Monday, July 27, 2015

Margarita Chicken and Carolina Rice

Jul 26 2015

I had 4 thighs and a half cut up chicken in the freezer to use. I can’t remember the last time I had Margarita chicken. Reading one recipe the marinade was from scratch and also a brine since they added ¼ cup of salt to 3 cups water. It said to do for 8 to 12 hours.

I took a short cut and used a quart of Jose Cuervo margarita mix; I added a scant ¼ cup of coarse sea salt, a teaspoon of cumin and a heaping teaspoon of dried garlic flakes. I did not add any tequila. My chicken was in the marinade 12 hours. I drained and patted it dry and added a light coat of Galena St. Rub then in the fridge about 4 hours before cooking.

My sides were a simple tomato salad with onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and seasoning; and I did some Carolina rice that was seasoned and I added some chopped onion and peppers and had ready in my rice cooker.

The chicken was on for 2 ½ hours and was a little over done, the rice was not ready yet and in the middle of this the daughter in law and grandson came. She wanted to get an old curved top trunk we said she could have. She used my truck to take it home. The grandson ate some chicken and rice with us. When she got back she had some tomatoes and rice.

Even though the chicken was overdone it was still moist from the brine. The wife and grandson liked the taste of the marinade; for me it was too sweet. I forgot to add the Cholula chili lime hot sauce I had out for mine. The next time I want Margarita chicken I will just take the time to get all the ingredients and make the brine, marinade from scratch and probably add tequila.

Mt tomato salad

Chicken brined and seasoned

On the smoker

Ready to serve

My salad

My supper

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Brat Burgers & Tomato Asparagus Salad

Jul 24 2015

Wow I think we just had 5 days without rain! It was a little hotter today at 85 deg. the past week had been nice. I rested today after two days washing the house down. I downloaded some new music and did get a few good hummingbird photos. My supper tonight was easy and not much prep work and all done on my Weber Spirit.

I love brats and get hungry for a brat burger sometimes. I get fresh brats from my butcher and use 1 ½ for each patty. I made them up and in the fridge a few hours. My salad was two slices of tomatoes with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar topped with some Havarti cheese and seasoning and thin sliced basil. I had two bundles of asparagus marinated with the same as the tomatoes and done a few minutes on the grill then served over the tomatoes.

The brat burgers I did about 8 minutes per side; did the asparagus and toasted the buns. My wife had mustard and dill pickle on her brat and I had my favorite, mustard and a slice of Vidalia onion on mine.

That was a great sandwich and salad!

Ready to cook

All done on the grill

My salad

My sandwich

Friday, July 24, 2015

Bourbon & Cider Braised Jowl Bacon over Red Beans & Rice

Jul 23 2015

I started this Tuesday and glad it was a nice day to finish it outside today. I found the recipe on The poster adapted it from someone else and now I adapted it so guess I can post it. The braising liquid was simple, 3 cups apple cider, ¼ cup bourbon, 10 pepper corns and 2 bay leaves. I only used 1/8 cup, (2 oz.), of bourbon.

Typically one covers the meat half way with liquid and then covers the pot to braise. I did mine on my Traeger and did not cover it. I did it for one hour at 200 deg. grill level and then 3 hours at 250 deg. grill level. My Savannah Stoker v3 controller did a great job. I had sliced off some and did it for a cooks treat. My wife was out running around so I saved her half of the bacon but by the time she got here there were only two pieces left!

After a total of 4 hours on the smoker I removed the bacon and let cool for an hour then wrapped in plastic wrap and in the fridge. It will keep about 5 days until you are ready to cook.

I had some fresh picked corn to steam and would have the bacon over red beans and rice. Red beans and rice from scratch would be better but for busy cooks and old slow cooks Zatarain’s is pretty darn good. I like it because I can do it in my rice cooker and have it ready to serve hot with everything else.
The grandson was eating with us he loves corn on the cob and rice.

I sliced the bacon about 3/8 inches thick to brown up on my Weber Spirit on Grill Grates. One nice thing about Grill Grates is you don’t have to worry about flare ups from grease; you will have them but they don’t touch the meat. I sliced the bacon early and in the fridge on a rack in a roaster pan.

I had my red beans and rice on and coated the bacon lightly with Savor’s Super Pig. For my taste I have found just a light coat of it really enhances bacon. I had the Weber heated to 350 – 400 deg. and did the bacon about 4 minutes per side and steamed the corn about 8 minutes.

I had some of Blues Hog’s Tennessee red sauce over my bacon and it was great. The jowl bacon was melt in your mouth tender. The grandson was not crazy about the bacon, he wants it all crispy, but he liked the rice and ate 2 ears of corn. My wife who isn’t crazy about beans said she liked the Zatarain’s.

Braising liquid

On the smoker with my treats


Today bacon sliced

The red beans and rice

Corn ready to steam

Some Super Pig and my Tennessee Red sauce

About done on the Weber

My corn

My supper

Monday, July 20, 2015

Wings with 5 Sauces and Mac n Cheese

Jul 19 2015

Another hot one today, 91 deg. and 55% humidity! They were saying severe t-storms for this evening but the rain gods were with me, the one strong cell split and went north and south of us. Then another cell behind it dissipated over Indiana.

Our son came down before it got too hot and mowed the back yard for me. I told him what we were having for supper and said sounded good. I said let me know because I will have to get more wings and some macaroni. They decided to eat with us so my wife went for more wings and pasta.

I had three jars of sauce from Blues Hog and their rub to try and for the ladies I had Penzey’s Galena St. rub and some sauce from my butcher that is on the milder side. I tasted all the sauces from Blues hog, Honey Mustard, sweet mustard but not too mustardy and a little heat, Tennessee Red Sauce, a thinner vinegar sauce, hot and a touch of sweet, Blues Hog Original, sweet, spicy and hot.

I checked the last two wing cooks I did and I had done them 1 ½ hours, ½ at 180-200, ½ at 250 add any sauce and ½ at 300-325. I read where sugar burns at 290 deg. so I wanted to stay below that and not burn my sauce. I figured a ½ hour at 220 deg. a ½ hour at 255 deg. add my sauces and last ½ at 275-280 deg. I checked my temps with my grey thermopen at 1 ½ hours and all wings were about 175 deg. they were on another 10 minutes. They were done but not enough for me; they could have stood another 20 – 30 minutes. If any of you do wings to an IT please let me know what it is.

I had 10 wings from my butcher and 8 from the grocery. I seasoned 10 with Blues Hog Rub and 8 with Penzey’s Galena St. Rub. For the sauces I brushed on 3 each with 3 of the Blues Hog sauces. I tossed 4 with a 50-50 mix of butter and Cholula hot sauce. All had the Blues Hog Rub on them. I brushed on some of my butcher’s sauce on the remaining 5 wings.

I got my mac and cheese ready early; cooking the pasta on my Camp Chef burner. I mixed up inside and got ready for the oven at 5:00 to bake for an hour at 350 deg.

Everyone who wanted a salad made it up with some tomatoes and I brought the wings in at 6:10. The mac n cheese was done with a nice crust on top. I told all where the different wings were but forgot to tell the son to remember for a report. He said they were great but didn’t know which were which. My wife had the sweet mild ones. I thought the grandson would try the hot spicy ones since when we ate at the good Mexican place here in town he was putting Habanero red and green sauce on his tortilla chips; but he opted for the sweet ones.

I thought all 3 of the Blues Hog sauce were really good. The Honey Mustard was the best mustard based sauce I have had. I did like the Tennessee Red and the Original best and can’t wait to try them on ribs. For heat I would say the honey mustard was mild and the other two were close to medium.  I think their sauces have done well at BBQ comps and one placed first at the American Royal last year. I always do like wings with a good sauce and tossed with a 50-50 mix of melted butter and hot sauce. The DIL didn’t have any wings; she ate salad and mac n cheese.

I thought I had a pic of the mac n cheese out of the oven but all you get is on the plate. I thought it was one of my better mac n cheese dishes.

Click here for printable Mac n Cheese recipe

The sauces

Seasoned and sauces ready

An hour in, ready to sauce

Sauces added

About done

My supper

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Smash Burgers and Corn on the Cob

Jul 18 2015

It was another hot one today, 94 and 55% humidity. I did manage to get some of the weeds in my yard sprayed this AM before it got too hot. About 4:00 PM I thought maybe I would have to move this cook inside but the rain passed to the North and we just got a shower it did cool it off some.

I was hungry for a hamburger; I had buns and corn leftover to use from my prior cook. I love smash burgers on the back of grill grates in my Weber Spirit. I grilled up 4 for two minutes each side and had some Swiss slices to melt between and toasted the buns. I steamed some fresh corn on my Camp Chef burner.

To make smash burgers you need a stovetop griddle or a griddle for your gas grill. I use my Grill Grates which are anodized aluminum and have ribs for searing meat. They get hotter than the regular grill grates. The back side is smooth and I like using it for flat iron style cooking. I make the burgers with 80/20 ground beef; form loose balls a little smaller than a tennis ball. Spray the griddle or the meat with a little oil. I like to spray the meat and then place on the griddle. Use a spatula or a burger press to flatten the burgers as much as you can. I have my Weber heated on med. about 400 deg. and just takes about 2 minutes per side to get them nice and brown.

That tasted good; my wife and I both had two ears of corn along with the burger. We had some sliced tomatoes and lettuce on the burgers; my wife added a slice of dill pickle to hers too but then she has a bigger mouth than I do!

Burgers about done and buns on to toast

Cheese added

Steamed corn

My corn

My sandwich

That is good!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Chicago Style Beef, Fried Potatoes and Corn

Jul 17 2015

It was Hot and humid today, 89 deg. and 65% humidity. I already had my meat cooked and just had to slice and get all in the Crockpot. I was planning on steaming the corn on the cob and browning up some potatoes outdoors but that got moved inside.

I went to Sutters red wagon and got 6 ears of their fresh picked bi-color corn this morning. The wife and grandson went out for lunch and then to a movie. I sliced up the two rolls of flank steak I had cooked yesterday. I vacuum sealed all of one roll and part of the other. I got it sliced thin; it was rare and looked good.

I had about 2 pounds of the meat for my Chicago style beef and got all in the Crockpot about 1:00 PM. I waited until 3:00 to add the sliced peppers. It would be served on Ciabatta buns.

I steamed some small new potatoes then sliced and added butter and seasoning. I browned them up in a skillet at supper time. I had two ears of corn ready in the steamer and browned the potatoes. I had a yellow tomato from my garden sliced and topped with seasoning, Thai basil leaves, olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Instead of dipping the sandwiches in the Au Jus, which is traditional, I served it on the side to dip in. That tasted great; it had been a while since I made these. The flank steak; cooked to rare, sliced very thin and then slow cooked in the Crockpot was tender and a good taste.

Click here for printable beef recipe

The beef

Slicing thin

One roll sliced

Other roll sliced

Potatoes steamed, sliced and seasoned

Beef is ready to serve

My corn

My supper

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Flank Steaks for Sandwiches and One for Supper

Jul 16 2015

Last week end Brad from Beer & Wine Depot offered me a frozen pack of beef he thought was Round Tip Steaks. At $2.00 a pound I said sure. It weighed 5.75 pounds. When I got it thawed out there were 5 pieces and it looks like flank steak to me. I searched and there is a heel of round that looks like what they could be. It is one muscle though since there were thin membranes on both sides. Either way they should be cooked on a gas or charcoal grill. Brad said he did a pack and sliced it thin and it was tough but had good flavor.

I can’t handle grilling 5 flank steaks at one time so I decided to roll the 4 and save one for tonight’s supper on the grill. I sprinkled all with some Adolf’s tenderizer yesterday and placed in a covered Dutch oven and in the fridge. They were in about 12 hours when I poured a bottle of Italian dressing over and made sure all were covered then back in the fridge for about 10 more hours.

This morning I drained them in a colander and wiped some. I made two rolls from the four; tied with butchers twine. The rolls and the one for tonight went on a wire rack in a roaster pan and in the fridge about 10:00 AM. I cleaned up my Traeger and put new foil on the drip pan.

I heated up the smoker at 180 deg. and placed the two beef rolls on. I thought about searing them first but I just added some smoked paprika to the top for a little color. I did not want them to go past 132 deg. IT. After a half hour I started to ease up the temp until I had 250 deg. at grill level. At about an hour in I put a meat probe in the smaller one. It took about 1 ½ hours for the smaller one and another 10 minutes for the other one.

I tented them with foil and when cooled I wrapped good in plastic wrap and in the fridge. I will slice them up thin on my slicer in the morning. I am using some for Italian beef in the crockpot tomorrow and freeze the rest.

About two hours before cooking I added some salt to the one and back in the fridge. My side was a heart of romaine sliced in half and grilled then added a slice of tomato and some Champagne dressing.
I heated my Weber spirit to medium heat about 400 deg. I followed a Weber recipe that called for 8 minutes on each side for flank steak. Near the end I added the romaine and then some Ciabata buns with butter and garlic to toast. I let the steak rest for 5 minutes.

I sliced the steak on an angle and about as thin as I could and served. The wife and I both liked the steak but it was a little dry and tough. It was a good medium so 8 minutes was too long. A few pieces I got the thinnest were tender.

One of the steaks and the tenderizer

Tenderizer on all

Italian dressing added

Rolled and tied

Ready for the smoker

About done

Resting and cooling

I did up this bacon while the smoker was still
hot. I had sprinkled some of Savor's Super Pig
seasoning on it. I ate a few pieces and soon
after the wife got home it was all gone!

The steak for supper on the Weber Gas grill

Our salad and garlic bread

Ready to take in and serve

My supper