Jalapeno cheese sausages

Just an Update

We’re still here. Still kicking. Been real busy at work, short staffed, working lots of weekends so I haven’t been posting much. That’s all about to end soon…hopefully.

Anyway, got home from work and had a package waiting for me. A Kick Ash Basket. Heard a lot of hype about it. Can’t wait to try it out. Supposed to make cleaning out your Egg easier and allows the Egg to get up to temp faster. We’ll see.

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Kick Ash Basket

One thing’s for sure, it’s Duke proof!!

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Kid tested

I’ll let ya know how it works and just so you know this product was paid for with my own hard earned cash. I have no connection to, affiliation with nor ever been in contact with this company.

Just to keep this food related, we did bring the Mini out of hibernation this weekend. Don’t think its seen any action since June I think.

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Jalapeno cheese sausages

Sunday, I was taking the large Egg apart to clean it out and install the Kick Ash Basket when I noticed this

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Cracked fire box

That’s a bummer, but I’ve already sent an e-mail to BGE this morning along with pictures and my replacement has been approved and as soon as it shows up to my local dealer (Elliot’s hardware in Plano), I’ll go pick it up. I’m sure there is still plenty of life left in this one, but the day it does break into a million pieces, I want to have a replacement on hand. Gotta love BGE and their lifetime warranty. 🙂

I guess the only other “Eggciting” thing to share is that Mrs. G gave me the go ahead to start working on a new table/outdoor cooking area for the Eggs. All I have is a rough sketch so far.

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Sidewalk chalk…not just for kids

Hopefully, we’ll have something a little more exciting to share with you shortly.

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.

 

Check Your Thermometers!!

Summer is upon us and people are firing up their grills across the country. Whether they be year round grillers or just fair weather grillers, I bet more grills get fired up this month than any other of the year. Regardless of which camp you fall into, it’s always a good idea to periodically check your thermometers to make sure they are reading accurately. Both your grill thermometers and instant read meat thermometers.

Firing up the Mini BGE for some brats
Firing up the Mini BGE for some brats

I was reminded just how important that was last night when I went to fire up the MINI. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Mini Egg, but it hasn’t seen a lot of action lately. If you told me I had used it less than five times this year, I wouldn’t be surprised. The Large has been seeing all the action lately as we’re usually grilling both proteins and veggies.

Last night, however, I was only doing brats and so it got the nod. I lit it per my normal method (paper towel soaked in oil, shoved through the bottom vent and lit), sat down with an ice cold glass of tea and started to read while occasionally tossing the ball to Oliver, our German Shepherd, when he would actually bring it back. I’d glance over at the Mini every so often to see how it was doing. 200F. Gonna be a bit longer. Read some more. Still at 200, maybe a bit higher.

OK…something is not right here. Peeked down the top vent and there was plenty of red hot coals. Held my hand over it. NOPE. That ain’t 200F!! Thermometer must be completely out of whack. Closed my vents to where the normally are for a 350-400F cook and tossed the brats in anyway.

Happy to be using the Mini Egg
Happy to be using the Mini Egg once again

So basically I cooked the brats blind, I had no idea what temp I was at, but I forged ahead anyway. Wait a few minutes, turn, wait a few minutes, turn again. Listen for any sizzling that would be an indication that they were too hot, the skins had split and juice was leaking down into the coals, which is a bad thing, of course. While this was happening, I thought back to grilling pre-BGE. Years grilling on kettles, offsets and gas grills. Grills that either did not have thermometers or ones that read LOW-MED-HIGH. I reminisced about holding my hand over the heat and counting how long I could hold my hand there to give me an indication of how hot my grill was. A great trick every pitmaster should know and one I’m glad I learned. I figure I was somewhere in the 350-400F range. Thankful that I have those skills and don’t need to rely on a thermometer.When the brats were done, I pulled them and checked the thermometer one last time. Dead on 200F. Yep, definitely out of whack.

Definitely not reading accurately
Definitely not reading accurately

So how do you know if your thermometer isn’t calibrated? There’s two easy ways. You can submerge it in a glass of ice water and it should read 32F. Obviously, with my thermometer, that trick won’t work since it only goes down to 50F and who really cares if its accurate at that end of the scale? The other thing you can do is to submerge your thermometer in boiling water. You remember science class, right guys? What temperature does water boil at? That’s right. 212F. Plus or minus a bit depending on altitude and barometric pressure and all that. You can try and get all precise, but if you are in the 210F ballpark, I’d call that good enough.

What do you do if your thermometer is off? I can’t speak to all thermometers as there are so many out there, but if its one like this or a Tel-Tru, there should be a nut on the back. Use a wrench and turn the nut until the dial reads 212. Clockwise will make it read higher, counter-clockwise will make it read lower. Only slight adjustments should be necessary to dial it in to 212F.

As for me? I’m probably just going to toss mine. It’s the old school thermometer that used to come with the Egg. I’m not sure its even a Tel-Tru, which is what they come with now. To be quite honest, I kinda recall that the stem got bent awhile back and I had to put quite a bit of force into it to bend it back. I don’t exactly recall what I did to bend it, but ever since I’ve been moving my new Tel-Tru thermometer from Egg to Egg depending on which one I am using. I just forgot last night. After bending the stem, I’m not sure it even works anymore. I’ll just replace it with a more accurate thermometer. Heck, maybe I’ll even look into seeing if there is a digital version out there I could use….

Herb and Garlic Lamb Loin Chops

Lamb Chops with a Winter Mushroom Risotto
Lamb Chops with a Winter Mushroom Risotto

The other week a member on the Egghead Forum who goes by the handle R2Egg2Q posted up a picture of some lamb chops that he had cooked and they looked amazing. I don’t have much experience cooking lamb. I suppose it might be partly that I did not grow up eating it. And partly because of the price tag, I’ve been afraid of messing it up. R2Egg2Q’s lamb looked so good, though, and everybody said it cooks up just like a small steak, so I figured I’d give it a shot using his recipe.

Lamb loin chops marinating.
Lamb loin chops marinating.

Don’t those look pretty? I picked them up at Central Market and they were about 2 -2.5″ thick. Not being a lamb expert, I wasn’t sure how many to get and erred on the safe side by getting six (which turns out to be way too many for 2 people BTW). Total cost came out to about $33. Gee…I hope I don’t screw this one up.

Herb and Garlic Lamb Loin Chops

Ingredients

  • 6 lamb loin chops
  • 1 Tbsp thyme , chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp oregano, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbsp rosemary, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup EVOO
  • optional – Dizzy Pig Red Eye Express or other coffee flavored bbq rub
Onto the Mini Big Green Egg at 450F
Onto the Mini Big Green Egg at 450F, just barely fit.

Directions

  1. Mix the herbs, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper and EVOO together in a small bowl.
  2. Place the lamb chops in a dish just large enough to hold them. Brush the marinade on both sides and allow to sit for at least 2 hours.
  3. Set up your grill for a direct cook and preheat to 450F.
  4. Lightly dust the lamb chops with Red Eye Express (or other coffee flavored BBQ rub) on one side. Place dusted side face down on grill and lightly dust the other side.
  5. Grill 4-5 minutes per side or until internal temp reaches 130-135.
  6. Remove from grill, loosely tent with foil and allow 10 minutes to rest before serving.
Getting happy on the grill
Getting happy on the grill

I really don’t know why I was worried. If you think about it, they are just like really, really tiny t-bones or porterhouse steaks. Or even pork loin chops. Same part of the animal, just smaller.

Finished
Finished

Mrs. G whipped up the Winter Mushroom Risotto that can be found in the February 20014 issue of Southern Living. Not a real hard recipe, but it is time consuming as it takes constant stirring for 30-35 minutes.

All plated up.
All plated up.

The lamb loin chops were divine. Herbaceous, if you will with just the right notes of citrus in the background and a hint of the coffee flavored rub. This will be my go-to recipe for lamb chops from now on. The lamb really paired well with the risotto, too. It was a perfect Valentine’s Dinner. Oh? Did I not mention that? Yes, this was how we celebrated Valentine’s Day rather than face the mad hordes that descended on all the restaurants last Friday. Who needs that hassle? We just took it easy, had a nice meal at home and then…

Enjoying quality time around the fire.
Enjoyed some quality time around the fire.

What I would do differently? Not much. I think the only thing I would change would be to cook them on a bigger grill. Cooking them on the Mini was just pushing it. Really crowded grate and they were hard to flip and maneuver. That much meat really drops the temp of the grill as well. Yeah, I’d definitely do them on the Large next time and that’s about the only change I would make.

I think I have conquered my fear of lamb. It’s just another hunk o’ meat, although a little more expensive than beef. But if you treat it just like any other steak and monitor the internal temp, you will be fine.  No need to worry at all. Next, I want to tackle a rack of lamb…

Mediterraneanish: A First Look

New from Dizzy Pig...Mediterraneanish!! Coming soon to a store near you...I hope.
New from Dizzy Pig…Mediterraneanish!! Coming soon to a store near you…I hope.

     If you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a huge fan of Dizzy Pig. If you looked in my spice cabinet, you would find a whole shelf almost completely devoted to them. The all purpose Dizzy Dust (both fine and coarse), Swamp Venom, Cow Lick, Red Eye Express and the list goes on. In fact, the only ones I have not tried are Shakin’ the Tree and Pineapple Head, which I have heard great things about.

DP compared to Italian Seasoning and Greek Seasoning
DP compared to Italian Seasoning and Greek Seasoning

     So when I went to check my mail Saturday, it was a pleasant surprise to find a sample packet of their newest offering Mediterraneanish, a blend that captures the essence of Italy and Greece. Unfortunately, Mrs. G had just returned home from the store with fixings to make chili. 😦 I love chili, but I really wanted to try this new rub. Alas, it was not to be.

Pork Tenderloin rubbed with Mediterraneanish
Pork Tenderloin rubbed with Mediterraneanish

     Fast forward to last night. We had a pork tenderloin that we had to use and use quick before it went bad. I had been planning on saving the Mediterraneanish to try first on something like lamb or fish, but why not a pork tenderloin? Dizzy Pig said in their note that they tried it on pork. Good enough for me.

     The pork tenderloin got a quick brine for two hours (recipe at end of post) before being rinsed, dried and rubbed with DP’s newest spice. Then, it went on the Mini Big Green Egg because it seems to light faster, uses less charcoal and really just because I feel like it’s been neglected recently. The Egg was set up at 400F. I thought about using some wood chips for smoke, but in the end, decided that I didn’t want anything competing with the flavors of the new rub. I wanted to taste it by itself to get a feel for it.

Just about done, cruising on up to 135ish.
Just about done, cruising on up to 140ish.

     I didn’t really pay attention to how long the tenderloin took to cook. Honestly, I wasn’t planning on doing a blog about it, but let me tell you…the aroma wafting out the top of the Egg and tantalizing our taste buds was making my mouth water. This stuff smelled amazing and it was all I could do to keep from licking the tongs after turning the tenderloin. That would not have been very sanitary, now would it? The tenderloin cooked somewhere between 15-20 minutes, but remember, time is not important, temperature is! I will continue to stress that. And if you haven’t heard, the USDA did lower the safe temperature of pork to 145F…way back in May of 2011!! So we pulled the pork from the grill at about 138-140ish and let it rest for 10 minutes knowing that the internal temperature would continue to cruise on up to 145F.

Sliced and ready to eat.
Sliced and ready to eat.

     I’ve got to hand it to Dizzy Pig, they’ve done it again. Another winner for sure. I don’t know what all is in this rub, but it was fantastic. Very herbaceous, definitely tones of rosemary and oregano. Just the right amount of salt for my tastes. Perfectly balanced and it does make you think of the Mediterranean. I think this could be added to any Greek or Italian dish and really give it a boost of flavor. I’ve not attempted lamb yet on the blog, but upon taking the first bite or two, I know I am going to have to try this on lamb for sure.

     The day I discovered Dizzy Pig’s Swamp Venom was the day I quit buying Tony Chachere’s or any other Cajun/Creole seasoning. I won’t go so far as to say that I will stop buying Italian Seasoning as Mrs. G uses it in quite a few recipes, but I will add some of this spice to see how it works for sure. And that Cavender’s Greek Seasoning? Yeah…won’t be buying that anymore. Mediterraneanish for me from now on. That’s how good this stuff is. I can’t wait to try it on something else. I’m not sure on when their planned release date is to the public, but keep your eyes and ears open and I’ll try and let you know if I hear something. I’ll be waiting because I know that this small sample I have won’t last long.

Brine Recipe: Bring two cups of water to a boil along with 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/8 cup of sugar, 2-3 bay leaves, 8-10 peppercorns and a pinch of cumin and Mediterraneanish. Stir until salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and add two cups of cold water and allow to cool before adding to pork. Allow to brine for 2-4 hours in refrigerator. Rinse pork, pat dry and apply Mediterraneanish rub and then grill.

***And just so you know, I am in no way affiliated, paid by or endorsed by Dizzy Pig. I have no ties with the company and no money has switched hands. I, along with many other Eggheads, grillers and barbecuers were offered a free sample and asked our opinions of the product. I do not receive free bottles of rubs from them except for the free small sample bags when they released Mediterraneanish, Fajita-ish and Bombay Curry-ish and this ends my disclaimer.