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Planking 101 and a BLT Salad

As easy as it sounds, there still is a little trick to a successful plank.

We got kicked out of a bar for doing this…I am one classy lady

Ok…I don’t actually know any ancient Chinese secrets that will help you master that sort of planking…just ya know…work on your core.

The kind of planking I want to talk about involves cooking your meat on a big piece of wood.  Simple enough right?

I used 3 small pieces of haddock on a cedar plank.  I prefer using small pieces of fish because they cook faster, and fish is really prone to drying out when using this method.

I seasoned mine with my favorite combo for seafood, lemon, salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic, and a touch of ginger.  Some serious antioxidizing going on if you eat that combo right there!

Soak your plank in salted water for at least an hour.  When your plank is ready start the grill up at medium heat and prep your fish.  Do not put the fish on the plank just yet.  Salt the side of the plank you plan to cook with, remember if you don’t salt your food then you don’t love the people you are cooking for.  Next, put your plank cooking side down for 1-2 minutes on the grill.  Flip over and add your fish.  This helps to release a bit of that smoky cedar-y flavor.  Cook until your fish just flakes apart with a fork and you are done.  I know I did not really give you a recipe…but i am trying to teach you how to cook for yourself, instead of teaching you to be a recipe dependent robot.  You can use any fish, and any spices you like.

BLT salad though gets a little more specific.

We got these incredible cherry tomatoes in the CSA this week!

Other than my B, L, and T; I also used a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper.

I bet you are still waiting for your instructions on smoking this stuff huh?

I started by chopping my slab bacon into little bite sized chunks, if you are using regular sliced bacon I suggest cooking it before cutting it up.

aww they’re sharing!

Cook your bacon until it is to your desired crunchification and carefully remove your cast iron skillet.  It is going to be super-duper hot with spattering grease.

Assemble your salad, then add salt, pepper, and the balsamic vinegar.  Now, here is where the magic happens.  Instead of using olive oil to dress the salad, I scooped a few spoonfuls of hot bacon grease out of the pan and drizzled that all over everything and created a yummy warm bacon vinaigrette.  Madness? Perhaps.

On no she didn’t!

I would like to pretend that my little fishes were for feeding several people, but I ate them all myself.  I have an insatiable appetite for awesome!

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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

How To Build The Perfect Sauce: Carolina Mustard Gas

There are only 5 words you need to remember when trying to creat the perfect BBQ sauce

  1. sweet
  2. sour
  3. salt
  4. smoke
  5. spice

The essential elements

Your sweet can be honey, molasses, maple syrup, fruit juice, or puree.  Combine that will some sort of vinegar (cider, balsamic, red wine, ect), citrus juice, or even pickle juice for your sour.  Salt seems pretty simple but it doesn’t have to be your boring ol’ sodium chloride.  You can also use liquid amino, bone broth, fish sauce, or worchestshire…worcestershire….grr…whatever! The spice is that little kick that takes a sauce to the next level.  It does not actually have to be painfully burning heat (although that is how I like mine). You can use black, red, or cayenne pepper, horseradish, wasabi, garlic or fresh peppers and chilis.  The final addition is the smoke, it is that funk that makes a sauce really unique, but be careful here, it is pretty easy to overdo it.  We like to use ancho chilis, chipotles, liquid smoke, bourbon, or mustard.  Cooking your sauce over smoke will also infuse it with some pretty b*tchin flavor.  Your choices are really only limited to your imagination.

Liquid gold baby!

Carolina Mustard Gas takes it name from a pork BBQ staple.  Carolina barbecue pork is usually sprayed with a mixture of vinegar and red pepper, but why stop there?  Seriously…I didn’t.  I married in some German tradition, a place where pork and mustard go together like bacon and chocolate (or bacon and anything really), and made this sauce really pop.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar (sour)
  • 2 TB honey (sweet)
  • 4 TB dijon mustard (smoke)
  • 1 t coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 t salt

I mixed all of those ingredients in a sauce pan and gave them a little whisk-y whisk-y.  Brought them to a rolling boil and then let is simmer for 3-5 minutes.  I don’t even like mustard and I thought this stuff was pretty effing fantastic.  We were going to call it Dijon Branch in celebration of the start of football…but ya know, he got cut.

We drizzled the mustard gas all over our slow smoked pulled pork, and keeping with the German theme I added some sauerkraut and sprinkled with red pepper.

 
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Posted by on September 10, 2012 in Barbeque, Pork, Sauces, Uncategorized

 

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

 

 

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

 

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Barbeque Basics Part 3: Come On Baby Light My Fire

If you’re caught up on Part One and Part Two we can get started on lighting up your grill

YEAH!

No, not that kind of grill!

If I were to recommend any singular grill for a wide variety of grilling, it would be a Weber 22.5 inch grill.  You can get a true dual-zone fire, and use it for smoking, as well as your every day backyard BBQ.  We got one on Craig’s List for less than 50$ that was only used once or twice.

 

Remove the cooking grate from your grill and put you chimney on the charcoal grate below.  Fill the bottom with your wadded up newspaper and put the charcoal on top.  You will see a wire insert inside that separates the top from the bottom.  Light the paper through the holes in the bottom and wait.  Seriously, wait.  Go inside and prep your food or something while that sh*t heats up.  Hardwood charcoal takes 15-20 minutes and briquettes take 25-35 minutes.  Don’t wait too long though, or else your coals will just turn into ash and you will have to start over.

When I say to start your grill, you should automatically assume I mean a dual-zone fire unless otherwise specified.  This really gives you the best control over cooking temperature.  After your coals have heated up in the chimney, just spread them out on one side of the grill and leave the other side empty.  Also, if you are using your grill to smoke, the empty side will be where you place a pan of water for your wood chips.  So, how do you know how hot your grill is?  Well you stick your hand in of course!

Not, so fast.  Do not actually put it in the fire, just about 5 inches above .  Now with a flat palm see how long you can comfortably leave your hand there.  Please note that I am not encouraging you to forceably leave your hand above a hot grill just for masochistic sh*ts and giggles.

  • 2-4 seconds is high heat: about 450-550 degrees F
  • 5-7 seconds is medium: 350-450
  • 8-10 seconds is low: 250-350
  • 11-12 seconds is really low: 200-225
  • 13-15 seconds is really really low: 175
  • 15+ seconds: why bother? lets just order a pizza.

I know that is really scientific and all.  If you can’t figure that out, you could always get a grill with a thermometer in the lid, which is what we are going to spring for next.

Grilling is just like any other hobby, no rational person expects to pick up golf clubs for the first time and play like Tiger Woods.  It takes a bit of practice, you will ruin some food, but once you master it you can create flavors, the likes of which, your taste buds have never experienced.

Bonus point: when the zombie apocalypse happens you will be able to cook for yourself in a world without electric stoves.

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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

 

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