Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Shrimp Boil for Memorial Day & B-Day

May 30 2016

We celebrated Memorial Day and our son’s birthday today with a shrimp boil. Our daughter had come home for the week-end. Saturday I fixed cheeseburgers on the grill and some potato salad for her and the wife. Sunday night I did skirt steaks on the grill for Fajitas and made some roasted corn salsa. No pics, it was fun to just cook and enjoy.

I had 2 pounds of frozen Texas Gulf shrimp in the shell thawed. I bought some corn on the cob at the grocery I didn’t think would be too great; it always tastes better with fresh picked corn. The smoked sausage was from my butcher Kah Meats.

I added some cabbage wedges this time for the daughter in law; she is a veggie and not a shrimp lover. I fixed some bowls of garlic butter for dipping the shrimp. Loving butter this is a perfect meal; I had a little on my bread, a little on my potatoes and had to have some on the corn! Everyone thought it tasted great. Almost all was gone but a few shrimp. Our daughter in law made a great dessert. It was kind of a creamy peanut butter icing over some kind of chocolate cookies. 


The shrimp

Boiling and ready to add the corn


My first plate!

My Shrimp boil

1 to 2 lbs. good shell on shrimp
1 to 2 lbs. smoked sausage, sliced
1 to 2 lbs. new red potatoes, any bad spots removed
4 to 6 ears of corn; broken in pieces
Cabbage wedges (optional)
1 whole garlic bulb, top sliced off
1 to 2 medium onions, top sliced off.
1 to 2 lemon halves
1 Tbs. Zatarain’s liquid shrimp boil seasoning
1 Tbs. Old Bay seasoning
Hot sauce to taste, I like Cholula, about 2 teaspoons

A large pot with a strainer basket and enough water to cover all. Bring the pot of water with garlic, onions, lemons, Zatarain’s, Old Bay and hot sauce to a boil. Add in the potatoes, sausage and cabbage if using. Continue to boil for 20 to 25 minutes; I do a nice rolling boil. Add the corn and boil for 5 minutes; then add the shrimp and boil another 5 minutes. Lift the basket out and let drain then pour on a large platter or in the middle of the table. Serve with some good crusty bread and plenty of butter. We like some garlic butter to dip the shrimp. A wet cloth is also handy!

This is my basic recipe from over the years; using the larger amounts will feed at least 6 people.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Canadian Walleye Fillet

May 24 2016

I made a run to a Kroger’s store 7 miles away to get some shrimp for the week-end. I got 2 pounds of large frozen gulf shrimp shell on for a shrimp boil. Besides Memorial Day May 30th is our son’s birthday.
I was going to mow so looked for something to do quickly on the grill for supper.

I saw this nice Canadian wild caught walleye fillet marked down; it had started at $15.99 a pound! I don’t usually buy packaged fish near the end of the use by date but thought it might be good. It was just the right size for the wife and me.

When I opened it, it didn’t smell bad. I pulled what pin bones I could find out and got it in to marinade for 3 hours. I used about half balsamic vinegar infused with honey, and soy sauce, some roasted garlic, lime juice and a little olive oil. I ended up with about ¾ cup. I put the fish in a plastic bag, added the marinade and in the fridge. I turned it half way through.

I nuked 4 small yellow potatoes in the microwave, sliced them up, some onion and had some orange pepper strips thawed. They went in my wire basket with butter and seasoning pored over. My wife made up some salads for us. Our grandson had his last day of school today and was here playing with neighbor kids. He wanted to know if he could stay for supper. I and the wife’s portion of fish just got smaller!

I heated my Weber up on medium 350 to 400 deg. I put the potatoes on for about 10 minutes and then did the fish on the back of grill grates skin side down; it was on about 15 minutes and flipped half way.

It looked like blackened fish but that was from the honey in the vinegar. Tasted great, fish was mild and done just right.

The walleye

Skin side

On the grill

My salad

My supper

Monday, May 23, 2016

Smoked & Braised Black Porter Beef

May 22 2016

My wife is in the Little Sister program at school. She goes twice a month to eat lunch with a 6th grader. For the end of the year they had a bus trip to see a minor league ball game so she was gone most of the day.

I had bought a chuck roast, just less than 3 pounds and wanted to do it today. I had done one this winter using black porter beer in the Crockpot that was good. I decided I would smoke it for 2 hours then sear it in a CI skillet and then in a Crockpot to braise all afternoon in the beer.

Last night I placed the roast on a rack and coated both sides with kosher salt. It was in the fridge just over 8 hours for a little dry cure. This morning I added some ground coffee and ground black pepper to both sides. It went on my Traeger at 190 deg. for two hours of smoke.

I had to cut the small piece off to get it in the skillet and seared both pieces in a little grape seed oil 3 minutes per side. I let it rest while I used the skillet to sauté some onions and garlic.

I coarsely chopped 2 ½ med. sized Vidalia onions and 4 cloves of minced garlic. They went in the skillet with a pat of butter, salt and pepper and cooked until the onions were just getting a little brown. I then added just enough of the beer to deglaze the skillet and then poured all into a Crockpot. I placed the roast on top; I just had enough room for one layer after cutting the small piece in half.

I added my Deschutse Black Porter to come near the top of the roast. It was on high about 45 minutes and then went to low for 6 hours. I skimmed off most of the fat then I removed the meat and was so tender had to use a spatula. I removed most of the fat, did a coarse chop and back into the pot and turned it to high while I made a side.

As is this would make a great French dip served on a crusty roll. I had some COWB, cheap ole white buns, on hand so that’s what I used for my sandwich. I had some Fiesta lime corn left for a side. I first coated my bun with some olive oil and toasted in the skillet. Then I diced a slice of bacon some onions and green peppers. When the bacon was getting brown I added the onions and pepper and then the corn and fried for a while.

I had a big scoop of the beef on my sandwich with some mustard and the corn on the side. That was a mighty good sandwich! I think the coffee did add to the flavor.

When my wife got home she was still a little hungry so she had a small bowl of the beef and what corn was left. I asked what she thought of the beef and she said great flavor!

Salted for 8 hr. dry cure

Coffee & pepper added

2 hrs. of smoke

Searing the beef

Sauteeing the onions & garlic

All in the pot

Beef removed to chop

Ready to serve

Frying the corn

My supper

Friday, May 20, 2016

Smoked Kraut Brats & Pierogies

May 20 2016

I took the car through the car wash this morning and stopped at Sandman’s for some beer. He gave me a couple of ribs to try he had done on the PBC. That was my lunch and sure was good. It’s a different smoke flavor than I get on any of my cookers and enjoyed them.

After lunch I went and picked up some flowers to plant. I got my wife set up and she planted them for me. I went and took a nap!

My supper would be an easy cook; kraut brats and pierogies. I had found a recipe for grilled pierogies and wanted to try it. The brats were from my butcher and the pierogies were Mrs. T’s four cheese and mashed potatoes. I would rather have some homemade ones but Mrs. T’s are pretty good and I don’t do dough well.

My plan was to smoke the brats for an hour on my Traeger then do the pierogies on my Weber Gas grill and finish the brats on it too.  Some rain moving in from the south made me change to just using my Traeger. The brats went on the Traeger at 190 deg. for an hour.

For the pierogies; I did them without thawing, a large sliced Vidalia onion, poured some olive oil over. They went in my weber grill basket after the brats were on an hour. I went to 300 deg. and was getting about 350 deg. grill level.

I melted 3 Tbs. of butter, a large teaspoon of dried parsley flakes and added some salt and pepper. After the pierogies had been on 20 minutes I poured the butter mix over and stirred to coat. I checked the brats and they were done so I put them on top of the pierogies and all was on another 20 minutes stirring half way.

We had toasted English muffins and some cold artisan sauerkraut with them. I had mixed equal parts of stone ground mustard and mayo along with some good shakes of Cholula hot sauce mixed to have with my brat.

This was quick and easy and pretty good. I still want to try grilled pierogies but will use the Traeger for something quick. I think the next time I would thaw the pierogies in hot water for the smoker and might get some better browning like I get when doing in a skillet. Total cook time was an hour 40 minutes and there was very little prep.

The simple ingredients

On the smoker & about done

My supper

Pellet Smoker Fried Chicken

May 19 2016

Recently on LTBBQ forum member Scally posted about using baking powder to help crisp up chicken skin. I thought we had tried that and searched; 3 years ago Smoke did some and posted the recipe. I found the post where I had tried it and I said I liked it but I haven’t tried it since!

With renewed interest I decided to try it again. I had also read to marinate chicken in vodka to get crispy skin. I decided to give that a try too. I had a split friar so washed and trimmed it some and into a zip lock bag with a cup of Pinnacle vodka overnight in the fridge and turning it some.

It had been in over 12 hours so I took it out and placed on a rack in a pan and back in the fridge for several hours to air dry. I fried up some diced bacon to make our favorite pea salad for a side. I cheated and used some Bob Even’s mac n cheese for our other side.

I cut up the chicken, dipped in the egg, buttermilk mix and then the seasoned flour with the baking powder. I had a foil pan that I melted a Tbs. of bacon grease and a Tbs. of butter and added. The chicken went in skin side down and then in the fridge about 2 hours before cooking.

I heated my Traeger up to where I was running 375 to 380 at grill level temp. The pan of chicken went in for 30 minutes then turned the chicken and went to about 340 deg. grill level for another 30 minutes. I checked with my thermopen and all was getting to temp with 10 minutes to go. I went inside and got ready to serve and heated the mac n cheese in the microwave.

I let the chicken set a couple minutes then served the wife a breast and the sides. I had a leg, a thigh and a wing that had some of the wishbone meat. It all was good the chicken was moist and tender. The skin was kinda crisp and was eatable. My wife and I both thought we tasted something a little different. I think it was the vodka. Vodka is supposed to be tasteless but the Pinnacle vodka made from wheat does have a distinct taste to me. Next time I will drink the vodka and do a simple salt brine!

To be honest after over 40 years cooking chicken on gas grills and 3 different types of smokers I have never achieved crisp skin like you get when deep fried or skillet fried. When I want good crispy skin I go to Sandman’s carry out and get his broasted chicken!

Click Here for printable chicken recipe
Click Here for pea salad recipe

Bacon for pea salad

All in for the pea salad

Chicken ready for the smoker

Chicken done and resting

My supper

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Salmon Cakes, Potatoes and Lime Corn

May 17 2016

Another cook I moved inside because of rain. Turned out I probably would have been ok but I am a little lazier in my old age. I like to get the cook over and the grill cooled down and covered when I am done.

Nothing great here but some may like the salmon cake recipe or something to work with. My wife gets the canned Atlantic salmon at Sam’s Club. I like to use two 7 oz. cans but only had one so did with it. One can was just enough for 2 cakes.  Two cans will give you 3 nice cakes. Following was my recipe.

1 7oz. can of good salmon
1 egg
2 Tbs. small dice sweet red pepper
2 Tbs. snipped fresh chives
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup Panko bread crumbs, or cracker crumbs
2 Tbs. chive butter for topping
Use 2 cans of salmon and double the recipe for 3 larger salmon cakes.

I made up the salmon cakes a couple hours before cooking, covered and in the fridge to help set up.
I melted 2 Tbs. of butter and added some snipped fresh chives for on top of the cakes.

My sides were some fried canned new potatoes and some Birds Eye frozen fiesta lime corn. I started by nuking the corn some and then into a saucepan with 2 Tbs. of butter and some garlic herb salt to heat up. I then heated my CS skillet with a little olive oil and butter to fry the potatoes.

After the potatoes had been on about 10 minutes I heated my CI skillet with some olive oil and butter to fry the salmon cakes. I fried the salmon cakes about 5 minutes per side and added the chive butter to melt some before serving.

A pretty tasty supper and the wife said the salmon cakes were good.


Salmon flaked

Cakes made

Cakes with chive butter

The lime corn

Potatoes are ready

My supper

Monday, May 16, 2016

Italian Sausage Burgers, Grilled Romaine & Fries

My 15 2016

Tonight’s supper was moved inside due to cold weather! It didn’t frost but I am sure it will tonight; I have my tomato plants covered.

Yesterday I mixed a pound of fresh sausage with a tablespoon of Penzey’s Italian sausage seasoning to sit in the fridge overnight. At noon today I made up 3 patties and back in the fridge.

I had some Cape Treasures balsamic vinegar infused with Rooibos and Honey that my wife’s cousin had brought me from South Africa. I had no idea what Rooibos was so looked it up. It’s of the legume family and used a lot to make tea in South Africa. I used it to make a dressing for our grilled Romaine. I used ¼ cup of the vinegar, ¼ cup of olive oil, a clove of garlic diced small and a little salt. It turned out delicious.

I did the sausage burgers in my CI skillet; I added some crushed red pepper to my patty. I was doing some Alexia brand rosemary and sea salt frozen fries in a 400 deg. oven and had set my CI griddle in to heat up.

I kept track of the sausage temps with my Thermopen since they were thick.  When they were done I topped with a slice of provolone cheese; covered with a lid and set off the burner. I pulled the griddle out and set on the burner and grilled the Romine lettuce about 3 minutes. I toasted English muffins for our buns.

Our daughter in law and grandson was at her parents so our son came and ate with us. We both had Maille Dijon mustard and onion on our sandwich the wife had mustard and dill pickle on hers. We all thought the sausage burgers were good. The son did not want his Romaine grill and had other dressing. The wife and me loved the balsamic dressing .

Cooking the sausage

Provolone added

Romaine on the griddle

My salad

My supper

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chicken & Sugo Marinara over Spaghetti

May 14 2016

My grandson tilled, by hand, my little 8X10 garden Friday and I planted 9 tomato plants. I thought frost was over with lows of 39 for the week-end. Then it changed to a low of 35 and possible frost. I covered them with buckets for the night.

The cold weather has dampened my cooking out plans too; it was a cold 50 today. I was going to use the gas grill for tonight’s supper but decided to do it inside and keep warm!

I had a frozen chicken breast thawed; almost a pound and just right for the wife and me. I had some Ilvento’s Sugo Marinara sauce to use and would have it over spaghetti. We would have a simple Romaine heart salad and a toasted English muffin with butter and Penzey’s Sandwich sprinkle, which is a garlic herb seasoning.

I pounded out the chicken breast so it was equal thickness and cut into 3 pieces. I wet with some red wine vinegar and seasoned with the Penzey’s Sandwich sprinkle. I covered and it went in the fridge for
1 ½ hours before cooking.

I diced a small sweet onion, 2 cloves of garlic and about 5 oz. of baby bella mushrooms. I heated up my CI skillet with some grape seed oil on med. high and browned the breasts for 4 minute son each side and removed from the pan.

I sautéed the onions and garlic and then added some beer to deglaze the pan. You could use water instead of beer but just enough to deglaze with. I added in the mushrooms and let them cook down some. I then added the chicken and poured the sauce over. I covered the skillet and turned the heat down to med. low and let simmer while I got the pasta ready to cook. It cooked with lid on 20 minutes then lid off for another 15 minutes.

I got the spaghetti cooked, drained and then back in the pot with two Tbs. of butter. I toasted the muffins and then served, pasta then covered with sauce, a chicken piece, and topped with some grated parmesan and Romano cheese.

The wife and I thought this was extra good; the chicken was tender and moist. I thought the sauce was the best marinara I ever had, bought or any I have made.

Not sure what makes it sugo marinara but a couple places said it was Sicilian red sauce. The Ilvento’s is the last of 4 jars of their different sauces my wife bought me for Christmas. I can’t buy it around here. Here is the list of ingredients; Tomatoes, Basil, Garlic, Parsley, Oregano, Crushed Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Salt, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. There was a recipe at Epicurious.com that I think might be close so I will try to make my own.

Some ingredients

Browning the chicken

Sauteeing the onions

Deglazing the skillet

Mushrooms added

Chicken and sauce added

Done and ready to serve

My salad

My supper