RSS

Category Archives: Barbeque

Hickory Smoked Game-Time Nuts

Sometimes it feels like I live with a teenager.  I love D to death but he thought it was just hysterical when I used the phrase “salted nuts” when talking about my prep work.  He actually found it so entertaining that I could not help but laugh.  Anyway, these salted nuts made a great snack for the official start of Football season, try not to eat them all in one sunday though.

In my house, those Smokehouse almonds used to be a regular snacktime staple, until we started reading ingredients.  MSG, maltodextrin, potassium sorbate…wtf is in these things?  We decided to make our own smoked mixed nuts on the Weber 22.5 inch kettle with hickory smoke.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups raw nuts: we used almonds, walnuts, and pecans
  • 2TB of oil: coconut or olive oil
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1/2 t garlic
  • 1/4 t cayenne
  • generous amounts of salt

Basically you just mix all of the ingredients together in a foil pan and put on the indirect side.  How freaking easy is that?  Next time you have a party whip a batch of these babies up, I will even let you take credit for coming up with this genius idea.

You want to leave these on for 20-30 minutes and stir frequently.  They will get a bit darker in color, which is fine…Turning black, is not.  There is only a couple minute window between perfectly smoked and burnt so keep an eye on these.  Also, if you give them adequate time to cool before serving it lets them get nice and crunchy again.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Barbeque, Random, Snacks

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Beefy Brunch Sausage and BBQ Eggs

Beefy Brunch Sausage and BBQ Eggs

I was looking for a clever quote about breakfast to insert here, but after searching the nerd net and finding several BS quotes about wives looking like crap in the morning I decided to scrap that idea.  Luckily, I don’t look any worse in the morning than I do the rest of the day.

I had 1lb of ground beef left from our last quarter cow, so that is what I used, you sub any type of ground meat you like, pork would be fantastic here too.

Ingredients:

  • 1lb ground meat
  • 1 t sage
  • 1TB whole fennel seeds
  • 1/4 t marjoram
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t garlic
  • 1/2 t red pepper: I use korean sun-dried pepper because of its mild smoky kick, if you are using regular crushed red pepper you might want to use a bit less
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 4 eggs

First light up your grill and let the coals heat up while you do the prep work.  The bell peppers are easy, lob them in half and scoop out the seeds, set aside with your eggs.  Then take your meat and spices and incorporate all of that awesomeness together.  I made mine into 4 quarter pound patties.

Doesn’t this guy ever wear a shirt?

Yep, my yard looks like crap, I know, if you have ever met my dog you would understand why.  D is giving the grates a good brushy-brushy to clean them off before we put the food on.

Eggs on the grill is pretty bad ass, the peppers are like tasty edible little cooking pans that keep your eggs from falling through the grates.  We put the peppers on the grill first, on the indirect side, albeit close to the hotness.  I then cracked the eggs into the peppers over the grill, but that is because I am really clumsy and also have animals who are very destructive.  I didn’t want to clean up liquid egg snot so…yeah over the grill.  If you are worried about getting egg-shell in your food then you can crack them individually into a separate receptacle first.  I am not worried though, I like to live life on the edge!

After you are all done with that throw your little beefy discs of breakfast heaven on the grill.  The USDA recommends cooking all ground beef to an internal temp of 160F, but they are also corrupt , and I trust the source of my meat, so ya know…eff them and just eyeball it.

Your eggs will take a while to set, about 30 minutes depending on the heat of your grill, I would plan to put the meat on about 15 minutes after the eggs, this will give it plenty of time to cook and a few moments to rest.  You should always let your meat rest and come to a stable temperature.  This does not just apply to steak, give it five minutes on a plate in its own juices before you start digging in.  Bonus point: you will be less likely to burn off your taste buds this way too.

You can attempt to be delicate and eat this with a fork, but that sort of takes the fun out of it.  The rules of BBQ state, that if you cook it on the grill you are allowed to eat it with your hands.  Ok, it doesn’t really say that anywhere, but those are the rules in my house and I just like eating with my hands.

Shove it all in together and add a little chipotle sauce

 

 

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 9, 2012 in Barbeque, Beef, Breakfast, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner with Smokey-Dokey Sauce

There are two ways to cook chicken on the grill…Theres the easy way, and then my way.

We used a whole chicken cut up in to pieces, the problem with this is that they all have different cooking times.  Breasts the longest, then thighs and back, after that drumsticks, and finally your wings.  You have to stagger the times at which you put them on the grill or you could just by a package of all breasts or thighs or whatever and make it easy.

Before you even start soak your hickory wood chips in some water.  No water pan, no chip box? No problem today, we threw them b*tches right in with the coals this time.

Ok, now give your birdy a little massage.  Rub her down real good!

The ingredients look a-ok

I used Pork Barrel BBQ rub because I am lazy, feel free to copy my idea or just sprinkle them with some salt, pepper, and garlic.  Before you start handling the chicken be sure to put your spice rub in a separate bowl.

EEEK!

It can get pretty disgusting and you don’t want to go around contaminating all of your spices.  If your hands aren’t getting nasty then I don’t think you are doing it right.  After you finish the rub put your bird in a bag and put him in the fridge.  I put my bird-bag in a bowl too because I didn’t want it leaking all over my fridge.

I’ll wait while you wash your hands….

Ok…this sauce effing rocks! Even if you don’t own a grill you should make this sauce.  I am thinking of stirring it into my coffee in the morning, I love it that much

Ingredients:

  • 4TB tomato paste: I found the stuff in a jar because its resealable and ya know, that nasty BPA s*hit
  • 2TB olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 an onion
  • 1TB molasses
  • Heaping teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 t coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 t paprika
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 dried ancho
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 TB liquid smoke

Do you have all that crap?  If not…then just go to the store, those are all staples in any BBQ house.  We will start by cutting up your dried ancho(scissors work best here) and pouring you 1/2 cup water over it.  Let that soak while you chop up your apple, then throw the apple and the ancho + water in a small saucepan to simmer until soft and tender.  Chop up the onion and garlic and add those in too, everything will be soft and tender in about 10-12 minutes.  This doesn’t need to be pretty, you’re going to puree the whole thing anyways.

While that is simmering, you can start building your sauce because you are going to be doing a whole lot of measuring.

Still steaming

When you are pureeing your apple mixture it is ok to leave some very small chunks in there, but you want to make a fairly smooth sauce.  Stir that in with all of the other ingredients, except for the smoke, in a sauce pan and bring to a boil-ish state.  Sauce doesn’t really boil but you will see when big splatter-y bubbles form, I actually recommend doing this part naked, since chances are a splatter will ruin your shirt.   Once it is good and hot go on and reduce the heat down to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Then you are pretty much done.  Add in the liquid smoke at the end of the cooking, stir it in while it is cooling down so as not to damage the flavor too much and get back to your chicken.  Mine yielded two cups of sauce, which was plenty for the dinner with a little leftover for later!

Liquid orgasm

If you made your sauce naked as-per my instruction you should probably put your clothes back on before you fire up the grill, I can think of a few places I really wouldn’t want hot ash landing.  When I say fire up your grill, you should know the routine by now; charcoal chimney, dual zone fire, blah blah blah.  Throw your wood chips on when it is nice and toasty to get that smoke going.

Put your bird over the hot direct heat first until it gets a nice sear on the outside.  This not only gives you amazing skin, but it also seals in the juices.  When it looks good move it to the indirect side.  After your meat is on the indirect side, brush with the sauce and let the heat caramelize it.

The pan is for collecting the juices so we can bathe in them later

Chicken is one of those meats I just don’t really trust when it comes to “eyeballing it” or going by time.  I can poke a steak and tell you how done it is, but I just don’t trust chickens…they’re shifty creatures.  We used our instant read thermometer to periodically check the temperature.  Funny story, I fed someone raw chicken once because my 13 pound bird wasnt cooked all the way through.  The standard is 16-165 for light meat and 170-175 for dark, you can check by sticking the thermometer into the deepest part of the meat without touching the bone. Our chicken had pretty big t*ts so you can imagine those took a long time.  In fact, this could take up to an hour depending on the heat of your coals and the size of your bird so I hope you don’t have any time-sensitive plans.  If you wanted quick and easy chicken you could just go to KFC and grab a Double Down.

I really hope I don’t have to explain common sense, but I feel compelled to (just in case).  Please just leave your grill alone for a while and let that sh*t cook..  If your internal temp is like 75F, just put the lid on and walk away for, like, a half hour.  Humans like to meddle, sometimes we need to learn to sit back and let nature take over, or in this case the grill.  All you need to do is flip it once or twice and brush your meat with a bit of sauce every now and then and leave it alone.  If you keep poking holes in your meat to check the temp you will let all the the juices run out.

After I pulled it off the grill I brushed it with sauce one more time and tried to let it cool for a while before eating.

Derek couldn’t even wait long enough to take his head lamp off, let alone wait for it to cool.  I must say though, a head lamp is a useful tool for night-time grilling.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 8, 2012 in Barbeque, Chicken, Sauces

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Simple Squashies and Screw-Up Proof Salmon

Simple Squashies and Screw-Up Proof Salmon

After a couple of days bouncing back and forth between a grill and a computer, I decided to do a very simple dinner.  This blogging sh*t is exhausting! Anyone who knows me can tell you I do not measure my food, I just go with whatever looks and smells right.  I have to stop and measure everything for you people and take pictures…jeez.  I guess I just do it because I wasn’t hugged enough as a child and now I need the attention of millions of people…like a stripper or Snookie.

Ok, so here is the deal with salmon…it sticks on the iron grates like really strong adhesive stuff.  I suck at similes, whatever.  Anyway, a simple weeknight salmon should be cooked in tin foil to keep it from sticking to the grill and to keep it moist.

Salmon is already delicious, so the only thing you need to make it great is a teaspoon of coconut oil, salt and pepper, dill, and garlic.  Bam, you’re done, stick it in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.

Kirk likes salmon too, so make extra!

Isn’t he effing adorable? Ok…focus Michelle.  Next you want to slice your butternut squash, but you want to cut it into round slices instead of slicing it lengthwise like you normally would.  When you get down to the end with the seeds just scoop them out with a spoon.

Anyone who has ever carved a pumpkin knows how to do this

Then cut into slices…duh.  Here is where I screwed up, I cut those pieces in into little half moons…don’t do this, they will fall through your grill grates.  Ready for your marinade?

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 2 cloves minced garlic, I did mine in a Garlic Zoom
  • 1t paprika
  • 1t cumin
  • salt and pepper

Mix all that together and let it marinate for a few hours, or overnight.

Once you get a dual zone fire going in your grill you can throw everything on for about 5 minutes per side.  I hope I don’t have to explain common sense here…but I suppose I should so no one gives me grief about how they burnt theirs.  If it is cooking too fast move it off to the side of the heat, that is the purpose of a dual zone fire, to have two different temperatures. Hot side for grill marks, low side for cooking.

I pulled the fish off first after about 8-10 minutes and moved the squash around until I got the right amount of grill marks + tenderness, which was about an extra 5 minutes.

I also had two tomatoes, an onion, and two peppers lying around so I decided to make a fire roasted salsa.  I dunked them in the squash marinade, put them on the grill until they had a slight char, then pulsed them in my Ninja. This is not imperative to the result of the salmon, I just had the time and ingredients…so why the hell not.

The finished product was simple, yet full of flavor

And for dessert?


Brownies of course!!!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Barbeque, Seafood, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Smoketacular Brownies

Smoketacular Brownies

So, do you ever have an idea that seems totally freaking crazy and it actually works out perfectly? That is what these brownies are for me. The only thing that popped into my head after the first bite was, “holy crap I can’t believe that worked”

These are aztec brownies, which means they have a little kick to them which I thought was appropriate considering the cooking method.  If you dont like spicy food, or are just a boring old traditionalist then feel free to leave them out, but I promise you it isnt overpowering.

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup grass-fed butter (or coconut oil if butter is not an option)
  • 2 medium sweet potatos
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey (you can add more to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon saigon cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (less if you dont like want a strong dark chocolate flavor)
  • 4 ounces of baking chocolate- no i dont have a scale, I just used the whole bar…ya know…figure it out
  • 3/4 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips
  • dash of salt

triple chocolate = triple delicious…also there is a pen, don’t put that in the brownies

Ok, time to start your grill.  I used 3/4 of a chimney of pure hardwood charcoal and made a fire in half of the Weber 22 inch grill.  Slice your sweet potatoes in half and brush them with olive oil, then throw ’em on the grill, I cooked mine off to the side of the direct flame so they wouldn’t totally burn.  Just cook them until they “give” on the sides, even if you are an amateur cook you can squeeze a tater and tell if it is done.

Feel free to start making your batter while your taters are cooking, takes about 20-25 minutes.  Melt the chocolate bar and the butter together, then whisk them with the other wet ingredients.  I strongly recommend having an electric mixer here unless you want a really good upper body workout.  After you incorporate all of your dry ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, and mix some more, you can get started on your sweet potatoes.  If you’re smart, and I am not, you will wait until they have cooled completely to try to scrape the flesh away from the skin, but I was in a hurry.

I put my sweet potato flesh and my batter mixture into a Ninja, but you can use a blender or food processor.  This gets all the chunks out…super duper important!  Next I set up the pan…I am not sure if this is paranoid or genius but I put a 7×11 Pyrex baking dish into a foil pan so that they brownies wouldn’t burn on the bottom from being directly on the heat, and so my pan wouldn’t get ruined.  I know…I thought of everything!

my setup

I put some foil in the bottom too, so there is actually a space between the Pyrex and the foil.  Also the handles rest nicely on the edges.  How freaking awesome is that?

Don’t forget to lick these clean!

Next step is so easy a caveman could do it, I greased my pan with some coconut oil, poured the batter in and mixed in most of my chocolate chips.  I reserved a few for sprinkling over the top just because it looks pretty.

oh look my shadow!

Before you throw these babies onto the grill, check your coals.  You might need to add more to heat it up.  You should be able to hold your hand over them for at least ten seconds, but they should still be hot.  If yours arent add in another 1/3 of a chimney full and check the temp again.  If you’re one of those a-holes that uses a gas grill then you could set it to 350 and bake for 25ish minutes.  This is of course where the art of grilling comes in because they will have different cook times at different temps, you have to do the high-tech “butter knife shoved in the middle” test to see if they are done.  Mine took about 35 minutes, if yours are cooking too fast on the outsides but raw in the middle you can move them off of the direct heat to finish.

I suppose you could bypass this and just bake them in the oven, but if you wanted to do that you could have just found a regular recipe on a site that isn’t about grilling.

oh yeah baby!

On a side note…I think i have a sweating problem…I dress in very comfortable clothes because it is hot as hell here in Virginia and I see people with long sleeves, jeans, and knee-high boots on.  How in the hell aren’t these women sweaty in all those clothes.? I am wearing freaking moisture wicking fabric and I still feel nasty!  Jeez

Addendum: store these brownies uncovered in a microwave or oven.  If you cover them tightly they get soggy. You can of course solve this problem by eating them all in one sitting.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Barbeque, Dessert, Favorites, Random

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Barbeque Basic Part 2: The Tools

Sure every backyard BBQer knows that you need big tongs and a long-handled spatula(unless you want to burn all of the hair off of your arms), but there are also a few gadgets that you should buy if you really want to impress people with your mad skillz.

First and foremost is the charcoal chimney starter.

ta-da!

This gadget allows you to start your coals without using any lighter fluid.  There are instructions on the nerd net for making your own out of an old coffee can and wire coat hanger.  That sh*t looks dangerous, spend the 10 bucks and get a real one.  What you do is stuff newspaper in the bottom(the end with the holes) and pour your charcoal in the top.  Light the newspaper in a couple of places and leave it alone for a few minutes, it will heat up your coals on its own.  Are your coals good and hot yet?  Ok, grab the handle and carefully dump them out into your grill…which brings me to my next point oven mitts.

Get yourself a good pair of insulated BBQ gloves, they are going to take a beating.  Also, a long-handled steel BBQ brush is needed to clean off your cooking grates.  If you’re smart you will store it out of reach of big dogs, since mine thought it was a toy.

Your high-tech gadgets should include an instant read thermometer and a timer.  That’s it.  You do not need a thermometer that hooks up to an iPhone app to be successful (although they do make that, but I heard it sucks)

For cooking ribs you could also get a rib rack.  This is not a necessity, but merely a space saver, letting you multiply the amount of delicious ribs you can cook at once.  You will also need disposable foil pans.  We buy them at Costco because we use them so much.  They are used for soaking wood chunks, making a water pan, moving foods on and off the grill, and even for cooking.  Please don’t give me the whole “cooking with aluminum is bad” speech, I don’t care.

For flavoring your meat you will need a flavor injector.  These usually look like some evil Dr. Henry H. Holmes needles, but they’re great for putting your marinade directly into the meat.  This is especially important for cuts that tend to be tough like brisket.  Also, having a spray bottle on hand will help you keep your meat moist.  Usually during smoking meat is sprayed with apple cider vinegar or juice to keep it moist and tender.

That is really all you need, you can probably get all of this crap for about 75$, and of course we also had to buy a set of outdoor shelves to put it all on, because somebody was pissy about having it all lying over her patio set all the time (that would be me).

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Barbeque, basics, Random, Technique

 

Tags: , , , ,

Smoked Applesauce with a Basic Bison Burger

Now I know what you are thinking…”wow a freaking burger on a BBQ site, how original!” Well shut up, the burger isn’t the star here, it is the applesauce and I bet I know something about burgers that you don’t.

I know that is a big plate, but I don’t like my food touching

For the applesauce you need:

  • 4 apples, mine were green, you can use red though.  It really doesn’t matter
  • 2TB cinnamon
  • 2TB coconut oil
  • 1TB maple syrup
  • 1TB ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut
  • pinch of salt

Before you get ahead of yourself and start cooking you need to soak your wood in water for at least 30 minutes.  I used small chunks of sugar maple to correspond with the flavor in the applesauce.  You can also go ahead and prepare a two zone fire in your grill.  We used a 22 inch Webber grill and put one who chimney of hardwood charcoal in one side, and a disposable foil pan with water in the other.  This gives you a high heat side and a low heat smoke side.

You can start by chopping up the apples and tossing them with the other ingredients in a disposable foil pan.  You can use a grill friendly cast iron pan if you wish, we use disposable foil pans most because cooking over fire will ruin your nice expensive Le Cruset stuff and then you will be really cranky.

Once your apples are ready and your grill is hot, put the wood into your little water pan and throw the apples on the “smoke side” of your grill.  Ok don’t really throw them, be gentle.  While your apples are smoking for about 25 minutes you can go inside and prepare your burgers.

We used once pound of bison with salt and pepper and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic and onion powder on each one.  I really don’t care what you use, if you don’t have any bison lying around use beef, or pork, or your neighbors cat (hey I won’t judge).

Do you know how grilled burgers come out all fat in the middle and skinny on the edges, like a big UFO made of meat?  Well I have the cure.

I know they’re not perfectly round, I was cooking for myself, when you come over for dinner I will make them perfect.

Make your burgers with indented centers, this way when they shrink up on the edges during cooking you end up with a nice flat burger that holds all your toppings nicely.  Put your burgers on the hot side of the grill and prep your toppings.

I had some dubliner lying around, you can omit of course

Cook your burgers for about 10 minutes, flipping halfway through, and don’t forget to give your apples a quick stir every once in a while.  I added an extra 2TB of water to mine because they looked like they were drying out.  You have to watch because you don’t want them to get dry, but you don’t really want a ton of liquid in there either.  I left the extra two TB out in the beginning because everyone has water…and if you don’t what they hell are you doing on the internet?  You should be paying your water bill instead of your Verizon!  Priorities people!

mmmm

After 10 min put your cheese on (if you are using cheese, if not just ignore this part) then put the lid back on for another minute or two while it melts.  As you pull your burgers off move your apples to the hot side of the grill for 8-10 minutes.  Put your burgers in the house while you finish the apples, seriously, I don’t want flies all over them walk the extra 10 feet.  Stir the apples a couple of times and check every few minutes to make sure they don’t burn.  You will know when they’re done because they will be soft and melty like warm apple pie filling.

Your burger should provide a nice flat surface for piling high with toppings and the applesauce will have this amazing smoke infused flavor unlike anything you have ever experienced.

The smoke is really what makes this stand out from your average grilled food, if you have never experimented with the flavors of wood smoke I recommend this as a great place to start.  Seriously I can’t tell you how good it is, just try it!  Like, now.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Barbeque, Beef, Dessert

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The BBQ Basics Part One: The Charcoal

Our ancestors had to go through the process of burning down hardwood into charcoal if they wanted to make a nice frenched rack of mastodon, fortunately for us, we can run to any grocery store and pick some up.  Also I am pretty sure my neighbors would be pissed if I started cutting down neighborhood trees to make my own.

There are two basic types of charcoal: Lump Charcoal and Briquettes each with different advantages, so we are going to talk about why you should have both in your backyard.

Pure hardwood charcoal, also called lump charcoal

Pure hardwood charcoal, or “lump charcoal” is just a big fancy name for burnt down pieces of wood. This stuff is great for your day to day grilling, burgers, steaks, chicken, or whatever you little heart desires.  The best part about lump charcoal is that it lights very quickly and gives your food a nice smoky flavor.

Briquettes are little uniform pillows of awesomeness that give you a longer more even burn and steadier temperatures than regular lump charcoal.  You can buy Hardwood briquettes, which give you a more consistent burn than pure hardwood, and they still impart a somewhat woodsy smoke, though not as intense.  If you are going for a really long cooking time or slow smoke, it is best to use the standard briquettes due to their superior ability to hold steady temperatures.  One warning though, getting the briquettes that have been infused with lighter fluid can give your food an oily, chemical-soot sort of taste. Do not buy the “EZ Light”  charcoal, just get the standard and light it with a charcoal chimney (more on that soon).

Of course there is always the gas cooking method, but in the real BBQ sphere this stuff is useless.  It does give you the most even temperatures, and you can actually choose to set your grill at 350 and it will stay there.  However doesn’t this sort of take takes the artistry out of it? Good BBQ is equal parts gastronomy and art.  Plus, you can never achieve the same sort of flavor as you will cooking over coals.  Nevertheless, if a gas grill is all you have, you can always add a small wood smoker box and still taste the heavenly clouds of deliciousness from wood smoke.

Whichever method you choose will of course get your food cooked (Duh!), but there is of course subtle differences in the end result.  It can mean the difference between the most incredible thing you have ever eaten, or just a cooked piece of meat.  This is pretty serious stuff people!

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Barbeque, Technique

 

Tags: , ,