Wife’s away…

…so I’ve been cooking up the stuff that’s not on her diet…which makes it not on mine. Funny how marriage works that way.

Started off with a pizza on Friday. Three cheese and pepperoni and salami.

My usual dough recipe, Egg setup (Bge stone on top of the AR) and temp, but for some reason it didn’t cook up like normal. Bottom was getting done, so I popped it on the oven under the broiler to finish up the top. Only thing I can think of is that my dough was less than 24 hours old and I usually let it go 48 to 72 hours. Oh well, still good.

Last night I went with burgers, 1/4lb patties

Double meat, double cheese, corn and some fries. Apparently we were out of tots.

Sitting here at work, trying to finish up and wondering what’s on the menu tonight. Me thinks wings might be in order…

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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”

 

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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

The New Flame Boss 100

The new Flame Boss 100
The new Flame Boss 100

Hey guys, remember me? Yeah, sorry I haven’t been very active lately. I’d love to say that the reason I haven’t been posting is that we, and by we, I mean Mrs. G, is in her third trimester, but that’s not it. I’d love to say that it’s because we moved into a new house, but we stopped posting long before that. I’d love to say that it’s because lately I’ve been super busy at work, which I have, but it’s not that either.

I think  what it really boils down to that I got burnt out. Burnt out on posting. Burnt out on cooking. Burnt out on food. I think since August, I’ve really only been eating to survive, not caring what it was. Mrs. G would ask what I wanted for dinner and I’d tell her that honestly I didn’t care. It didn’t make any difference to me. So we’ve just been eating a lot of plain Jane normal stuff. Cheeseburgers, tacos, spaghetti, maybe a steak of two. Honestly, just your quick throw it together dinners. Hell, we’ve been in our new house 3 weeks and I’ve only fired up the Egg 3 times!! The crockpot has gotten more love than the Egg. 😦

But I think I’m finally snapping out of that. Getting a little creative spark back. I’d love to dive back in here, full throttle, but I think I’d burn out again. I’d love to say that I’m gonna try and post at least once a week, but let’s try and just ease back in. Say two posts a month? That doesn’t seem like to hard a goal to meet. Hell, there might not be anybody out there anymore paying any attention to this blog for all I know. Let’s just see how it goes, shall we?

That’s not what this is about, though. What this is about today is the new Flame Boss 100. I received this a few weeks back to try out. The owner said that since I was the first person to really write about the original, he thought he’d send me the new version to try out.

What comes with the new Flame Boss 100. Hey, you like the new granite counter tops?
What comes with the new Flame Boss 100. Hey, you like the new granite counter tops?

I don’t have all the details on what all changed from the original to the 100, so I’ll just share with you my observations. The most obvious is the pit controller itself. It’s got a fancy new makeover. We’ll get to that in a moment. The fan has also been changed. It no longer has the two metal wires that slide into the adaptor and lock it into place. Instead, it has a lip on the edge that locks it into place. You’ll notice that it also has two adaptors. They claim that it will fit on any size Egg. I believe them, but can only vouch that it will fit on the Large and the Mini. They also say that it will fit all size Kamado Joes, Primo Grills, Grill Dome, Char-Griller Akorn, and others. There is another version that will fit the Weber Smokey Mountain, offset smokers and other smokers. I can only speak for performance on the Large BGE, however. The meat probe and pit probe have also changed in, but whether that is in appearance or if some of the specs have changed, I have no idea. I do like the “plastic-ey” wires on them. No more metal wires that can get bent or crimped. We’ll have to see how they hold up in the long run.

The Pit Controller
The Pit Controller

I really should have taken a side by side pic of the new controller and the old one, but it didn’t cross my mind at the time. If you want to see the old one, click HERE. The new version looks more sleek, more modern to me. No clicky, push buttons. The display looks the same. The biggest thing is the mounting bracket that comes with it allowing you to mount the controller on a table or wall or anything near your smoker.

New Mounting Bracket
New Mounting Bracket

I didn’t mount mine yet as I’m still getting used to the new location and I’m not sure I’ve got my grilling station set up just how I want it. Once I do, I will mount it for sure.

Easily pivots for viewability.
Easily pivots for viewability.

The new mounting bracket will allow you to mount it to any horizontal or vertical surface and then pivot to give you an easy to ready screen.

Testing it out
Testing it out

While everybody else was Trick or Treating, going to costume parties, or haunted houses, we stayed in and played with our new toy. Here it is in action. I’ll let you know what we cooked and how it performed in our next post, but I will say for now that I am impressed so far.

Again, sorry for our absence and I hope y’all are still out there. I promise I’ll work harder to get some more posts up and some new recipes soon. Thanks for still tuning in.

**Disclaimer – I was not paid to promote this item nor compensated in any way. I do not work for Flame Boss, nor have any affiliation with anybody in the company. This controller was sent to me for free as a gift and I was not asked to review it or give my opinions one way or another. And any and all other legal mumbo jumbo that should be noted here.

Fajita Chicken Wings with a Creamy Chipotle Dipping Sauce

     Some of you may know that yesterday was National Chicken Wing Day (7/29/14). If you lived in my house, you would have known for sure. One of my favorite food holidays of the year. What’s not to love? Crispy, bite sized food? You’re expected to use your hands? People don’t frown down on you if you get a bit messy? And most often come with some kind of tasty dipping sauce? Check, check and check. Sounds like the perfect food group to me.

     I’m always on the look out for a new wing recipe. This time, I used a little influence from growing up in South Texas and a nod to Chris over at NibbleMeThis to come up with my version of fajita chicken wings and a creamy chipotle dipping sauce. A little fusion of Tex-Mex and chicken wings.

Fajita Chicken Wings for National Chicken Wing Day
Fajita Chicken Wings for National Chicken Wing Day

     While Chris’s recipe is a little more in depth with more ingredients and a marinade process, I kept mine fairly simple by just using Fiesta Chicken Fajita Seasoning for two reasons. I like the flavor and I find that marinades can prevent the skin on chicken wings from getting crispy.

Ingredients

  • chicken wings
  • Fiesta Chicken Fajita Seasoning (or any brand you may prefer)
  • cornstarch (optional)
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 2 chipotle peppers, chopped + 1 tsp juice
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • juice of half a lemon or lime
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • dash of ancho chile pepper
  • pinch of sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
Chicken Fajita Seasoning and my lil devil bottle opener
Chicken Fajita Seasoning and my lil devil bottle opener

Directions

  1. Lightly dust your chicken wings with corn starch (optional – this will help the skin get crispy as it cooks). Then dust the wings with fajita seasoning. Arrange the wings in a single layer on a platter and cookie sheet and place in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 12 hours. This process will allow the wings to air dry and will also help them crisp up.
  2. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set the bowl in the fridge and allow flavors to marry for an hour or two.

    Creamy chipotle dipping sauce
    Creamy chipotle dipping sauce
  3. Preheat your grill to 400F. If using a Kamado style grill, set it up for a raised direct cook. If using other grills, set it up for a two zone cook (one side with the coals or burners on and one side without) so that you can shuffle the wings back and forth in case of flare ups.
  4. Grill wings for 30 minutes, turning two or three times to ensure even cooking. Keep an eye out for flare ups and move wings to the unlit side of the grill if necessary.
  5. Wings are safe to eat at 165F, but I usually like to take mine to 175-180 to get that crispy skin. Not to worry. The wings will not dry out.
Wings cooking at 400F raised direct. Almost done.
Wings cooking at 400F raised direct. Almost done.

     I went back and forth on what to serve with my wings. On the one hand, I wanted to keep with the Tex-Mex thing and thought about going with Mexican rice. Maybe some boracho beans. But that would require using a utensil and would counter balance part of the fun of wings…eating with your hands. Or I could just go with one of my other favorite foods…Tater Tots!! Yep, tater tots won out.

Wings and tots makes me happy.
Wings and tots makes me happy.

     It’s always interesting to switch things up on wing night. That first bite you expect to get some heat. These wings don’t bring the heat, though. They bring those flavors that you have come to expect from fajitas. Cumin, garlic, onion and a hint of citrus. The Chipotle Dipping Sauce doesn’t serve the same purpose as the normal bleu cheese or ranch that you get with Buffalo Wings. It’s not there to cool off your mouth from the heat from the wings. Most people enjoy their fajitas with sour cream. This sauce gives you that sour cream along with the smokiness of the chipotle peppers and some heat from the cayenne and ancho. Completely optional, but it adds that extra dimension to the wings that really set them off.

Demolished
Demolished

     Next time you are thinking about wings, try thinking outside the box. How could other cultures influence your wings and take them to a whole nother playing field? You might surprise yourself. You just might come up with a recipe that replaces Buffalo Wings as your favorite type of wings.