Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Holy Voodoo Chicken Wings on the Big Green Egg

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

With the Safer at Home guidelines in place, Alexis and I have missed dining at Knoxville's local restaurants.  I particularly miss our weekly happy hour at Big Kahuna Wings.  BKW does their wings similar to Memphis dry-style ribs, they serve them deep-fried and seasoned with their BKW Original or BKW Fire seasonings.  Your choice of sauce is on the side, so the wings stay extra crispy.

Instead of deep-frying mine, I fire-roasted them and then finished them over direct heat to make them crispy like BKW wings.

Meat Church Holy Voodoo seasoning rocks on crispy fire roasted wings.
Crispy fire-roasted wings seasoned with Meat Church Holy Voodoo and served with an Alabama-style white BBQ sauce on the side.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Bacon Gouda Cheeseburger

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post from anyone, including, but not limited to: Sargento, Food City, Kingsford, PK Grill, or JJ George.  I'm just linking the stuff I paid for and used.

If you follow any burger threads on social media, you know that the trendy thing is towering stacks of half a dozen smash burgers, dripping with cheese.  They look amazing, but for me, they are over-the-top.  I'm not a snake with a jaw that I can un-hinge at will.  

This burger is simple and doesn't look like much.  It doesn't even have a shred of lettuce.  But this was the best burger that I have had in the past couple of years.  It's a straightforward ground chuck patty, a seasoned slice of tomato, grilled onions, aged Gouda, mayo, toasted bun, and sorghum-bourbon bacon.

Bacon Gouda Cheeseburger featuring Sargento's Aged Gouda

Bacon Gouda Cheeseburger
Published 3/24/2020


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Grilled Ribeye Steak with Rosemary Garlic Butter

It's no secret that ribeye is one of my favorite steaks.  Then again, so are porterhouse, NY Strip, flank, a good sirloin, and tenderloin.

This is just a quicky and not really a recipe post per se.  Steaks are so easy and delicious that they are often a weeknight meal for us.  This was one of those times. 

I am a daily or almost daily shopper.  My dinner process often starts on the meat aisle at Food City where I see what looks good.  Then I build my meal around that.  On this particular day, they had a beautiful pair of USDA Prime, Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steaks.

USDA Prime, Certified Angus Beef® Brand ribeye steak from Food City
My appetite isn't as voracious as when I was young, so Alexis and I usually split a ribeye.  That also lets us have steaks 2 nights in a row, so that's good.  The trick is making sure that you split both the eye (longisimus muscle) and cap (the spinalis) evenly because the two pieces have different textures to me.  I want some of both!

I seasoned the ribeye steak with the Santa Maria Rub posted online at Certified Angus Beef Brand's website.
My prep process for quick ribeyes is simple.  I wipe it with high-temperature cooking oil (canola, peanut, or avocado), season it, and let it rest at room temperature for at least an hour.  This day I used the Santa Maria Rub recipe from the Certified Angus Beef® website.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Grilled Chicken Piccata

I love the intense flavor of chicken piccata - the briny taste of capers and the bright pop of citrus makes my taste buds dance.

Grilled chicken piccata with fire grilled tomatoes

Alexis and I went to dinner with our neighbors at Cappucino's here in Knoxville a few weeks ago.  I got Chef Frank Aloise's piccata, and it inspired me to fire up a batch at home.

The problem with grilled chicken piccata is that grilling doesn't give you the sucs (brown bits left if the pan) to make a good pan sauce, which is the base of piccata.  Here are a few workarounds for that.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Event Coverage: 2020 Chain of Lakes Eggfest Winter Haven, FL

The Nibble Me This grilling team kicked off our year by having fun and serving mouth-watering food at the 2020 Chain of Lakes Eggfest in Winter Haven, FL, on Presidents Day weekend.  This Eggfest is hosted by Mannix Pools and Grills, and the proceeds go to Girls Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club of Polk County.

What's an Eggfest?

For the uninitiated, an "Eggfest" is a local food festival where grilling teams cook on Big Green Eggs and serve samples of food to crowds of "tasters." 
  • A local Big Green Egg dealer supplies the Big Green Eggs used.
  • Those Big Green Eggs are sold as demo units at a steep discount.
  • The profits from the "taster" ticket sales typically go to support a local charity.
  • There is usually entertainment, such as; live music, local celebrities, bounce houses, games, and live TV/radio broadcasts
  • Some Eggfests have a competition aspect to them, but they are more about socializing, sharing grilling tips, and having a good time.
  • You can find regional Eggfests here.
Here's a look back at our fun weekend through the eyes of my team's mobile phones. 

What a difference 24 hours and 670 miles make!  Knoxville has been rainy, snowy, and cold lately, so Alexis and I were excited to head South for a warmer climate.

Our team always books a large house for Eggfests.  It is just as cheap as hotels and gives us a kitchen to do our event prep the night before. [Photo credit:  Carson W.]

Certified Angus Beef® Brand beef tenderloin
Carson surprised us and brought a beef tenderloin for our Friday night team meal, along with mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and broccoli.  We didn't have a grill, so we cooked this in an oven and seared it in the cheapest skillet ever.  The skillet was as about as thin as a soda can, so we were actually impressed with how this turned out.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Szechuan Pepper Steak

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I am proud to have Certified Angus Beef® Brand as our beef sponsor.

Have you ever used Szechuan peppercorns?  They are interesting in that contrary to what you might think, they aren't spicy black pepper or chiles.  Even more twisted, they contain a chemical named hydroxy-alpha-sanshool, which creates a slight numbing effect.  You can take advantage of this anesthetic effect by pairing it with spicy heat. 

That's what we did with this Asian inspired Szechuan Pepper Steak that Alexis and I cooked this weekend. The Szechuan peppercorns bring a flowery, almost citrus flavor, and Garlic Chile Butter adds luscious spiciness.  Of course, we cooked it on a grill, but you could absolutely do this on a stovetop.

Szechuan Pepper Steak featuring Certified Angus Beef® Brand NY Strip Steaks from Food City

Szechuan Pepper Steak


  • 2 12-ounce Certified Angus Beef® Brand NY Strip Steaks
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 green onions, sliced on a bias for garnish

For the Dry Rub

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Reverse Seared Tri-Tip and Tri-Tip Cobb Salad

Three proteins?  That's my kind of salad!

Alexis and I made this Tri-Tip Cobb Salad for dinner this week.  It's not really an authentic Cobb salad...maybe Cobb-ish?  Whatever you want to call it, it's delicious.  It features:
  • Reverse-seared beef tri-tip.
  • Home-cured & smoked sorghum bacon (a recipe from our second book)
  • Homemade yeast roll croutons
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Sliced tomato
  • French fried onions
  • Spring mix
  • Homemade blue cheese dressing  

Tri-tip Cobb Salad or Steakhouse Salad

I had been craving beef tri-tip recently because Dan Phelps posted one that he cooked on his Kamado Joe at Learning To Smoke.  I mentioned to him that I hadn't seen tri-tip in the Knoxville area in quite a while and then BAM!  The very next week, I stumbled across a tri-tip!  The Baader-Meinhof effect for meat, perhaps? 

Santa Maria tri-tip rub recipe from Certified Angus Beef® Brand
I have had a jar of Santa Maria tri-tip rub that I made at the Certified Angus Beef® Brand Culinary Center last year.

Beef tri-tip seasoned with Santa Maria rub recipe from Certified Angus Beef Brand
I lightly coated the tri-tip with avocado oil and then liberally applied the Santa Maria rub all over. A lot of people ask me about avocado oil.  It is a high-temperature cooking oil that's excellent for grilling.  It has a neutral flavor, much like olive oil doesn't taste like olives, and peanut oil doesn't taste like peanuts.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Product Review: Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received an Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill free of charge for review purposes.  All content and opinions are my own and have been neither reviewed nor approved by Oklahoma Joe's before publishing.  This is what I'd tell you if you asked me about it while we hung out grilling on my deck.

Last year, Oklahoma Joe's shook up their decades-old classic line-up of offset smokers by adding their new drum smokers, the Bronco and Bronco Pro.  This year, they continue growing with the exciting addition of their line of pellet cookers, the Rider 600, Rider 900, and the Rider DLX pictured below.

Review of the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill
The Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX is a hoss!  It boasts 1,234 square inches of cooking space making it the biggest pellet cooker that I have used.

While pellet grills have been around for quite a long time, they have more recently become mainstream and now show up in big box stores and backyards across America.  The allure of pellet grills is that they have gas grill simplicity and convenience but the real-wood flavor of a traditional pit or grill.

How Pellet Grills Work

Pellet grills work by burning wood pellets - real wood pieces that have been compressed or extruded into a uniform shape and size.

  • Hopper - Contains the pellets until needed for cooking.
  • Controller - The "brains" of the operation, it is an electric controller that monitors the temperature inside the cooking chamber and controls the fan and auger.
  • Auger - A type of Archimedes screw that moves the pellets when needed from the hopper to the burn pot.
  • Burn pot - A small pot where the pellets drop and burn, creating heat and real-wood smoke. 
You set the controller for a specific cooking temperature, let's say 250°f.  The controller uses a feedback loop that keeps asking if the temperature is 250°f.  If below, it adds more pellets to burn, and if it is above, it stops adding pellets.  The fan stokes the fire and circulates the smoke, providing even cooking temperatures like a convection oven.  There's a lot of science and math that go into it, but that's the basic idea.

Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill going through it's warm up process


Assembly was straight forward and took just under 1 hour for me at a leisurely pace.  The instructions were clear, and the fasteners were clearly identified.  Much of the work is pre-assembled at the plant, making your job much easier.

Assembling the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX Pellet Grill was relatively easy and quick - 1 hour.
Since the grill is so big, you'll want a good-sized area to spread out and work.  I did ours in the garage.

Monday, January 13, 2020

The OMG Brisket Slider - aka Ooey Mooey and Gooey

[Standard FTC Disclosure]  I received my Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX at no charge.  I am sponsored by Certified Angus Beef® Brand.

Tonight is the college football championship between LSU and Clemson - GO TIGERS!   (Boy, way to commit, Chris.)

I have the perfect Game Day food for you - the Ooey, Mooey, Gooey Brisket Slider - or for short the OMG Brisket Slider.

The OMG Brisket Slider Ooey Mooey and Gooey Krispy Kreme

Why yes, that is deliciously smoked brisket with pepper jack and sharp cheddar on a "grilled cheese" made with a freaking Krispy Kreme donut! 

  • Ooey - As in, you are walking through the office, spot a box and say, "Oooo donuts!"
  • Mooey - Smoked beef brisket
  • Gooey - A blend of your favorite cheeses

The OMG Brisket Slider works too, since the first thing you exclaim when eating it is OMG!

So that's the short version, here's the detail.

The folks at Oklahoma Joe's gave me a killer Christmas gift this year - one of their new Oklahoma Joe Rider DLX pellet grills.  It is the biggest pellet grill I've had, and I couldn't wait to try it out.  I have a full review post coming soon, but this is a BBQ beast.  

The new Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX pellet grill has 1234 square inches of space
The Oklahoma Joe's Rider - DLX -  The famed offset smoker manufacturer has entered the pellet grill market with 1,234 square inches of BBQ goodness.  Full review coming.

Certified Angus Beef® Brand briskets are my go-to choice when I can get them.

How I Choose My Briskets

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Southwestern Steak, Black Beans and Rice

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I receive sponsorships and material support from the Certified Angus Beef® Brand.  Any opinions stated are my own.

Sometimes my creative flow is more like a trickle.

Case in point, I had a nicely marbled flat iron steak but I just wasn't feeling the creative spark.  No worries.  I just hopped over to Certified Angus Beef® Brand's recipe page and searched for flat iron steak.  I found a recipe for Southwestern Steak, Black Beans, and Rice and off I went...

Certified Angus Beef's Southwestern Steak, Black Beans and Rice

The flat iron steak (aka top blade) comes from the chuck or shoulder of the steer.  Despite coming from section with an abundance of connective tissue, the flat iron steak is one of the more tender cuts of beef right up there with the tenderloin and teres major.  

It's also my Achilles heel in butchery.  I've tried to break one out two times and both times I botched it.  Diana Clark, the in-house Meat Scientist at Certified Angus Beef® Brand, was kind about my less than successful meat processing efforts but I know she was just being nice.  Fortunately for me, I can often find flat iron steak at the meat counter.

Recipes for certified angus beef brand flat iron steak.
The steak portion of the recipe is quite simple - pepper, cumin, salt, and ancho chile.