RSS

Tag Archives: food

Whole Chickens Part One: Basic Grilled Chicken with Grilled Peach Salsa

Summer is a great time of year for us, we are getting a fresh whole chicken in our CSA box every other week, but there is no way I am turning my oven on for 5 hours in Virginia in the summertime, the temperature consistently stays at a level of uncomfortable which can only be described as “Satan’s ass crack.” So, after some experimenting, we have developed a few fool-proof methods for cooking whole chickens that keep my kitchen at a tolerable temperature.

1000863_622107637808325_438847077_n

Ingredients:

  • One whole chicken
  • BBQ rub
  • two peaches or nectarines
  • a small onion or scallion
  • one tomato
  • one jalapeno pepper
  • juice of one lime
  • fresh herbs: cilantro and parsley work particularly well here
  • coconut oil

DSCN2556

Start off by seasoning your chicken inside and out with your favorite rub, we don’t personally make all of our own rubs, because other companies have spent plenty of time and effort discovering the perfect ratios so that I don’t have to. After your coals heat up, I want you to  divide them up so that the coals are pushed over to each side of the grill with a space in the middle.  Weber makes these neat little baskets you can use for this if you have them, but they aren’t necessary.

weber-char-basket-charcoal-holders__17114_zoom

If you have guessed that we are going to put the chicken in the space between the hot coals so that they dripping chicken fat doesn’t cause flare-ups then probably don’t even need to keep reading…just go fire up that grill.

DSCN2546

The bird goes in the middle of the coals breast side down, and we cooked it to about 150-160F before throwing on the ingredients for salsa.

DSCN2554

Finely chop the tomato, sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper and the lime juice then set it aside for later.  Then slice the peaches, onion, and jalapeno in half and lightly brush with coconut oil, before putting them directly over the coals.  Let them cook for a few minutes until they soften and nice grill marks form, this happens pretty quick so don’t wander off.  Flip them over and let them cook for another minute or two before pulling them off the grill.  By this point your chicken should have also reached an internal temp of  at least 165F, which means it is also ready to come off. Chop up the remaining ingredients for your salsa and add in the fresh herbs, the skin should easily pull away from your cooked peaches, it is texturally unappetizing if you leave it on.  Now you are ready to eat, we paired our chicken with a nice cool vinegary cucumber salad which turned out to be the perfect refreshing combination on yet another sweltering hot day.

DSCN2567

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Chicken

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Grill Mods: Dual Zone Thermometers

So we did this a while back but I never posted it…partially because it was in the winter and I was pretty ashamed that we had no grass at that point.  Our yard looked super white trashy at the time, but after putting a pool in the middle of our front yard and waddling my huge pregnant booty out there in a bikini, I figure that my white trashiness has reached the point of no return, so here goes.

DSCN2525

The common question seems to be “Why the front yard?” Because the dogs are in the back and it would take them all of 3 seconds to have torn this thing apart.

Anyways, we went down to our local BBQ store to look for a couple of thermometers to add to the lid of our 22.5″ Weber kettle so we could monitor the temperature and have better control over our dual zone cooking.  We picked up two thermometers and a silicone sealant safe for high temperatures.  You are also going to need a power drill, marking pen, and possibly measuring tape(if you want things to be all nice and symmetrical)

DSCN2034

We (meaning Derek, I just stood there and took pictures), measured out the desired distance and drilled a pilot hole, which is a small guiding “starter hole” before you start putting holes in your grill lid with a giant drill bit.

DSCN2039

We also noticed that there was a small notch on the back of the thermometer, to keep it from turning I am assuming? Not really sure, but it required the drilling of yet another hole as well.

It doesn't have to be pretty, it just has to work

It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to work

Put your sealant around the top of the holes and install your thermometer.  Then seal up around the inside of the grill and you are done!

DSCN2044

Let this dry for at least 24 hours before using, and enjoy your new customized Weber grill!

DSCN2051

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 11, 2013 in Barbeque, Technique

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Chicken Cacciatore

As I sit here trying to think of some clever and entertaining way to start this recipe, I remember that I have not done anything interesting for months other than rescue a turtle from the road.  Even on that day I spent half of my hike resting with the dogs instead of being productive.  Pregnant people suck, we are boring, the only thing we talk about is babies, pregnancy and food.  Fortunately you came here for the food right?

6 months down, 3.5 to go!

6 months down, 3.5 to go!

Ok, so this recipe is so amazing we even shocked ourselves.  Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a rustic stew prepared “hunter-style” with tomatoes, onions, and herbs…enjoy

Ingredients:

  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs with the skin removed
  • 1 can tomatoes
  • about 1/4 cup bone broth (or more as needed)
  • am container of baby portabella mushrooms
  • 3 carrots
  • an onion
  • several springs of fresh rosemary
  • a few cloves of garlic
  • a pinch (or more) crushed red pepper
  • salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  • handful of fresh herbs, I used parsley and basil, but thyme and oregano would be good too
  • small scoop of cooking fat (butter or coconut oil)
  • and of course, what is a meal without 8 pieces of bacon

DSCN2476

Fire up that grill and start chopping up all of your veggies and rosemary, put those in a bowl and set aside for later, then chop up that bacon.  Put the bacon and a bit of starter cooking fat into a grill friendly pan.  I used the Weber Gourmet BBQ system here, if you don’t have that a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven would work too. Season the thighs on both sides with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and go check those coals, they should be ready by now.

DSCN2480

Here is my setup, I seared the chicken thighs for a couple of minutes on each side until they got some grill marks and then set aside.  Do not cook these all the way through because they will finish up in your sauce. I put the bacon on there too, so it can start releasing some of its yummy bacony goodness.  Lets see a close up of that beautiful pork porn…

DSCN2477

Oh yeah baby!

Once your bacon has given you a nice amount of fat in the bottom of your pan add in your chopped veggies, garlic and rosemary and sauté, stirring frequently so they don’t burn.  Once they start to caramelize season them with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper then add in your tomatoes and let everything simmer for a few minutes. I kept a bit of bone broth on hand in case things started to look dried out and added a little bit at a time.  If you are using a dutch oven with a  lid you probably wont have this problem.

DSCN2486

Once those veggies start to get tender nestle those chicken thighs into the stew and let them finish cooking.  Once they hit 165, carefully pull the pan off the grill and serve with fresh herbs.  I even topped mine with a little shaved pecorino romano, but that is because it would take divine intervention to get me to give up cheese permanently.

DSCN2492

Don’t click on this picture unless you have a towel handy to wipe up the drool

The only word that comes to mind when I try to describe this dish is a-friggin-mazing! Derek, who had previously never even heard of chicken cacciatore, devoured it, gushing about how wonderful it was with each bite, and then asked if I would make it again.  An absolute must-have when you are sick of the same old burgers on the grill. Weber should seriously pay me to cook with their products!

Also, have you entered to win your free copy of Beyond Bacon yet?  Get on it!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Bacon, Chicken, Soups

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Beyond Bacon Review and Giveaway!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, you must have heard the buzz about the new book from the Paleo Parents, Matt McCarry and Stacy Toth. I hesitate to call Beyond Bacon a cookbook because it is so much more than that, this is actually the paleo pork bible, it tells you everything you need to know about purchasing and cooking a whole hog.

DSCN2495

Now, I consider myself to be quite the pork connoisseur, and they still managed to surprise me with the range and variety of recipes included, there is even a BBQ section for those of you with a smoker addiction(although I might have to challenge them to a cook-off for best smoked pork shoulder). The only disappointment is that I didn’t have this in my kitchen sooner, I really could have used this after our last hog aporkalypse when I was stuck with what seemed like an endless supply of pork chops.

DSCN2493

This book on it’s own is truly a piece of art, with rustic photography on each page more beautiful than the last but once you start to indulge in these recipes you will have a new appreciation for all parts of the hog. A couple of my favorites so far are the smoked pork belly, Italian tomato pork chops, and the salted mocha biscotti and I even tried my hand at making my own lard, caramel fudge and pancetta.

DSCN2226

Pancetta in progress

Ok, so I know you are sick of listening to me rave about Beyond Bacon, so I will stop myself before I ramble on all day.  I love this book, and you clearly need it, luckily Matt and Stacy sent along an extra copy, so here is your chance to win one…

Beyond Bacon Cookbook Giveaway

Good luck!

 
16 Comments

Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Bacon, Pork, Random

 

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

Better Know a Smoker Part 3: So You’re a Yuppie…

Since it has been a while, you might want to catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 before starting with this one.  This is my final piece of advice for someone looking to buy their perfect summer BBQ; and that advice is not to buy pellet and electric smokers, they are not real smokers.

The Pellet Smoker

Pellet%20BBQ%20smoker%20grill

This piece of [worthless] equipment does all the work for you….sounds like a BBQers dream come true, just set it and forget it.  Of course not everything that is easy is better.  Case and point fast food.  Enough said.  Many pellet smokers have built-in temperature control, keeping the smoker between 225 and 250 which is really a problem if you want to cook anything besides pork.  We like to smoke our famous briskets around 300 to break down the connective tissue and trust me we have tried cooking brisket low and slow…it ended up like shoe leather.  Smoked salmon or jerky on the other hand needs to be around 175 so having the ability to control the temperature yourself is imperative.

Also, check out any BBQ message board and you’ll see that people tend to complain about the lack of smoke flavor from these compressed processed pellets.  In fact, even if you have a pellet smoker that you can crank the heat up with, the higher the temps cooking with these pellets, the less smoke flavor you get because they burn very cleanly.

M008085---Smoker-pellets-5l

Just like a big mac is not food…this is not wood!

And don’t forget, since pellet smokers are automatic, they have parts that can break, like a motor and electronics systems.

Even the man himself, Myron Mixon said at a pitmaster competition, “Man I know I got this thing won when I see the other team fire up a pellet smoker.”

The Electric Smoker

electric-smoker-open

Is that a mini-fridge? Nope, that is the saddest excuse for a smoker that you can possible waste your money on.  Sure, they do have a place in resturaunts, since the people cooking can’t maintain the temps on dozens of racks of ribs at a time…unless of course you are in the south, we still cook over open flame pits down here. However, these have no place in your backyard.  In fact, if you own one of these get off my blog, close out this window immediately, you are not allowed to use any of my recipes.

The flavor on these is inferior to even the pellet smoker, and don’t ever expect to get that beautiful bark or crispy chicken skin on one of these machines.  Hell, most competitions wont even allow electric smokers.  Enough said…just dont do it.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 25, 2013 in Barbeque, basics

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Grilled Tri-Tip

Sorry I havent written in a very long time…did you miss me? Of course you did! I have been suffering from a condition known as “baby brain,” where my pregnant body has decided to shuttle all of my body’s resources into the new little parasite leaving me semi-retarded.  What brain function I do have left is reserved for focusing on all the sh*t I need to do/research/buy over the next few months…and housework, I really need to do some housework, when I have the energy, turning food into a human being is exhausting enough.

Now, the tri-tip is a seriously under-rated piece of meat.  It is part of the sirloin, and is (hands down) the best roast on a cow.  It is very well marbled, which means its tenderness rivals our beloved filet(at 1/4 the cost).

DSCN2170

After trimming any rouge hunks of fat, we rubbed ours with a good strong beef rub that had a lot of coarse ground malabar black pepper, salt, and garlic with just a little bit of chili powder, paprika, and onion powder. Then start up a dual zone fire on your grill, one side for searing and the other for cooking.

DSCN2176

We cooked the tri-tip for 5-7 minutes each side over high heat, then moved it over to indirect heat and threw in some cherry wood.  Let the tri-tip cook for another 20 minutes or so, or until the internal temp gets close to 140 on the thick end.

DSCN2178

Top your meaty goodness with a few chunks of Kerrygold butter and wrap in tinfoil.  Let the meat rest for at least 20 minutes, I throw mine in the microwave or oven so it doesn’t cool to quickly.

DSCN2185

Slice, serve, and then come thank me for introducing you to this amazing cut of meat!

 
7 Comments

Posted by on February 13, 2013 in Beef

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pizza Chili

Yep, I am cooking indoors again for a while. Cold and snow aren’t my thing, I am not dedicated enough to my livelihood to go outside and freeze my ass off when I am a freaking awesome at inside cooking too.  I know it is a lame excuse.

Pizza in a bowl beats liquid pizza nightmare, hands down

Pizza in a bowl beats liquid pizza nightmare, hands down

So, this recipe was created from a craving for pizza and a love for chili…all of the home-made pizza taste, with only a fraction of the effort

Ingredients:

  • 1 TB fat for browning your meat
  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 TB dried basil
  • 1TB dried oregano
  • 1 t ground thyme
  • 1 can of tomato paste
  • 2 cans or 1 tetra-pak of diced tomatoes
  • 2 TB chili powder
  • 1 package of white mushrooms
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic
  • 2 t paprika
  • 2 t parsley
  • 2 t whole fennel
  • 2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • a few bunches of fresh basil
  • whatever pizza toppings you like, pepperoni, olives, go crazy!

DSCN2097

Ok, I know that sounds like a lot, but most of this stuff you probably already have if you keep a well-stocked paleo kitchen.  Start by heating up a pot, or dutch oven to brown your meat in.  After it looks cooked through add your balsamic vinegar and deglaze, that means scrape all of the tasty bits off the bottom.  Add in the tomatoes and tomato paste, then all your veggies, and spices, reserving half of fresh basil for adding at the end, and the other half garnish.  If you are feeling naughty throw some cheese on the b*tch…whats pizza without cheese?

DSCN2090

There is a little trick to getting beautiful basil confetti, stack the leaves up and roll them like a cigar, .then cut across to get perfect little strips, and voila! Perfect basil garnish

DSCN2072 DSCN2074 DSCN2075 DSCN2080 DSCN2082

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 5, 2013 in Beef, Pork, Soups

 

Tags: , , , , ,