Saturday, December 31, 2011

Grilling 101: How To Fire Roast Chile Peppers

The smell, taste, and texture of fire roasted chiles made fresh cannot be replicated out of a jar or can.  Fire roasting your own is easy, lets you use the freshest ingredients, and gives you the ability to control the blend of flavor and heat.

Fire roasted chiles make salsas, burgers, and chili con carne so much better than diced raw or canned chiles because they bring the smoky spicy flavor but tame the heat just a bit.

Here are the basics of how to fire roast your own chiles.

I say variety because I find a blend usually delivers much more flavor than just one type of chile.  I like to use a blend of mild (bell peppers, pimento), medium (poblano, jalapeno, serrano), and hot (habanero, birdseye). Generally, fleshy and meaty chiles are more suited for fire roasting than thin walled chiles. 

Fire roast
Preheat a charcoal grill to high heat (450-500f).   Roast the chiles over direct heat until well charred (2-3 minutes per side).  

They should look blistered and burned when done, don't worry.  It's hard to overdo them.  The blacker they are, the easier they will peel.

When scorched on all sides, place in a bowl and cover with Glad Cling Wrap.  This will use the residual heat of the chiles to steam the skins lose.

Cut the top (vine end) of the chile off.  Sliced down one side of the chile and open it flat on a surface.  Use a sharp knife to scrape off the seeds.

Flip over and use your knife to peel off the charred skin.  Hold the sharp knife perpendicular to the chile and lightly drag across, that should pull most of the skin off without damaging the flesh.  If some bits of skin are left, don't worry, it doesn't have to be perfect and that will add flavor to your final dish.  
One strip of the skin peeled on the right side.  The better you char it, the easier the skin peels off.
Grilling 101 is a series of posts that I am using to support basic techniques that I use in my normal recipe posts.  I plan to update these posts as I think of addition stuff to add.  Feel free to add any tips you might have in the comments.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Grilled Pork Chops with Two Chili Sweet Sauce

 Wow, it's hard to believe that the holiday season is almost behind us.  There are so many great memories to cherish and you kind of hate to see the season pass by.  But to be honest, I think many of us are thinking the same thing....."GREAT!  I don't have to watch that stupid [ENTER YOUR MOST HATED HOLIDAY TV COMMERCIAL HERE] spot again!"

Speaking of holidays, I had this big hunk of pork crown roast for New Year's and realized there was no way my little family of four could eat it all.

So I cut it down into 4 kick butt, nice and thick, bone in rib chops and a smaller roast that we're saving for New Year's Day.

Here's what I did with the pork chops after a quick 1 1/2 hour brine in apple juice, water, salt, fennel and pepper.  A brine does many great things for lean pork...but in this case the best thing was it gave me 90 minutes to figure out how I was going to cook it!  Here's what I came up with.

Served with cilantro quinoa (ick) and Black Bean Fiesta (yum).
The Two Chili Sweet Sauce really surprised me because I thought it might be a little too spicy hot and I have the higher heat tolerances in the family.  But Brett didn't think it was and Alexis loved it, using more on her quinoa to cover up the blech factor of that dish.

Grilled Pork Chops with Two Chili Sweet Sauce

Serves:  4 hungry people

  • 4 ea pork chops, bone in, 1" thick
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
For the sauce
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 ea shallot, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp habanero chili, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp roasted sweet red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup red pepper jelly
  • slurry (2 Tbsp cold water, 1 Tbsp corn starch whisked together)
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  1. Preheat charcoal grill to 450f set up for both direct and indirect cooking.  Have your hot coals on one side (direct) and nothing on the other side (indirect).  I was using my Smoke Hollow Smoker/Grill combo and used about 3 quarts of Kingsford briquettes with hickory for a little smoke flavor.
  2. Pat pork chops dry and season all sides with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  (Not "both" sides, ALL sides)
  3. Grill chops over the direct heat for 4 minutes per side.  
  4. Reduce heat (shut down your grill's air intake vents) and move chops to indirect heat. Roast until the chops reach an internal temperature of 135-137f degrees.  This took ours roughly 15 minutes but go by temps, not times.
  5. Remove pork chops from grill and rest on a rack raised over a plate.
  6. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat.  Add butter.
  7. Saute shallot and garlic for two minutes.
  8. Add the habanero and red pepper and saute another minute.
  9. Deglaze the pan with sherry and let almost evaporate away (1-2 minutes)
  10. Add the chicken broth and simmer until reduced in volume by half.  Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper as needed.  I did a pinch of salt and about 6 twists with a pepper grinder.
  11. Whisk in the jelly and the slurry.  Simmer until the sauce is thick enough to cover the back of a spoon when dragged through the sauce.
  12. Plate the chops and drizzle the Two Chili Sweet Sauce over them.
  •  I had some scraps from trimming the pork roast into chops and seared the scraps in the saute pan first to get some sucs (French for "brown stuff stuck on the pan") before sauteing the veggies.  
  • The final target internal temp AFTER resting is 145f.
  • If you like more heat, double the habanero.  If you don't like heat, drop the habanero and use something milder like jalapeno, chipotle, or poblano. 
Don't forget to season the sides too.
Tomahawk pork chops!
I like the habanero not only for it's heat but it also brings a zesty citrus flavor.

I know I probably shouldn't ask this because your answer will remind me of how bad that commercial is, but what is the holiday commercial you'll be so glad to see disappear?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Reverse Seared Prime Rib Roast

Prime rib is one of my favorite holiday meals.   It is buttery tender, rich in taste, and

I've mentioned this before but the "prime" in "prime rib" is just a common term, it is not referring to the USDA grade of prime.  It's also called a standing rib roast or beef rib roast. [Click here for my 20 Tips for Beef Rib Roasts]   

This year I cooked a USDA choice boneless rib roast for Christmas and I used the reverse sear method on my Big Green Egg.   I have cooked rib roasts a variety of ways (high temp roast, low temp roast, sear/roast) and in my opinion, a reverse sear gives the most tender and evenly cooked rib roast.   If you cook it at 350f straight, you'll end up with the outer edges (the "lip" or "cap") a dull grey medium while only the center is medium rare.  Reverse searing a roast creates the same degree of doneness all the way through, edge to edge.

kamado prime rib, kamado joe prime rib, primo prime rib
Perfect medium rare, all the way through.  Even the spinalis dorsi is pink.
You can do this on any grill that you are comfortable with holding low temps for several hours.  Heck, you could also do this method in your oven and broiler, but I promise it would be better on a grill or smoker.

Reverse Seared Beef Rib Roast
serves:  8-10

  • 5 lb boneless beef roast, left off refrigeration to temper for up to one hour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1 tsp dried minced garlic 
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed but left whole
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  1. Set up your grill for indirect heat and preheat to 225f as measured at the grate (250f dome temp on a Big Green Egg).  
  2. Tie your roast and season on all sides with a dry rub made of the salt, pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes.
  3. Place the roast on a roasting rack above a roasting pan filled with the stock, garlic, and rosemary.
  4. Place the roasting rack/pan on the grill over the indirect (no coals or heat) area.  Roast until the internal temp reaches 10 degrees less than your desired final temperature (see chart).
  5. Rest the roast while you raise the grill temp to 500-550f and change to a direct heat set up.  Watch the internal temperature of your roast after it comes off.  You want to "carry over cooking" to finish and you should actually see the internal temperature of your roast start to drop before it goes back on the grill for searing.
  6. Remove the garlic and rosemary from the au jus that has formed in the roasting pan and discard.  Season au jus with salt and pepper as needed.
  7. Sear the roast directly over the coals for 1 minute per side on all sides.
  8. Allow roast to rest another 10-15 minutes after the sear.  Slice and serve.
  • For your guests that want more than medium rare, a quick "bath" in beef broth in a heated skillet will quickly make the pink disappear and get the slice of roast to their liking. 
  • Big Green Egg set up details:  lump coal, no wood, platesetter in "legs up", V-rack set on top of platesetter and stoneware drip pan.
  • You can use a bone in rib roast as well but make sure to have the butcher slice the rib bones off.  Make sure to season the roast all over and THEN tie the bones back on.  After roasting and prior to searing, remove the bones so you can sear on all sides.  
kamado prime rib, kamado joe prime rib, primo prime rib
Here is the roast rack set up.  Rendered fats will drip into the beef stock below, giving flavor.

kamado prime rib, kamado joe prime rib, primo prime rib, Big green egg prime rib
Resting on a raised rack avoids steaming the surface of the meat, which loses juices.

grill prime rib, craycort grate, kamado prime rib
Contrary to popular believe, searing does NOT seal in juices but it does create color and flavor.

Don't forget to remove the twine before slicing.  If you do forget, just tell guests that it's floss.

Here is the cooking log for this cook.  Click on the picture to make it larger so you can read it.  
meat log, kamado prime rib, big green egg prime rib

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Baked Eggs Napoleon

I made this up yesterday morning when I had some leftover tater tots.

Baked Eggs Napoleon, tater tot, Ore-Ida

Yes, leftover tater tots, as in, "Napoleon, give me some of your tots.".  Except I didn't keep my leftover tots in my pockets, I used the fridge. 

This isn't anything ground breaking but it was simple and quite a tasty breakfast.  Alexis and I both liked them.  If you don't have leftover tater tots, you could use leftover hash browns or home fries.  

Baked Eggs Napoleon
servings:  2

  • 12 ea tater tots, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350f.  Preheat a small skillet over medium high heat.  
  2. Melt butter in the skillet and add the onion and jalapeno.  Cook 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and cook another minute, stirring occasionally. 
  4. Spray two small ramekin dishes with non-stick spray.  Divide the crumbled tots between the two dishes.
  5. Stir the onion, chile, garlic mixture into the dishes.  
  6. Top with the mozzarella.
  7. Crack an egg into each ramekin.  Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Bake in the oven on the middle rack for 5 minutes.
  9. Broil on high for 5-6 minutes or until the eggs are set.  
  10. Rest for 5 minutes before serving and warn diners that the ramekin is still hot.  (see pictures for alternate serving idea)
  • For extra crispy potatoes, put the ramekins in the oven for 3 minutes after step 5 and then proceed as written.
Break the tater tots up coarsely, not too fine.

Baked Eggs Napoleon, tater tot, Ore-Ida
The egg will stay mostly centered if you make a divot or dip in the center. 
You can serve right in the ramekins like this, but be careful - very hot.

Baked Eggs Napoleon, tater tot, Ore-Ida
But I like to slide it out onto a plate, it's easier to eat this way.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Asian Chicken Wings

Recently, fellow blogger, Stephen Crout published his book A Cook's Book For Cooks.

You'll notice it doesn't say "cookbook".   That's because while it does have recipes, it's not your same ol' same ol' cook book.  It's more conversational than instructional.  Some of the recipes are structured in recipe format while others may just be narrative and both work.  

You see, Stephen is less about getting you to follow a set of instructions.  He's more about motivating and inspiring you to get in the kitchen and maybe stretch your cooking comfort zone a bit.  It's kind of like having him in the kitchen with you just kicking around possibilities.  In the process, he entertains with sharp wit and irreverent humor.  Here's an example from his bit on St. Louis-style Spare Ribs:
There is a membrane on the back side which some people* insist needs to be removed.  It's a little difficult to do and after a brief try I just said screw it.  It won't hurt if you are a bit more persistent than I was (56). 
He kids around a lot, gets on his soap box a few times, and encourages you to experiment on your own.  Here's a recipe I made from A Cook's Book For Cooks and in true Crout fashion, I didn't follow the directions exactly.  I knew he would want it that way....

Asian Chicken Wings
adapted from Stephen Crout's A Cooks Book For Cooks
Servings:  2

  • 8 chicken wings, cut into wingettes and drummettes, tips reserved for stock
  • 1/2 cup mirin cooking wine
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced on a bias, divided between marinade and garnish
  • 1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup sweet Asian chili sauce
  1. Mix the mirin, soy sauce, sesame oil, half the onion, roasted red pepper and black pepper together.  
  2. "Marinate the wings in this for one day.  Don't have a day?  Fine, go for an hour (Crout 75)."
  3. Set up your grill for indirect heat and preheat it to 375f.  This will be fire roasting instead of direct grilling.
  4. Remove wings from marinade (reserve marinade) and fire roast them for 30 minutes.
  5. Flip wings and roast another 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, put marinade in a preheated saute pan over medium high heat.  Rapidly simmer for at least 5 minutes.  Stir in sweet Asian chili sauce.
  7. Toss wings in the sauce and return to the grill for 10 minutes.
  8. Remove, garnish with remaining green onion, and serve.
  • The book gives bake/broil method for doing this inside.  I'd tell you what it is but then I'd have to pay Stephen royalties.  Go buy the book, it's only $10.99. 
  • Wing tip:  When placing wings on a grill, place their cut/open side down first.  This will help the rendered fat drip off/out easier.  Can't remember who I got that tip from but it works.
*Present company included.

[Standard Disclaimer]  Stephen Crout Industries, Inc paid me one kajillion dollars to write this review.  Just kidding I paid full price and received no compensation.  There, happy FTC? 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

DivaQ's Chocolate Pig Candy Pretzels

This is as close to a "cookie post" that you will ever see on Nibble Me This.   I made DivaQ's Chocolate Pig Candy Pretzels (click for full recipe).  It's made of pretzels, chocolate and crumbled candied bacon.  Yeah, I know....right? 

Sweet, salty, and a bit smoky too.

Danielle Dimovski aka DivaQ has been one of my top favorite BBQ bloggers since I started my blog.  She's got a hilarious sense of humor, has great content & tips, and is one heck of a BBQ competition cook, as proven by her top finish in pork shoulder at the 2011 Jack Daniels.  If you don't already follow her, check out .  
Made my pig candy on my Green Egg. 
Improvised double broiler.
Dipped in chocolate, sprinkled with crumbled pig candy, chilled in fridge, dusted with powdered sugar.

We packaged these in foil cups and red straw inside of a clear plastic goody bag to give as gifts to co-workers, neighbors, etc.

Pin It

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blue Cheese Biscuits

Knoxville has been under a wet blanket of steady drizzling rain for the past two cool days and I was in the mood for comfort food last night.   Alexis had to work late so I made beef stew on my Big Green Egg while I baked blue cheese biscuits on her Egg.

Beef stew ladled over a split biscuit - extreme comfort food.

Speaking of our Eggs, my new next door neighbors also have an Egg and already knew this blog.  Their Egg is set up near our grilling area so John and I talk BBQ and grilling as we are cooking during the week.  He was cooking ribs on Sunday and I jokingly told him that I was going to sneak pictures of his food when he wasn't looking and post them on Nibble Me This for extra content.  

Back to beef stew and biscuits.  The beef stew was very similar to For The Love of Cooking's Beef and Barley Stew except I cooked it on my Egg in a dutch oven.  

325f direct - was covered during the cook except when browning the beef.

The biscuits were supposed to be a sour cream based biscuit but I was out, so I used thick homemade blue cheese dressing instead.  This should also work with chunky commercial brands but not thin, watery blue cheese dressings.  

Blue Cheese Biscuits
servings:  12 biscuits

  • 3 cups self rising flour, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 tsp chives, diced
  • 1 cup blue cheese dressing, thick chunky style
  • 2/3 cup half and half
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted (divided 4T and 2T)
  1. Preheat your Big Green Egg (or oven) to 450f with the plate setter in "legs down".  
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together.  Mix the dressing, half & half, and 4 Tbsp of melted butter together.  Stir together until it becomes a coarse dough.
  3. On a floured surface, knead about 5 times.  
  4. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a biscuit cutter. Roll scraps back up and cut out more until gone.
  5. Place biscuits on a floured pizza stone and bake 15-18 minutes.  Brush with the 2 Tbsp of melted butter during the last 5 minutes.
A little flour on the pizza stone keeps biscuits from sticking.

The pizza stone was not preheated.

There's a lot of flavor in these fire baked biscuits.

Comfort food that will put your butt in the bed...or at least plant it on a couch!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Grilled Pork Medallions with Apple Maple Glaze

Laws that prohibit sales of alcohol on Sundays make me blue (pun intended).  It never fails - I decide to make a recipe that will require wine or liquor and then realize it is Sunday and I can't buy it.  It looks bad going to a neighbor's house and asking, "I'm not trying to get my buzz on or anything, but could you spare a cup of brandy?"

I had this idea that I wanted to make this past Sunday and THOUGHT I had brandy when I came up with it.  Nope.  So I improvised and used Apple Pie moonshine.

Grilled Pork Medallions with Apple Maple Glaze
Serves 4

  • 1 pork tenderloin, sliced into 8 medallions
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

For the Apple Maple Glaze
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1/4 cup almond slivers
  • 1/4 cup shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cup apple, cored, peeled, and diced
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon, fresh grated 
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, fresh grated
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup alcohol (I used moonshine but brandy is preferred) 
  • 1/3 cup apple juice
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  1. Preheat your grill for direct heat at 400f.  (I used the Big Green Egg, lump coal, and Craycort cast iron grates.)  
  2. Season the pork medallions with the salt, paprika, pepper and powder.
  3. Grill the medallions 4-5 minutes per side.  Temp check them to see if they are 140f internal.  If not switch to indirect heat and finish to 140f internal.  
  4. Preheat a skillet over medium high heat.  
  5. Add butter and almond slivers.  Allow to cook for 1 minute.
  6. Add the apple, shallot, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne.  Cook for 5 minutes, tossing or stirring frequently.  
  7. Flambe!  Safe Version - Remove skillet from heat, add the alcohol and immediately light with a long grill lighter.  (I just add alcohol and slightly tip the pan towards the flame - POOF!)  Let burn until the flame burns out, cooking off most of the alcohol.
  8. Add the apple juice and maple syrup.  Simmer 5 minutes or until thickened into a syrup.
  9. Place two medallions on a plate and top with some of the apple maple glaze.  Repeat.
You should get about 8 medallions per tenderloin.

The thin cuts of pork cook quickly, keep your eye on the temps.

Tried to get shot of the flambe, came out too blurry.  You can see the last of the flame in this shot.

The sweet syrupy topping with just a hint of heat from the cayenne & cinnamon was ideal for the rest of the family.  Personally, I would have liked to add some red pepper flake too for more kick to offset the sweet.  While this was a work in progress, we will definitely be making this frequently.  Can't wait to try it with brandy.

Does your area have blue laws and if so, has it ever messed up your recipe plans?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Flank Steak with Blue Angel Hair Pasta

Wow, time flies.

A week ago, Trevor and I were in Florida for our fishing trip with my father in law and waking up to this...
Sunrise at 6:something in the morning at Perdido Key.
Trevor piloting the boat until the no-wake zone ends.

It was windy with the marker buoy bells clanging and the fishing lines whistling.

Dolphins played all around us.

Look at the smile on Trev's face landing his first fish of the trip. 20 minute fight.

16.75 lb   33" black drum, caught on blue crab and released alive.

13.5 lb, 31" black drum caught on menhaden and released alive.

Fishing next to the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, we saw prop training planes...

Chinook helicopters....

Jets practicing touch and go landings......

and even the Blue Angels practicing overhead.

All of that fun trip was the inspiration for last night's dinner.  A fish dinner?  Heck no, you know I don't care for fish.  I grilled a flank steak and served it with "Blue Angel" hair pasta.

Grilled Flank Steak with Blue Angel Hair Pasta
Servings:  4

For the steak
  • 1 flank steak, scored 1/4" on both sides and left out at room temp for about 1 hour
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, coarse ground
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp corriander
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chile pepper, ground
For the pasta
  • 8 oz angel hair pasta, cooked
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp diced shallot
  • 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese 
  • 1/4 tsp celery seed
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  1. Preheat your grill to 450f set up for direct heat.  Tonight I was using a large Big Green Egg with lump coal filled to the top of the fire bowl and a Craycort cast iron grate system.  But whatever you are using, make sure to allow enough time to get the grates fully preheated.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients and season the steak, getting the seasoning into the scored cuts as well.
  3. Grill the steak approximately 4 minutes per side or until it registers an internal temperature of 130f for medium rare.  
  4. Remove and rest on a raised rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing. 
  5. While the steak is resting, melt butter in a medium sauce pan over medium high heat and saute shallot for 1 minute.
  6. Add the flour and whisk continuously for 2-3 minutes to form a blond roux.  
  7. Reduce heat to medium, add the half and half and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally until thickened.  
  8. Add the blue cheese, celery seed, pepper, and salt.  Stir until blended.
  9. Taste for seasoning and add more salt/pepper if needed.   Toss with pasta to coat.
  10. Slice steak thinly (1/4" strips at most) across the grain.  Serve with the pasta.  Garnish with extra blue cheese
  • Scoring the flank steak with knife cuts maximizes surface area for seasoning and adds texture.
  • The internal temp of flank steak won't rise as much during the rest period as a roast or a super thick strip steak will.  Count on about 5-7 degrees (f).  
  • Resting your steak on a flat surface creates a steam effect that relaxes cell structure and releases more juices out of the steak.  The raised rack eliminates that effect and helps retain moisture.
The score marks open up once it starts cooking on the grill.

Served with grilled romaine salad and a garlic/herb yeast roll.

How cool.....they have special docking for grills! 

We finished the weekend with a boatside dinner at the Sunset Grille just as the sun was setting.  Hard to beat the view.