How We Make Chimichurri

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Our version of chimichurri. Hard to make sauces look appealing, but trust me. It’s good.

 

There are thousands of recipes for chimichurri out there. Many claiming to be “original” or “authentic” and then some that have been modernized with all kinds of extra ingredients. I don’t remember where I got our recipe. I really wish I did. I want to say it was on a barbecue forum. Somebody probably asked for a recipe. All I remember is one guy complaining about all the fancy recipes. I think he might have been Argentinian. I do remember he said it was supposed to be simple and he posted his recipe. I tried it later that week, and I’ve been using it ever since. And that has been for years.

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This is how I copied it from the good ole interwebs and how we have it in our cookbook.

I’m not going to bother typing up the ingredients. It’s all right there in the picture above. As for prepping it, we just use a food processor. Put all the ingredients in except for the olive oil. Start processing it and add the olive oil until you get the consistency you desire. Too thin? Add some more parsley. Too thick, add more olive oil. Want it more spicy? Add more red pepper flakes. Honestly, its good the way it is, but you can customize it to your liking however you want. I mainly just eyeball it these days and adjust the taste to how I’m feeling.

For the most part, we just serve it on beef. Usually flat-iron, flank steak or skirt steak grilled on our BGE, usually with a bit of mesquite for a touch of smoke until a medium rare. When using it for beef, use red wine vinegar if you have it.  It is also good on chicken with white wine vinegar or you can sub lemon juice for the vinegar.

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Served on flat iron steak with some roasted potatoes and corn. Sorry, not the most exciting plate. 😉

Have you ever made chimichurri? What’s your recipe? What type of protein do you like to serve it on?

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Smoke by Thermoworks

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Smoke by Thermoworks

I’m a big fan or Thermoworks. Years ago (maybe 7 now?), I received the Classic Super-Fast Thermapen as a Christmas present. 2-3 second readings, accurate to 0.7F, water resistant. What’s not to like? In all that time, I think I’ve only changed the battery on it once.

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Classic Super-Fast Thermapen 

 

About a year ago, I purchased the Chef Alarm. Originally, I bought it to check on my mash temperatures and to keep an eye on my wort as it came to a boil when I was brewing beer. It does all that well, but also gets used as a timer when cooking and to monitor temperatures of food being cooked in the oven or on the BGE. The ability to set low and high temp alarms is very helpful as you don’t have to open the oven or Egg to check and let out heat. The Chef Alarm will let you know when its ready.

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Chef Alarm

I’ve been looking at Smoke ever since it was first announced, before they ever released it. Monitor meat temp? Check! Monitor Egg temp? Check!! 300 ft range? Awesome!! Way better than my old Maverick ET-73, which crapped out on me anyway and would no longer send a signal to the monitor, and  which never did reach the 100 ft it claimed.

 

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What comes in the box

When I opened the box, I found:

  • Base unit
  • Pro-SeriesÂŽ High Temp Cooking Probe
  • Pro-Series High-Temp Air Probe
  • Grate Clip
  • Wireless Smoke Receiver w/Lanyard
  • Operating Instructions
  • a small bag of jellybeans which I found was a nice personal touch. Duke will enjoy them I’m sure
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Up close view of the Base Unit

You might have noticed, in the first picture the “Open Box Item” sticker. If you keep an eye on their website, or are on their mailing list, you’ll see that frequently they have sales and special offers. While the Smoke is regularly $99, I was able to pick up this open box item last week for only $76!! I wasn’t overly concerned that it was an open box item, but when I did receive it, I took the time to look it overly carefully. The box appeared to me to have never been open. After opening it, I looked over the base unit and the receiver, and it looked in pristine condition. No scratches anywhere or signs of use. As far as I can tell, it is brand new and I saved $23. Score!!

So far I’ve only used it once…and not really in the way the creators probably envisioned. The other day I brewed my first lager. Lager being a beer using lager yeast versus and ale using ale yeast. I needed to cool my wort down to 50F before pitching my yeast. So I sanitized the probe, stuck it in the carboy and put the carboy in my fermentation fridge. I set the alarm to let me know when it had dropped down from 68F to 50F. Then, I stuck the receiver in my pocket and went out and mowed the yard and did some other chores around the house. Not once did it lose signal!! It was nice to know that it was reliable and I can’t wait to try it out on an overnight brisket. Having the alarm sitting right next to me on my nightstand to let me know if my fire went out or got to hot will definitely let me sleep better…not that I usually worry about the temp on my Egg

Buy once, cry once. Don’t buy those cheap units that you might find at Home Depot or Target or Bed Bath and Beyond. Buy quality and you won’t regret it.

The only thing I do regret is that last night I saw an advertisement on FaceBook from Thermopen that it is now offered in 9 different colors. When I purchased this unit, grey was the only color it came in. Oh well, I think the grey looks pretty slick.

Disclaimer: This unit and the other thermometers from Thermoworks were not given to me by Thermoworks. They were purchased with my hard money or in the case of the Thermapen a Christmas present from my parents. I have no affiliation with Thermoworks, nor was I asked to give a review.

Dietz & Watson Polska Kielbasa

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Hotdog and Kielbasa on the Mini Egg

There are a some foods that I can count on that I know Duke will eat. I think most parents will agree on these foods. Hotdogs, corn dogs, chicken nuggets, pizza, hamburgers, mac n cheese. I think these foods are universally liked by all kids. Needing a quick Sunday cook, I decided on hot dogs for The Boy, but I didn’t really want a hot dog. I did find these Polska Kielbasa in the deli section of my grocery store. I think I might have had them before, but I can’t remember, so I decided to give them a shot.

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This is what they look like.

Dietz and Watson Polska Kielbasa, handcrafted, made in the USA, no MSG added and gluten-free if you care about those things. Not fancy food, but a little bit more sophisticated than a hotdog. I was surprised to find when I opened the package that all the links were still connected. Had I been using a larger grill, I would have kept them that way, but since I was using my Mini and space was limited, I used a knife to separate the links.

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Almost ready

To cook these, I fired up the Mini BGE to around 400 direct and turned them every 3 or 4 minutes for about as long as it took to drink a beer. The sausage was fully cooked, so all I was doing was reheating it and adding some char. Don’t let your grill get too hot. You don’t want the casings to burst as you will lose all the juices and your sausage will be dry.

 

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Dinner is served, nothing fancy here

 

After I had finished my beer, and they sausages were cooked to my liking, I served them up on some hot dog buns with some course ground mustard, a little salad and some collard greens my wife had cooked up for her dinner.

The sausage was pretty good. Way better than Hillshire Farms or some of the other mas produced kielbasa. The casing had a nice snap to it. They were pretty mild in my opinion. Not spicy, not really smokey that I could discern. Pretty mild. The texture of the meat kind of surprised me. They were pretty emulsified and reminded me of a hot dog. All in all, a pretty decent sausage and great for a quick dinner.

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”