Monday, November 27, 2017

Mexican Roasted Garlic Soup

[FTC Disclosure]  This post is not sponsored on behalf of anyone.  However, I received free samples of the Meat Church seasonings and received the SABER grill as part of a compensation package.

We have been making versions of this recipe for garlic soup for over 20 years.  I was told that it is based on a peasant dish in Mexico so it is budget friendly, but it is also delicious and easy to make.  

It has a creamy texture and bold aromatics which make it the prescription for soothing the symptoms of the common cold. Alexis got hit with a cold over the weekend so I made a batch for us.  

That reminds me of when we first got married and I had a bad cold.  Alexis didn't cook much but she wanted to take care of me so she decided to make this soup for me.  I took a spoonful and my mouth instantly puckered at what tasted like flavored sea water.  Like I said, she was new to cooking and mixed up tablespoons and teaspoons when measuring boullion for the broth.  A wee bit salty.  It still made me feel better just from her intentions and we've laughed about it over the years.  

When you first start cooking the bread, it will swell up and might make you wonder if you did something wrong.  Don't panic, the bread will break up as it cooks.

Mexican Roasted Garlic Soup

Sunday, November 26, 2017

2017 Pensacola Eggfest

Fourth in a series of four posts about my food week in Orange Beach AL:

We were thrilled to attend the Pensacola Eggfest as VIP Judges once again this year.

This food festival for Big Green Egg grilling enthusiasts is one of my personal favorites and is one of the most well run Eggfests in the country.  Rally Pensacola, a group fighting childhood cancers, was the primary beneficiary of the charitable event this year.

It's always fun to peruse the team booths to watch them prepping their grilled culinary delights, such as, grilled wings, wood fired pizzas, and fiery small bites.  As a whole, I don't think there is an Eggfest with a better collection of cook teams than the ones who participate at the Pensacola Eggfest.  These teams can flat out cook!

Pensacola Eggfest 2017
Eggfest cook teams typically only have a few hours to fire up their grills before the gates open for the crowds.  So instead of pork butts, brisket, and ribs, most teams opt for quick cooking recipes that can be made in high volumes to meet demand.

The teams hit the ground running and work as a unit (or they fake it quite well) to get the food flowing before the crowds rush in.

Pensacola Eggfest 2017
The Big Green Eggs used in this Eggfest are provided by Escambia Electric and after they are used for just a few hours this one time, they are sold at steep discounts.  These have all been sold this year but I'm sure they can still give you the best price in town.

Pensacola Eggfest 2017
The Green Eggs and Bam Team are always a lot of fun and serve fantastic bites.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

VIP Grilling Demo at Pensacola Eggfest 2017

Third in a series of four posts about my food week in Orange Beach AL:
  1. World Food Championships 
  2. Thrilla in the Grilla 
  3. Grilling Demo for Pensacola Eggfest VIP party
  4. Pensacola Eggfest
Each year, we close out our BBQ and grilling adventures at one of the best Eggfests in the country - the Pensacola Eggfest.  This year, Big Green Craig, Big Moe Cason, and I did a grilling demonstration for the 200 guests at the VIP Party on Friday Night.  

Pensacola Eggfest VIP Grilling Demo #bestangusbeef

We did two items for the demo.  First, we showed how to make a beef tenderloin roast the center of your holiday dinner.  Next, we showed some game day beef ribs that are quicker than a 2-minute offense.

The Pensacola Eggfest has a lot going for it.  
  • It is in a great venue - the Blue Wahoos' baseball stadium, right on the gorgeous water.
  • They have amazing organizers that awe me all year long with their dedication, talent, and heart.
  • The cooks are ridiculously skilled, as a food blogger their creativity and execution impresses me each year.
  • But the most important element of the Pensacola Eggfest is its purpose.  
Purpose is what drives this event and it shows.  This year, the purpose behind the smoke and Eggs is Rally Pensacola.  Rally Pensacola is a charitable organization that provides direct financial assistance to families of children battling cancer.  Here is the "why" behind this event that is bigger than just some great food.

So when the organizers asked us to do the cooking demo, the answer was an emphatic yes!  Here are some photos of the action.

Pensacola Eggfest VIP Grilling Demo #bestangusbeef
My sister drove 360+ miles to come help out, we always have a great time cooking together.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Reverse Seared Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

It stokes my coals to announce that Certified Angus Beef Brand® has renewed our sponsorship for another year.  Their support is what makes it possible for the Nibble Me This team to get out on the road to attend grilling festivals and BBQ contests.  

This recipe is based on one of the sample appetizers that we served to crowds this year at grilling festivals.  It's also what we turned in for our beef category at the Memphis In May World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest.

At those grilling events, we usually serve the beef shaved and served on roasted garlic crostini with arugula, capers, lemon zest, and the cream sauce.  

Certified Angus Beef tenderloin roast recipe #bestangusbeef

Here is the same beef and cream sauce served as a main course, served with pan roasted potatoes, blistered grape tomatoes, and bacon.

The Gorgonzola Cream Sauce is a variation of an Ina Garten recipe that we have used for years.  It's rich and brings a ton of flavor to the tender but mild filet.

Beef Tenderloin with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce

Published 11/18/2017

Friday, November 17, 2017

Thrilla in the Grilla - A Grilling Contest for Veterans and First Responders

Second in a series of four posts about my food week in Orange Beach AL:
  1. World Food Championships 
  2. Thrilla in the Grilla 
  3. Grilling Demo for Pensacola Eggfest VIP party
  4. Pensacola Eggfest
The most rewarding thing I did at the World Foods Championships had to be helping our friends at Grilla Grills run the Thrilla in the Grilla, a contest
  • organized by Veterans
  • competed by Veterans and First Responders
  • table captained by Veterans and First Responders, and
  • judged by Veterans and First Responders
  • on Veterans' Day!

Earlier this year, Grilla Grills ran the online grilling recipe contest, Red, Hot, and Blue for Veterans and First Responders.  The contestants entered their recipe, told their story, and sent a picture of their dish.  A panel selected the Top 10 winners and Grilla Grills invited them to the World Food Championships to compete head to head.  

The contestants lined up for the final cooks meeting and waiting on the "GO!".
 The meeting was important because this contest varies in a few ways compared to most of the World Food Championships contests:

  1. First, the judging uses an open format instead of double blind, so they see which teams are cooking what as the clock.
  2. Second, the contestants only submit 1 entry in 2 hours, not structured AND signature.
  3. Finally, for an "improvise, adapt, overcome" theme, the contestants are given a mystery box of three ingredients that have to be used.  Each contestant got different sets of mystery ingredients.

We were lucky to have Michael McDearman as our emcee.  Michael is a well known competitive grill master and the Director of the Sam's Club National BBQ Tour.   Here he is interviewing Jason as he gloves up to get started.
Troy Winter seasoning his turkey breasts.  By seasoning from up high like this, he is ensuring better distribution of the seasoning.  If you season too close to the protein, the seasoning can have spotty coverage.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

World Food Championships 2017

A week ago today I was in Orange Beach, Alabama for the World Food Championships.

World Food Championships 2017 #wfc2017 #foodfight

My schedule for the hectic week was as loaded as my truck was.  I had 7 events taking place in 3 locations:
  • Judged the World Chef Challenge
  • Judged the Bacon World Championship
  • Judged the World Burger Championship
  • Conducted a grilling demo with friends, Big Green Craig and Moe Cason, for 200 people at the VIP party of the Pensacola Eggfest  
  • Judged the World Open Chili Championship
  • Officiated the Thrilla in the Grilla contest for Veterans and First Responders
  • Judged the final round of the Pensacola Eggfest
Looking back, I'm not sure why I thought this week was going to be a breeze.  It was not.  But the culinary experience was worth everything it took to make it happen.  

I'm breaking this into 4 posts:
  1. World Food Championships
  2. Thrilla in the Grilla Veterans' Day Contest at the World Food Championships
  3. Grilling Demo
  4. Pensacola Eggfest
This one is about the World Food Championships and how someone goes from an itch to enter a contest to winning $110,000 and a World Championship.

Last year, two of my friends, Josh Cooper and Craig Tabor, attended the World Food Championships with me in Orange Beach.  While still on the contest site - they told each other that they would be competing there in 2017. True to their word, both of them qualified and I was damn proud of them and their teams.

To compete in the World Food Championships, chefs and cooks had to have a Golden Ticket.  You earn a Golden Ticket through qualifying events across the country throughout the year.  You must compete in the category that got you into the big dance and those categories are:

World Barbecue Championship
World Chef Challenge
World Open Chili Championship
World Burger Championship
World Dessert Championship
World Sandwich Championship
Bacon World Championship
World Steak Championship
World Seafood Championship
World Recipe Championships (Chicken in 2017)

Here is what goes down during these championships.

World Food Championships 2017 #wfc2017 #foodfight
I ran into my friends, Chad Romzek of Kick Ash Baskets and Tim Shelburn, as they were waiting to get into the kitchen area.  Tim was one of Craig Tabor's Sous Chefs for this event. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

World Food Championship 2017 - Day 1

I am in Orange Beach, Alabama this week for two events.

Today was Day 1 of the World Food Championships.  This food sport spectacle reminds me of the days of the Coliseum.  The WFC pits 1500 highly qualified contestants against each other in the kitchen stadium (arena?) where they slug it out and the last cook comes away with their $110,000 share of $300,000 in total prize money.  

Here's what today was like in pictures.  The event runs all week through the weekend so come on out.  Admittance is free and there is a ton of things going on.  If you're in the area, it would just be fun for the heck of it.  If you are a foodie, this is one worth traveling for.  

There were two sessions today. 
  • World Chef Challenge - Structured (had to make paella) and Signature (whatever they wanted) rounds 
  • World Steak Championship - Structured (had to make kebabs) and Signature

Even though it's only the second year in Orange Beach, the Ferris wheel at The Wharf is already an iconic symbol of the World Food Championships to me.  Personally, I hope they keep it here after the three year agreement ends after next year.  

World Food Championships #wfc2017 #foodsport
When I arrived, crews were scurrying around finishing the final touches on building this temporary community.

If you don't see it get built, you really don't realize how much goes into a major production like this.  Tents built, power lines run, and all sorts of infrastructure don't magically appear.

Cooks start bringing in their tools, supplies, and knife rolls.

World Food Championships #wfc2017 #foodsport
Here is the field of battle - kitchen stadium.  It can host 40 cook teams at once.

Each team gets the same set up.  A Kitchenaid oven and stove top, a Bull gas grill, a microwave, a mixer/grinder, two tables, and an Orion cooler. 
The exception is the BBQ teams who cook on Saturday.  They bring their own rigs and of course, I went around to see who was already set up.  This is going to be a tight contest this year, there are a lot of good cook teams here. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Leftover Turkey Ideas: White, Black, and Green Chili

Thanksgiving is still several weeks away but I have already been cooking a few turkey recipes for clients.  That means I have also already been coming up with ideas for leftover turkey recipes.  This one is my spin on a classic - White, Black, and Green Chili.

I cooked this one in a Dutch oven over direct heat on a Big Green Egg kamado grill but you could cook it on a stove top in a heavy bottomed pot.  When using the grill, keep the lid closed when not stirring or whisking to keep the temperature under control.

White, Black, and Green Chili

Published 11/6/2017

This smooth and mildly spicy turkey chili is loaded with white beans, black beans, and Hatch green chiles.


  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Ba'Cock Seasoning recipe, divided
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 quart turkey stock
  • 2 cups chopped turkey
  • 15 oz can Bush's Seasoned Black Beans, drained
  • 15.8 oz can Bush's Great Northern beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Albukirky Green Chile Seasoning
  • sea salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups heavy cream


  1. Preheat grill to 325-350°f.  Add the Dutch oven to preheat once the grill is stable.
  2. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the Dutch oven and saute the onion, celery, and carrots until tender, about 5-8 minutes.  Season with about 1 teaspoon of the Ba'Cock Seasoning while they saute.
  3. Make a roux by adding the remaining butter and once melted, sprinkle in the flour while whisking continuously.   Now slowly add the turkey stock while whisking until fully combined.  
  4. Add the turkey, black beans, Northern beans, bell pepper, cumin, Albukirky Green Chile Seasoning, and the rest of the Ba'Cock Seasoning.  Allow to simmer until thick and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.  
  5. Remove the Dutch oven from heat and stir in the heavy cream.  Taste for seasoning and add sea salt to taste.  
Yield: 6 servings

The base of this great chili is a homemade turkey stock.  You can use store bought chicken stock but the turkey stock really sets it apart.  

The turkey carcass that I used for this stock was from this Dry Brined, Fire Roasted Turkey Breast with Maple Honey Bourbon Glaze.  I cooked this on my SABER® 1500 Elite SSE (sponsor) on Sunday.