Reverse Seared Chicken Breasts

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FullSizeRenderI really like to grill chicken breasts, but I struggled to get them juicy and tender on the inside while getting a nice caramelized sauce on the exterior.

Since getting my Big Green Egg a couple of years ago, I pride myself on my ability to grill a terrific steak. I use the reverse sear method to get the interior cooked to a perfect medium rare and then I get those prized cross-hatched grill marks on the outside.

So, it dawned on me one day that perhaps this is the answer for chicken breasts, too!

To give credit where credit is due, I came across a recipe article in StoryQue issue 20 entitled “How to Grill Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast” by John Thomas. I tweaked the recipe and adapted it for a cook on the Big Green Egg.

INGREDIENTS

2-4 Chicken Breasts – I used boneless, skinless chicken breast

Your favorite BBQ sauce for chicken. I just used Sweet Baby Rays because it was at the house.

Dry Rub Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (note: John’s recipe called for 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. My wife said that was too spicy for her. So, adjust to taste.)

PRERARATION

Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with a paper towel.IMG_1737

Place all the Dry Rub ingredients in a gallon zipper bag. Mix together and break up any lumps in the brown sugar. When the rub is nicely mixed, place the chicken breasts in the bag and shake the bag to coat evenly. Place the chicken breasts in a container or covered platter and put them in the refrigerator for an hour or two.

GRILL PREPARATION and the COOK

While the chicken breasts are in the refrigerator soaking up the rub, get the Big Green Egg set up for an indirect / reverse sear cook.

IMG_1741Clean out any old ashes and add lump charcoal as needed. Get the fire started. Add the plate setter, legs up. To minimize clean-up, I cover the top of the plate setter with grilling foil. Add the grate and get the temperature up to 425 degrees.

I use an iGrill thermometer for monitor the grill temperature and the meat temperature. When the grill is stabilized around 425 degrees, put the chicken breasts on the grill and cook to an internal target temperature of 150 degrees.

When the chicken breasts reach 150 degrees internal temperature, take them off the grill and put them on a plate. Cover them with foil to reduce temperature loss.

Take the grill grate off and carefully remove the plate setter. IT WILL BE HOT!

Put the grill grate back on.

Brush the chicken breasts with a liberal coating of BBQ sauce on all sides.IMG_1743

Put the chicken breasts back on the grill and flip them frequently to keep them from burning. I check the temperature with a ThermaPen instant read thermometer. When the internal temperature gets to 165 degrees, take the chicken off the grill and put them on a plate.

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This may not be the prettiest presentation coming off the grill – but you get the idea. Cover them with foil for 10 minutes to let them rest and to continue cooking for a bit.

We had home made cole slaw (recipe here) and mashed potatoes – and some cold beer. It was terrific.

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BBQ Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave

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Meatloaf with Bacon Weave 3First, a big shout out and thanks to Susie Bulloch over at heygrillhey.com. I actually saw the photo of her BBQ Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave on her instagram account (@heygrillhey) and I had to try it on the Big Green Egg.

Susie has a terrific post on her blog on How to Make a Bacon Weave. I couldn;t have said it any better, so if you don’t know how to make the weave – check it out at heygrillhey.com/how-to-make-a-bacon-weave/.

The meatloaf was nicely seasoned with peppers, onions, garlic and BBQ sauce, then wrapped in an awesome bacon weave! What’s not to love?

So, here’s my recipe for BBQ Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave on the Big Green Egg.

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 1 lb (14 slices) of regular sliced bacon (not the thick sliced bacon – it takes too long to cook)
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1/2 cup red onion – diced
  • 1/2 cup yellow bell pepper – diced
  • 2 tsp garlic – minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef – I used 93% lean
  • 2 eggs – beaten in a medium sized bowl
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs – I used Traditional Breadcrumbs from Kroger
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce – pick your favorite
  • 3 tbsp or more BBQ sauce to glaze the meatloaf on the grill
  • 1 tbsp mustard – I used Dijon. Susie called for Whole Grain Mustard but I didn’t have any
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp hot sauce – I used Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • Parchment Paper
  • Disposable food preparation gloves are really helpful!

 Instructions

 

  1. Prepare your Big Green Egg for an indirect cook at 375(F) with the plate setter legs up. I recommend having a foil lined drip pan to catch the grease from the bacon and meatloaf.
  2. In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the EVOO. Stir in the onions and peppers and cook for 6 miniutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Turn off the heat and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add the ground beef. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs, salt and pepper on top of the ground beef. To the medium sized bowl with the beaten eggs, add the 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Whisk the wet ingredients together until combined and then pour over the ground beef.
  4. Wearing your food preparation gloves, combine the ingredients with your hands until uniform.
  5. Bacon Weave 1For the bacon weave, divide the slices into an equal number and then create the weave on a piece of parchment paper as instructed in the link at the top of this post. I used the entire pound of bacon which had 14 slices in it.
  6. Place the meat mixture in the center of the bacon weave and form it into a log.
  7. Meatloaf with Bacon Weave 1Roll the bacon weave over the meatloaf and secure any loose ends with toothpicks. (Don’t forget to take them out after the meatloaf has cooked.
  8. Meatloaf with Bacon Weave 2Move the meatloaf onto the Big Green Egg and close the lid. After 45 minutes, check the internal temperature of the meatloaf in several areas. You are shooting for an internal temperature of at least 160 (F). Glaze the bacon weave with BBQ sauce. I flipped the meatloaf after an hour to get the bacon to crisp up on the top and bottom. I cooked mine for a little longer than an hour (1:15 or so).
  9. Meatloaf with Bacon Weave 3When it is to your desired internal temperature and the bacon has crisped up to your liking, take it off the grill.
  10. Allow the meat to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.

The meatloaf was tender and juicy. The bacon weave was crispy. We plated this with some mashed potatoes and green beans. Yum!

Cole Slaw

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Cole Slaw 1I was looking for a simple recipe to make cole slaw to top my pulled pork sandwiches. I came across a recipe from Meathead Goldwyn at amazingribs.com. Click here for his recipe.

I went the easier route – my recipe follows:

Yield. 8 servings

Preparation time. 15 minutes. Let the slaw sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to blend the flavors.

Ingredients for the slaw
I bought a 1 lb bag of pre-chopped cole slaw (green cabbage and carrots) in the salad section of the grocery store. You can certainly chop up the stuff yourself – but it was much easier my way.

Ingredients for the dressing
1 tablespoon distilled vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish

Method
Using a wire whisk, mix the dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the bag of cabbage and carrots into the dressing and stir around until evenly covered. For best flavor, chill for at least 1 hour.

How simple is that?Boston Butt 6

The flavor was spot on and it was great on top of my pulled pork sandwich!

Pulled Pork

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As they say – “I like Pig Butts and I cannot lie!” I’ve had it on my BBQ list to do since I got my Big Green Egg. Well, this was the weekend to scratch it off of the said list. It was really easy to do and it tasted great.

Here’s my process:

Start with 7 – 8 lb Boston Butt. (I got a 7.75 pounder at HEB.)

Boston Butt 1

Take the meat out of the package and put it in a large cake pan. Rinse off all the blood and liquid and pat the Boston Butt dry with a few paper towels.

Rinse and dry the cake pan and put the Boston Butt back in the pan.

Unless you want yellow hands, put on some disposable food preparation gloves and slather the meat with plain yellow mustard. (The mustard serves as a binding agent for the rub. Once cooked, the mustard leaves no taste.) Make sure to put the mustard on all sides of the meat.

Liberally sprinkle your favorite rub onto the mustard coating. I used Dizzy Pig’s Dizzy DustDizzy Pig Dizzy Dust

Pat the thick coating of rub into the meat. When you don’t see any mustard, then you probably put on enough of the rub.

Cover the cake pan with foil and put it in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Some recipes say to let the rub sit over night. Some say that soaks into the food too much and you should only have the rub on for 30 minutes. An hour should do just fine.

Boston Butt 2While the meat is waiting, get your Big Green Egg ready.

Make sure your Egg is cleaned out and ready for a long cook. Empty  out all the old charcoal an ashes and filled her up with new lump charcoal to the top of the fire box.

Light the coals and set up for an indirect cook (plate setter legs up) at 275 degrees. Add a foil lined drip pan on top of the plate setter to catch the grease. Don’t add water to the pan – you don’t need that with a Big Green Egg. Add a couple of chunks of oak and a couple of chinks of hickory for smoke. Don’t soak the wood – just put the wood in with the lump charcoal and let them burn in for awhile. Wait to put the meat on until the temperature is stabilized at 275 degrees and there is no thick white smoke. You want a very faint bluish colored smoke.

While not necessary, I used a Stoker temperature controller for this cook and it worked like a champ. I set the temperature for 275 degrees and it kept it steady all day long.

Put the meat on – fat cap side up. If you have one, insert the temperature probe into the meat. Close the lid and relax for a few hours.

Boston Butt 3When internal temperature of the meat reaches 170 degrees (it took about 5 hours), take the Boston Butt out and wrapped it in a double layer of aluminum foil. Before sealing it tightly, add 1/3 cup of apple juice.

Once sealed, put the temperature probe back into the meat, through the foil.

Return the meat to the Big Green Egg and continue cooking until the meat’s internal temperature reaches 200 degrees. (This took another couple of hours – about 7 hours total.)

Once the target temperature is reached, unwrap the Boston Butt and transfer it to another double layer of foil. (This probably wasn’t necessary – I could have just kept it in the other foil. I retained the liquid from the first foil and saved it in a bowl.)  Anyway, wrap the the foiled Boston Butt in two towels and put it in a cooler for an hour.

Boston Butt 4After an hour, open up the foil. The Boston Butt will look like a charred mess! That’s how it is supposed to look.

The meat will be extremely tender. There is a large bone in there – it pulls right out.

My Thoughts

I’ll admit it – I watch a lot of BBQ competition shows on TV. I had great intentions about pulling out the “money muscle” and making a great presentation. I got excited and started pulling the Boston Butt apart and then next thing I new, I had a giant bowl of pulled pork.

I heated up the bowl of reserved liquid that was in the foil and added about a cup of it to the meat. It probably wasn’t necessary because the pulled pork was already so moist.

Boston Butt 5 I have always heard that you are supposed to put cole slaw on top of pulled pork sandwiches. I don’t like the cole slaw from the grocery store deli. So, I found a recipe on-line and made some cole slaw while I had a few hours to kill with the Boston Butt cook.

Click here to get the cole slaw recipe – it was great.

We kept the dinner simple. Pulled pork sandwiches with some BBQ sauce on it. I used Charcoaler BBQ Sauce from El Paso that a friend gave me. I put cole slaw on top – that was a great idea. Then we heated up a can of Bush’s baked beans.

Dinner was great. I had plenty of pulled pork left over. So, I’ll start researching to see what I can do with pulled pork.Boston Butt 6

 

 

Pig Candy

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Pig Candy is thick-sliced bacon coated with brown sugar and a touch of cayenne pepper. Nom, nom, nom. This is a delicious appetizer!

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Here’s a quick and easy way to make Pig Candy on a large Big Green Egg.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 C dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
10 strips of thick sliced bacon

Wright Brand Bacon Continue reading

Tater Tots Wrapped in Bacon (TOINK Shots)

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Tater Tots wrapped in bacon to form a shot glass topped with cheese. YUM!

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I was playing with appetizers today and this came out as my favorite. I also tried Pig Candy and Scotch Eggs (with Chorizo).

I think I’ll call these TOINK Shots. They are super easy to make.

INGREDIENTS

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Frozen Tater Tots (thawed 10 seconds in the microwave to allow a toothpick to pierce them)

Thick cut bacon, cut in 1/2 or 1/3 slices.

Shredded cheddar or your favorite cheese

Your favorite rub – I used Dizzy Pig Raging River Rub Continue reading

MOINK Balls (Updated 9/5/2015)

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A MOINK ball is a beef meatball wrapped in bacon (MOO + OINK = MOINK) sprinkled with BBQ rub, smoked outdoors and glazed with BBQ sauce. THEY ARE DELICIOUS!

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In the past, MOINK Balls were only made with frozen, store bought all beef meatballs. Due to the lack of availability of store bought ALL BEEF meatballs in some areas, HOMEMADE meatballs are now acceptable, provided the meatballs are made ONLY with BEEF. (Do you get the idea that MOINK Balls are made with beef meatballs?)

Here is a recipe for “Make Ahead Frozen Meatballs” by Kristen Michaelis. Continue reading