Saturday, July 23, 2022

How to Set Up a Two-Zone Fire in a Kamado Grill

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“I think this is the best chicken I've ever had,” my youngest son's girlfriend said as we finished eating this Bacon Caprese Chicken. 

Bacon Caprese Chicken on the Big Green Egg kamado grill
Bacon Caprese Chicken with Rice Pilaf

It is grilled chicken adorned with a thick, garlicky balsamic glaze and topped with double-smoked bacon, mozzarella, and an herbed slice of tomato.

This is just a variation of Eating Well's Tomato and Mozzarella Smothered Grilled Chicken (June 2021), so I won't post the recipe, just what we did adding double-smoked sweet bacon. Since I was grilling mine, I chose a two-zone fire to avoid burning the balsamic glaze.

Two-Zone Fires

So what is a Two-Zone Fire and when do you use it?

Renown grilling expert Steven Raichlen writes in The Barbecue Bible, “In a two-zone fire, you spread the coals out in a single layer over about two-thirds of the bottom grill grate, leaving one third of the grate coal free. The zone with the coals is your cooking area – use it for grilling simple foods for a small number of people. The coal-free zone is your cool or safety zone. To control the exposure to the heat, move the food closer to or farther away from the lit coals.” (Raichlen 18)

It is important to note that a two-zone fire involves a heat gradient; it's not an on/off type of direct and indirect heat. 

Friday, July 15, 2022

Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX aka "The Survivor"

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My smoker has come home from college!  

I don't nickname many of my grills but after 2 years of service at a house with 9 college students, I've nicknamed this one "The Survivor".

When our youngest son moved out of the fraternity house and into a house in "The Fort" 2 years ago, I let him have his pick of all my grills and smokers to take with him. He didn't hesitate to pick my Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX because he loved the convenience and the ability to switch between smoking and grilling. 

I felt bad about sending this smoker/grill to be the only grill for a house of 9 young men attending the Univerity of Tennessee. I mean....I remember the stupid stuff I did in college and could only imagine what that poor grill was enduring. Words like abuse, neglect, and mistreatment came to mind.

Look at that poor smoker. Yes, it is literally chained up outside!
[Cue Sarah McLachlan's Angel]

Damage Assessment

But now that our youngest has graduated and the Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX returned home a few weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised. 

  • Sure it had been used heavily and the interior had a lot of build-up. 
  • The bottom tray had fallen off and we only had one of the nuts/bolts left.
  • The bolt that secures the upper lid was missing.

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Grilled Garlic and Herb Chicken with Red Pepper Pesto Pasta On the Char-Broil Cruise

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Alexis and I whipped up this dish for a no-fuss weeknight meal using only things we had in the fridge. To be fair, our refrigerator is pretty well stocked. We used store-bought pasta, prepackaged pesto, and a gas grill to make everything the lowest-effort possible. But low-effort can be delicious as the evidence shows.....

Grilled Garlic and Herb Chicken with Red Pepper Pesto Pasta On the Char-Broil Cruise

The pre-made pesto already has a warm spice level and the black pepper gives the pasta sauce a surprising kick of heat. Nothing strident, but it is a building heat and lets you know it's there.

For the Grilled Garlic and Herb Chicken

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Fourth of July Briskets Cook

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We smoked a trio of briskets for the holiday weekend, overnight Friday through Saturday afternoon. Here are notes and thoughts about the cook. (If you're looking for a how-to post, check out Competition Style Brisket on a Kamado or Smoked Green Chile Brisket.)

Fourth of July brisket cook on the Deep South Smoker

We had three briskets and were cooking each one slightly differently.

  • Our brisket - BBQ brisket, all for slicing.
  • Brett's brisket - green chile brisket, all for slicing
  • Kim's brisket - BBQ brisket, sliced flat, point for burnt ends

The Prep