Monday, February 10, 2020

Szechuan Pepper Steak

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I am proud to have Certified Angus Beef® Brand as our beef sponsor.

Have you ever used Szechuan peppercorns?  They are interesting in that contrary to what you might think, they aren't spicy black pepper or chiles.  Even more twisted, they contain a chemical named hydroxy-alpha-sanshool, which creates a slight numbing effect.  You can take advantage of this anesthetic effect by pairing it with spicy heat. 

That's what we did with this Asian inspired Szechuan Pepper Steak that Alexis and I cooked this weekend. The Szechuan peppercorns bring a flowery, almost citrus flavor, and Garlic Chile Butter adds luscious spiciness.  Of course, we cooked it on a grill, but you could absolutely do this on a stovetop.

Szechuan Pepper Steak featuring Certified Angus Beef® Brand NY Strip Steaks from Food City

Szechuan Pepper Steak


  • 2 12-ounce Certified Angus Beef® Brand NY Strip Steaks
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced on a bias for garnish

For the Dry Rub

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Reverse Seared Tri-Tip and Tri-Tip Cobb Salad

Three proteins?  That's my kind of salad!

Alexis and I made this Tri-Tip Cobb Salad for dinner this week.  It's not really an authentic Cobb salad...maybe Cobb-ish?  Whatever you want to call it, it's delicious.  It features:
  • Reverse-seared beef tri-tip.
  • Home-cured & smoked sorghum bacon (a recipe from our second book)
  • Homemade yeast roll croutons
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Sliced tomato
  • French fried onions
  • Spring mix
  • Homemade blue cheese dressing  

Tri-tip Cobb Salad or Steakhouse Salad

I had been craving beef tri-tip recently because Dan Phelps posted one that he cooked on his Kamado Joe at Learning To Smoke.  I mentioned to him that I hadn't seen tri-tip in the Knoxville area in quite a while and then BAM!  The very next week, I stumbled across a tri-tip!  The Baader-Meinhof effect for meat, perhaps? 

Santa Maria tri-tip rub recipe from Certified Angus Beef® Brand
I have had a jar of Santa Maria tri-tip rub that I made at the Certified Angus Beef® Brand Culinary Center last year.

Beef tri-tip seasoned with Santa Maria rub recipe from Certified Angus Beef Brand
I lightly coated the tri-tip with avocado oil and then liberally applied the Santa Maria rub all over. A lot of people ask me about avocado oil.  It is a high-temperature cooking oil that's excellent for grilling.  It has a neutral flavor, much like olive oil doesn't taste like olives, and peanut oil doesn't taste like peanuts.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Product Review: Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received an Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill free of charge for review purposes.  All content and opinions are my own and have been neither reviewed nor approved by Oklahoma Joe's before publishing.  This is what I'd tell you if you asked me about it while we hung out grilling on my deck.

Last year, Oklahoma Joe's shook up their decades-old classic line-up of offset smokers by adding their new drum smokers, the Bronco and Bronco Pro.  This year, they continue growing with the exciting addition of their line of pellet cookers, the Rider 600, Rider 900, and the Rider DLX pictured below.

Review of the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill
The Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX is a hoss!  It boasts 1,234 square inches of cooking space making it the biggest pellet cooker that I have used.

While pellet grills have been around for quite a long time, they have more recently become mainstream and now show up in big box stores and backyards across America.  The allure of pellet grills is that they have gas grill simplicity and convenience but the real-wood flavor of a traditional pit or grill.

How Pellet Grills Work

Pellet grills work by burning wood pellets - real wood pieces that have been compressed or extruded into a uniform shape and size.

  • Hopper - Contains the pellets until needed for cooking.
  • Controller - The "brains" of the operation, it is an electric controller that monitors the temperature inside the cooking chamber and controls the fan and auger.
  • Auger - A type of Archimedes screw that moves the pellets when needed from the hopper to the burn pot.
  • Burn pot - A small pot where the pellets drop and burn, creating heat and real-wood smoke. 
You set the controller for a specific cooking temperature, let's say 250°f.  The controller uses a feedback loop that keeps asking if the temperature is 250°f.  If below, it adds more pellets to burn, and if it is above, it stops adding pellets.  The fan stokes the fire and circulates the smoke, providing even cooking temperatures like a convection oven.  There's a lot of science and math that go into it, but that's the basic idea.

Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill going through it's warm up process


Assembly was straight forward and took just under 1 hour for me at a leisurely pace.  The instructions were clear, and the fasteners were clearly identified.  Much of the work is pre-assembled at the plant, making your job much easier.

Assembling the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill was relatively easy and quick - 1 hour.
Since the grill is so big, you'll want a good-sized area to spread out and work.  I did ours in the garage.

Monday, January 13, 2020

The OMG Brisket Slider - aka Ooey Mooey and Gooey

[Standard FTC Disclosure]  I received my Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX at no charge.  I am sponsored by Certified Angus Beef® Brand.

Tonight is the college football championship between LSU and Clemson - GO TIGERS!   (Boy, way to commit, Chris.)

I have the perfect Game Day food for you - the Ooey, Mooey, Gooey Brisket Slider - or for short the OMG Brisket Slider.

The OMG Brisket Slider Ooey Mooey and Gooey Krispy Kreme

Why yes, that is deliciously smoked brisket with pepper jack and sharp cheddar on a "grilled cheese" made with a freaking Krispy Kreme donut! 

  • Ooey - As in, you are walking through the office, spot a box and say, "Oooo donuts!"
  • Mooey - Smoked beef brisket
  • Gooey - A blend of your favorite cheeses

The OMG Brisket Slider works too, since the first thing you exclaim when eating it is OMG!

So that's the short version, here's the detail.

The folks at Oklahoma Joe's gave me a killer Christmas gift this year - one of their new Oklahoma Joe Rider DLX pellet grills.  It is the biggest pellet grill I've had, and I couldn't wait to try it out.  I have a full review post coming soon, but this is a BBQ beast.  

The new Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX pellet grill has 1234 square inches of space
The Oklahoma Joe's Rider - DLX -  The famed offset smoker manufacturer has entered the pellet grill market with 1,234 square inches of BBQ goodness.  Full review coming.

Certified Angus Beef® Brand briskets are my go-to choice when I can get them.

How I Choose My Briskets

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Southwestern Steak, Black Beans and Rice

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I receive sponsorships and material support from the Certified Angus Beef® Brand.  Any opinions stated are my own.

Sometimes my creative flow is more like a trickle.

Case in point, I had a nicely marbled flat iron steak but I just wasn't feeling the creative spark.  No worries.  I just hopped over to Certified Angus Beef® Brand's recipe page and searched for flat iron steak.  I found a recipe for Southwestern Steak, Black Beans, and Rice and off I went...

Certified Angus Beef's Southwestern Steak, Black Beans and Rice

The flat iron steak (aka top blade) comes from the chuck or shoulder of the steer.  Despite coming from section with an abundance of connective tissue, the flat iron steak is one of the more tender cuts of beef right up there with the tenderloin and teres major.  

It's also my Achilles heel in butchery.  I've tried to break one out two times and both times I botched it.  Diana Clark, the in-house Meat Scientist at Certified Angus Beef® Brand, was kind about my less than successful meat processing efforts but I know she was just being nice.  Fortunately for me, I can often find flat iron steak at the meat counter.

Recipes for certified angus beef brand flat iron steak.
The steak portion of the recipe is quite simple - pepper, cumin, salt, and ancho chile. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Shaved Smoked Prime Rib and Cheddar Sandwich

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

This sandwich is killer.  (I know that no one says that anymore but I'm old and I figure that trends are cyclical and eventually it will be in fashion again so bear with me.)

It starts with thinly sliced, smoked ribeye and is topped with smoked cheddar, caramelized onions, and horseradish sauce on top of a sesame seed bun. 

Shaved ribeye roast and cheddar sandwich kind of like an Arby's Beef and Cheddar....only better.

The star of this sandwich is the leftovers from our holiday smoked prime rib roast. 

Whole beef ribeye
It all started with a whole USDA choice ribeye.  I trimmed it into a chunk for cheesesteak sandwiches, 4 steaks, and a rib roast.
 I tied the roast and dry-brined it using our NMT Umami Steak Seasoning recipe.  I didn't measure how much I used, but I would guess about a half-cup.  I put it on a rack, loosely covered it, and placed it in the fridge for 12 hours. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Jack and Coke Steak

[Standard Disclaimer]  We proudly choose Certified Angus Beef® Brand as the official beef sponsor for Nibble Me This because of their 10 science-based quality standards and their commitment to providing the best Angus beef.

In late October, I was fortunate enough to be a judge at the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue.  "The Jack," as it is known in the BBQ competition world, is one of the premier contests.  It is like one of the Majors in golf or Grand Slams in tennis.                 

Jack Daniel's Jack and Coke Steak featuring Certified Angus Beef Brand from Food City.

This delicious steak is a tribute to my trip to The Jack for a couple of reasons.

  • While at the contest, I got to see friends, Chef Michael Ollier and Bryan Schaaf, from Certified Angus Beef® Brand.
  • The base recipe is from Jack Daniel's.
  • I used Jack Daniel's Charcoal Briquets and Smoker Blocks.

Each judge got a guest bag including things like Jack Daniels Charcoal Briquets & Smoker Blocks.
Each judge received a generous SWAG bag, and these were just two of the things in it.
I saw the simple recipe for Jack and Coke Steaks on the charcoal bag and decided to give it a whirl. 

I got these Certified Angus Beef Brand USDA Prime NY Strip Steaks from Food City on Morrell Road.
I went to my Food City and picked out this gorgeous pair of Certified Angus Beef® Brand, USDA Prime NY Strip Steaks.