Soy Vay Island Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin

Picked up some pork tenderloins the other day at Sams’s. 3 went in the freezer and one took a 24 hour bath in this stuff.

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First time trying it out, sounded interesting. For this cook, I decided to use the Mini since it’s been sitting dormant for a while. Went and ahead and hooked up the new Flame Boss 100 to see how it would work on the Mini and a direct cook. Set it for 400.

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Tenderloins sure do take up a lot of room on the Mini. Almost done.

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Took about 30 minutes or so to hit 145, I was shooting for 140. Don’t tell anybody.

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You  noticed the tooth picks sticking out of one end? I like to fold over the skinny end of a tenderloin and secure it in place. I find that if left alone, that skinny end will end up being way overdone. I’ve tried using butcher’s twine, but the skinny end tends to slip out when the tenderloin is flipped. Toothpicks just seem to work better for me.
As always with large proteins, I let it rest about 10 minutes before slicing.

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Look at all that juice!! We served it up on a bed of rice and drizzled on some of the reserved marinade. When using marinade that has touched raw meat, I boil it for 10 minutes and then let simmer until it reduced and thickened up a bit. I don’t know if that is technically “safe” and might not be restaurant approved, so do it at your own risk. I’ve never gotten sick, nor has anybody I’ve ever served, but I’m throwing out a little warning there for you to heed or not.

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I was actually a bit surprised. It came out really good. Not really like your average teriyaki at all. Not overly salty, but had a sweetness to it that was very interesting. Even though I overshot the temp I was gonna pull it at by 5 degrees, it was still plenty juicy and oh so tender.  The leftovers are gonna make some great sliders served up on some King’s Hawaiian rolls. 😀 I just wish I had made some kind of slaw and/or caramelized onions to go along with it.  Will definitely use this marinade again in the future.

 

Flanken-Cut Beef Short Ribs

Flanken-cut Beef Short Ribs

     Last week, I had to go to Sam’s to pick up some ribs to cook for one of the Jawja cousins who was rolling through town and was going to be spending the night with us (that’s Georgia, for the rest of ya). While there, I was perusing the meat section, looking to see if anything looked good. Brisket looked good, but I didn’t have the time to smoke one of those, let alone enough mouths to feed it to. Short ribs looked good, and I thought about it. Mrs. G is always asking me to make her Braised Short Ribs in a Red Wine Sauce. And then right next to it was more short ribs, but cut differently…flanken-cut beef short ribs. I really didn’t know anything about this cut other than its used in Korean BBQ, bulgogi and kalbi, but always being up for a challenge (even if it was self-issued), they went into my basket. I figured it had been awhile since we’ve had my parents over for dinner and this would be a perfect Sunday night dinner to share with them.

Beef ribs marinating

Not sure what to do with them, I looked up a few things on the internet and asked on some bbq forums for a bit of advice. I was kind of shocked to see that the majority of the recipes had an Asian spin to them. It was really difficult to find anything that didn’t lean in that direction in some way. Figuring that was some kind of sign and that I should probably go that route, I opted to combine a few of the recipes and come up with my own.

Ingredients

  • 4-6 lbs of beef short ribs, cut flanken style
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1 12oz beer
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Argentine beef rub or your favorite beef rub

 

Beff ribs on a 450F grill

 Directions

  1. Mix all ingredients (except beef rub) in a large, non-reactive bowl. Arrange beef ribs in a large container or zip lock bag and pour marinade over ribs. Place ribs in refrigerator and allow to marinate, turning occasionally. (I let mine marinate about 8 hours, but the longer you allow them to marinate the stronger the flavor will be)
  2. Remove ribs from refrigerator and drain the marinade. Pat the ribs dry and apply Argentine Rub (or other beef rub)
  3. Set up grill for direct cooking and preheat to 450 F or medium-high heat. You should be able to hold your hand 4 inches above the grate for about 2-3 seconds.
  4. Grill beef ribs for about 3-4 minutes and then flip and cook for an additional 2-3. Be very careful and keep a close eye on your grill. There will be quite a bit of fat dripping off and flareups will occur. Now is not the time to go and get a cold beverage, answer the phone or talk to guests. Focus on the meat, moving it to avoid flareups and to make sure all ribs cook evenly.
  5. Remove ribs from the grill when lightly charred on both sides and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Grilled Flanken-cut Beef Short Ribs

Talk about an amazing combination of flavors! The ribs had an intense beef flavor combined with an underlying sweet and salty flavor from the soy sauce and sugar. Extremely tender and the char from being cooked over lump charcoal took it just one step further. Nothing but silence for the first few minutes as my family began eating. You can’t ask for more than that. The ribs were served up with some roasted potatoes that Mrs. G whipped up along with a salad.

Cast Iron Pineapple Upside Down Cake cooked on the Egg

And since things have been so hectic for everybody lately and we totally missed celebrating my Dad’s B-Day, earlier in the day, I had whipped up a Pineapple Upside Down Cake (which is his favorite). He had never had my version cooked on the Egg and I think he was more than pleased with it. Time spent with family and good food….perfect way to end a crazy week.

Cast Iron Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Szechwan Beef Stir-Fry

Szechwan Beef Stir Fry

     This will be our second attempt to eat healthier and comes from “The Sonoma Diet” by Dr. Connie Guttersen and is the Szechwan Beef and Snow Pea Stir Fry. Mrs. G’s made this dish for me before (long before we started this blog). It’s a very tasty dish and is quite versatile. The beef can easily subbed out for chicken or shrimp and the vegetables can be switched to meet your tastes or for whatever is in season. For this dish, I turned over the reins and let Mrs. G do the cooking.

Garlic, ginger, mushrooms and onions in the pan

Ingredients (makes 4 servings)

  • 1 lb beef sirloin steak
  • 1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp dry sherry or water
  • 2 tbsp Oriental chili sauce with garlic (I recommend the Huy Fong, same people who make Sriracha, look for the rooster and that unmistakable green top)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 8 oz of fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 medium bell peppers, cut into bite sized strips
  • 8 oz fresh pea pods
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

***we omitted the carrots (Mrs. G’s preference), fresh pea pods (didn’t have any) and reduced the amounts by half to serve just the two of us. We also added in 1/4 white onion, coarsely chopped and a small can of water chestnuts, but otherwise we followed the recipe above to a T. 😉  ****

Bell peppers and water chestnuts joining the party

Directions

  1. Trim fat from beef and cut into thin bite size strips. Place beef in a medium bowl and add 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tsp cornstarch and stir to combine. Cover and let stand at least 15 minutes to marinate.
  2. For the sauce, combine 3 tbsp of soy sauce, sherry, chili sauce, water, 1 tbsp cornstarch and sesame oil.
  3. In a wok or very large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add mushrooms (and onion if using) and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add carrots, stir-fry 2 minutes. Add bell peppers and pea pods, stir fry for 2 minutes. Remove vegetables from wok or skillet and set aside.
  4. Allow wok to heat back up and add 1 tbsp canola oil. Once heated, add beef mixture and stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until desired doneness.
  5. Stir sauce and add to wok. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook for additional 2 minutes. Return vegetables to wok and stir to coat with sauce. Continue cooking until heated through.
  6. Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds if desired.
Veggies have been removed, time to brown the meat

     Somehow, I got distracted and didn’t get anymore pictures until the meal was completed. I had to feed the dogs and I think I was instructed to wash some dishes while Mrs. G was finishing it up.

Plated up with some rice and spring rolls

     Just because you are eating healthy, doesn’t mean you have to skimp on flavor and this dish has it in spades. Tons of flavor and easily to adjust by changing the protein or the veggies. Want more heat? Up the chili sauce, or add peppers. A great beginner dish for first time stir-fryers to try, just make sure that all your meat, veggies and sauces are prepped prior to starting to cook. Once you begin, you can’t stop to cut up carrots or bell peppers or other veggies. In 30 minutes, you’ll have a taste of the Orient, with more flavor (and cheaper) than delivery.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

  • 328 calories
  • 13 g total fat (2 g sat fat)
  • 69 mg chol
  • 775 mg sodium
  • 21 g carb
  • 5 g fiber
  • 30 g protein

     And just so you fellow Eggheads (and other grilling enthusiasts) know, this can easily be cooked on the Big Green Egg. In fact, was one of the first stir-fry dishes I attempted and was what convinced me to get a spider and a wok for the Egg. I recommend cooking this dish somewhere around 500-550. And here is a picture of that first attempt way back in May of 2011. As you can see, I used onions, mushrooms, carrots and asparagus in this version.

First ever attempt at stir-fry

 

Chicken Teriyaki On A Stick

Chicken Teriyaki On A Stick

“I think they should put more meats on a stick, you know?” ~ Ben Stiller as Ted on There’s Something About Mary

Meat! Stick! Fire! Arr! Arr! Arr! (in your best Tim The Toolman voice)

     There’ something about cooking meat on a stick over a fire that can’t be beat. Something primitive. Something manly. Something in our bones. It’s basically how cooking got started and it’s still how most of us men love to cook. And it’s what I decided I wanted to do for my last night of bacheloring it up before Mrs. G came home.

     I didn’t really have a plan, but some digging around in the fridge and I came up with a chicken breast (Yay! How boring), some teriyaki sauce (can’t remember the brand) and some green onions. Ok….I can make this work. With a quick slice of the knife, I had the chicken cut up into bite sized pieces and into the teriyaki sauce to marinate for a few hours. Place some skewers into some water to soak while I wait.  Now its time to kick back on the couch and watch some tv. Time to do some chores and straighten up the house while the chicken does its thing.

Skewering the meat

     After a few hours, it was time to pull the chicken out of the marinade (discard the marinade) and begin skewering. As you can see, I alternated the chicken and the green onions and used two skewers so that the chicken and onions would not try and spin when I go to rotate them on the grill.

     Speaking of the grill, at this point you should have it lit and pre-heated. I set mine up for 425F. Kind of a weird temperature to cook at, I know, but there was a reason.

The reason was I had to cook these spring rolls

     According to the box, these spring rolls were to be cooked in that metal box in the kitchen. You know, that oversize box? The one that I use to tell time on when I’m in the kitchen? I hear some people use them to cook in, but I’ve forgotten how. Anyway, had I not been cooking these spring rolls, I probably would have cooked my teriyaki somewhere between 350 and 400. Speaking of…time to get those suckers on the grill.

Meat on stick over fire! Arr! Arr! Arr!

      You might have noticed that the length of the skewers magically shrunk. While I love the Egg, it isn’t the most spacious of grills as far as square footage, so the skewers got cut down to fit. Don’t really need long skewers anyway, just enough to grab with the tongs so you can flip them. I would love to tell you how long it took to cook these, but I can’t. Olie, our German Shepherd, was wanting some quality Dad time and we were playing fetch while I was sipping on a bourbon and coke. I will tell you they go fast. Less than 10 minutes, probably more like 7, but always cook to temp and not time and you’ll never have dry meat. In the case of chicken, you want to hit 165. Check on them every couple of minutes, baste them with a little bit of teriyaki sauce and flip them about halfway through.

As an appetizer

     These would make a great little appetizer for a party. Something for the guests to gnaw on and keep the hungry masses at bay while you grill up the main course.

As a main course

     Or you could serve them up as a main course, maybe with some fried rice if you feel like whipping some up (or if you have some left over in the fridge like I did). One chicken breast was enough to feed me and have enough left over to bring to lunch, but you may have to adjust the amount to feed your hordes. And feel free to substitute thighs in place of the breasts. I probably would have if I had gone shopping for this meal instead of scrounging in the fridge. Either way, you can’t go wrong with meats on sticks! Arr! Arr! Arr!

Chicken Fried Rice

Chicken Fried Rice

     This post was originally going to be General Tsao’s Chicken with Fried Rice, but lately I’m finding it harder and harder to get motivated to cook for one. Yep….that’s right….Mrs G is on the road again for work. Chicago this time, before that it was LA and Atlanta and coming up is Orlando, Toronto, Vegas and Germany. While she’s traipsing around, calling me and telling me about all the wonderful places she’s at and the great meals she’s having. I’m stuck at home trying to figure out what to cook. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hold it against her, I’m happy for her, but cooking for one sucks isn’t much fun. 

    Yesterday, with great intentions, I had researched General Tsao’s chicken, printed out some recipes and was ready to wok it out. When I got home, I realized I had forgotten to get dog food. Quick trip to the store and back home. I’m pulling out my ingredients, getting to ready to go and I realize I was missing a few things…enough that I wouldn’t be able to do this recipe. Rather than facing another trip to the store, I scrapped my plans and went with some simple chicken fried rice (something I DID have the ingredients for).

Mise en place

     When cooking stir fry (or anything in a wok for that matter), it is very important to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go. You are cooking at such a high temperature and for such a short time that you don’t have time to chop up an onion or measure out so much of this or that ingredient. No…you need to have everything prepared, measured out and in separate bowls ready to go. The French have a term for this called “Mise en place” or everything in place.

Fried Rice Seasoning

Ingredients

  • 1 packet of Fried Rice Seasoning Mix
  • 1/3 cup of protein (I used one chicken breast which was probably more than 1/3 of a cup)
  • 3 cups of cooked rice, cold (made at least the day before and allowed to sit in fridge overnight)
  • 1 cup of mixed veggies ( I used carrots, peas and corn but feel free to use whatever you wish)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • soy sauce
  • peanut oil
  • green onions can be used for garnish
  • Feeds about 4 people

     Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Fried rice seasoning? Really? Yeah, I know. I should probably look up some way to prepare this using fresh ingredients and so that I know what is in it. But trust me, this stuff is good and its a quick, easy way to do it and let’s face it….with the pace of life these days sometimes we all need an easy way to do it once in awhile.

Directions

  1. Set up your Egg at 500F with the Spider legs down. If using a stove top, you are going to want to get it as hot as you possible can. Add a few tbsp of peanut oil (yes, you need to use peanut oil, vegetable oil and canola oil have a lower burn point and will start to smoke and get nasty) Before starting to cook, shut lower vent on the Egg.

    Chicken cooking
  2. Cook your protein in batches. Adding too much will drop the temp of the wok and it won’t cook properly. For one chicken breast, I cooked it in two batches allowing time for the wok to reheat in between. Set chicken aside when done.

    Eggs going into the wok
  3. Cook beaten eggs and set aside.

    And the rain starts. Maybe I should have checked the weather first.
  4. At this point you may need to add some peanut oil. Allow it to heat up and then add rice, seasonings and soy sauce, stirring constantly.

    Rice and veggies
  5. Allow rice to cook for a few minutes and then add in your mixed veggies and continue to stir for 2 or 3 minutes.

    Everything back in the wok to heat up
  6. Add your protein and eggs back to the rice mixture and continue cooking until heated through.

    Finished

     OK….so maybe I should have checked the weather before I got started. I knew there was a small chance of some rain, but they’ve been saying that for days and nothing. So of course as soon as I start cooking, the rain starts. Kinda like it always rains as soon as you wash your car. Glad I have a covered patio and was able to move the Egg in out of the rain to finish. And we needed the rain, so I won’t complain.

     Back to dinner….what is Chinese food without some eggrolls? To me that might be my favorite part of Chinese food and someday I’ll learn how to make them on my own (it’s on my list of things to do). But since I was cooking for one, I just got some frozen ones from the store, cooked them in the oven before I started my fried rice and then wrapped them in aluminum foil to keep warm.

Ready to eat

     So yeah….maybe I took some short cuts, but sometimes in life you have to do that. And let me tell you, even with shortcuts, this chicken fried rice BLEW delivery away (and came in much cheaper). Ever since we got the wok, we don’t order Chinese food much anymore. Would you? Next time it will be General Tsao’s chicken I promise.