Monday, August 31, 2015

Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker Setup

Excellent article on setting up a Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker from Amazing Ribs.

There are a number of bullet-shaped charcoal smokers out there and they are pretty easy to use. The best is the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) which now comes in three sizes.

Seasoning and calibrating your smoker with dry runs
The first thing to do after you assemble your new grill or smoker is to season it and calibrate it by doing a few dry runs without food. This will burn off any manufacturer's grease, and give you a sense for how to set it up to hit the two important target temps that almost all my recipes use: 225°F and 325°F.

Of course, in order to do this, you absolutely positively must have a good digital oven thermometer. I don't care how much you spent, the bi-metal dial thermometer that came with it is cheap and unreliable and likely to be off by as much as 50°F. Worse still, it is in the dome, and the temp down on the grate where the meat sits is much different. Like a musician, you must master your instrument to make great food.

Harry Soo is one of the top cooks on the barbecue competition circuit and his team, Slap Yo' Daddy BBQ from Diamond Bar, CA, wins tens of thousands of dollars every year. He cooks on 18.5" Weber Smokey Mountains he bought on Amazon, not the $15,000 big rigs most of the other teams use. He also teaches classes. Harry was conducted an extremely informative seminar on the operation of the WSM for the Pitmaster Club and if you are a member you can watch it here.

He says "The key step once your smoker arrives is to ensure you season it properly. New WSMs will tend to overheat until you are able to season the inside. The fastest way to season is to do the following:

"Cover the water pan completely with aluminum foil and run a full load of lit Kingsford blue bag briquets and let it run as hot as it can with no water in the pan (over 350°F) to burn off any manufacturing residue. Clean out the ash.

"Fill the charcoal basket 1/2 full of unlit briquets. Hollow out the center so you can see the grate, amking a donut of charcoal. Then put in a 1/2 chimney of lit Kingsford briquets in the middle. This will allow a slow burn for three to five hours on a 72°F day. Adjust the vents to get 275°F on the dome thermometer. Put in bacon strips, chicken parts, pork fat, or any other scrap meat you don't plan to eat. The key is to get fatty meats to generate lots of vapors. Toss in a couple of tennis ball size wood chunks to generate smoke.

"Repeat the above step at least twice before you cook meat that you want to eat. Remember to always empty the ash from the bottom and grease on the foiled water pan to avoid fires and any rancid old oil smell before you cook. Also, I never cook seafood and hotdogs on WSMs that will cook pork, beef, or poultry. Nothing destroys the aroma faster. That's why you should buy a second smoker if you plan to cook seafood or hotdogs."

After cooking Soo uses a wire brush to scrape off creosote and grease, but not the dull black coat that reduces reflection of heat waves. You want the interior dull, but you don't want rancid grease.

Cooking with your bullet
1) Clean out the ash from the bottom of the smoker. It is essential that nothing blocks the air intakes. Besides, ash absorbs heat. If you can, buy another spare bottom grate and lay it on top of the one that came with your WSM with the bars perpendicular, creating a checkerboard pattern. This will prevent coals and wood from falling through.

2) Open the vent on the top all the way, and open the bottom vents half way.

3) There are a number of methods to start and maintain the fire all better than the method recommended by Weber. If you light all the coals at once, as Weber recommends, they will burn hot at first and then cool off. Of course we want to get the pit to a target temp and hold it steady. The best way to set up your fire is with one of the many variations of the Minion Method, named after Jim Minion, a caterer who invented the technique.

Here are the best methods for you to try. Do a dry run or two without food to figure out exactly how many coals works for you. It is really important to use a good thermometer and keep a cooking log when using a WSM, at least until you understand how it works. And remember, don't soak the wood because wet wood just cools the fire, and for chicken and turkey, you don't need any wood at all, the coals emit enough smoke.

The Original Minion Method. The original Minion Method says to pour unlit coals in the ring and pour a chimney of hot coals on top. As the hot coals burn out the new coals fire up. The Minion method is much better at keeping the temp steady because it lights new coals as the old ones burn out.

Soo's Donut. Soo uses a modified Minion Method that I call Soo's Donut. Get a 16 pound bag of plain old fashioned Kingsford briquets. They burn steady and relatively clean. Click here to read more about charcoal types and why Soo and I and many others prefer Blue Bag over all the others including the expensive "natural" lump charcoals. Fill a Weber chimney half way (40 coals), light them, and wait until they are all coated with white ash. The exact number of coals will vary depending on the brand you use and the weather.

Fill the ring with unlit coals into the fire ring, and dig a hole in the center all the way downand about 8" wide forming a charcoal donut. Bury 3 to 4 chunks of wood in the donut at different distances from the center. You can use chips or pellets, but I prefer chunks because they ignite and smolder slowly. Then pour the hot coals into the hole. The hot coals begin to burn out after a while but as they do, they ignite the coals near them and the new coals ignite the coals near them so the fire moves from the center to the edges.

The Fuse. I prefer this method for the large WSM because this unit tends to run hotter than the smaller unit and the fuse helps me keep the temp down to 225°F. Create a donut as above, but put a stack of bricks or a big rock in the center to keep the coals from falling into the hole. Then take a bite out of the donut about 8" so it is now a big C shape.

Fill a Weber chimney about 1/2 way and get the coals fully engaged. Pour the lit coals over one end of the C, not in the center. Space about three chunks of wood in a line near the hot coals. The lit coals will provide you with heat and smoke and slowly ignite the rest of the coals in the manner of a fuse, burning around the C, producing a nice even heat for a long time. The bricks absorb and emit heat helping hold temps steady.

The Pyramid. Build a pyramid of coals in the center of the ring. Put a Weber paraffin cube under the top coal and light it. It will start up more slowly but will not overshoot the target temp easily.

4) Place the cooking grates right on top of the hot coals to heat them up so you can scrape them clean. Old grease and rust can taint the flavor of your food. Remove the clean grates.

5) Put together the rest of the smoker positioning the door so it is easily accessible. Line the water pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. This will make cleanup easier. Insert the water pan and fill it within 1/2" of the top with hot water. Try to use hot water since it will absorb less heat and help get the oven up to temp faster. Click here to read more about what goes in the water pan. Place the cooking grates in position.

Soo does things differently, so you can experiment with my method and his: "Don't use any water in the pan. Just cover the water pan with foil top and bottom. I foil it twice so I can remove the second layer after the cook and refoil it. That way, I don't have to clean my pan. Dry heat allows the bark to form faster on the meat. Once the bark forms, you can introduce moisture. I just spray the meat with water every hour. To test for properly formed bark, use your finger nail and scrape the meat surface. If the crust has formed, it will not come off when you gently scrape it with your fingernail. If the crust comes off, the bark has not set, so don't spray until it sets. Let it cook longer and check back in 15 minutes. When the bark is set, I then wrap the meat in foil for about an hour, take it out and let it dry a bit. I've won many awards with this technique."


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Grilled Eggplant

This is an amazingly easy recipe and ever so savory!

  • 4 Japanese eggplants sliced lengthwise
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder

Rinse and dry the eggplants.
Slice them into 1/2 inch thick pieces.
Combine eggplant slices, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large shallow baking dish and mix well. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before grilling.
Heat the grill to about medium-high (about 400°F to 450°F).
When the grill is ready, place the eggplant slices directly over the coals and grill until golden-brown grill marks form. About 3 to 4 minutes.
Turn the eggplant and grill until tender and well marked on the second side, 3 to 4 minutes more. The interior should be grayish and soft rather than white and hard.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Grilled Country-Style Pork Ribs

Country-style pork ribs, which come in both boneless and bone-in varieties, are meaty enough to cook like pork chops with a few minutes on a hot grill.

  • 3 1/2 pounds country-style pork ribs
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder

Season the Country-style pork ribs with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Let the ribs sit at room temperature for 1 hour before grilling.
Heat the grill to medium (about 350°F to 450°F).
Place the ribs on the grill with the larger, flatter side down, cover the grill, and cook until the pork is browned on the bottom, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Flip, cover, and cook until they are browned on the other side, about 5 to 7 minutes more.
Rotate the ribs so that they are resting on a thinner side (you may need to prop them up against one another), cover, and cook until browned, about 4 to 6 minutes.
Flip to the other thinner side, cover, and cook until browned or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thickest rib registers 145°F, about 4 to 6 minutes more.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Aaron Franklin:Texas-Style Brisket

James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin is perhaps the most famous guy behind a grill in America, and his brisket may be the most sought after piece of meat in the country. Here, on his new PBS series, he goes through his technique for smoked and barbecued brisket. A master of the craft, don't miss Franklin's tips, tricks, and jokes.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thawing Meat

How to defrost meat safely.

From the website that is an encyclopedia on outdoor cooking: Amazing Ribs:
Fresh meat is almost always better than frozen meat because when meat freezes the water crystals expand and puncture cell walls spilling out the juices that keep meat tender and juicy. Ever notice the pink liquid in the bottom of the bag when you defrost meat? Called "purge" there's no way to get it back in. That said, meat frozen when fresh is usually better than meat that was frozen after sitting around for a week or so.
frozen turkey
The idea is to warm frozen meat but not leave it in the "danger zone" of 41°F to 135°F in which bacteria multiply rapidly. You can do this slowly in the fridge, but water is a better conductor of heat, so putting the meat in a water bath will defrost it faster, especially if it has been shrinkwrapped so the water has no air between it and the meat. If the food has been swaddled in layers of freezer paper or foil, remove this extra insulation, put it in a zipper bag and squeeze out the air. Here are some safe methods, and, are you ready for another mythbusting, you can defrost in hot water! But never thaw meat at room temp. That is a recipe for fluid loss via all your apertures.
1) Refrigerator thawing. This is the easiest method. Leave the meat in the fridge in its packaging in a pan deep enough to catch drips. Allow one day for every four pounds, so if you have a 20 pound turkey to cook on Thursday, you need to start thawing it on Sunday.
2) Cold water bath. Fill the sink or a pot big enough to hold the meat with cold water. Put the meat in a watertight plastic zipper bag. Leave the bag unzipped at first, and slowly submerge it keeping the zipper above water. The water pressure will push out all the air. Then zip it up tight. Leave it in cold water, and hold it under with a plate if necessary. Change the water every 30 minutes to make sure the meat is kept cold. Stir it occasionally to break up the envelope of cold water surrounding the meat. Allow 30 minutes per pound, so if you have a 20 pound turkey, you will need 10 hours, so make sure to set the alarm for early Thursday morning!
3) Very cold water bath. This method produces the least amount of "purge" or loss of fluid. Place the meat in an airless zipper bag in a plastic insulated cooler. Cover with cold water. After an hour add a quart of ice and add ice as needed, perhaps every hour, in order to keep the temp under 40°F.
4) Hot water bath (for thin cuts only). A USDA sponsored research project published in mid 2011 showed that you can thaw a 1" thick steak in a 102°F water in 11 minutes and the meat moves rapidly through the "danger zone" within which microbes like to grow if you remove it promptly after it has thawed. Their tests also showed less liquid loss than the traditional thawing methods, above. If you want to try this at home, use hot water, lots of it to absorb the cold, weight it under with a plate, stir it occasionally because the meat will create an envelope of cold water around itself, and set a timer so you don't leave it in hot water too long. Thawing times will vary depending on the thickness of the meat and the actual heat of the water. This technique is best for steaks, chops, and chicken parts, but it will not work on thick cuts like roasts, pork butt, brisket, or turkey because the exterior will stay in the danger zone too long.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cuts Of Steak

(AKA London broil)
Very lean with mild flavor; dense and slightly chewy.
Inexpensive with no fat to trim off, so more meat for your money; even shape makes it easy to slice thin.
Marinating will tenderize the meat.
Best served rare to medium (overcooking will turn this cut into leather).
Must be carved very thin, against the grain.
Great cold for sandwiches.
"Best Buy"

(AKA Delmonico steak)
Naturally tender cut cooks up juicy, with a rich flavor of caramelized meat.
Can be sold bone-in for rib lovers and for a more dramatic presentation.
Lots of marbling makes it self-basting.
These steaks are pricey, so look for ones with a large "eye" and less surrounding fat.

(AKA tenderloin steak)
Its mild flavor and tenderness make it the perfect canvas for a starring sauce.
Expensive, but unlike other cuts, it doesn?t need to be trimmed and doesn?t shrink much during cooking.
Avoid acidic marinades -- they'll deteriorate the fine grain and make the meat mealy.
Best eaten rare to medium.
Lean and tender enough to be eaten cold.
Skip the steak knife -- it cuts like butter!

Nothing says "steakhouse" like a T-bone. Great for steak lovers who eat with their eyes first.
Combines two contrasting cuts in one sitting -- part of the delicate tenderloin and robust, juicy strip.
The bone adds flavor and seals in juices.
Perfect for carnivores who feel the meat's just a vehicle for getting to gnaw on the bone.

(AKA fajita steak)
Good bang for your buck -- juicy and flavorful; quick-cooking and versatile.
Firm, accordion-like grain soaks up dry rubs and marinades.
Best served rare to medium-rare. Anything more toughens the meat.
"Best Buy"

(AKA strip steak; New York strip steak; shell steak)
A beef-lover's steak -- you can really taste the steer.
A trophy cut -- tenderness, succulence and a satisfying chew.
Low maintenance: cooks evenly, ideal for a variety of cooking methods (grilling, broiling and pan-roasting).
Serve rare or medium-rare: This cut turns mealy when overcooked.
"Best Buy"


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

When To Put The Lid On

An excellent explanation on when to cook with the lid on.

Most grills come with lids. And a good thing, too. A lid is essential for most outdoor cooking. You can cook on a lidless grill, but you will be severely handicapped. It would be like doing all your cooking on a stovetop.

With a lid, most of the heat comes from below, but much of it goes right past the food and is reflected from above so your grill becomes an oven and you can cook foods with heat from all sides. This significantly reduces the risk of burning dinner.

A lid also traps smoke, moisture, and flavor molecules. In short, it gives you much more versatility. And let's not forget, it keeps flies off the food.
As a rule of thumb, if the food is 3/4" or less, no lid. Leave the lid off when you are cooking thin foods like or skirt steak. Without a lid, all the heat comes only from underneath. One side cooks, the other does not. For something like skirt steak we want a dark exterior loaded with the compounds formed when proteins, amino acids, and sugars undergo the Maillard reaction. But you don't want the interior overcooked. If you close the lid, heat attacks from above and below, and the bottom gets nut brown, but the top just gets to tan, and the center overcooks. So, for thin foods, crank up the heat, leave the lid off and flip the meat every minute or so to prevent heat buildup on either side. This way you'll be able to develop the dark exteriors without overcooking the interior.

There are other times when you want to cook without a lid, usually when you are cooking foods like shrimp where the color is your guide to doneness, or sweet foods like pineapple where the surface can burn quickly.

But if the food is 1" or thicker, put a lid on it. If you leave the lid off, there's a chance you'll have an undercooked interior. Of course all this depends on your grill and how much heat you are generating.

There is a middle ground. Sometimes you might want to wedge the lid open an inch or two to allow hot air escape if you are having trouble getting the heat down to a target such as 225°F.

Unless otherwise noted, almost all the recipes on this website require you to cook with the lid down.


Monday, August 24, 2015

Grilled Boneless Beef Chuck Short Ribs

Boneless beef chuck short ribs may be the best inexpensive cut of steak for the grill.

  • Boneless beef chuck short ribs from Costco (about 3/4 of an inch thick)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder

Preheat the grill.
Season short ribs with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Sear ribs on first side on medium high for 3 minutes each side turning at 1.5 minutes for cross hash marks.
Sear ribs on second side on medium high for 2 minutes each side turning at 1 minute for cross hash marks.
Ribs are done when a thermometer inserted into thickest part of steak reads 125°F.

Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Perfect Burger

Perfect Burger

Bobby Flay, TV chef and grill master, shares his recipe for the perfect burger.

Total Time: 20 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 10 min
Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean) or ground turkey (90 percent lean)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices cheese (optional)
  • 4 hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired

Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep depression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.

IF USING A GRILL: Heat a gas grill to high or heat coals in a charcoal grill until they glow bright orange and ash over. Brush the burgers with the oil. Grill the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes for beef and 5 minutes for turkey. Flip over the burgers. Cook beef burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese; see step 3) or until cooked to desired degree of doneness. Cook turkey burgers until cooked throughout, about 5 minutes on the second side.

IF USING A GRILL PAN: Heat a grill pan over high heat on top of the stove. Cook the burgers as for a grill, above.

IF USING A SAUTE PAN OR GRIDDLE (PREFERABLY CAST IRON): Heat the oil in the pan or griddle over high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Cook the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes for beef and 5 minutes for turkey. Flip over the burgers. Cook beef burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese) or until cooked to desired degree of doneness. Cook turkey burgers until cooked throughout, about 5 minutes on the second side.

Add the cheese, if using, to the tops of the burgers during the last minute of cooking and top with a basting cover, close the grill cover, or tent the burgers with aluminum foil to melt the cheese.

Sandwich the hot burgers between the buns and serve immediately.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Grilled Prosciutto and Mozzarella Panini

Grilled Prosciutto and Mozzarella Panini

A really delicious sandwich and incredibly easy to make.

Total Time: 18 min
Prep: 10 min
Grill: 8 min

Yield: 4 servings
Level: Easy

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 (1/2-inch thick) slices ciabatta or other rustic Italian white bread
4-ounces thinly sliced mozzarella cheese
4-ounces thinly sliced prosciutto
6-ounces jarred sun dried tomatoes

  1. Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl to blend.
  2. Arrange the slices of bread on a flat work surface, and using a brush, spread the vinaigrette evenly over one side of each slice. Divide the mozzarella equally among the bread slices. Top 4 of the bread slices with the prosciutto and sun dried tomatoes, and then place the remaining 4 slices of bread on the top, vinaigrette-side down, to form 4 sandwiches.
  3. Press down on each sandwich so it is compacted. Lightly brush each roll on both sides with oil.
  4. Brush the cooking grates clean. Place the sandwiches on the cooking grate over direct low heat. Put a sheet pan on top of the sandwiches and then add two foil-wrapped bricks on the sheet pan. Grill, with the lid open, until the bread is toasted on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully remove the bricks and sheet pan, turn the sandwiches over, replace the pan and bricks, and continue to cook until the bread is toasted on both sides and the cheese has melted, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  5. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut them in half, or into smaller pieces if serving as an appetizer. Serve warm.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hack Your Grill

Column Five created this guide to average cook times to take the guesswork out of grilling. The guide provides average times for a wide variety of beef, poultry, pork, and vegetable items you might plan on throwing on the grill this summer. All you’ll need is a watch and a meat thermometer.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Grilled Chicken Legs and Thighs

Grilled Chicken Legs and Thighs

There's nothing quite like the dark, juicy meat of a chicken leg or thigh. The extra fat found in these parts keep the meat moist, making it a forgiving cut to throw on a grill.

  • Season chicken pieces with oil and All-Purpose Rub
  • Preheat grill to medium (About 50 charcoal briquettes) using a two-zone fire. You can add wood chunks or chips to the coals after the grill is heated.
  • When the grill is ready place the chicken pieces directly over the coals skin side down.
  • After 5-8 minutes move the chicken to the coal-free side of the grill and cook for 15-20 minutes with the lid closed. The internal temperature of the chicken should be about 180 degrees when ready.
  • If still not done after 20 minutes place the pieces that still need the skin crisp over direct heat and cook all pieces for an extra 5 minutes.
  • Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ready Bake Pizza On The Grill

Costco pizzas are excellent for this. I haven't tried this with a frozen pizza yet but imagine the only difference may be a slightly longer cook time.

Place a pizza stone on the grill and preheat it to about 350 degrees (direct medium).

When the grill reaches the desired temperature, place the pizza on the pizza stone and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.

Eat and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Grilled Baked Potatoes

Baking potatoes on the grill is fun and very easy. It requires little attention and some patience but the result is worth it! You will love the smokey flavor potatoes take on from being grilled.

So lets get to it! You will need Russet potatoes and you will cook them by the indirect method. So, go ahead and turn on half of the burners on your gas grill or pile up the hot coals into one side of your charcoal grill. You can add wood chunks or chips to the coals after the grill is heated.

Wash and scrub potatoes well under cold water, leave skin on but cut off any bruises and eyes. Pat dry then use a knife or fork to prick a few holes into each potato.

Coat with olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper and wrap in aluminum foil.

Poke a few small holes in the aluminum foil to allow the smoke to penetrate while grilling.

Place the potatoes on the unlit side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook on indirect medium heat for one hour.

Using tongs very carefully remove the foil from the potatoes.

Serve with butter, sour cream, bacon bits and chives.


Monday, August 17, 2015

How to Smoke on a Gas or Charcoal Grill

The graphic, from Northshore Fireplace, explains the difference between smoking, barbecuing, and grilling meat in addition to explaining how to smoke without a smoker. Additionally, it suggests the best types of wood to use when you’re smoking pork, beef, lamb, poultry, ham, or fish. For example, Apple wood is great for smoking ham and poultry, but not ideal for beef or lamb (go with Oak or Hickory instead). Lastly, it covers the best and worst cuts to smoke, so you know what to pick up at the store and what to cook another way.


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Italian Sausage Burgers

Italian Sausage Burgers

Indulge your taste buds with this easy Italian sausage burger recipe. The Fontina cheese and roasted red peppers add the savory finishing touches.

  • Sweet Italian sausage
  • Fontina Cheese
  • Roasted red pepper
  • Arugula
  • Sesame seed buns

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.
Remove the casing from the sausage.
Shape the meat into burger-shaped patties and grill over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the juices run clear, about 10 minutes, turning once.
Add cheese during the last minute of grilling.
Grill sliced buns for about 1 minute.
Let rest for 5 minutes after grilling and then place on buns add Roasted Red Peppers and Arugula.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

How much charcoal to use

How much charcoal to use?

A very simplistic way to discuss how much charcoal to add is based on how much you fill the charcoal chimney. You can imagine that filling the chimney 25% full will yield less heat than a chimney that is filled up 100%. To expand on this, here is my general rule of thumb for cooking various items at various heats using Kingsford charcoal:
  • For a low heat (think tender white fish, or for using the coals to light a smoker) – fill the chimney 25% full
  • For a medium heat (burgers, brats etc.) – fill the chimney 50% full
  • For a medium high heat, or for a full grill of medium heat (think of more spread out charcoal in the grill) fill the chimney 75% full
  • For a high heat (grilling and searing steaks) – fill the chimney 100% full
Now clearly there are a lot of factors going on here. How you spread out the coals plays a major factor in the heat your grill experiences. If you dump a 50% full medium heat charcoal chimney in one spot and don’t spread it out, you will have one isolated area of high heat right over where you dumped the coals. If you spread this 50% full chimney out over the whole grill area your heat will drop because the coals are more spread out. Make sense? So for my purposes, I mostly always use the following two zone grilling set up. I dump the lit chimney (see photo above) on the right side of the grill, and when the coals are ashed over I spread them out on the right side of the grill, leaving the left side of the grill with no coals (for indirect cooking). See the photos below. Roughly speaking, the above percentages will work out well for you if you follow this rule. The cooking temperatures are assessed once the coals are spread out and have mostly ashed over.


Friday, August 14, 2015

Smoked Brisket

Smoked Brisket

Smoking a brisket is classic BBQ but it doesn't have to be a difficult thing to do. Follow these simple steps and you will be smoking a great brisket in no time.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 to 8 hours (At 250 degrees about 1 to 1.25 hours per pound)
(resting time is an additional 1 to 2 hours)

All-Purpose Rub


Weber Rub

4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 brisket (flat cut), 5 to 6 pounds, untrimmed

1. In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients.

2. Lay the brisket, fat side up, on a large cutting board. Trim the layer of fat to a ¼ inch thickness. Turn the brisket over and trim any hard fat or thin membrane covering the meat. Season the brisket evenly with the rub. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. 30 to 60 minutes before smoking remove the brisket from the refrigerator and place it fat side up, in a disposable drip pan large enough to hold it.

4. Place the pan on the cooking grate. Smoke the brisket until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160 °F (71 °C), 4 to 5 hours. At that point remove the brisket and pan from the smoker (close the lid to maintain the heat). Baste the brisket with some of the juices and fat collected in the pan. Then wrap the brisket in 2 large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Discard the pan.

5. Return the brisket to the smoker and cook until the internal temperature of the brisket reaches 205°F in the thickest section, about 2 to 3 hours longer.

6. Remove the brisket from the smoker and let it rest inside the foil at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours. It will stay hot.

7. Carefully unwrap the brisket, being careful not to lose any of the juices inside the foil. Move the brisket to a large cutting board. Pour the juices into a small bowl.

8. Cut the brisket in 1/8-inch slices across the grain. Spoon or brush some of juices over the slices. Serve warm with barbecue sauce on the side.

Makes about 6 servings

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Grilled Chicken Breasts

If your looking for a grilled chicken dish that is packed full of flavor, quick, easy and healthy look no further.

  • 4 bricks, each wrapped in aluminum foil; oak chunks for building the fire, or 2 cups wood chips (preferably oak), soaked for 1 hour in cold water to cover, then drained
  • 2 large, whole, boneless, skinless chicken breasts (12 to 16 ounces each) or 4 half breasts (each half 6 to 8 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil


1. If using whole breasts, cut each in half. Trim any sinews or excess fat off the chicken breasts and discard. Rinse the breasts under cold running water, then drain and blot dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the breasts on both sides with the salt, cracked black pepper, and hot red pepper flakes. Sprinkle the breasts with the garlic and rosemary, patting them on with your fingers. Arrange the breasts in a non-reactive baking dish. Pour the lemon juice and oil over them and let marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for 30 minutes to 1 hour, turning several times.

2. Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. In the best of all worlds, you’d build your fire with oak chunks. Alternatively, use gas or charcoal, plus soaked wood chips for smoke. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat until you see smoke.

3. When ready to cook, brush and oil the grill grate. If using a charcoal grill, toss the wood chips on the coals. Arrange the chicken breasts on the hot grate, all facing the same direction, at a 45 degree angle to the bars of the grate. Place a brick on top of each. Grill the breasts until cooked, 4 to 6 minutes per side, rotating the breasts 90 degrees after 2 minutes on each side to create an attractive cross-hatch of the grill marks. To test for doneness, poke a breast in the thickest part with your finger. It should feel firm to the touch. Transfer the breasts to plates or a platter and serve at once.


”Bricks are optional.”

Photo: Scott Phillips

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Grilled Chuck Roast

Grilled Chuck Roast

This is a very simple and flavorful grilling method to make a Chuck Roast that is tender and moist.

  • 2-3 lb Boneless Chuck Roast
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder

  1. Season Roast and preheat the grill to 500 degrees
  2. Sear the Roast on high for 4 minutes each side turning at 2 minutes for cross hash marks.
  3. Lower heat to 325 and cook indirect for 20-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches about 130.
  4. Slice thinly across the grain to serve.

Beef Temperature Guide:
Remove at 120-125ºF 
Medium Rare 
Remove at 130-135ºF 
Remove at 140-145ºF 
Medium Well 
Remove at 150-155ºF 
Well Done 
Remove at 160-165ºF

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Rotisserie Pork Loin on the Grill

There is something about rotisserie grilling that just keeps the meat so moist and juicy! A rotisserie is the perfect tool for a tender pork tenderloin.

  • Pork Loin (4 to 6 pounds)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Rub the pork loin with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Coat the entire roast and work the seasonings well into the meat.

Tie the roast at 1-inch intervals.

Set the grill up for indirect cooking at 350°F.

When ready to cook, skewer the roast lengthwise on the rotisserie spit and let it rotate on the grill, covered, until an instant-read thermometer inserted near the center of the roast registers 145°F, about 15 minutes per pound.

If you don’t have a rotisserie, set up your grill for indirect grilling. Heat the grill to 350°F. Put the roast in the cool zone on the grill, and cook as directed above, turning the roast about every 10 minutes.

When finished, remove the roast from the spit if necessary and transfer it to a cutting board. Let stand for 5 minutes, remove the string, and slice thinly.

Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

”Soak wood chunks or wood chips and place in smoker box in a corner of the grill for smoked flavor.”

Monday, August 10, 2015

Pork Burgers

The flavor in these Pork Burgers is really incredible and recipe comes together so easily. You can even use Sausage for the pork instead of ground pork. Just take the casings off.

Serves: 8
Prep time: 20 minutes
Grilling time: 12 to 15 minutes

  • 3 pounds ground pork
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 hamburger buns

Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium heat.

In a large bowl gently mix the patty ingredients. Gently shape into four patties of equal size and thickness, each about 3/4 inch thick. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 1 inch wide in the center of each patty.

Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the patties over direct medium heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until cooked through, 12 to 15 minutes, turning once when the patties release easily from the cooking grate without sticking. During the last minute of grilling time, toast the buns, cut side down, over the same direct medium heat. Place the burgers on the buns.
(Optional: top with Apple Tarragon Slaw)
Serve warm.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Apple Tarragon Slaw

This sweet, crunchy and vibrant slaw will be a big hit at your next backyard barbecue. It can also be used to top everything from Burgers to Pulled Pork.

Serves 8

Apple Tarragon Slaw
  • 4 cups thinly sliced green cabbage
  • 1 cup coarsely grated tart green apple
  • 1 cup coarsely grated carrot
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a large bowl mix the slaw ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until ready.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Grilled Sausage

Hands down, this is the best way to cook Sausage or Grillers in my opinion. Grilled sausages are flavorsome, succulent and are full of smokey meaty flavor with a firm bite.

10 Grillers or Sausages

  • Preheat grill to medium (About 50 charcoal briquettes) using a two-zone fire. You can add wood chunks or chips to the coals after the grill is heated.
  • When the grill is ready add the Sausages directly over the coals.
  • After 3 minutes turn Sausages.
  • After another 3 minutes move the Sausages to the coal-free side of the grill and cook for 14-16 minutes. The internal temperature of the sausage should be about 165 degrees. Usually if they are firm, they are done.
  • Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

Friday, August 7, 2015

All-Purpose Rub

All-Purpose Rub

This is an all-purpose rub, good on ribs, brisket, chicken, and more. I rub it on everything.

  • 3/4 cup paprika
  • 1/4 cup ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne

Mix the spices thoroughly in a bowl.
Store covered in a cool, dark pantry.

Makes about 2 cups.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Rotisserie Chicken on the Grill

Rotisserie Chicken on the Grill

Roasting a whole chicken with a rotisserie on your grill is a good way to cook the chicken evenly, giving it a golden color as it turns. With a grill (charcoal or gas), a rotisserie kit, and a chicken, you can achieve a much tastier meal at home than available at most grocery stores.

  • Whole Chicken (4 to 6 pounds)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


Brine the chicken. This step isn't mandatory but will add additional moisture.

Truss the bird. Alton Brown demonstrates how to truss in this video is here.

Rub the Chicken with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic. Coat the entire Chicken and work the seasonings well into the meat.

Set the grill up for indirect cooking at 400 degrees F (204 degrees C). Place a drip pan on the grill with about 1/2 inch of water to add moisture.

When ready to cook, skewer the Chicken lengthwise on the rotisserie spit and let it rotate on the grill over the drip pan, covered, until an instant-read thermometer registers 180 degrees F (83 degrees C) in the thickest part of the leg, about 15 minutes per pound.

Let stand for 10 minutes

"Rotisserie Chicken" photo by Joe Schneid, Louisville, KY

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Grilled Prosciutto and Provolone Panini

Grilled Prosciutto and Provolone Panini

I have a Prosciutto and Provolone Panini recipe to share with you inspired by Weber’s Charcoal Grilling™ by Jamie Purviance. A perfectly grilled, crispy provolone and prosciutto panini by itself would be hard to forget. But add roasted red peppers, and you'll remember this one for years.

Serves: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Grilling time: 6 to 8 minutes
Special equipment: sheet pan, 2 foil-wrapped bricks

4 flat sandwich rolls
3 tablespoons stone-ground mustard
12 thin slices prosciutto, about 8 ounces total
6 slices provolone, about 6 ounces total
2 roasted red bell peppers (from a jar), cut into 1-inch strips
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves
Extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over low heat (250° to 350°F).
  2. Cut the rolls in half lengthwise. Spread an even layer of mustard on the cut side of each roll. Cut the slices of prosciutto into a few pieces and divide them evenly among the bottom halves of the rolls. Cut each slice of provolone in half and arrange those pieces over the prosciutto. Then arrange the peppers and basil leaves on top. Put the top halves of the rolls in place. Press down on each sandwich so it is compacted. Lightly brush each roll on both sides with oil.
  3. Brush the cooking grates clean. Place the sandwiches on the cooking grate over direct low heat. Put a sheet pan on top of the sandwiches and then add two foil-wrapped bricks on the sheet pan. Grill, with the lid open, until the bread is toasted on the bottom, 3 to 4 minutes. Carefully remove the bricks and sheet pan, turn the sandwiches over, replace the pan and bricks, and continue to cook until the bread is toasted on both sides and the cheese has melted, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  4. Transfer the sandwiches to a cutting board and cut them in half, or into smaller pieces if serving as an appetizer. Serve warm.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grilled Green Beans

Grilled Green Beans

Green Beans are awesome on the grill and you don’t need a grilling basket but they do make the work much easier. I used a Aluminum drip pan and cut about 50 holes in the bottom with a knife.


1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped or 2 teaspoons of granulated garlic
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 pound green beans (ends trimmed) or haricot vert (no need to trim them)
1/2 lemon

  1. Prepare your gas or charcoal grill to medium high heat. Add wood chunks or chips to the coals after the grill is heated.
  2. In a bowl, toss together the olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and green beans, making sure each green bean is evenly coated with all the seasonings.
  3. Allow green beans to marinate for 30 minutes.
  4. Place the seasoned green beans on the grill plate/basket and transfer that to the grill over the flame. Grill the green beans for about 5-10 minutes turning every 2 to 3 minutes until they are just charred slightly and soft.
  5. Using tongs, carefully remove the grill plate/basket from the grill and squeeze the lemon on top of the green beans.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and serve as needed.

Delicious Sandwiches From All Over The World

A beautifully shot video showing how 13 of the World's most famous sandwiches are made.

How many sandwiches from around the world do we actually know? Some have international reputations, like the panini or the croque monsieur. Some are definitely worth getting to know better, such as the choripán or the Gatsby. All of them have great stories to tell.

To check the recipes and revolutionarize your office lunch, go to this website You will also find out how those sandwiches became so famous in their countries, if the burger can be considered a sandwich and who really was this Lord Sandwich.

Made with flatbread or from sliced loaves; white or whole grain; wheat, corn, or rice flour; triangular, square or round; puffy or crusty; hot or cold; filled with meat, fish or vegetables; topped with butter, mayo or other sauces… there is a sandwich for every taste. For some people, sandwiches are the basis of their daily diet. For others they are reserved for eating out during work or school, at picnics or while traveling. As international cultural exchanges gets richer, our landscape of world sandwiches expands a bit more every day.

In this video you will discover a little series of 13 sandwiches from all around the world :

The Chicken-Avocado-Aioli from Australia.
The Gatsby Sandwich from South Africa.
The Cucumber Sandwich from Great Britain.
The Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich from North America.
The Danish Smorrebrod.
The Italian Panini.
The French Croque Monsieur.
The Turkish (or German) Döner Kebap.
The Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich.
The American Sloppy Joe.
The South American Choripan.
The Polish Zapiekanka.
The Toast Hawai from Germany.