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Blackened Red Snapper

Blackened Red Snapper
Blackened Red Snapper

Dizzy Pig is back at it again adding to  their “-ish” rubs with the new release Bayouish. Once again, they’ve sent me a sample before they release it to try out. I honestly don’t know why they choose to include me on their little list of people who get to sample it first, but I am glad they did.

Dizzy Pig's new Bayouish
Dizzy Pig’s new Bayouish

Along with a small sample, they sent a little note.

Note
Note

Enough of all that. Time to get cooking.

Ingredients

  • about a pound of fish fillets, red snapper, red fish, catfish or trout (or even chicken or steak)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
  • Dizzy Pig’s Bayouish Seasoning (or other blackened seasoning)
  • lemon wedges for garnish (optional)
Snapper going into a screaming hot cast iron skillet on the grill
Snapper going into a screaming hot cast iron skillet on the grill

Directions

  1. Preheat your grill to hot. We had the Big Green Egg going steady at 650F. Allow your cast iron skillet to come up to heat with your grill.
  2. Brush both sides of your fish with melted butter and apply Bayouish liberally. Reserve remaining butter.
  3. After allowing your skillet to get “screaming” hot, carefully pour in a tbsp or so of butter and put the fish flesh side down.
  4. After two minutes, flip the fish and pour in another tbsp of butter and drizzle some on top of the fish. Cook for another two minutes or until fish is about 130F.
  5. Remove fish from skillet, squeeze lemon juice on top and enjoy.
Look at all that smoke!!
Look at all that smoke!!

Now why would you want to blacken your fish outside? Couldn’t you just do it inside? Check that above pic. See all that smoke? Can you imagine how smoky your house would be after that? This dish is better prepared outside so you don’t smoke out all your family, friends and/or pets.

Fresh off the gril...er...I mean cast iron skillet.
Fresh off the grill…er…I mean cast iron skillet.

     Sometimes, I don’t know what I would do without Mrs. G. She found a recipe somewhere and whipped up some dirty rice to go along with the fish. Not sure what all went into it except hot breakfast sausage, chicken livers (we had some left over from the risotto), celery and rice. Whatever it was, it was tasty.

Plated up and ready to eat.
Plated up and ready to eat.

     The red snapper was pretty darn tasty and I can see us using Dizzy Pig’s Bayouish often once they officially release it. It had a nice flavor and didn’t overpower the fish at all. If anything, Mrs. G and I both wish it had a bit more spice to it. I understand when marketing to the masses, you have to please a wide range of palettes, but the heat was just lacking in our humble opinions. Nothing a little hot sauce won’t fix. Or mixing in a little cayenne to the rub. Otherwise, the flavors were pretty well balanced. If you like really spicy food, this might not be the rub for you, but if you are addicted to blackened fish, you should give it a try.

Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham

HEB Spiral Sliced Ham
HEB Spiral Sliced Ham

     Not much of a recipe today, more of a technique for how to smoke a ham. Now, I don’t no why we don’t cook hams more often, but for whatever reason, we don’t. And as far as I can recall, this is the first one we’ve ever done on the Egg. It’s not like they are hard. And they don’t take too long. I guess we don’t do them often because we don’t have enough people to eat on them.

Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham
Smoked Spiral Sliced Ham

     This past week, Mrs. G mentioned that she didn’t want traditional BBQ type food for the Texas Oklahoma game. No traditional meats, no bbq sauces and especially no potato salad or cole slaw. So we started brainstorming and she decided she wanted a ham. I wanted a plain, smoked ham (aka naked ham which we might cover later this year), but Mrs. G wanted a spiral sliced honey cured ham from HEB. What Mrs. G wants, Mrs. G gets. Happy wife, happy life. If you aren’t from Texas and don’t have an HEB or Central Market near you, just go with whatever brand your store carries.

Spiral sliced ham
That is one pretty ham, don’t ‘cha think?

     These hams are already pre-cooked, so in reality, you aren’t cooking them. You are simply warming them up. So why bother to warm them up on the Egg or smoker? To introduce more smoke, of course! When you are ready to smoke your ham, set up your smoker for an indirect cook and stabilize it at 300F. We used the Adjustable Rig from the Ceramic Grill Store with the large oval stone (wrapped in foil for easier clean up) on the bottom level and the oval grate on the third level. If using the Big Green Egg plate setter, I would use it legs up with the original grate setting on top of that. For smoke, we decided to go with two small chunks of cherry wood and a handful of hickory.

Excuse the blurry picture.
Excuse the blurry picture.

     Allow the ham to warm up to 145F. Let me say once again, that the ham is already pre-cooked. You are just introducing smoke to it and warming it up. Once it reaches 145F, it is done. Our ham weighed in somewhere between 9 and 10 lbs and took about 2.5 to 3 hours to cook. If you are done early (which we were), simply wrap the ham in aluminum foil. Get a small cooler and line it with old towels (not the ones that are for guest or you will end up sleeping on the couch), place the ham in the cooler and place a few more towels on top of it. This will give you time to finish up your sides, or sit down and enjoy a cold beverage and hopefully watch your team whip up on their opponents. Two hours later, the ham will still be too hot to handle with bare hands, believe me.

     Once you are ready to eat, feel free to use the included glaze or make one of your own up if you are so inclined. Mrs. G took one bite of the ham and told me to forget about glazing it, that it was that good by itself. Happy wife, happy life.

     If you are looking for sides, nothing goes better with a ham than black eye peas, cornbread and maybe some scalloped potatoes and greens. That would be for another post, however.

     And once you are done eating and all the dishes are taken care of, feel free to pat yourself on the back, pour another cold one and enjoy what’s left of you day. You’ve earned it.

I love this time of year. Football and cool weather. Does it get any better?
I love this time of year. Football and cool weather. Does it get any better?

     Hopefully, you didn’t invite to many people over and there will be plenty leftover for sandwiches the next day. I know we have pleny leftover. I wonder what we could do with that this week? Hmmm….

Alabama Mashed Potato Salad

MeMaw's Alabama Mashed Potato Salad
MeMaw’s Alabama Mashed Potato Salad

     About two weeks ago, when I posted the Bacon Blue Cheese Grilled Potato Salad, I promised that the next time Mrs. G made her Mashed Potato Salad, I would post it up here. This recipe was handed down from MeMaw (Mrs. G’s Grandmother) to her daughter and then to Mrs. G and will be handed down to our kids someday.

     Now, I don’t really know what kind of ties this has to Alabama. I don’t know if it is a common dish there or not. All I know is that MeMaw lived in Alabama at some point in her life and that is what it is called in her recipe (**update – I’ve been informed that MeMaw was born and raised in Alabama and moved to Texas when she was 18**). If any of you are from Alabama, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Anyway, I’m going to hand this over to Mrs. G to finish off the post.

     This one of those recipes that you have to taste as you go along.  Some people like it more mayonaisy and some like it more mustardy.  I like it somewhere in the middle.  You can add but you can’t take away!  Tasting is key.

Ingredients

(6-8 servings)

  • 6-7 Potatoes  (this is a medium sized batch)
  • 1 small Diced onion
  • 3-4 celery stalks diced
  • 1-2 medium diced dill pickles
  • 1-2 T pickle juice
  • 3 cups of mayo
  • ¼ cup of mustard (not sure how much I used…I would just taste it and squirt more in until I thought it was right.  I would start with a few tablespoons and add more if needed)
  • 5-6 hard boiled eggs

Directions

  1. Peel and boil potatoes.  Let stand to cool then mash.
  2. Add mayo and mustard…a little at a time until you get the consistency you want and flavor
  3. Add celery, onion, pickles, pickle juice.
  4. Add 4 boiled eggs, chopped. 
  5. Mix ingredients well until smooth- if you like it a lil chunky don’t mash it up as much
  6. Salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Slice the remaining 2 boiled eggs for the top.
  8. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe by Memaw!

Alabama Mashed Potato Salad
Alabama Mashed Potato Salad

     Ok, it’s me, Griffin. I’m back and here to let you know what I think of this dish. Back when I was dating Mrs. G and I first had this potato salad, I was a little surprised, to say the least. Let me start off by saying that I’ve never been a huge fan of potato salads. If a barbecue doesn’t have one, it’s not a big deal to me. Meat is the center and showpiece of any good barbecue. This one caught me off guard, though. It was unlike any potato salad I had ever had. It’s got the texture of mashed potatoes, but served cold. And yet it has all the familiar tastes of a normal potato salad, it was just missing those big chunks of potatoes (that are often undercooked in my experience). To be honest, it was kind of hard to wrap my head around it. After having it a few times, I really began to like it and now after years and years of being served this potato salad, it’s become the one I prefer.

     How do you like your potato salad? Chunky or smooth like this one? Does yours lean more towards a mayo or mustard base? I’d love to hear what kind of potato salad you guys are eating alongside your barbecue…if any.

Pork Medallions with a Garlic Mustard Compound Butter

Pork Medallions with Garlic Mustard Butter
Pork Medallions with Garlic Mustard Butter

     I think of pork tenderloins as the often overlooked portion of the pig. Which when you think about it is really a shame. It’s the same cut that is used to make filet mignon, just from a pig, not a cow. It’s a very lean cut of meat and since it is not weight bearing, it contains less connective tissue and is extremely tender when cooked right. In the barbecue world, however, most of the attention goes to ribs and butts and even pork belly. Granted, you do not want to cook a tenderloin low and slow, but it’s still a wonderful cut of meat when grilled over high heat.

Preparing the Garlic Mustard Butter
Preparing the Garlic Mustard Butter

     Last night, I wanted to do something other than just grill a whole tenderloin. I looked for recipes, but most contain fruit of some kind. Nothing wrong with that, but if you’ve ever met Mrs. G, you would know that wouldn’t fly in our house. Somewhere along the line, my ADHD kicked in and I found myself looking up compound butters, don’t ask me how that happened. Then it hit me…why not treat the tenderloin like individual steaks and top it with a compound butter? And since a pork tenderloin is the same cut as a beef tenderloin, why not wrap it in bacon and treat it like a filet mignon? (I know this isn’t rocket science and it’s not something new under the sun, I’m just explaining how my thought process works)

Pork wrapped in pork!!
Pork wrapped in pork!!

Ingredients

  • one pork tenderloin (Yes, I know they usually come two to a bag. I need to figure out what to do with the other one)
  • 7 or 8 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp of your favorite BBQ rub + more to season the medallions (we used Salt Lick)

Directions

  1. Combine butter, mustard, garlic and 1 tsp BBQ rub in a small bowl. Spoon the mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and roll tightly into a cylinder. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Lay one slice of bacon on a cutting board. Using the bacon as a guide, slice your tenderloin into 7 or 8 medallions the same width as the strip of bacon. (The amount will vary depending on the size of the tenderloin and you may not even want to bother with the 8th one as one size of the tenderloin will taper down on the end. You can see at the top left of the picture above, that my 7th and 8th one are much smaller)
  3. Wrap each medallion with a slice of bacon until it just overlaps and then cut off the remainder of the bacon (save remaining bacon for some later use. You’re smart, I know you’ll figure something out). Use a toothpick to secure the bacon.
  4. Lightly dust your medallions with your favorite BBQ rub and place in the refrigerator until ready to grill.
  5. Set up your grill for a direct cook and pre-heat to 400F.
  6. Grill medallions for 3 minutes per side, then stand on end to crisp up the bacon. “Roll” the medallions every minute or two to crisp up each side. Cook until 135-140 depending on how rare you like your pork, about 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove from grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes loosely tented with foil. Remove compound butter from refrigerator at this time.
  8. After 5 minutes, top each pork medallion with a slice of the compound butter.
Onto the grill at 400F
Onto the grill at 400F with red oak chips for smoke. Can you think of anything better than meat over fire?

     I really like how the above picture turned out. Shooting pictures of fire is not an easy task, especially when it’s dark out (we got a really late start on dinner) and you have minimal outdoor lighting. Not the best pic in the world, but I still like it.

Don't forget to rest your meat after you grill it.
Don’t forget to rest your meat after you grill it.

     Resting your meat after cooking it allows the muscle fibers in the meat to relax and the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. If you slice into your meat right after it comes off the grill, you will end up with a puddle of juice and a dry hunk of meat. That is no bueno.  By allowing the meat to cool, the muscle fibers will relax and when you slice into it, the juices will stay right where you want them, in the meat and not on your plate. Five to ten minutes is good for a steak, longer is better for a roast or large piece of meat. So endeth today’s science lesson.

Dinner is served!!
Dinner is served!!

     Tonight’s dinner was served up with a simple salad and roasted cauliflower. As you can see from the above picture, when the pork was sliced on the plate, we did not end up with a puddle of juices. Although that piece might have cooked a bit more than I would have liked, it was still tender and juicy. The bacon added a salty flavor while the Salt Lick rub added a bit of peppery heat. The garlic mustard compound butter placed on top and allowed to melt down onto the pork added a rich depth to the tenderloins. It might not be healthy, but it sure tasted good and was a step up from grilling a plain, whole tenderloin. One last thing before I let you go…don’t forget to remove those toothpicks. 😉