I enjoy a good piece of grass-fed, dry-aged beef as much as the next food snob, but if given my ‘druthers, I’d take a properly cooked peice of lamb-leg, or lamb chop over cow, any day of the week.
Here’s a favorite recipe of mine, for grilling on top of La Caja China. Makes a great snack while the pig’s roasting!
8 rib lamb chops, 1 1/2 inches thick 1/4 C fresh lime juice 1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon brown sugar 1 teaspoon black pepper 3/4 teaspoon salt
In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, cumin, sugar, salt, and black pepper. Brush both sides of chops with lime juice, and sprinkle the spice mixture over the chops, rub it evenly all over the meat, and chill the chops overnight.
Prepare La Cajita China, or grill, with glowing coals. For a “high-heat” sear, I like to use my Weber charcoal chimney set directly on the Cajita ash pan. Fill the chimney 3/4, light, and allow to burn down to half full.
On the oiled rack of the grill or on a broiler pan in the broiler, grill or broil the chops 4 inches from the heat for 5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium rare, rotating halfway through for grill marks.
When I pull the chops off the grill, I let them rest for 10 minutes, then serve with rosemary roasted potatoes and sweet green peas.
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We have a great guest post today from our friend’s at JES Restaurant Equipment! Check out the infographic, below, on some very common mistakes that grillers make, and the corresponding tips to help make your live-fire cooking the best it can be!
Now that the weather’s warmed up, millions of people are firing up the grill and cooking up delicious meals. But how many of you are making these common grilling mistakes?
Pressing your burgers flat with the spatula (smooshes the juices right out)
Cooking too fast (or too slow – don’t forget the sear!)
Burning your sauce (put sugary sauces on when you’re almost done cooking)
Cutting into meats without letting them rest (resting the meat for about 5 minutes seals in the juices – thicker cuts need even longer)
We focused on tips for a gas grill (like the popular Holland Grills), but these tips will work equally well on charcoal grills.
Coming up on one of my favorite barbecue holidays…Presidents Day!
Oh sure, you can have your Memorial Day, and Independence Day, and Labor Day, but the problem with those are, everyone else is barbecuing as well! It can be hard to get enough folks over to justify a decent pig-pickin’ when every Weber on the block is burnin’ dogs.
Besides, Presidents Day has such a fine history or barbecue…
“When George Washington “went in to Alexandria to a Barbecue and stayed all Night,” as he wrote in his diary for May 27, 1769, he won eight shillings playing cards and probably ate meat from a whole hog, cooked for hours over hardwood coals, then chopped or “pulled.”
By the early nineteenth century at the latest, a sauce of vinegar and cayenne pepper (originally West Indian) was being sprinkled on the finished product. This ur-barbecue can be found to this day in eastern North Carolina and the adjoining regions of South Carolina and Virginia, virtually unchanged.” (Adapted from Holy Smoke: The Tar Heel Barbecue Tradition, by John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed, and Will McKinney to be published by the University of North Carolina Press, forthcoming 2008.)
Says Steven Raichlen, author of “Planet Barbecue” and host of “Primal Grill” on PBS, “Our presidents were known to be big fans of the laid-back pastime as well. George Washington’s diaries abound with references to barbecues, including one that lasted for three days. George Washington was a major barbecue buff, and when Abraham Lincoln’s parents were married, their wedding feast was a barbecue.”
Lyndon Johnson built his campaign around Texas-style barbecues, a variation on an old tradition: In the 19th century, roast pig and whiskey were staples at political rallies. Having combined generous amounts of Kentucky bourbon and slow-roasted pork on occassion myself, I can say with some authority that this is a wise political tactic…after several hours you would passionately cast your vote for the pig, if someone put a ballot in your hand!
In fact, President Johnson had a full-time barbecue chef, Mr, Walter Jetton, employed on the LBJ Ranch full time. I have his cookbook…it’s highly amusing.
Ronald Reagan engaged the BBQ catering services of Wayne Monk of Lexington for the 1983 Economic Summit in Williamsburg.
Even President Obama, who, having grown up in Hawaii, is likely to have an undeniable love of pork…I mean bbq of course…got into the action with Iron Chef Bobby Flay, grilling up some fine looking steaks at the White House for the Young Men’s Barbeque in 2009. (Hope they were good…we payed for ’em! lol)
So, in tribute to my favorite bbq holiday, here’s how you can prepare some fantastic, White House worthy pulled pork barbecue of your own on your gas grill or La Caja China (click links for recipes.)
And, of course, if you can get a herd of hungry revelers over, you can go whole hog…but I’d put the bourbon away first, if I were you.
And here’s my favorite “traditional” bbq sauce recipe, from …which is probably pretty similar to what Ol’ George sunk his wooden teeth into, at those all-night poker parties!
Perk’s Tradition BBQ Sauce
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine the white vinegar, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper in a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 days before using so that the flavors will blend. Shake occasionally.
May all your holidays be filled with the blessings that life can bestow. And though, for all of us, in different ways, this has been a tough year, try to remember something my father taught me. Something I reflect upon that occasionally has helped me through a tough time…
At your moment of greatest suffering, when everything seems it’s darkest, somewhere in the world, some unsuspecting turkey is about to have a fistful of stuffing shoved deep into his eviserated body cavity…
In other words, things could be worse. Happy Thanksgiving!” – Bon Saget
Here’s the Burnin’ Love BBQ Plan…
Appetizer 1: Mojo Shrimp Skewers
Grilled seafood makes a great appetizer before a big dinner because not only it it a light, tasty snack that won’t dull the tastebuds, it’s also quick and easy grilling for a chef who’s in full-bore production mode.
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.
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.
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!
Me & Ty!
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!
Robyn, George, and I.
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!
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!
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
4-6 slices freshly grilled flank steak*
1 cup mixes greens
1 Tbs balsamic vinaigrette
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 small avocado
1/4 cup Fresh Pepper Pico*
Sweet chili sauce might be my all-time favorite condiment, and brisket is definitely in my top 3 favorite meats. So, a thought stuck me the other day, out of the blue, Hey, those two would be awesome together! And thus, this recipe was born.