Author Archives: hautemealz
It’s Labor Day Weekend, Baby! Backyard BBQ-masters across the country are firing up their grills and getting ready for one of the biggest grilling days of the summer! I don’t know about you, but both my wife, and my home-owner’s insurance agent seem to breathe a little easier if I go over a brief “safety-checklist” before I start playing with fire.
Here are 5 points that every winter-weary pit-master
should take into consideration:
1. If you’re firing up coals this year, check the mesh basket in the bottom of your charcoal chimney. A good chimney should provide many years of perfect service, but they can, over time, start to rust out and collapse. I’ve only had this happen once, and luckily with unit charcoal. Few things would take the fun out of outdoor cooking faster than a pile of burning coals around your flip-flops. Give the basket a couple of tugs, and check for rust––especially at the points where it connects to the wall of the chimney. Jiggle the handle, tightening if necessary, as well.
When BBQ enthusiasts read “low and slow” our minds usually drift to images of deep smoke-blackened pits, seeping lazy tendrils of white smoke, as whole oak and hickory logs smolder beneath.
I mean, grills are made for searing burgers and dogs, or maybe getting some nice marks on a chicken breast or a thick steak…but they don’t do “barbecue”…right?
Well, I’m here to tell ya, you can get some amazing, mouth-watering, fall-off-the-bone tender, low and slow barbecue from your gas grill, too. You just have to change up your technique a little bit.
Why “Low & Slow”
High heat causes rapid moisture loss. Proteins in meat and seafood naturally contain a great deal of liquid, but as heat forces these protein strands to rapidly constrict, much of that moisture, is squeezed out, and meat becomes tough and leathery. Succulent, buttery pulled-pork becomes tender when the naturally tough collagen in the meat is converted into gelatin, with a minimum loss of moisture. This transformation occurs when the pork is cooked at temperatures between 225-250 (I get better results at 225) for 10-12 hours, hence the term, “low and slow.”
Personally, I would recommend using a smoking box to hold wood chips for the first several hours of cooking time, as well. There are many commercial varieties, but a clean tuna can, filled with non-resinous wood chips and wrapped in foil (with a few holes punched through the top) works just fine too.
Perry P. Perkins is a Grilling is Happiness sponsored writer.
La Caja China on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern Episode: Miami
Sometimes you just need meat in tube form. Here’s a recipe I came up with (and I’m pretty proud of) that incorporates some of my favorite island flavors with a classic tube-steak. The spiral slicing really takes this recipe to the next level!
Some chopped fresh pineapple and red pepper flake would be an awesome sweet/hot topping for this. Next time!
Big Island Dogs
4 Johnsonville stadium bratwurst
1/2 cup Yoshida’s Original Sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
4 hoagie rolls
1 cup Asian slaw*
Spiral cut bratwurst (see below) and marinate in Yoshida’s sauce for 2-3 hours, turning ocassionally.
Grill brats over medium heat, re-dunking in sauce with each turn, until heated through and crispy.
Toast white sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until golden and aromatic.
Toast hoagies over coals until golden brown. If you like soft rolls, wrap the hoagies in foil and grill a few minutes, flip and repeat until warmed through.
Add 1/4 cup of slaw to each roll, top with a brat, brush with additional sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
3/4 cup green cabbage, diced
1/4 cup daikon radish, grated
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp.rice wine vinegar
Combine all, and chill 1 hour.
How to Spiral-Cut Your Wiener
In light of this momentous occasion, I’m going to offer each of my La Caja China Cookbooks, directly from my e-store, at 20% off the cover price! (Be sure to use the links and coupon code, below). These are the ONLY cookbooks on the market for the Cuban roasting boxes, and feature dozens of delicious recipes that I’ve personally created and tested, from across the country and around the world.
Nothing roasts a pig faster, or easier, than La Caja China…but there’s a LOT more to explore that just the whole hog. Here’s a little about the cookbooks and a favorite recipe of mine, from each…
Oh, and join me on Twitter tonight to chat during the episode, just search for #BizarreCaja, and join the conversation!
Enjoy the show!
The secret to perfect roasting
Authored by Perry P Perkins
20% Coupon Code: MUFRQDBX
Recipes and tips for using La Caja China to prepare fabulous dishes from around the world!
La Caja China, for all the pig-related press, is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment I’ve used in a lifetime of cooking and barbecue.
I can prepare everything from holiday dinners like St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and Thanksgiving turkey; ethnic delights like Malaysian Satays and Italian porchetta sandwiches, to Kalua pig and Moroccan lamb. I can grill steaks, braise chickens, and roast prime-rib that rivals any restaurant, and do it all in my own backyard!
And, of course, I can roast melt-in-your-mouth whole pigs that send my guests into fits of gastronomical joy.
Even more importantly, I can prepare these dishes for crowds that would normally require a smoke house, a four-foot deep pit dug in my yard, multiple gas grills, and several full-size ovens. Not only that, but I can do it anywhere, anytime!
La Caja China isn’t just about great barbecue and roasting, it’s about friends and family, it’s about creating memories, and… let’s be honest… it’s about being “that guy” (or gal) who can make the dinner, holiday, or party, a memorable event.
Featured recipe: Luau Pork Shoulders
Roasting Box Recipes from Around the Globe
Authored by Perry P Perkins
20% Coupon Code: MUFRQDBX
La Caja China, the Cuban roasting box, has become the toast of food writers and celebrity gourmets, including Food Network’s THROWDOWN Chef, Bobby Flay.
In La Caja China Cooking: The Secret to Perfect Roasting, we took a gastronomic tour of America.
With this new collection of recipes, your La Caja China becomes a magic carpet, allowing you to take your friends and family to the far corners of the world, and experience the delicious wonders waiting for you there!
In every culture and country that we researched in gathering this collection, we found people who enjoyed gathering together with loved ones, lighting a fire, cooking meat over it (or under it), and eating together.
Not coincidentally, we think, these folks shared a common passion for life and laughter, as well.
In La Caja China World, we invite your taste buds to join us on a globe-trotting adventure with dishes like:
- Grilled Tri-Tip & Chimichurri in Argentina
- Whole Roast Pig & Coconut Rice in Bali
- Roast lamb & Potatoes in Greece
- Beef Short Ribs & Scallion Salad in Korea
- Christmas Goose in Sweden
If you’re looking to roast, grill, bake, braise, smoke, or barbecue; whether you’re cooking for a hungry crowd, or creating memories with your family – look no further than La Caja China World!
Featured Recipe: Roast Leg Of Lamb With Moroccan Chermoula Sauce
About the author:
Chef, cookbook author and food blogger, Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional chefs. As a third generation gourmand, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.
Perry has written for hundreds of magazines, everything from Writer’s Digest and Guideposts, to American Hunter and Bassmaster Magazine. His inspirational stories have been included in twelve Chicken Soup anthologies, as well.
He is also a featured blogger for Sear’s “Grilling is Happiness” website, and is the owner & executive chef at hautemealz.com, an online menu planning service for busy people who love cooking great food.
Had a great time throwin’ some luau on our La Caja China for the winners of our bbq package at the Sparks of Hope Charity Auction!
Beautiful day, awesome people, and a wonderful cause. It really doesn’t get any better than this!
Here’s the highlights:
It’s been a week since I left for Naperville, Il to attend Ribfest 2012 with Sears, Ty Pennington, and my fellow bloggers from Sear’s Grilling is Happiness blog, Robyn Lindars (Grill Grrrl) and Grill Master George Hirsch.
What an amazing time, and what a great group of people!
Luckily, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, ’cause I got about 11 million words I could share on how cool Ribfest was!
Here’s a visual rundown of the weekend, starting on Friday with the interview shoot at Kenmore Studios, then lunch at the Weber Grill Restaurant, and the VIP reception that evening with Ty Pennington (who’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet!)
Saturday was all about Ribfest…a long, hot, awesome, amazing day with a bunch of great new friends, next-level BBQ, and a chance to play with some of the best grills on the market. My 5-burner Kenmore with the side burner was the bomb!
Saturday night, wilted, limp and still grinning, we returned to the hotel for one last dinner at the Sugar Toad restaurant (so good!) and to say our goodbyes. As George put it, it was like the last day at outdoor school (except for the martinis).
I can’t wait for the next opportunity to grill with these guys!
Be sure to check out George Hirsch’s Ginger Shrimp and Pork with Chinese Vermicelli, (that shrimp was the best I’ve ever had!) and Robyn Lindar’s BBQ sauce lovers Grilled BBQ Chicken pizza which was a party in your mouth!
Oh, and I threw together some Dragon Claw appetizers for the crowd, which seemed to go over well. (They’re wrapped in bacon…go figure!)
So, I had a LOT of people ask me about Grilling is Happiness, and the blog, this weekend, and I guess, for me, what makes it so amazing is this…there are tons of places you can go online and get recipes, advice and grilling tips from “one guy’s or gal’s” perspective…but not many that bring together the level of experience, passion, and expertise from such a wide range of outdoor cooking experts as you’ll find at Grilling is Happiness.
That’s what makes it unique, you can be a trophy-winnin’ pit-master, or a have never picked up a pair of tongs…because there’s something there for anyone and everyone who loves to grill, or wants to learn!
Oh, and don’t forget, you can still enter to win a grill and other fabulous prizes!
So, get on over to Grilling is Happiness, find out what we’re grillin’ up for ya, and join the fun…you’ll be happy you did!
This is a recipe will be included in our Lighter Side menu over at hautemealz.com, soon, and I thought it would be a good one to share here, as well.
Did you know that new research indicates that eating red meat every other day (instead of daily) can significantly reduce your heart disease risk, too…that sounds pretty good, huh? So, unless you’re eating it every single day (which is doubtful), you can stop stressing about an occasional red meat meal–especially when it’s a lean cut, like the one below.
Flank Steak Salad with Fresh Pepper Pico