It was a lot of fun to be once again be invited to the Char-Broil all star event. (Seriously does anyone ever turn down an opportunity to be in the sun for a few days>?) This year’s event was held in Atlantic Beach Florida at the beautiful One Ocean Resort. Glorious beach views and top notch amenities was the theme for the weekend. Really – this was pretty lovely to work and learn in this environment.
My fellow all star Char-Broil Bloggers were once again a blast to be around. You really need to check these folks out:
- David Olson – “A Bachelor And his Grill”
David the the author of A Bachelor & His Grill. His food blog is a mix of crazy delicious grub & original recipes, a travel log for his worldly adventuring, littering of semi-appropriate/sarcastic humor, & connection point with some of the most amazing, inspirational, & engaging people he has ever met….
- Curt McAdams – “Live Fire”
Curt McAdams is an award winning competitor in all categories of several Kansas City Barbeque Society (KCBS) sanctioned competition events and a certified barbeque judge (CBJ) in that respected organization. Curt shares his passion for cooking over an open fire in photographs of his food on his web log Livefire. …
- Julie Reinhardt – “She Smoke”
Julie Reinhardt is the author of She Smoke a Backyard Barbeque Book and hands-on partner of Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ in Seattle, a place she lovingly calls “a joint.” The fragrant aroma of smoke lingers in Julies clothes as she races between her duties as restauranteur, wife and mother….
- Scott Thomas – “Grillin’ Fools”
The Grillin Fools are husbands, fathers, sons and good employees during the work week – but evenings and weekends their nearly-a-century of outdoor cooking experience blossoms and they become grilling super-heroes. OK – that may be stretching it a bit but they are busy grilling year-round grilling. …
- Jane Bonacci – “The Heritage Cook”
Jane Evans is the author of The Heritage Cook, a web log celebrating the traditional ingredients and recipes of American family life. Jane hails from the San Franciso Bay area and her attention to the ingredients is influenced by the farms, orchards, ranches and nearby access to seafood providing an unending source of inspiration. …
- Chef Christo – “Chez What?”
Chef Christo Gonzales or simply “Christo” hails from New York and manages a busy schedule as private chef for individuals as well executive chef for two catering companies. A prolific cook and writer he shares his thoughts on food by contributing to more than a dozen web and social media outlets including photos of his creations….
- Catherine Mayhew – “The South In My Mouth”
Catherine Mayhew is the author of The HandyMom’s Guide to Grilling (Cool Springs Press) and the sassy southern lady behind the web log The South In My Mouth. In her own words: “I think about lunch just after breakfast and dinner right after lunch.”…
The time was packed with information sessions on Char-Broil grills and accessories for the 2013 season and future plans as well. We learned a lot about presentations, TRU Infrared technology and photography. Plus how can you resist marketing materials and information when it is held with the cutest paper clips ever.
Char-Broil is also one of the sponsors of the HGTV SMART Home located a short distance from our hotel in Jacksonville Florida.
We got to tour the house and check out the really interesting Technology they use.
Of course we had to check out the grill station! (I need to get that lamp light over the grill it was gorgeous)
After the house tour we travelled to Mayhew Florida to visit a fish market. We had enjoyed some of the terrific Shrimp thats available locally and it was great to see cases of fresh shrimp and trawlers.
There was a deep sea fishing trip booked as well but unfortunately due to high seas it was cancelled. Darnit. I was really looking forward to that. However we all headed to the SPA instead. I know it was a tough call but I made the sacrifice and got a really cute pedicure instead. The ocean views from the One Ocean SPA were gorgeous.
After the relaxation we had a very serious event. It was the 2013 Char-Broil All Star Throwdown Competition. This is an annual event with no monetary prizes but bragging rights. We randomly pull numbers to find your partner and then you get grilling. My partner this year was the lovely Jane Bonacci “The Heritage Cook” She was an excellent partner and we worked very well together.
The black box competition contained: Calamari, Semi Sweet Dark Chocolate, blood oranges, Prawns, Snapper, sun dried tomatoes & Collard greens. We were required to use every mandatory item.
We had old Bay seasoning, salt, pepper, thyme, parsley, olive oil, lemons and hot sauce as pantry items. Plus wood planks if we wanted.
I think we made something spectacular. We had 22 minutes. Thats all the time we had from start to finish to grill, photograph and present to the judges. Our judges were the VP of Char-Broil Marketing Michelle Zeller, a ONE Ocean team representative, and hosted by Marketing Specialist Mary Eitel from MKE Communications.
This was our entry titled Bounty of the Sea:
Our entry included:
- Smoked Calamari stuffed with grilled shrimp, charred collards, finely minced sun dried tomatoes and seasonings
- Louisiana grilled shrimp
- Shrimp stuffed sea shells
- Blood Orange chocolate reduction
- Thyme grilled snapper
Jane made the absolutely amazing Blood orange,chocolate reduction for the plank that paired beautifully with the snapper. Make sure you check out her Chocolate Monday post next week for the recipe.
The competition was intense and all of the teams put out some incredible food. Very glad to report that Jane and I won the competition and the bragging rights for the next year. Trophy widget will be coming soon from the always helpful Michael Williams Char-Broils Multi Media Content Specialist and Community Manager.
After the contest we celebrated with some refreshing cocktails and a wonderful Grouper dinner oceanside. A great time was had by all. Its really great to hear of all the Char-Broil All Star’s successes. These are some seriously talented people that make amazing food!! Make sure to check out their blog Posts on Char-Broil and their own personal websites.
This event is always jam-packed with information, interesting education sessions and lots of laughter with my fellow Char-Broil All Stars. Looking forward to seeing them all sooner than later.
Just a reminder:
As one of the Char-Broil All star bloggers I get to share a really great deal for my readers & followers. Char-Broil has given me a code to post for the year for 25% off. Thats a big chunk of change to save.
This code will give 25% OFF All Grills and Cookers on charbroil.com. Pls note it is not applicable to parts but to grills & accessories only. This code & link below is valid until December 2013. Just use the code when you are checking out and click the link below:
Simple Kansas City Style BBQ Sauce
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Combine all ingredients in saucepan.
- Simmer until smooth and thickened to desired consistency—approximately 15 minutes.
Here is a different recipe as well:
Diva Q Texas Beef Ribs
• 1 large rack meaty Texas beef Ribs (4-5lbs)
• ½ – ¾ cup Montreal Steak Spice
4 cups hickory or mesquite wood chips/chunks (for charcoal or gas grills)
Preheat your grill to 225/250F creating an indirect heat zone.
Pull the membrane from the bone side of the ribs.
Season both sides of the ribs generously with Montreal Steak Spice
Place ribs on grill indirect.
Add 1 handful of hickory/mesquite woodchips to the charcoal grill. Use hickory/oak pellets for a pellet grill. Or use a smoker box of hickory/mesquite wood chips if using a gas grill. Repeat adding wood chips or chunks to the grill every hour.
Grill indirect for 5-6 hours until the meat has pulled back from the bones and is tender.
Montreal Steak Spice
• 3 tablespoons Kosher Salt
• 3 tablespoons Butcher Grind Black Pepper
• 2 tablespoons Granulated Garlic
• 2 tablespoons Smoked Paprika
• 2 tablespoon Granulated Onion
• 1 tablespoon Dill
• 1 tablespoon Ground Coriander
• 1 tablespoon Thai Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
• 1 tablespoon Dried Mustard
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl then transfer to a grinder.
Grind for 10-15 seconds until fully mixed and finely ground.
Store in an airtight container.
Use on pork, and beef.
I think duck doesn’t get used nearly as much as it should be. Its an incredibly rich dark and forgiving meat that lends itself well to many applications.
- 5lb Whole Young duck
- 3/4 cup maltose (or you can substitute honey or molasses)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon 5 spice powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Preheat your smoker to 225F
- Rinse & pat dry the duck.
- Using your fingers separate the skin from the breast. This will help render out more fat.
- Spatchcock the duck. See this easy step by step tutorial from Martha.
- Use a jicard all over the duck. This will help release a lot of the fats from the duck.
- Sprinkle Salt & Pepper on the duck and place on grill. PLEASE Note: I used my traeger wood pellet grill with hickory pellets. It is indirect heat with a slanted heat shield that pours the fat out into a drip pot. If using a gas or charcoal grill you will absolutely need to place a pan under the grates of the duck to capture the fat and grill indirect.
- Smoke duck for 2 hours.
- In a small bowl mix the maltose, soy sauce, ginger, 5 spice powder, salt & pepper together. Set aside on counter.
- After the 2 hours of smoking Turn up the grill to 300F
- After 2 hours start saucing the duck with the soy mixture. Every 10 minutes re sauce the duck. This will bring a beautiful rich color to the duck.
- Repeat this step until there is no sauce remaining (Approx 40 minutes)
- After the saucing turn your grill up to high (400-450F) for the last 10 minutes to help crisp the duck even more.
- Remove duck from grill and let rest uncovered for 20 minutes
- When the duck is cool enough to handle segment into portions or shred the duck chopping the crispy skin and mixing in.
I served our duck shredded with sauteed finely chopped shiitake mushrooms, chow mein noodles, chives and thin cucumber slices for crunch. Served beside a pile of iceberg lettuce cups with a side of hoisin sauce for dipping. It was a fun family meal that my kids loved.
I take biscuit making from scratch very seriously. There are times when you need to use store bought mixes or pre-made but whenever you can from scratch biscuits are always better. They are a Southern tradition and one that of course goes extremely well with all things BBQ & Grilling. Over the years I have been trying countless recipes trying different methods. I had no real benchmark to go from I just knew what I wanted:
- The flakiest of sections
- Slightly crispy buttery base
- tender interior
I can’t stand flaky people but for me a flaky tender biscuit is heaven.
Today after countless trials I achieved the very best biscuits I have ever made. They were all of my wants and more. This recipe is for a double batch I split the batch in two and added a heaping cup of shredded Old cheddar to one and shredded Jalapeno Cheddar to the other .
The very best Jalapeno Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits
- 4 ¾ cups All-purpose Robin Hood flour sifted
- ½ lb Unsalted Butter frozen then grated
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp Clabber girl baking powder
- 3 tsp Morton kosher salt
- 2 ½ cups Buttermilk (keep very cold)
- 2 cups Shredded Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese or any other shredded cheddar
Place a stainless steel bowl in a freezer for 20 minutes prior to assembly.
*If you tend to have very warm hands rinse your hands under cold water for a bit. The dough and the ingredients need to stay as cold as possible.
- Preheat your oven to 425F
- Combine all of the dry ingredients into a chilled stainless steel mixing bowl
- Add the grated butter to the dry mixture and combine using a pastry cutter. The texture should be coarse and crumbly. Do not use your hands for this.
- Add buttermilk and using a spatula mix until just combined. *Do not over mix-the dough will be damp.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Sprinkle shredded cheddar over the dough.
- Working as quickly as you can pat the dough out into a rectangle and then fold in on itself a couple of times.
- Pat the dough into a rectangle approx 1/2 ” thick and cut into 32 squares. You can use a round biscuit cutter however any scraps you have leftover will make a much tougher biscuit. By cutting them into squares there is no scrap leftovers. Handle the dough the least amount of time possible. The more you handle the dough the tougher your biscuits will be.
- Place 16 biscuits on each ungreased cookie sheet. The biscuits should be 1/4” away from each other for slightly soft & lightly crispy sides.
- Chill the cut biscuit squares in the fridge for 5 minutes. If you are omitting the cheese then brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter right before placing in the oven.
- Place baking sheets in oven on the upper and middle shelf.
- Bake for 5 minutes then rotate racks
- Bake for an additional 5 minutes and check for doneness. Depending on your oven they may take 10-14 minutes to bake completely. It is very important to not over bake the biscuits.
- Remove biscuits from trays and place on cooling racks for crispier bottoms.
- Enjoy them quickly. They will not last. Trust me on this.
I keep a notebook and pen beside my bed at night. I am one of those people who thinks of things in the middle of the night and if I don’t write it down its forgotten. So as I was watching tv late the other night I saw some program where they turn over a muffin pan to make tortilla bowls. For some reason this made me think of sausage. This would be the thought process equation:
Late night TV viewing+kinda hungry+see food in turned muffin pan+ meat+mmm sausage+sausage cups=Must make sausage cups!!
You could make molded cups of sausage by inserting the meat into the cavities of sausage pans but the grease would stay in the cups. Flipping the pan over lets the grease run out.
Here is how I made them:
- 1lb ground sausage ( I used Jimmy Dean – use whatever is your favorite brand)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup finely shredded aged cheddar cheese
- 1 jalapeno finely minced
- salt & pepper to taste
- non stick spray
Preheat your grill to 250F Indirect
Divide the sausage into 12 equal parts
Flip a mini muffin pan over and spray the bases of the pan with non stick spray.
Mold sausage parts over the base of the pan forming cups. I left lots of room between cups so the sausage would get as much color and smoke as possible.
Grill indirect for 15-20 minutes until the sausage cups have set the shape and much of the grease has run off into the pan.
Remove cups from pan and set on grill.
Whisk eggs, cheese, jalapeno, milk and season with salt & pepper.
Fill cups with egg mixture.
Return to grill and cook approx 10 -15 minutes until eggs are set and cheese is melted.
Remove from grill & eat. Enjoy.
PS. I also tried one with a biscuit. I formed the biscuit over the sausage cup while it was cooking on the inverted pan. Then I flipped it out.Tasted great. The possibilities are endless on what you can fill these sausage cups with – my husband has already requested biscuit wrapped sausage cups filled with sausage gravy. His birthday is coming up. I am sure these will be on the menu that day along with a side of lipitor.
SO many of my friends and healthier acquaintances talk about the virtues of kale chips. Uber delicate with terrific crunch I thought that maybe a little smoke could improve the chances of me eating them more regularly..
Kale has a lot of good crap in it - vitamins and all that other healthy stuff that good for you. So eating it is probably on the list of things I should do more.
What happened next is pretty awesome. I think I am in love with smoked kale chips.
I shit you not they tasted like bacon after I smoked them. My husband, my oldest daughter and I are all in awe of this. Now let me say I have been doing a lot of smoking this week. Mostly pork and maybe its just my cooker that’s giving off some porky goodness extra flavoring but seriously give these a try. Well worth your time.
- 1 large bunch kale
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp pepper
Preheat your grill to 250F Indirect. (****Very important this is indirect especially when you use frogmats)
Remove the stems from the Kale and tear into bite sized pieces. Arrange the kale in a single layer on frogmats over a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
Place the frogmat on the grill. * I used my Traeger grill for this and it worked out fantastic. Grill indirect for 15 minutes. Turn kale leaves over and grill another 5-10 minutes or just until crispy. They should be a bright green and should not be brown. Serve to your family or hoard them for yourself. Enjoy.
I have no idea how long these things last. We ate them all. You are on your own for that decision.
This is a hands on no holds barred competition class!!
Come on out and learn the championship techniques that have won multiples of Grand Championships, first place awards and perfect 180 scores.
Click HERE to be taken to the Mason Dixon BBQ Website and more information about the class!! Catch you on the BBQ Trail