Nothing fancy here, no special recipe or technique. This post is more to highlight what the MINI Big Green Egg can do.
Decided to cook up some pork tenderloins Saturday night. They got a simple rub of DP Red Eye Express (a coffee-infused BBQ rub). I was going to fire up the Large Egg, but glanced over at the MINI. It still feels like a new toy to me, and you know how kids are with new toys. I thought to myself, “Bet the tenderloins would fit on it.” Got it fired up to 400F and tossed them on. Yep, they fit. Oh yeah, Jack Daniels wood chips for smoke.
OK…I lie. I will give you one cooking tip since you were kind enough to drop in and see what we’ve been up to. You notice the butcher’s string in the above picture? Go ahead, take a look, I’ll wait…if you are familiar with pork tenderloins, you know that one end is thick and it tapers off into a much thinner end on the other side. This can prove a bit tricky when cooking them. You don’t want to over cook the thinner end. So what I like to do is to take the thinner end and fold it back on itself and either tie it off with some string or use a toothpick or skewers to hold it in place. The doubling up causes it to cook slower and you are left with a more uniform cook throughout the tenderloin.
I thought I remembered tenderloins taking about 20 minutes at 400F on the large. On the MINI, they ended up taking about 30 minutes. However long it takes, make sure to cook to temperature and not time, though. My plan was to pull them at 140-5, but I got distracted watching my buddy’s kid. He just started walking 3 days ago and he was all over the place. He was having a blast and Bodi, our little Yorkie, finally found a friend his size to play with. So I think the tenderloins ended up coming off more around 160, but still plenty juicy, not dried up at all.
Didn’t get any plated up pics, but the wife whipped up some mashed taters and some of the Pioneer Woman’s mushrooms. Good meal for sure.
We’ve had the MINI Egg for about a month now. I knew it was going to get used when I got it, but I really didn’t know how much. It is quickly becoming our work horse here at the casa. It maybe small, but it easily handles the food for just the two of us. A large steak that we can split. Chicken breasts. Sausage. Mini pizzas. Even the unexpected gift of a wok that we recieved for stir-fry. And now pork tenderloins. Is the MINI for you? Maybe not, especially if you routinely cook for more than two. You’ll have to evaluate your own needs, but for us? We love it.
I was rooting around in the freezer the other night, trying to see what had become lost in it and to plan some dinners for this week when I discovered a bag of pulled pork that I had totally forgotten about. How is that possible? Anyway, this was from an Overnight Pork Butt back in April and was our first time using a pit controller (don’t worry, the pork was vacuum sealed so no freezer burn).
I didn’t want to just reheat it and make pulled pork sandwiches, however. Just wasn’t feeling it. I was looking for something different. I asked on Facebook on Wednesday what people’s favorite ways were to use leftover pulled pork and got some really great answers – loaded baked potatoes with BBQ sauce, pulled pork pizza, pulled pork smoked mac n cheese (think Mrs. G really wants to try this one), tacos and BBQ sundaes. Although all seemed good (and I’m gonna try some with the next bag, did I mention I found 3 bags?), I opted to stick with my first inclination…pulled pork nachos.
leftover pulled pork
shredded cheese (I used a mixture or Oaxaca, Chihuahua and cheddar cheese, what I had on hand)
Begin by laying down a bed of tortilla chips on a cookie sheet.
Top generously with cheese, enchilada sauce and pulled pork.
Add another layer of chips on top and repeat with cheese, enchilada sauce and pork. Build it as high as you want.
Place under a broiler (set at 500F if you oven allows you to do this) and bake until cheese is melted. It only takes a few minutes.
Remove from oven and top with pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole and jalapenos.
The pulled pork really added another level to the nachos. The smokey flavor from the pecan and hickory came through along with the twang from the North Carolina Vinegar Sauce that was drizzled on before freezing it. The pico de gallo had just the right amount of heat and the sour cream and guacamole did a nice job of cooling it down. It’s nachos, so I’m not sure why I am explaining them to you. You’ve had them before. Now go out and try them with pulled pork.
Pico de gallo. Literally translated as beak of the rooster. Rooster’s beak. What a weird name for a salsa. I’m not sure where the name came from and it really doesn’t make much difference. All you need to know is this stuff is delicious. It’s something we grew up eating in South Texas and it is so easy to make. Pico de gallo is generally known as a fresh condiment made from chopped tomato, onion, and chiles (typically serranos or jalapeños). Other ingredients may also be added to the salsa, such as lime juice, cilantro, avocado, cucumber, and radish.
The great thing about making your own pico at home, is that you can adjust it to your taste. Want more heat? Throw in more jalapenos or a serrano pepper. Want less heat? Remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapenos before dicing them up. Not a cilantro fan (what, you don’t like cilantro? What’s wrong with you? 😉 ), skip it. Don’t let the picture above fool you. Not all of that went into my pico, I was just laying out the ingredients before getting started. That would have been way too much jalapeno for our household. And only about a 1/4 of that onion went in. And the garlic was playing hide and seek. Ok…I forgot to include some garlic for the picture. You got me.
1/4 to 1/2 and onion
3 cloves of garlic
juice of one lime
salt and pepper
Finely dice up jalapenos. If you like heat, use seeds and all. If you are a bit less heat tolerant, slice jalapenos lengthwise. With a spoon, remove the membrane and seeds and discard, then finely chop up jalapeno. Add to a large, non-reactive bowl.
Finely dice up tomatoes, onions and garlic and add to the bowl.
Chop up about a 1/4 cup of cilantro and add to the veggies in the bowl. You can add more or less, depending on how you feel about the stuff.
Squeeze the juice of one lime over the pico and mix well.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy immediately, or better yet, allow to chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to blend and mingle.
How easy is that? And much better than anything you will ever get in a can or jar. Some helpful tips. Not hot enough, add more jalapenos, serranos or hot sauce (like Cholula). Too hot? Try adding another tomato or some sugar to bring that heat level down. Do you like fruit? Try adding mango, watermelon or even strawberries. The ingredients listed about are just a starting point that you can use for developing your own personal pico de gallo.
One last thing before I let you go, do you like guacamole? Of course you do. Want an easy way to make some? Take one avocado and cut in half. Remove seed and using a sharp knife, crosshatch the avocado. Take a spoon and scoop it out of the skin. Use a fork to mash the avocado to your liking, some people prefer really smooth guacamole, some prefer chunky. I’ll let you decide. Now take a spoonful or two of the fresh pico de gallo you just made and add it to the diced avocado. Add the juice of half a lime, some salt and pepper to taste and there you go…your own easy, spicy guacamole!! That wasn’t hard, was it? (Sorry, no pics of the guacamole. I started eating it and couldn’t make myself stop to take a picture.)
Mrs. G and I don’t cook many breakfasts on the Egg. Not that we couldn’t, but we tend to have different morning schedules. I get up earlier and let the dogs out, maybe grab a quick bite to eat. Mrs. G likes to sleep in. Rarely do we get up around the same time and cook breakfast, and when we do, we generally don’t feel like firing up the Egg.
This past weekend was the Plano Outlaw Eggfest. The second year for us cooking at it, and we really wanted to start off the day with a breakfast item. So we racked out brains and tried to come up with a good idea. We found a recipe that sounded good to us, but we thought we’d put a Mexican twist on it and ended up with Mexican Breakfast Pizzas.
(I’m going to let you know that there are pictures from two different days rolled in here. We made a trial run of this to make sure it would work out and then again for the actual Eggfest. We were so busy at the Eggfest, we kinda, sorta forgot to take pictures of all the steps, so some pictures are from the trial run.)
Pre-made pizza dough (we used 1/2 of Tom Thumb’s White Wheat Pizza Dough)
12 oz San Miguel chorizo
1 cup frozen hash browns, thawed
1/2 cup Oaxaca Cheese and 1/2 cup Chihuahua cheese, shredded (or 1 cup of Monterrey Jack or your favorite cheese)
4 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup milk
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat your Egg (or oven) to 425 with your pizza stone inside.
Remove chorizo from casings and fry up in a medium skillet over medium heat, drain grease and set aside.
Roll out your pizza dough, making sure to create a lip on the edge to prevent the eggs from leaking out later. Top pizza dough with chorizo.
Next, add the hasbrowns
Add the shredded cheese
Scramble your eggs and add milk and salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle on top of the pizza making sure to evenly cover the entire pizza. You may not need the whole egg mixture depending on the size of your pizza. If it begins to leak out the side, you have probably added enough.
Bake at 425, for about 12-15 minutes. Make sure to check on your pizza and spin occasionally to make sure it cooks evenly.
Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese before serving
So we cooked this Mexican Breakfast Pizza twice in one week. Once as a trial run and Mrs. G and I thought it was a hit. We cooked it again for the Eggfest, and either people were really starving or they agreed with us as it disappeared in under 5 minutes. Chorizo and eggs and cheese are always such a great pairing, they are just made to go together. Throw in some hashbrowns and pizza dough and how could you go wrong? If you are looking for new ideas for a breakfast item, I suggest making this pizza. I think it would be a great brunch item as well.
The only thing I would do different (and I meant to do it the second time around and totally got busy and forgot) would be to dice up some jalapenos and add them as well. If you don’t like heat, no worries. The pizza works just fine without them. We just like a bit of heat. 😉