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Buffalo Bacon BLTs

Buffalo Bacon BLTs

Bacon has been raging across not only the BBQ world but the culinary world for some time. There’s pretty much bacon EVERYTHING. Bacon burgers, bacon donuts, bacon jam, bacon wrapped anything edible, and yes I’ve even had a caramel bacon Sunday (it was quite good by the way). In the other sphere there’s Buffalo everything. Buffalo wings, Buffalo shrimp, Buffalo hamburgers, Buffalo beef jerky….. Well you get the idea. But, what if? Is it possible? Am I crazy? Dare I take two great worlds and join them together? Who am I to play culinary god? Then I realized the Harry Burnete, the chap who came up with the Reese cup must have had the same questions. I’m sure some called him crazy. But ol’ Harry dared to do it. Dared to step outside the box and push the limits. Because of that the world is a slightly better place. So tongs in hand, sidekick at my side, I stepped out. Thus I give to you a union of two amazing worlds…… (enter Space Odyssey 2001 music) BUFFALO BACON!!!!

What to expect: A slight burn, with that wonderful Buffalo tang, mingled with hickory smoke and the deep rich savory flavor that only bacon can bring. The blue cheese dressing will elevate the flavors of the bacon and the buffalo sauce.

Yield:  6 nice size sandwiches.

What you will need:

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15 minutes to make the sauce, plus additional time to let it cool.

20-30 minutes total cooking time for the bacon.

  • 2/3 C Tabasco
  • 6 Tbls white vinegar
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 lb butter
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbls chipotle pepper  (cayenne pepper works well too)
  • 2 lbs bacon
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Blue cheese or ranch dressing
  • 6 Nice hoagie rolls

How we did it.

First make the Buffalo sauce.

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Combine the 2/3 cup Tabasco, 6 Tbls white vinegar, and 1 tsp Worcester sauce in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.

Add the 1 pound of butter.

After the butter is melted, stir in the ½ tsp garlic powder and Tbls chili powder.

Set sauce aside and let it cool to room temperature.

Once the sauce is cooled to room temperature, divide in half.

Place bacon in freezer bag or large non reactive bowl.

Stir the sauce very well because it will have separated by this time.

Pour half the sauce over the bacon. DO NOT REFRIGERATE! If you do your butter will solidify and you will end up with a massive chunk of butter and bacon. Assuming you let your sauce come down to room temperature, your bacon will be safe for the 30-40 minutes it takes to light your grill and start cooking.

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Set your grill up for INDIRECT cooking.

Add hickory.

Cook bacon covered, in the void between the coals checking after 5 minutes.

Just a note here, if you try to cook your bacon over direct coals you will end up with bacon flambe’. Butter and bacon drippings falling onto hot coals could make for a very interesting cook, tasty no, but definitely interesting.

Once the bacon is done, add what you HAVEN’T ate to a large bowl and toss with the reserve sauce.

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All that’s left to do now is build those BLTs. It just doesn’t get much better on a warm summers evening than BLTs with home grown tomatoes (matters around this house) and lettuce. Top it with a little blue cheese dressing and you’ve got yourself some foot stomping good eats.

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Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with!

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My wing man and son. The “who” my closing line refers to.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Grilled Sausage and Chorizo Breakfast Bagels

Grilled Sausage and Chorizo Breakfast Bagels

Confession time. I have a secret guilty pleasure, not one that I’m proud of mind you, but it’s time I came clean. I love McDonald’s sausage egg and cheese bagels. Well I did until I bought one for the sole purpose of breaking down the flavor. After eating it and focusing on its profile, I realized, there’s just not a lot going on there. I figured that we could do better, and after a couple of failed attempts, we did.

What to expect: The blending of regular sausage and chorizo gives it a nice balanced flavor. You will get a little heat, from the chorizo and a nice compliment of the spices without it being overpowering and in your face. By grilling it you will get that nice grilled flavor that you can only get from grilling. The grilled peppers and onion class it up a touch, add flavor and texture. While the cheese gives it a creamyness that you expect cheese to give it.

Yeild: 4 quarter pound breakfast sandwiches.

*Note: the pictures will show six sandwiches being made. We did two non-chorizo ones for my wife.

What you’ll need:

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About 2 hours of time, most of it can be prepared the night before.

Grill set up for direct grilling.

1/2 lb sausage

1/2 lb chorizo sausage

1 red pepper

1 yellow pepper

1 medium sized sweet onion

4 bagels

4 slices of cheese of your choice. We chose sharp cheddar.

Salt and pepper

The following steps can be done the night before.

Slice the peppers and onions into long thin strips.

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Gently, yet throughly blend the chorizo and sausage together. I found it best to fold it like you would bread dough.

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Place a sheet of wax paper on a baking sheet, devide the sausage into four equal parts. Form into a patty the same as you would a hamburger. (If doing the night before, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, get a good night’s sleep)

Set grill up for direct grilling and cook the sausage patties just as you would hamburgers with one exception. You’ll want to flip about every two and half minutes until done.

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Place peppers and onions in a grill pan, season well with salt and pepper, grill direct until al dente.

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Sear the bagels if you so choose.

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Construct. I recommend placing the peppers and onions on the bottom, this will keep it from being “top heavy” and everything from falling off as move them or when you try to eat them.

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Carefully rearange your coals for indirect cooking. Place your sandwiches in the void between the coals, put the lid on and let the cheese melt, about one minute.

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Serve and enjoy, while the neighbors enjoy the wonderous smell of your breakfast as they dive into their nice bowl of cold cereal.

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Remember, what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Grilled Pizza Our Way

Grilled Pizza Our Way

For the longest time I have avoided doing a blog post on grilled pizza. Simply because there’s is a ton of them out there, and I felt as if I had nothing new to add. Then I started looking at some of the post, and they were pretty run of the mill. Grab some toppings, toss them on a crust, place on the grill and VIOLA you have yourself a grilled pizza. And I guess in a sense you do. But by doing so you’re really short changing yourself on all the wonderful flavors your grill has to offer.

What to expect: The grilled taste of the veggies will play nicely with the deep smoky taste of the meat. The final hit of a light smoke as the pizza “bakes” will give you that brick oven flavor that all good pizzas should have.

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What you will need:

30-45 minutes for smoking the sausage (this can be done up 2 days in advance, just be sure to leave the sausage whole, wrap tight and refrigerate)

20-30 minutes for grilling the vegetables

1 lb bulk Italian sausage

1 large white onion

1 each red, yellow, and green bell pepper

6 or so small portabello mushrooms

2 12 inch pizza crusts (I reall like the texture I get from Boboli, and it holds up well on the grill)

1 jar or recipe of your favorite pizza sauce

2 fresh jalapeños if you’re a bit of a chili head

How we did it:

Begin by setting your grill up for INDIRECT grilling.

Remove sausage from it’s package being careful not to destroy its form.

Add a nice chunk of your favorite smoking wood to the coals. I recommend hickory. It will stand up well to the stronger flavors of the sausage, and it will be able to compete with the other flavors of the pizza.

Place the sausage between the void in the coals.

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Place the lid on the grill and let the smoke and heat work their magic.

Check the internal temperature after 20 minutes. We’re looking for 165°f. Continue to check every 10-15 minutes until you reach your target temperature.

When done remove from grill and let rest while you prepare your grill to cook your vegetables. (If you are making the sausage ahead, let cool, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.)

If cooking the vegetables immediately after the sausage, spread your coals for DIRECT grilling, add more coals if necessary.

Wait for the smoke from the fresh coals to subside.

Place vegetables on grill and cook until done, turning about every 10 minutes until lightly charred on all sides.

*Note: The mushrooms will take about 5 minutes per side.

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Once done, slice the mushrooms, and large dice the rest.

Either chop the sausage or give it a quick spin in the food processor. I personally prefer the texture I get from the food processor.

Build your pizzas.Get the grill HOT.

If using a pizza stone, add a light wood chunk, like oak, place pizza on stone directly over the coals, and cook until the cheese is melted and the crust is done.

If you’re NOT using a pizza stone, set grill up for indirect cooking, add a light wood chunk, like oak, rotate the pizza once 90 degrees 1/2 way through cooking.

Now you have yourself a true grilled pizza that you can be proud to serve to guest.

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Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Mesquite Smoked Beef Stew

Mesquite Smoked Beef Stew

Cold snowy days call for long slow cooks, and warm comfort food. After 8 3/4 inches fell overnight, I felt it was time for a nice long slow smoke, time to let the UDS do the work while I did the napping. And it was a good plan…… almost too good. Fortunately I have a well seasoned son to cover me when I just can’t quite wake up from a cozy nap.

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What to expect: Is there anything better than a nice warm beef stew on a cold winter’s day? This is the kind of meal that makes you just want to curl up with a blanket and watch the snow fall outside. The mesquite smoked beef plays well with a nice sweet red wine, giving it deep smoky flavors with a slightly coying sweetness. The vegetables round out the dish giving it that full robust feel and taste that you expect from beef stew.

Yield: 6 servings

What you’ll need:

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Time: All day, we ain’t going to rush this. Or 3 hours for smoking, and 2 hours or more for simmering.

1 3lb boneless well marbled chuck roast

1 Tbls kosher salt

1 Tbls fresh ground black pepper

4 cloves of garlic minced

1 Tbls fresh thyme

1 Tbls fresh rosemarry

2 bay leaves

4-5 medium potatoes, peeled, large dice

4 carrots, peeled, sliced into thick rounds

4 celery stalks, large dice

1 large onion large dice

4 cups of water

1 cup red wine

4 cups beef broth

2-3 Tbls corn starch

How we did it:

Begin by adding the 1 Tbls salt and pepper to both sides of the beef roast.

Set aside.

Place the all the vegetables, the thyme, rosemary, garlic, and bay leaves into a roast pan with 2 cups of water.

(A word to the wise here, to prevent smoke stains and make cleanup easier, THOROUGHLY  coat the outside of the pan with nonstick spray, butter, or soap.)

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Place a couple of kabob skewers or wooden spoons on top of your pan to lift the meat above the pan but allowing the juices from the meat to drip into the pan. This allows the meat to receive maximum smoke while continuing to baste the vegetables in it’s juices.

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Place on grill or smoker and cook at the 250.

Pull a blanket around yourself and rest your eyes.

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After about 1 1/2 hours remove your blanket, grab your coat, and check adding the other 2 cups of water if needed.

Return inside, pretend to be interested in what your wife is watching on TV, while resting your eyes. Toss in an occasional “uh-huh” and “yeah, that’s what I was thinking.”

After another 1 1/2 hours stroll out and check the meat temperature. We’re looking for something in the neighborhood of 165°-175°f. It probably won’t be super tender yet, but we don’t want to dry it out. It will get tender as it finishes in the pot.

Remove from smoker and cut into a dice that you like for beef stew.

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Add the beef, 4 cups of beef broth, 1 cup of wine, and vegetables to a large stock pot.

Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 hours or until the liquid is reduced by 1/2.

* 2 hours is a minimum simmer time, as long as you keep it covered and wet it can hold about all day. But sooner or later your going to get hungry.

If the thickness is not to your liking, mix 2-3 Tbls of corn starch and with some water and add to the pot.

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Enjoy with the remainder of the wine and people you love.

So, “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

Remember, what you cook is not nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Cherry Smoked Stuffed Pork Tendrloin


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I want to apologize in advance for not having pictures of the key parts, sometimes I just get lost in my cooking and forget that I’m going to be blogging later.

There’s not a lot of things that will draw me outdoors when the temperature is a balmy -10°F. Normally when the temperature gets down into the negative category I give up grilling. Oh that doesn’t mean we extinguish the coals, it just means we switch from grilling to more smoking. That way we’re not running in and out like a bunch of kids with my wife yelling “CLOSE THE DOOR!” and “IN OR OUT, MAKE UP YOUR MIND!” Ok, she doesn’t do that, but you get the idea. Long cold winter days call for long slow smokes that require a limited number of trips in and out.

HOWEVER, when you come across pork tenderloin at a ridiculously low price, a little frostbite can be tolerated. When I saw them the wheels started turning and there was no stopping them.

What to expect: Tender moist pork, with a faint but not overpowering taste of cherry smoke. The stuffing will be moist and flavorful, with the carrots giving it a slightly sweet taste. The cornbread will give it a pleasant texture without becoming soggy.

Yeild: 4-6 servings.

What you’ll need:

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2 or so hours of time.

2 pork tenderloins (most come 2 to a pack)

1 cup cornbread crumbled. (I really do recommend making the cornbread. I’m not sure what will happen if you use store bought, it may throw the ratios off.)

6-8 slices of bacon cooked aldente’ cut into small dice. (More if you have a hungry helper or a dog keeping you company, I had both.)

1/4 cup carrots small dice

1/4 cup celery small dice

1/4 cup onion small dice

3 cloves garlic minced

1 Tbls fresh sage finely chopped

1 tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped

1 tsp fresh thyme finely chopped

Salt

Pepper

2-3 Tbls chicken stock

Butcher string or twine soaked

How we did it:

Begin by having all of your vegetables chopped and your garlic minced and ready.

Crumble the cornbread in a medium to large bowl.

Fry the bacon until aldente’ and set aside.

Add your carrots, celery, and onion to the hot fat left from the bacon.

After the the carrots, celery, and onion begin to soften add the garlic.

Cook until the garlic becomes fragrant and starts to brown. Do not over cook the garlic.

Dump the cooked vegetables along with any remaining fat into the bowl with the cornbread.

Mix well.

Add your chopped sage, thyme, and rosemary, salt, and pepper.

Mix and taste. Adjust the seasoning to your liking by add more of any or all the spices.

IF it is too dry add chicken broth a little at a time stirring after each addition. You want it loose, but to hold together when squeezed.

Set aside to cool.

Rinse and dry your tenderloins well.

Square off the ends so that you have nice flush ends to work with. Don’t panic about cutting the meat off, you’ll be able to find a use for it later in the week.

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Butterfly the loins by making an incision the length of the loin cutting to within a half an inch of cutting through it.

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Once you have it butterflied, it’s time to beat the fire out of it.

Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the loin and begin pounding  until it’s about 1/4 inch thick.

I usually start with my large heavy cast iron pan. Once I get close then I use my hand to finish it up.

When finished flattening, season both sides well with salt and pepper.

Place 1/2 of the stuffing along the lead edge of the loin, leaving a 1/4 inch space on the sides and along the lead edge.

Roll the loin up and tie off with butcher string or twine.

Set your grill up for DIRECT grilling, add a couple of nice wood chunks of your choosing.

Grill direct turning about every 7 minutes until done. Remember you want the stuffing to register 145°F to be certain all bacteria is dead.

*Ours took about 40 minutes and we turned every 10 minutes but remember it was -10°F out, so this will affect your cooking times.

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The foil pack next to the loins were rosemary infused potatoes and pearl onions for our side dish.

When done let rest 10 minutes, slice, and serve.

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 Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with, have fun.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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IT’S GAAAAAAAME DAY!!!!!

IT’S GAAAAAAAME DAY!!!!!

IT’S GAAAAAAAAAME DAY!!!!!!!!!!!! From the first kickoff of the college season until the Super Bowl every Saturday and Sunday would begin the same way at our house. It would begin with me throwing my son’s door open early in the morning and yelling at the top of my lungs “IT’S GAAAAAAAAAME DAY!!!!!!” He’d roll out of bed, wander downstairs where it would begin:

Son: Hey Dad

Me: What?

Son: Hey Dad.

Me: What?

Son: Hey Dad.

Me (in exaggerated exasperation): WHAT!!!!!

Son: IT’S GAAAAAAAME DAY!!!!!!!!

Then we would spend the rest of the morning practicing our game day chants. Everything from DEFENCE, to booing the refs. And of course we would work a couple of Ball State fight songs in there too. Yes, my wife is a SAINT!

Well we no longer do all those shenanigans, but our love for game day has not subsided. What hasn’t changed is our love for game day food. We are constantly on the lookout for the best game day grub. After all we have a reputation to uphold. Here’s a list of the criteria that our food must meet before it’s deemed Tailgate Town Approved:

It must be good

It can not be too healthy

It must be able to be completely prepared in under 2 hours OR

It must be able to be made ahead to travel, and re-heat well.

It must be able to be consumed using ONLY disposable items.

So if you’re the home team or are taking it on the road, here’s a list of some of our tried and true recipes. But before you begin cooking here’s some tips if you need to know how much to figure for your guest. How much do I cook for a crowd?

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Let’s start with what most people think of when they think of game day food. The brat. Done right it’s a thing of beauty, done wrong it’s a burnt on the outside, raw on the inside nasty mess. If you’re going to cook them, then cook them right and serve them with pride. Cooking the Perfect Sausage.

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Want chicken wings without the bones? Yea, me neither. Want great chicken taste that pairs well with bacon? I thought so. Give our Bacon Wrapped Buffalo Chicken Bites a try. Because you just can’t wrap a chicken wing in bacon.

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How about shaking things up a bit. Break away from the norm and go Greek with Grilled Steak Gyros, who knows, you may have a new hit on your hands.

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Nothing says game day, like chili. It’s a perfect make ahead, holds well, and feeds a crowd. So why not smoke it and when you do make it Smokey Chili?

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Of course if you’re going to serve Smoky Chili, you need a proper cornbread to go with it. So you may as well whip up a batch of Smoky Jalapeno Cornbread.

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Bourbon isn’t just for your glass, these little darlings were the hit of Tailgate Town this year. BBQ Bourbon Sliders.

stuffed burger

Maybe tiny little burgers aren’t what your looking for. Well we’ve managed to hit the other end of the spectrum too. With our GINORMOUS Dodd Squad Over the Top Burgers.

Our pork loin sandwiches

These pork loin sandwiches will put a McFast Food’s sandwich to shame. Not only are they far superior, but they are a great make great. If you make them ahead, leave them on warm in a crock pot with plenty of sauce they will only get more tender.  A GREAT Pork Loin Sandwich.

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Here’s another fantastic make ahead that holds well. It has a great kick and an excellent flavor profile, with the added benefit you don’t need to worry about your guest choking on bones or wiping their fingers on your new sofa. A Talegate Town Approved Buffalo Chicken Sandwich.

chees ball platted

Probably our #1 side that we get ask for again and again. If you’re invited to a party and want to bring a side, go big or stay home. Warning this thing is VERY ADDICTIVE. Cheese, smoke, spice, and bacon. True story (like a pitmaster would ever lie), we broke one of these out in Tailgate Town this year and had strangers leaving money on the table and helping themselves. This is one of the recipes I’m most proud of. Apple Smoked Cheddar and Bacon Cheese Ball.

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Got a chili head for a friend? You know the kind of person who no matter how spicy you make it, it’s never hot enough? Toss a couple of our Habanero Bombs their way. They’ll never admit it but trust me they’ll be impressed.

smokey queso dip

Here’s another twist on that oh so wonderful marriage between smoke and cheese, Smokey Queso Dip. Again this is a great make ahead, holds well, reheats well, and travels well.

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This isn’t your typical Italian meatball sandwich, in fact the only thing Italian about it is we made the meat into balls. What makes this a good game day recipe is that the meatballs can be made ahead and left to simmer in the BBQ sauce until you’re ready to serve. Chipotle BBQ Meatball Sandwich.

smoke ring pulled pork

I saved the best for last.This is the king of all the BBQ party foods. It’s just too perfect, it’s cheap, it can be made ahead, even frozen, travels outstanding. I’ve fed as few as 5 with it and as many as 200. All that and it has a very forgiving learning curve for the beginner, and yet can still bring joy to the veteran pitmaster. I give to you: PULLED PORK. Just be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to make it. I might even recommend making it the day before.  How anybody can smoke butt and pull pork.

Well, time for me to head back into the ol’ test kitchen. Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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BBQ Bourbon Sliders


It seems as though when the rest of the world is swimming up stream, I’m merrily floating down stream. While everybody marches to the beat of a different drummer, I’m always in step with the tubas. It’s not by choice, for the most part. It would only make sense in writing a BBQ blog that I would want to go with what’s trending. And though I do put forth an honest effort, a lot of times I fail. Well this is one of those cases. A year or so ago when sliders were all the rage I was cooking and blogging GIANT burgers. Now that the big “steak house” and “stuffed burger” are all the rage, I’m going smaller. But let me tell ya, in style or out, these things were an EPIC hit in Tailgate Town this year. In fact other than a taster, my son and I got none and had to settle for a stadium hot dog. They were THAT good and went THAT fast.

What to expect: Let’s begin with the beef. A nice deep smoky flavor enhanced by the bourbon that does double duty by keeping the patties moist while smoking and adding a nice boozy flavor. Add a healthy dose of a slightly sweet BBQ sauce. Combine that with grilled bacon that is going to give you yet another layer of flavor. Top with a FRESH jalapeno that not only brings a little heat, but freshness, and texture Tie it all together with a quality slice of Swiss cheese, and add a world renown King’s Hawaiian roll.

* Some notes on this recipe.

It can be multiplied indefinitely for however many you are feeding.

4 per person is a good number to figure. They are rather filling.

ALL of our recipes, and cooking are ALWAYS done lid closed unless otherwise stated.

Yeild: 12 sliders.

What you’ll need:

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About an hour or less. The patties can be made while the coals catch fire.

Grill set up for indirect cooking

1 lb 80/20 ground beef (80/20 is the ideal meat to fat ratio for great burgers, leaner makes them dryer, more fat and they shrink on the grill)

2 Tbls of bourbon

4 tsp Worcestershire sauce

4 tsp steak seasoning/rub

1 tsp garlic salt

1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce

3 slices Swiss cheese

6 or so slice of bacon, cooked and cut into thirds. (I say “or so”, because you and I both know you’re going eat some while cooking it. It’s the birthright of the Pitmaster.)

1 jalapeno sliced (optional)

12 King’s Hawaiian rolls (It MUST be King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls. We did many test cooks with different rolls for a contest. King’s were the perfect texture, balance of flavor, and gave us the best meat to bun ratio.)

How we did it:

Begin by mixing the 2 Tbls of bourbon, 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 4 tsp steak seasoning/rub, and1 tsp garlic salt in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed.

Add your ground beef, and work into mixture.

At this point the meat will be very wet. If you feel that it’s too wet to work, with place it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes this will “firm” it up.

Make your patties.

The best way we found to do this is by using a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter.

Roll you beef into ball slightly larger than a golf ball. Place inside cookie cutter and gently press down with the bottom of a beer bottle. (Told ya we made A LOT of these in the test kitchen.)

If the beef wants to stick to your hands and/or the bottle, just apply a little oil.

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Set your grill up for indirect grilling, add a chunk of your favorite smoking wood, and place the little patties in the void between the coals.

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Let smoke for about 10 minutes, when they have taken on color and are soft to the touch, add your BBQ sauce, bacon, and jalapeno.

Let cook 5 minutes more.

Add cheese, cook one minute more covered until the cheese is melted.

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Plate, serve, enjoy.

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Remember what you cook isn’t nearly as important as who you cook it with.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on January 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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