Old School Brisket (with Aaron Franklin’s BBQ Sauce)

Brisket...it's what's for dinner!
Brisket…it’s what’s for dinner!

     I’ve found my new method of cooking brisket and its “Old School”!! If you’ve listened to bbqers talk brisket, or read any bbq forums, you’ve probably found out there are a ton of ways to tackle this troublesome hunk of cow. Low and slow or turbo? Wrap during the cook or leave alone? If you wrap, aluminum foil or butcher paper? Inject? Marinate? What kind of rub? What type of wood for smoke? Sauce or no sauce? (Personally, I prefer not to have sauce on my brisket, maybe some on the side. Make sure to check out the sauce recipe at the end of the post if you must have sauce).  So many ways to approach it, it could make your head spin. What’s a fella’ to do?

5.46 lb full packer brisket, 100% grass fed...I'm just following the Doc's orders. ;)
5.46 lb full packer brisket, 100% grass fed…I’m just following the Doc’s orders. 😉

     My Doc recently told me that if I was to eat beef, it should be 100% grass fed. Seems that most beef is fattened up the last few weeks of their life on corn. Basically, they are turned into diabetic cows. It does something to the meat, something to do with changing the amino acids. Or something. I can’t quite remember. What I did get out of it is that it’s not good to feed diabetic meat to a diabetic…or anybody for that matter, but I’ll let you decide what’s right for you. So following the Doc’s orders, last weekend we went down to the Dallas Farmer’s Market in order to procure ourselves a 100% grass fed brisket from North Star Ranch. We’ve cooked a brisket from them, but it was years ago. Their briskets tend to run on the small size. This one was 5.46lbs. And yes it was a full packer. I know most full packers run in the 12-14lb range, some going down to 10lbs others going up as high as 18lbs. I believe it has something to do with being grass fed and that they slaughter them younger and smaller. Whatever the reason maybe, they are excellent briskets and 5.46lbs is more reasonable for two people anyway.

Brisket ready to be trimmed.
Brisket ready to be trimmed.

I “borrowed” one of my wife’s Diet Cokes to give you a size comparison of this brisket.

The briseket has been trimmed and rubbed down.
The brisket has been trimmed and rubbed down with salt and pepper.

     I’ve cooked brisket many a ways in the past. I was thinking about how I wanted to tackle this particular one and it came to me. Why not go back to the basics? Why not go old school? Nothing fancy, no special rubs, no mustard slather, no wrapping it during the cook. No, this was going to be plain Jane, good ole fashioned brisket. Nothing but a 50/50 mix of kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. The inspiration came from watching some videos of Aaron Franklin online last week. If you haven’t heard of Aaron Franklin, he’s a relatively new up and comer in the bbq world and the briskets he has been putting out at Franklin’s in Austin have been touted as the best in the world. Don’t believe me? Go check it out. Watching his videos, I learned that all he puts on his briskets is salt and pepper. If that is good enough for him and good enough to be called the best, well then is certainly is worth me giving it a shot.

The BGE coming up to temperature.
The BGE coming up to temperature.

     Look at that smoke pouring out of the Egg. Think its time I replace the gasket on it? Part of that is due to the fact that I was using a pit controller and the fan was whirring away trying to bring the Egg up to temperature. Still…that’s more than a little leak. By the way, for smoke we used a combination of mesquite wood chips and pecan and hickory chunks. I wanted to use strictly mesquite but come the morning of the cook I realized I had no mesquite chunks and chips by themselves just wouldn’t cut it.

Brisket on the Egg
Brisket on the Egg at 11am.

     I took this picture for me. Sort of a reference of which way the grain was running. Sometimes it can be hard to tell after the cook and the bark has formed. When slicing a brisket, you want to cut it against the grain. On this particular one, you can tell the grain is running from the bottom left corner to the top right corner (///). So when you slice it, you would want to slice it like this: \\\. At least on the flat, the grain usually changes direction when you come to the point.

Sausage added near the end.
Sausage added near the end of the cook.

     Continuing on with the “Old School” theme, for this cook I went with 250F at grate level for my temperature. I wasn’t real sure how long it would take. Generally, the rule of thumb is between an hour and an hour and a half per pound. I wasn’t real sure if that applied to grass feed beef as well, but we didn’t have any plans for the day. Bbq, and especially brisket, is ready when its ready. You can’t rush it. It would either be done in 5.46 hours, or it would be done in 8.19. The nice thing about the BGE is that it really needs no monitoring once it has stabilized. I was able to mow the yard, do some yard work. I even went up to the Richardson Farmer’s Market and the pharmacy while this was cooking. Try doing that with an offset smoker.

Finished!
Finished!

     This particular brisket went on at 11am. We finally pulled it once it had reached 196F and a toothpick slid in like butter with no resistance at 6:30pm. Seven and half hours later. Not too shabby. An easily managed cook. So first thing you want to do is cut into it, right? Wrong!! Just like a steak, if you cut into it now, all the juice is going to run out leaving you with a dry hunk of meat. You have two options instead. Either loosely tent it with foil for 30 minutes, or go with the “FTC” method. Foil, towels, cooler. What this means is wrap your brisket in heavy duty aluminum foil. Take a small cooler and line the bottom with towels. Make sure they aren’t the good guest towels, or you might find yourself sleeping on the couch. Place the wrapped brisket in the towel lined cooler and then add more towels to fill it up. If you do this method, you can hold your brisket for as little as 30 minutes up to 4 hours and it will still be steaming hot.

Sliced
Sliced

Is your mouth watering now?

The flat.
The flat.

This is a slice from the flat. It is the leaner portion of the brisket and does not contain as much fat.

The point
The point

     This is a slice from the point. Even after being in a cooler for 30 minutes, it was so hot that I couldn’t hold it and snap a picture without a paper towel. You’ll notice that it is juicier and has a different texture. To me, the point is the best part of a brisket. In fact, if I could get just the point, I don’t think I would ever cook a full packer.

Plated up with some sausage and creamed spinach
Plated up with some sausage and creamed spinach

     Smoked brisket! In my mind the perfect meal. We served it up with some boracho beans (drunk beans), creamed spinach and the sausage. Heavenly. Even though we did not achieve the desired smoke ring (I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out that one), this brisket came out great. Not under cooked where it would be tough, not over cooked where it would fall apart, but perfectly fork tender. Great smoke flavor and to be quite honest…the plain 50/50% salt and pepper rub was outstanding. A great flavor that did not compete with the taste of the meat, but complimented it perfectly. I don’t think I will ever use another rub on a brisket again, just salt and pepper. As for the sauce, it wasn’t needed at all, but once I got done doctoring it up, it was wonderful. A velvety, buttery feel and taste to it, with a hint of smoke (I added in the liquid that accumulated in the foil while it was wrapped) and just a bit of heat. Try Aaron Franklin’s sauce how he explained it on a YouTube video, but feel free to adapt it to your taste palate.

Aaron Franklin’s BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 lb butter
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 cup s ketchup (not high fructose corn syrup)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 oz light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a little less than 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a little less than 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed
  1. Melt butter and saute onions until soft and translucent.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Serve warm with bbq.

We found his sauce to be on the sweet side, so we added in some drippings from the brisket, Frank’s Hot Sauce, more black pepper, some red pepper flakes, ancho and chipotle powder. Feel free to adjust to suit your tastes. Next time, I think I’ll cut back on the butter as well.

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The Most Hated Vegetable

The most hated Vvegetable on the planet.
The most hated vegetable on the planet.

     Brussels sprouts…they have to be one of the most hated vegetables on the planet  (and yes there is an “s” at the end of Brussels, which is also capitalized, BTW). It ranks above broccoli, spinach, beets and lima beans as the most despised according to some polls I read. It’s not hard to see why. When prepared wrong, they can have a bitter, sulfur-y taste and a strong, unpleasant smell. To make matters worse, children are more sensitive to bitter flavors than adults. They often try them and the mindset that Brussels sprouts are “nasty” stick with them. They refuse to try them again and never realize that as their palates change, so might their view on these amazing vegetables. Yeah…I said amazing. I fell in to that same trap. Didn’t like them as a kid, figured I hated them as an adult.

     Mrs. G and I have been married for three years. In that time, she has made them once. ONCE…and I think I gagged on them. Granted they were frozen. This past weekend we went to Dallas Farmer’s Market. While we were there, she spotted some nice looking sprouts. Knowing that she likes sprouts, I acquiesced to her desires while quietly thinking to myself that I would have to suffer because of it. Little did I know how wonderful they could be when prepared right.

     Before we get on with the recipe, lets talk about the health benefits for a bit. Why should we eat this vegetable that is so hated? I won’t get all scientific on you. I’ll try and keep it simple. Brussels sprouts are loaded with fiber and protein and can be a low-calorie dish for starters. They also have potent anti-cancer properties and can boost DNA repair in cells. Still not convinced? They can help lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, maintain low blood sugar, fight inflammation and aid in digestion.  They are loaded with vitamins. One cup contains 20% of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Vitamin A, 161% of Vitamin C and 273.5% of Vitamin K. Not to mention, they are loaded with folate and plenty of minerals like iron, copper and potassium. That’s just a few of the benefits of eating this little, miniature cabbage looking vegetable. If you need more, you can do some research of your own. For me? That’s plenty.

How can it be bad when you start with bacon?
How can it be bad when you start with bacon?

Ingredients

  • 10 Brussels sprouts, cut in half with stem removed
  • 2 strips of bacon
  • 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup diced red onions (or shallots)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Use the bacon grease to saute the onions. See? Getting better. :)
Use the bacon grease to saute the onions. See? Getting better.!

Directions

  1. In a large skillet on medium high, fry up two pieces of bacon until brown and crisp. Remove and set aside.
  2. Add olive oil to the bacon grease and saute red onions until soft.
  3. Add in Brussels sprouts and saute until bright green and slightly softened. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium low, cover and allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cut bacon into small pieces. Add bacon to the sprouts after they have cooked for 10 minutes. Stir for 30 seconds and serve.
Add chicken broth once sprouts have turned bright green and softened slightly.
Add chicken broth once sprouts have turned bright green and softened slightly.

See? That wasn’t so hard was it?

Everything is better with a little bacon in it!
Add in the bacon after it has simmered for 10 minutes in chicken stock.

How could it be bad seeing as how it has bacon it?

Plated up with a chicken dish we are working on.
Plated up with a chicken dish we are working on (we’ll get back to you on that one when we perfect it).

     Who knew I could like Brussels sprouts so much? Not my Mom, that’s for sure. She once had me sit at the table for hours and hours upon end till I finished everything on my plate. I out lasted her and she finally caved in. But not now! Not with these tasty sprouts. We actually ate them twice this week! I requested Mrs. G make them again and take pictures so we could do a post about them because I liked them that much! I ask you…Nay, I implore you…if you think you hate Brussels sprouts and haven’t tried them in years and years, give them one more chance. Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.

     I wonder…how can I turn this beautiful veggie into a dish prepared on the grill? This is gonna take some thought and research. Once I figure that out, I’ll let you know. 🙂

Grilled Blackened Trout w/ Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce (updated 2/11/14)

Blackened Trout with Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce
Blackened Trout with Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce

      Sticking with our current trend of trying to cook a bit healthier, I bring you our version of blackened trout. I say “our version” because we didn’t quite cook it the way it is supposed to be cooked.

     For those unfamiliar with blackening, it is a cooking technique used in the preparation of fish and other foods. Often associated with Cajun cuisine, this technique was popularized by Chef Paul Prudhomme. For this technique, the seafood (or chicken) is dipped in melted butter, then liberally coated with a mixture of herbs and spices and then cooked in a very hot cast iron skillet. The seafood should have a brown-black crust that results from a combination of the browned milk solids of the butter and the charred spices.

     While we could have gone that way, we opted to try and be a bit healthier by skipping the dredge in butter and instead lightly coated it in olive oil. Since the fat from the butter was omitted, I was afraid it might stick to a hot cast iron pan. Instead, I grilled it directly over open flame on a grill basket. It might not be truly authentic blackening and it might not be that much healthier, but it still tasted amazing! 🙂   

     And don’t get me started on the tartar sauce! That stuff should be illegal! I could eat it straight. In fact, I might have had a spoonful or two of it after I whipped it up. You won’t tell, will you? 😉 Do me a favor…toss out that jarred crap you have floating around somewhere in the back of your fridge and make your own. You can thank me later. Ok, let’s get started with the tartar sauce, since the longer you let it sit, the better it gets.

The trout went "meat" side down at 500F to start.
The trout went “meat” side down at 500F to start.

Horseradish and Tarragon Tartar Sauce

(serves 4)

  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 to 3 tbsp of prepared horseradish, I’ll let you decide how spicy you want it
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion (**update yellow onion work better**)
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 3 dashes of hot sauce (I prefer Frank’s, but feel free to sub in your own brand and adjust if you want more)
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped tarragon leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (2 hours would be better if you have the time)

After removing the trout, throw a few shrimp on for a few minutes.
After removing the trout, throw a few shrimp on for a few minutes.

Blackening Seasoning

  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix together ingredients in a small bowl. If not using immediately, store in an airtight container.

Mmmm...so tasty!
Mmmm…so tasty!

Ok, you’ve got your tartar sauce prepared and your blackening seasoning is mixed up and ready to go. Time to get started on the fish (and shrimp if you want to add some as well).

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your grill to medium high. For our Big Green Egg, we stabilized it at 500F. I like to use a grill basket when doing fish as I find it easier to flip the fish. (If you don’t have one, it is not the end of the world. You can cook it on the original grates). Insert the grill basket onto your grill and let it come up to temperature with the grill.
  2. Brush your trout lightly with olive oil and season liberally with blackening seasoning. I mean go heavy with the stuff. Don’t hold back. If you are going to do some shrimp as well, shell the shrimp and dust with the seasoning.
  3. When you are ready to grill your fish, pour some oil on a paper towel and wipe down the grates on your grill. Trout is a fast cooking fish, so do not leave your grill while it is cooking. Place the trout meat side down on the oiled grates and grill for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip. If the fish is sticking to the grates, allow to cook 30 seconds to a minute more and then try to flip. The fish will cling to the grates until it is ready to flip. Once you flip the fish, grill for another minute or two. Remove from grill when fish reaches 135F.
  4. Allow fish to rest covered loosely with foil for 5 minutes. The temperature of the trout should carry over to 140-145 while resting.
  5. While the fish is resting, through a few shrimp on the grill if you like. They only take a few minutes per side.
  6. Serve with plenty of your home-made horseradish and tarragon tartar sauce on the side.
How can you resist?
How can you resist?

     Mrs. G told me later that evening that this had to be one of the best dinners we have cooked in weeks. The heat from the blackening seasoning was just right. The cool, creaminess of the tartar sauce offset it perfectly and the flavors were outstanding. She made me promise to never buy the jarred stuff again and to make it from scratch from now on. And the Brussel sprouts you see on the side there? Who knew I liked Brussel sprouts? I’ve been missing out all these years. Tune in later this week and we’ll show you how to make them. Mrs. G made them last night and I wasn’t paying attention, but she’s going to make them again tonight and I’ll make sure to take pictures and get a recipe. If only I knew before now…

Nutrional Facts Per Serving (minus the blackening seasoning and the shrimp)

Calories: 507   Protein: 47g   Carbs: 1g   Total Sugar: 0g   Total Fat: 33g   Saturated Fat: 4.8g

Cholesterol: 138mg   Sodium: 661mg   Fiber: 0g

**Update 2/11/14**

We’ve made the tartar sauce numerous times since this post was written. In fact, we no longer buy pre-made tartar sauce anymore. While the red onions work fine, we’ve found that if allowed to sit, they tend to “stain” the tartar sauce and make it pink. We have subbed in yellow onions and that has fixed the problem without significantly changing the flavor profiles. While the red onions might give it an aesthetically pleasing edge, unless it is to be served within a few hours, we now opt for yellow.

Grilled Shrimp Salad

Grilled Shrimp Salad
Grilled Lemon Shrimp Salad

     For some reason, every time I’m cooking shrimp, I think of the movie Forest Gump. Specifically the scene where Bubba says:

“Anyway, like I was sayin’, shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that’s about it.”

     Am I the only one who does that? Is there something wrong with me? The other thing that comes to mind is that God awful phrase with an Australian accent, “Let’s throw some shrimp on the Barbie.” I try not to let that one creep into my mind, otherwise it’ll be stuck there for a few days. Dang it…now it’s stuck in my head. Oh well, this light and tasty grilled shrimp salad was worth it and it’ll be in my head for a while, too.

     Are you getting sick of the healthy recipes yet? I sure hope not because I have plenty more planned. Eating healthy doesn’t mean bland food and this dish did not disappoint. From the flavors the brine brought to the grilled shrimp to the zesty and tangy light dressing that topped the salad, this recipe packed a ton of flavor, was quick and easy to prepare. Not to mention healthy.

     You may remember our Brined Shrimp from back in January. Why brine the shrimp (or any meat for that matter)? Simple. Brining can improve the flavor and texture of your meat as well as help keep it from drying out when you cook it. And for shrimp, it only takes 20-25 minutes. You’ve got that kind of time right? Perfect for sitting down with a glass of wine or your beverage of choice and relaxing. One more thing before getting started…leave those shells on! They help protect the shrimp from the heat and drying out.

The shrimp on the grill at 400F
The shrimp on the grill at 400F

Ingredients

(makes 4 servings)

  • 1 lb of shrimp
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1/4 cup Kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Zatarain’s Extra Spicy Crawfish, Shrimp and Crab Boil (not the liquid kind)
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp Cajun Seasoning (we use Dizzy Pig’s Swamp Venom)
  • about 6 cups of your favorite salad mix
  • 1/2 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
  • any other vegetables you enjoy in a salad. We used some grape tomatoes, mushrooms, radishes and cucumbers to round ours out.
The shrimp are done and cooling off
The shrimp are done and cooling off

Directions

  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  2. While waiting for the water to boil, you may opt to clean the shrimp. Using a pair of scissors or a serrated knife, make an incision down the backside of the shrimp, following the intestinal track. Eviscerate shrimp and rinse under cool water leaving shells intact.
  3. Once your water has come to a boil, pour it into a large bowl and add sugar, salt, boil seasonings and 2 cups of ice. Once the mixture has cooled, add shrimp and allow to brine for 20-25 minutes.
  4. Preheat your grill to high (mine was at 400F. Next time I would go 450-500F)
  5. While the shrimp is brining, prepare your salad and salad dressing. For the dressing, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, water and Cajun seasoning in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate dressing until ready to use.
  6. After 25 minutes, drain the brine and rinse the shrimp 2 or 3 times. Dry the shrimp thoroughly and skewer the shrimp. I like to use two skewers as it keeps the shrimp from spinning when you go to flip them.
  7. Rub the shrimp with olive oil and season with Dizzy Pig Swamp Venom or Cajun seasoning.
  8. Place your shrimp on the grill. It should only take a few minutes per side, depending on how hot your grill is. Keep an eye on your shrimp as it cooks quickly and is easy to over cook.
  9. Allow shrimp to cool and then peel. In a large bowl, combine shrimp, salad greens and any other vegetables you chose. Add dressing and gently toss to coat.

Nutritional Facts Per Serving*

148 cal, 6 g total fal (1 g sat. fat), 171 mg chol, 310 mg sodium, 5 g carb, 0 g fiber 19 g protein

Exchanges: 2.5 very lean meat, 1.5 vegetables, 0.5 fat

Carb Choices: 0

*I am not a nutritionist or an expert by any means. The nutritional facts came from a recipe I found that used pre-cooked shrimp and did not include the brining steps I added. Those may change some of the data. The type of mayonnaise (we used Duke’s Light Mayonnaise) and Cajun seasoning you choose might also affect the data. Use the nutritional facts as a loose guide.

A refreshing and light grilled shrimp salad
A refreshing and light grilled shrimp salad

     Often times, when we think of the word salad, it brings a negative connotation to mind. Yeah, its healthy and we should eat more of it. But we also think bland and boring. This salad was anything but. The shrimp was plump and bursting with flavor, yet still tasting of the sea. The dressing, while simple, was tangy and refreshing. I love me some meat and potatoes, but I was happy eating this salad. One thing I kept thinking over and over again was that this is going to be a great salad when the oppressive heat of summer is bearing down on us. Light, cool and refreshing.  Perfect for summer time. I’m already looking forward to enjoying this one again and again when the hot months descend upon us.

Four-Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms (Diabetic Friendly)

Mmmm...stuffed mushrooms!
Mmmm…stuffed mushrooms!

     I like mushrooms. Nowhere near as much as Mrs. G, though. She loves her some fungus. Sauteed mushrooms with a steak, The Pioneer Woman’s Burgundy Mushrooms, mushrooms on her pizza, mushrooms in her salad, fried mushrooms. Heck, she’d eat mushrooms with her mushrooms. That’s why I knew when I saw this recipe glancing through our new cookbook “Our Best Diabetic Living Recipes” that it would be one of the first we tried. And I’ll confess, I wanted to make them as well.

I love spring time. Perfect weather allows us to hang out on the patio and sip a few cold ones while the grill chugs away. Just wish it lasted longer in Texas.
I love spring time. Perfect weather allows us to hang out on the patio and sip a few cold ones while the grill chugs away. Just wish it lasted longer in Texas.

     That picture really has nothing to do with the mushrooms. I thought it came out really good and I just wanted to share it. BTW, that Lone Star Bock is pretty good stuff. Ok, back on topic now. Don’t these stuffed mushrooms look mouth watering?

How could you not want to try one of these?
How could you not want to try one of these?

Ingredients

  • 24 large fresh musrooms (the bigger the better)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 sun dried tomatoes (not oil-packed)
  • 1 cup light ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese (2 oz)
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp snipped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil (crushed)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (we used low fat)
First remove the stems.
First remove the stems.

Directions

(make sure to read the follow-up at the bottom of the post for an alternate way to grill these mushrooms)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F (and grill to 450F if desired).
  2. Remove and discard mushroom stems (we saved them for our salad).
  3. Brush caps with oil and place stem side down. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. While baking mushrooms, in a medium-sized bowl, pour boiling water over dried tomatoes. Let stand 10 minutes.
  5. Drain mushroom caps and tomatoes. Set mushroom caps aside.
  6. In the same bowl, coarsely snip tomatoes. Stir in the ricotta, spinach, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, snipped basil, garlic and salt and pepper.
  7. Turn mushroom caps stem sides up. Stuff with filling and sprinkle with feta cheese.
  8. Bake the mushroom caps in your oven or on the grill at 450F for 8 to 10 minutes or until filling is heated through and light brown. Serve immediately.

Per Mushroom: 42 cal, 3 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 8 mg chol, 105 mg sodium, 2 g carb, 0 g fiber, 3 g pro.

Exchanges: 0.5 medium-fat meat

Carb Choices: 0

'Shrooms have been stuffed
‘Shrooms have been stuffed, ready for the grill

     Obviously, these mushrooms can be pre-baked, stuffed and then finished off in the oven at 450F. But what fun is that when you can throw them on the grill instead? Besides, it was one of those beautiful days that were perfect for sitting on the patio and I had already fired up the grill for steaks.

Onto the grill at 450 take II
Onto the grill at 450

     I placed the mushrooms on the edge of the grill  because its it a little cooler, they are not over as much burning, hot lump and to give me room to grill our steaks at the same time.

Off the grill
Off the grill

Piping hot, right off of the grill. They may not have all made it inside from the grill. One or two might have disappeared into my mouth. You have to have quality control, you know? 😉

Who wouldn't want to get up close and personal with these mushrooms?
Who wouldn’t want to get up close and personal with these mushrooms?

Sorry for all the pics. I might have gotten a little excited. Not to mention, I think the pictures came out really good that night.

Plated 2 How good does that look?
How good does that look? Don’t you wish your monitor came with Smell-A-Vision?

     These mushrooms did not disappoint. Mrs. G loved them. So much, we had them again the following night. Packed with flavor from the cheeses and tomatoes and basil. Perfect blend of savory and salty and just a hint of smokiness from the charcoal. We couldn’t stop eating them. Truth be told, I thought they were better than the grass fed steaks we had (first time eating grass fed, not impressed). If you are looking for an appetizer or just a healthy side dish to go along with your meal, I highly recommend giving these ‘shrooms a try.

***Follow Up***

I know…how can you have a follow up if you are just now posting it for the first time? The first time we did these beautiful mushrooms, we followed the cooking directions directly from Better Homes and Gardens “Our Best Diabetic Living Recipes”. While they came out pretty good damn good, we didn’t really like the pre-baking idea. The mushrooms shrunk and we thought it might have dried them out a bit. The second night, we did not pre-bake the mushrooms. Instead we just stuffed them and placed them directly on the grill at 400F. I didn’t actually time them, just pulled them when they were heated through and turned a light golden brown (sorry about that). Let me tell you…they were much better!! They were so tender and juicy! Oh how juicy they were! Try them both ways if you want, but I’m going to skip the pre-baking step from now on.  I recommend you do as well.