Saturday, September 24, 2022

Chipotle Shrimp Tacos with Tex-Mex Rice

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These shrimp tacos burst with spice and have smoky heat. The cilantro-lime slaw brings brightness and balances out the peppery shrimp. 

Chipotle shrimp tacos with Tex-Mex rice

The recipe is Eating Well's Chipotle Shrimp Tacos (August 2022 pg 114), I just changed it up a bit for us - I used a more complex-flavored seasoning and cooked the shrimp in a wok over hot coals. Finally we served it with a quick and easy Tex-Mex Rice.

Their seasoning was just ground chipotle, garlic, and salt, which is fine. For tacos, I wanted to jazz it up a bit with smoky paprika, toasted cumin, coriander, chili powder, and turbinado sugar. 


Chipolte Seafood Seasoning

www.nibblemethis.com

Published: 09/24/2022

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Teriyaki Shaoxing Wings on the Grill

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College football is back, and these wings epitomize great Game Day eats! They are sweet, smoky, and spicy because we glaze them at the end with teriyaki sauce cut with Shaoxing.

Teryiaki Shaoxing Wings on the Big Green Egg kamado grill

Shaoxing 

What the heck is Shaoxing? It is a traditional fermented rice wine, also known as Shaohsing or "ye."ow wine". It is yellow or amber in color and mildly sweet, and highly fragrant, reminding me of a strong marsala wine (another favorite of mine). 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Fire-Roasted Gochujang Glazed Salmon

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Fire-roasted salmon gets an upgrade with a spicy, spicy, and tangy glaze in this dish. 


This is really Eating Well's Gochujang Glazed Salmon with Garlic Spinach that I modified for the grill. I served it with teriyaki broccoli and red pepper orzo. We've made it a few times and each time every bite has disappeared.

Gochu-what?

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

How I Blacken Chicken on the Grill (or fish, scallops, etc)

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I recently had this dish at Lakeside Tavern in Knoxville and liked it so much that I decided to recreate it at home. It is blackened chicken breast, and andouille sausage smothered in their signature creole sauce with red and green bell peppers, served on a bed of jasmine rice. 

Here’s how mine turned out...

Plate of blackened chicken, double smoked sausage, peppers, dirty rice, and Voodoo cream sauce
My version features double-smoked sausage, blackened chicken thighs, pepper melange, Voodoo cream sauce, and dirty rice.


Before I get into that recipe, let’s talk about blackened food. I think most people’s experience with blackened food is seeing BURNT food and joking that it’s “blackened.” That couldn’t be further from the truth.

What is Blackened Food?

Blackening is a technique pioneered by Chef Paul Prudhomme. It involves cooking food over high heat with butter and a flavorful seasoning to create a dark-as-night crust that is NOT BURNT. The food should be tangy and spicy, not acrid and ashy.

blackening chicken in a cast iron skillet on the grill
The black part of blackened foods comes from the seasoning and milk fats in the butter cooked over high temperatures.

 

How to Blacken Fish, Chicken, and Other Foods

In my experience, there are 3 main elements for blackening food. Paul Prudhomme’s technique involves dredging food in butter and through his blackening seasoning, then cooking it over high heat.
  • Butter – Butter is the key because half of the “blackening” comes from the milk fats in the butter cooking over high heat. You will not get that from cooking oil, pork fat, tallow, or even clarified butter. You dredge the food through melted (NOT CLARIFIED) butter and season it heavily. I also use butter in the skillet as well.
  • Seasoning – The seasoning should be herbal, garlicky, and have the Cajun pepper power trio of black, red, and white ground pepper. Paul Prudhomme’s recipe is online, or you can use your favorite recipe. My go-to is Meat Church Holy Voodoo, which is not billed as a blackening seasoning but works as one.
  • Hot Cast Iron – The technique's creator used cast iron skillets for a reason – you need complete contact between food, butter, and hot metal. So, I like to use a skillet or griddle on the grill. Grilling chicken seasoned with blackening seasoning is not blackened chicken in the same way that chicken baked in an oven and slathered with BBQ sauce is not BBQ chicken.
Let's take a look at these elements in practice...

blackened chicken thighs, smoked sausage, and peppers with creole sauce and dirty rice


Lakeside Tavern Style Cajun Chicken and Sausage

www.nibblemethis.com

Published 08/05/2022

Blackened chicken, spicy smoked sausage, grilled peppers and onions, Voodoo cream sauce, and dirty rice.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

My Low Effort Brisket Cook

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This isn't a tutorial, just notes from my latest brisket cook which was a lazy but tasty effort.

Several weeks ago, Kroger had USDA Choice whole beef briskets on sale for $1.99 a pound. I'll always jump on brisket at that price. If I do nothing but grind it into ground beef, I'm still getting about half off. I picked out a nicely shaped one and I was thrilled when I flipped it over and saw the Certified Angus Beef® Brand logo.

CAB brisket for $1.99?  That's like reserving an economy rental car and getting to the rental place and they give you a convertible sports car or SUV upgrade.

I wasn't in a hurry to cook it so I wet-aged it at 33-36°f for 30 days. It's not as good as dry aging but it is much easier and that was the theme of this brisket.....minimal effort. 

Brisket Prep

Again, I took the easy road at every turn on this cook. I have been extremely busy at work this summer and barely have time to come up for air. 

  • Trimming - I normally like to split my brisket into the point and flat, competition style. I do this because it shortens the cook, lets a big brisket fit in a Large Big Green Egg, and provides maximum surface area for bark development. Not this time, though. I trimmed the silverskin off of the flat and a little bit of fat here and there but not much, not even enough for the tallow pile.
  • Injection - None. 
  • Seasoning - I did a base layer of Obie-Cue's Double Strength Garlic Pepper and then a moderate coat of Obie-Cue's Big Bull's Texas Brisket seasoning
  • Dry Brine - After seasoning, I wrapped it loosely in a large food bag and put it in the fridge overnight to let the magic of dry brining take place.

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 differently....like 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

[FTC standard disclaimer] We received no compensation for this post. Any links that may earn us a commission are tagged [Affiliate link]. 

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

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] We received no compensation for this post. Any links that may earn us a commission will be tagged as [Affiliate Link]. 

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

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Afghan-Style Game Hens with Harissa Yogurt Sauce on the Big Green Egg

[FTC Standard Disclsoure] We received no compensation for this post. If I use any links that may earn compensation, I will tag them with [Affiliate Link]. 

I have 70+ grilling-related cookbooks on my shelves, but there are only about a dozen that I go back to time after time. Steven Raichlen's classic Barbecue! Bible [Amazon Affiliate Link] is one of those. It has over 500 tried and true recipes with influences from around the world. I recently made the book's recipe for Afghan-Style Game Hens, which was phenomenal.

Afghan-Style Game Hens with Harissa Yogurt Sauce
Afghan-Style Game Hens with Harissa Yogurt Sauce

The recipe has you marinate split game hens in a blend of yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, and spices, and then grill to perfection. The marinade results in vivid orange color, tangy flavor, and juicy meat. He suggests using a rotisserie or two-zone fire. I was using a Big Green Egg and decided to use the raised direct method to get a crispy crust.

Raised-Direct Grilling

Benefits of Raised-Direct Grilling

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Steak and Shirazi

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] We received no compensation for this post. If I post any links that may generate compensation for me, I will tag them as [Affiliate link].

This wrap's bright and bold flavors make my mouth do a happy dance. 

Grilled flank steak and shirazi salad wraps featuring Certified Angus Beef Brand

It starts with thinly sliced Greek seasoned flank steak that we top with a sultry tahini sauce. Next, we add a Shirazi salad bursting with Middle Eastern flavors and finally sprinkle on some crumbled feta. We wrap all of that up in a warm, soft piece of naan bread, and it is oh so fantastic! 

Shirazi Salad

Shirazi is named after the region from whence it hails, Iran. We like to call it Middle-Eastern pico de gallo. It is a salad with tomatoes, Persian cucumber, onion, herbs, and an acidic dressing. We can't always get Persian cukes, but English cukes work. Like pico, we find it is best served about an hour or two after making it.

Grilled flank steak and shirazi salad wraps
Shirazi salad is brightly flavored and is fantastic with grilled chicken, steak, or by itself.

Here's the recipe for the whole shebang, with pictures and tips following the recipe.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Garlicky Smashed Potatoes on the Grill

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After my recent post about the Green Chile Flank Steak I had a lot of people ask about my process for making the garlicky smashed potatoes.


Three S's of Smashed Potatoes - Size, Seasoning, Smash

It is a simple method - boil the potatoes until they are fork-tender, smash them, cook them on a griddle, season them and cover them with luscious garlic butter. The trick is to follow the Three-Ss.

  • Size - You can use just about any variety of potato for this, the trick is to use "b-sized" potatoes, which is 1.5 to 2.5" in diameter. We used red bliss potatoes for this batch.
  • Seasoning - A simple SPG rub (salt, pepper, garlic) works the best. I like using my NMT Beef Rub V.2 recipe. For commercial, Fire and Smoke BBQ Company's The Classic is an excellent choice.
  • Smash - You want to smash the potato thin enough to get the maximum flat surface area you can while still leaving the potatoes intact. For me, that works out to about 1/2 inch in thickness. If you smash them too thinly, they will be pulverized. I find that smashing them between a folded deli sheet or wax paper makes smashing and handling them easier.

For me, the easiest way to smash them is with a recessed burger press. Instead of a flat bottom, this press is recessed so I only smash them to about 1/2 inch no matter how hard I press.  Perfect every time. In lieu of this, you can smash them with any sturdy, flat surface - a skillet bottom, a stiff spatula, a plate, you name it.

Enjoy!

Garlicky Smashed Potatoes

www.nibblemethis.com

Published 05/05/2022

Monday, May 2, 2022

Green Chile-Crusted Flank Steak on the Griddle

[FTC Standard Disclosure]  I received no compensation for this post. Any link which may earn us a commission will be tagged as [Affiliate Link].  

This weekend, we made green chile-crusted flank steak with chimichurri, garlicky smashed potatoes, and Mexican street corn. 

Green Chile Crusted Flank Steak with Chimichurri cooked on the PK Grill
Green chile-crusted flank steak with chimichurri, garlicky smashed potatoes, and Mexican street corn.

When I enjoy a meal out at a restaurant, I often like to recreate it at home. Last week, Alexis and I went out to dinner with our older son, his girlfriend, and some friends at Point B on their opening day. We saw that they offered all sorts of boards (charcuterie and otherwise), so we were excited to try them out.

There I got the steak with chimichurri, smashed potatoes, and elote. The steak was tender and it was tasty with the chimi. The potatoes were nicely roasted medallions. I'm always a sucker for elote. The place has a ton of potential, and we are looking forward to going back to try out their boards. 

Steak and Chimichurri from the newly opened restaurant, Point B, in Knoxville

I thought it might be hanger steak. The waiter asked and was told it was flank steak, but I'm pretty sure it was a hanger. The shape was nothing like a flank unless it was a super thick one cut in steaks lengthwise. That said, I love flank steak, so that's what I used when I did my spin on this meal.

Griddled Flank Steak with Chimichurri

I dry-brined the flank steak with my Green Chile Steak Seasoning recipe and then grilled it on a griddle on the grill to get that broad, crispy crust. The kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, shallot, green chile, cumin, and coriander give it a deep flavor. If you don't feel like making the rub, pick up a jar of Albukirky's Green Chile Seasoning, it's fantastic stuff. I used a variation of Steven Raichlen's The Real Chimichurri because I like my chimi to be more like a light dressing than a thick condiment. 

More details and photos are after the recipe.

Green Chile Crusted Steak with Chimi

www.nibblemethis.com

Published 05/01/2022

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Boursin Black Pepper Strip Steaks on the Big Green Egg

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

I haven't been cooking many steaks this year because food prices have skyrocketed.  But when I saw a half strip loin of Certified Angus Beef® Brand for under $50, I couldn't resist it. I cut it into thick steaks and the first thing that I made was these Boursin Black Pepper Strip Steaks.

Boursin Black Pepper NY Strip Steaks featuring Certified Angus Beef Brand

What is Boursin?

Boursin cheese is a brand of Gournay cheese, which is a soft, creamy cheese. I didn't know they had a cracked black pepper version until I saw it at the store last week. The pepper adds a slightly spicy kick. The contrast between the creaminess and sharpness of flavor sort of reminds me of gorgonzola or mild blue cheese. I'm not saying it tastes like blue cheese, just a sharp contrast like blue cheese. 

Cracked Black Pepper Boursin Cheese is fantastic on steaks, potatoes, and burgers.

My immediate impression was that it would be perfect in compound butter for steaks. So here we are. 

Boursin Black Pepper Butter

www.nibblemethis.com

Monday, April 18, 2022

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with Pepper & Onion Skewers

[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received a Char-Broil Cruise grill with Cruise Control Technology free of charge for review purposes. I receive no other compensation for this post and I have no business dealings with Char-Broil.

Grilled chicken teriyaki is a classic and it is an excellent recipe for beginning grillers because it is simple yet creates a delicious flavor.

Grilled chicken teriyaki with pepper and onion skewers on the Char-Broil Cruise gas grill

Two-Phase Glaze

You can't glaze grilled meats with teriyaki sauce too early in the process because the sugar will burn. I like to use a two-phase approach. After grilling for a few minutes, I start basting with teriyaki sauce that has been cut with chicken stock or broth in a 3:1 ratio. This lets the sauce cook onto the chicken without burning. Then in the last few minutes, I use a thicker glaze to finish it off.

Grilled chicken teriyaki with pepper and onion skewers on the Char-Broil Cruise gas grill

I cooked this recipe on the Char-Broil Cruise gas grill; you can find my full review here. Teriyaki can make a mess on your grill, so I wanted to take advantage of the Auto-Clean feature after cooking. It would work just as effectively on a charcoal grill; I was just being lazy...there I admitted it. 

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki with Pepper and Onion Skewers

www.nibblemethis.com

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Product Review - Char-Broil Cruise Grill with Cruise Control Technology (MSRP $699)

[FTC Standard Disclosure] I received a Char-Broil Cruise at no cost for review purposes. All opinions are my own. I receive no compensation for this post, nor do I have any other financial arrangements with Char-Broil or their affiliates.

Product Review – Char-Broil Cruise Grill (MSRP $699)

Earlier this year, Char-Broil introduced their newest, game-changing grill – The Char-Broil Cruise. I was lucky enough to receive a Cruise unit from Char-Broil and have put this new grill through real-life cooking for the past few weeks. Here are my thoughts and experience with this new grill.


Char-Broil Cruise Grill review

Tame The Flame, Change The Game

So what makes this grill a game-changer? Until now, gas grill heat controls have been knobs that control the gas flow at a set rate of consumption. If I set my old gas grill on “medium”, the grill will let the gas flow at that designated rate. That rate of flow doesn’t change regardless of the actual cooking temperature it achieves or factors like ambient temperature or wind.

The Char-Broil Cruise changes this by cooking at a specific set temperature. If I set the grill for 500°f, the Cruise will assess the grill temperature and if it is anything but 500°f, the grill will adjust the gas flow to achieve 500°f and maintain that temperature. No more guessing or adjusting.

Making fajita steak on Char-Broil Cruise Grill review
The Char-Broil Cruise automatically adjusts gas flow to maintain a specific cooking temperature.


Let’s look at the features that I like and the experience I had while cooking some of the typical backyard basics.

Features

Digital Temperature Control and Auto-Calibration

The ability to set a precise cooking temperature and know that the grill will maintain it gives a cook confidence. This is true from beginning backyard chefs to seasoned pros like me. The Cruise has a thermometer mounted inside the cooking chamber that provides feedback to a processor. The processor controls the two-burner tubes to maintain the set temperature.

color indicator display on the Char-Broil Cruise Grill review
The controls are straightforward. The dial controls the temperature setting in 5°f increments.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Eggfest Recipe: Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps

 [FTC Standard Disclosure] We have received no compensation for this post. Any link from which we may earn a commission will be tagged [Affiliate Link].

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps are sort of like the chicken lettuce wrap appetizer at PF Changs, but ours is a spicier version, and we give it a massive upgrade by using Certified Angus Beef® Brand Shaved Steak. 

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps recipe featuring certified angus beef brand steak

This is one of the recipes that we served at the Chain of Lakes (2nd Place) and North Florida Eggfest (1st Place) in the past month. 

Making Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps with Certified Angus Beef brand shaved steak

I like that they rock with flavor in a small package, and they are super easy to make. They only take 7-8 minutes to cook once you have the sauce made and ingredients prepped. 

Here's the recipe, as promised at the Eggfests. Below the recipe, I have more pics and helpful tips for making these at home.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

2022 North Florida Eggfest

I am so stinkin' proud of the Nibble Me This BBQ '&' Grilling Team. This past weekend we cooked at the North Florida Eggfest hosted by Pench A Penny of St. Johns and won 1st Place!  

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival

This is on the heels of them cooking at the Chain of Lakes Eggfest hosted by Mannix Pools and Grills in Winter Haven, FL, where they came in 2nd Place!


I like to share our experiences at these grilled food festivals, so tag along with us at the North Florida Eggfest as seen through the eyes of our team's (including my parents) mobile phones. 

The Trip

Our team comes from Tampa, Jacksonville, and Knoxville. Alexis and I had a 1200 mile round trip. My truck has sat idle for four months because the part it needed was nationally out of stock. We just got it fixed, but I didn't trust it yet, so we decided to rent a car to be on the safe side.  About that....

Nick Stamps of Enterprise Car Rental is a fantastic manager
 Irony of ironies, as we were loaded and ready to pull out, the rental car pooped the bed. 😐 But major kudos to Nick Stamps, the Manager (or should be) at Enterprise. He bent over backward to get us on the road. After troubleshooting, he quickly had a replacement delivered to our house.


We took Ramsay Ramdog with us because he LOVES Aunt Rhonda's house. 

As we arrived in Florida from Tennessee, we happened to get behind the Mister Brisket food truck from Nashville. We took that as a good luck sign. 

The Prep

The prep is the key to a successful Eggfest, and our team has that down to a science. It wasn't always like that. Our prep was more like science fiction when we first started doing this! 😆

Better planning + better ingredients + better prep = a better time at the event + better results

A solid prep leaves fewer things to chance and less cleaning at the event. The only downside is that it might require more cold storage, but that is offset by requiring less onsite equipment and supplies.

Jars of Mt Olive pickles ready to be made into Jordan's Drunk Pickles for the food festival
We prepped approximately 650 of Jordan's Drunk Pickles. 

Big Green Egg tables
We could have had our own Eggfest at Rhonda's house. Don't you love that custom hand-made table? Sean's neighbor, Luciano Gonzales, made it for him. The detailed work is impeccable.

Laurie prepping the smoked green chile pork for the pickles while I was chopping Boars Head ham.

Meanwhile, Rhonda was preparing pans and pans of ooey-gooey mac and cheese.

I did most of the knife work using this gorgeous I.O. Shen knife that I got from Craig Tabor of Playing with Fire Emporium.

Laurie and Alexis crossing swords.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Prepping a ton of garlic for the lettuce wraps.

Reinforcements arrived later in the afternoon when Scott and Carson arrived from Tampa.

And they brought food! Carson made smash burgers to fuel our prep army. Everyone is watching here because we were having a spatula issue (it was too thin), so I showed them how to use tongs to reinforce the weak spatula. A few minutes later, the spatula fell off the handle anyway 😂



Mt Olive pickle party
It takes a LOT of hands to slice, core, and stuff that many pickles.

Eggfest Set Up

The first thing you do when arriving as a cook at an Eggfest is to find out where your spot is if you haven't already done that the night before. Then you want to get your Egg fired up so it can be warming up while you set up your booth.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
The event was held at Trout Creek Fish Camp in St John's County. It is a sprawling venue with live oaks providing a canopy of shade.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
The few hours before the gates open is a beautiful symphony of smoke in the air, teams setting up their booths, and saying hello to friends you haven't seen since the last food festival.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival certified angus beef
There is a buzz of activity at each booth - setting up decor, writing up menu boards, and doing final preparations.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
When presales of the demo Big Green Eggs are down, you typically don't get as many grills to use at the festival. One Egg isn't enough for our production or menu, so we brought our parents' large BGE. Carson brought his Mini-Max, which has attended many an Eggfest.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
If your Egg isn't getting hot fast enough, it helps to get 4 people to stare at it (kidding, of course).

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
We have our processes down, and we get a lot of comments about how well our team works together. It is something of which I am quite proud. It is even better when people ask us where our restaurant is located....since we don't have one.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
One of my favorite things about Eggfests is catching up with my BBQ brothers and sisters.  From left to right, Cowboy Kev, me, Mikey Kay, and Trace Scarborough. But there are so many others as well - Don James, Brad Stuart, Captain Ron, Mel ChmilarBob Kolky, Kim and Ginny Youngblood, and countless others.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Scott and Alexis loading up trays of pickles for their "spa treatment" in the Big Green Egg (20 min at 350f with a pickle spritz). 

One of the excellent gifts for cook teams was this custom engraved santoku knife from Rhineland Cutlery. Alexis uses one of these for her primary knife in our kitchen and loves it - super sharp blade, and it fits her hand perfectly. They support several Eggfests, so check out their website.

Certified Angus Beef 2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
One minute until the gates open....bring on the crowds!

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Here they come!

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival menu board
Here is our menu for this event - minus the breakfast casserole.


Carson's Breakfast Casserole

We usually try to have a breakfast item on the menu, and this time it was Carson's Breakfast Casserole. It was fantastic with potatoes, sausage, smoky bacon, onions, chiles, eggs, cheese, and Meat Church Holy Voodoo. I'll post the whole recipe as soon as I wrangle it out of his hands ;) 

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Breakfast casserole is good because a lot of it can be prepared ahead of time.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Scott and Alexis dishing up our first servings of the day.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Let the feasting begin.

Jordan's Drunk Pickles

These fantastic stuffed pickles are our quirky, award-winning signature item. They are basically a Cuban sandwich stuffed into a pickle and roasted - slow-roasted green chile pork, Boars Head ham, Boars Head salami, swiss cheese, and mustard.  RECIPE 

Jordan's Drunk Pickles Mt Olive 2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Jordan's Drunk Pickles - a flavor that explodes in your mouth...and sometimes all over your shirt.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Carson and Alexis loading up an Egg with trays of pickles. Multi-tiered racks like the Big Green Egg Eggspander [Amazon Affiliate link] or the Adjustable Rig from the Ceramic Grill Store are worth their weight in gold when cooking for big crowds.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
The pickle juice spritz is essential for the big pop of flavor.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Carson and I working the grills. 

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
We get about 36-48 pickles per batch, but they disappear about as fast as we can make them.

Going in for the second bite!

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
The pickles hold a special place for our team. They are named after my sister's only son, Jordan, who passed away in 2016. We love that he can be a part of our team in a meaningful way.

Team Jello Shots

A few years ago, we did a menu comprised entirely of dishes in "shot glasses." It was a fun theme, but it hogged labor and grill resources, so we only did it one time. But we continued the tradition of our team having jello shots at Eggfests. 

Carson made sure we had "enough" jello shots this year :)

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Wonder Twin Jello Shot Powers ACTIVATE!

Thai Steak Lettuce Wraps

This recipe is an upgraded version of PF Chang's lettuce wraps appetizer. We stir fry onions and peppers in a wok and add garlic-marinated, shaved Certified Angus Beef steak. Then we add about a quarter cup of salty, sweet, and hot Thai cashew sauce to the mix. We serve that in lettuce cups with crushed cashews, cilantro, and more Thai cashew sauce. I'll post the recipe soon.


Certified Angus Beef 2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
These bites pack a lot of flavor in a small package. 

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival certified angus beef
The Mini-Max was a stir-frying beast on this day, making 10 batches of the recipe.

Our setup was a 16" cast-iron wok, a woo-rig (Ceramic Grill Store) as the wok ring, and a Mini-Max.

Tommy Lee, eat your heart out! Carson got these great 2 pics of me doing the "drum stick flip" that the drummers used to do in rock videos back in the day.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival certified angus beef
I love cooking at this event because it is close enough to my hometown that my parents could visit. Pictured with my dad here.

I typically use a carbon steel wok, but we used the cast-iron wok since we were cooking all afternoon. It handles the long-term high-heat a bit better.

I'm not pointing, I'm holding the boats down. The breeze would whip up into a gust from time and time. If you weren't careful, a tray full of paper boats would go flying across the booth.



Smoked Mac and Cheese

Smoked mac and cheese is always a crowd-pleaser. For this recipe, we did a variation of Chris Lilly's skillet mac and cheese from his second book - Fire and Smoke - A Pitmaster's Secrets

Stay golden, Pony Boy! Our gold comes from smoked gouda, cheddar, and smoked gruyere. 


2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Alexis plating up serving cups of mac and cheese.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Laurie serving up mac and cheese while Alexis works on pickles. We did a better job at this Eggfest of serving multiple dishes simultaneously.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Scott and Laurie serving more golden goodness.

Laurie's Dessert Pizza with an assist from Sean

It is always good to serve a dessert option at Eggfests. Using this recipe was Laurie's idea, but Sean offered a modification, so it was fun listening to them "bicker" about WHOSE recipe this was. I'm not a big sweets person, but this was a super easy and delicious recipe. We are writing it up this week, and I'll post it.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
We always like to use local, in-season ingredients, so you have to use fresh Plant City strawberries when you're in Florida in Springtime.

Rhonda and Alexis slicing strawberries. Next time I will bring my egg slider which does that a lot faster.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Slicing one of the dessert pizzas.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
I felt bad for Laurie because we forgot the mini-spatulas, which would have made this job so much easier. 

Crispy and sweet, but not cloyingly so, this dessert pizza is a tasty bite.



This is my first time cooking at this location and I like it. The overhanging trees provided welcomed shade, but leaves would drop onto our food every now and then. We just started joking that they were our secret ingredient.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
We could not have asked for a more beautiful day - sunny, warm but not hot, and a nice breeze.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
We did our best to keep the food coming and our line short, but sometimes the crowd converges on your booth all at once.


2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Love this shot of me taking a moment to be with my mom.


2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
We had a wonderful time serving our guests.

Everyone loved Sean's shirt - "Best pickle in town, and that's a big dill"

One of the reasons that I prefer these "people's choice" events compared to the KCBS BBQ contests that we used to do is the judging. Instead of 6 anonymous judges that you never see, we feed a thousand judges in person and they pick the winner. Here Sarah P. graces us with her vote in the form of a gold coin.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
This picture cracks me up so much. Sean was positioning us for a picture, but it looks like he is lecturing the team on food safety or something.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Finished and waiting on the awards announcements. We have the best team we could ask for. All of us are accomplished cooks and could run the grills. But we have no egos, and all find our roles to fill.


I'm glad it wasn't a tie because, in the event of a tie, the two times had to duel using the pair of field guns at the campsite 😁😂😃

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
When the fires were extinguished, and the smoke cleared, we were thrilled to hear our names called for First Place. It meant a lot to us because this Eggfest is our hometown, it was where we won our first championship, and we were competing against friends who I highly respect as chefs and people.



2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
We all had friends and family visit our site, which was special.


My mom with some of the team.

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
The hottest boy band since Boys 2 Men? 😂😆😅😄 Album dropping soon ;)

2022 North Florida Eggfest grilling food festival
Best group of friends and family ever.  The composition of our team changes depending on where the event is, the type of event, etc. Some of our teammates who were not at this event include John and Anna Mae, Jeff Greene, and Carrie.

Photobomb! 

See you all next year!