Monday, June 29, 2020

The Perfect Grilled Lobster at Home

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

I haven't done enough seafood on my blog so today, I'm sharing a guest post from Lobster Anywhere on how to grill killer lobster at home.

The Perfect Grilled Lobster at Home

Lobster on the grill might not be the first cooking method that comes to your mind but trust us. It is absolutely amazing when prepared with the right recipe. Like other types of seafood, timing is critical. It suffers a similar fate like shrimp if you overcook it. Our guide will give you everything you need to know to master its delicious and decadent preparation.

Fire up the grill! Let’s get cooking!

How to grill perfect lobster by Lobster Anywhere

Choosing the Right Lobster

As with any BBQ dish, it begins with quality ingredients. You’ll typically find lobster sold frozen as tails or live in a tank. If you’re squeamish about the prep for the whole animal, you’ll get the bulk of the meat with the tail with less work to get it to the grill. You’ll see either warm or cold-water varieties. The distinction is where the seafood is sourced.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Fried Pork Chop Sliders on the Big Green Egg

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

These Fried Pork Chop Sliders that we cooked on the Big Green Egg this week are crispy, delicious, and are a cheap way to feed a crowd quickly. 

Fried pork chop sliders with Olde Vidern's spicy pickles

If your stores are like ours, the meat selection is hit and miss during the impact of COVID-19. This pack of extra-thin pork chops looked good and was under $10, so I thought I'd try frying them for sliders. I pounded the chops into thin cutlets and shallow fried them on the grill.

Shallow Frying

Everyone knows what deep-frying is, but what is shallow frying? Per Rouxbe Online Culinary School, shallow frying is a cross between deep-frying and pan-frying. It is frying in a pan with the oil deep enough that it comes to halfway up on the food. Here are some tips for shallow frying on a grill.

  • Any time you cook with oil over a live flame, there is an enhanced fire risk. Make sure you have a tight-fitting lid for your skillet and long-sleeved heat-resistant gloves on the ready.
  • Use a cast-iron skillet or other grill-safe, heavy-bottomed pan with steep walls that are at least as twice as tall as your oil depth when food is loaded. If the oil spills over the skillet and into your flames, you're gonna have a bad time.
  • Know your oil temperature throughout the cook. I use a Thermapen and a non-contact thermometer for keeping tabs on how hot my oil is.
  • Generally, I like to fry in oil that is 350f to 375f.
  • If the oil is too hot, you can burn your oil or burn the crust of the food before it is done cooking. Both of those options taste foul. 
  • If the oil is too low, the food will be greasy and/or undercooked. That's not pleasant.
  • Add food in small batches to avoid temperature swings.
  • Season your food with fine salt as soon as the food comes out of the frying oil.
Fried pork cutlets frying in a cast iron skillet
You can easily make these on your stovetop or on the side burner of a gas grill. Here I'm cooking a test batch on our Saber Elite 3-burner gas grill. We have natural gas in our kitchen but I hate the lingering fried-food smell after frying inside.

If Things Go Wrong

If something does go astray and your oil catches fire, don't panic but move quickly. Don't try moving the skillet. Cover the skillet with the lid, if you can do so safely. If the fire is outside of the skillet, close the grill lid and shut down all the vents. If you are using a gas or pellet grill, turn off the fuel supply. Wait long enough for the grill and skillet to cool off before opening the grill.

Fried Pork Chop Sliders on the Big Green Egg
I have tried several configurations, but my favorite comes back to a non-toasted sweet bun, Buffalo sauce, and spicy pickles.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Tex-Mex Style Maque Choux with Chorizo Beef Cheeseburgers

[FTC Standard Disclousre] I receive no compensation for this post. 

Have you ever had the Louisiana side dish Maque Choux? It's a creamy, delicious, and slightly spicy corn dish that I learned from a Cajun friend that relocated to Knoxville after Hurricane Katrina. 

I was thinking about this recipe and it occurred to me that it is pretty close to Tex-Mex style dishes. I made a few tweaks and turned it into a Tex-Mex Style Maque Choux. We made some burgers featuring a chorizo and beef blend patty, so I thought the Maque Choux would be a fabulous accompaniment. Here is what we did for this cook. 

Tex Mex Style Maque Choux

After making this recipe a third time in less than a month, it dawned on me that Tex-Mex Style Maque Choux is really just a form of Mexican grilled street corn (aka Elote) taken off of the cob. So call it Tex-Mex Maque Choux or call it Elote, I don't care. 

Tex-Mex Style Maque Choux on the grill

Tex-Mex Style Maque Choux 


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Bacon Pimento Cheese Patty Melts

We have been having a lot of burgers in the past two weeks, so last night I shook things up and made patty melts instead. These aren't traditional patty melts. These delicious sandwiches are half-pound burgers cooked on a griddle, topped with Alexis' pimento cheese, Applewood smoked bacon, and served on Texas toast.

Bacon Pimento Cheese Patty Melts cooked on the grill with Kingsford
Grilled Texas toast, applewood smoked bacon, half-pound burger, and homemade pimento cheese

Alexis made our standard pimento cheese recipe. The whipped cream cheese in there adds a velvety texture to the burger. If you opt to buy pimento cheese instead of making it, be choosy. You want good pimento cheese for this, not the bright orange goop. You should be able to see strands of shredded cheese in the mix, like the Palmetto Cheese brand.

Homemade pimento cheese
I use an ice cream scoop to portion out my pimento cheese. Leave the pimento cheese out at room temperature while getting everything ready so it will melt more easily.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

BBQ Chicken Legs featuring Christie Vanover’s Chicken Rub

[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received no compensation for this post and paid full price when purchasing the rubs.

My childhood memories of BBQ chicken are always about a drumstick cooked on the grill and then abundantly sauced with a tangy tomato-based sauce. It was never truly BBQ chicken as much as grilled chicken with BBQ sauce, but that's semantics. Serve this to most people and they will call it BBQ chicken. It has been a while since I have made any, so I whipped up a batch using Christie Vanover’s new chicken rub and two different sauces.

BBQ chicken legs featuring Christie Vanover's Chicken Rub
The legs were cooked with two different sauces for a taste test.

Christie Vanover is the culinary genius behind the BBQ and grilling blog, Girls Can Grill, and she is the pitmaster of the BBQ competition team of the same name. Alexis and I first met Christie in Nashville a few years ago at the Certified Angus Beef Annual Conference. Since then, she and I have attended several events together, such as the CAB BBQ Summit, Cooking with Smithfield World Championship, The Jack Daniels BBQ Invitational, and more. Christie is a creative chef and a fierce competitor, so when she announced her line of BBQ rubs through Spiceology, I knew I had to order a set. 

Christie Vanover's BBQ rubs from Spiceology

The cook was simple and straightforward. The only advance prep that I did was to put the chicken legs on a rack and pan in the refrigerator for an hour to air-dry. This dries the surface of the chicken, promoting browning and a crispy crust. 

Putting chicken on a rack/pan like this in the refrigerator lets the cold, dry air circulate around the chicken, removing the surface moisture.