A few weeks ago we tried David Chang’s marinade for steaks and it turned out incredible. So we thought why not try it out on something else. We’ve loved smoking pork butts so we figured that was a good way to go about it. We sliced the meat into three separate pieces for more surface area and let them marinade overnight.
We put them on our Big Chief smoker in the morning and let them go for about five hours. They got some crazy smoke and you can see the great bark that was created on the meat. After the smoker we put them in a braise and finished them off in the oven. The braise was a combination of water, diced apples, soy sauce, and some mirin all cooked down then combined with the pork.
After about 4 hours the meat was ready. It was at that perfect point where it’s not falling apart, but can be shredded very easily. We decided to create some pulled pork tacos and topped the meat with shredded cabbage mixed with a touch of lemon juice. For a side we had nice rice bowl blend with black beans, corn, and a few seasonings.
This meal had some strong flavor profiles so we knew we needed a strong wine that wouldn’t be over powered. Doing pork this way seemed pretty new and interesting to us so we figured a different and interesting wine was a perfect fit. When you think of Spain I know I certainly don’t think of Cabernet just like I don’t think of Asian flavors when I hear pulled pork. So this Spanish Cabernet fit right in with some bold flavors led by a combination of black cherry and lots of tannins.
Most people spend their Black Friday out shopping or sleeping off Thanksgiving dinner. We took a little different approach. We’ve had this idea to combine a couple of our recipes into a pizza and used the day off work to try it out
Over the summer we came up with a great way to cook sausages in red wine and sautéed onions. We also love putting red wine along with home made pesto, oregano, and a touch of olive oil into tomato sauce for either pasta or pizza sauce. We combined the two and made up a sausage pizza. Used the red wine from the sauté in the sauce and the sausages and onions for toppings.
We made up our own dough using a very basic dough recipe but threw in some sun-dried tomato flakes. For cheese we went with a two layer approach. The first was a light layer of parmesan to give a little bite, then a thicker layer of mozzarella to balance it out.
Since this pizza had some very strong flavors we had to find a wine strong enough to balance out the meal. A cabernet might have been a little too bold so we decided to try a Greg Norman pinot noir. This had a great mixture of fruit and oak, neither too much. The wine seemed to combine a variety of flavors very well, just like this pizza.
Got a great Asian steak marinade idea from David Chang in his “The Mind of a Chef” series and decided to give it a shot. To make it we combined soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, cracked black pepper, apple juice, and diced garlic. Instead of using it for a traditional steak, like a new york strip or a ribeye, we went with london broils. These steaks don’t naturally have as much flavor and take marinades very well. We marinaded them for about 8 hours before searing them over direct high heat on the grill. Once the steaks were finished on the grill we let them rest for quite awhile, about 10 minutes. This really let the juices redistribute throughout the meat, which was especially important in this case.
To keep with the Asian theme we made traditional rice noodles as a side. They were cooked thoroughly in just water. Then we sautéed chopped garlic and pea pods. Once the all three were done we combined them and drizzled soy sauce over the top. This turned out to be a very flavorful side and rather easy side dish. The pea pods surprised me in that they weren’t bland at all and had good flavor on their own. So combined in this dish, they were killer.
This meal had some serious flavors going on that could over power many wines. Because of this we paired it stronger cabernet that could hold it’s own. This 2011 from Beaulieu Vineyards in California certainly lived up with good fruit and a touch of oak flavors.
Fall doesn’t just mean that the leaves are changing color around here. Trout fishing heats up and I had to take advantage of it the other morning. Conditions couldn’t have been better. Water was like glass and just little chill in the air. Got one nice one and decided to save him for a great meal that night.
Couldn’t get out and grill fish like we usually do, so I went with the next best option and baked it. Drizzled some olive oil, sprinkled kosher salt and ground black pepper, and covered the fillets with fresh squeezed lemon juice. I left the wedges in there as well and wrapped it up in foil. Baked at 375 for 15 minutes and added a nice healthy portion of sautéed veggies for a side.
Trout is a great tasting, very light and flaky fish that pairs well with lemon flavors. Knowing I caught it myself probably made it taste even better!
Got a great idea for using pesto on a pork loin from http://foodbrewedbbqd.tumblr.com. This weekend was as good as any to try it out. Rubbed down a couple pork loins with olive oil, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and our homemade pesto made with fresh basil from the garden. Went right on the Big Chief smoker for about 4 hours. We finished it off on the grill, over indirect heat, until the internal temperature reached right around 165.
To serve it we spread some steak butter over the top and added side dishes of a vegetable medley topped with shredded parmesan reggiano and rice cooked with pesto and fire roasted tomato flakes. Pork seems to pair well with zinfandel, so we went with a 2010 Dry Creek Vineyards Zinfandel. The taste was in the name. Had a dry flavor and wasn’t very fruity at all. Thought that ended up being a real positive as we didn’t have any fruity flavors in the food, made for a good pairing.
Spent the morning at the farmer’s market with the goal of leaving with something we could use on the grill. Came away with a great medley of yellow squash, Asian eggplant, and yellow zucchini, to complement our home grown green zucchini.
To start off our dinner we decided appetizers we’re in order so we made up nice thin crust margarita pizza with home grown cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and fresh picked basil from the garden. Popped it in the oven and started off the meal with a great, simple appetizer 15 minutes later.
Picked up some nice whole trout at the store and decided fish tacos would go well with the grilled veggies. We left the rib bones on the fillets, but took off the spines and heads before rubbing them down with olive oil, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and an alder wood smoked sea salt.
Everything came together quite nicely on the grill. The only thing we’ll do differently next time is taking the rib bones off the fillets before grilling as it proved to be pretty difficult to get them off once the fish is cooked. Other than that, the vegetables, margarita pizza, and fish tacos made an incredible meal. All paired with a very smooth Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and couldn’t ask for a better night.
Sometimes it’s best to slow down from all the cooking and spend a night sipping fine wine. That may sound crazy to some, but I believe to truly appreciate something you have to step away from time to time. That’s exactly what we did last night.
We didn’t get away from cooking 100% as we made up a sautéed garlic and mushroom dip for a baguette. It was very simple, but really good. Started out by caramelizing some chopped garlic cloves for about a half hour then sautéed up diced baby portabellas. Combined the two, added some more olive oil, a little kosher salt and ground black pepper and had our dip.
Paired this with a very smooth Chilean Merlot. Had strong raspberry and cherry flavors, but was not overwhelming at all and very smooth. We felt we need something a bit stronger because a dip with such bold flavors as garlic and mushrooms could have over powered a lighter wine.
Smoked Pesto Chicken With Grilled Vegetable Kabobs
We wanted to get out and use the big weber kettle as a smoker yesterday, but we were a little short on time so we went with something that wouldn’t take very long. Started out by butterflying our chickens and rubbed some pesto sauce, made with home grown basil, underneath the skin. This technique really gets flavor into the meat instead of it just sticking to the skin. Then sprinkled some kosher salt and ground black pepper all over the birds. They went indirect with the kettle hovering around 375 for about 2 and half to 3 hours. At the very end we placed them over high direct heat to get char grilled flavor along with the smoke.
Hadn’t done kabobs on anything but shrimp all summer so we decided it was time to try out vegetables. We dove in head first on this one as we grilled up four different kinds of veggies. Home grown zucchini, icicle radishes, cherry tomatoes, along with some eggplant we picked up at the store. Covered them with nothing more than olive oil, kosher salt, and ground black pepper before they went on the grill. We like going high heat for a short time to sear vegetables as it gets a great grill flavor into them, but doesn’t dry them out. Even the cherry tomatoes proved to be pretty hearty and stayed nice and juicy.
Been wanting to try a white wine based sauce for chicken for some time now an got the chance last night. We combined white wine, olive oil, lime juice, kosher salt, ground black pepper, minced garlic, and some chicken stock. Let that cook down for awhile before adding Grey Poupon mustard at the end as it simmered. The kicker on this sauce though… home grown diced green onions.
You can probably tell we’re into growing our own ingredients.
Combined all this to have an incredible Sunday night dinner. Paired it with a nice Southern Australian Shiraz and couldn’t have been happier.
Another Charcoal & Smoke birthday, another incredible dinner!
Started off the day by harvesting some home grown radishes from our garden. Then we rubbed down a rack of baby backs and a few country style pork ribs with our mesquite, smoked paprika, kosher salt, and brown sugar combo. We put the ribs on the Big Chief smoker for about two hours where it got great smoke, but didn’t cook much. Then we gave them a nice sear on the outside by grilling them for just a few minutes. After getting that smoked and grilled flavor into the meat we finished them in the oven for a couple hours at 250. While they were in the oven we wrapped them in foil and added a braise of Sam Adams, apple juice, brown sugar, and a diced up apple. This not only kept them really moist but added another flavor profile that the smoke couldn’t.
The ribs weren’t even close to all we did for dinner. Radishes, zucchinis, and Italian sausages were also on the menu. We did nothing more than combine olive oil, salt, and pepper to season the radishes. This, along with how much they cook down on the grill pan, really takes away that bite that you usually get with radishes, while adding great flavor. The zucchinis were grilled the same way, except over direct heat without a grill pan. We finished those with a shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese blend. This gave them great taste and even more so, an incredible aroma.
We started the Italian sausage links on the Big Chief like the ribs to get some smoke flavor. Then we did the same thing and gave them a bit of the char flavor by grilling them directly over high heat for just a couple minutes. We finished them in a foil pan on the grill with red wine and onions. This, even more so than the smoke, put insane flavor into the sausages.
The 26.5” weber kettle showed its true versatility tonight by being able to grill radishes, zucchinis, and sausages all at the same time. And giving some ribs a good char before that. You really can’t beat a weber kettle when it comes to using an all purpose grill.
Can’t stop with the food though right? Since it was a special night we popped open a special wine. A 2011 Rombauer Zinfandel. This wine was smooth, yet bold and was even more full bodied than any old vine Zindfandels I’ve had. Paired great with all these really strong flavors we had going tonight.
Couldn’t believe how well a really wide variety mixed grill turned out once again. Some serious variety and some seriously great flavors tonight!
Went on a little end of the summer fishing trip to Truman Reservoir in Missouri and hauled in about 50 crappie.
Filleted them up and put them on the grill. Since crappie meat is so delicate and flaky we used a grill basket to avoid over cooking them. Using nothing more than some Montreal Chicken seasoning they grilled up nicely.
Combined the fish with a homemade coleslaw, a jalapeño based salsa, and just a bit of shredded cheese on tortillas for fish tacos.
We paired the tacos with a red wine blend of Syrah, Cabernet, and Merlot. A red like this would usually over power fish, but I think the strong flavor from the jalapeños really balanced things out. Turned out to be great pairing.
It had been a long day and after of few glasses of the Tres Pinos I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished tacos. Sorry!… Just going to have to believe me when I say this true lake to table meal turned out incredibly.
Before heading back to school we knew we had to do something special. Unable to really decide what we wanted to do we went the mixed grill route. NY strips, pork tenderloin, shrimp, and zucchini on the grill along with some roasted potatoes.
We’ve sort of fallen in love with using dijon mustard this summer and that definitely came through in this dinner. We added a little dijon and a little red wine to the Lawry’s steak marinade we used for the steaks and pork. We also rubbed down our potatoes with dijon, olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper.
Grilled zucchini has been another staple around here, but this time we added a little something to it. Just before they were ready to come off the grill we sprinkled on a little crumbled parmesan and let that melt, much like you would do with burgers.
Did things a little differently, especially since we paired it with a nice Italian Primitivo. But this dinner turned out as one the best I’ve ever had.
This was the last one of the summer for us, but we’ll continue to put together some pretty awesome meals and share them with you!
Oven Baked/Grill Finished Baby Backs… (Done Two Ways)
We had a couple racks of baby backs and a Sunday afternoon and this is what we came up with. Got the idea for this from a recipe by Chris Lilly on Food and Wine’s website. We changed it up but the ideas are very similar.
We created a separate braise for each rack. One consisting of diced apples, an Indian Pale Ale, and brown sugar. The other with soy sauce, hoisen sauce, apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, molasses, and brown sugar. Once each of these cooked down in a sauce pan, we poured them over the racks and wrapped them in foil. Into the oven they went for 3 and half hours at 250.
Once they were done in the oven the meat was at that perfect point where it wasn’t falling off the bone, but with just a little pressure the bones could be pulled out clean as a whistle. We covered the apple braided rack with bbq sauce and put them both on the grill to finish over direct heat.
We ended up having delicious ribs that were done just right. The finishing added a nice grill flavored crust that complemented the meat’s tenderness from the time in the braise.
We threw on some fresh farmer’s market zucchini and sweet corn to go along with a nice rice side for a great Sunday dinner. And I won’t forget the Apothic Red red wine blend we had to complement the meal.
Had the day after the 4th off so we decided to try something a little different and new. We saw on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives a chef rub down a brisket, throw it on the grill for just a few minutes to get a nice crust then pop it in the oven to let it finish. Well we took that style, but put our own twist on it.
We wanted to do pulled pork so we got a bone-in pork roast and rubbed it down with brown sugar, sea salt, smoked paprika, and just a basic mesquite seasoning. To get a nice grilled crust on the outside, but not cook we got our grill as hot as possible and threw it on there for about 10 minutes.
Newsflash to us… when you rub down your grates with vegetable oil and get the grill to over 600 theres a pretty good chance that oil will catch fire.
No worries though, we quick pulled the roast off the grill and got it into our braise where the real work was going to be done. We combined brown sugar, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, diced apple chunks, and the secret ingredient, Lucky Bucket beer. After 8 hours in the oven at 250 the meat was literally falling apart. I was able to pull the bone clean out of the roast with nothing attached. And the best part about it all was how moist the roast stayed as it cooked in the braise.
Definitely glad we got this idea as it’s probably going to become a staple around here for a while.