Brewing our House Pale Ale

Seems like I never remember to take pictures of any of my BGE cooks anymore, but I always manage to get a few of brew day. Been brewing a bunch of small batches this summer, partly to experiment and partly because I can do them inside on the stove and I don’t have to drag out my large batch equipment and sit outside in the Texas heat for a coupla hours and partly because I can knock a small batch out including clean up in under 3.5 hrs.

This weekend I did a small batch (2 gallon) of my house pale ale using Chinook and Cascade hops that should come in around 5% ABV and 35 IBUs. 2 gallons will net me about and 18 pack.

Boiling away on the stove

My ‘lil helper getting the wort down to yeast pitching temperature.

My fermentation chamber (mini dorm fridge) is all filled up now. 2 gallons of Pale Ale, 2.5 gallons of my Bourbon Barrel Porter (I brewed this once over 3.5 years ago. The longer I let it age, the better. The last one I drank at 3.5 years and it was the best. My plan is to now brew it every year in small batches and age each batch a minimum of 3 years. In 3 years the first batch will be ready, and every year I will have a new batch. If I can stick to the plan) and 1.5 gallons of pumpkin ale (cuz who wants more than a 12 pack of that stuff sitting around? It should be ready to go around Halloween or Thanksgiving).

And the obligatory pic of Duke, who has not taken off his swim goggles for 3 days now.

I’ll try and get some more cooking pics up soon. We did legs last night, and I know that we are doing burgers one night this week and chilli dogs another, so we’ll see if I can remember

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Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

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Shrimp Tacos on the Blackstone

Yeah, we missed National Taco Day…so what? Who came up with all of these food days anyways? Was there a committee of stuffy old men smelling of Old Spice and Icy Hot sitting around a large boardroom table? Or was it a bunch of young hipsters sipping on grande mocha soy frappe carmel latte espresso agave sugar coffee drinks while vaping their brains out and blowing huge clouds? Who cares? I’ll eat what I want, when I want and last night I wanted some shrimp tacos!! And more importantly I wanted to cook on my new Blackstone griddle, dammit!!

I usually prefer my shrimp tacos (and fish tacos) fried, but that’s not exactly healthy nor would it allow me to use my griddle. A quick search with my Google-fu skills found me this recipe over at Pinch of Yum and it sounded like it would fit the bill. This is our version cooked on the griddle  with a few modifications.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

For the Garlic Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup (or more) of light sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Shrimp Tacos

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs of shrimp, peeled with tail removed (we used 1.25 lbs of 21-25 count)
  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, cumin and chicken fajita seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 green cabbage, shredded
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • Queso Fresco, Cotija or Feta cheese
  • lime wedges for serving
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Warm up the tortillas until you begin to smell corn and they have become pliable. Only takes a minute or so.

To make the sauce, toss all the ingredients in a food processer and pulse until smooth. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss some of the sauce (not all of it!!) with the cabbage. It should resemble a coleslaw. This can be done right before hand, but we did ours about 2 hours ahead of time and placed in the fridge. The rest of the sauce can be used on your tacos.

Heat your griddle medium to medium high heat. Warm up the tortillas for a minute or so until you notice a corn smell and they have become pliable. Wrap in foil to keep warm. Even better would be one of those tortilla holders they have at Mexican restaurants. We, however, don’t have one of those so why the hell am I even bringing it up? I digress…

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Toss the shrimp on the griddle

When the tortillas are done, squirt some oil on the griddle and add a tbsp of butter. Then throw on the shrimp and cook 4-5 minutes or until done.

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Done!!

To serve the tacos, spread a spoonful of the sauce on a tortilla, top with a few shrimp, coleslaw, cheese and avocado and maybe some more sauce and squeeze a slice of lime on top.

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Who needs a National Taco Day to enjoy these shrimp tacos? Eat them whenever the hell you feel like it.

I gotta say, the more I use this griddle, the more I am liking it. It’s just so fun. And it heats up quick. A whole lot quicker than the Egg. Sure, we could have grilled these shrimp and they would have been just as good, but that would have taken longer. From the time I stepped outside and fired up the griddle, to the time I shut it off and went inside was less than 10 minutes!! That’s a fast cook!!

The tacos were fantastic. I tried one of the shrimp by itself, and I hafta say it had some heat. But when you add the slaw and the cheese and the sauce, it balances that heat perfectly. These are definitely going into the rotation, especially on nights when a fast cook is needed to get the food on the table.

Not “The Best” Marinade for Chicken

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Chicken quarters on the Egg

A few days ago, a member on the Big Green Egg forum shared a link to a blog for  “The Best Grilled Chicken Marinade”. I thought it sounded ok, but the title was off putting. Something about bloggers claiming “the best” anything just turns me off. Makes me not want to even try it.

A day or two later, I find myself needing a marinade for some chicken quarters and I stumbled on that same site again. Was it fortuitous? Was it destiny? Or was it just dumb luck?

I made a few changes. Didn’t have white onion, so subbed red onion. Italian parsley for parsley as I had that on hand. Garlic? I almost always double what a recipe called for. Same with cayenne pepper. After mixing it up, I tasted it and decided it wasn’t quite there for me so I added in 2 tsp of Louisiana hot sauce (I went light knowing that Duke would probably be eating some chicken). Mixed it all up, reserved about a cup or so and dumped the rest on some chicken quarters and let it go just short of 24 hours in the fridge.

Ingredients

  • 12oz Mexican beer (I used Tecate, but any popular ones like Dos Equis or Modelo Especial would work)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp hot sauce
  • 4 Tbsp chopped red onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

The next day, I got the Egg ready for a raised direct cook at 450F. Notice I said raised? I wouldn’t try this at the normal grate level of a Kamado cooker or direct on any other grill. You want to cook this either above the gasket of your Kamado grill or indirectly on a gas or charcoal grill. All that fat will cause flare ups and flare ups are bad. I threw in a bit of peach wood cuz why not? I had it on hand and fruit wood goes good with poultry.

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My setup for this cook. I used an Adjustable Rig from the Ceramic Grill Store and had my grate on the top level.

This cook took around 40-45 minutes, checking on it every 10-15 minutes, flipping and moving the chicken as needed. Poultry is generally safe to pull at 160F as it will continue to rise, but I like to take dark meat a little higher. 170-175 generally. Allows more fat to render out and the skin to get crispy.

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Getting there

The last 5-10 minutes, take the reserved marinade and brush it on the chicken, but watch out…it will cause your fire to start flaring up. If you aren’t using a Kamado grill, now might be a good time to take that chicken and move it to direct heat to get the skin to crisp up, but keep a close eye on it as it will burn fast.

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Done

I think the chicken came out pretty good. Had a good flavor to it, just a tad bit of heat, barely noticeable, but still tasty. Had a very interesting orange almost peachy color to it. Not sure what that was, but I know cherry wood can make poultry appear reddish, so I’m guessing it was from the peach wood.  Duke ate it up, but that’s not saying much. He’s hit or miss lately on whether he wants to eat meat on any given night. The wife and I both liked it. Was it the best? No. Was it the greatest? No. Was it good? Yeah, and I’d probably make it again. Probably tweak it a little more, so yeah…there you go. A pretty good marinade for chicken that won’t disappoint you that has potential to be really good if you doctor it up to meet your tastes.

Two pet peeves about the original post:

  1. I hate it when recipes say beer. Just beer. What kind of beer? An ale or a lager? Dark or light beer? Hoppy like an IPA? There are so many kinds of beer out there and each could add its own flavor. I went with a Mexican beer because I figured a light beer would work best with chicken. It was left in my fridge by somebody and I was willing to sacrifice it over one of my homebrews. Plus it wouldn’t be too hoppy. I think I’d like to try it again with a Hefeweizen or a Wit beer to see how that might work.
  2. “The Best” Who decided it was the best? Was there a panel of judges and if so, what are there qualifications? What was the judging criteria? Has it won any awards at any BBQ competitions? Look, I understand they are trying to…actually I don’t understand what they are trying to do. It might be good, it might be great, I just hate it when bloggers (or anybody) calls something “the best”

 

Settling in to a new Home

Moving.

Nobody likes to do it. Sure, the prospect of a new place is fun. But the actual moving…not so much. Packing, turning off utilities and setting up new ones, getting all the bills updated with new addresses. The actual physical act of moving (while a new roof was getting installed on the same day !!). And then unpacking. Throw in a 17 month old boy, a sick wife and a MIL on moving day and well I’ll let you imagine…

But now we’ve been in the new place for two weeks and things are starting to get back to normal.

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We’ve landed on the tee box on the 18th hole of a golf course somewhere or other
I knew when we first saw the house, that we’d start cooking more outside once again. Mr.s G really did not like the backyard at the last place and I don’t blame her. But she’s enjoying being outside here, and so has Duke.

We had to break in the house with some burgers

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There’s something special about lighting up a grill at your new place for the first time…
Done

 

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Served on our finest China of course
And some simple drumsticks

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Nothing fancy here
And fish is always healthy

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Rainbow trout, I believe
And can’t go wrong with pizza

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My preferred setup on the Egg for the dough we like
And what Texan doesn’t like brisket

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I’ll let you wonder how it turned out. I might have had one too many and then forgot to take pictures. LOL
Last night I tried a new marinade for shrimp. It was pretty darn tasty, but I think I need to tweak it a bit. When I get it down just right, I’ll be sharing it here I think.

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Pretty good shrimp, but they need some work
And after Duke went to bed, I smoked some meatballs that will be for dinner tomorrow night.

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Meatball’s view of the backyard
I tasted one when they came off and I can already tell you that they will also need work. Not enough seasoning in them at all. Another item to work on.

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Meatballs finishing up
So that’s what’s been keeping us busy lately. We’ve got a ton of work to do. Landscaping, expanding the patio possibly. Tons of little projects here and there that went neglected with the last owner. I’m gonna have to do something to get the Egg off the porch since its so small and still keep it covered so I can grill/smoke in the elements. All the joys of home ownership. At least Mrs. G was smart enough to convince me to get the inside of the house painted before we moved in…

And I couldn’t leave without the obligatory pic of the kiddo.

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Monkeying around at the aquarium