Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Brick Grilled Chicken with Blackberry BBQ Sauce

Go ahead and sing it. You know you want to.

"She's a brrrrick.....house! Mighty mighty! Letting it all hang out."

I've been wanting to try a brick grilled chicken recipe ever since I first saw Alton Brown do one. You know, when you grill a chicken breast pressed between the grill grate and a pre-heated, foil wrapped brick.

Tonight I made John Besh's Brick Grilled Chicken with Blackberry Barbecue Tortilla Wraps (Click for the recipe), which is his contribution to the Everybody Has A Hand In Safe Grilling campaign.

I didn't have a brick handy but I needed something heavy and able to absorb heat. Hmmmmm....how about a cast iron corn bread mold? Poifect!

I wasn't crazy about the brick grilling technique. It was OK but it didn't really add anything to my grilled chicken. It also gave false high temp readings on my remote probe thermometer. No big deal, I just ignored it and went by look and feel.

The blackberry bbq sauce is a definite keeper for me. I usually don't like extra sweet sauces so I was wary of this one, but the ginger and red pepper balance it out. Alexis and I both loved it. It's a thinner sauce, even after I let it simmer for a while.

I also like how Besh recommends serving this family style. This is supposed to be an easy weeknight dinner and family style is fast and flexible. We subbed romaine for bib and added some tomato from our garden.

The wraps were an excellent summer meal. They'd probably even be good served cold, picnic style. They are sweet, tangy, and have that blend of texture and taste that you expect in a wrap.

We will definitely be making this one again. But next time, I'd forgo the "brick" part and just grill the chicken how I normally do (375f-400f, raised grid, x 20-25 minutes). I'd also baste some of the sauce onto the chicken in the last 10 minutes. I don't like just putting bbq sauce on meat after it has been grilled, I want it to cook onto the chicken.

Speaking of John Besh,
1) Don't forget to enter the giveaway for his book.
2) Have you seen his new show on TLC - Inedible to Incredible? Pretty funny stuff. I feel bad for the cooks but even worse for their families and the food that they have been eating for years! Ick.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Turkey Call Sandwich

The heat was sweltering as we laid by the pool and noon approached yesterday morning. I was tired of tasting the humidity and wondered aloud if we should start thinking about lunch.

"I just picked our first tomatoes last night," Alexis offered, "We could do BLT's."

"We don't have any lettuce and I don't feel like driving to the store. I have those turkey cutlets, I could grill those for a sandwich," I suggested just as the splash of a child's cannonball brought a welcomed relief.

"If it's not a BLT, what would you call it, a TBT?" she countered.

"I dunno," I stammered, "I'd call it.....I'd call it....a TURKEY CALL!"

Turkey Call Sandwich
Source: Nibble Me This
4-6 servings

6 slices bacon
2 ea Honeysuckle White turkey breast cutlets
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp garlic pepper
1/2 cup honey mustard sauce (I prefer Blues Hog Honey Mustard BBQ Sauce)
1 ea tomato from my backyard (substitute a local one if you aren't nearby)
3 slices bacon, cooked
2 slices Swiss cheese
1 loaf french bread

Cook bacon to a crisp.

Pound cutlets to 1/4" thickness with a meat mallet. Season with salt and garlic pepper.

Grill over a 350f fire (medium heat) for 2 minutes. Flip and brush the top with the honey mustard sauce.

Cook another 2 minutes. Flip and brush the top with honey mustard sauce. Cook another minute and remove.

Top the sliced French bread with sliced grilled turkey and a drizzle of the honey mustard sauce...

some thinly sliced tomato and kosher salt.....

the crisped bacon....

sliced Swiss cheese....

Then hit the top piece of bread with some mayonnaise. Put it all together and toast in a panini press or make your own panini press by grilling it in a hot pan topped with a heated cast iron pan. Cook for 5- 8 minutes.

Yeah, I know it's just a turkey sandwich, but it's a darn good one! The layers of texture and flavor played well together. The crisp sandwich shell and bacon contrasted sharply against the tender tomato, cheese, and turkey. The saltiness of the bacon and tomato's acidity are already perfect together so the grilled turkey was an added bonus.

Don't forget to enter my July Giveaway (CLICK HERE TO ENTER) for John Besh's My New Orleans - The Cookbook.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Grilling Safety & Cookbook Giveaway

Update: There were 71 entries and Random.org selected #42 as the winner of this giveaway: Holly. Emailing you for addy, Holly. Check spam filter if you don't get it.

Don't use matches or lighters to check for propane leaks.

That is on the Safe Grilling Checklist from the folks at the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), I'm not kidding. Sounds ridiculous right?

Not really. My educational and professional background are in occupational safety and health. From experience, I can tell you for every seemingly ridiculous "safety rule" there is at least one Darwin Award candidate that actually caused the need to state the obvious.

I promise you that someone has tried to use matches or lighters to check for propane leaks.

This is prime grilling season for most people (of course my grill knows no season) and the folks at PERC are currently running a campaign to remind us that "Everyone Has A Hand In Safe Grilling". They have teamed up with the talented Chef John Besh and loaded their website up with an interactive safe grilling guide, tips for getting kids involved in grilling, a safe grilling checklist, and some recipes.

Give Away
Part of their campaign is sponsoring this give away. Up for grabs is an autographed copy of John Besh's My New Orleans - The Cookbook.

This give away hurts, because I want to keep this one for myself. This is a hard-cover book with almost 400 pages of luring recipes, food tips, photographs, and stories.

John Besh is an award winning chef, a highly successful restaurateur, a father of four and he pours all of that into this book. Pam of Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner wrote a detailed review of My New Orleans this past Wednesday but she summed it up by calling it a "masterpiece". I couldn't agree more.

One of the things I like about it is that it is good for someone who follows recipes step by step but it is also suited for someone who uses them for inspiration. That whole pork tenderloin creole with grits that I made this week all came from Besh's Basic Creole Spices on page 13.

I could go on and on about this book, but lets get down to brass tax. Here's the giveaway rules and how to enter.
  1. To enter, leave a comment below. (If you use the "anonymous comment" option, be sure to leave your screen name in the comment so I can contact you if you are the winner. Something like "EggerinFL from the Egg Forum" or "swibirun from the BBQ Brethren forum" is enough.)
  2. One entry per person.
  3. BONUS ENTRY: If you tell a brief story about a close call grilling accident or the most unsafe thing you have seen done on a grill, your entry will count twice in the drawing.
  4. Drawing will be held Sunday, July 4th at 12:30pm Eastern.
  5. Comments will be numbered by order received and random.org will generate a random number for the winner.
  6. Limited to Continental US unless you wish to pay the extra shipping charges.
  7. I am the final judge regarding any discrepancies, interpretations, grievances, etc about this drawing.
Oh yeah, one more thing. Don't use matches or lighters to check for propane links.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Creole Pork Tenderloin and Grits

I was probably in my late teens before I realized that Creole was more than a lyric in the Dire Straits song Sultans of Swing.

They don't give a damn,
'bout any trumpet playing band
It ain't what they call rock and roll
And the Sultans played Creole
(remember how deep Knopfler's voice was when he repeated Creole?)

Then when I did learn about Creole food, for years I thought it was synonymous with Cajun. If you just heard a "thud" that was Katherine fainting over at Smoky Mountain Cafe.

I did finally learn the error of my ways and repented years ago. But those memories drifted across my mind tonight when I grilled a Creole pork tenderloin with grits.

Creole Pork Tenderloin and Grits
source: This one is kind of tricky. I used a very slight variation of John Besh's Basic Creole Spices. I loosely adapted the Creole sauce from a shrimp recipe in Joy Of Cooking (97 version). Then Nibble Me This has to get some credit for coming up with the dish and executing it :)

Creole Sauce
1/2 ea onion, peeled and diced
1/2 ea green pepper, seeded and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tsp thyme, dried
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 ea roasted red pepper diced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 cup canned diced tomato, crushed while cooking
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup red wine

Basic Creole Spices
(will make 1/2 cup but you will only use 2-3 Tbsp, store rest for later use)
1 3/4 Tbsp celery salt
1/2 tsp celery seed
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp coarse sea salt
1 Tbsp black pepper, finely ground
3/4 Tbsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp minced garlic (the dehydrated flakes)
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp allspice, ground

1 ea pork tenderloin

1 cup stone ground grits, slow cooked to directions

Green onion and cheese to garnish

Make the sauce first, you can even make it ahead of time and reheat. This is a mouth pleasing Creole base that could be used for shrimp, rice & okra, or anything.

In a hot cast iron pan, heat about 2 tablespoons of "menage-a-fat" (equal parts butter, oil, and bacon fat....sorry, I love that term and it's all mine!). Saute the onion, green pepper, celery, thyme and salt over medium heat for about 8-10 minutes until softened.

Add in the garlic and roasted red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.

Add in the tomato paste and tomatoes, stirring to mix in well, cooking for another 5 minutes. Make sure to crush the tomatoes up as you stir.

Add the wine and beef broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 25 minutes. If they get done before the grits and pork are done, just drop the temp as low as you can and keep covered. That probably even makes it better.

While that is cooking, cook your slow cooking grits according to directions. Seriously, you HAVE TO USE COARSE GROUND GRITS or don't bother. These are not your wimpy, blandy, soupy grits that most people associate with the idea of grits. These will have a nice thick texture and will serve as the base to this kick ass dish.

At the same time, you want to get your grill cooking at 350-375f. Rub your pork tenderloin with the creole seasoning to give it a good coating. I guess I used about 2-3 tablespoons. Grill it over direct heat turning every 5-6 minutes, until the internal temp hits 140f. That takes about 21 to 24 minutes for me but rely on your instant read thermometer.

Your grits and pork should both take about 30 minutes to cook, start to finish and then they can both rest for about 10 minutes. This will let the pork finish cooking and thicken up the grits.

Plate a large spoonful of the grits to the side of a deep plate. Ladle some of the Creole sauce on the rest of the plate. Top with thin slices of the pork and garnish with cheese and green onion.

The sliced pork by itself was so good that it could have disappeared at the cutting board. Thick stone ground grits always make me happy. I was worried the sauce might not be a suitable match since it was adapted from a shrimp recipe but holy crapoly, I couldn't have put together a better combination.

The best part? We have creole sauce leftover and I'm grilling shrimp tomorrow night!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Bamboo Skewer Tip

Ever have one of those weeks where you try so hard and come tantalizingly close but keep hitting a wall?

I tried for three days trying to convert the Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich into a kabob for the summer grill. We were going to call it a "Top Down Hot Brown" (great name idea from Alexis) but I just couldn't get the kabob to end up as a fitting conversion of the original. Eight different configurations ranged from almost edible, to edible, to almost good. But none were "it". I finally just walked away from it.

On the bright side, tonight's Thai grilled turkey breast came out exceptionally well. It's for a project I'm working on and you'll see in a few weeks, but we were very happy with it.

Tomorrow night, I'm working on a real post, but in the mean time, here is a tip for soaking BBQ skewers for grilling. It's not a huge revelation, but it is something I learned after trying to soak them a few other ways.

Help me feel better. Tell me about the hardest you have worked for a recipe that just ended up not working out to your expectations.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Wanna see what's in my drawers?

What? No, not THOSE drawers, you pervs.

I emptied the plastic drawers that I keep under my grill table to clean them out and couldn't believe how much stuff I had in there.

The contents included....
  • 8 instant read thermometers
  • 4 remote probe thermometers
  • 7 spatulas
  • 8 sets of tongs
  • 1 pair welding gloves
  • 2 pair safety glasses
  • 2 grate brushes
  • 1 MAPP gas torch
  • 3 cans spray oils
  • skewers (7 metal, 100 12" bamboo, 50 10" bamboo)
  • 4 silicone brushes
  • 2 rotisserie tines
  • 1 can compressed air (not sure why that was in there)
Sadly, that doesn't even touch the "garden bin" that holds some of our smoking woods, rib racks, veggie racks, steam pans, chimney starters, and such.

Wait. Why are you dialing the number to Hoarders?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Raichlen's Gaucho-Style Beef Ribs

Last night, Alexis and I took a trip to Brazil.

I've been enjoying Steven Raichlen's newest tome, Planet Barbecue! It is a culinary world tour of live fire cooking and I've been getting my epicurean passport stamped up lately. Last night, I had two racks of beef back ribs (the part trimmed off of a whole ribeye) and Alexis had gotten me a rotisserie attachment for Father's Day so I decided to follow Raichlen to Brazil for Gaucho-Style Beef Ribs.

These are beef ribs seasoned simply with coarse salt and pepper cooked over an oak fire. Sure, that might not sound like much of a "recipe" but it's more about process. The book recommends using a rotisserie for closer to authentic preparation but also gives a method for indirect cooking if you don't have a rotisserie.

So I threaded a rack onto the rod as Raichlen describes and used my rotisserie for the first time on my Brinkmann Professional Charcoal Grill. It smelled and sounded so good as the meat took a ferris wheel ride over the gates of hell.

Planet Barbecue! advises to cook these over medium heat (325-350f). Unfortunately, I rarely use this grill since I got my Big Green Egg and let the temps run away from me. I used a full chimney of lump and briquettes and even with both vents shut down, the temps skyrocketed to 550f.

The ribs ended up being a bit overdone despite my efforts but that was totally on me and my lack of fire management. Next time, and I will try this again, I would use a half of a chimney to get the lower temps.

Then I made the second rack of ribs on the Egg using the indirect method (mostly). As you can see, salt and pepper only.

I've done beef ribs on the Egg a few times but at smoking temperatures. This time I was running it at 325f with lump coal and Jack Daniels oak barrel wood chips.

When the ribs were almost done, I strayed from the method in the book. I wanted to get some direct heat on the ribs like the ones on the rotisserie so I switched to direct heat and grilled the ribs for about 90 seconds per side to finish them up.

Click this and just listen. If pictures are "food porn", then this is the sound track.

This time they were perfect! Trevor called them "steak ribs" which is really what they are.

Want to get your BBQ passport inked up? Pick up a copy of Planet Barbecue! Whether you are a novice griller or a serious Q enthusiast, you'll enjoy it. Steven Raichlen will be in the area for the next week or so doing book signings so get a signed copy.


Dayton, OH: Books & Co, 4453 Walnut Street
Presentation and Book signing, 7:00pm

Franklin, TN: Williams Sonoma, 1800 Galleria Boulevard
Book signing, 3:00 pm

Louisville, KY: Williams Sonoma, 5000 Shelbyville Road
Booksigning, 2:00pm

Lexington, KY: Williams Sonoma, 3473 Nicholasville Rd
Book signing, 6:00pm

Atlanta, GA: Sur La Table Perimeter Mall
Book signing, 6:00pm

FTC Disclosure Notice: I received my copy of Planet Barbecue! for free from the publisher for review a few months ago but everything I have said is my honest opinion. I plan to buy a copy at the Nashville (Franklin) book signing to give away so I can quit saying I got it for free, because it really is a great bbq book. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Finally something I can't make on the Big Green Egg

When I was a kid, homemade ice cream was a treat but also an endurance event similar to a triathlon. Instead of swim, bike, run, it was more like ice, salt, and churn. The family would shuttle ice and salt into the old ice cream maker while we took turns hand cranking the machine for what seemed like hours.

These days I can't believe how easy making homemade ice cream is. My parents gave us a Cuisanart ice cream maker (Model Ice 20) two years ago and it is so easy to use even a caveman could do it....providing he had electricity of course. No salt. No ice. No hand cranking.
Alexis made Toll House chocolate chip pan cookies (recipe on their bag) and then this super easy vanilla bean ice cream.

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups half & half
1 14 oz can of condensed milk
1 vanilla bean

Mix the first three ingredients. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the vanilla into the mix and discard the bean casing. Pour the mix into the pre-chilled machine and turn it on. She ran it in the ice cream mixer for about 30 minutes.

I don't eat much dessert at all, I just would rather have seconds or a heavy beer like Newcastle Brown (what I call dessert beer). But this was easy and oh so good.

The fork dives right through the ice cream and then drives into the cookie base...yum! The ice cream was light and creamy with that real vanilla pow in the kisser.

Don't worry, I'm still alive and aliens haven't kidnapped me. Grill programming to return in the next post ;)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mahi Mahi Maui Style

Maui style. What does that mean to you?

To most people, it probably means tropical or Hawaiian.

But to me, it reminds me of my adolescence because I started surfing when I was 14 years old. I was as passionate about surfing as we foodies are about food. And just like now when I cook outside year round, back then, I surfed year round, even in the winter. One of my favorite pieces of surf wear was a Maui and Son's sweatshirt that my sister bought me for Christmas in the 80's when Quicksilver, OP, Lightning Bolt, and surf wear were all the rage. It was perfect for changing into after peeling off a cold wetsuit.

I mentioned that sweatshirt tonight to Brett because I had given it to him and he told me that Trevor now had it. Some ~25 years later, that sweatshirt is still in use!

What in the sam hell does that have to do with cooking? Well, Maui and Sons started out as a cookie company but their venture failed so they turned to surf wear. The logo that adorned several pairs of baggies that I wore was based on a chocolate chip cookie.

I never knew that until tonight until the whole sweatshirt thing caused me to look them up on line.

While this recipe has nothing to do with Maui and Sons, it definitely fits my idea of Maui style! Bold and brash.

Mahi Mahi Maui Style
source: Not sure. I find this on several of the big recipe sites but no one cites the original source.

3-4 mahi mahi fillets
2 tsp butter
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp teriyaki sauce
4 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp honey
2 tsp sesame seeds

Melt the butter and saute garlic until it starts to brown. Remove from heat and whisk in the teriyaki sauce, lemon juice, honey and 1 tsp of the sesame seeds.

Marinate the fillets for 30 minutes while you preheat a grill to 350f.

Grill meat side down for about 3 minutes. Flip and grill skin side down for 5-8 minutes, until the fillet hits an internal temp of 140f.

Serve with sweet and sour rice and soy steamed green beans. I poured a smiddgen (official measurement) of the sweet and sour sauce over the fish too.

If you want to make an impressive grilled fish dish, then you want to give this one a try. I've been making this one for many years and it always rocks. And keep in mind, I hate fish.

June Giveaway Winner

Yesterday was appetizer day here at our house. We never really at one full meal but we snacked all day long.

I made up a small bite of fun using Mezzetta's Applewood Smoked Olives in Chardonnay. I've talked about these a few times since I found them at Food City this spring. They are the best olives I've ever had, they are a treat by themselves. Just a hint of smoke shines through each briny bite. I love using them in any Spanish or Greek dish calling for any other kind of olive.

Anyway, I split them and then stuffed them with a strip of roasted red bell pepper and a spear of Locust Grove Farms Cumberland cheese. Locust Grove is a local farm that makes spectacular cheese from sheeps milk. The Cumberland is there manchego cheese that adds "a wonderful mix of green peppercorns, sweet red chili’s, onion, garlic, and ginger". It is ridiculously expensive ($19 a lb) but worth every penny. I wrapped some with prosciutto and some with bacon and then high temp smoked them with more applewood. My temps were about 300 for about 30 minutes until the bacon was crisped.

The prosciutto wrapped ones were way too salty, not surprisingly. The bacon ones were perfect.

Then I tried grilling artichokes for the first time ever. I followed the Cooking For Engineers method which I think was on target. I just wasn't thrilled with the result. Granted I had high expectations, but I think I would have preferred grilling artichoke hearts on a skewer. Anyone have tips for grilling artichokes?

Next, I grilled some wild caught Gulf shrimp. Yes Gulf shrimp, you can still get it and should support those fishermen as long as it is available. Simply seasoned with Old Bay, brushed with butter/lemon juice and grilled 2 1/2 minutes a side at 300f. They were perfect and would have been ideal on shrimp tacos but we ate them straight off the skewer before tacos had a chance.

Finally, I made a version of Chris Lilly's BBQ Bacon Wrapped Shrimp.

And speaking of Chris Lilly, it is time to give away the autographed copy of his book, Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue Book - Recipes and Secrets of a Legendary BBQ Joint. There were 68 eligible entries and the winner was #18 - Thebtls, fellow Egghead and operator of the blog, Big T's Big Green Egg Recipe Blog.

Congratulations Big T. I'll email you through the Egg Forum but check your spam filters, a lot of messages to me from the forum end up there. I need a snail mail addy asap so I can get this to you before next weekend.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blackened Pork Chops

Dave at My Year On The Grill (who is currently temporarily exiled grill-less in the Virgin Islands) has taunted me a few times with his blackened pork chops. While "blackened" does sound like a euphemism for "burned", Dave has explained that it the meat is not burned but rather it has a crust of charred spices.

I grabbed this recipe from Big Oven for a blackening spice. Then read a little bit more on blackened meat and fish at Dave's blog and a few other sources. They were all very similar so I gave it a shot.

Blackened Pork Chops
Blatantly stolen from...errrr....inspired by My Year On The Grill

3 ea pork chop, 1" thick, boneless, trimmed
1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp thyme, ground
1/4 tsp oregano, ground
1/4 tsp celery seed

Almost every source I read mentioned the use of a searing hot cast iron pan for cooking these. I knew this was a job for my Craycort cast iron griddle insert.

I let the griddle get very hot in a 400f Egg that had already been burning for 2 hours. I then brushed each chop with hot melted butter (heat is the key) and then layered heavily with the rub. I placed them on the searing griddle, topped with a splash of more butter, and let them go for 2-3 minutes.

I flipped them and repeated the butter splash. The article did warn about possible flame ups from the butter...
I'll be honest, the flare up was much smaller. I did this one on purpose for effect and the camera :)

After two more minutes these chops had a perfectly charred crust on both sides. I quickly converted the grill to indirect heat by putting a grid extender over a 1/2 steam pan. I roasted them at 350f until they hit 145f internal.

I was worried how that crust was going to taste. I like a little char on my steaks, burgers and thinly sliced flank steaks, but this was something else. If it was all just char it was going to be bitter. But I trusted what Dave said.

I was so surprised when I tasted my first slice. There was nothing that resembled burned meat about the texture or taste. It was like Dave said it was, an intensely flavorful crust of spices wrapped around juicy, tender meat. I just wanted to eat the whole thing right there at the cutting board.

But that would have been overlooking the perfect side dish that I prepared for my FIRE DAY FRIDAY post over at Our Krazy Kitchen, red beans and rice.

This was a definite favorite dinner of mine, even if we did eat at 10pm last night.

Don't forget, Sunday is the deadline for entering my June giveaway, an autographed copy of Chris Lilly's book (see the side bar for details and to enter).

Cajun Blackened Spice Mix And Blackened Fish

Monday, June 7, 2010

Arroz con Pollo & Blogger Get Together

Wow! What a dinner and what a weekend. I'll start with the weekend first.

Saturday, we had a fantastic time at a blogger get together at Larry & Bev's home, also known as "Almost Heaven". Having been there, I can attest to the fact, it is truly, "Almost Heaven". Their home is tucked away on a quiet inlet on a reservoir in the Smoky Mountain foothills. See that cute little dock in the middle?

It's not so little. It's more of a party barge than a dock. It seats 25, has a fridge, sink and tons of counter space and we had so much fun, food, and friendship. It was wonderful getting to spend the day with our magnanimous hosts, Larry and Beverly of Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings, Sam and Meakin of My Carolina Kitchen, Katherine and AJ of Smoky Mountain Cafe, and six assorted kids.

The food was excellent, as expected, but we could have all made great food at home. The memories I will cherish was the fun we all had together. I could go on for hours and still not capture the socializing & hilarity that went on. You know all of those people that got to go to Camp Blogaway last month? I no longer envy them!

I didn't do a great job remembering to take pictures but my 3 favorite pics are of the kids after they had been in the water for about 5 hours at this point. These were taken within 60 seconds of each other.

Thank goodness Katherine's daughter Lauren had a boat license.

She could transform this....

Into this, with a twist of a jet ski throttle!

It was a small event but I would not trade it for the world. I can not WAIT until we get together again. Our club house and pool will have a tough act to follow whenever Alexis and I host one of these! Larry, can you fit your jet ski or your boat in a 6' deep pool?

Now on to tonight's dinner. It was awesome too and even Brett's picky eater girlfriend loved it.

Arroz con Pollo
Source: Adapted by Nibble Me This from Joy Of Cooking (97 version)

1 whole chicken, cut into wings, thighs, legs, and boneless breasts
2 Tbs poultry seasoning (click for the recipe I use)
1 Tbs black pepper, ground
1 ea yellow onion, half of it diced, half of it sliced
1 ea green bell pepper, half of it diced, half of it sliced
1 ea Anaheim pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled but left whole
4 oz smoke ham, diced
2 cups long grain rice, uncooked
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 Tbs paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
1 can diced tomato, drained (didn't have any fresh)
1 sprig fresh oregano, chopped
1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen thawed)
1/3 cup roasted red peppers, sliced
1/3 cup brine cured olives, pitted and chopped (These applewood smoked ones are AMAZING)

Preheat a cast iron skillet direct heat over at 350f fire. (That would be medium high on a stove top.)

Season the chicken pieces with the poultry rub and pepper. You could just use salt and pepper but I like the extra layering of flavor.

Add about 2-3 tablespoons of bacon grease or butter to the skillet and then brown the chicken pieces on all sides, which should take about 10 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces to a plate and reserve 2-3 tablespoons of the pan drippings in the skillet.

Add the peppers, onions, whole garlic cloves, and ham to the skillet and saute about 5 minutes. The reason I slice some and dice some of the pepper and onions instead of just dicing it all is that I like how the longer pieces look in the final dish. I do the whole cloves of garlic because diced garlic would burn during this stage but I want the flavor in there.

Add the rice to the veggie mixture and stir, tossing until the rice is well coated. Saute for 1-2 minutes until rice gives off a nutty aroma and starts to brown. Stir in the minced garlic, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Add the stock, tomatoes, and oregano, stirring with a wooden spoon to deglaze all the goodies from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the the skillet, cover, reduce heat to 275f to 300f (medium on stove top), and let simmer for 20 minutes. I was having a little of a hot spot in the back of my Egg last night so I turned the skillet a quarter turn every 5 minutes or so.
I had a bit of a time trying to get the Egg back down to 275f but it seemed okay at 300f.

After the 20 minutes, I stirred in the olives, red pepper, and peas. I covered it and cooked another 5 minutes, just to heat through.

Remove and serve family style.Did this dish gain anything from being cooked by live fire on the Big Green Egg versus on a stove top? Not really, but there were some advantages for me:
  1. I didn't heat the kitchen up.
  2. I got to enjoy the sun going down as I cooked.
  3. When the dish was done, I thought the chicken needed a touch more color so I grilled it for about 60 seconds and put it back in the skillet.
  4. I got to play with fire!