Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bacon & Fried Cheese Tacos

Yes, it does look as delicious as it sounds!  Just came across this brilliant idea and wanted to share:


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Father's Day Gift.........

....to myself.

Let me start by saying that I'm not a huge scotch drinker.  I prefer the bourbon.
But recently I was introduced to a scotch that left an impression on me.  So much so that when I finally found this brand at a liquor store, I broke down and bought a bottle.
I'm not into really smokey scotch's.  You know, the kind that tastes like it was filtered through a chimney and it seems that the majority of scotch's that I have sampled always followed this pattern.  Now I will be the first to admit that I don't know a lot about scotch and I haven't sampled many of the hundreds of different brands out there, mainly because of the price tag but I do know when I like something.  I like this.  Allow me to introduce you to Edradour.

First a little history. (from wikipedia)
Edradour is a Highland single malt whisky made in Pitlochry, Perthshire, from the distillery of the same name, which is reputed to be the smallest in Scotland.  Established in 1825, the distillery is run by three men. Only twelve casks are produced each week.  This is then laid down to mature for at least 10 years until the whisky reaches the peak quality.  The stills are the smallest in use of any distillery in Scotland. Were they any smaller, they would be deemed by HM Revenue and Customs to be portable, with the implicit capacity for illegal production.  A variety of whiskies are available from the distillery. Most are chill-filtered, a process by which the esters and oils are removed, producing a cleaner look to the whisky, which when chilled or has ice added to it does not turn cloudy.

If you want to know more about the distilling process, checkout their website:

For this single malt scotch I prefer to drink it neat, no ice.  And because everyones' palate is different, all I will say is that it has a slight nutty and honey flavor with just a hint of smoke to go with with its wonderful golden hue.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a bottle.......if you can find one.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Drunken Beer Can Chicken

The weather here in Georgia this past Saturday was beautiful.  Sunny, a high of 79, nice breeze.  A perfect day for firing up the grill and making beer can chicken. 
It's one of those recipes that only a drunkard could have come up with.  Hey, I resemble that remark!
Time to make the rub.
One teaspoon of brown sugar, dry mustard, chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  Take this mixture and rub it all over the ins and outs of the chicken.  Don't forget to get under the skin too.
Let the bird rest for about ten minutes.
Now would be a good time to get your grill started.  We're looking for a temp of 375.  Once this is established it's time to locate that chicken stand you've stashed away somewhere, dust it off and shove it in the bird.  If you don't have one I would recommend this:  Rosle Chicken Roaster
Now you need to select the beer you want to use to steam the inside of the chicken.  If you search the web you'll find lots of opinions on the the beer you should use.  Personally, I use the cheap stuff and nothing beats an ice cold PBR.  You don't even have to use beer.  Use apple juice or maybe even some dark rum.  It all depends on your preference.
If you decide to use beer then follow these instructions to the letter.  This is very important.  After you've made your selection, be sure to drink half of it.  No sense in wasting an entirely good beer.
Now that that's been established it's time to put the bird on the grill.

For the first twenty minutes you'll want to periodically baste the bird.  I use a spray bottle with equal parts bourbon, apple cider vinegar and balsamic.  Again, choose whatever flavors you're preferable to and then use this mixture to liberally spray down the chicken.  After doing this for about twenty minutes it's time to set your timer for an hour and now go to the fridge and open another beer, kick back and relax.  Periodically spray the chicken down with your special basting mixture.
By now you're probably passed out from drinking all of that beer in the past hour and your timer should be waking you up.  Grab you trusty meat thermometer and check the thigh of the bird to see if the temp has reached at least 170 degrees.  

If so, you're finished!  Take the bird inside and let it rest for ten minutes.  Slice and serve.  Tastes great, less filling.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Birthday Party From Hell

This past Sunday we hosted a birthday party for my now 4 year old and while planning the event before the big day I thought, "Hey. Let's bake some pizzas on the Big Green Egg!".  I would soon find myself regretting the idea.
After several full days of getting the backyard in order: putting up pop-up tents, gathering enough outdoor chairs, grocery shopping and procuring liquid refreshment, the big day arrived.  I had it all planned out. The guests were scheduled to arrive at 1pm so the grill would have to be lit no later than 12:30 to get the temp up to 600.  But....guests began arriving at noon!!  And to my horror, I realized that I had run out of charcoal starters!  It's not like you can run out to the closest grocery store and pick these things up.  The starters that Publix, Kroger, (insert your grocery chain here), sell contain chemicals that Big Green Egg says you must stay away from as those chemicals could seep into the ceramic.  
So now what????  I've got thirty hungry kids and twenty adult appetites to fill!  Luckily I remembered that I still had my trusty canister charcoal starter that I used during my pre Egg days.  I stuffed some paper in the bottom, filled the top with lump coal and voila!  In a few minutes it was ready to go and I dumped the red hot coals into the fire box of the Egg.  Now it was time to put the plate setter, legs up, in the grill.  Whoops!  The darn thing slipped out of my hand, hit the grill and cracked right in half.  
Crap!!!!  Now what???
You can't bake pizzas without this thing.  You need something to block the direct flames/heat from the coals in order to bake a pizza.  So I dive into my plethora of Eggccessories.  Someone was kind enough to buy me a pair of grill mitts for Christmas last year.  I never thought I would use them but I sure was thanking God for these puppies now.  After some finagling, I was able to get the broken pieces of the plate setter to rest against each other.  Thank goodness!
Once the temp was at the ideal 600 it was time to make the pizzas.  It's a good thing these things only take six minutes to bake.  Once you get going they just fly off the grill.  I think I ended up baking something like fifteen pizzas.  It was all such a blur that I honestly lost count.  Everyone enjoyed the food and many commented on it being the best pizza they had ever had.

I'm not quite sure who to declare the winner on this one.  The grill was a difficult foe this round but I was still able to turn out some tasty food.  I'd have to say it was a tie.

Man 1 - Grill 1

I have to say that my old, neglected, canister charcoal starter really saved the day and I would recommend to anyone who likes to grill should have one of these in their arsenal.
Pick one up here:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pizza Peel Review

I love baking pizzas on the Big Green Egg.  It's become a family friday mainstay.  The problem though has been getting the darn thing in and out of the grill.  So last week I went around town searching for a pizza peel and found two that were well priced and well made.

Whenever I go to a brick oven pizza place I notice that the guys making the pies always use wooden pizza peels which makes sense as the dough is less likely to stick then it would to another material such as metal.  But why hate on metal?  Wouldn't enough flour keep the dough form sticking?  So I figured, "Hell.  Let's break from the norm. Let's give metal a chance."  

The wooden peel that I purchased is from a company called Ironwood Gourmet.  It looks great.  It's got a nice, wide surface area with a 14inch diameter and is 1/4 inch thick.  I paid $18 for it.
The metal peel has a smaller surface area at 11inches and is only 2/16 of an inch thick and has a nice long handle.  I picked this up at a restaurant supply store for only $10. (If you're interested in the manufacturer I will look it up)

After getting them home and cooking some pizzas I made a few surprising discoveries.  To the notes!
To begin, I used the same amount of flour before putting the dough on and neither of the peels seemed to be stickier than the other.  Metal does not seem to make a difference as long as you place enough flour on the surface area.
The size of the handle (keep your jokes to yourself) does not really matter.  The one difference I really liked was the round handle of the metal peel over the squared handle of the wooden peel (Which I found is common to wooden peels).
The other thing I really liked about the metal peel is that the peel itself is super thin.  Anyone who has a BGE knows that when you're trying to get a pizza on the pizza stone it's like trying to land a plane on an island that's the same size as the plane itself.  And if you fall off you don't drown but get dragged into scorching hot magma.
The thinness of the metal peel made it much easier to slide the pizza on the stone and for getting the pizza off the stone.  With the wooden peel being 1/4 inch thick, you need another tool to lift up an end of the pizza just to get the darn peel under it.  There were a couple of times that I started to push the main course into the fire.
So there you have it.  Make a dash to your local restaurant supply store and grab one or follow the link below.  It will make baking pizzas a breeze.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Apple Pie Time

Pie?  On a grill?
Craziest thing you've heard right?  I had read about eggheads baking on the egg and since the pizzas I cooked demanded a temp of 600 degrees, I figured why let all of that heat go to waste.  I let the temp come down to 400 by almost completely closing the vents.
I removed the pizza stone (while wearing an oven mitt of course) and placed the pyrex dish of goodness on the cooking grid.
Fifty minutes later......voila!

In the future I probably wouldn't fire up the egg just to bake a pie but since it was already preheated it made sense.

Man 1 - Grill 0

Pizza Pizza

So I've grilled some wings, pork tenderloin with a cayenne and coffee dry rub (That was awesome!  Will definitely do that again and cover it in this blog.) and I've grilled a whole chicken.  
So the in-laws came over this past weekend and I decided I was going to bake some pizzas.  I had heard that the egg is essentially, with a few eggcessories, a brick oven.  All you need is a place setter and a baking stone.  
Despite the rain I began to fill the egg up with natural lump charcoal until it reached the top of the firebox.  We need this baby to get up to 600 degrees.  After about 7 minutes and the coals are lit, place your place setter, legs up on the fire ring. (the place setter that BGE sells is great for this but there are other ways to create a firewall).  This will provide the barrier you will need for indirect cooking.  Without it, your pizza will resemble the charcoal at the bottom of your grill.  Once the place setter is in place lay the cooking grid on top and then a baking or pizza stone on top of that.
Now close the lid and leave the draft door completely open.  Since we are trying to achieve a high temp there is no need to have the daisy wheel on.  (If you prefer to leave it on, just open it all the way.)
Note that it may take some time for the egg to reach its desired temp with all of this "stuff" in there.  
Since you're waiting to get to 600 degrees this is the perfect time to prep your pizza.

Spare time is not a luxury that I have so we purchased some pre made pizza dough from Whole Foods.  Maybe one day I can make my own :(
I used just a tiny bit of tomato sauce and then some fresh basil, sliced tomatoes and fresh buffalo mozzarella. 

By now you should have a temperature around 600 degrees.  Sprinkle a little corn meal on the pizza stone.  This will help keep the dough from sticking to the stone. and then slide that sucker into the egg.  I picked up a wooden paddle that works great for transferring the pizza to and from the egg) and about 6-8 minutes later it should be done.
It was like magic when I lifted the lid and saw this delicious looking pizza sitting my in my egg.

We all agreed that it was one of the best pizzas we've ever eaten.  No need to order out ever again and now my father-in-law wants an egg.

Man 1 - Grill 0