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The spring rains were relentless this weekend but I managed to dodge the showers, lightning storms, and flash floods long enough to make these audaciously flavored chicken pitas. The brightly seasoned chicken and pungently flavored relish rock this dish.
I knew the storms were going to be coming in wave after wave, so I intentionally chose a fast grilling protein.
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East Tennessee was blessed with sunshine and brilliant blue skies this past weekend so we decided to do our first big BBQ of the year. After a day of shopping and prepping brisket, pork, and chicken, Alexis and I realized that it was 4pm and we hadn't had breakfast or lunch. We were getting on the edge of hangry, something HAD to be done.
Fortunately, it is our "cheat day" so we made these killer Cheddar Jack Smash Burger Sliders on one of our Big Green Eggs.
Tips for Making Smash Burgers
Preheat. Whether you are using a grill, flat-top griddle, or skillet, preheat it thoroughly. The air temp of your grill gets to 450°f a lot faster than the metal will, so give it time.
Fresh is best. Use the freshest ground chuck you can get, it makes a difference. My Food City grinds beef in-store a few times a day. Some places ship it out to the store already ground up.
Thin is in. Use a thin, metal spatula (Amazon Affiliate link), sometimes called a "fish or filet spatula". It makes scraping under and flipping the burger easier and it helps keep your cast-iron cookware clean.
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There are eight new BBQ and grilling books on my radar for this summer. That's a lot since I'm a jaded, grizzled BBQ veteran and usually, there are only 3 or 4 books each year that catch my interest.
To be clear, I have not yet checked these books out, except for BBQ Revolution. These are books that I am interested in based on a combination of:
Author's reputation in the industry
Experience with author's previous works
Experience with author's body of work
Here are the eight new BBQ and grilling books that I want to check out this summer. I am listing them in order of release date.
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This Beef and Broccoli was one of the most delicious ones that we have done. We had the leftovers last night, and they were even better with a healthy dose of sriracha.
Stir-frying is an easy, quick, and generally healthier way to prepare food which fits our current goal of trying to lose those extra pounds we picked up during the pandemic. I cooked this on one of our Big Green Eggs, but these tips apply to stir-frying in general.
High heat - Chances are that you aren't cooking your stir fry hot enough. Commercial wok burners can run at 200,000 BTU while home ranges usually run from 15,000 to 20,000 BTU. Don't be bashful with the heat; it's almost impossible to stir-fry too hot at home.
Velvet your meat - Don't skip this preparation. It takes 45 minutes, but it ensures your meat is silky and doesn't dry out. You coat your meat with a mix of corn starch, rice wine vinegar, and egg whites and let it rest. Then you partially cook the meat before the stir-frying begins.
Parboil or steam hard vegetables - Firm vegetables, such as; broccoli, carrot, or daikon, benefit from being parboiled or pre-steamed and then shocking them with frigid water.
Use dry ingredients - Wet ingredients will cause your stir fry to look dull/slimy and be mushy. Take a moment to pat any wet/damp ingredients with a paper towel.
Don't crowd the wok. Like with any cooking vessel, overcrowding will cause the food to steam instead of roasting, stir-frying, etc.
[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received a package full of Bertolino Foods products as a thank you for some of the posts I have done about their shaved steak. No money exchanged hands and I'm under no obligation to post this.
Last week I was happy to find a cooler full of Bertolino Foods beef products on my doorstep. It was loaded with their shaved steak and several of their gourmet burger patties. There were many varieties of burger patties and this weekend I decided to try their blue cheese burgers.
Typically, you'll see these on a menu or recipe as "black and blue" burgers but I wanted to try something a little different. I wanted something that reminded me of a wonderful steakhouse burger and came up with this...
Gourmet Blue Cheese Burger with deep-fried asparagus and dijon-mayo on a brioche bun.
We freaking LOVE crispy, deep-fried asparagus as a side so why not put it on a burger, right? They were fantastic. It had the delicious flavor of blue cheese, the crunch of the asparagus, and the rich dijon-mayo brought it all together.
This was pretty straightforward, here is what we did, starting with the asparagus.
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I tried something a lil' different with a porterhouse this past week. I dry brined it with black salt and green peppercorns.
Why black salt and green peppercorns?
Hawaiian black lava salt and green peppercorns. If I have to tell you which is which....
Hawaiian Black Lava Sea Salt - It is made by mixing activated coconut charcoal with sea water, to create large, flavorful crystals. While there are health benefit claims, to be honest, they sound like a bit of a stretch to me.It tastes like premium sea salt with a slightly smoky finish. I typically use it as a finishing salt for its dramatic appearance.
Green peppercorns - These are the same thing as black peppercorns, the immature fruit from the piper nigrum plant, only picked earlier than the black ones. The result is a fruitier taste and a milder sting or heat.