Posts Tagged ‘yummy’

Pizza on the Big Green Egg – Pizzapalooza

I have a serious obsession with making pizza on my BGE. It makes wicked good pizza among other things. However I cannot ever seem to make just one or two. No it just has to be a big variety.

This is a great thing to do if you have leftover bits in the fridge. Not enough to make a meal out of them but enough to make a pizza or 5

Our pizza ingredients were:

  • sauteed mushrooms
  • rapini with evoo and sliced garlic
  • green and black olives
  • thinly sliced red onions
  • roasted red peppers
  • arugula
  • parmesan
  • Drained seasoned stewed tomatoes
  • basil
  • oregano
  • granulated onion
  • steamed acorn squash
  • grilled chorizo
  • cooked and crumbled hot Italian sausage
  • grilled eggplant
  • Lots of mozzarella

There is no recipe for this. Just a few general guidelines. I use store bought pizza dough from Highland Farms. I like their pizza dough a lot. It is very reasonably priced. Now you can go all Martha Stewart on this and make your own from scratch – all the best to you. Personally if you you find a reasonably priced very good quality dough its a heck of a lot easier.

Your BGE needs to be at least 600F before you even think of getting a pizza on.  I find that I have the best pizzas come out at this temperature. Also don’t be using any crappy dollar store pizza stone. Think of it as an investment. Mine came from Ontario Gas BBQ. Its awesome. I have used it many many times over and over again.

Make sure your pizza stone comes up to temperature with your BGE. Do not put a cold pizza stone on a 600F BGE. It was crack and shatter and then you will have a load of stuff to clean up. Not to mention ruined dinner plans.

Use enough flour when stretching your dough that it doesn’t stick to your pizza peel. Its a lot easier to slide off dough covered with toppings if you have used enough flour. They make the crust soggy. Of course if you like a soggy crust that’s your business but I prefer a nice crispy crust.

Other than that go nuts. You can even make vegans happy. OR gluten free people (just make sure you give them a gluten free crust). Or nut allergy people happy. The choices are endless.  These pizzas cook in about 6-8 minutes at the most so you want to make sure your meats are cooked ahead of time if using and you slice your veggies thinly.

After placing your pizza on the stone close the lid. Open it up again at about the 2- 3 minute mark and turn the pizza half way. Close the lid again and leave it closed for 3-4 more minutes until nicely browned and golden. Remove to a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes before cutting.

Repeat with the other pizzas. Seriously it is so easy. Get the kids involved. I have not ever met a kid who didn’t like making pizza. Let them decide what toppings they want. Pizza dough is just like play doh for adults so they love stretching it too.

  

  

One of my favorites from tonight:

Grilled eggplant, sauteed rapini with sliced garlic and evoo, steamed acorn squash, sauteed mushrooms and mozzarella. When it came off the grill I topped it with a bunch of arugula and some really good quality balsamic vinegar, Parmesan and evoo.

I also enjoyed the meat pizzas….

  

The kids had their own ideas of what they wanted on their pizza- Chorizo, tomato sauce, basil and lots of mozzarella

 

Last but not least we made a panzerotti to use up the last bits of all the ingredients. It was stuffed full. By this time my stone was getting pretty black from the flour so I placed the panzerotti on a piece of parchment paper directly on the stone. Worked great and the panzerotti was delicious and crispy full of yummy ingredients.

 

It was a delicious dinner full of pizza goodness. Plus there is lots for lunches tomorrow!!

 

 

Tropical Mango Jalapeno BBQ Sauce

This is a really vibrant  BBQ sauce with a nice level of heat. Great for topping chicken and pork and grilled fish.

Ingredients

  • 2 Mangos Chopped
  • 2 large jalapenos seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion finely diced
  • 1 lime juiced and zested
  • 1 navel orange zested and segmented
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joes Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp allspice powder
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg

 

Assemble all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot with lid. Simmer (stirring occasionally) on medium low for 15-20 minutes covered until the fruits and vegetables have softened. Using an  immersion blender puree the ingredients until as smooth as possible. Press the sauce though a strainer. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. Serve on fish, pork or chicken.

  

  

Love the color and flavor – sweet, heat and tangy a great change from tomato based sugar loaded sauces. Enjoy!!

Highway 61 BBQ – Great BBQ in the heart of Toronto

http://www.highway61.ca/

1620 Bayview Ave

Toronto ON

416-489-RIBS

 

Recently I was in Toronto for a visit. Decided to head to Hwy 61 with some friends to try their BBQ.  I had heard and read some very mixed reviews about it. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there.

The decor feels right. What I mean by that is the place feels like a BBQ joint from the South. Tucked into a storefront on Bayview Ave its got great curb appeal with flames and barn boards.  The inside is even better. Lots of blues (of course) , Jazz and other music posters , comfortable seating upstairs and down with a couple of friendly bars you want to saunter up to and have a beer. They have a terrific selection of craft beers.

  

  

I spoke with the General Manager Matt and asked if I could see their pits. He was really accommodating and let me see their kitchen and their pits. They use 2 Cookshack Electric smokers in the kitchen and a HUGE custom made 2 ton Ole Hickory in the back. They use organic apple wood for all their smoking.

As I headed to sit down for lunch I asked if  could try a sample platter with my friends and a few of their sauces. What happened in the next hour or so was a bit of a blur. Ribs. Lots of ribs, from their original signature side ribs (my fav) to their Dakota beef ribs ( they had a little heat to them) and then their Mississippi back ribs . Bourbon glazed pit chicken – super moist and flavorful, tender but not too tender brisket that yielded well to a snap test and had a lightly smoky flavor,  Texas style sausage – that had a great snap, great texture to it and a beautiful scent of smoke plus the best onion rings I have ever had anywhere.  Alongside of all this was their sauces… 61 BBQ, Dakota, Memphis, and a really unique creole sauce I could have drunk a cup full – it was so good.  I didn’t even capture a before picture the BBQ enticed us all so much. I think that says a lot. The aroma was captivating.  The food was gorgeous to look at. Nothing was over sauced or shellacked so much that the meat didn’t come through. Here’s the bones:

Seriously as soon as they bottle this stuff I will buy a case or 3  Hwy 61 Creole Sauce.

The meats mentioned above were all incredibly well done. We liked it all. –  The pulled pork was however not my favorite. I found it to be on the mushy end and not all that appealing. It was also lacking flavor. I like bark. I like bark on pork especially since it captures so much flavor. This certainly would not keep me from going back again.

I talked to Matt about the restaurant a bit. I asked him where they learned to BBQ – he told me that the crew had done their own thing but also had gone to learn from a couple of folks who know BBQ inside and out because it literally is in their blood…. Mike Mills yes.. that Mike Mills of 17th Street BBQ fame and his lovely daughter Amy Mills.  They all had gone to the OnCue and business of BBQ course.

Matt also talked a bit about the challenges they had with bringing such a large smoker into the downtown Toronto area. The amount of challenges they had to overcome was huge. From the smokestack length to the building they had to create behind the restaurant to accommodate a hand wash station and prep table were just a couple of obstacles.  They have overcame them all and made all of the health inspectors, fire departments and councils happy.

This was a really good BBQ experience. We all thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The warm hospitality, the great ambiance and the kick ass Q all led to some very happy people with full bellies who are already thinking of making a repeat visit. There are a whole lot of other things on their menu I still want to try.  Kudos to the crew at HWY 61 BBQ. They make some of the best BBQ I have ever tried in Ontario. I’ll be back for sure.

 

 

 

Stuffed Burger Awesomeness

I love stuffed burgers. They are like Christmas packages full of surprises.  There are thousands of stuffed burger recipes out there. With good reason .. burger consumption is continuing to rise throughout North America. Economical and easy to make we just love burgers.

Source

 

This isn’t so much aa recipe as it is a method of how I make stuffed burgers.

start with your ground beef. I use ground brisket wherever possible but use whatever you prefer.  The final mixture should be 80/20. I have found any more % fat – the stuffing comes out too easily.

Place your ground beef on a cutting board. Here I have made mine into balls that give e a general idea how many burgers I will be making. Each was the size of a hardball.

 

Squish them down into one large rectangle shaped patty. Cover with plastic wrap and roll out with a rolling pin. This really does help make sure they are all an even thickness.

Using a pizza peel makes cutting easy. Much easier than dragging a knife through.  Figure out how many burgers you want. I decided on 8. Enough to feed my family and also provide lunches the following day.

 

Then take inventory of your fridge. You can go out and buy foie gras and lobster if you would like but I need to get rid of some stuff in my fridge.

I love this stuff. We always have it on hand.

Bacon, jalapeno, mushroom, red onion and to bring it all together in one creamy package Philadelphia Herb and garlic cream cheese.

 

 

Spread out a few tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on one patty for each of the burgers

 

Add some sauteed mushrooms

Add some sauteed onions, roughly chopped cooked bacon and finely minced  jalapenos

 

Generously sprinkle the burgers with freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt.

 

 

Time for the assembly. I use a slotted fish spatula. Its easy to side under the ground beef and flip it over.  Then seal the edges pressing them together and molding the burger shape.

 

 

Then its time for the grill at medium high heat. I used my Big Green egg for today’s burger cook. I also used Basques an all natural lump charcoal.

Cook until the internal temperature is to your liking. The recommended minimum temperature for ground beef is 160F

These burgers hold up well even with all the stuffing. You won’t have a lot of leakage. Using the rolling pin really helps you make sure that you have a uniform thickness.

Lots of flavor and great texture. This is a favorite of our house.

Make sure you let them rest for 10 minutes after they come off the grill.

Moroccan Spiced Chicken Kebabs on the grill

Yummy. Meat on sticks rocks. Want a kid to try something new – put it on a stick. Make it fun. I love these.

4 whole chicken breasts cut into 1.5″ cubes
1 green pepper chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 red onion – chopped into 1 inch pieces
Mushrooms stems removed
Cherry Tomatoes

 

For the Wet Rub

1/4 cup canola oil
2 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp saffron powder
1/2 tbsp black pepper
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp chipolte powder
1/2 tsp roasted * strong * cumin powder

Mix wet rub ingredients into a glass bowl. Add chicken toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Soak wooden skewers for 1/2 hr prior to grilling. Place a tomato on the end of the skewer and alternate the chicken with vegetables. Make sure they are tightly packed on. Grill over medium/high heat turning often until the temperature of the chicken reads 165F Set aside to rest for a few minutes and serve. Great served cold the next day as well.

I made a simple basmati saffron rice with toasted almonds and raisins to serve with mine.

1 cup basmati rice rinsed thoroughly
2 cups water
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted almonds
3 tbsp saffron powder
1/2 tsp salt

On a medium high heat bring the water to a boil add rice, salt raisins and saffron powder. Stir thoroughly. Cover th rice with a tight fitting lid. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue to cook for 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes. Remove lid fluff with fork and top with almonds.

Savory Corn Bread & Pulled Pork Bread Pudding

Well isn’t a recipe named Savory Corn Bread & Pulled Pork Bread Pudding sound lovely. It could also be called what to do with the odd bits in the fridge that need to be used up and not thrown out in an effort to reduce our household waste. Sadly that doesn’t sound nearly as attractive.

My grandmother was infamous for never throwing out a piece of bread a stale bit of cake or anything food related that could be salvageable. My love of all bread puddings comes from her ability to turn those scraps with a few other add ins into something delicious. I still remember one of her bread puddings with particular fondness that was made up of a horrible dry spice cake and some leftover chocolate donuts. To this day it was the best bread pudding I have ever had and I have yet to be able to figure out how to recreate it.

In my fridge we always have the odd bits like a piece of veg or meat. This week however I needed to come up with something for these ingredients:

2 loaves of cornbread from Big Bone BBQ Barrie (I really like their cornbread its got a great texture and flavor)
1 onion
1/2 a large red pepper that had seen better days
and a baggie of some not so moist pulled pork

This blog entry is not so much a recipe but a solution and a method for getting rid of some odd bits easily.

I decided it would be either a quiche or a savory bread pudding. This was narrowed down rather quickly when I checked the time I had to make it and my not so great track record with making a decent pastry.

I finely chopped up the onion and red pepper- sauteed in a bit of canola oil and added dried parsley salt & pepper. I also added a couple cloves of garlic finely minced.

Next up I chopped the cornbread into cubes and tossed all of this into a large bowl with the pulled pork and the sauteed vegetables.

Next up was the custard base. I used 6 eggs and 11/2 cups of milk whisked together. (If you had some leftover shredded cheese it would be an excellent add in as well) Pour all of this over the cornbread mixture and allow it to soak in.

Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare an oven proof dish. I sprayed mine with crisco canola spray.

Assemble the mixture in the dish

Bake for 1 hour or until the custard is set and you have achieved your preferred level of crispiness on top. I like crispy tops on bread puddings. I like the crunchy bits.


MMMMM Crispy Bits.

It was a delicious way to use up the leftovers. We served it with a simple salad and dinner was good to go. Happy that it didn’t get thrown out or wasted.

Texas Pepper Jelly – Damn Good Stuff.

I am putting this in the category of where have you been all my life.

This is a fully biased post. Be forewarned I am in love with this stuff. I will  be gushing and oohhing and awwwing all over this stuff. IT freaking rocks.

Full disclosure….

I got an email from Texas Pepper Jelly owner Craig  Sharry. I had met this gentleman a while back and he had asked me if I would like to try his products. Now they have been around a while but I just had not gotten around to ordering some.  Craig has been working on these recipes forever. Nice to see such an amazing product on the market. I have seen there logo and products on the competition circuit and I had read about them. I jumped on the opportunity. Craig sent me a nice assortment of his items.  Please note he did not in any way pay for this endorsement.  This is just from what I have tasted.

 

As it is March break I have a bit more time to play on the grills. Today has been designated wing day. 12 lbs of wings to play with.

24 designated to try these 4 items.

 

  

 

I used my Traeger Texas style with oak and hickory pellets for the wings today.

Half were lightly coated in Obie Cues Double Strength Garlic Pepper (another product  I love)

The other half was coated with Dizzy Pig Pineapple Head Rub (this stuff is the bomb) – this will be on another blog post late this week.

They were grilled for 1 hour at 275F (I prefer them crispy)

 

I then took 6 wings for each sample. I used 1/4 cup of jelly on each batch then returned them to the grill for 10 minutes to set.

Cherry Habanero

Peach Habanero

Strawberry Habanero

Apple Habanero

The colors were incredible. Love how sticky they apply to wings.

SO how did they taste?????

The Cherry by far was my favorite. I love the lingering heat on all of them and the flavors are great.  Surprisingly they are not overly sweet – certainly they have more depth to them than I expected. I have tried the peach and the apple on pork chops as well and they are delicious. The strawberry was ok- but not my favorite on wings. I think Ill have it on ice cream next as it was recommended to me.

My advice. You need to get some. Really. They are excellent. I can’t wait to try them on more items like ribs, a stuffed baked brie and more!

Thanks Craig. You made my wing day a blast. Awesome product. Keep up the great work and winning GC’s!!

Texas Pepper Jelly on Facebook 

Texas Pepper Jelly on Twitter

Texas Style Beef Ribs with Mop Sauce

 

I love Texas. Hopefully this year I will be able to go back and eat at some of the legendary BBQ joints. For now though I spend a lot of time over at Full Custom Gospel BBQ reading his reviews and experiences.  These ribs were inspired by my last trip there.

One of the challenges that I always have is finding beef ribs that have enough meat on them. It seems that outside of a few locations this is quite a daunting task.  A friend of mine Mike the owner of Big Bone BBQ came to my rescue. His restaurant serves up BBQ Beef ribs once a week at Big Bone BBQ Barrie. I got some from him and I was all set.

  

Removing the membrane was easy with a clean bar towel. Better grip than a paper towel for this tough membrane.

I also used a spoon to scrape off the large pockets of fat. Whatever you do though don’t discard the fat. Put it aside into a small saucepan and Ill get to it in a bit. After a bit of trimming I had about 2 cups of fat and beef bits.

 

 

Decided to keep the rub super simple only 4 ingredients. Granulated garlic, granulated onion, Morton’s Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper.

3/4 c Salt

3/4 c Pepper

1/2 cup garlic

1/2 onion

Generously rubbed (I used about half of the rub and stored the rest for future use) they headed to the grill at 225F . I used mesquite pellets for these.

  

Then I got around to making the mop. The first step was to render out some beef fat from the trimmings. This measured out to be 1/4 cup when finished.  You could also add 1/2 bottle of beer to this Mop if so desired. In addition pay attention to the sodium levels on the beef broth. Some are horrendously high. I used a reduced sodium broth and opted not to use Soy Sauce in this recipe.

Mop Ingredients

2 c beef broth

1/2 c  Worcestershire sauce

1/4 c Apple Cider vinegar

1/4 c Rendered Beef fat

1/2  bottle BV beef upper  ( approx 1.5 oz – you can also substitute Kitchen Bouquet)

4 tbsp Tiger Sauce

2 tbsp Mustard powder

2 tbsp dried onion flakes

 

 

 

 

Bring all of the Mop ingredients to a simmer. Set aside.

About 4  hours in I started Mopping every 15 minutes. I wanted to wait until the ribs had developed a very thick bark (crust).

Before Mopping:

 

 

After mopping:

 

After two additional hours mopping every 15 minutes the ribs were done.  Rested them covered tightly in foil for 15 minutes.  They were dark and crusted over and absolutely delicious. Some of the ugliest ribs I have ever made and it just didn’t matter. Paired with cornbread, cheesy pasta casserole and green beans they made an excellent meal.

   

Bacon Apple Chestnut stuffed & wrapped Pork Loin

Bacon apple chestnut stuffed pork loin

Ingredients

3lb pork loin
10 slices bacon

For the stuffing

3 c large seasoned croutons
2 ½ c diced apple
1 c reduced sodium chicken stock
1/3 c chopped parsley
¾ c chopped roasted chestnuts
6 slices bacon chopped
2 onions diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp black pepper

In a medium sized pan on medium level heat fry bacon until crisp. Using a slotted spoon or bamboo strainer remove the bacon and set aside.

Add chopped onion, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic to the residual bacon fat. Stir often scraping any bacon residue from the bottom of the pan. Sauté until the onion has softened. Add the diced apples and reduced sodium chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and add the croutons. Mix thoroughly cover and remove from heat.

Butterfly the pork loin using 3 cuts to open like a book. See this video for instructions -

Cover the pork loin with plastic wrap. Pound the pork with a mallet to make it a uniform thickness. Remove cover from the stuffing and fluff with fork. Add parsley to the stuffing mixture.

  

Spoon the stuffing mixture onto the pork loin leaving a 1 inch frame around all of the edges.
Starting at one end – roll the pork and stuffing together to make a tight roll.
Wrap pork with bacon lightly overlapping each layer. Secure with butchers twine.

Grill indirect at 275F until a digital thermometer reads 155F. I used oak and hickory wood pellets. Rest for 10 minutes then slice. Feeds a crowd.

  

  

 

  

Ted Reader – Tabasco Canada’s Newest Spokesperson !

Ted Reader has confirmed that he is Tabasco Canada’s newest Spokesperson on his facebook account:

I am happy to announce that I am officially one of Tabasco Canada’s newest spokesperson. I have always been a fan of Tabasco and all of their products and it is pretty exciting to now be part of the family. Check out Tabasco Canada and enjoy the tastyness. Cheers

 

I think this is fantastic news!! Ted comes up with wicked good grilling recipes and I really believe that unlike a lot of those celebrity spokesperson endorsements this one actually makes a lot of sense.

Ted+Tabasco= all things good, tasty & fun.

 

Tabasco made a super smart move having Ted rep them ! Great news!! I can’t wait to see the fun grilling and BBQ related recipes he is sure to create!

For more news about Ted make sure to check out

Tabasco Canada on Facebook

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