Category Archives: Appetizers & Sides

Teriyaki Bacon Salmon Bombs on La Caja China

A quick and simple recipe for your top-grill that’s a real crowd pleaser!

Bacon, salmon, and teriyaki sauce…what’s not to like?


Chef Perry

PS – If you like what I’m posting, please share! If you LOVE what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon page!

Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers & Sides

Amazing way to Grill a BUNCH of Shrimp Quick & Easy

Easy Grilled Shrimp

So, I needed to grill up a whole mess of shrimp appetizers (recipe below) for a cook-out yesterday. While shopping I found these kabob baskets on a clearance shelf fro $3 each (normally about $10 for a set of two on Amazon), and had an epiphany.

What I don’t like about grilling shrimp kabobs:

It takes up a lot of grill space.

  • You’re constantly turning and keeping an eye on a lot of individual pieces of shrimp.
  • I always forget to soak my skewers long enough.
  • Served on the skewer (the way I like) can leave for sooty fingers, which my clients aren’t wild about.

What I like about shrimp kabobs:

  • They’re awesome.
  • They’re easy to eat.
  • They help with portion control (ie: everyone gets some, without breaking the bank on shrimp gluttons!)

So, I had a thought…what if I grilled up a bunch of these beauties at a time, and THEN added them to the skewers for serving. Problem: now instead of a dozen or two skewers to keep track ff, I have a couple of hundred individual shrimp to keep turning and moving…and quickly! Shrimp will overcook or burn quicker than it takes to say, “Oh, S***!” Especially when marinated with an oil or alcohol base.

The solution? The kabob basket!

Kabob basket for grilling shrimp

I loaded 40 large shrimp per basket, set them on the grill, and cooked about 2 minutes per side, flipping baskets (40 servings at a time) just three time each.

The best way to grill a lot of shrimp

Photo by Kristen Renner

Open the baskets, a quick flip of the wrist, and all the shrimp were in the bowl ready to skewer!

Grilling shrimp with a kabob basket

Photo by Kristen Renner

The result? Enough appetizers to keep the whole crowd happy, in less than 20 minutes, AND I was able to work on other dishes at the same time!

Then, just pop a couple of the en of each clean skewer, spritz with some lemon juice, and sprinkle the whole platter with chopped parsley.

I will NEVER grill shrimp any other way again!

Chef Perry

If you like what I’m posting, please share! If you love what I’m posting, and want to help me feed the hungry, and teach at-risk and special needs kids to cook for themselves, please consider becoming a patron at my Patreon page!

Shrimp Salmoriglio
Serves 40 (2 skewers each)

  • 1/2 cup salted capers
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves
  • 6 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • Coarse ground black pepper
  • 150 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon juice for spritzing
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, minced

On a cutting board, finely chop the drained capers with the oregano leaves and garlic. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, along with the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season the sauce with pepper.

Place shrimp in a large zip bag, pour in the marinade, seals and toss to coat. Let rest in the fridge 2-8 hours.

1 hours before grilling, remove from fridge and let sit on counter.

Light a grill, coals, etc

Drain the shrimp, and load as many as will fit into each kabob box, without packing them too tightly. Close the box.

Grill over high heat, turning once per side, until the shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Remove the shrimp from the box and transfer them to a platter (or a bowl, if you’re going to skewer them, 2-3 per skewer). Sprinkle more pepper on on top (optional), a healthy handful of minced parsley, and serve.

Home Chef Note: You could easily change this up to a great “South of the Border” version, by swapping the capers an basil for chili powder and minced jalapenos, limes for the lemons, and cilantro instead of parsley!

Mexican grilled shrimp


Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers & Sides, Hardware, Accessories & Add Ons

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Hearts

Vietnamese Grilled Chicken Hearts

Yes, I know this recipe isn’t for everyone, but I love grilled chicken hearts, and I love nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce), so I figured that marinating one in the other, before grilling, might be a good idea.

Turns out…it was a fantastic idea! 🙂

I’ll keep this quick and simple:

1 lb fresh chicken hearts
Wooden skewers (8-16, depending on length)
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/3 cup fish sauce
2 garlic clove, finely minced
2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce (tuong ot toi), optional

Rinse the chicken hearts and pat dry.

In a saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients (except skewers) and bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and cool.  If you need to speed this up, only add 1/2 cup of water before simmering, and then add 3/4 of a cup of ice cubes to cool.

Place chicken hearts in a large zip-bag and pour the cooled marinade over the top. Seal and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. Remove chicken hearts from the brine (dispose of the brine), and let rest on the counter for up to an hour, to come to room temp.

Vietnamese grilled chicken heartsMeanwhile, set skewers in a shallow pan and cover with warm water.

Let soak 1 hour.

Thread chicken hearts into skewers, and grill over very high heat, 2-3 minutes per side, until well marked and just cooked through. You do NOT want a “well-done” chicken heart! 🙂

Enjoy as is, or with some sticky rice and sesame Asian slaw. I like to serve mine sprinkled with freshly minced cilantro and a little warmed chili garlic sauce on the side, for dipping!

Chef Perry
Burnin’ Love BBQ

1 Comment

Filed under Appetizers & Sides, On The Grill Recipes

“Dragon Claw” Appetizers

Dragon Claw BBQ Appetizer

Want to help me feed hungry families, teach at-risk & special-needs kids to cook for themselves and their families, and change lives?

Become a patron!

Baby bell peppers stuffed with a combination of hot (or sweet) Italian sausage, beer brats, or even ground turkey, onions, and peppers, wrapped in bacon, smoked, then glazed with a honey butter barbecue sauce.

Dragon Claws at RibfestThis is one of, if not THE, signature recipes of our BBQ team, Burnin’ Love BBQ, and it never fails to rock our customer’s worlds! I had great fun preparing these as a Sears’s Grilling in Happiness blogger at the Kenmore booth at the 2013 Ribfest in Chicago, with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition host Ty Pennington (who is a awesome, funny, crazy guy, btw!)

Sticky sweet, spicy goodness…with just a breath of fire! And…trust me on this, MUCH easier to make when there isn’t a live audience and 3 television cameras in your face!

Even so, it’s totally worth it, lol!

Oh, sooo good…

Perk’s Dragon Claws
24 whole baby bell peppers
12 slices (thin sliced) bacon
1 lb. Johnsonville Beer Brats
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 tsp Buffalo-style hot sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp hickory salt
3 tsp of your favorite BBQ rub

1 cup Sweet BBQ Sauce
1/2 cup honey
6 Tbsp butter, melted

Bacon! A Home Chef's Guide

Check out this, and many more awesomely porky recipes in my latest Home Chef Guidebook!

Slice the tops off each baby bell, and remove the seeds and veins from each pepper, and rinse again.

Mix all of the remaining ingredients, except the bacon, and bbq rub.

Let meat mixture rest in the fridge 4-6 hours, then on counter for at least an hour.

Stuff each pepper with sausage, and packing it tightly.

Wrap each pepper with 1/2 slice of bacon, and secure with a pre-soaked toothpick.

Repeat with all remaining peppers.

Fire up your grill and prepare for indirect cooking over medium-high heat. (About 25 briquettes in a Weber Smokey Joe.)

Add a few chips of fruit wood to the fire about 10 minutes before adding the peppers. If you’re using a gas grill, use a smoke box.

Dust each claw lightly with dry rub.

Drgaon Claws grilled peppers

Dragon claw grilled peppersCook the Dragon Claws indirectly, but close to the heat about 15 minutes, turning once about halfway through, until the bacon is crisp.

Mix the glaze ingredients over heat to melt the butter, glaze each pepper on both sides, and cook another 5 minutes.

Repeat, then cook another 5 minutes.

Remove and serve immediately.

Home Chef Tip: To make these on the Traeger:

20 minutes on “Smoke”, then grill 15 minutes at 300F (lid down), brush with glaze and flip, brush with glaze and grill 10 more minutes (lid down).


For a full-meal-deal, try this same recipe using larger Anaheim Peppers!

Sausage Stuffed Anahiem Peppers wrapped in Bacon


– Chef Perry

Have you watched our video, “How to Roast a Pig in La Caja China” yet? 300,000 viewers can’t be wrong!


La Caja China Cookbooks


Filed under Appetizers & Sides, On The Grill Recipes

Terry’s Awesome Buns

“They are a rare commodity…get them while they last!” – Terry

I think I’ve made it clear, in the past, that our Burnin’ Love teammember Terry is the undisputed Grand-High Poobah of all things baked. Cakes, pies, bread…you name, Terry does it…better than anyone else.

These are the rolls that he makes specifically to overshawdow my pulled pork bbq, and they’re so good that I’m okay with that. If you think you have something better to serve your savory swine upon, feel free to let me know…

…but I won’t believe you.

Here’s the recipe he uses for his rolls, or, as his wife Dana calls them, “Terry’s Awesome Buns…”

Hamburger Buns (Vienna Rolls)

This recipe is from a great cook book, “Secrets of a Jewish Baker” by George Greenstein. This works great for dinner, hamburger or Frankfurter rolls. I’ve listed instructions for use with a stand mixer.

1/2 cup warm water
2 packages plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast (scant 2 tablespoons)
1 cup cold water (use ice water in hot weather)
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons malt syrup or molasses
3 tablespoons sugar
5 1/4 to 6 cups bread flour
3 1/4 teaspoons salt
Poppy seeds or sesame seeds, for topping (optional)


1. In the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and allow to soften (5 to 10 minutes).
2. Add the cold water, eggs, oil, malt syrup, sugar, 5 1/4 cups of flour and the salt.
3. Mix using the paddle attachment until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl, adding more flour 1/4 cup at a time if necessary.
4. Remove and scrape down the beater and insert the dough hook.
5. Mix for 15 minutes at first speed. When using bread flour, the dough will soften slightly as the gluten develops. More flour can be added in small amounts if required.
6. This should be a stiff dough. Monitor the mixer at all times. It may be necessary to hold down the bowl while mixing. The dough should be smooth and elastic.

1. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and turn to coat.
2. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
3. Punch down and allow to rise once more until double in volume (20 to 30 minutes).
4. Punch down the dough again, divide into 3 pieces, cover and let stand 15 minutes.

1. Roll out into ropes.
2. Cut 8 equal pieces from each rope.
3. Form each piece into a single roll.
4. Brush the top with water and dipped the top into a dish with a single layer of sesame seeds.
5. Place right side up on 3 greased baking sheets, 8 per pan, evenly distributed so that they have room to rise.
6. Proof, covered until doubled in size.

1. Preheat the oven to 425 F (if lighter roll is desired, bake at 400 F).
2. Place an empty roasting pan on the floor of the oven for 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Place the rolls in the oven, then carefully pour 2 cups hot water (or use 6 to 8 ice cubes) into the empty pan. Shield your face and hands from the burst of steam.
4. Add more water after the first 10 minutes of baking.
5. Bake until the rolls are golden brown (15 to 20 minutes). Always make sure the rolls have a browned bottom.

1 Comment

Filed under Appetizers & Sides, Misc Recipes

Sesame Chicken Bruschetta

This one’s for my buddy Jeff Swan, who loves his sesame seeds! This is one of my top 5 all-time favorite appetizers!

Sesame Chicken Bruschetta
1 pound ground chicken, or chicken breasts*
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 green onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, finely choppe
1/4 cup freshly toasted sesame seeds
1 baguette, sliced 1/2 in on bias
2-3 cups oil

Heat 2 inchs of oil in skillet to medium high.

Combine ground chicken with garlic, sesame oil, lime zest, onion, and ginger, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon one heaping teaspoon of chicken mixture onto each slice of bread, spead to coat bread evenly, 1/4 inch thick. Dip meat side into sesame seeds to coat completely.

Place bruschetta, coated side down, in hot oil until sesame seeds are uniformly golden brown. Flip to brown the bottoms. Remove to paper towells to drain.

Serve hot with ginger-chili sauce.

1 Comment

Filed under Appetizers & Sides

Bacon Salmon Bites

This recipe is one of those happy circumstances where you get to barter your expertise with a friend in a different field.

My old pal David Johnson happens to be one of the premier fishing guides on the Oregon Coast, and, in fact, in the entire Pacific Northwest.

Needless to say, David ends up with a lot of salmon and steelhead in his freezer!

Dave’s wife Tesha, probably through necessity, has learned how to cook her husband’s finned trophies is various and amazing ways. I had the opportunity to smoke some briskets for Dave’s birthday party this summer, and Tesha prepare these absolutely amazing salmon appetizers.

I ran into Dave about about half-way through the party, to find him packin’ a plate piled high with brisket…while I was working my way through a haystack of grilled salmon bites. Always a good sign when the cooks are eating each others food!

Here it is…try it, you’re going to love it!

Grilled Bacon Salmon BitesTesha Johnson’s Bacon Salmon Bites

1 bottle Lawry’s pineapple teriyaki sauce
1 can of chunk pineapple, juice and all
1lb fresh salmon fillet
1lb thin sliced bacon

Slice salmon into 2in cubes, and marinate overnight in sauce.

Drain salmon, boil remaining marinade 5 minutes, and then keep warm.

Wrap each nugget with half strip of thin cut bacon.

Either skewer the salmon bites, or load 4-5 in each section of a slider grill basket (as pictured), and grill over medium heat until bacon is crispy, basting occasionally.

Add a chunk of pineapple for juice and flavor in each wrap, and put toothpick through pineapple chunk to help anchor it in place.

Serve immediately…and try not to get between your guests and the platter!

-Chef Perry

Want to take the hassle out of meal planning? For super-simple, healthy and delicious dinner recipes, check out our FREE weekly meal plans and shopping lists! Your free membership helps us teach valuable cooking skills to at-risk youth!


Leave a comment

Filed under Appetizers & Sides, On The Grill Recipes

Caprese Tomato Bites

Another tidbit from the upcoming nuptials…

I love the combination of tomatoes, mozzarella and basil (a taste from the Italian region of Campania) in these bite-size appetizers. The juicy explosion you get when you pop one into your mouth is the genuine taste of springtime.

This is a new spin on a classic Italian dish, and no one knows how to showcase the tomato like the Italians. In Italy, unlike most salads, it is usually served as an antipasto (starter), not a contorno (side dish).

Caprese Tomato Bites
1 pint cherry tomatoes, about 16
16 mozzarella pearls
16 fresh basil leaves, small
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt

Scoop out and discard pulp an stem of the cherry tomatoes.

Invert tomatoes onto paper towels to drain.

Turn tomato halves over; drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with  sea salt.

Wrap a leaf of basil around a pearl of cheese (like a taco) and insert into a tomato.

Chill and serve.

Makes 16 single servings.


Filed under Appetizers & Sides

Oak grilled NY Strip Steak appetizer

So, Terry’s daughter Dani, our sometimes Sous Chef and photographer extraordinaire at Burnin’ Love BBQ is getting married in a couple of weeks and the reception meal is going to be one for the gastronomic record-books!

We’ve been cooking up a storm the last few weeks, testing and re-testing (yeah, it’s a tough job) and we’re pretty much dialed in on the meal.

Here is one (of the four) elements of the dinner plate…

Photo by Terry Ramsey

Oak Grilled NY Strip Steak
Horseradish Crema
Baguette Toast Points

Oak Grilled NY Strip Steak

1 New York Strip Steak, 2 inch thick

Heat oak coals to approximately 450 degrees grill temp

Rub steak (both sides) with salt and pepper and allow to rest at room temp for 1 hour.

Place the steak directly over oak coals for 5 minutes. Flip the steak over for another 5 minutes of direct heat.

Remove the steak from direct heat and place it in indirect heat for 4 minutes.

Flip the steak over for another 4 minutes of indirect heat.

IMPORTANT: Allow steaks to rest off heat, covered loosely in foil for at least 5 minutes before serving or slicing.

Once rested, slice 1/4 inch thick on a bias, against the grain. Place 1-2 slices on toast points, top with a dollop of Horseradish Crema, and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Horseradish Crema

1/2 C Crema (Mexican sour cream)
2 Tbs prepared horseradish (Beaver brand)
1/2 t black pepper

Combine all ingredients and chill.

Baguette Toast Points

These toast points are a versatile base for all kinds of hors d’oeuvres. You can make the toast points in advance (see make-ahead tip, below) but don’t assemble the hors d’oeuvres until about 30 minutes before serving, or else the bread will get soggy. Yields 16 toast points.

8 slices French baguette, cut on bias (1/2 inch thick)
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Adjust an oven rack to 6 inches from the broiler and turn the broiler on to high.

Set the bread on a baking sheet, brush one side with the melted butter, and season with salt and pepper. Toast the bread until it’s golden brown and crisp on top, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Flip and cook the other side until golden, about 1 minute. While the bread is still hot, slice diagonally. Let cool slightly.

Serves 4 as an appetizer or tapas, serves 2 as an entree.


Filed under Appetizers & Sides, On The Grill Recipes

National Chicken Wing Day!

hotwingsHappy National Chicken Wing Day!

A Buffalo wing, hot wing or wing is a chicken wing section (drumette or flat) that is traditionally fried unbreaded and then coated in sauce.

Classic Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce is composed of a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. Buffalo wings are traditionally served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing.

Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York  by Teressa Belissimo, who owned the bar along with her husband Frank Lenz. Upon the unannounced, late-night arrival of their son, Dominic, with several of his friends from college, Teressa needed a fast and easy snack to present to her hungry guests. It was then that she came up with the idea of deep frying chicken wings (normally thrown away or reserved for stock) and tossing them in cayenne hot sauce.

The first Chicken Wing Day took place in Buffalo, NY on July 29, 1977

In honor of the eventful occasion, here’s my all-time favorite “wing-related” clip (Thank you Adam Richman for your sacrifice, lol), my own personal wing recipe for grilled wings from our cookbook, MEAT FIRE GOOD, and an extremely helpful video I found on how to cut and trim chicken wings for grilling.


– Perry

Sizzlin’ Buffalo Wings


This is pretty close to the original spicy Buffalo chicken wings recipe from the Anchor Bar, in Buffalo NY, where they first appeared in October, 1964. The recipe has been modified slightly for the grill.

36 chicken wings, separated
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1 C all-purpose flour
1 ½ Tbs white vinegar
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Tabasco sauce
¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp seasoned salt
6 Tbs Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
6 Tbs unsalted butter
celery sticks
blue cheese dressing

Mix all except chicken, salt, oil and flour in a pan, bring to a simmer, stirring, and then cool.

Toss the wings with the oil, and salt. Place into a large plastic bag, add the flour, and shake to coat evenly. Remove from the bag, shaking off excess flour.

Place wings on hot grill, turning several times until golden brown.

Remove wings from grill and place them in a sealed bowl with the sauce and shake well.

Serve immediately with blue cheese and chilled celery sticks.


Filed under Appetizers & Sides, On The Grill Recipes