that works out to about 1/2 inch in thickness. If you smash them too thinly, they will be pulverized. I find that smashing them between a folded deli sheet or wax paper makes smashing and handling them easier.

For me, the easiest way to smash them is with a recessed burger press. Instead of a flat bottom, this press is recessed so I only smash them to about 1/2 inch no matter how hard I press.  Perfect every time. In lieu of this, you can smash them with any sturdy, flat surface - a skillet bottom, a stiff spatula, a plate, you name it.


Garlicky Smashed Potatoes

Published 05/05/2022

Monday, May 2, 2022

Green Chile-Crusted Flank Steak on the Griddle

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post. Any link which may earn us a commission will be tagged as [Affiliate Link].  

This weekend, we made green chile-crusted flank steak with chimichurri, garlicky smashed potatoes, and Mexican street corn. 

Green Chile Crusted Flank Steak with Chimichurri cooked on the PK Grill
Green chile-crusted flank steak with chimichurri, garlicky smashed potatoes, and Mexican street corn.

When I enjoy a meal out at a restaurant, I often like to recreate it at home. Last week, Alexis and I went out to dinner with our older son, his girlfriend, and some friends at Point B on their opening day. We saw that they offered all sorts of boards (charcuterie and otherwise), so we were excited to try them out.

There I got the steak with chimichurri, smashed potatoes, and elote. The steak was tender and it was tasty with the chimi. The potatoes were nicely roasted medallions. I'm always a sucker for elote. The place has a ton of potential, and we are looking forward to going back to try out their boards. 

Steak and Chimichurri from the newly opened restaurant, Point B, in Knoxville

I thought it might be hanger steak. The waiter asked and was told it was flank steak, but I'm pretty sure it was a hanger. The shape was nothing like a flank unless it was a super thick one cut in steaks lengthwise. That said, I love flank steak, so that's what I used when I did my spin on this meal.

Griddled Flank Steak with Chimichurri

I dry-brined the flank steak with my Green Chile Steak Seasoning recipe and then grilled it on a griddle on the grill to get that broad, crispy crust. The kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, shallot, green chile, cumin, and coriander give it a deep flavor. If you don't feel like making the rub, pick up a jar of Albukirky's Green Chile Seasoning, it's fantastic stuff. I used a variation of Steven Raichlen's The Real Chimichurri because I like my chimi to be more like a light dressing than a thick condiment. 

More details and photos are after the recipe.

Green Chile Crusted Steak with Chimi

Published 05/01/2022

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Boursin Black Pepper Strip Steaks on the Big Green Egg

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

I haven't been cooking many steaks this year because food prices have skyrocketed.  But when I saw a half strip loin of Certified Angus Beef® Brand for under $50, I couldn't resist it. I cut it into thick steaks and the first thing that I made was these Boursin Black Pepper Strip Steaks.

Boursin Black Pepper NY Strip Steaks featuring Certified Angus Beef Brand

What is Boursin?

Boursin cheese is a brand of Gournay cheese, which is a soft, creamy cheese. I didn't know they had a cracked black pepper version until I saw it at the store last week. The pepper adds a slightly spicy kick. The contrast between the creaminess and sharpness of flavor sort of reminds me of gorgonzola or mild blue cheese. I'm not saying it tastes like blue cheese, just a sharp contrast like blue cheese. 

Cracked Black Pepper Boursin Cheese is fantastic on steaks, potatoes, and burgers.

My immediate impression was that it would be perfect in compound butter for steaks. So here we are. 

Boursin Black Pepper Butter

Monday, April 18, 2022

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with Pepper & Onion Skewers

[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received a Char-Broil Cruise grill with Cruise Control Technology free of charge for review purposes. I receive no other compensation for this post and I have no business dealings with Char-Broil.

Grilled chicken teriyaki is a classic and it is an excellent recipe for beginning grillers because it is simple yet creates a delicious flavor.

Grilled chicken teriyaki with pepper and onion skewers on the Char-Broil Cruise gas grill

Two-Phase Glaze

You can't glaze grilled meats with teriyaki sauce too early in the process because the sugar will burn. I like to use a two-phase approach. After grilling for a few minutes, I start basting with teriyaki sauce that has been cut with chicken stock or broth in a 3:1 ratio. This lets the sauce cook onto the chicken without burning. Then in the last few minutes, I use a thicker glaze to finish it off.

Grilled chicken teriyaki with pepper and onion skewers on the Char-Broil Cruise gas grill

I cooked this recipe on the Char-Broil Cruise gas grill; you can find my full review here. Teriyaki can make a mess on your grill, so I wanted to take advantage of the Auto-Clean feature after cooking. It would work just as effectively on a charcoal grill; I was just being lazy...there I admitted it. 

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with Pepper and Onion Skewers

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Product Review - Char-Broil Cruise Grill with Cruise Control Technology (MSRP $699)

[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received a Char-Broil Cruise at no cost for review purposes. All opinions are my own. I receive no compensation for this post, nor do I have any other financial arrangements with Char-Broil or their affiliates.

Product Review – Char-Broil Cruise Grill (MSRP $699)

Earlier this year, Char-Broil introduced their newest, game-changing grill – The Char-Broil Cruise. I was lucky enough to receive a Cruise unit from Char-Broil and have put this new grill through real-life cooking for the past few weeks. Here are my thoughts and experience with this new grill.

Char-Broil Cruise Grill review

Tame The Flame, Change The Game

So what makes this grill a game-changer? Until now, gas grill heat controls have been knobs that control the gas flow at a set rate of consumption. If I set my old gas grill on “medium”, the grill will let the gas flow at that designated rate. That rate of flow doesn’t change regardless of the actual cooking temperature it achieves or factors like ambient temperature or wind.

The Char-Broil Cruise changes this by cooking at a specific set temperature. If I set the grill for 500°f, the Cruise will assess the grill temperature and if it is anything but 500°f, the grill will adjust the gas flow to achieve 500°f and maintain that temperature. No more guessing or adjusting.

Making fajita steak on Char-Broil Cruise Grill review
The Char-Broil Cruise automatically adjusts gas flow to maintain a specific cooking temperature.

Let’s look at the features that I like and the experience I had while cooking some of the typical backyard basics.


Digital Temperature Control and Auto-Calibration

The ability to set a precise cooking temperature and know that the grill will maintain it gives a cook confidence. This is true from beginning backyard chefs to seasoned pros like me. The Cruise has a thermometer mounted inside the cooking chamber that provides feedback to a processor. The processor controls the two-burner tubes to maintain the set temperature.

color indicator display on the Char-Broil Cruise Grill review
The controls are straightforward. The dial controls the temperature setting in 5°f increments.