June 8th, 2011
The last couple of times my wife and I have gone out to eat, one of us has gotten lamb chops. Lucky for us the chef knew what he was doing.
Having recently tasted greatness, I thought I would give it a try.
5-6lb boneless leg of lamb butterflied
5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of minced garlic
2 to 3 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 to 3 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp kosher or coarse sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
To make the paste, put 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a small frying pan and brown the garlic. After the garlic is browned, add it to a non-reactive bowl and mix with the remaining oil, rosemary, mint, vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Roll-out the lamb and cover the inside with half of the paste. Roll the lamb back up and tie with 4 to 6 butcher strings. Tie one end of the leg and move 3 inches and tie until you reach the other end of the leg.
Sear each side of the lamb over direct heat. 3 to 5 minutes per side. Then put the leg over indirect heat at 350 for about an hour.
May 10th, 2011
No introduction will do it service. Bacon is just plain ol’ yummy to my tummy. There is no bad way to prepare it. The most popular is probably in a frying pan. I know several folks who like to bake it in the oven, as well. But have you ever tried to grill it?
Set your grill up for indirect grilling, aim to get the temperature to around 350F. Once the grill is set, lay the bacon slices (thick sliced is preferred) perpendicular to the grates. There is a greater chance of them falling to the coals if you lay them parallel. Grill the strips for about 25 minutes. Remember, time will vary for temperatrue and your likeness of bacon crispness.
Adding a handful of smoking chips will give additional flavor.
April 19th, 2011
Have you ever been here? “It’s 5:45pm, nothing is defrosted and you and your significant other are not only not home, but not together.” So, what’s for dinner? You can go out, but if you have little ones this time of day can be risky. You can pick something up, but that can be costly and isn’t always a time-saver. Then there is plan C, save some dough and throw dinner on the grill.
Tonight we started with plan B but the grocery store was sold out of rotisserie chicken (popular meal on a Monday night), so on to plan C. My lovely, rock star, working mom bride was already at the grocery store, (remember the chicken) when she called to inquire about what was the quickest thing to grill. The first thing came to my mind was hot dogs. When I got home, I lit the gas grill and got a pot out for baked beans. My better half walked in the door at 6:30 and we had dinner (grilled hot dogs, baked beans and steamed broccoli) served in about 15 minutes.
All this would have been the price of just the chicken, no sides. It was faster than pizza which would have taken a minimum of 30 minutes to arrive. I’m not saying this was the most healthy dinner (we did use whole wheat buns) but it was quick and inexpensive.
Every time you light the grill, a masterpiece does not need to be produced. But I did smile when I heard, “Daddy, you make the best hot dogs.” So an easy dinner to one, is a Mona Lisa to another.
Sorry about last week, I hurt my knee playing basketball. Shoes are hanging for a while.
April 5th, 2011
For those you do not know, grill marks are the char lines on grilled food. You obtain grill marks by placing the raw food onto an extremely hot grill grate. For some, it is the true sign of a skilled grill master. For others it is one less thing to stress about. I am more of the latter; I’m too cheap and time is money.
When I achieve marks I might crack a smile and give myself the tiniest pat on the back, because let’s be honest they’re cool and impressive. But the marks don’t make the food taste any better. On some foods, they can actually take away from your desired flavor.
So how do you get them? Heat and time. The easiest thing to advise is to set your grill up at least 10 minutes sooner. This extra time will allow your grates to get hotter. For gas grills set up is the same, but for charcoal I would use 25%-50% more coals.
Do I aim for grill marks? Only when I want to impress, but I usually use indirect grilling for those occasions.
March 29th, 2011
We had some very important house guests this weekend and I really wanted to show off. I thought about my veggie burger (yes I really do have a veggie burger), but we didn’t have all the ingredients. We did have a pork tenderloin in the freezer so out it came.
One guest had the pleasure of sampling my pork mojo previously, so I wanted to do something different. So I looked through my grill books and found a recipe and modified it. Basically changed the rub, grilling temp and added some smoke.
Set your grill up for direct grilling and a handful of mesquite and hickory chips.
4 tsp of fennel seed
1 tsp of kosher salt
1 tsp of black pepper
1 package of pork tenderloin. There is normally two per package. Weight of package is normally around 3 pounds.
Toast the fennel seeds in a small pan. Don’t forget to prep the pan with non-stick spray. After toasting the seeds, about 2 to 5 minutes, move them seeds to a bowl and add the salt and pepper. Mix the seeds, salt, and pepper. I laid some wax paper onto the counter and spread the rub over, but you can leave it in the bowl.
Rinse the pork under cold water and pat dry. Remove silvery skin from the tenderloins. Slice the tenderloins, crossways, into 1 to 1.5 inch slices. Now press each side of the sliced pork onto the rub and lay on a platter. Then wrap each piece with bacon.
Before putting the pork on the grill throw the drained wood chips onto the coals or set up your smoker box. Place the slices over the high heat end and cover the grill. Watch for flare ups. After 6 minutes flip pork with tongs and cover grill. After 6 more minutes check temp. USDA says 160°F is safe for pork. To brown the bacon you can turn each slice on its side. Again watch for flare ups.
March 22nd, 2011
As I have said in previous posts, burgers may be my favorite thing to grill. I remember an afternoon with friends and one (on his soap box), exclaimed that I didn’t know what I was doing. I can take criticism (kinda), so asked him to please explain. He proceeded to go on a tangent about only flipping burgers once. “Let the meat cook all the way through, then flip.” Sounds good, but that’s not how we do it here.
I flip my burgers an average of 3 times. Let’s say it takes 8 minutes to grill a beef patty to 160°F. My first flip is typically after 2 minutes. This is to make sure the bottoms are not burning and see which ones are cooking faster. The second flip is about four minutes later, time to get back to the other side. Third flip is because cheese melts faster on the hot side.
There is no one way to grill a burger. Main thing is to have fun with it. Flip 10 times if you like or not at all. I like to think my method keeps more juices inside the burger, but I have no scientific evidence.
I cannot recall specifics, but I do believe my friend got at least 2 burgers that night. Must have not been too bad, I guess.
Always Grill Your Way.
March 15th, 2011
Last week I talked about the basics of fish baskets for grilling seafood. Now let’s talk specifics and cook dinner.
Set your grill up for direct grilling over high heat, making sure you leave a bit of cool space off to one of your sides.
Take a fresh or fully thawed salmon fillet (I prefer wild caught), rinse under cold water and then pat dry with a paper towel. Now season it with your favorite seasoning. Last time I grilled salmon I used salt and pepper and a seasoning mix I got as a gift. Old Bay is popular in my neck of the woods, as are dill and rosemary. Salmon is a blank slate, there are not too many spices that would not match well with it.
Spray your grill basket with non-stick spray and then, skin or scale down, lay your fillet on the bottom rack of the basket. Then place the top rack on top of the fish, ie, close the basket.
Once your grill is hot put the basket on the grill skin side down. After 3 minutes, with your leather gloves on, turn the basket. After another 3 minutes turn the basket back over and put it over the cool side or safe zone of the grill. Cover with the grill with the lid best you can for another 3-4 minutes. Then remove the salmon from the grill and let it rest. After the basket cools you can remove your gloves and serve.
Remember, times vary on temperature of grill and size of the fillet.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
March 8th, 2011
It’s the first Monday in March and I said I would start my weekly posting in March. So at least I achieved this goal, adding new features to the website was not so successful. But let’s focus on the positives. My family is healthy, I got new grill covers for Christmas and I have a job that pays. Life is good.
Fish and seafood seem to be on every “healthy diet” list out there. I’m not a dietician or a nutrition specialist. But I can tell you grilling seafood over the open flame is really good for your taste buds.
Usually grilling times for fish and seafood are shorter than for other meats. So if you are in a hurry it’s a good option, but be careful. Some fish are hard to flip, and for most fish I would not flip more than once or even at all.There are some special tools you can have to help flip, the fish spatula and fish basket.
I prefer the latter for several reasons, but the main reason covers all them. I think it is easier to use. The meat is in a container. If the grill gets to hot, you can quickly move it out of harm’s way. Flipping is really simple, turn the basket over. Getting on and off the grill is a cinch. (Remember your leather gloves when taking any items off the grill. Those items are hot. Trust me.)
Next week I will give you something to grill in your fish basket. Thanks coming back and remember comments are always welcomed.
February 1st, 2011
Where did January go? I guess I could include December in that also.
For the first post of 2011, let’s kick things off with a discussion about a mistake I made last week.
On the menu for a Saturday night dinner party with friends was smoked beef brisket, grilled mac-n-cheese, and drumsticks for the little ones.
I smoked the brisket for seven hours, using a combination of hickory and mesquite, while carefully keeping my temp nice and low around 225°F. After pulling the meat from the grates, I let it rest for at least 15 minutes. While slicing and admiring a gorgeous smoke ring, guest and I start sampling. I start thinking that this might be my best brisket ever. Then all of the sudden it hit me, the chicken legs.
Charcoal is out so on to the gas grill they go. A couple of turns and 20 minutes later, we sit down to eat. By the time it’s served, the brisket is getting dry. I actually suggest (and break my own heart a tiny bit) adding a bit of Fryer’s sauce (local to NC) to a guest.
How could I have prevented this? First, I could have grilled the chicken when originally planned. And second, put the meat back into the au jus and recovered with aluminumx foil.
End of the world? No. But this little tip will save on the sauce.
November 19th, 2010
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and after traveling off and on for two weeks, life is starting to get back to normal. Before I share how to impress your Thanksgiving guests, I want to talk about future posts. This will be my only November entry and I will try to get two up before Christmas. My plan is to have one in January another in February, too. I will get back on the regular schedule starting in March. During this break, I will stay busy creating new recipes and adding more features to the site. If you have any suggestions, please send me an email.
Last Thanksgiving I was itching to grill. As good as fried or oven-roasted is, nothing compares to a smoked turkey. I came up with a basic brine recipe, read the earlier post. I also challenged myself with a sweet potato pie. I’ve been holding on to this recipe for about a year now and guess what? I lost it. But I still have the picture and sweet memories.
My suggestion, find a sweet potato pie recipe you like. Follow the instructions through the preparation. Now instead of using the oven, use your grill with indirect method. My recipe called for chopped toasted pecans, so pecan wood should be a good smoking wood to add a extra flavor.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving.