Saturday, November 9, 2019

A Pimento Cheese Burger And BBQ Baked Beans

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.  Obviously, I benefit from the sale of my second book that is linked.

This past week, I got to spend time with my parents and siblings in my hometown. I have been teaching grilling classes, judging at BBQ contests, and other grilling events every weekend.  As fun as those are, the constant go, go, going on weekends can start to feel like a grind.  This week was a chance to recharge and stoke that inner fire.  

My parents were inbound from an all-day drive from the mountains, so my sister and I thought we would make them dinner.  Growing up, I always loved it when we had burgers on our grill that my dad had made from an abandoned beer keg.  My mom would often make her sweet and tangy BBQ baked beans.  So, Rhonda and I decided on burgers and BBQ beans, specifically, Pimento Cheese Burgers.

Pimento cheese burger and BBQ beans cooked on a Big Green Egg kamado grill
A backyard classic - burgers, bbq beans, and chips.

For the beans, we have Alexis' #1 Barbecue Beans recipe in The Offset Smoker Cookbook.  That is a spectacular recipe, and it won Alexis her first First Place at competitions.  But my mom varied her bean recipe all the time, and they were all good.  So Rhonda and I decided to wing it and just made this one from what we had on hand.

Baked BBQ Beans on the kamado grill featuring Bush's Beans
We happened to have some "seasoning bacon" from Rhonda's home-cured, home-smoked bacon.  That's the ends that you cut off to square the edges of the slab of bacon. Typically, we would use chopped smoked pork or brisket.
Tonight's BBQ Baked Beans

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Event: Scenic City Eggfest 2019

I have been on the run at BBQ contests and grilling festivals every weekend for weeks on end.  I've been traveling so much that I haven't been able to get my wrap-ups posted, so I'm playing catch up.

I travel around the country, going to various Eggfests, cooking, teaching classes, and judging.  But my home Eggfest is the Scenic City Eggfest.  It is my Eggfest for more reasons than just being close.
  • Elder's Ace Hardware, East Tennessee's leading BBQ/grill dealer, is the host.
  • I get the chance to hang out with the best Eggers in East Tennessee.
  • Food City, the grocery chain where I shop day-to-day, is the food sponsor. '
  • The proceeds benefit the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.  

Here are some photographs of the fun, food, and friendships that we shared at the 2019 Scenic City Eggfest.


2019 Scenic City Eggfest is held at The Commons near Chattanooga
The Scenic City Eggfest is held at The Commons, which is a gorgeous open-air public event center.  It is relatively new, has clean facilities, and has room for us to grow.

2019 Scenic City Eggfest
The covered event area is ideal because this is a rain or shine event. 

The Pizza Porta is a hot accessory for kamados like Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe.
Cortlandt Minnich was there, rocking the Pizza Porta.  Their team is always a popular booth because A) everyone loves pizza, and B) The Pizza Porta is an eye-catching accessory.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Strip Steak with Zucchini and Onion - Japanese Steakhouse Style

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  This post is sponsored by the Certified Angus Beef® Brand in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC.  All opinions are my own.

I have always been fascinated with the Japanese-style steakhouses, also known as hibachi or teppanyaki restaurants.  I enjoy the live-cooking entertainment as much as the food.  I am in awe of the chef's ability to cook eight variations of their steak-shrimp-scallop-chicken combinations at once and nail the timing.  On top of that, you have to add the vaudeville schtick of jokes, flinging shrimp tails, building onion volcanos, and the cling-clang-bing-bang of the swirling utensils.  

Those chefs are true multi-taskers, and I lack their ability to keep track of so much.  At our house, a kitchen timer goes off, Alexis asks what it was for, and I'm likely to reply, "I had a timer set?" 

This past weekend, Food City had some gorgeous Certified Angus Beef® Brand, USDA Prime grade NY Strip Steaks and I couldn't resist them. Usually, I like a simple grilled steak.  But I wanted something different, so I channeled my inner teppanyaki chef and came up with this Strip Steak with Sweet Soy Butter, Zucchini and Onions, and Jasmine rice.  



I departed from my usual teppanyaki steak dinner process (Japanese Steakhouse Appetizers, Teppanyaki Steak and Scallops) a few ways:

  • I cooked the steak whole, instead of cutting it up during the cook and finishing it by cooking the individual pieces.
  • I skipped the usual ginger dipping sauce for a Sweet Soy-Garlic-Ginger butter.

Teppanyaki Seasoning


Monday, October 21, 2019

Fire Roasted Vegetable Lasagna on the Big Green Egg

[Standard FTC Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

A ceramic kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Primo, Kamado Joe, Grilla Kong, etc.) is similar to a wood-fired oven, and that is one of my favorite ways to use it.  The ceramic dome lid serves both as a heat modulator and reflector, which results in even cooking.  Natural hardwood lump charcoal burns quite cleanly and gives the food a pleasantly mild, fire-roasted flavor.  It is PERFECT for lasagna; I fire-roasted my first lasagna years ago, and I haven't cooked one in the oven since.

This Fire Roasted Vegetable Lasagna is fan-freaking-tastic.   We recently made this veggie lasagna for a pot-luck lunch at our office.  We have a few vegetarians at our office, so I came up with the recipe for them.  

Vegetarian lasagna on the big green egg kamado grill aka veggie lasagna

Turns out, this isn't a "vegetarian lasagna," this is a luscious, creamy, and delicious lasagna that just happens to be vegetarian.  

Vegetable lasagna fire roasted on a Big Green Egg kamado grill.
If you don't have a ceramic kamado grill (you should!), you can make this on most grills or even your oven.  

Fire Roasted Vegetable Lasagna

www.nibblemethis.com
Published 10/21/2019
This is a creamy, cheesy, and delicious lasagna that just happens to be vegetarian.  

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lasagna noodles, cooked per package directions
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (divided)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1 ounce parmesan cheese, shredded

Monday, October 14, 2019

Prime Ribeye Steak with Roasted Garlic Chive Butter and Skillet Potatoes

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  Although I did not participate in the Sunday Supper Certified Angus Beef® Brand program this year, I did receive two trips and a banner from them in 2019.  

I had a kickin' toothache last week so when I could finally eat normally again this past weekend, I went straight for a ribeye steak. Precisely, a Ribeye Steak with Roasted Garlic Chive Butter and Skillet Potatoes as a side dish. This is a free cook, meaning I wasn't writing a recipe, I was just whipping up something for dinner.

Ribeye Steak with Roasted Garlic Chive Butter featuring Certified Angus Beef® Brand from Food City.

Alexis and I were at Food City and found this pair of USDA Prime, Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steaks.  They were just $1 more a pound that the C.A.B. USDA Choice, so the Prime was a natural choice for me.

On the left, a competition style trimmed ribeye and on the right, an untrimmed ribeye steak.
The one on the left is trimmed competition style and tied while the one on the right is "as is" from the package. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Leftovers Supreme: Baked Penne and Sausage

[Standard FTC Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

Baked spaghetti and variations thereof are a fun and easy way to use up leftovers.

Baked penne and sausage on a big green egg kamado grill

Tuesday we cooked a few pans of fire-roasted lasagna on the Big Green Egg for the staff at our Knoxville office.  I'll have a full recipe post coming up for the veggie lasagna that we made because it was killer.  


After making the lasagna, we had extra Italian sausage meat sauce and cheese leftover.  Naturally, I thought of making a "baked spaghetti" dish with the leftovers.

Baked penne and sausage baked on a big green egg kamado grill

We had some dry penne in the pantry so I boiled that and mixed it with the meat sauce and a bunch of cheese, probably 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar and Monterey jack.  I topped that off with more cheese and some panko bread crumbs. 

Friday, September 27, 2019

Lane's SPF 53 Pork Chops

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

My local Food City has been killing it with the bone-in, loin pork chops the past few weeks.  We picked this pair up last night, seasoned them with Lane's BBQ SPF 53, and grilled them directly on one of our large Big Green Eggs. 

Grilled pork chops seasoned with Lane's SPF 53

If you haven't had it, Lane's BBQ SPF 53 is a fiery BBQ and grilling seasoning but it isn't ridiculously hot.  It brings savory flavor with paprika, garlic, thyme, paprika and the heat is powered by the trio of black pepper, cayenne, and sriracha powder.  It is one of Alexis' favorite rubs.

Normally, I would put the rub on 4 to 6 hours ahead of time and allow the chops to dry brine but it was late and I was hungry.  We put the seasoning on and went straight to grilling.
 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Product Review: Oklahoma Joe's Bronco Drum Smoker

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received an Oklahoma Joe Bronco as part of a paid project I worked on; however, this project was entirely unrelated for Nibble Me This.  I have not received any compensation nor have I been asked to promote Oklahoma Joe products on this website or any of my social media channels. 

In the past few weeks, I have seen pictures of ridiculous close-out prices on the new Oklahoma Joe's Bronco drum smoker.  Most of the ones I've seen have been Wal-Mart or other big box stores. I guess that they are just closing them out because they are seasonal inventory items for them. 

I thought I would share my experience with the Bronco, for anyone who is considering buying one.

Review of Oklahoma Joe's Bronco Drum Smoker

The Bronco entered Oklahoma Joe's line up of smokers in the past year.  This smoker is a drum smoker, and drum smokers have been a proven design for years. Back then, they were mostly homemade models made out of used 55-gallon drums affectionately called UDS or Ugly Drum Smokers.  The beauty of a UDS was that for $100 you could build a UDS with long burn times and quality smoke.  Drum smokers have seen a surge in popularity because companies are now offering well-designed and well-built commercial options for those of us who have neither the inclination nor the mechanical ability to build our own.

The arrival of the Bronco was a bit of a shakeup to Oklahoma Joe's offerings, which have traditionally been offset smokers.  This year, Oklahoma Joe also added two charcoal grills in the Judge and his little cousin, the Rambler.

Assembly

The unboxing and assembly of the Bronco were straightforward and simple.

  • The instructions are clear,
  • The parts are well-identified,
  • Only a limited number of standard tools are needed, and
  • There are only a handful of steps to take.


The assembly of the Bronco took less than 30 minutes at a leisurely pace.  

Features

The Bronco is designed with the average backyard user in mind and is packed with features. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Spinach Alfredo Twice Baked Potato

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

We were going to make the classic steakhouse combination of steak, baked potato, and cream spinach this weekend.  But I had a different idea when I got home with the goods - a spin on a twice-baked potato:  Spinach Alfredo Twice Baked Potato.  

Spinach alfredo twice baked potato with Certified Angus Beef Brand Ribeye Steak

I stuffed it with spinach, bechamel sauce, fontina cheese and topped it with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  This isn't a recipe post, it's a free cook where I was just testing out an idea.  The result was a winner.  Here's what we did.  



I started with 4 medium-sized Russet potatoes.  I scrubbed them, washed them, and applied a bit of oil, maybe a teaspoon or so, on each potato.  Then I seasoned them with Kosher salt and wrapped them with foil.

Baking potatoes on a Big Green Egg kamado grill.
I put the potatoes in a grill set up for indirect heat at 375° f.  The particular grill was a Big Green Egg, but you can do this on just about any indirect grill.  I let them go until they were slightly tender when squeezed, about 1 hour.  Then I let them rest for 30 minutes.

How to make twice baked potatoes
Then we sliced off the top of each potato and used a spoon to scrape out the pulp from inside the potato.  

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Grilled Pork Chops with Fontina Cheese Mashed Potatoes

[Standard FTC Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

These chops were so delicious for dinner last night, thick, juicy and delightfully seasoned.  Of course, you can't go wrong with cheesy mashed potatoes and to top it all off, I added a hefty dollop of smoked onion jam.

I did something different with these bone-loin chops.  First I dry brined them and then after grilling I treated them sort of like Memphis-style dry-rubbed ribs.  This is a "free cook," where I'm just cooking for the enjoyment so I won't lay out a full detailed recipe here.  

Grilled pork chops with fontina cheese mashed potatoes.

I used the dry-brine technique on the pork chops to create flavor and retain moisture during the cooking process.  The dry-brine method is applying a salty rub to meat and letting it rest, refrigerated, for a while.  At first, the salt draws out moisture from the meat but then as the concentrations change, diffusion pulls the now seasoned moisture back into the meat.  There's more to it than that, but that's the gist of it.
 
Tips for how to dry brine pork chops
I applied the dry brine before I left for work in the morning, so it had 9 hours to work its magic.
The dry brine was simple but covered the bases - salty, sweet, savory, and heat. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Midway Sausage, Pepper, and Onion Hoagies

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  We received no compensation for this post.

The Tennessee Valley Fair has been running in Knoxville.  As a kid, I loved the local fair with its bright lights, blaring sounds, and whirring "one loose bolt away from a catastrophe" rides.  Then there was the food - eating brilliant red candy apples, clouds of cotton candy, and fried funnel cakes until you might explode.  

One of my favorite memories of the fair is the smell of peppers, onions, and sausage wafting across the midway.  Here's how I make the best fair sausage hoagie at home on my Big Green Egg.  These are quick and they are also fantastic for gameday food.


Midway style sausage, peppers, and onions on a toasted hoagie.

So, this isn't as much a recipe, I mean, it's just sausage, peppers and onions, right?  But there are a few key steps in my process that make it better.

  1. Toasting the bun
  2. Using a griddle or cast-iron skillet 
  3. Seasoning the peppers and onions
  4. Splitting the sausage
  5. Using ultra-thin provolone on the veggies and meat

Big Green Egg using a Smokeware thermometer.
I like to run the grill about 400°f for sausage hoagies.

I toast the hoagie rolls cut side down without butter or anything.  I skip brushing them with butter or anything because there is enough rendered fat clinging to the sausage and veggies.  

Friday, September 6, 2019

Competition Style Ribs

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

I did a couple of racks of competition style ribs and then fed them to our neighbors at the pool a few weeks ago.  My competition rib process hasn't changed that much so I won't rehash it here.

Competition style pork spare ribs from a Kamado grill featuring Cheshire Heritage Pork ribs


Big Green Egg Modular Nest with two racks of spare ribs
I start with thick Cheshire Heritage Pork St Louis-style trimmed pork spare ribs.  They aren't cheap but I have had the best results with these.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Event Coverage: 2019 Big Kahuna Wings Festival a World Food Championships Qualifier

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

The 7th Annual Big Kahuna Wing Festival was this past weekend.  The crowds consumed some 20,000 pounds of delicious Springer Mountain Farms chicken wings during the festival and enjoyed a full schedule of entertainment activities.  

Big Kahuna Wing Festival in Knoxville, TN

Thirty-One teams competed for the "Big Kahuna" title, giving them bragging rights for the best wing in Knoxville.  But this is also a World Food Championships Qualifying Event, so the winner gets to go to Dallas later this year to compete for $100,000 at the World Food Championships sponsored by Walmart.  

Three members of our BBQ team are EAT Certified Food Judges and we were selected to judge this qualifying event.  Here is how to become a judge for the World Food Championships, if you're curious.  

Alexis and I have been judges for a few years and have judged both regional qualifiers and categories at the World Food Championships.

Mike McCloud of the World Food Championships giving judging instructions.
World Food Championships founder, Mike McCloud, gives the certified food judges assignments and special instructions for the event.

The judging format for this event was altered from the typical EAT methodology, with the approval and oversight of the WFC organization.  The judging utilized the EAT scoring system but instead of double-blind judging, this event had live on-site judging like Memphis in May.  The competitors got to present and explain their wings to us, and we got to ask questions.  As a judge, I found this experience to be much more fun and feel that I had a better understanding of the wing that I was judging.  That said, blind judging has its own set of benefits.

I was excited to be a part of this controlled experiment, and I'm glad that WFC has the confidence to explore alterations to the EAT methodology, such as on-site judging.  Who knows if this will lead anywhere, but WFC is all about innovation so you never know.  

Due to the altered format, we had a different scorecard than EAT Certified Food Judges typically use.
We were broken up into groups of 5 or 6 judges with a captain and assigned a section of teams that our group would be judging.  Then we were off to carefully evaluate the wings served to us.


Big Kahuna Wing Festival in Knoxville, TN
The location of the festival is the site of the 1982 World's Fair, thus the cryptically named World's Fair Park.  The Sunsphere, is a remnant of the World's Fair and is a Knoxville landmark.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Bacon and Pimento Cheese Burger

[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received no direct compensation for this post; however, I have accepted two trips to the Certified Angus Beef® Brand Culinary Center this year.

I just ate the best burger last night - a pan-seared Certified Angus Beef® Brand burger on a toasted bun topped with sauteed onions, homemade pepper jack pimento cheese, and our home-cured bacon.

Bacon and Pimento Cheese Burger featuring Certified Angus Beef Brand Schweid and Sons
This burger was cheesy, smoky, gooey, and slightly spicy from the poblano and pepper jack cheese.  I would be thrilled to get this burger at a sports pub.

Dinner was a last-minute thought process last night.  Alexis was calling me from Food City and I just told her to buy "burger stuff."  I wasn't sure what kind of burger I was going to make, burgers just sounded like a good idea.

Schweid & Sons burger patties are ideal for quick dinner solutions.
My favorite way to make a burger is to start with a home ground brisket and sirloin flap blend, but I wasn't about to do all of that tonight.  For quick nights like this, we often go with Schweid and Son's.  The C.A.B. All American is made with Certified Angus Beef® Brand chuck with the One Percenter burgers are made with USDA Prime Certified Angus Beef® Brand beef.

When Alexis got home, she reminded me that we had a batch of Pepper Jack Pimento Cheese that we made earlier in the week.  Naturally, we decided to make pimento cheese burgers.

Digging in the freezer, Alexis found some home-cured Sorghum and Bourbon Bacon that we smoked a while back.  The burgers just got upgraded.

My set up for the cook was a large Big Green Egg filled with Tennessee hardwood lump charcoal lit in three places with a gas torch.  I ran it with direct heat in the 400°f range for the bacon and onions.  When I put the burgers on, I upped the temperature to 450°f.

I placed a small cast-iron skillet directly on the grill grates.  I added a bit of beef tallow and then a thinly sliced onion for sauteed onions.  I just tossed them every few minutes until they were golden brown.  Then I seasoned them with some of my finely ground beef rub, but you could just use salt and pepper.

Cooking bacon in cast iron skillet on a Big Green Egg
This Sorghum Bourbon Bacon is a recipe from my second book, The Offset Smoker Cookbook.  That's cooking in a Lodge 8SK, a fantastic skillet for the grill.  It is inexpensive, built like a tank and fits well inside an Egg or other 18" sized grill.  Just take care of it, and you'll have a grill skillet for life.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Product Review: Challenger Designs Torch 48 Grilling Cart

Earlier this year, Grillin' Garry hosted a raffle fund-raiser benefiting The Center for Violence-Free Relationships.  The project doubled the raised funds thanks to a matching contribution from Blue Cross Blue Shield of California.

Alexis bought an entry ticket and that's the last we thought of it.  We frequently enter various charity raffles but never win, we just consider it a donation.  So Alexis was shocked when she got a notification that she had won the grand prize - a Challenger Designs Torch 48 grilling cart.

Review of Challenger Designs Torch 48 grill cart

Challenger Design grilling carts are recognized as the Ferrari of grilling tables. I've wanted one ever since my sister bought hers several years ago, because of the well thought out design and meticulous construction. 

My sister's Challenger Designs Torch 48 with a large Big Green Egg and Mini-Max.
My sister's challenger cart is over 5 years old and has spent the entire time exposed to the humid elements in Florida, but it remains in fantastic condition.  Here we are using it to smoke green chile pork butt for the North East Florida Eggfest a few years ago.

Why are the Challenger Design carts so good?  For me, it comes down to quality, dry-storage, and durability.

  • Quality - The Challenger Designs Torch is designed and made with a focus on "good enough isn't good enough."  Everything fits together, snug and secure.  When you shut a cabinet door, you can hear the quality.  When you slide a drawer out, it feels smooth and steady.  Just looking at the sleek cabinet, the quality is evident.
  • Dry-Storage - The cabinets are weatherproof and keep out the dirt and moisture.  Now I can keep things like my Flame Boss, my Thermoworks electronics, and my heat gloves out by the grill all of the time.  No more having to run inside to grab gloves or a Thermapen at the last minute.
  • Durability -Let's face it, the Challenger Designs Torch isn't cheap.  It had better last so you can spread the cost out over many, many years.  They use non-corrosive, lightweight aluminum that won't warp, rot, or rust and back it with a limited lifetime warranty.  My sister's cart stays in a rather harsh environment, and it has stood the test of time.


I was THRILLED to add the Challenger Designs Torch 48 to my outdoor line-up.  To the left is a large BGE with a BGE Modular Nest.  Center is a large BGE in the new Challenger Designs cart and to the right is my BGE Mini-Max on a basic stainless cart from Sam's.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Event Notice: AmazingRibs announces Pitmaster Club Meat-Up In Memphis

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

If you follow my blog, you know that I love grilling meetups where grillings and BBQ enthusiasts from all over the country get together for a few days of amazing food, sharing techniques, and meeting new friends.  The number 1 BBQ website, AmazingRibs.com, is putting together a Meat-Up in Memphis, one of the BBQ capitals of the US.  Here is the press release for more info - 


AMAZINGRIBS.COM ANNOUNCES “PITMASTER CLUB MEAT-UP IN MEMPHIS”

– Inaugural Event Brings BBQ Lovers Together In The Capital City Of Pork BBQ For
Spectacular Food, Seminars, And Fellowship –

MEMPHIS, TN (AUGUST 21, 2019) – AmazingRibs.com, the world’s leading outdoor cooking
resource, today unveiled details for the AmazingRibs.com Pitmaster Club Meat-Up In Memphis,
a first-of-its-kind BBQ weekend filled with spectacular food, seminars, and fellowship taking
place in Memphis from July 31 - August 2, 2020. The event is limited to 400 attendees, so early
registration is encouraged.

This is THE ONLY barbecue conference for consumers, bringing enthusiasts together in one of
the BBQ meccas to experience some great educational sessions, enjoy some amazing food
prepared by renowned BBQ competitors and restauranteurs, and socialize with fellow Pitmaster
Club members.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Grilled Steak and Shrimp

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I have taken the year off from sponsorships; however, I have accepted two educational trips to the Certified Angus Beef® Brand Culinary Center this year.

When you go to the store to pick something up for dinner, do you tend to:
  1. Go to buy a specific protein and have a recipe idea in mind, OR
  2. Go to see what protein looks so good that you can't pass it up and build the meal around that?
If we are just cooking for ourselves, we generally go with the latter.  Alexis and I went to Food City earlier this week and found a package of thin-sliced, USDA Prime, Certified Angus Beef® Brand NY strip steaks.  They also had 26/30 count shrimp for sale, so we decided to make a quick grilled steak and shrimp. 


Grilled NY Strip Steak with Shrimp featuring Certified Angus Beef Brand from Food City

These steaks were thin, weighing in at 6 ounces each.  That's what I call "breakfast steaks" because they are perfect for a quick sear in a skillet and serve along with some fried eggs.  Or in this case, a quick grill and served with buttery, garlicky shrimp.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Grilled Chicken Pita on the Big Green Egg

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

I have been on a Middle Eastern food kick lately so Alexis and I made these fantastic Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki last week.  I marinated the chicken with a spicy oregano vinaigrette and then grilled it to perfection - juicy and bursting with flavor.

Grilled Chicken Pitas with Tzatziki cooked on a Big Green Egg kamado grill

I blame my Middle Eastern cravings on Knoxville's own Yassin's Falafel House.  Yassin's has a message of inclusivity and tolerance and won Reader's Digest's Nicest Place in America last year.  They also happen to make insanely good falafel and one of the best gyros I have ever had.

Yassin's Falafel House in Knoxville has the best gyros and falafel.

We ate at the Yassin's in West Knoxville last week, and it was fabulous as always.  The next night, I was still craving Middle Eastern delights, so we whipped up these pitas.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Recipe Cook: Spiralized Vietnamese Cucumber Salad.....with Chicken!

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post.

Leave it to me to add meat to a vegetarian dish.

Like everyone, Alexis and I are trying to eat a little healthier as we get older.  Last night, we were going to make this Vietnamese Cucumber Noodle Salad from the May 2019 issue of Eating Well magazine.  It is spiralized cucumbers and carrots tossed in a version of nuoc cham and topped with cilantro and peanuts.  I just had to add some grilled chicken breast.  


I wanted to give the chicken a little Asian flair, but I didn't have time for a marinade, so I improvised.  I used Albukirky Green Chile Rub, which is Southwestern US, but with salt, pepper, chiles, and garlic, it isn't too big a stretch for Asian.  I took 1 tablespoon of the rub and added a 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger and 1/4 teaspoon of Olde Virden's Spicy Verde for heat.  I seasoned two butterflied chicken breasts with that, and the flavor was passable as Asian.

My "weapon of choice" for this small cook was the Big Green Egg Mini-Max.  A small kamado (13-14") grill is perfect for small amounts like this, plus the grill heats up quickly and doesn't use much coal at all.  

My set up was a Kick Ash Basket full of Parker's Tennessee Hardwood Charcoal, a woo ring, and a stock BGE cast iron grate
 
I grilled the butterflied chicken breasts halves for about 6 minutes a side at 450°f until they registered 155°f on my Thermapen.  Butterflied thin like this, they will cook all the way through on the carryover cooking, so I pull them a bit early to keep them juicy.

So we made the salad as written and just topped it with this spicy grilled chicken.



I'm not a huge fan of cucumber, but this was surprisingly good.  I want to use the cucumber noodles and make some kind of gyro salad with some seasoned ground beef, shaved red onion, and tzatziki sauce.