I am one lucky guy – my dear wife will be taking me someplace warm and lovely for my birthday. When she told me that she’d made the reservations, I asked her what I could make her as a going-away treat. Without missing a beat, she said, “Steaks, big thick steaks.”
I seasoned up a pair of nice rib eye steaks with fresh-ground pepper and kosher salt and let them sit out at room temperature while I got the Big Green Egg up to a roaring 700°F.
When everything was nice and hot, I tossed the steaks on for 90 seconds of undisturbed searing. Then I rotated the steaks 90 degrees and gave them another 30 seconds on that side. I flipped the meat and repeated the process on the other side.
I shoot for medium-rare with steak. So after both sides had been seared I checked the internal temp. When it hit 125°F internal (about another 30 seconds), I moved them off the grill and onto a plate and let them rest for 10 minutes.
Stay warm, folks!
Since we’re headed to a place known for their tropical drinks, not their steaks, I needed these to be good – big band of tender, rosy-red meat with a great crunchy char on it. These were perfect.
If you trim it, steak is 5 points for 3 ounces of meat.
A good chicken wing needs 3 properties – it must be crispy, it must be spicy enough to require a cold adult beverage, and it should be flavorful enough to be addictive. This is my attempt at hitting the wing trifecta with a wet rub followed by a sweet and spicy sauce.
Wet Rub 3 pounds chicken (I did a mix of wings, tenders, and breasts)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce (Trappy’s, Crystal, etc… just something hotter than Frank’s)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 tablespoon Allegro Marinade or Worcestershire sauce
I combined the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, celery salt, black pepper, salt, hot sauce, oil, and Worcestershire sauce and let it seep for about an hour. Then I put the chicken in a zip-top bag and covered it with the rub, tossing to make sure everything got coated, then stashed it in the fridge overnight.
The next day I headed out to fire up the Big Green Egg, but the sub-zero wind chill drove me right back inside. So I arranged the wings on a small roasting pan and put them in the oven at 350°F.
While the wings were cooking, I made up my sauce.
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce (Burman’s in this case)
1 – 2 tablespoons habañero hot sauce (Marie Sharp’s Medium in this case, but you can pick your heat level)
2 tablespoons raw or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Allegro Marinade or Worcestershire sauce
I melted the butter in a small saucepan, then whisked it together with the hot sauces, sugar, honey, and Worcestershire. I brought it to a boil for a minute or so, then moved it off to a warm back burner.
After the wings had been cooking for 20 minutes, I put the breasts and tenders on a small roasting pan and put them in the oven.
When the wings had been on 40 minutes, I flipped all of the chicken pieces and brushed on a heavy coating of the hot sauce.
Ten minutes later I flipped everything and sauced them again. The breasts and tenders were done, so I moved them off to a covered serving dish. I let the wings go another 10 minutes, then sauced them one last time and served them with a bleu cheese dip.
The Verdict: Aside from not having the smokey goodness that the grill adds, the only thing these wings lacked was crispness. The combination of two different pepper sauces gave the wings plenty of beer-craving heat while the balance of flavors in the rub and the sweetness of the sugar and honey kept me coming back for more.
The rub/sauce combo is a keeper, but next time these are going raised, indirect on the Big Green Egg until they are nice and crispy.
The Nutrition: Baking (instead of frying) and using non-fat sour cream as the base for the dip gets these wings down to 3 Weight Watcher’s points a piece.
I had such nice results using Plowboys Yardbird Rub on chicken, that I just had to take them up on their “Created for Chicken but Made for Pork” tag line and try it on some baby-back ribs.
I went with a very minimal prep of the ribs, just removed the membrane on the bone side of the ribs and rubbed in a generous coating of Plowboys Yardbird Rub into both sides of them about an hour before they went on the Big Green Egg.
I have to say that whoever designed the jar for this rub is a genius – 14 ounces, so you’ve got plenty of rub to work with, and then this dual-function top has both big holes for easy shaking and a larger flap that lets you get a measuring spoon in there. Very nice.
I set up my grill for an indirect cook at 250°F. I filled the firebox with lump charcoal and used an inverted plate setter to diffuse the heat and a drip pan with a little water in it to catch the fat.
I lit the charcoal just in the center, and once the temperature hit 250°F in the dome, I added a couple of chunks of apple wood for smoke. When the smoke changed from white (bad) to blue (good) I loaded up the ribs bone side down on the grate and let them cook for an hour.
I flipped the ribs bone side up and then let them cook for 2 more hours. After the ribs had been on for 4 hours total, I started checking for doneness. Ribs are generally done when a full slab will almost fold in half and start to crack when you pick up one end with a pair of tongs. These weren’t quite there yet.
I gave them another 30 minutes and checked again. The meat had just started to pull back from the end of the bones, but a gentle tug on a couple of bones showed that they weren’t ready to come apart yet.
I gave them another 30 minutes and checked again – much better. I brushed them with a thick coat of Honey Hog Barbecue Sauce and let them cook for another 15 minutes. I sauced them lightly again, cooked them for another 15 minutes, then removed them from the smoker and let them sit 10 minutes before serving.
The Plowboys Yardbird rub stood right up to smoke and the porky goodness of the ribs. In fact, it may be better on pork than on chicken. What I’m really liking about this rub is how it disappears – like a good background singer – you don’t hear them but you would sure miss them if they were gone. The rub enhances the natural flavors without getting in the way.
Why not a 5? We had a high of 6°F the day I cooked these, and the darker and colder it got the more those ribs sure looked like they were done. My bad. Another 30-45 minutes and they would have rocked.
The Nutrition: Ribs will never be diet food, sorry, but I think I burned off most of the calories with all the shivering I did.