Monday, December 31, 2012

Grilled Thai Pork Chops With Peanut Sauce

Alexis found some great cowboy cut style pork chops at Food City yesterday.  She called them "meat with handles".  

While the rub I used has a front load of sugar, the first thing I get from the chops is a mild heat.  The peanut sauce follows up with a sweetness but also layers on more heat.  The result is a moist chop that pops flavors in your mouth.  I'd rank this one in the top 5 pork chops I've had.
Grilled thai pork chops with peanut sauce on Big Green Egg

I've said it before and I'll say it again - to me, a nice grilled pork chop is as good as any steak.  

Grilled Thai Pork Chop With Peanut Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings)
    You'll need
    • 4 thick pork chops, cowboy cut, bone in
    • 1/4 cup coarsely crushed peanuts
    For the brine
    • 1 qt water
    • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
    • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    For the rub
    • 1.5 tsp coconut sugar
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/4 tsp McCormick ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    For the peanut sauce
    • 1 cup Mr. Yoshidas Gourmet Sauce (or terriyaki)
    • 1/4 cup peanut butter
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
    • 1 Tbsp lime juice
    • 2 tsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
    • 1 tsp peanut oil
    • 1 Tbsp water as needed to get desired consistency
    1. Brine the chops - NOTE: Brine is given in proportions per quart. Make enough brine to cover the chops, I had to make two quarts of it. Mix the ingredients until salt and sugar dissolved. Place chops in the brine and brine for at least 90 minutes or up to 4 hours.
    2. Make the peanut sauce - Put all ingredients except water in a Magic Bullet, Ninja, mini-processor, blender or other implement of destruction and blend. Check the consistency and add a little water if too thick.
    3. Preheat a charcoal grill to 350f.
    4. Grill the chops - Dry the chops and season on both sides with the rub. Grill until the chops reach an internal temp of 145f, about 5-6 minutes per side. Trust your Thermapen.
    5. Glaze the chops - Quickly glaze the chops with the peanut sauce as soon as they come off the grill and let the steaks rest.  Top with the crushed peanuts.
    6. Eat the chops - My favorite step! I served it with a simple Thai style basil fried rice.
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    frenched pork chops
    Are these chops pretty?

    Kingsford coal, Kingsford competition
    Notice the twisted handle on the chimney starter?  Someone clipped it with the car, backing out of the garage.

    Pork chops on GrillGrates
    Grill marks courtesy of GrillGrates.

    I was glad to get out and grill after several days of rain, sleet and snow.

    Grilled thai pork chops with peanut sauce on Grill Dome
    Meat handles was right.  I ate mine with my hands.

    I know that many of you don't grill during the winter.  Here is an alternative for you, try this recipe for Thai Pork Chops cooked in a slow cooker from Pork Be Inspired.

    Saturday, December 29, 2012

    Prime Rib Eggs Benedict

    This dish kept me up last night because once the idea struck me, I couldn't stop thinking about it. A crispy hash brown cake topped with shaved prime rib, a poached egg, and a tangy Bearnaise sauce.   

    Prime Rib Eggs Benedict, leftover prime rib, Big Green Egg prime rib

    No kidding, I thought about it going to sleep and several times when I woke up during the night.  I thought of little details, like using the leftover egg whites from the Bearnaise sauce as a binder for the hash brown cakes.  By the time I got up this morning, I had the idea all worked out.

    This is by no means a tutorial on how to make a Bearnaise sauce.  There's a little bit of an art to that, knowing how to avoid splitting the sauce (over heating, too much oil) or over cooking the eggs.  If you have never made a Hollandaise or Bearnaise sauce before, I'd recommend googling a video or two on how to make one, first.     

    Prime Rib Eggs Benedict


      You'll need
      • 8 oz prime rib, finely shaved (or any thinly sliced roast beef)
      • 6 eggs
      for the hash brown cakes
      • 20 oz refrigerated hash browns
      • 1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
      • 1/4 cup bell pepper, finely chopped
      • 4 egg whites
      • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
      • 1/4 tsp black pepper
      for the Bearnaise sauce
      • 1/4 cup dry white wine
      • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
      • 3 sprigs fresh tarragon
      • 1 small shallot, diced
      • 8 black peppercorns, crushed
      • 4 egg yolks
      • 1 tsp cold water
      • 1/2 cup clarified butter (melted but cooled slightly)
      1. Make the hash brown cakes. Mix all ingredients together. Form into six cakes 1 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400f for 45 minutes or until crispy and cooked through.
      2. Make the Bearnaise sauce. Place the wine, vinegar, stems from the tarragon (leaves removed and reserved), shallot, and pepper in a small sauce pan. Cook over med-high heat until reduced by 2/3rds. Strain the liquid (gastride) and set aside, discard the solids.
      3. Bearnaise sauce (continued) In a double broiler over medium to medium low heat, rapidly whisk the egg yolks and water until frothy and doubled in volume (about 5 minutes). Add the clarified butter in small batches, whisking continuously. Add the liquid (gastride) and chopped tarragon leaves. Whisk until thickened to point of coating a spoon. Keep warm in a thermos.
      4. Poach the eggs. In a large pan with 1 1/2" of almost boiling water (190-200f) and 1 Tbsp of vinegar, ease each egg into the water. Cook for 4 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove.
      5. Assemble the Benedict. Top each cake with some of the beef, an egg, and the Bearnaise sauce.
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      Using a 4 inch ring mold makes forming the cakes easy and you can pack them tightly.

      The gastride will be insanely fragrant, but don't worry, it won't overpower the sauce.

      I use a mixing bowl over a 3 quart pan to make a double broiler.

      Shave the beef as thinly as you can.  It doesn't have to be whole slices.

      Prime Rib Eggs Benedict, leftover prime rib, Big Green Egg prime rib

      They were delicious, better than a normal Eggs Benedict but then again, it's not every day that I have leftover prime rib in the fridge either.  Next time I'd be tempted to pan fry the hash browns instead for time purposes.  

      Thursday, December 27, 2012

      Tips for Making A Good Au Jus On The Grill

      I bought one Christmas present for myself....this gorgeous prime rib.

      We like ours a little less than medium-rare....tender and delicious!

      A few days before the special day, I put my order in with Billy in the meat market at my Food City on Morrell Road.  I told him I wanted a "first cut" (ribs 10-12) with the ribs removed and tied back on so it was "ready to carve".   When I picked it up on Sunday, I was very pleased!  

      I have to brag on "my Food City" for a second -

      If you live in the Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee area, you've probably seen Food City commercials where they brag on their meat market's service.  There's a butcher smiling as he hands over a custom order.  Too good to be true?

      The guys at my Food City live up to that commercial.  Earlier in the year, I was wanting 1 1/2 thick USDA Choice strip steaks.  The sale that week was on USDA Select and that was what was on display.  I guess Billy knew I wasn't seeing what I wanted and asked what I had in mind.  He stopped what he was doing and hand cut me two steaks from a whole Choice strip loin.  Knoxville has gotten a lot of new grocery stores this year (Publix, Trader Joes, Costco, and Whole Foods is coming) but the people and service at my Food City has kept my business.  

      Okay, back to my prime rib.  I followed (mostly) my recipe for a Reverse Seared Prime Rib and used my Twenty Tips For Prime Rib on the Grill.  You can read those posts for the details so I'll just post my time/temps chart and pictures.  

      A light smoke and we're ready to go!

      Early during the slow roasting portion.  The meat juices drip into the au jus making magic!

      Resting after 4 hours of cooking indirect in the smoke.

      Rib bones removed for the high temp sear at the end.

      I carved the "roast beast" for all the Who's in Whoville.  I was a bit of a Grinch this year.

      We kept it simple - prime rib, Boursin mashed potatoes, and green beans.

      The rib bones go back on the grill for "chef's treat".  I ate them an hour or so later.
      Here are the temps/times for the slow roasting part.  It went on the grill at 1:30pm. 

      TimeInternal TempCooking temp

      The high temp sear was at 500f for about 45 seconds a side except for the newly exposed rib side where I let it go about 2 minutes. 

      Someone asked me about how you make a good au jus on the grill.  You could do it just like the traditional method on the stove top for an oven roasted beef roast.  But here is how I do it with the reverse seared prime rib. 

      Tips For Making Au Jus on The Grill

      Roasting Pan Selection
      •  The heavier the better.  Those throw away aluminum pans are poor at handling/controlling heat.  Stoneware and cast iron work much better.
      • Size.  You want the smallest size that will adequately fit under your roast.  Oversized pans will allow evaporation to happen too fast.
      I'm a big fan of stoneware on the grill.

      • If you are using a ceramic grill with a plate setter or heat diffuser like I do, place spacers between the plate setter and the pan.  This keeps the pan from simmering too much too soon from the radiant heat.
      • Use a rack that keeps the meat above the roasting pan, NOT DOWN IN IT.  If the meat is sitting down IN the pan, it is going to partially steam instead of roasting. 
      • Don't have a roasting rack?  Get creative.  Use the rack from a toaster oven.  Here I used the wire holder from a silicone cupcake tray just for grins and giggles.  

      Above the pan...not down in it.
      Here are the "spacers" that I use, just stainless hooks.  Extra BGE feet also work.

      • Enough beef stock to fill the pan about 3/4" deep
      • some crushed cloves of garlic, sprigs of rosemary or thyme
      • mirepoix of onions, celery, carrot if you feel like it
      • any herbs/spices from the cutting board after seasoning the roast
      • Cook under the roast for the duration of the slow roasting period
      • About 3 hours in, I like to pour the rest of the beef stock container slowly over the roast to baste it and carry seasonings down into the au jus below.

      • While the roast is resting and the fire is heating up for the sear....
      • Skim any obvious fat from the surface of the au jus
      • Strain the veggies, garlic, etc from the au jus and discard them. 
      • Add any drippings collected from the resting roast.
      • Simmer for a few minutes.  If still too thin, you can simmer to reduce for another 5-10 minutes but you shouldn't need to do that.
      • Taste for seasoning and add salt/pepper as needed.
      Nothing fancy but it works for me!

      I hope you all had a great holiday season so far!  What is the favorite thing you have eaten during the holidays this year?

      [Standard Disclaimer]   I have no affiliation with Food City other than I am in there almost every day shopping.

      Tuesday, December 25, 2012

      Happy Holidays!

      I hope Santa brought you all lots of coal for your stocking! 

      Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

      Sunday, December 23, 2012

      Creamy Chicken and Two Tortilla Soup

      Is there anything more useful than leftover chicken?

      When I made those Baptized Chicken breasts (previous post) earlier this week, there were only two of us here and I had 5 breasts, so there were leftovers.  One night I made a chicken and red pepper alfredo with pasta, which was easy and hit the spot.  

      The next thing I made was this creamy and a little spicy chicken and tortilla soup.  Most tortilla soups I have seen add tortillas at then end.  I took a cue from the Starch Based Soups lesson at Rouxbe Online Cooking School which used bread as a starch thickener.  So I used corn tortillas at the start of the soup base as a thickener.   The aroma of the fragrant tortillas cooking with the mirepoix was intoxicating!

      Chicken and Two Tortilla Soup


      Ingredients (4-6 servings)
      • 3 Tbsp butter
      • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
      • 1/4 cup celery, diced
      • 6 corn tortillas, diced
      • 2 medium tomatoes, fire roasted and diced (substitute 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes)
      • 2 tsp chili powder
      • 1 tsp garlic powder
      • 1/4 tsp black pepper
      • 8 cups water
      • 6 chicken bullion cubes
      • 1 tsp kosher salt
      • 1 Tbsp green onion, diced
      • 1 Tbsp cilantro, diced (optional for cilantrophobes)
      • 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, diced
      • 2 cups cooked chicken, diced
      • 2 cups shredded colby jack cheese
      • 1 cup heavy cream
      • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
      • 2 cups crumbled blue tortilla chips
      • garnish ideas include - cheese, cilantro, sour cream,
      1. Fire roast your tomatoes on a grill. I did this using direct heat just enough to char the skins on all sides and then diced them up. Season them with a pinch or two of salt.
      2. In a large stock pot, melt the butter and saute the onions, celery, and diced tortilla pieces until the onion is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
      3. Add the tomatoes (and any collected juices), chili powder, garlic powder, and pepper. Stir to coat and saute another 1-2 minutes.
      4. Add the water, bullion cubes, salt, and red pepper flake. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
      5. Add the green onion, cilantro, and oregano. Use an immersion blender to blend the soup base to a smooth consistency.
      6. Add the chicken. Stir the cheese into the soup in small batches, until melted. Stir in the cream. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
      7. Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed.
      8. Serve with crumbled tortilla chips and any desired garnishes.
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      You can use a can of fire roasted tomatoes but I had some ripe tomatoes so I just grilled two of them.

      The tortillas don't only provide a starch base, they build flavor from the bottom up.

      Stir the tortilla chips in so they soak a few minutes before eating.

      Amidst the final rush of the holiday season, this velvety soup was the perfect way to fill up on a cold night.  If you like it even spicier, use a teaspoon of red pepper flake or more.  You can also use regular corn tortilla chips if you can't find the blue ones, I just like the color they add and their taste is subtlety different.

      I actually didn't intend for this easy soup to be a blog post, but when I warmed up this bowl for lunch today, I figured that I would throw it on here.  It was too good, not to.  

      Thursday, December 20, 2012

      Baptized Chicken with White Sauce

      I had to make a quick trip to Florida this week for work and when I got back late last night, I wanted to grill something with minimal prep and short cooking times.  I found this recipe in Chris Lilly's masterpiece, Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book, and it fit the bill.

      Plus, I already had some of the white BBQ sauce already made up from the weekend.

      Baptized Chicken with White Sauce

      adapted from Chris Lilly - Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book
      Prep Time: 1 hour
      Cook Time: 12 minutes

      Ingredients (4-8 servings)
        You'll need
        • 4-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
        • 1 cup Alabama Style White BBQ Sauce click for recipe
        • 1 tsp black pepper
        • 1 cup apple juice
        • 1 cup water
        • 2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
        • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
        • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
        • 1 Tbsp Braggs Liquid Aminos (substitute soy sauce if you can't find this)
        1. Mix the brine ingredients together until the salt is thoroughly dissolved.
        2. Place the chicken breasts in a Glad Zipper Gallon Bag and pour the brine in, over the chicken. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
        3. Preheat a charcoal grill to 400f.
        4. Remove the chicken from the brine and pat dry. Season both sides with black pepper.
        5. Grill chicken over direct heat until the internal temp reaches 155-160f, about 5-6 minutes per side.
        6. Dip the cooked breasts into the white bbq sauce and serve.  I like to garnish with a little fresh thyme.
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        If you want cross hatch marks, give the breasts a quarter turn while on each side.

        "Baptize" the chicken.  Flip it on both sides to cover it. 

        If you don't want to make the white BBQ sauce yourself, you can order it from Big Bob Gibson's ($4.75).  Speaking of the Alabama style sauce, Brian of Hot Sauce Daily mentioned that he likes it but Marilyn doesn't.  It is one of those things you either love or hate, not much middle ground.  If you like tangy flavors like Carolina style vinegar sauces, you'll love white BBQ sauce.

        Recipe Rehab
        The first YouTube series to become a network TV show debuted recently and it is a food show.  

        Recipe Rehab from is a show that takes a family and their favorite recipe and then two chefs (rotating basis, not always the same two) go head to head to "rehab" the recipe to make it healthier.  Kind of like I did with the white BBQ sauce by swapping the mayo out for Green non-fat yogurt.  Then the family takes those recipes, makes both versions and selects the winner.  

        Here's a clip.  Yeah, I know, it is not barbecued chicken.  It's oven baked chicken with BBQ sauce.  (sorry, link embedding isn't working right for some reason.  Here's a direct link: )

        If you want to see a little behind the scenes action, check out THIS POST at Steamy Kitchen.  Everyone's favorite food blogger, Jaden Hair, is on a few episodes of the show.   And check out THIS POST from Harry Soo of Slap Yo Daddy BBQ whose family was also on an episode.

        Recipe Rehab airs on ABC on Saturday mornings (Check local listings for exact time).

        Monday, December 17, 2012

        Lover's Chicken Breast

        When I was a young lad and fell in true love for the first time, I used to sneak out of my house at night.  I'd ride my bike a few miles to my girlfriend's house and sneak in through her window.   We would cuddle, kiss and whisper like teenagers do.

        One time we both fell asleep and when we woke up, it was morning.  In a panic, I backed out of her window and just as I was shutting the window, I heard her door click as her father opened her bedroom door.  Talk about close!

        What the heck does that have to do with chicken?  I recently received a copy of The Salt Lick Cookbook to review and this recipe had a charming story about how Scott Roberts fancied a worker at his dad's restaurant.  He would sneak across a creek in the dark to visit her on her grandparents' ranch.  
        One night, as I was quietly making my exit, the family house front porch light came on and the door slammed open.  It was a full moon and I could see a big man (her grandfather) swinging a huge 12 gauge shotgun in the air.  He was wearing only an undershirt and boxer shorts, but he had managed to throw on his cowboy boots and a big cowboy hat.
        I never had shotgun pellets flying overhead as I ran from my girlfriend's home but this story resonated with me and brought back those memories.  That's the great thing about this book from a legendary Texas BBQ, it is full of stories and recipes that will stir memories and taste buds.  Here is my take on the recipe that followed that story.

        Lover's Chicken Breast

        Slightly adapted from The Salt Lick Cookbook

        Ingredients (serves 4)
          You'll Need
          • 4 chicken breasts, skin on, boneless
          • salt and pepper to taste
          For the Hill Country Compound Butter
          • 1 serrano chile
          • 1 tsp shallot, finely diced
          • 1 tsp roasted garlic
          • 8 Tbsp butter, unsalted
          • 1 Tbsp lime juice
          • 1 tsp black pepper
          • 1 tsp cilantro, finely chopped
          • 1 tsp chili powder
          • 1 tsp oregano, fresh finely chopped
          1. Mix all of the compound butter ingredients together in a bowl. Use a piece of wax paper to form it into a roll or log. Cut into 4 sections.
          2. Preheat your oven or a grill set up for indirect heat to 400f.
          3. Season the top and bottom of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Use two sections of the butter and press it up under the skin of the 4 chicken breasts. Slather the third section of the butter on top of the skin.
          4. Place the chicken breasts on a raised rack above a sheet pan with edges and place in the middle rack of the oven. Cook until the internal temp reaches 160, about 45 minutes. Remove from the grill/oven.
          5. Heat up the last section of butter and drizzle over the chicken.
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          The roots of Salt Lick Bar-B-Que started in 1867 and landed in Driftwood, Texas.  As you can imagine, it has a storied history and the new cookbook is chock full of their tales and recipes.  

          For me, a great cookbook has recipes, stories, photos, and tutorials and this book nails it in all four categories.  It is not just a collection of recipes.  It is an immersion into the food, family, and culture of the Hill Country of Texas.  Roberts shares the wonderful stories behind the recipes, much like the one for the Lover's Chicken Breast.

          While this is a cookbook from the famed BBQ restaurant, this isn't just a BBQ cookbook.  Only about a quarter of the book is dedicated to BBQ. The rest are family recipes from owner Scott Roberts' family.  I would say it is more about homestyle cooking. This is a cookbook that any home chef can use and will appreciate, not just barbecuers.

          Be forewarned, if you are buying the book to get your hands on the recipe for the restaurant's secret BBQ sauce, you will be disappointed.  Instead it says to use a jar of your favorite sauce and rub (or you can order theirs) and focuses on giving you the cooking techniques they use.

          I like that they don't skimp on color pictures.  In many cases they provide multi-photo step by step guides, which is a nice touch.  

          You can tell that Roberts took great pains to make sure that this book is quality from cover to cover.  It is a hard back with glossy pages, something more and more rare these days.  The food styling in the photos is intricate.   The photos have purpose.  

          All in all, I'm impressed with the work that Roberts, Jessica Dupuy, and their team have put together.  The Salt Lick Cookbook:  A Story of Land, Family, and Love would make an excellent gift for someone.  Maybe even a "gift" for yourself!  

          [Standard Disclaimer] I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher; however, the contents of the review are my own opinions.

          Sunday, December 16, 2012

          Alabama style White BBQ Sauce - Lighter Version

          Perhaps the oddest BBQ sauce is the mayonnaise based white BBQ sauce in Alabama.  If you taste it straight out of the jar, it has a vinegar twang that will cross your eyes.  Glazed onto smoked or grilled chicken it has a flavor that is all kinds of crazy good.  

          Yesterday I was making a smoked chicken to go with beans and mac and cheese when inspiration struck.  The mac and cheese is a stove top version by Chef Richard Blais, runner up in Season 4 of Top Chef.   Richard has been working on taking holiday classics and giving them a healthier spin. 

          Speaking of healthier, he has lost 60 pounds in the past few years and is now an avid runner. Look how slim he is now compared to when he was on Top Chef.

          Okay, back to the mac and cheese and bbq sauce.

          Dannon Oikos Greek Nonfat Yogurt Macaroni and Cheese

          by Chef Richard Blais for Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt

          Ingredients (4-6 servings)
          • 1/4 cup flour
          • 1/4 cup butter
          • 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked
          • 13 fl oz low fat milk
          • 1/4 cup Dannon Oikos plain Greek nonfat yogurt
          • 6 oz white cheddar cheese, shredded
          • 1 oz cream cheese
          • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
          • 1/4 tsp white pepper
          • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
          1. Melt the butter and add in the flour while cooking in a pan over low heat. Continue to whisk the mixture until the flour's color is tan and has a sand-like texture. Reserve for step 3.
          2. Cook elbow macaroni in boiling salted water per box instructions and then chill under cold water. Set aside.
          3. Bring the milk to a boil. Then reduce the heat and whisk the roux into the hot milk. After the roux and the milk are fully combined, mix in the cream cheese and the Dannon Oikos plain Greek nonfat yogurt. Once this mixture starts to thicken, remove it from the heat and whisk in the shredded cheese, garlic salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
          4. Add the chilled macaroni to the sauce.
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           I did his recipe as written except
          • I substituted neufchatel cheese for cream cheese (1/3 the calories)
          • I used penne instead of elbow macaroni
          • I cooked the roux in the pot and then added the milk instead of messing up two pots.  

          As I hauled out the mayo jar to make the white BBQ sauce, I saw the yogurt next to it and that is when inspiration gave me a good whack.  Why not try making the white sauce with Greek yogurt?  Then I compared nutritional values and found that just by substituting one cup Oikos non-fat Greek yogurt for mayo, I was cutting 630 calories and 77 grams of fat from the recipe and adding 21 grams of protein.  

          Holy schnikes!   It was worth trying on that alone.  But the real test is the taste.  So I made up a batch of the white bbq sauce using it and found not only was it "as good" as the regular recipe, I actually liked it better!  
          Alabama Style White BBQ Sauce

          Prep Time: 10 minutes
          Cook Time: 0

          Ingredients (2 cups)
          • 1 cup Oikos No Fat Greek Yogurt
          • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
          • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
          • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
          • 1 1/2 Tbsp horseradish
          • 1 tsp creole seasoning
          • 1 tsp black pepper
          • 1 tsp turbinado sugar
          • 1 tsp salt
          Thoroughly whisk ingredients together and store refrigerated.
          Brush on to smoked or grilled chicken in the last few minutes of cooking.
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          Big Bob Gibson's actually dunks their whole birds in a big pot of the sauce but I just glaze it on.

          Smoked chicken, mac and cheese, and pit beans.

          The family loved it all, going back for seconds.  We always do baked mac and cheese so I was wondering how they would like this easier stove top version.  Trevor specifically mentioned how good it was. 

          This will be my "go to" version of Alabama style BBQ sauce from now on.  As I write this, I find that I am craving that bbq sauce again already.  I might go grill some wings for the game and toss them in it. 

          Thursday, December 13, 2012

          Papas Asadas - Easy Cuban Roasted Potatoes

          If I didn't already love a Cuban sandwich, when I saw this recipe for Butterflied Cuban Style Pork Chop from Bobby Flay I probably would have thought the man "done lost his mind". 
          easy cuban roasted potatoes, Cubano pork chops

          It's basically a Cuban without the bread.  It's a butterflied pork chop, stuffed with Swiss cheese, ham, and pickles.  It is an admittedly weird combination but it works quite well.  Like many folks in the comments section in the linked recipe, I added mustard to the inside because you have to have mustard on a Cuban.  At least I do.

          For sides, I wanted something super easy because I was feeling as lazy as a sloth tired from working hard all day.  Along with black beans and rice, I made these simple but delicious Cuban roasted potatoes. 
          Easy Roasted Cuban Potatoes

          Prep Time: 10 min
          Cook Time: 30 min

          Ingredients (4 servings)
          1. Preheat oven to 400f. These would also work in a grill set up for indirect heat.
          2. Place potatoes in a zip top Glad bag (gallon size). Sprinkle in the Cuban Seasoning and pour in the oil. Shake, toss, twist, agitate and otherwise manipulate to cover all potatoes with the oil and seasoning.
          3. Empty the bag onto a rimmed cookie sheet into a single layer.
          4. Roast on the middle rack in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping the potatoes around every 10 minutes.
          5. Remove and serve while warm.
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          The potatoes were ridiculously easy and tasted great too.

          butterflied boneless pork chop
          Use a very sharp knife to make the butterflying easier.

          easy cuban roasted potatoes, Cubano pork chops
          Lay all of your stuff on there and then just close the pork chop like a book.

          easy cuban roasted potatoes, Cubano pork chops
          Grilled and resting on a raised rack.

          easy cuban roasted potatoes, Cubano pork chops
          Cheesy, gooey, and good.

          easy cuban roasted potatoes, Cubano pork chops

          The Pit Is Back
          One of the first things a new acquaintance often will say to me when he/she learns that I BBQ and grill is, "I watched that show, BBQ Pitmasters."

          Well guess what.  A new season of BBQ Pitmasters is starting up this Sunday (Dec 16) at 9pm EST on the Destination America channel.

          Photo credit:  Destination America
          Producer John Markus was on The BBQ Central Show a few weeks ago and talked with Greg Rempe about it.  From what I recall, they are calling it Season 3.2 instead of Season 4 because it's kind of a mini-season before next year.  The format will be different for this shortened version.  There won't be an overall grand champion, each week will just have a winner.  Each week will be a regional competition like, best Texas style BBQ or something like that.  While I prefer the more traditional BBQ competition formats (Season 1, some of Season 3), I'm actually looking forward to this mini-series too. 

          So don't call me at 9pm on Sunday night.  I'll be watching BBQ Pitmasters on Destination America.