Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hog's Ass Wings & Posting Frequency

The holiday season has been a little crazy and sometimes I need to cook something easy and reliable.  For me one of those "old faithfuls" is wings on the grill.

Sure, I have posted lots of great recipes for wings.  But if I'm in a hurry, I'll just grab a commercial rub and make a basic wing sauce (1:1 butter/Franks hot sauce w/ splash of worcestershire sauce). 
For flavor on this particular day I used a cajun rub, Hog's Ass Garlic Habanero Sauce, and Char-Broil Whiskey Barrel Chips.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Grilled versus Griddled Steaks

Which do you like better, a steak from the grill or a steak cooked in a pan?

Steak cooked on a cast iron griddle.

Both have their advantages.  
  • Grilled streaks have that smoky or char flavor and it's hard not to "eat with your eyes first" when you see nice cross hatch marks.  Getting to play with fire is just a bonus.
  • Pan seared steaks have an even Malliard browned crust across most of the steak surface, bringing more flavor to the steak.  It's like having grill marks that cover the top and bottom. Pan searing steaks also gives you sucs or fond in the pan to use in a delicious pan sauce. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mustard Glazed Smoked Bratwurst with Chow-Chow

When I first got my "Warthog" bbq trailer, I jokingly guestimated that I could fit 250+ bratwursts in it at one time.  

We were going to make a bunch of smoked bologna for some friends and co-workers this weekend so I decided to toss a pack of Johnsonville brats in the smoker too.  I have yet to determine the actual "maximum brat capacity" of the Warthog, but these sure tasted good.

Grilled brats have a golden color while smoked brats take on a deep hue of mahogany.   Grilled brats usually also get cooked in liquid but these smoked ones would not, so I added a simple mustard glaze to help retain moisture and encourage a smoke ring.  Smoking them also takes at least 3-4 times as long but the extra flavor is worth it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Equipment Review: St Louis Charcoal Company Fire Grate for Kamado Grills

I recently bought an improved lower fire grate from the St Louis Charcoal Company for my Big Green Egg.   The fire grate for a kamado grill is the metal piece at the bottom and it has two functions
  1. Hold the burning coals
  2. Allow ash to drop through and air to flow into the fire box/chamber
 There are two issues that I have found with the original manufacturer's (OEM)  fire grates.  First, many of the kamado manufacturers use cast iron.  The frequent extreme temperature changes can cause the grates to crack wide open like mine on the left below did.  It still works like that and I have used this one in this condition for 3-4 years. Mine kind of looks like Pac-Man trying to eat Alexis' fire grate, doesn't it? 

Clockwise from upper left:  cracked Big Green Egg grate, intact Big Green Egg grate, and the improved lower fire grate from St Louis Charcoal Company.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Fajita Chicken Cheeseburger

I know, could there be a more ambiguous recipe title?   I mean, is it fajitas, grilled chicken, or a cheeseburger!?!   Yes! 

We were in the middle of the "after-Thanksgiving/Black Friday lull" and I wanted to grill something different to eat while watching the exciting rivalry games this past weekend.  I was staring at plain boring chicken and this is what I came up with.  
Served with sweet potato fries.  What?  You have never drank from a mason jar? 

I used a fajita marinade to add flavor to the chicken.  I butterflied the breasts to shorten marinade and cooking times since I didn't want to miss the action.  I topped it with pepper-white cheddar cheese and served it on a crispy toasted kaiser roll like a burger. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Leftover Turkey Idea: Turkey and Dirty Rice Soup

In just a few days, people will be staring a leftover turkey and wondering about what to make with the Thanksgiving remains.  One of my favorite things to do with turkey is make a Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich.  

This soup is a close second for us.  It puts a Louisiana spin on the wild rice and turkey soup that my mom made when I was younger.  I know for Cajun I should have just stuck with the Trinity (peppers, onion, celery) and skipped the carrot but I like carrots in soup. 

turkey leftovers, leftover turkey

Monday, November 18, 2013

Spaghetti and Meatball Pot Pie - Shortcut Version

The most popular post my blog has ever had was my idea for a Spaghetti and Meatball Pot Pie.  It was simple, just put your favorite spaghetti and meatballs in a ramekin, top with pizza dough, brush with garlic herb butter and bake until golden.

This weekend I made a shortcut version of that instead of making my own meatballs, sauce, and dough.  It's just a different way of presenting your favorite spaghetti, meat sauce, and garlic bread in a creative way.    Be forewarned, these pot pies are very filling and will leave you stuffed.   You could also turn this into a holiday appetizer by downsizing to small ramekins. 

spaghetti and meatball pot pie, big green egg recipe, grill dome pasta recipe

Spaghetti and Meatball Pot Pie - Shortcut Version

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Green Chile Rubbed Tri-Tip (Raised Direct Method)

I have been into beef tri-tips the past few months.   It is a tender and beefy cut that, to me, is every bit as good as a roast tenderloin.  In fact, I might like it better.

Last week I reverse seared a tri-tip, which is a technique of slow roasting to the done point and then finishing with a quick red hot sear.  This week I am using a technique called "raised direct" which is when you grill over hot coals but with distance between the food and heat.   

Green chile rubbed tri-tip, BGE tri-tip recipe, Grill Dome tri-tip recipe, raised direct kamado technique
Served with salsa and charro beans.
The recipe for the charro beans comes from Steven Raichlen's BBQ USA.  We made it pretty much as written and these will definitely be joining our table anytime we make TexMex meals from now on.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Steak Au Poivre

Steak Au Poivre is French for "cooking steaks inside instead of on the grill".

Okay, perhaps not but it might as well mean that at our house because if we cook steaks inside, au poivre is our favorite method.    

There are a few advantages to pan searing steaks versus grilling them.  First, pan seared steaks maximize the Malliard reaction, giving you an even, deep golden crust.  Second, you get to capture the intense flavor in the sucs (the brown sticky bits left on the pan) in a delicious pan sauce to compliment the steak.  

Steak au poivre recipes might appear to call for WAY too much pepper but don't worry, it works.  Every time that we make this, I just can't believe how wonderfully complex the flavor tastes for just beef, salt, and pepper.  Sometimes I make the traditional cream sauce but this time I used another favorite pan sauce of ours - bourbon/baby bella sauce.  

Steak Au Poivre with Bourbon Mushroom Sauce
source:  www.nibblemethis.com

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Somewhat Off Topic - Miscellaneous Phone Pictures

I'm still recovering from surgery last week and hope to resume cooking this weekend.  

In the mean time here are a bunch of food pictures from the past year that were on my phone.  While they do not have the quality of my normal food shots, they show a little behind the scenes action.  

Filming of this season's BBQ Pitmasters finale in Tryon, NC.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Reverse Seared Tri Tip and Thermoworks New ChefAlarm

We are relatively new to beef tri-tip but we have quickly grown to love this West coast favorite.  It has a rich beefy taste like ribeye or top sirloin but the soft texture of a tenderloin.

Just a few years ago, it was difficult to buy beef tri-tip East of the Mississippi.  But now I can find them in Knoxville at Kroger, Costco, and Ingles.  If you are an Easterner who has never had tri-tip, I am telling you, you NEED to try one.  The roast is about 2 to 2 1/2 lbs and is shaped like a boomerang, it's hard to miss.  If the meat counter doesn't have them, you can always ask your butcher for cut#  NAMP 185D.  It's worth the hassle.

We picked one up on a whim recently and I wanted to try something new for us with tri-tip - an injection.  Tri-tip is delicious with just salt, pepper, and garlic but it also has a good flavor that stands up to other vibrant flavors.  Normally I don't pair beef with sweet rubs or sauces.  But my injection was cherry juice, beef base, and worcestershire sauce and the flavors actually worked together quite nicely.

Reverse seared tri-tip, beef roast, big green egg beef recipe, grill dome beef recipe,

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

How I Make Barbecued Chicken Breasts

Our recipe for our chicken entry in competitions uses thighs.  But when it comes to serving the general public, I like to smoke bone in, skin on chicken breasts because most people like white meat. 

Breasts are what we used for the office party that we catered last week.   The potential downside to breasts are that white meat tends to be bland and can dry out easily.  We use a brine to add flavor and moisture.  To boost the flavor of the chicken, we paint layer after layer of seasonings from the start to finish.       

Monday, October 28, 2013

NMT Barbecue Rub

I came up with this barbecue rub earlier this summer and it has become my standard rub.  I've used it in several recipes and find myself referring to it more often so I'm giving it a stand alone post.

BBQ rub, Big Green Egg BBQ rub, Kamado Joe BBQ rub, Grill Dome BBQ rub, Primo BBQ rub, barbecue rub

When I first make it, I will store it as is with it's coarse texture.  I will use it like this for seasoning the exterior of my butts and first coat for ribs.  In those cases I like the texture and it's on the meat long enough to rehydrate and soften the dried onions, garlic, and herbs. 

But for seasoning chicken, pork chops, tenderloins, etc I like to run it through a coffee grinder (dedicated only to spices) to get it in a fine texture.  It goes on more evenly and it actually tastes different.

NMT Barbecue Rub
Makes 1 1/2 cups

8 Tbsp smoked paprika
4 Tbsp dark brown sugar
4 Tbsp turbinado sugar
4 Tbsp kosher salt
4 Tbsp Tone's Garlic Pepper Seasoning
2 tsp dried herbs (usually oregano and thyme)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp chipotle chile powder

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.  Grind for fine texture right before using.

Adam Perry Lang - Craftmanship Tour
I've posted about this a few times this year.  Chef and Pitmaster Adam Perry Lang has been traveling across the country sourcing handmade items for his ultimate tailgate.  In this installment, Lang visits the hills of the Tullhoma, TN area.  That's where I recently went to get The Warthog, beautiful country.  Lang was here to learn hands on about the craftsmanship behind every batch of George Dickel Whiskey.

Also, in case you didn't know, Lang's book, Serious Barbecue: Smoke, Char, Baste and Brush Your Way to Great Outdoor Cooking. , is back in print once again and available.  You can ask just about any BBQ aficionado and they will tell you this particular book is a BBQ classic.    It's in my personal top three, along with Raichlen's The Barbecue! Bible and Chris Lilly's Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint .

Hmmm that has got me thinking.  I'm going to make Lang's Tri-Tip with Honey-Garlic Glaze from that book this week.

Anyhoo - check out the video and if you want a copy of Serious Barbecue, pick it up now.  

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Competition Pit - Part II

It is Christmas morning.  You wake up and fly down the stairs in a blur and find that Santa brought that exact present you wanted.  The only problem is that you can't play with it, you can only watch your family and friends play with it.

That's pretty much happened with our competition pit.  The same week I got the pit, I also got a hernia (surgery next week) so I have had to use it vicariously, watching Alexis and our older son use it.  Technically, I can't even open the door due to lifting restrictions.  But we've still put the pit through some trial runs. 

The custom made pit is not nameless anymore - I have given it the nickname "The Warthog".  The large twin smoke stacks at the rear, sloped facing, and unusual shape/design reminded of the A-10 Thunderbolt, aka the Warthog.  While the A-10 may be funny looking, any ground troops needing close air support will tell you it's functionally beautiful.  That's my pit - a bit odd looking but functionally beautiful.  So "The Warthog" it is.  

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tailgating Checklist

Tailgating can be a lot of work but it is worth it.

Trevor helped feed the crowd, here he is loading the Pit Barrel Cooker with two racks of fajita wings and ABT's.

Our older son and his roommates were hosting a tailgate for the Tennessee Vols vs Georgia Bulldogs game and asked us if we wanted to cook.  Not gonna pass on that opportunity!  The tailgate friendly menu that we put together was Tex-Mex

Tex-Mex Rice

None of the dishes are really new so I'll post about the experience instead, since it was a lot of fun and I learned a few things in the process.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Appetizer: BBQ Beef Brisket Potstickers

When you barbecue as much as I do, you end up with some wonderful problems, such as having extra BBQ brisket or smoked pork hanging out in your fridge. This was the case when my wife and I were trying to come up with an appetizer for a friend's birthday back in April. 

We came across some potsticker wrappers at the store. I had just smoked a spicy beef brisket the night before. Boom – inspiration hit. It was one of those “you got your chocolate in my peanut butter” kind of moments. We came up with an idea for BBQ beef brisket potstickers. I'm not sure what you would call this. Redneck fusion? Hillbilly haute cuisine?

brisket, leftover, Asian, appetizer

I had never formed potstickers before so I consulted the same person who taught me how to prep eggrolls – Jaden Hair. The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook has a step by step process for fancier looking gyoza and Healthy Asian Cooking has the same for a simpler version. I used the fancy version.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tailgate Heroes: Petros Chili and Chips

This really isn't a recipe post, just an idea for a kick butt tailgating dish - Petro's.

What's a Petro, you ask?  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Competition Rig

I'm pretty dang excited.  I finally got my competition trailer!

Isn't it an adorable little beast? We have to think of a good name for it but that will take some time.  It needs to be an earned moniker. 

I'm excited because this means we can
  1. Compete on our own some next year and with some friends
  2. Cater events for work, friends, and family
  3. Do onsite cooks in support of Operation Barbecue Relief as needed
  4. Tailgate at the next level

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fajita Chicken Wings with Chipotle Lime Cream Sauce

I'm not sure what took me so long to try this one, because the idea totally makes sense - fajita chicken wings.

Technically these are "fajita style" chicken wings since fajitas are specifically beef.  But I'm making these for a Tex-Mex themed tailgate so the people that will be eating them won't be nit-picking over a name. 

Trevor loved the wings by themselves but Alexis and I both thought that the cream sauce just put them over the top.  The earthy flavors of cumin and cilantro blend with the bright flavors of corriander and lime for a delicious Tex-Mex wing.  As written, these are mildly spicy.  If you want hotter, add more pepper flake and some hot sauce to the marinade.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Quick Hits: Arby's new Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich

I was driving home from work and saw a sign saying Arby's had a Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich and pulled in to give it a shot.  

I was skeptical.  A lot of fast food places have done BBQ themes this year, slapping some mediocre crock pot style BBQ pork on a burger.  There's also the infamous McRib.  But attempting to do brisket in a fast food setting takes some big kahones.  If anyone could pull it off, it would probably be Arby's since they make that freakishly delicious roast beef sandwich.  

Photo Credit:  Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich photo from Arby's website

The sandwich is priced at $4.99 and rings in at $7.49 for a combo.   It's a pretty tall sandwich of a slightly crispy bun, layers of brisket smoked for 13 hours, smoked gouda cheese, fried onions, BBQ sauce and mayo.  

The brisket was shaved thin and it had an obvious cure/smoke ring on the edges.  The brisket looked a little odd but maybe that's because I'm not used to seeing shaved razor thin like that. 

Grading this on a fast food curve, I'd give this a solid b or b+.  Trevor had one and agreed.  There was a strong enough smoke flavor from the meat, cheese, and bbq sauce.  If you're not a big fan of liquid smoke in your BBQ sauce, you might want to ask for Arby's sauce instead of the BBQ sauce.  I don't mind it if not too overpowering.  The meat was tender and the onions crispy, giving a nice overall texture.  It was good enough that I had another one for lunch today.

Hey look, fellow BBQ Brethren, Neil "Big Mista" Strawder is on their commercial!  

This isn't going to compete against a brisket sandwich from your local BBQ joint.  But as far as fast food BBQ themed items go, I think this is the best of the BBQ bunch and it's a good sandwich.   

That being said, I'd rather have a couple of the Arby's Classic with some Arby's Sauce and/or Horsey Sauce.   It's hard to beat the original.  

[Standard Disclaimer]  No compensation was received for this post. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tailgating with Pork and Kroger - Game Day

We could not have asked for a more beautiful day for our tailgate.  Bright blue skies, mild temps, and the slightest of breezes graced the University of Tennessee campus for the game against Southern Alabama.

After a week of testing, my final menu was set.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mini Redneck Tacos and Tailgating Kit Giveaway [Contest closed]

Tailgate food should only require one hand....

I mean, that's not an iron clad rule or anything but it is a great guideline....

Or maybe just words to live by.  You want to keep a hand free for drinking, playing cornhole, tossing a football, or whatever.  Plus you want to be able to eat a lot of various things.  Tailgating isn't a meal...it's grazing.  

My day job has me going to Nashville a few times a month and I often stop at Martin's BBQ for lunch.  One of their signature dishes is their famous Redneck Taco, which was featured on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives .  It is a johnny cake (think corn bread pancake) topped with smoked pork, slaw, and a spicy BBQ sauce. 

This is my inspired version of the Redneck Taco.  It's smaller, to comply with the one hand rule guideline.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Smokey Pork Tenderloin Sliders

As I mentioned in the previous post, I am hosting a tailgate this coming weekend at the University of Tennessee game. The National Pork Board and Kroger are sponsoring my tailgate and one of the menu items is these Smokey Pork Tenderloin Sliders with bacon honey mustard sauce.

We did a test run with them this past weekend and tried a variety of toppings.  Our two favorites were caramelized onions on the grill and/or cole slaw and that is what we are going with at the tailgate.

This recipe might look long but it is really easy and it's perfect for game day food because I'll give you "make ahead" tips so the only thing you have to do at the tailgate is grill the onions, tenderloins, and toast the rolls.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Pulled Pork Queso for Nachos

There's something special about living in a college town, like Knoxville, during football season.  By Thursday-ish each week, the town is abuzz about the weekend's football game.   Everyone seems to be in a good mood and people are out being active. 

Whether you are watching your kid's middle school game with friends and family...

Trevor's team, Bearden in maroon, playing CAK on our first game of the season.

...or watching the big game with 100,000 of your closest friends and neighbors, tailgating is a fun part of the experience.

Neyland Stadium - Tennessee vs Austin Peay 2013
This coming weekend we are excited to be tailgating at the University of Tennessee vs Southern Alabama game* as part of Tailgating With Pork and Kroger.   This week I am posting a few of the recipes that we'll be serving down near The Strip before the game.  Here's our planned menu (click to enlarge). 

The appetizer is going to be simple but powerfully good - Nachos with Pulled Pork Queso.   I'm sure you've seen those nachos from stadium concessions with that unnaturally orange cheese sauce from a can.   Not ours!  Our queso is loaded with onions, peppers, seasonings, and fresh smoked blade pork roast (aka pork butt).  We made this recipe on a whim when stumbling across something new (to us at least) in the pasta section at Kroger - Velveeta Queso Blanco.   This uses the same pulled pork that I'll detail in the upcoming post for mini-redneck tacos.   It gives the queso a great smoky flavor.

Pulled pork queso for nachos, BBQ queso, tailgate food, party food, best queso recipe
Tailgate Tip:  If you're going to be cooking on site, have a "made ahead" appetizer like this ready to eat.  Waiting for food at a tailgate is a mood killer.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Product Review: Pit Barrel Cooker

In the Orange and Bourbon Brined Turkey post, I mentioned that I used a Pit Barrel Cooker.  I received one to try two weeks ago and I have been putting it through its paces for this review.

I first learned about Pit Barrel Cookers through John Dawson of the website Patio Daddio and competitive BBQ team.   He was really talking the PBC up while we were at Kingsford Invitational last Fall.  Coincidentally, John just won a Grand Championship using only two Pit Barrel Cookers last month! 

So what is a Pit Barrel Cooker?  
In my own words, I'd describe it as a simple to use, low cost, highly efficient smoker/grill with some unique features.  It is similar to an Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) but it is smaller in size, already assembled, and is engineered to eliminate some of the guess work.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Orange and Bourbon Brined Turkey on the Grill

Since our daughter, her husband, and the grand baby are visiting from Florida, we decided to have Thanksgiving on Labor Day.   Brett and his girlfriend came over and we had the whole family back home at the same time for the first time in several years.  

For the turkey, I used an orange and bourbon brine to add flavor and moisture.  The brine worked because the turkey tasted great and my daughter said it was the juiciest turkey she's ever had.   The smoky flavor of the bourbon and the citrus tang is subtle but there, just the way I like it.

spatchcock turkey, BGE turkey, grilled turkey, smoked turkey

Note:  Not sure where we got this turkey platter but it is very close to this one:
HIC Porcelain Turkey Platter 17.5-inch
Two notes on brining.  First, if you can, get a bird that has not been pre-brined "packaged in a solution" but if you don't have a choice, cut the amount of salt in this brine in half.   Second, thaw the bird before brining.  I know it seems like a good idea to use the brining time as thaw time too, but the brine won't penetrate frozen meat particularly well.

I also spatchcocked the bird which means butterflying it in reverse, cutting out the backbone.   This technique helps the bird cook faster, more evenly, and I prefer the presentation of a laid out turkey.   I used the cooking times, temps, and technique that Pitmaster, Chris Lilly, used for his Charcoal-Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herb Butter at the Kingsford Invitational last year.  That bird was also spatchcocked. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Poultry Dry Rub and Decatur Jaycees Riverfest 2013

I arrived in the beautiful town of Decatur, AL on Saturday morning just a few hours after the first cool front of the Fall passed through and was it ever glorious!  The crisp dry morning air was a refreshing relief from humid summer days and the skies were so brilliantly blue that it almost hurt my eyes.  It was such a beautiful day that someone should have scheduled a BBQ festival...

...and that is just what Ken Hess of Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue did.  I was there to judge BBQ at the annual Decatur Jaycees Riverfest.

But first, speaking of Big Bob Gibson's, here's a quick poultry dry rub that is a part of my upcoming turkey post.   It was created by world champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly, on behalf of Kingsford and the recipe was included in our media packets at the 2012 Kingsford Invitational.  

Poultry dry rub, bbq rub

Poultry Dry Rub
Source:  reprinted with permission from Kingsford 
Makes:  1/2 cup
Prep Time:  what prep time?  If it was any faster you'd go back in time.

  • 2 Tbsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion flakes
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves, dried
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp marjoram leaves, dried
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp rosemary leaves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  1. Add all ingredients in a small bowl and blend well.
  2. Season chicken or poultry liberally, prior to grilling over Kingsford charcoal.  Store the remaining dry rub in an GLAD food storage container at room temperature.   

Okay,  back to the contest.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Mafé - Beef Stew from Senegal

This is going to be my comfort food for this coming Fall and Winter - Mafé.

It is a spicy stew from Senegal with a tomato-peanut butter sauce that is just fantastic.   Mafé can be made from beef, lamb, or chicken and like any regional dish, it has endless variations.  My son-in-law, Djiby, is from Senegal and I made this based on what he told me about the dish.  

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Side Dish: Creole Fried Rice (Tony Chacerice)

I first came up with this side dish in the middle of March and I don't know what has taken me so long to post about it, because it was an immediate family favorite.  

creole fried rice, tony chacerice, tony chacere

The first time I made it, I just needed something to go with some leftover grilled pork tenderloin.  Unlike a true stir fry, I didn't use cold cooked rice because honestly, I was in a hurry and didn't want to wait for it to cool down.  I liked the result because it makes a quicker prep time and the rice doesn't clump together.

I started off calling it Creole stir fried rice but because it uses Tony Chachere's creole seasoning, it has gotten dubbed - Tony Chache-rice.  

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Product Review: Reliable Enviromate Pronto Steam Cleaner

My experience has been that the best thing for keeping a grill in good condition is frequent use.   Buy two identical grills and store them the same way.  Use one 2-3 times a week and one 2-3 times a year.  The frequently used one will last longer in most cases.   I think that is because the neglected grill is not seasoned so it rusts out and falls apart sooner.  A well seasoned grill is like a well oiled machine, it performs better and lasts longer.

But at some point, seasoning becomes gunk and gunk is not good.  Gunk is built up grease, old food, and bits of who knows what.  It builds up in corner, cracks and on the bottom of grates and it has to be removed.

My normal cleaning routine is:
  1. Scrub top and bottom of grates while cold with wire brush.
  2. Preheat grill, allowing grates to get hot and burn off crud.
  3. Scrub top of grates while hot with wire brush.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Bacon Honey Mustard Dressing and Dip

This is just a quicky post to let you know that I'm still alive, just not posting a whole lot.   

We have been busy with Trevor's football practices (6 days a week), school started for us weeks ago, and our daughter Alex had our first grandchild two weeks ago.  Oh yeah, there were the two football injuries (ER, follow up visits, etc) and BBQ judging too.   

Most of our meals have been after we get home at 9pm and are something like this...

...not that there's anything wrong with hot dogs.
Update 9/2/13:  I have had two people ask about the above hot dog roller.  I got it at Crate and Barrel but as of today, they don't stock it anymore.  Here is a similar model found on Amazon:
Chefs Basics HW5298 Barbecue Hot Dog Roller

This recipe is based on my mom's honey mustard dressing.  In addition to being a dressing it is excellent for dipping fried chicken strips or you can use it as a glaze in the last minute of grilling chicken for sandwiches.  Or you can just dip your finger in it and lick it off.  Not that I did that...more than a few times.

Bacon Honey Mustard Dressing
makes 1 cup

  • 2 strips bacon, cooked
  • 1 Tbsp reserved hot bacon grease
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise 
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2.5 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp Season-all or other all purpose seasoning
  • 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup honey
  1.  Mince the bacon very finely.  You want it to be almost dust - bacon dust.  I like to use a mini-food processor.  You should have about 2 Tbsp of bacon crumbles.
  2. Add all ingredients except the honey.  Then slowly stir in the honey, tasting for seasoning as you add.  I like to use the whole 1/4 cup but if you don't want it as sweet, use less.
Because this has meat and mayo in it, it will not keep as long as a vinaigrette dressing.  But we pretty much use ours the same day we make it.  It will hold a week in the fridge as long as you keep it in a sealed container.  

Just brush on during the last minute of cooking.

And on that note, I am heading into the football game.  I wrote this post in the parking lot of Schumpert Field (Go Bulldogs!).  Hope you all have a great Labor Day weekend and fire up those grills!  Even if it is just for hot dogs.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

BBQ Pitmasters Finale and Blue Ridge BBQ Festival - Tryon, NC

Alexis and I went to the Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival in Tryon, NC back in June but I have been sitting on this post because Destination America was there filming the finale of BBQ Pitmasters Season 4 which airs this Sunday night at 9pm Eastern. 

The Event
This was our first time at Tryon and we were very impressed with the overall event.  Tryon is located in the lush, green rolling hills on the Eastern side of the Great Smoky Mountains.  It is a small town of less than 2,000 but they know how to put on a big time event.  Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival is a KCBS event so the normal 4 meats (chicken, ribs, pork, brisket) are turned in for blind judging by certified bbq judges and rated 1-9 for appearance, taste, and tenderness.   This event is part of a Triple Crown deal in which the highest cumulative winner of this event, Maggie Valley, and Franklin wins an additional prize.  
Overlooking the vendor and craftsman area on a beautiful summer day.
Much of the competitors areas are situated in the cool shade of tall hickory.