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Monday, December 10, 2012

Chargriller Akorn Smoked Pot Roast


Well it has been a while since I have been able to write a new post. My wife and I have transferred from Alabama back to Michigan and I have needed the summer to get settled into my new job. I haven't had time to BBQ at all and feel as though I lost the entire summer season. It should be a lot of fun being back in Michigan and getting to grill and BBQ in the snow and cold. So since it was spitting snow flakes and freezing rain I decided to make a good hearty winter meal. Pot Roast reminds me of the home cooked meals you have during the winter months, This is my recipe for making it on the smoker and adding that extra layer of flavor you have to love if you are a BBQ person.


Ingredients:

(1) 2-3lb Chuck Pot Roast
(1) Medium white onion
(4) Stalks of Celery
(1) Small bag of fingerling potatoes 
(1) bottle full flavor beer
(1) handful of baby carrots
(1) Can beef broth
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp season salt
1 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chili sauce


Start by brushing the entire pot roast with the olive oil. Make sure you have a good coating of oil this will help during the direct grilling process and also assist with keeping the basil and season salt stick to the roast.

Once you have seasoned the meat prepare the grill for medium high direct grilling. Ensure you do not get the smoker too hot as it will be hard to continue the indirect cooking portion with the grill at high temps. I like to keep the grill around 300-350 degrees. Be prepared to switch to indirect heating once you have seared the meat on the grill.


Sear the roast on all sides creating a nice crust on the outside of the roast. Then switch to indirect heat and add your smoke chunks. I do this by using my weber charcoal grate and an old pizza stone. I have not purchased the indirect plate that Chargriller now has for the Akorn. 


While your Akorn is coming  up to temperature and stabilizing at the 300-350 degrees take your seared roast and add the pan sauce.


Take all of your wet ingredients and mix together in a small mixing bowl. This will be the sauce you will be cooking the pot roast in.


Place your roast on the smoker uncovered for about 30 minutes. This will allow the smoke to penetrate the sauce and the pot roast. Cover and allow your roast to cook for another 30 minutes. At that time add your vegetables and cover. Allow the roast and veggies to cook for another 1.5 hrs or until the potatoes are tender. I like to let it cook uncovered for another 30 minutes with some fresh smoke chips this adds more smoke flavor and also allows the vegetables to get some of the smoke. Once the meat is fork tender I bring it in the house and let it rest for 15 minutes I use a slotted spoon and put the vegetables in a bowl. I take the pan sauce and dissolve a tbsp of corn starch in some warm water and pour it into a sauce pan and reduce until the pan sauce turns into a nice gravy. Slice your pot roast, serve with vegetables and cover with the pan gravy. I also like to serve more chili sauce on the side. This is a great cold weather meal and is a very hearty meal. The wife has spent the summer being a vegetarian and once I made this she decided that she would have to change back to being a carnivore, she even had seconds it was that good. Enjoy!


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sausage Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Jalapeño Peppers


Jalapeño Poppers are a great appetizer for any BBQ or Football party, but frying is messy and a pain to clean up. I came across a recipe on the internet for grilled poppers and made some modifications and this is the recipe I use when making poppers at our house. They are mild and have great smokey flavor. This is something you can put on the smoker during your long smokes to have as a snack and hold you over till the main course is ready. 


Ingredients:
8-10 large fresh jalapeño peppers
1 8oz package of cream cheese
1/2lb of hot sausage 
1lb center cut bacon
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

I start by cleaning, seeding and coring the jalapeños. I wear blue nitrile gloves to protect my hands. I then split each of the Jalapeños in half and make sure the membrane is removed. By removing the membrane this keeps the heat of the pepper down.



Next take the hot sausage, cream cheese, and shredded cheddar cheese and mix thoroughly in a bowl. I let the cream cheese sit on the counter for about an hour to soften up prior to mixing this makes the process a lot easier.

I take a tablespoon of the sausage stuffing and stuff each of the peppers. 


The next step is to wrap each of the stuffed peppers with a slice of center cut bacon. I wrap them tightly and then stick a toothpick through each pepper to hold bacon in place while cooking.


I then place the peppers on the smoker and let them cook at 250 degrees for 1 hour on indirect heat. This is perfect for when I am smoking a pork butt or brisket and makes the perfect snack. If you are making them on your charcoal or gas grill cook them on indirect low heat till the bacon becomes crispy. These are a great snack while grilling or make them as an appetizer for a football tailgate. We love them. Enjoy


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Char-Griller Akorn Steak Grilled Stuffed Burritos


I enjoy taking a popular food at a restaurant and making it better. Real grilled stuffed burritos are much better when made at home on a real grill. This is a fun recipe and takes a little organization to be successful but the reward is definitely worth the work put in. When you start with fresh ingredients you will be surprised at how much better they turn out than at your local Taco place. This is one of my first direct grill recipes on the Char-Griller Akorn and was quite excited at how it got up to high temps and stayed there. The Akorn has really turned out to be quite the versatile grill/smoker and I am very pleased with my purchase. 


Mexican Fire Rice ingredients:

(1) cup valencia rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can of Rotel (I use the HOT but you can use the mild if you like things less spicy)
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt


I start by preheating the olive oil in a nonstick pan. Then take your rice and toast it till you have some of the grains a light brown. This will take about 4-5 minutes on medium high heat. While you get the rice going I start my fire in the Akorn. I use a full chimney starter of lump charcoal. Once you get the charcoal lit I put it into the firebox of the Akorn with a hand full of unlit lump charcoal. I open both vents all the way to get the temperature up to about 400-450 degrees. Once you reach that temp I close down the vents both top and bottom to a setting of one and make sure the dome lid is closed. this will allow the cooking grate to get nice a hot for your direct grill.


I then take the remaining ingredients and add to the pan and bring to a boil. Once you have the mixture boiling reduce the heat to simmer and cover. It will take about 10 minutes for the rice to be done. I take about one serving and reserve it for using in the grilled stuffed burritos.


Grilled Stuffed Burrito ingredients:

1lb chicken breast cutlets
5 large jalapeños 
1 bunch of cilantro
1 jar of red enchilada sauce
2 cups of shredded mexican blend cheese
1 package of large flour tortillas



Start by direct grilling the jalapeños 3 minutes per side or until the outside becomes charred. After grilling take the peppers and put them in a plastic bag let them sit about 3 minutes. This will make it very easy to remove the seeds and skin. I take the grilled seeded peppers and give them a rough chop and place on a cutting board for burrito assembly.


On this particular recipe I used a store bought fajita marinade and let the chicken marinade over night in a plastic bag. You could use my fajita rub recipe that is on my archived blog post. I direct grill the chicken allowing it to get a bit crispy and brown on both sides. Once you have completed grilling the chicken slice it into thin strips for the burritos. 


Next it is time to assemble the burritos. I like to get all my ingredients organized to make it easier to assemble. I like to assemble all the burritos prior to grilling. Then you can grill each burrito and not have to worry about the assembly process while grilling. 


Assemble the burritos by taking a portion of each the peppers, Mexican Fire Rice, chicken, cilantro, tomatoes, enchilada sauce and cheese. Then take the ends of the tortilla and tuck to the center and roll. This will create a nice tight burrito ready to be grilled. At this point you could add refried beans or black beans if you would like. Next take your burritos and place them on the grill over direct heat for about 1-2 minutes per side or until you get a nice char on the flour tortillas. Put them on a platter to serve with a side of the Mexican Fire rice and some chips and salsa. This is a fun recipe and tastes great it makes for a fun grilling adventure. Enjoy!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Char-Griller Akorn Smoked Pork Butt


Pulled pork is a staple in a good BBQ Pit-masters recipe book. I have made pulled pork flavored in many ways but found that simple BBQ is the best. This is a very easy recipe and I found having the Char-Griller Akorn makes it even easier. I had used my Weber kettle when making my BBQ for the last few years but since getting the Akorn I found it a lot easier and more consistent. With the Akorn you can control the temperature much better and are not tethered to the grill all day adding charcoal and wood chips. I was very impressed with the performance the Char-Griller Akorn on long cooks. It uses substantially less fuel and you can control the temp much better. Below is how I make pulled pork on the Akorn.

Ingredients: 


(1) 5-7 lb Boston Butt
1/2 cup of mustard
1/2 cup of your favorite dry rub ( Crawdaddy's BBQ Butt Crust)
1/2 cup of a Carolina (vinegar based) BBQ sauce


I start with a Boston butt with good marbling of fat. I know some guys will tell you the more fat the better but I like the pork to be moist but greasy when eating it. I have found that if there is too much fat you will be eating greasy pork. I trim any loose pieces of fat off the edges and if the butt you selected has a large flap of fat trim it down so it is no thicker than 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Once I have trimmed the butt I take the vinegar based BBQ sauce and use it as an injectable marinade. I inject about every inch all around to ensure that all the meat has some of the marinade. 


After injecting the pork. I give the outside a good coating of mustard. This adds to the layers of flavor but also helps the dry rub stick to the pork. The injecting and coating with mustard and rub can be a messy job so I always wear blue nitrile gloves when prepping. I find it easier than getting mustard and rub all over the kitchen.


Once you have coated with mustard I use a liberal amount of your favorite dry rub. Putting a heavy coating of rub on the pork will help add to flavor but will also create a nice crust on the outside of the pork. I then take the pork and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight to allow the pork to soak in all the flavors. The next day take the pork out and allow it come to room temperature prior to smoking this will help it cook more evenly. 


Using lump charcoal prepare a fire by using the top down method. This is accomplished by filling your fire box with lump charcoal and add 4-5 chunks of pecan wood that you soaked in water for at east and hour. Take a Weber charcoal starter and light it and cover it with the lump charcoal. Open your top and bottom vent all the way and leave the dome open. Once you get a good burn going close your dome lid and use a digital thermometer to monitor the inside temp of the grill. When you begin to climb to around 200 degrees adjust your top and bottom vents to a setting of one. Allow your Akorn to climb slowly to 250 degrees. When you have reached 250 make sure your vents are barely open. I let the grill sit at 250 for about 30 minutes to ensure it is stable. I use a pizza stone as an indirect cooking plate and on top of the pizza stone I place an aluminum drip pan filled with water. The water will steam and help the smoke penetrate deep into the pork. Once you are happy the temperature is stable put your pork in the center of the cooking great and insert the digital thermometer. I set the alarm for 165 degrees. Then I let the Akorn do its thing. No peeking till you thermometer hits 165 degrees.

Once your pork reaches 165 degrees take it off the smoker and wrap it tightly with foil. Your pork will look a little crusty and dry on the outside that is ok. I place my pork in a small Igloo cooler and let it rest for  1 hour. This will allow the juices in the meat to redistribute and help to keep the pork moist and tender. Don't cheat this is an important step and have tried to rush it before and found that the pork that rests for an hour tastes much better. 

After resting it is time to pull the pork. You can see that the juices have redistributed and the pork is very tender and juicy. The best test for pulled pork is to be able to remove the bone with out any meat sticking to it. Then just pushing on the pork it should virtually shred itself. This is great on a bun with BBQ sauce or wrapped in a tortilla. This was one of the best Boston Butts I have made and was great as left overs also. Enjoy!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Char-Griller Akorn Mustard Crusted Cedar Planked Salmon


Some backyard "Pit-masters" are intimidated when it comes to grilling fish. Most are afraid of the fish falling apart or just not turning out with good flavor. I have found that the best answer to holding your fish together and adding great flavor is to plank cooking. I am sure you have all seen the cedar planks in the seafood section of your local market. I have used this method for the last several years while grilling fish and have had great success. I have grilled halibut, grouper, and of course salmon. The wife and I really like salmon and we were lucky enough to have a good friend going on a fishing trip to Alaska and he brought us back a very nice wild caught Alaskan salmon. I couldn't resist the urge to plank grill it on the new Char-Griler Akorn. I have plank grilled several times on my Weber kettle and it has turned out great but the way the Char-Griller Akorn seals and keeps the smoke in is the way to go. This is a very simple recipe and you won't be disappointed.

Ingredients;


2 portions of Salmon
1/4 cup of dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of Old Bay seasoning
1 cedar plank



I start by taking the salmon portion and placing it on plastic plate that will fit the fish. I remove any skin and bones from the fish. The last thing a guest would want to bite into is a fish bone. This can be done easily by using a pair of needle nose pliers.


Once you have taken the skin off and de-boned the salmon it is time to season. I take the dijon mustard and baste the salmon on both sides. I then sprinkle a liberal amount of Old Bay seasoning on both sides.


I like to take and use my vacu-sealing machine and place the plate and all in a bag and vacuum seal it shut. Once it is vacuum sealed I let it sit for 2 hours till overnight prior to grilling. This will pull the mustard and Old Bay deep into the salmon. 


At least one hour prior grilling I take the cedar plank and put it into a large glass pan and fill with water. I use a bowl to weight down the plank to keep it submerged. By soaking the plank it will prevent it from burning during the grilling process. While the plank is soaking I prepare the grill with direct heat and have the Char-Griller Akorn dialed into 300 degrees.

I let the salmon grill over direct heat with dome closed for about 20 minutes. I then gently flip the salmon using a spatula. This lets the salmon become crusty on both sides. I let the salmon cook for another 5 minutes. We like our salmon grilled medium which keeps it moist. If you grill it more than that it can become dried out very similar to steak. Planking is a very good way to add flavor and makes it easy to grill fish. I recommend this way of grilling to all backyard "Pit-masters". If you wife is like mine she gets tired of the same BBQ dishes and this is a good way to mix it up a little. Enjoy!


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cake


I love to make things on the grill! I find it to be relaxing and fun. I also love desert, so about a year ago I set out on a mission to see what kind of good desert recipes I could come up with to make on my grill. I have practiced many times to get the perfect upside down cake. I modified the cake recipe a little to give it some more flavor (good pit masters never just use a standard recipe). This is a very good pineapple upside down cake and quite easy to make.  Its always neat to see the reactions of people that have never had a cake made on a grill before. Below is how I make Grilled Pineapple Upside Down Cake.



Ingredients:


1 box yellow cake mix
1 can sliced pineapples in juice
1 small can crushed pineapple
1 small jar of cherries
1 small package chopped walnuts
1/4 stick of butter
3 eggs
1/3 of cup of vegetable oil

Directions:

I like to use my Lodge 10 inch cast iron skillet for making this cake. It is a great tool to have it you do not have one, I use my for a lot of different things. I take a large mixing bowl and put the dry cake mix in the bowl. I take the juice from the sliced pineapples and pour in to my measuring cup. I add a little water to get the right amount for the cake mix instructions. I also add 3 table spoons of the crushed pineapple to the cake mix. I then add the eggs and the oil and blend until smooth.



After the cake batter is mixed and ready i start assembling he cake. I use the 1/4 stick of butter and heavily butter the inside of the Lodge skillet.



Next add a good handful of the chopped walnuts. 

Next layer is the pineapple and cherries. I layer the pineapples and fill in any voids with a small amount of the left over crushed pineapple. I also take the cherries and put into the center of each pineapple slice.


Now that all the layers are built gently pour your cake batter gently over the pineapple and cherries. I use a 3 zone fire and go with medium high heat. 350 is the ideal temperature as this is what is called for on the cake mix but anywhere in the area is good. It will just take a longer or shorter cooking time. I place the Lodge in center of the cooking grate. I let it bake for about 30-45 minutes and begin checking with a toothpick. When you insert and remove the toothpick it should come out without any batter on it. That is how you tell it is done.


Once the cake is done I let it cool for about 10 minutes. I use a butter knife and run it around the edge of the pan so the cake pulls away slightly. Then I take a dinner plate upside as a lid on the skillet. I take the whole thing and flip it right side up. Then it is time for it to cool for another 10 minutes prior to cutting and serving. You will be very happy with this grilled desert. Enjoy!