Steaks & New Veggie Pan

I’ve been looking for a new veggie pan for a while. The first one I bought was one of those fry pans with holes in the side and a removable handle. It was okay, but the veggies would more stew in their own juices than they would roast. Then I got the Weber grill pan (which need a little “reforming” to fit on the Big Green Egg). It’s great for getting a quick char on flat rounds of bread or slices of onion, or to hold a bunch of , but it doesn’t let the heat get around the food so one side tends to burn before the other side is done.

Enter the steel grill roaster from Williams-Sonoma, a gift from my dear wife. It’s perforated stainless steel, so the food gets directly exposed to the flame, but it’s raised up a bit (via a grid under the pan) so it cooks more evenly.

To try it out I tossed a couple of sliced onions, some halved mushrooms, some sliced yellow and green  peppers in a bowl and hit them with a glug of balsamic vinegar, a couple of glugs of olive oil, and a few grinds of sea salt. I gave them a shake and let them marinate while I got the grill ready.

I got the grill up to 400°F and put the grill roaster on by itself for about 5 minutes to heat it up.  Using a slotted spoon, I moved the veggies to the pan, reserving the marinade.

I roasted the veggies for about 10 minutes, stirring them often, until the peppers had softened and everything had a little char on it. I took the roaster off the heat and dumped the veggies back into the bowl with the marinade and gave them a shake to coat them.

Then I cranked the heat up to about 750°F and give these bad boys a no-frills, hot & fast grilling.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
The steak was great, but for once the meat isn’t the hero of this story. The grill roaster did an excellent job and I plan on giving it a real workout this summer. The perforations let the juices drain off so the veggies roasted instead of stewed. At 12×14 it’s plenty big – I could have done twice the amount of veggies and still had room to move things around. The raised design and slopping sides keep everything cook evenly.

Clean up went pretty well. It’s dishwasher safe, but the label (yes, I did read it) says to hand wash. I just let it soak overnight and wiped it off the next day. Since it’s solid metal with holes in it, not mesh, there weren’t a lot of surfaces that food could stick to.

Tri-Tip, The Roast that Eats Like a Steak

When is a steak not a steak? When it’s a beefy tri-tip roast. This cut from the bottom of the sirloin really lends itself to simple seasoning and quick cooking. I tend to treat it just like a big, thick steak and grill it pretty hot and fast.

1 tri-tip roast (about 2 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Pull the roast out of the fridge about an hour before you plan to cook it. Combine the salt, garlic, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub onto all sides of the roast.

Set your grill up for a direct cook at medium-high (450°F) heat.

Put the roast on the grill and cook about 5 minutes per side (this one was thick enough that there where 3 of them), for about 15 minutes total. Turn roast up onto its flat butt end and continue to cook until it reaches 125°F internal (about another 5 minutes). Because this cut is so lean you really don’t want to cook it much beyond medium-rare.

Remove from the grill, let rest for 10 minutes before slicing across the grain into thin slices.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
The roast/steak tasted great, but was a little chewy. Not sure if I didn’t cut the slices thin enough or if I erred too far on the rare side of medium rare.

Fortunately, I have another one of these bad boys in the freezer to play with. Better luck next time, eh?

Corned Beef Hash

I’m a sucker for real corned beef hash. Not the crap in the cans, but the stuff you get at some roadside diner where the waitress serves your cuppa joe in those stocky white mugs, the short-order cook has a tattoo that says “Mom”, and you can order breakfast all day long.

2 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
6 ounces diced corned beef (about 1 1/2 cups)
4 eggs
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon kosher salt

You’ll need a medium non-stick skillet with a lid. Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat. Fill the pan with alternating layers of potatoes, corned beef, onion, and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper.  Press mixture to flatten with spatula. Cook uncovered until bottom begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Flip and flatten again. Continue to cook, flipping every 5 minutes, until hash is mostly browned and the onion and bell pepper are tender (about 10 – 15 minutes).

With the back of a spoon, make 4 shallow wells in the hash for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the wells, pour the water into the middle of the hash, and cover with the lid.

Let cook until the egg whites are set, but the yolks are still runny (my favorite), about 5 minutes.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Eating these I could almost hear the ring of the “order’s up” bell – crispy hash browns with tender bits of corned beef and all that lovely yolk oozing over top – perfect!

T-bones with Butter Baste

My plan was to take the Adam Perry Lang “butter-bombed” recipe that I had previously tried on a sirloin and apply it to the last pack of t-bones that we had in the freezer. But they were such a lovely pair of steaks, that I decided to do minimal pre-seasoning on them and just hit them with a bit of butter baste at the end.

I fired up the Big Green Egg and set it up for a hot (600°F+) direct cook.

I combined the following in my favorite little cast iron melting pot and warmed it just long enough on the grate to melt the butter:

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 gloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground sea salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme

The t-bones got coated with a little olive oil, a light coat of Dizzy Pig’s Raising the Steaks, and a couple of grinds of sea salt before I tossed them on the grill.

I grilled them for 90 seconds, rotated them 90 degrees and gave them another 30 seconds. Then I flipped them, basted them with the butter sauce, and grilled them for another 90 seconds. I flipped them back over, basted, and let them cook until the thickest steak hit a medium-rare 125°F internal (after 30 seconds on the grill).

I quickly basted both sides again, pulled them off the grill and onto a warm plate. I covered them with another plate and let them rest 10 minutes before serving.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Wow, these were good! Nice char on the outside and medium-rare on the inside. I like the contrast on a t-bone between the beefy loin side and the buttery soft tenderloin side.  As for seasoning, I think this was a great compromise. The full-on marinating and bombing from Adam Perry Lang’s BBQ 25 can be more than the steak really needs, but just hitting it with the baste at the end really bumps up the flavor.

Grilled Beef and Chicken Kabobs

It was warm enough over the weekend that we could finally sit out on our deck. To celebrate, I made up these Mediterranean-ish kabobs. Marinating the meat overnight not only added a ton of flavor, but helped to keep it moist and tender despite the high grill temps and short cooking times.

Step 1 – Get Everything Marinating

Beef Kabobs

1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin, cut into large cubes
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1  teaspoon dried oregano (Turkish if you can get it)
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon (about 3 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Put the garlic and salt in a food processor and give it a spin until the garlic is minced. Add the parsley, rosemary, oregano, oil, and lemon juice. Process until well-mixed.

Put the steak in a zip-top bag and cover with the marinade. Toss to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it, and put it in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours, overnight is better.

Chicken Kabobs

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into large cubes
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (full fat)
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper (or 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper plus 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano (Turkish if you can get it)

In a small bowl, combine yogurt, Aleppo pepper, salt, black pepper, and oregano. Put the chicken in a zip-top bag and cover with the yogurt mixture. Toss to coat. Squeeze the air out of the bag, seal it, and put it in the fridge to marinate for at least 4 hours, overnight is better.

Step 2 – Make the Tzatziki


1 cup plain Greek yogurt (full fat)
2 tablespoons feta cheese (crumbled)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano (again, Turkish if you can get it)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons mint, finely chopped
1 small cucumber, peeled and grated

Combine every thing in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Step 3 – The Cook

Veggies (and Fruit)

3 bell peppers (red, yellow, and green), chopped into 1  1/2 inch pieces
8 ounces fresh mushrooms
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup dried plums
1/2 dried cherries
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon garam masala

When you are ready to grill, toss the veggies and dried fruit  together with the oil, vinegar, salt, and garam masala in a large bowl. Let sit while you bring the grill up to temperature.

You’ll need 8 to 10 bamboo skewers. Soak them in water for at least an hour.

Set the grill up for a direct cook over very hot (500°F +) heat.

Using a veggie basket, grill the veggies and fruit (stirring often) until the peppers soften and everything gets a little char on them, about 10 minutes. Remove the veggies to a bowl and keep warm.

Remove the meat from their respective marinades and thread onto skewers (the flat ones work great as they keep the meat from spinning around).  Grill the chicken about 6 minutes per side. Grill the beef for about 3 minutes per side. In both cases you’re looking for some crispy bits on the outside without overcooking the meat.

When the meat is done, remove from the grill and let rest for about 5 minutes. Then remove the meat from the skewers, toss with the veggies, and serve over a rice pilaf with a dollop of the tzatziki.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
I really liked the way the flavors of these individual dishes complimented each other – juicy bites of charred-yet-succulent meat, sweet and savory veggies, tangy and refreshing tzatziki, and the rich blend of herbs and spices bringing it all together. It was a little United Nations on a stick.

Butter-Bombed Sirloin

This is one of those “surprise” steaks that pop up every so often when we get a quarter of beef from the butcher. The wrapping paper says sirloin, but instead of a nice, thick steak it turns out to be a very thin roast that’s been folded over on itself. It’s not a bad piece of meat, but it’s just not what I was expecting when I dug it out of the deep freeze.

I’ve found Adam Perry Lang’s butter bombing method from his Serious Barbecue book to be the way to go when tackling thin steaks like this that could easily dry out and get tough without a little help.

1 thin sirloin steak, about 1 1/2 pounds
1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon hot water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon soy sauce
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons olive oil

Put the garlic and salt in a food processor and give it a whirl until the garlic is finely minced. Add the pepper flakes, hot water, Worcestershire, mustard, honey, soy sauce, steak seasoning, oregano, and oil. Pulse to combine.

Put the steak in a large zip-top bag and cover with the marinade. Squeezed the air out of the bag, seal it, and toss it in the fridge to marinate for at least a couple of hours, overnight is best.

Resting Butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Set your grill up for a direct cook over high (500°F+) heat.

Combine the butter, parsley, thyme, rosemary, lemon juice, Worcestershire, garlic, red pepper, salt, and pepper in a shallow baking pan (I use a 9×13 disposable foil pan that I can set right on the grill).

Heat the pan, stirring to combine everything as the butter melts. Set pan beside the grill.

Remove the steak from the marinade and slap it on the hottest part of the grill. Let it sear for 60 seconds, then flip it over and let it go another 60 seconds.

Move the steak off into the butter sauce. Flip it a couple of times to coat both sides with all that herby/buttery wonderfulness. Return the steak to the grill for another 30 seconds on each side – it will smoke and flare and start to burn, but that’s kinda the idea.

Move the steak off into the butter sauce and give it another flip. Let it rest for 10 minutes. Move the steak to a cutting board, reserve the butter mix and keep the pan warm.

Trim any fat or connective tissue, and then slice the meat on a diagonal into 1/4-inch slices. Put the sliced steak and any accumulated meat juices from the cutting board back into butter mix. Give the pan a shake to coat the meat.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
Too much of a good thing? This sirloin had a good, beefy flavor, but was cut so thin that it would have been hard to cook without drying it out and making it chewy. The marinade and the butter mix kept it moist and tender even when cooked to medium. But while this was exactly what this steak needed, the steak was so thin that the herbs and red pepper almost overwhelmed the meat. The “bombing” would have been perfect on a thicker steak, or if the steak was playing more of a minor role, like in a salad.

Reuben Dip

I have been in love with this recipe ever since I spotted it over at Noble Pig. I would really like a decent Reuben sandwich, but with the whole Celiacs thing I’ve yet to find a gluten-free bread that really holds up to grilling. That’s the joy of this dip – it’s everything I love about a good Reuben, just in a dip form.

1/2 pound corned beef, diced
1 (8-ounce)package cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 1/4 cup sauerkraut, drained well.
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon caraway seed
1 Against the Grain Gluten-Free baguette, sliced into rounds and toasted

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Combine the corned beef, cream cheese, 1 cup of the sauerkraut, sour cream, ketchup, and mustard in a medium bowl.  Spoon 1/2 the mixture into a 1-quart baking dish. Top with half of the Swiss cheese. Spoon in the rest of the mixture, and top with the rest of the Swiss cheese, the remaining 1/4 cup of sauerkraut, and the caraway seeds.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until brown and bubbly.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
Boy, am I glad the nephews didn’t care for my corned beef ;). The leftovers made this a wonderfully rich and ever so naughty dip. Plan on sharing this one as the two of us couldn’t eat more than a couple of rounds worth before being stuffed. The next time I make this it’ll be for a holiday party where I can share the love.

Simple Spring Steaks

Nothing earth-shattering here, just the joy that comes from moving onto daylight-savings time, getting past the vernal equinox, and finally being able to stand on the deck and actually see the food I’m grilling.

I fired up the Big Green Egg and set it up for a hot (600°F+) direct cook.

These rib eyes got a light coating of olive oil, a bit of Dizzy Pig’s Raising the Steaks, and a couple of grinds of sea salt before they were ready for the grill.

I grilled them for 90 seconds, rotated them 90 degrees and gave them another 30 seconds. Then I flipped them and repeated the process on the other side.

For the guests we had over I went a little more to the medium side of medium-rare and pulled them off the grate when the thickest steak hit 130°F internal (after about another 30 seconds on the grill). I pulled them off the grill and onto a warm plate and covered them with another plate, and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.

The Verdict: ★★★★½
The steaks got raves and I joked that they were the best steaks I’ve made this Spring (true enough). For as simple as they were, I don’t think I could have done any better. They were not, however, my A-game steaks.  Those would be the bombs from Adam Perry Lang’s BBQ 25. When I have the time and inclination, those are the way to go.

Corned Beef

Since I come from the line of barbarous folk that gave Hadrian good cause to build his wall, it’s a matter of pride that I cure my own brisket for corned beef. But seeing as it’s a little late now to get that done before St. Paddy’s Day this Thursday, here’s a recipe that you can use with a store-bought corned brisket to create that iconic Irish-American dish with a smoky twist.

Buy a 3 to 4 pound pre-seasoned corned beef brisket. Throw away the nasty package of seasoning that came with it, remove the brisket from the brine, and rinse with fresh cold water for at least 30 minutes.

Move the brisket to plastic container with a lid, or a large zip-top freezer bag, and cover with water. Store in the fridge at least overnight, and up to 48 hours, changing the water a couple of times.


Set up your grill for an indirect cook that will burn for at least 5 hours at between 225 to 250°F. Add wood for smoke (I like grape vine for this dish).

While the grill is getting up to temp, remove the brisket from the water and pat dry. Season with a few grinds of black pepper. Cook at 225°F for about 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the meat hits 160°F. Remove the brisket from the grill and let it rest on a cutting board.


1 medium cabbage, shredded
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 bay leaves
Enough water to come up about halfway on the cabbage

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

In a large Dutch oven, add the cabbage, garlic, spices, and water. Bring cabbage to a boil over high heat. Cook uncovered until cabbage has started to wilt (about 5 minutes). Remove pan from heat and lay the brisket on top of the cabbage. Add enough water so that it comes half way up the brisket. Cover the dutch oven and move to the oven. Braise until the cabbage is tender and the meat is very tender, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove the corned beef and slice thinly across the grain. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage to a large platter. Lay the sliced meat over cabbage and ladle over with a little of the remaining liquid. Serve with boiled potatoes.

The Verdict: ★★★★★
While my nephew didn’t care for it (his loss), I thought it was a tasty dish – tender flavorful meat on a bed of savory cabbage with a salty/smoky broth. Yum! The only thing better than corned beef and cabbage is the corned beef hash and Reuben sandwiches that I’ll be making later this week with the leftovers.

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