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.

Slow Roasted Chicken

Chicken

This is a perfect recipe for Sunday supper. You get a nice meal out of it plus plenty of leftovers for the rest of the week.

1 3 to 4 pound chicken
2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Combine the salt, herbs, and spices in a small bowl. Prep the chicken by removing the giblets and trimming off any excess fat or skin. Gently loosen the skin around the breast and thighs. Use a spoon to scoop about half the rub under the skin, spreading it out evenly. Dust the outside of the bird with the remaining rub.

Move the chicken to a pan with a rack in it and stash uncovered in the fridge for at least an hour (overnight is even better) to let the skin dry out a bit and the rub do its magic.

Set up your grill for an indirect cook over low (300°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg I used an inverted plate setter (convEGGtor) to defuse the heat.

Add a little wood for smoke, but go easy because chicken will soak up a lot of it. I used a small hunk of apple.

Roast the chicken until the breast hits 165°F internal (about 1 1/2 hours). Remove from grill and let rest 10 minutes before carving.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Lowering the roasting temperature gave more time for the smoke to flavor the bird while still keeping the skin crisp. Leftovers became a chicken and kielbasa stew.

Reverse Seared Ribeye

I’ve already had great luck with the reverse sear technique on prime rib, so why not give a try on a big ol’ ribeye?

Reverse Sear Ribeye

1 thick-cut ribeye steak (about an 1 1/2 thick is ideal)
Sea or kosher salt
1-2 tablespoons Montreal-style steak seasoning

At least an hour before you are ready to cook, prep the steak by trimming off any excess fat, salting fairly heavily, and giving it a light dusting of the steak seasoning. Move the steak to a raised rack and stash it in the fridge to let the salt do its magic. Most of the liquid that forms on the surface of the meat will get sucked back in or evaporate off. Either way, this helps you get an outside that will crisp up nicely and an inside that’s juicy and well-seasoned.

Set your grill up for a raised direct cook over low (250°F) heat. On the Big Green Egg I used an extender to move the grate up to the level of the rim, putting the steak further away from the heat.

When the grill is ready, add a little wood for smoke. I use a mix of apple and a little mesquite.

Reverse Sear Ribeye

Roast the steak at 250°F until it hits 115°F internal (about for 1 1/2 hours). I used a Maverick Et-732 Remote Thermometer to keep an eye on both the grill and the internal meat temp.

Remove the steak from the grill and let rest while you crank up the fire as hot as it will go. I got the Egg up to 700°F in about 15 minutes.

Return the steak to the grill  and sear each side, flipping often, until you get a nice char on the outside (about 5 minutes).

Reverse Sear Ribeye

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Loving the reverse sear! The steak was a perfect, juicy medium-rare on the inside with a with a crispy crust. Normally I would tie the steak to get it a little more compact so that it cooked evenly, but I left this one a little loose and really liked the way the ends crisped up.

Eggs and Sausage Gravy

I often crave biscuits and gravy for breakfast, but I’m no baker and usually don’t have the time (or inclination) to whip up a batch of biscuits from scratch. By substituting English muffins for biscuits and slapping a soft-cooked egg on top (just because I can) I turned this into a no-muss, no-fuss breakfast that I can make whenever the mood strikes.

4 eggs
2 gluten-free English muffins, toasted (I like Food for Life)
1 pound pork breakfast sausage
2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons gluten-free baking mix
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Do not drain. Add the baking mix and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until it starts to form a roux and begins to brown.

Remove pan from heat and stir in the milk a little at a time. Scrape the bottom to get up any brown bits. Return to medium-high heat and stir occasionally until gravy comes to a simmer and starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Add the hot sauce, salt, and black pepper and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low.

In a non-stick fry pan, fry the eggs over medium heat until the whites start to set. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook for another minute or so until the yolks have just started to set.

Egg and Gravy
Gooey, yolky, hot saucy – yummmmmmm!

Ladle gravy over warm muffins and top with the eggs. Splash with additional hot sauce as needed.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
The English muffins aren’t quite as decadent as biscuits, but the soft egg makes up for it. The big plus is that I can have this on the table in under 20 minutes.

Mayo Chicken Thighs

Mayo Chicken Thighs

I have to admit that I was more than a little ooged out by the mayonnaise-based marinade used in The Grillin’ Fools’ Ultimate Guide to Grilled Chicken.  Raw chicken soaking in a slimy mayo bath – yech. However, their results did look mighty tasty, and I have been looking for something new to do with chicken. So here goes….

12 bone-in/skin-on chicken thighs
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup of your favorite rub (Plowboy’s Yardbird in this case)

Wearing food-safe gloves (cuts way down on the gross factor), combine the mayo and the rub. Slather both sides of the thighs with the marinade and toss into a zip-top bag. Cover with any remaining marinade and toss to coat. 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.

Just before you are ready to fire up the grill, remove the thighs from the marinade and give them a dash of rub on each side. Arrange them on a rack set over a pan (I used a 9×13 baking rack) and return to the fridge uncovered. This will help remove any excess moisture and crisp up the skin.

Set your grill up for an indirect cook at medium (350°F) heat. I used a plate setter on the Big Green Egg to give me nice diffused heat and prevent flare ups.

When the grill is up to temp, arrange the thighs on the grate skin side up. Close the lid and let it cook for 20 minutes. Flip and cook skin-side down for 20 minutes. Flip again and cook skin-side up until the chicken is done – 180°F internal in the thickest part of the thigh.

Remove chicken from grill and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
It’s pretty amazing just how juicy these thighs cooked up. It was almost like they had been braised, but the skin was still nice and crispy. The flavor of the rub came though nicely, but any mayo taste had completely melted away. They were some of the best thighs I think I’ve ever made – well worth the slime.

Yogurt Pancakes

Looking for something hearty, but not overwhelming, for Monday morning to soak up all the Super Bowl fun?

1 cup honey Greek yogurt
7 tablespoons gluten-free pancake mix (I used Wildroots)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
Butter

In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, pancake mix, baking soda, and eggs until just combined.

In a medium non-stick fry pan, melt a pat of butter over medium heat.

Drop 1/4 – 1/2 cup servings of pancake batter into pan. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to form on the surface and edges are starting to brown. Flip and cook the other side for about a minute.

Serve with butter and warm maple syrup.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
These are definitely different from any other pancakes I’ve made. It’s kind of hard to explain – airy and tender, but also rich and filling. Let’s just call them “lightly decadent” and leave it at that.