Archive for May, 2010

Monday, May 31, 2010 @ 07:05 AM

Ah…Memorial Day. The official kick off of the summer bbq grilling season. Fun in the sun, swimming, food, family, friends, parades, car shows, fairs, fireworks.The smell of steak grilling wafting over your neighbor’s fence. Just remember, when you put the match to your Brinkmann charcoal grill, the men and women who made it possible for us to enjoy our freedom. The freedom to have backyard bbq’s and fun in the summer sun.

Memorial Day is the day to honor the people who lost their lives fighting for the freedom of our country. Take the morning out to go to a parade or memorial service. It is a day to honor the fallen.Then you can go enjoy your bbq. Take a moment to remember why we have our freedom.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010 @ 08:05 AM

Some people enjoy the flavor of smoke on their meat, fish & vegetables. Not everyone has a traditional BBQ smoker. There are many things out there to achieve the flavor enhancement of smoke, without having to buy an elaborate smoker.

You can always cheat & buy a liquid smoke product…but like I said…that’s cheating.

There are smoker boxes, a metal box with holes for smoke to escape, that allow you to smoke foods right on your grill, whether it be gas, charcoal, or electric. And as far as a charcoal grill goes, you can place the wood chips or chunks right in with the charcoal.There are also some fancy briquettes out on the market now with the flavor of wood smoke mixed right in them.

There are smoker cans that come in a variety of wood smoke flavors. This is an item that,after opening it, you place on your grill over heat, with your meat on the grate & close the lid. The wood chips inside the can are smaller than your traditional chips or chunks. The smoke escapes the can and presto…you have a smoker.These cans can  be used more than once and there is no soaking of chips, no flying ash.

Wood planks allow seafood, meat, chicken and vegetables to roast slowly, basting in their own juices, creating a subtle smokey flavor. You soak the plank in water for about 30 mins. No fat or oil should be added, as the moisture from the plank keeps your food juicy and flavorful with no loss of nutrients. you pre-heat your barbecue to a medium high heat (400-425 degrees). Place the soaked plank onto the grill and close the lid for a couple of minutes until the plank starts to smoke. Then place the food on the plank, reclose the lid & cook your food like normal. Keep a water spray bottle available for flare ups. When done remove the food & dispose of the plank…or it can be saved to be broken up to use in a box smoker or with charcoal at a later date.

Smoker bags are available. The wood chip flavoring is already inside the bag and sealed between layers of foil. Preparation and clean up are a snap. You fill the bag with meat & vegetables, a little seasoning, and you’re ready to go. Place the bag in your grill, or you can even place it in the oven. After the food it cooked, slice open the bag, serve, and throw the bag away. Easy as pie.

There are even smoker boxes that are made that can be used right on top of your stove. You can enjoy smoked food even in the middle of winter, when it’s too cold to go outside to cook. Especially useful if you live in an apartment & don’t have the luxury of outdoor cooking. They have a lid that slides right on, but you can smoke larger items like ham or turkey just by making a foil tent with the smoker box.

Smoked foods are a good and nutritional way to eat, adding flavor without adding calories & fat. The easy way to give you meals a bold or subtle smoky flavor.

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Friday, May 28, 2010 @ 08:05 AM

BBQ smokers are considered by enthusiasts to be what barbecue is all about. Although grilling and bbq have long been thought of as the same thing, real classic bbq refers to slow cooked meat. Low temperatures, slow cooking, and smoke allow flavor to develop in a natural, delicious way. Cooking at lower temperatures allows the meat to become tender while preserving its natural juices.The result is the most tender and juicy meat every time. Pork shoulders cooked for 12 hours at low heat melt in your mouth! A dark and smokey beef brisket cooked in a bbq smoker that’ll make you crave it everytime you bbq. Ribs that just fall off the bone! The long cooking period allows for several different, simple cooking techniques to be used to create fabulous flavor while offering the cook time to enjoy life with family and friends.

Which type of smoker is the best to use you may ask – gas, electric or charcoal?

The electric smoker is made to be the most convenient and easiest to use smoker; however, the electric smoker has limited adjustability in regards to cooking temperature. The gas smoker is convenient and portable, but a gas tank is required for use. The gas smoker offers a greater range in cooking temperatures. The charcoal smoker has an adjustable temperature range and charcoal chips or nuggets are required to operate.

There are many different options to choose from, ranging in all different sizes & prices. There are even Brinkmann smokers &  Masterbuilt smokers  that not only smoke food, but you can fry, grill, steam, & boil with the same unit…just not all at the same time.

For the best smoking results, use fruit or non-producing trees. Some places use corn cobs as well.( I’ve had some excellent cob smoked bacon!)

Wood chunks are more effective for great tasting smoked foods because the chunks last longer and smolder slower than wood chips.

Curing your smoker before the first use will remove any machine oils, paints or odors in a new smoker. Long term, curing the smoker will minimize any rust damage.

Depending on the size or your smoker, you can cook two different meats at the same time on the two levels of your smoker. The tastes and odors of the two different meats will remain independent for the most part.

Internal temperature meat should be before it is considered safe to eat?

* Turkey – 180°F

* Pork – 160°F

* Chicken – 180°F

* Beef – 145°F

Estimate cooking time by the formula of 45 minutes to an hour per one pound of meat at an average cooking temperature of 250°.

Just remember…patience is key here. Smoking foods can take anywhere from 1-2 hours up to 20 hours. It is well worth the wait!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010 @ 07:05 AM

This is a fan post by Les S. that I want to share with you all:

1 large bottle of cheap balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp Red Pepper Jelly
2 tbsp Raspberry Jam
2-12 drops Tabasco (to taste)(How spicy do you like it?)
Pour bottle of balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and bring to a boil. (WARNING: THIS IS GUARANTEED TO STINK UP YOUR KITCHEN. Try preparing outside on your Brinkmann Grill instead!) Add in the Red Pepper Jelly, the Raspberry Jam and the Tabasco. Once the jelly and jam melts down, lower to a simmer, stirring occasionally. When the mixture becomes slightly syrupy (pancake syrup texture), take off the flame and allow to cool.
When cool, pour it into an empty squeeze-style ketchup bottle and refrigerate. Will last for about a month, maybe more in the fridge.
Drizzle across your meats or fish, when serving, for an extra-delicious kick.
Perfect on grilled chicken, burgers and steak.
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 @ 10:05 AM

The trick to a great grilling season is to make sure you have a properly seasoned and maintained grill. Whether you have a Brinkmann charcoal grill, a propane cajun grill, or even an electric grill, getting it seasoned  from the moment it is assembled and then proper maintenance is key to a long life & many grilling sessions to come.

The first thing you want to do is season your grate. This can be done by first washing it in warm soapy water. This should be done with all grates…cast iron or stainless steel.( Youdon’t need to season porcelain.) Dry with paper towels. Apply olive oil liberally to the grate. Add some fine sea salt & black pepper.( This can be done by hand or sprinkled on while over the heat…just hold your breath, black pepper doesn’t feel so good in your sinuses.)

Now you are going to “bake” your grate. This can be done by placing in a 275-300 degree oven on a cookie sheet for 30 mins, by turning your gas Brinkmann grill up to 400-500 degrees, placing the grates back in, turn down heat to medium & cook for 35-45 mins, or lighting self starting charcoal in your charcoal grill & when you no longer smell the lighter fluid, placing the grate on the heat & closing the lid. Now you will leave the grate where it is. Turn off the heat & it will continue to bake the oil on as it cools. Now, some people feel that this is enough & your grill is seasoned. You can still always oil the grill up before each cooking session & pre-heat with the lid down & this will keep the grates seasoned. Or just do a touch up on areas that seem dry, with some olive oil non-stick cooking spray. Some people seem to think that for proper seasoning, you should repeat the seasoning process more than once from the beginning. This is all just preference & patience. A novice barbequer will already have a preference.

Now comes the maintenance. Properly clean your grill after each use. I like to just heat it up, let any residue burn off, shut the flame off & while the grate is still hot, take a wire brush(you can use the specially designed ones with brush on one side & scrubby pad on the other or just a wire brush.) or wad up some foil & with a pot holder on your hand, rub down the grates. This will get off any carbon residue. As I said before, you can re-oil your grates before every session if you wish, or do touch ups as needed. Clean out your charcoal debris after every use, or empty your grease catcher after 3-4 uses.

The outside of your grill can be cleaned with a biodegradable food friendly orange cleaner.

Keep your grill covered if possible. This will help keep out moisture, animals & hopefully bugs & spiders.

When you store your grill for the winter (if you don’t use it all winter long), make sure that it is properly cleaned before you cover it for it’s long & lonely winter hibernation.

Always remember to never leave your grill unattended & make sure you have a hose or fire extinguisher at all times.

Have fun grilling!

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 @ 08:05 AM

Are you tired of the same old grilled boneless chicken breast? Grilled boneless chicken breast is a staple in any cholesterol lowering or low fat diet. It doesn’t need to always be boring. It’s time to spice or zing your chicken up.Try some different marinades and spices. The combination of flavors is endless. Try marinating them in orange juice, lemon juice, or lime juice. Add a little toasted sesame oil, low sodium soy sauce, or Italian dressing. Throw in a little spice, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, Chinese 5 Spice, or Cajun spice. How about a little dill, garlic & lemon zest? One of my favorites is orange juice & Chinese 5 spice which is a combination of anise, cinnamon, star anise, cloves & ginger. It adds a nice little zing to that plain old chicken breast. Marinate your chicken for a couple of hours to overnight.  Then just fire up your Brinkmann grill & grill the chicken like you normally would.   Keep an eye on it…you don’t want it to dry out.   Slice it up & serve it on top of salad. Eat it grilled with green beans, steamed in low sodium chicken broth, on the side. Make some couscous with chopped dried apricot & golden raisins on the side.There is no need for food to be boring just because you need to lower your cholesterol. The possibilites  are endless and only limited by your own imagination. Be brave! Get out there and experiment! Find what you like & stick with it, or just keep concocting.

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Monday, May 24, 2010 @ 08:05 AM

1 6.5 oz can minced clams(juice & all)

1 6.5 oz can tiny shrimp

1\2 bag frozen bay scallops, thawed (approx 1 lb.)(fresh fish is a great option, if you can get it.)

Approx 1 c Italian seasoned bread crumbs

3-4 tbsp butter

1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

4 slices bacon,crisped & crumbled

1-2 tbsp lemon juice

1\4 c beer

2 tbsp grated Parmesan & Romano Cheese(and some extra to sprinkle on top)

1 small onion, minced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

salt & pepper, to taste(and any other seasonings you may want to add, Caribbean, Key West,Everglade,Bay,Etc.)


Approx. doz clam or large scallop shells (about 14 foil clam shells)

In a cast iron skillet, cook & crisp your bacon. Set aside. Add a little olive oil & butter to the pan. Saute onion & garlic & add fresh parsley at the end.

In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients. You want it to be pasty.

Spray some non-stick cooking oil into your shells.

Stuff your clam mixture into the shells. Sprinkle with paprika, more cheese & a little bit of bread crumb.

Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10 mins.If desired you can put under the broiler for a minute or so.

Serve with a little bit of lemon juice on top.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010 @ 08:05 AM

10 oz can of whole baby clams(or fresh if you can get them!)

1 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1\2 tsp pepper

1 egg

cooking oil for frying

Mix dry ingredients together. Add clams & egg.

Pour cooking oil into your cast iron skillet about 1\2 inch deep. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil( can press with a fork to flatten if you wish.) Brown on both sides until the fritters are crispy.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010 @ 08:05 AM

4 small russet potatoes, washed

3 cups canola plus 2 teaspoons canola oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for dredging

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups seltzer water

4 tilapia fillets, each fillet sliced in 1/2

For Tartar Sauce:

1 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a baking sheet in the oven to preheat.

Using a knife, slice the potatoes into thin discs about 1/4-inch thick. Place the potatoes in a large bowl with 2 teaspoons canola oil, salt and pepper, to taste, and toss to coat. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the potatoes to the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, flip each chip and bake for another 10 minutes.

In a medium stove top deep fryer pot heat 3 cups of canola oil to 360 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine remaining dry ingredients except 1/2 cup flour and season with salt and pepper. Whisk in  seltzer water.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the tilapia in the flour, shake off excess, then dip into batter. Carefully place the battered fish into the hot oil. Working in batches so not to crowd the pot, fry for 6 minutes until golden brown. Remove to an oven-proof plate lined with papers towels or a brown paper bag. Repeat with remaining fillets. While frying remaining tilapia keep the cooked fillets warm in a preheated 250 degree F oven.

Serve immediately with chips and tartar sauce on the side.

Cole slaw makes a nice side dish to this meal.

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Friday, May 21, 2010 @ 08:05 AM

This is a great (and one of my favorite) summer appetizer for the grill.

1/2 cup of orange juice(if you’re doing fresh about 2 oranges)

1\2 cup fresh cilantro

1 tbsp Asian red chili paste

1\4 cup oil,preferably extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

3 scallions,green parts only

1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce

1\2 tsp salt( optional)

2 lbs extra large shrimp,shelled and deveined

Skewers(if wood skewers soak in water or O.J. for an hour prior to cooking)

This recipe is why I always bring a small food processor with a metal blade with me when tailgating.

In small food processor, put orange juice, cilantro, chili paste, oil, garlic, scallion greens, chipotle, & salt.

Blend until smooth.

Put shrimp in a zipper baggie and pour the O.J. mixture over the shrimp.

Marinate in the fridge or an ice filled cooler for 2-3 hours. No Longer!

Remove shrimp from the marinade & place on skewers.(If you want to be less messy, and you have the room to do it, pre-skewer the shrimp, place in a low shallow foil pan, pour marinade over the top, and set in fridge that way for 2-3 hours.)

Toss the remaining marinade.

Grill shrimp over medium high heat on your Brinkmann grill, 3-4 minutes per side. (I like to use the top cooking surface & close the lid.But don’t walk away!)

Remove from heat & serve immediately.

I like to just hand out individual skewers to people & let them have at it!

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