Thursday, July 27, 2017

Steak, Black Bean and Rice Burritos

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  We received no compensation for this post. Smithfield and SABER Grills are two of our partner brands but this isn't a sponsored post for either brand.

This is one of our "go to" recipes when we want something quick, delicious, and satisfying.  Even our ultra picky, in house food critic (aka our son) loves these steak, black bean, and rice burritos.

recipe for steak, black bean, and rice burritos

The Components
  • Steak - We use whatever looks the best and is the least expensive between flank steak, flat iron, skirt, and sirloin flap.  I have really become a fan of the sirloin flap in the last year or two, we just can't get it all of the time. The main thing is that the steak has to be thin sliced and medium rare.
  • Rice - Sometimes we use a version of this Mexican Rice recipe.  Other times I'll just do regular basmati rice with some fire roasted poblano tossed in while it cooks.  If I have leftover plain white rice, I'll even use that just to get rid of the leftovers.
  • Cheese - Ideally, this should be fresh shredded and something like Monterey jack, pepper jack, Chihuahua, or our favorite, Oaxaca. Oaxaca is like Mexican mozzarella, rich, buttery, and melts well.  But as a confession, there are times we use pre-shredded cheese....yeah, I know, it's coated with stuff to keep it from sticking together and drying out.  When we do pre-shredded, we like Sargento's the best because it seems the least processed.  
  • Tortilla - We use Mission style sized flour tortillas for our burritos.  
  • Black beans - We usually use the black bean recipe below.  It has more onion and bell pepper than I would normally use when making black beans for eating as a side dish. We usually use Ranch Style brand or Bush's unseasoned black beans. 

Black Bean Mix for Burritos


  • 4 slices Smithfield Homestyle Bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 3/4 teaspoon taco or fajita seasoning

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Beef Filet and Pineapple Skewers With Pepper and Onion Stir Fry

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] We are proud to be sponsored by Certified Angus Beef and this is a sponsored post.

Grilling food on a skewer is popular around the world and you can find examples of it in almost every culture.  Whether it is Middle Eastern shish kebabs, Japanese yakitori, Greek souvlaki, Brazilian rodizio, or African sosatie, grilling on skewers is fast, convenient, and tasty.

There are grills specifically made for skewer cooking but it is easy to build your own by using fire bricks to make a trough 10"w x 12"h x however long out of fire bricks.  For me, skewers are easy enough to do on any gas or charcoal grill, I don't think you need any special equipment other than a bag of bamboo skewers.

5 Tips for For Easier Skewer Grilling

  1. If using bamboo skewers, soak them for 30 minutes before using them to keep them from burning.
  2. If using metal skewers, buy the flat blade style instead of round.  It will hold the meat in place better.
  3. When using round skewers, use 2 skewers parallel to each other through each kebab to keep the food from spinning.
  4. Put your meat and veggies on different skewers so they can cook the appropriate length of time.  When you cook meat and veggies together, you'll often end up with under cooked veggies if the meat is cooked correctly or overcooked meat when the veggies are cooked right.
  5. If using wooden skewers and a lot of excess skewer is sticking out, either wrap foil around the exposed wood or just trim it off closer to the food. 

Regardless of which flavor profile I choose or which grill I plan to use, I always start with quality beef, preferrably, Certified Angus Beef from my local Food City.  I think their quality control standards and grading make their beef consistently better than the other selections available to us.  

Here is a recipe that we made this week using the "scraps" from a whole beef tenderloin that I was trimming in to a center cut roasts.  At your butcher, they might sell these as "tenderloin tips".  

Beef filet and pineapple skewers with pepper and onion stir fry from Certified Angus Beef #gorare #bestbeef
Beef Filet and Pineapple Skewers with Pepper and Onion Stir Fry featuring Certified Angus Beef.

The sweet, slightly earthy, and spicy glaze brings out the best in the pineapple and the beef.  Using tenderloin for kebabs is a little expensive but I promise you that these are some of the most tender kebabs you'll ever eat.

Beef Filet and Pineapple Skewers With Pepper and Onion Stir Fry

Monday, July 24, 2017

Smoked Beef Back Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received my Grilla Grill and extended rack from Grilla Grills for no charge as thanks for cooking on their Memphis In May BBQ team.

These are the best beef back ribs I have ever tasted.

Smoked beef back ribs with chimichurri sauce

Types of Beef Ribs

There are two types of beef ribs - back ribs and short ribs.

  • Short ribs can be either "chuck" or "plate" but either way, they are very meaty and have a taste/texture similar to chuck roast.  
  • Beef back ribs come from the primal that gives us rib eye and prime rib.  In face, beef back ribs are basically just the bones removed from a prime rib.  
  • Not as meaty - because it comes from that expensive cut, there usually isn't much meat left on back ribs.
  • Steak on a stick - but because it is from that section, the meat is more like a steak than a roast.
Argentina loves beef so I put a Argentinian spin on these beef back ribs.  I made a simple seasoning that adds smoky chiles and a little bit of heat to a basic salt and pepper rub.  Next I smoked these hot and fast, they are thin and don't have a lot of connective tissue so they don't need the low and slow treatment.  Finally, I served them with a chimichurri sauce that was just over the top good.  

I should note that chimichurri sauce in South America is typically more thin and almost like a vinaigrette or Eastern Carolina BBQ sauce.  Mine isn't authentic because I add a secret ingredient to it that makes it a bit thicker and I added cilantro instead of just flat leaf parsley. So it's "chimichurri-ish".

recipe for Smoked Beef Back Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce

The ribs are very good with the seasoning alone but the chimichurri sauce takes them over the top. Plan on 2-3 ribs per person.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Wood Fired Pizza

I wrote a post about How to Make Wood Fired Pizza at Home for my partnership with Char-Broil™.  They came out with a kamado grill this year, the Kamander, and I wanted to show the new kamado owners how to make pizza on their new grill.  

How to make pizza on a kamado grill
We made this one with fire roasted onions and peppers, pepperoni, salami, and more.

The recipe is at the link above, here are a bunch of extra footage from that post.

We'll buy pizza sauce in a pinch, but I'd much rather make my own. We do a modification of this sauce recipe.

Picked up a Char-Broil pizza stone and pizza peel for just $20 at Lowes. It's pretty thin compared to a BGE branded one that I have but about the same as a Pampered Chef one that we own. People complain about the Pampered Chef one breaking on the grill but I've used mine for 8 years without a problem.  For $20 for this one, I figured I'd take the risk and so far, it's done fine.

Kick Ash Basket in a Kamander kamado grill #shakethatash
Like all my other kamados, I use a Kick Ash Basket in my Kamander.  I think it makes the air flow a bit more fool proof and certainly makes reusing the leftover coal easier.

Well, that's the last time that pizza stone will be THAT clean.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Strip Loin Grilling Class at Mannix Pools and Grills

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] Certified Angus Beef is one of our favorite sponsors ever and we are proud to be on their influencer team

Earlier this month, I taught a strip class.

No! Not a stripping class - but a grilling class on how to use a whole beef strip loin like the dish below.   

Reverse pan seared NY Strip Steak with roasted garlic and bourbon sauce recipe

The class was at Mannix Pools and Grills in Winter Haven, FL. When BJ asked me to do a class I thought I would talk about how to break down a Certified Angus Beef whole beef strip loin into 4 delicious recipes including:

Pepper Crusted Strip Loin Roast
NY Steak and Cheese Mini Subs with Smoked Chile Mayo
Umami Manhattan Filet with Shiitake Stir Fry
Reverse Pan Seared NY Strip Steak with Roasted Garlic and Bourbon Sauce

It was a whirlwind 48 hour trip that included a lot of fun and 20 hours of driving (not a lot of fun). Here are some pictures from our weekend trip and class.

Certified Angus Beef whole beef strip loins
The class was in Florida. Since it was the same week as July 4th, I was worried I might have a hard time finding enough strip loins for the class down there.   So before we left Knoxville, Jeremy at Food City #674 helped us get 3 Certified Angus Beef whole beef strip loins.

Does Certified Angus Beef really matter so much to go to that effort?  I mean, Walmart carries Angus now, why not just buy it at the Walmart down there? 

Because not all Angus is Certified Angus Beef.  It's not just a label that sets C.A.B. apart from other Angus programs, it's what is behind that label.  I am a big believer in their 10 quality specifications.  

What makes Certified Angus Beef the #bestbeef
These standards are on top of USDA grading and are why only 1 in 4 Angus qualify for the Certified Angus Beef program.  That's why I go out of my way for C.A.B. beef.

Friggin' Atlanta any time of the day.  This was 10:30 or 11am.  Exciting trip so far....

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Roasted Garlic and Herb Pork Chops Stuffed with Boursin Cheese

[Standard FTC Disclaimer]  I am proud to be a sponsored contributor for Smithfield and their premarinated fresh pork selections.  

This is probably the easiest recipe that I will ever post here. It is just two ingredients, I almost feel bad for calling it a recipe. But easy is nice to have during the sometimes chaotic schedules of summer, right?

Roasted garlic and herb pork chops #realflavorrealfast

This recipe was so easy because I used one of the items from Smithfield's selection of preseasoned fresh pork - Roasted Garlic and Herb Center Cut Pork Chops.  These come already seasoned with herbs, roasted garlic, onion, and red bell pepper so all you have to do is take them out and throw them on the grill.

The garlic and herbs on the pork made me think of garlic and herb Boursin cheese so I thought I would stuff the chops with the herbed cheese.  How easy is that?  It literally took me longer to preheat my grill than it did to make and grill these delicious pork chops.  

That's what Smithfield's Marinated Fresh Pork is all about - easy and tasty.  They start with quality, fresh pork cuts like chops, roasts, tenderloins, sirloins, and loin filets and then perfectly season them. Sure I like custom making my own recipes but it's wonderful to have a go-to 30 minute or less short cut on nights when I just don't feel up to it.  

Roasted Garlic and Herb Pork Chops #realflavorrealfast

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Chattanooga BBQ Contest at Bass Pro Shops

The Chattanooga chapter of the American Culinary Federation is hosting a BBQ Competition.

When:  Saturday, August 5th   12-6 PM 
Where:  Bass Pro Shop in East Ridge TN
Prize:  $500 grand prize, $250 for first place in each category

Photo credit:  From ACF-Chat Facebook page about the contest
This is a bit different than the usual KCBS contest that we normally do.  
  • The entries are chicken, ribs, and pulled pork.  No brisket is required.
  • The judges will be local professional chefs (instead of BBQ judges).
  • It is a single day event with teams setting up at 6am and turn in times at 3:30 to 4:30pm.
  • Entry fees are $75 per category or $200 for the whole event.
So it's a bit smaller prize but it's also a smaller contest so you have better chances to win.  This is the type of contest that's especially well suited for newer teams or people that don't want to do a full blown,  2 day sanctioned BBQ contest. We'd consider going except we'll be in Florida on a scalloping expedition that week.

More information, rules, and contest entry form can be found at the ACF-Chattanooga's Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken - A Grilling Classic

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] This is not a sponsored post; however, some Char-Broil products are shown and they are a sponsor. 

There are certain grilling recipes that everyone has done, right?  Several come to mind.

  • Chicken parts marinated in Italian dressing
  • Burgers stuffed with more add ins than meatloaf
  • Steaks marinated in a red wine, olive oil, and soy sauce concoction
Grilled teriyaki chicken is one of those, I think.  Who hasn't marinated chicken with a bottled teriyaki sauce? Here's how we do ours.

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken recipe

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken 

Servings: 4 servings