Honey Mustard Hot Wings

wings
1 1/2 pounds chicken wings
1/4 cup mustard (I did 50/50 spicy brown and dijon)
1/4 Louisiana-style hot sauce
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon of your favorite rub (Penzey’s Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave Seasoning in this case)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt

Put wings in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Dust with the rub and then toss again. Set a cooling rack on a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Lay wings out on a rack and let them sit uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight to let the rub do its work and for the skin to dry out a bit.

Set your grill up for a raised direct cook at 350°F. On the Big Green Egg I used an extender to move the grate up to the level of the rim, putting the chicken further away from the heat.

When the grill is ready, put the wings on the grill and cook undisturbed for 30 minutes. Flip and cook for another 20 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

While the wings are cooking, make your sauce by combining the mustard, hot sauce, honey Worcestershire, garlic, and salt in a small saucepan. Stir to combine and bring to simmer. Remove from heat but keep warm.

Baste the wings on both sides with the sauce. Let them cook for another 10 minutes, then baste again.

Serve with bleu cheese dressing and/or any remaining sauce for dipping.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
Wings came out crispy and sticky. The sauce ended up a little too sweet for my tastes. Need a touch more heat and some acid to balance it out.

Asian Flank Steak

Asian Flank Steak

Flank steak is a new cut of beef for me. It comes from the hard-working abdominal muscles of the cow. It’s pretty lean and has a lot of tough fibers running through it, so it needs to be prepped, cooked, and cut just so to keep it tender.

1 1/2 pounds flank steak
1/4 cup soy sauce (San-J makes a gluten-free one)
1 tablespoon Sriracha Rooster sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon Black Bean Chili Sauce
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon raw or brown sugar

Make the marinade by combining the soy sauce, chilli sauce, oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, bean sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Put the steak in a zip-top bag and pour the marinade over it. Turn to coat, then squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up, and stash in the fridge for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better). Turn the bag every so often to make sure it all gets coated in the marinade.

Set your grill set up a direct cook at a sub-nuclear temp of 700°F. You want to sear the outside but keep the inside nice and pink.

Sear steak for 60 seconds. Flip and give it another minute on the other side. Keeping flipping every minute or so while checking for doneness. This steak only took another 2 minutes of flipping to hit a nice medium-rare 135°F internal.

Asian Flank Steak

Remove the steak from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice against the grain. Cutting across the fibers makes them shorter so the meat is easier to chew.

I served this over Trader Joe’s Mango Jicama Slaw, although it would also be good over cold sesame noodles.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Wow – I see more flank steak in my future. It had a good chew and a great blend of meaty, spicy, and sweet.

Memorial Day Brats

Memorial Day Brats

Nothing fancy – just me being happy to get to grill now that it’s finally nice out.

This is a easy technique that gets you both juicy brats but tasty veggies to go with.

5 bratwurst
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1 cup beer
1 tablespoon olive oil

Set your grill up for a direct cook over medium heat (350°F). On the Big Green Egg I used a raised grate to get a more even heat.

Toss the onion and peppers together in a flame-safe pan (I used a foil 9×13 drip pan). Drizzle the veggies with oil. Put the pan in the grill and cook, turning often, until the peppers have softened and the onions are getting a little brown (about 5 minutes). Add the beer and let the veggies simmer in it for about another 5 minutes.

Memorial Day Brats

Move the pan to the back of the grate and toss the brats on. Grill, flipping often, until brats are firm with a just a little char on the ends (about 15-20 minutes).

Memorial Day Brats

Remove the brats from the grill and arrange them in the veggie pan so that the brats are partially submerged in the beer and veggie goodness.

Let it all simmer for a couple of minutes until everything is heated through and the pan sauce has reduced a bit. Serve with sauerkraut, brown mustard, and some baked beans or potato salad.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Practically perfect – the veggies were soft and flavorful, and the brats had a nice char and snap from the grill while still being juicy on the inside.

Pressure Cooker Corned Beef

Corned Beef
Normally I would do my yearly Corned Beef on the Big Green Egg, but I have been rebuilding my kitchen and the Instant Pot is one of one of my cool new toysols. It’s a slow cooker/dutch oven/rice maker/pressure cooker hybrid that seemed to be perfect for a cooking a brisket.

Instant Pot
I know a lot of folks think a pressure cooker is just an accident waiting to happen, but the Instant Pot has bunch of safety interlocks that pretty much prevent you from doing anything dangerous with it. You can’t even pressurize it until it checks to make sure the lid is fully locked. Besides, it has Bluetooth connectivity. How cool is that?


3 pound flat cut corned beef brisket with seasoning packet
4 medium red potatoes, quartered
3 large carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
3 medium parsnips, sliced into 1/2-inch coins

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Rinse the corned beef under cold water to remove excess salt and goo.
Put a rack in the pressure cooking pot and arrange the corned beef on top of that. Sprinkle with seasoning packet and then add just enough water to almost cover the brisket.

Lock the lid in place and set to “Meat/Stew” under high pressure for 50 minutes. Once finished, allow it to depressurize naturally (about 15 minutes) while you chop up the veggies.

Remove the rack and brisket from the pressure cooking to a cutting board. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest until ready to serve.

Add the potatoes, carrots and parsnips to the broth in the pressure cooking pot. Lock the lid in place and set to “Soup” setting for 5 minutes. When beep sounds, turn off pressure cooker and do a quick pressure release.

Leave the lid on while you slice the corned beef into thin slices against the grain. Arrange slices on a platter and surround with veggies.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
While I missed the smokey flavor of the grill, it’s hard to argue with meltingly tender brisket in under an hour. The seasoning was dead on – warm and slightly exotic  and a great match for the salty beefiness of the meat.

Next year I’m thinking of trying smoking and pressure cooking, a la Montreal Smoked Meat. Can’t wait.

Ribs and Wings

Wings and Ribs

I had no use for Valentine’s Day this year, so I made up a batch of man food to drown my sorrows with.

Country-Style Ribs
1 1/2 pounds boneless country-style ribs
Rub of your choice (Dizzy Pig Dizzy Dust here)
Barbecue sauce

Season the ribs heavily on all sides with rub. Cover and stash in the fridge until the grill is ready.

Set your grill up for a raised direct cook at 250°F. On the Big Green Egg I didn’t use a plate setter to diffuse the heat, but did use an extender to raise the cooking grid up about 4 inches further from the heat.

Add your smoking wood (apple, in this case) to the grill and when the grill reaches 250°F and the smoke has turned blue, arrange the ribs on the cooking grate. Close the lid and let them cook, flipping every hour, until they reach 160°F internal (about 3 hours).

When the ribs hit 160°F internal, move them off to a flame-proof pan (I used a 9×13 roasting pan) and cover with a bout a cup of sauce. Turn ribs to coat and move the pan full of ribs back to the grill. Close the lid and let cook for an hour.

Check the ribs for doneness – they should be around 190°F internal and the meat should fall apart when you poke at it with a fork. Seal the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil and move off to an oven set on the lowest setting while you cook the wings.

Greek-ish Hot Wings
1 1/2 pounds chicken wings
Penzey’s Greek Seasoning
1/2 cup Frank’s hot sauce

Season wings with a good dusting of Greek seasoning and stash in the fridge on a cooling rack in a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan while you get the grill up to 350°F.

On the Big Green Egg I used the same raised direct setup I used for the ribs. But just opened the vents a bit to get the heat up.

When the grill is ready, put the wings on the grate skin side up and cook undisturbed for 20 minutes. Flip and cook for another 20 minutes. Flip back skin side up and cook another 20 minutes until golden and crispy.

Baste the wings on both sides with the sauce. Let them cook for another 10 minutes, then baste again before serving.

The Ribs Verdict: ★★★★☆
Tasty hunks of meat, but they still were a little dry. I think my technique is sound, but the cut of meat might be too lean with not enough connective tissue to break down and get juicy.

The Wings Verdict: ★★★★★
Just straight up Frank’s and some Greek seasoning – nothing fancy but OMG they were good. The unadulterated Frank’s packs a little more heat than most Buffalo sauces I’ve made and that heat makes a big difference.

Music to grill by:

Recommended after dinner viewing:

-1°F Wings

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“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays…” sorry, that’s the USPS’s motto, but anyway, I’m not going to let a little cold come between me and some hot wings.

wings

3 pounds chicken wings
Penzey’s Ruth Ann’s Muskego Ave Chicken/Fish Seasoning
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup Sriracha hot sauce
1/3 cup honey
2-3 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon peanut oil

Toss wings in oil and then season heavily the Penzey’s seasoning or your favorite rub. Set a cooling rack on a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan. Lay wings out on a rack and let them sit uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight to let the rub do its work and for the skin to dry out a bit.

wings

Set your grill up for a raised direct cook at 350°F. On the Big Green Egg I used an extender to move the grate up to the level of the rim, putting the chicken further away from the heat.

While the grill is eating up, combine the butter, hot sauce, honey, chili sauce, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, them remove from heat but keep warm.

When the grill is ready, put the wings on the grill and cook undisturbed for 30 minutes. Flip and cook for another 20 minutes, or until brown and crispy.

Baste the wings on both sides with the hot sauce. Let them cook for another 10 minutes, then baste again.

Serve with bleu cheese dressing for dipping.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
The sweet/hot/tangy flavor of the wings was perfect. Just when you thought one of the flavors would drown the other out, the others came through to create a great balance. I really like the brightness that the rub added.

Despite the cold, the BGE performed like a champ. I noticed no change in cooking times at all.

Happy 2016!

Prime Rib

I’m back! Sorry for the hiatus.

Had a small get-together with friends and family on New Year’s Eve featuring this prime rib roasted on the Big Green Egg.

1 6-pound Hereford Beef boneless rib-eye roast
Sea or kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons Montreal-style steak seasoning

Prep the roast a least a day before you plan on cooking it to give the rub a chance to do its thing.

First, score the fat cap (deckle) on the roast, making shallow diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern at about 1-inch intervals. Then generously dust the roast on all sides with the steak seasoning and plenty of salt, making sure to work it into the cuts.

Move the roast to a rack set over a roasting pan, and put the whole works to the fridge, letting the roast sit uncovered overnight.

When you are ready to cook, remove the roast from the fridge and let it sit out while you get your grill fired up. Set up for an indirect cook at 300°F. On the Big Green Egg I used the plate settler with a drip pan to diffuse the heat and raise my cooking grate about 4 inches.

Roast the meat at 300°F until it hits 130°F internal. This should take about 15 minutes per pound, 1 1/2 hour total. I used a Maverick Et-732 Remote Thermometer to keep an eye on both grill and internal meat temp.

Move the roast to a cutting board and let stand 20 minutes before slicing.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
The roast turned out slightly crisp on the outside and medium-rare in the center. It was tasty and tender.

It did not get as crispy or evenly pink as with either the reverse sear or the grill and roast techniques. With the recent snow, it was a tricky and slippery trek to the Egg this year and I decided that simplicity beat falling on my butt and watching the roast sail off into a snow bank.

Wishing you all a wonderful New Year! 

2 – 1/2 – 1/2 Ribs

The weather over the holiday weekend didn’t exactly cooperate and I found myself with just a short break in the rain to do a rack of ribs. I had been planing to do the rack with the 2-1-1- method, but it didn’t look like I had that kind of time. So I kept the technique, but bumped up the temperature to shorten the cook.

1 rack of baby back ribs
Rub of your choice
Sauce of your choice

Set your grill up for a raised direct cook at medium-ish heat (325°F). On the Big Green Egg this meant barely filling the fire ring with lump charcoal and using an extender to raise the cooking grate further from the heat.

While the grill is heating up, dust your ribs generously on both sides with rub (Dizzy Pig’s Dizzy Dust in this case).

When the grill is ready, add your smoking wood (guava this time) and wait until the smoke turns from white (bad) to blue (good). Than arrange your rack on the cooking grate bone side down. Close the lid and let them cook for 2 hours.

Lay out a sheet of heavy-duty foil big enough to wrap the rack in and pour 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce (cheap store brand this time) down the middle of it. Put rack on foil meat side down. Wrap tightly and return to grill for 1/2 hour.

Remove ribs from foil and put back on grill meat side up. Sauce ribs and let cook another 1/2 hour, until meat has pulled back from the ends of the bones and is very tender.

Ribs

Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

The Verdict: ★★★★½
I was afraid the extra heat would dry out the ribs, but they were tender and tasty. Funny thing is that I was in such a rush to get the ribs on that I forgot to remove the membrane on the bone side. Normally this is a no-no as it can get tough and unpleasant to eat, but the extra heat crisped the membrane to the point that it was almost like skin on a chicken. It gave a nice extra bit of texture and it seemed like it helped to hold the juices in.

I did have to dock myself 1/2 a star for the store-bought sauce. Not a winner.

Chicken Kabobs

I’ve been looking for a simple chicken marinade and found a 4-ingredient one over at NoBIGGIE. Of course I had to play around with it a little bit, but that’s part of the joy of cooking.

8 chicken thighs, boneless/skinless
1/2 cup raw or brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons Sriracha hot sauce
4 flat, wooden skewers

Make the marinade by combining the brown sugar, oil, vinegar, soy sauce, and hot sauce. Stir until the sugar dissolves.

Put the thighs in a zip-top bag and pour the marinade over them. Turn to coat, then squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it up, and stash in the fridge for at least 4 hours (overnight is even better). Turn the bag every so often to make sure all the pieces get a coated in the marinade.

Set your grill up for a direct cook over high (400°F) heat. Put the skewers in a pan of water to soak.

When the grill is ready, thread two thighs onto each skewer. Grill chicken about 10 minutes per side or until the internal temp hits at least 180°F and the meat gets a good crispy char on it.

Chicken Kabobs

Remove the skewers from the grill and let rest 10 minutes before serving. I put these over some sesame noodles and roasted peppers.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
I really liked the tangy, sweetness that the marinade gave the chicken. Adding the Sriracha gave it a nice bump of heat.  But I don’t know that the oil really brought anything to the party other than some flare ups. Next time I would skip the peanut oil and go with maybe a couple of tablespoons of sesame oil.

Country-Style Ribs

Not really ribs, country-style ribs are thick slabs of meaty goodness cut from the shoulder of the of the pig. It’s a complicated cut of meat with lots of fat and connective tissue, so they really lend themselves for a little low and slow smoking followed by by a braise until they melt.

1 pound country-style pork ribs
Barbecue rub of choice
2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup barbecue sauce of choice

Season ribs on all sides with a generous coating of rub (Plowboys Yardbird in the case). Stash in fridge while you set up the grill.

Set the grill up for an indirect cook over medium (300°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg is used the plate settler to diffuse the heat and raise my cooking grate about 4 inches.

Add your smoking wood (apple this time) to the grill and when the grill reaches 300°F and the smoke has turned blue, add a drip pan to the plate setter, and arrange the ribs on the cooking grate. Close the lid and let them cook, flipping every 30 minutes, until they reach 160°F internal (about an hour and a half).

Move the ribs off to a flame-proof pan roasting pan and cover with the apple juice. Turn ribs to coat and move the pan full of ribs back to the grill. Close the lid and let cook for an hour.

Check the ribs for doneness – they should be around 190°F internal and the meat should fall apart when you poke at it with a fork. Remove the ribs to a platter to let them rest. Reserve any juices that are still left in the pan.

country ribsI

Pour reserved juices and barbecue sauce together in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes to thicken.

Serve the ribs with sauce on the side.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
Very tasty – really like the extra sweetness from the apple juice, but not as juicy as I would have liked. I think these might benefit from being sealed in foil for the final part of the cook.