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Joined by our passion for meat, beer, cards and meat, we created a compitition bbq team to partake in just that.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Grilled Figs

If you have a fig tree you are always wondering what to do with all of that fruit.  Your dog will only eat so much and even though figs are great right off the tree - I have a limit.  What happens if your neighbor has a fig tree and gives you a sack of them?  So the question is how many ways can you cook figs that taste great, easy to make, and go with a wide range of food - either as an appetizer or a side. 

Let's make this really easy - fresh figs and blue cheese crumbles.  The saltiness from the blue cheese is a great pair with the sweetness from the figs. 

Cut the figs in half and use a melon ball scoop to create a divot in the fig half.

Add some blue cheese crumbles.

Lots of blue cheese crumbles.

Put on your super hot grill.  I use Grill Grates because the allow you to pick up the fruit from underneath.  The figs will get a bit squishy as they cook and can be difficult to pick up.  We also don't want to hit the fruit with flames and burn the outside.

Check out this great tool at http://www.grillgrate.com/

Monday, February 10, 2014

Brussel Sprouts - made right

Brussels Sprouts are not on most people's top picks for vegetables.  I'm about to change that. 

Most people steam Brussels Sprouts because - well - not sure.  I think it's easy to over steam and make them squishy - which may be one of the reasons why people don't like them.  I like mine with some crunch but they aren't that flavorful.  So how do you make Brussels Sprouts right?  Add bacon!

I've found the correct ratio is 1lb of bacon to 1lb of Brussels Sprouts.

You can also add in some diced bell red bell pepper for some color and I like to add in some blue cheese crumbles to add some depth and creaminess to the dish.  But bacon is the key.

I'm a little fanatical about peeling the outside leaves off.  I like to see bright green leaves and then I slice the butt off and make them a similar size so the cook about the same.  Some larger sprouts you can quarter and the smaller ones you can halve.

Dice the bacon into 1/4" wide pieces.

Add to a large, deep skillet and cook at a medium heat until the bacon is about 75% done.  Not crispy at all but on the way.

Add in the Brussels Sprouts - DO NOT drain off any of the fat that has rendered from the bacon.  This is the key!

Continue to cook over the medium heat until the bacon is done and the Brussels Sprouts are cooked through but still crispy - not mushy.

If you were going to add in some fine diced bell peppers, now would be the time.  Turn the heat off, add the bell peppers and toss a few times.  Let the pan sit for 2 - 3 minutes.  This will add some color and just start the cook on the bell peppers without making them squishy.

Top with a few crumbles of blue cheese.  This makes a great side for any meat dish - and you can tell your mommy that you ate your vegetables!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Mr. Grill Gloves Review

I get the opportunity to review BBQ related products from time to time.   This time Rizzi at Mr. Grill asked me to review his new Grill Gloves.

Normally I use welding gloves when handling hot coals, grates, or cooking containers in the smokers and grills.  Welding gloves are not my favorite because they are usually thick and cumbersome - you don't get much feel for what you are doing and you can't use them for anything that requires dexterity.

The first thing I noticed when I opened up the packaging for the Mr. Grill gloves were how thin they seemed.  Thin usually doesn't mean heat resistant but according to the folks at Mr. Grill, the grill gloves are made out of kevlar and nomex.

Trying the gloves on, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they fit and comfortable they are.  These gloves are also identical - right or left hand so easy to put on without worrying about the correct hand.  This may not seem important but after an all night BBQ session at a competition, I need all the help I can get.

So they are thin, ambidextrous, and fit great.  How about heat resistance?  

No issue at all handling red hot grill grates.

My hands didn't feel any heat while searing off some steaks over a very hot charcoal bed.

It was also very nice to have the dexterity and control over my favorite BBQ tools while wearing them.  This is not usually the case when wearing gloves and working over a hot fire.

Handling very hot cooking pans directly out of the smoker were no issue while wearing these gloves.

Some additional points from the manufacturer worth mentioning -
Outer layer won't catch on fire when exposed to open flame.
Silicone grid for the perfect grip
Machine washable

Overall, I thought the gloves were great and I'll definitely recommend adding them to your BBQ Tool arsenal.  You can find them on Amazon too!

Link to grill gloves amazon page: grill gloves

Link to Mr Grill website:
Mr Grill

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Nectarine and Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

Nectarine and Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

 Sometimes a great idea comes from what's handy or something you pick up at the Farmer's Market.  In this case, some blue cheese crumbles, fresh corn, some fresh basil and some great local nectarines!

 Ingredient List is easy:
  • Farmer John Thick Cut Boneless Pork Chops - 4 pack
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles - 8oz tub
  • Fresh basil - 1 bunch
  • 2 Nectarines - a little under-ripe is best
  • 2 Ears of corn
  • Your favorite dry rub

Medium dice the nectarine.  Using a lightly under-rip nectarine will help the fruit maintain it's pieces without getting too mushy during the cooking / prep process.

Chiffon cut the fresh basil.

 Add the basil, 1/2 of the diced nectarine, and the blue cheese.  You can add some salt and pepper if you want but the blue cheese already adds some salt and we can get some more flavor on the meat itself with the dry rub.

 Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket out in the side of the pork chop keeping the entry hole as small as possible so the stuffing doesn't leak out during the cooking process.  Take your time and make the pocket as large as possible without poking through the sides so you can maximize the amount of stuffing used.

After stuffing the chop, you can use tooth picks to help keep the hole closed if you need to.

Liberally dust both sides of the chops with your favorite dry rub.  I used Big Poppa Smokers Money Rub.  This is a great product that can be used on all kinds of meats and vegetables!  I highly recommend their products!

BPS also carries a huge selection of BBQ rubs, sauces and lots of BBQs!  I would check them out at https://www.bigpoppasmokers.com

 Put the pork chops on the smoker at 225F and smoke for about 60 minutes or until the internal temperature of the pork is at 145F.

Put the corn on the hottest part of your grill - every grill has an area that is hotter than the rest - for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, the corn should be mostly cooked and have a nice smokey flavor.  Cut the kernels off the cob.

Now we can make a quick sauce that will add some sweetness and some crunch and another layer of flavor that accentuates the nectarine to the dish.  Add 2 tablespoons of apple juice and the remaining diced nectarine to a sauce pan over a medium heat.  When the nectarines start to break down and liquify, add in the corn.  Continue to cook for another 10 minutes over a medium heat until fruit is broken down and liquified.

I plated up the stuffed pork chop with some home made chicken and dumplings.  Too much?  I don't think so.

Let's eat!

 You can find Big Poppa Smokers at https://www.bigpoppasmokers.com/
You can find the Big Poppa Smokers Money Rub at https://www.bigpoppasmokers.com/store/rubs?manufacturer=180

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Smoked Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms!

Portobello mushrooms are large, almost meaty mushrooms that are perfect size for a main course.  You can stuff them with just about anything you can think of but here's a quick recipe that I did for dinner.

Simple recipe of::
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Green Onions
  • 4 or so strips of bacon (I had some left over that was pre-cooked to speed up the process)
  • Gorgonzola Cheese
  • Lemon
  • Some nice size portobellos
  • Your favorite dry rub or salt, pepper, and granulated garlic

Dice up the bacon strips and the green onions.

Sweat the onions and the bacon.  The grease from the bacon will add flavor and help sweat the onions quicker.  I used precooked bacon (from the night before) so this process took about 5 or so minutes.  If the bacon isn't cooked, get the bacon to the 90% done point, drain out most of the rendered fat and then add the onions.

While the onions are sweating in the onions, dice up the Roma tomato

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the mushrroms and give a light dose of your favorite rub.  I used The Rub Co Santa Maria Seasoning for this ride.   All of The Rub Co rubs are awesome.  I highly suggest adding it to your BBQ Spice Shelf arsenal.

Add your sweated onion / bacon mix into each mushroom cap and then top with the diced up tomatoes.

Add a heavy dose of Gorgonzola Cheese to top off the stuffing mix.

Add another quick dusting of dry rub / spice mix and some more fresh squeezed lemon juice and get these tasty snacks into the smoker!

These cook up pretty quick - I smoked these over apple pellets at 275F for about 15 minutes.

They came out perfect!  Enough heat and time to get the cheese gooey but the mushroom itself still had great texture and was very meat like.  Almost good enough for a meat eater and definitely a great snack for a vegetarian (except the bacon).

You can find The Rub Co products here:  http://www.therubco.com/store.html

Let's eat!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

2012 BBQ Season Results

The results for 2012 have been tabulated and Meat, Inc. had another great year!  Thank you to all the fans who support us at the comps, all the folks on the team that put in a huge amount of effort, and thanks to our sponsors that help make all the magic happen!  We look forward to seeing all of you in 2013!

 KCBS National Rankings:

Chicken - 454 / 6214
Ribs - 394 - 6245
Pork - 264 / 6233
Brisket - 459 / 6207
Overall - 416 / 6299


 California BBQ Association Rankings

Chicken - 45
Ribs - 53
Pork - 24
Brisket - 58
Overall - 51 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Smoked Stuffed Dates

Smoked Stuffed Dates!

This is a fan favorite - a really easy recipe that is the perfect appetizer for any type of party.

 Just a couple ingredients to make you the superstar!
  • Bacon
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles
  • Mozzarella
  • Dates (I used pre-pitted dates - it saves a few steps)

If you can't find pre-pitted dates you can remove the pits by slicing the date lengthwise.

Open up the date and jam in a teaspoon or so of blue cheese crumbles.

Place a small slice of mozzarella on top of the blue cheese crumbles.

 Last step is to wrap a 1/2 piece of bacon around the date.  If you stretch the bacon as you are wrapping - the bacon will stick to itself as it contracts.  No need for tooth picks to keep the bacon in place.

I smoked these tasty treats on my Royall 3000 over apple pellets at 225F for about 90 minutes.  I smoked the snacks on Frogmats so they didn't fall through the grates.  These are a must have for any serious BBQ'r.

Find them at http://frogmats.com/


After about 90 minutes these tasty snacks were ready to be served.

A perfect party snack platter is not complete without Smoked Summer Sausage, Atomic Buffalo Turds, and - of course - Smoked Stuffed Dates!

Let's eat!

Disclaimer:  All products used were purchased / supplied by me.  Royall Grills is a proud sponsor or Meat, Inc. BBQ Team.