Friday, May 31, 2013

Easy Blue Cheese Burgers and Interview with Myron Mixon

The new season of BBQ Pitmasters fires up this Sunday, June 2nd on the Destination America channel at 9pm Eastern time (8pm cst).  I had the opportunity to interview world champion pitmaster, author, and restauranteur Myron Mixon about the show and his new book, Everyday Barbecue.

I made these easy blue cheese stuffed burger inspired by the spirit of Everyday Barbecue.  Grilling and BBQ isn't magic or voodoo.  It does not have to be hard and you should be able to enjoy it during the week too.  This another entry of mine for Destination America's Red, White, and Food during their Meat Week.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Huli Huli Chicken Sliders with Ponzu Slaw

Now that the "grilling season" has begun [never stopped for me!], there are going to be lots of cookouts to throw and attend.  This recipe is perfect for those summer cookouts because it is tropical, easy to make, and it's a departure from the usual burgers and dogs.

These huli huli chicken sliders are what I made for our annual blogger party on the lake this past weekend.  I'll do a full post about that fun event later this week but wanted to get the recipe out there for those that asked.  Plus I liked this recipe so much that I wanted to use this as my submission to Red, White and Food as part of Meat Week.  What is Meat Week?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Grilled Blue Whales - Relax It's A Cocktail

When I was in my young wild and rambunctious phase, we might have had a party or two.  One of our go-to party drinks was a beverage we called Blue Whales.  

It was a simple concoction, 2 gallons of lemonade, 1 bottle of Everclear, 1 bottle of Curaco, and a bunch of sliced oranges.  It was powerful, economical, and everyone liked it because, despite the alcohol, it was candy cotton sweet.  Perfect for drinking on the beach or poolside.

This weekend we had some houseguests in town for the annual blogger party (post forthcoming) so I made an updated version of Blue Whales.

grilled cocktail, grilling beverage, grilled blue whale drink, pool drink, party punch

Click link below for full post and recipe.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Cherry Chipotle Pork Tenderloin

If you asked me what my favorite cut of pork is every day, I would probably change my answer each day.  Shoulder, chops, ribs, sausage, name it.  Sunday my pork weapon of choice was tenderloin.  It's lean, quick cooking, and can take on so many kinds of flavors.

This particular time I went with the sweetness of cherry and the smoky heat of chipotle for a delicious grilled Cherry Chipotle Pork Tenderloin.

The brine, rub, and BBQ sauce are all easy to make for this simple recipe.  If you don't have the time to brine, you could skip that part but it adds a lot of flavor and keeps the pork juicy while grilling.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Memorial Day Grilling Giveaway - Bug-a-Salt Fly Gun

Memorial Day Weekend is next week and for a lot of folks, that means the start of the grilling and BBQ season. With all of the great things that come with cook outs and firing up that grill, one annoyance that comes with it is flies.

I have found something that turns that annoyance into entertainment.  It is the Bug-A-Salt salt gun and it wins the coveted Nibble Me This Best Grilling Accessory Award of 2013*.

It is an ingenious non-toxic solution that uses a pinch of common table salt and air to take out flying or crawling pests.

When you light up your grill or start prepping food outside, it is like a dinner bell for flies and draws in every flying maggot for miles and miles, right? I've tried the pennies in a ziptop bag of water and it doesn't keep them away (Mythbusters busted that myth). Swatting a fly with a fly swatter just splatters it all over your cooking or eating area, yuck. The Bug-A-Salt kills the fly with about 1/8th tsp of table salt but leaves the fly whole for easy, safe clean up.

I found the Bug-A-Salt when they were doing a kickstarter type campaign last year or so. I checked back recently and found they are in full production now so I bought one for review.

Product: Bug-A-Salt fly gun
Cost: $34.95 for one
Availability: online at

Key Features
  • Kills flies, mosquitoes, roaches and other pests with a range of 3 feet
  • non-toxic
  • pump action - No battery required
  • bug remains whole for easy clean up
  • excellent for flying insects indoors near windows, corners, and ceilings

We have cycled through two hoppers of salt for 100+ shots. This thing works exactly as advertised. As shown in the video, we found it to be accurate even at 3 feet away from the tiny target. Accuracy on still targets is close to 100%. Trying to hit an erratic flying target is harder but definitely doable. So far it has taken out flies, meal moths, invasive brown stink bugs, and ants. 

To see a video of the accuracy test in action, go to the 2:47 mark in this video that I made.

It is a quality build and feels sturdy, like it will last. We did have a couple of misfires at first. We quickly found that those were caused by cocking the gun while tilted AND the salt supply was low, so it just didn't get a full load of salt. Since then it has performed flawlessly. If you do run into problems, they have a hotline for customer service...I'm pretty sure it's the owner's actual mobile or office phone. I love working with smaller companies like that!

Expensive for a “fly swatter”? Absolutely. But the x-factor is the entertainment aspect. Without exception, EVERYONE that I have shown the Bug-A-Salt has wanted to hold it and shoot it several times. This would be fun to have at BBQ competitions, picnics, campgrounds and such. It also works GREAT when a fly or gallon nipper gets INTO your house.

I'm glad I finally bought one and I would recommend it.

Note: This should only be used on nuisance pests. Most insects are beneficial and are important parts of our ecosystem. But flies, mosquitoes, and roaches? Take 'em out! 

Memorial Day Grilling Giveaway
After buying my Bug-A-Salt, I reached out to them and they are willing to sponsor my Memorial Day Grilling Giveaway. One lucky winner will receive their very own Bug-A-Salt just in time for those outdoor Summer Activities.
  • To enter leave a comment below and tell me where you would use your Bug-A-Salt if you win it. (Be sure to leave a way for me to reach you if you use the Anonymous comment option. Leave an email or forum name)
  • You can get a bonus entry by tweeting a link to this blog post and using the hash tag #bugasalt
  • Entries will be accepted until Noon Eastern time on Memorial Day 2013.
  • Winner will be selected and notified via email and a post update on Memorial Day.
  • Winner has one week from notice to provide shipping information or a runner up will be selected at random.
Winner is Stephanie Phelps.  Stephanie I will contact you via your email address for your shipping info.  Congrats! 

*Yeah, I normally don't give out awards on this blog, I just made that award up. Bloggers are good at just making awards up like that, it sounds “important”. Actual cash value of this award plus a dollar will get you a cup of coffee at McDonalds. But in all seriousness, this is my favorite grilling gadget I have gotten this year.**

**This just in. The above footnote has been awarded the Nibble Me This Best Footnote of 2013. I would like to thank my readers, my supporters, and especially my dad, who told me when I was 7, that if I applied myself and worked hard, I could one day win the Nibble Me This Best Footnote Award.

Monday, May 13, 2013

2013 Sam's Club BBQ Tour - Knoxville, TN stop

The Sam's Club BBQ Tour rolled into Knoxville this weekend.

The Event 
The Sam's Club BBQ Tour is tournament style set up of KCBS BBQ competitions across the country and boasting half a million dollars in prize money.  750 BBQ teams compete in regional events, hoping to move on to the regional semi-finals and ultimately, the national championships in Bentonville, AR.

Friday, May 10, 2013

BBQ Brisket Sloppy Joes

After the Rocky Top BBQ Cook Off last weekend, the Big Bob Gibson Team had to high tail it back to Decatur, AL.  They had almost the full flat from their Snake River Farms waygu brisket leftover and couldn't take it with them.  Hoss asked if I wanted it.

Did I want it?   Damn he's funny!

After enjoying it for a few days and there was only a pound and a half left, I wanted to try something different.  After toying with a few ideas, I thought I would make a brisket sloppy joe.

brisket sloppy joe recipe, leftover brisket recipe, Big Green Egg brisket, grill dome recipe

Click the link below for the full recipe

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Orange-Chipotle Chicken Breasts

When you hear "grilled chicken breasts" you normally probably think of the typical boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts can deliver a juicier and tastier meat but you just can't go about it the same way.  It takes a little lower heat, a bit more time, and a watchful eye.

This recipe uses a few techniques and a tasty orange-chipotle sauce to create a spicy grilled chicken breast that just drips with flavor.

Orange-Chipotle Chicken Breasts
from 100 Grilling Recipes You Can't Live Without
Reprinted with permission from Bill and Cheryl Jamison

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rocky Top BBQ Cook-Off Results

This past weekend was the first Rocky Top BBQ Cook-Off in Knoxville. Alexis and I spent our time with two teams, Bent Elbow BBQ and Big Bob Gibson's Barbecue.

Chris Lilly with Big Bob Gibson's First Place Ribs.

I have a full post coming up about that experience (sorry, no competitive secrets to be released) but I wanted to get out a quick post out about this upstart BBQ competition.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Dry Brined Beer Can Chicken

I have talked about brining poultry and pork but one thing I haven't written about much is dry brining.

Dry brining is just what it says, brining without liquid. The salt in the rub induces the pores of the meat to open up and draws out liquid that mixes with the seasonings of the rub. After a while, the seasonings and liquid are pulled back into the meat. With dry brining, you need to give it the full length of recommended time, don't short change it. Otherwise the moisture might not be reabsorbed and the meat can be dry.

I recently experimented with dry brining using a recipe for Dry Brined Beer Can Chicken from the 2013 Southern Living book All Fired Up.

reprinted with permission from All Fired Up by Troy Black and Southern Living, Oxmoor House 2013

It took 24 hours to brine the two birds but the wait was worth it.  (click the link below for recipe)

Thursday, May 2, 2013


A lot is going on in Knoxville over the next few weeks.  Here's the skinny.

Rocky Top Hummin' and Strummin' BBQ Cook-off 
More than 45 smoking hot BBQ teams collide to fight for the Tennessee State BBQ Championship at this KCBS event. The Big Bob Gibson's team, winners of multiple World Championships, will be competing.  In addition to the BBQ competition, there will be bands, BBQ vendors, and a Peoples Choice category.  The event is on the grounds at the Episcopal School of Knoxville.  They are charging admission but all proceeds go to benefit the Rotary Club of West Knoxville.  Come on down, check it out, and support a good cause. [Click for details]

Sam's Club National BBQ Tour
Next weekend, May 11
The Sam's Club event rolls into Knoxville at the 8435 Walbrook Drive location at Gallaher View.
KCBS and Sam's Club® are back with the nationwide quest for BBQ's National Champion with the Sam's Club National BBQ Tour. Major bragging rights and $500,000 are up for grabs in this one-of-a-kind competition series!

Twenty-five local events and five Regional finals will take place at various Sam's Club locations across the country. What will start as 750 teams will end at Sam's Club Headquarters in Bentonville with one National Champion.

Come out to see the event and meet grill master, competitive chef, and author Troy Black.  [Click for details]

Pic from last year's party on the dock.

Fourth Annual East Tennessee Blogger Party
Sunday, May 26

We have had a blast at Larry and Beverly's lakefront vista the past 3 years and this year's theme is Hawaiian Luau-ish. 

Date:  Sunday, May 26, 2013 Rain or Shine
Time:  Noon until whenever everyone leaves.  We will eat around 1:30 PM
Who:  Anyone who is willing to make the trip is welcome and of course, bring your significant other!
Where:  Larry's place on Tellico Lake which is about 35 miles southwest of Knoxville, TN.
Dress:  Island if you can.

We will be serving Hawaiian, Island fare.  We will be asking for a small donation (approximately $10 per person) to cover the cost of the meat.  We won't know exactly how the donation will be until we have a final attendance count.

We will provide tea and soft drinks and island concoctions but please feel free to BYOB.

RSVP: To Larry at by May 5, 2013.

Veggie Sub Burger

Want to elevate your backyard burger to the next level this summer?  Here's an idea that hit me at lunch yesterday.

Take your favorite sub sandwich ingredients and use that to dress your burger!    I can't think of too many subs that wouldn't make a great burger topping.