Sunday, June 30, 2013

Grilled Shrimp Bourbon-yaki

Isn't it hard to believe that the Fourth of July is almost here?  I have been so busy that this summer break has flown by so far.

Fourth of July is the biggest grilling day of the year and there will be cookouts across the US this week.   You know that guy who has a decrepit grill laced with spider webs and possibly a bird's nest?  Yeah, even he is busting out the grill for Independence Day. 

Here is a quick and easy appetizer for your cookout.

This is inspired by the appetizer that Dave Scott (Inspired by E-recipe Cards) made at our blogger get together this year.   He elected to use pre-cooked shrimp.   I thought they would come off the grill over cooked but his were excellent.    I added the bourbon for flavor, the green onion for some color, and the red pepper flake for heat. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Cherry Chipotle Pork Chops

These are the juiciest and most tender pork chops I have ever had. 

Not only that, the chipotle bbq rub and sweet cherry bbq glaze made them magic – because they disappeared quicker than David Copperfield can say Statue of Liberty. They might be magical but there was no voo doo to it, just sous-vide.

Sue Who?

Sous-vide. It's a cooking technique where food is vacuum sealed, cooked in water for a long time and then seared at the last minute for serving. Sous-vide is reputed to provide perfectly even cooking, low moisture loss (i.e. juicy meat), and tender texture. I've dabbled with a poor man's version of sous-vide. Eggheads like to do what we call “hot tubbing” steaks where you bag them and submerge them in hot water for an hour before grilling.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fajita Chicken Tostada Stacks

Youth football is already starting.  Trevor had football camp last week and conditioning practice started this week.  He comes home tired and hungry so I let him pick dinner last night.  

We make a homemade version of the Taco Bell Mexican pizza and he asked for something like that.  Instead of ground beef, I used  "fajita style" grilled chicken thighs.  Sure you could just buy a can of enchilada sauce but making it is so much better.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Quick Easy Way to Wake Up Your Grilled Chicken

These days, recipes and barbecue tips are easy to find across the Internet.  But the BEST ones are the ones that are shared amongst of couple of friends as they tend grill and enjoy a cold brew around the embers.  That is how I came to know this recipe for a fantastic chicken mop over a decade ago.

Our neighborhood was cooking a hog for a pool party and the overnight cooks needed something to eat.   One of the neighbors taught me a version of this recipe for the half chickens that we smoked for ourselves that night and I have used it ever since.   

I use it most often while smoking chickens but it is also great on grilled chicken too.

Mop Sauce for Chicken

1 c apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup Bud Light
1/2 cup KC Masterpiece Original BBQ Sauce
1.5 tsp Kosher salt
1.5 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbsp hot sauce

Mix all ingredients together.   Apply remaining beer liberally on the Pit or Grillmaster.  That's it. 

Store refrigerated in a sealed jar for up to 6 weeks.

Primary use:  For smoked chicken, mop onto chicken several times during the smoking process. 

Alternative uses:  Mop on chicken while grilling.  Use as a 1 hour marinade to liven up boring chicken breasts.  Mix with melted butter as a toss for grilled wings.  Works on pork too.

Sanitation tip:  Never return a mop that has touched raw chicken to the mop.  An easy way to do that is skip the actual mop or brush altogether and put this mop into a squirt bottle with a wide tip.  Use that to squirt the mop onto the chicken several times during the cooking time. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Spicy Pimento Cheese Burger

Today is the first day of summer!  I think summer should always start on a Friday.  Don't you? 

To kick off the season, I wanted to grill burgers.  Pimento cheese burgers have been quite popular for the past few years and I have made them a few times.  Tonight I added a fire roasted jalapeno for a spicier version. 

Instead of one big 6 oz patty,  these burgers use a stack of thin burger patties with layers of bacon and spicy pimento cheese. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Cows Don't Know It's Sunday - Meyer Ranch Tour

From what I have seen, being a cowboy or ranching is NOT what the movies make it out to be.  The ranch hands at Meyer Natural Foods' company ranch are working before dawn and continue until daylight has turned to dusk.  Someone asked about the long, arduous hours and not having weekends off.

The simple reply was, "The cows don't know it's Sunday."

Wales Reservoir on Meyer Natural Foods company ranch

But everything stops at lunch time when they all have lunch together at the operations office. Based on all the hard work they do, it has to be a substantial lunch to carry them through the day.  Something like this steak sandwich, piled high with thin sliced New York strip steaks.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Grilled Manhattan Fillet and A Trip To The Ranch

What will your legacy be?

Last week I had the privilege of seeing a man building his legacy at the Meyer Natural Foods Company Ranch near Helmsville, Montana.  I went there expecting to learn about beef but I think I learned more about what one person's passion can build.  
Meyer Natural Angus ranch
Cowboys leading a herd of about 80 cows and calves to the corrals.

I can't get the kernel of what I experienced and learned in just one post so I want to do a series of three posts about the passion, people, and product from the Meyer ranch.  Today I will tackle the product, Angus beef, and what I learned about it as a consumer.

After two days of being fed all natural, dry aged, prime beef meals prepared by Executive Chef, John Enright, you might think I was ready for something a little different than more beef right?  Wrong.  I daydreamed this recipe up on the flight home from Knoxville.  

Grilled Manhattan Beef Filet with Cajun Sauce, Big Green Egg steak recipe, kamado grill steak recipe
It is a variation on a dish that Chef John made for us that had Manhattan fillets, asparagus, and polenta with portobello mushrooms.  My spin is a reverse seared Manhattan fillet with a Cajun bearnaise sauce, grilled asparagus, and cheesy stoneground grits.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Simple Steak Marinade

A lot of people will be grilling  for Fathers Day.   What is on the grill isn't as important as it is that the family just get together and socialize around the coals.   But some of the more popular options for Fathers Day are ribs, burgers, and steaks.  

I have said time and time again, that good quality steaks don't NEED anything more than salt and pepper.  But every now and thing it is fun to try something different, like this easy steak marinade.

I like it because it is simple but flavorful and easy to adapt for your personal tastes.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Carribean Chicken Wings, Memphis In May, and BBQ Pitmasters

I've been to the Sodom and Gomorrah of barbecue.

A few weeks ago I went to the Memphis In May Barbecue Cooking Contest.  I thought it would be like all of the other cook offs I have been to, only more teams.  I was dead wrong.  Everything was so much more...excessive.  And I liked it.  Just like Lot's wife (aka Fleur de Sel) , when it was time to leave, it is very hard NOT to look back.  

These wings are a tribute to Chef Sara.  You might know her from the second season of Hell's Kitchen or Food Network's Best In Smoke.  She'll be on BBQ Pitmasters this season.  At MIM she was a part of The Shed BBQ and Blues team that took First in Whole Hog.  One night at The Shed's booth, there was a funny mix-up about "Carribean chicken wings" with my BBQ BFF, Robyn Medlin-Lindars, Chef Sara, and myself.  It's too long to explain but it turned out there were no such wings at the time.  If there HAD been, I like to think they would have been like these.

Caribbean Chicken Wings