Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Smoked Thanksgiving Turkey!

I hope everybody had a good Thanksgiving weekend. We got a lot of stuff done around the house since I had a four day weekend. Thursday, we went over to Stacy's parents house and had Thanksgiving lunch. It was a nice time of good food and family. Saturday, we made our own Thanksgiving dinner. I smoked a turkey breast and made the green bean casserole. We also turned homemade bread into stuffing and put a  streusel topping on yams whipped with brown sugar and cinnamon. For rolls we broke refrigerated biscuit dough up into pieces, dipped them in garlic butter and layered it in the Pampered Chef Fluted stoneware pan. The pan is like a Bundt pan. The biscuits become pull apart rolls when cooked. For dessert we had homemade pumpkin pie.
 I started prepping the turkey Friday night. I started out by rinsing and patting dry the turkey breast. Next, I rubbed salt in the cavity, under the skin and on the skin. After the salt, I rubbed it with a mixture of pepper and Herbs De Province. It was in a foil pan and I covered it with plastic wrap and foil and put it back in the fridge. Saturday afternoon before I lit the grill, I took the turkey out of the fridge. I mixed Kingsford Original charcoal with about 10 briquettes of Kingsford Mesquite charcoal in my chimney starter and lit it. I also put a few unlit coals on either side of my grill and put my grate in the middle. I got a little distracted by another project we were working on and by the time I checked my coals in the chimney starter they were very white and ashy. I dumped them on the unlit coals on either side of the grill and put my smoker box with apple wood on one side and a handful of chips on the other. I closed the lid for a couple minutes and got the turkey ready.
To get the turkey ready, I removed the plastic wrap and put a whole stick of butter on top of the turkey and put the foil back on. To the foil, I poked a few vent holes in the top. I put the whole thing in between the two piles of coals and inserted a thermometer probe in one side of the turkey. I closed the lid and adjusted my grill vents to maintain about a 250 degree temperature. After about 2 and a half hours the turkey temp was about 148 and the grill temp was about 200 degrees. It was getting close to eating time so I fired up the propane side of my grill and let it heat up. It was 10 degrees outside and I didn't want to add more charcoal. Once the propane side was heated up, I turned off the center burner and moved the turkey to the propane side over the unlit burner. I also turned down the temp to medium low on the other two burners. I was able to maintain about 350 degrees on the grill. I grilled it for another 20 minutes to half an hour until the internal temperature of the turkey reached 160. I took it off the grill and we started eating the sides while the turkey rested for 20 minutes.
Everything tasted awesome. When we finally cut the turkey it was worth the wait. It was the juiciest most flavorful turkey I ever had. There was a nice smoky and herb taste to it. There was beautiful smoke ring to it. The skin wasn't crispy, but we don't eat the skin. About the only thing I might do differently is rub the skin with a little oil before seasoning to possibly crisp it up and start it smoking earlier. Overall it all was a big success.

MMM, Turkey, Turkey!
This weekend I am going to smoke a pork roast and make pulled pork. I hope everybody has a good rest of their week. Until next time, happy grillin'.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bison Meatballs and Turkey Bean Soup!

       I hope everybody had a good week. This is a non grilling recipe post, though you could grill the meatballs. I watched my Isabella all day Saturday while Stacy did a vendor show with Pampered Chef.  I made bison meatballs. Isabella is allergic to beef and awhile back we found some ground bison on sale. I decided to make meatballs with them. I formed them during nap time.
       To the bison I added, chopped colored bell peppers, chopped onion, Pampered Chef Smoky Applewood Rub, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. I mixed all the ingredients up and formed them onto balls. The meatballs went into the Pampered Chef Small Ridged Baker and into the fridge. Next, I cut up carrots tossed them with olive oil, some Pampered Chef Smoky Applewood Rub, salt and pepper. I covered the glass pan with foil and also put them in the fridge.  About an hour and ten minutes before dinner, I set the oven to 350 and put both the meatballs and carrots in the oven as it preheated. After about 40 minutes I stirred the carrots and took the foil off. I also flipped the meatballs over. After an hour I took the carrots out of the oven and turned the meatballs again. I basted the meatballs with some Pampered Chef Beer Barbecue Sauce.  I cooked the meatballs for about 10 more minutes.They got basted with more sauce and taken out of the oven. We had pasta tossed with butter, the meatballs and carrots. The meatballs were tasty but a little dry. I would add some olive oil to them next time. They were good with the barbecue sauce. The carrots were really good. They were the fantastic.
Mmm yummy dinner!

         Sunday, Stacy was still fighting a cold and wanted soup for dinner. We had ground turkey in the fridge so I decided to make a turkey bean soup. In our enameled cast iron dutch oven, I cooked the turkey with a little olive oil. As the turkey was cooking I added chopped onion, chopped colored bell pepper,  a handful of frozen corn, salt, pepper, and  3 Tablespoons of Pampered Chef Bell Pepper Rub. When the turkey was almost done I added minced garlic and 2 handfuls of chopped cilantro. Next I added, 2 cans of diced tomatoes, a can each of red beans and kidney beans undrained. I stirred everything and simmered it all together for about an hour and half stirring occasionally. The soup came our really good, almost like a chili. It was just what Stacy was craving.
      It is really windy out right now and so I don't think I will grill this weekend either. I did find a pork roast and will be smoking it soon. I hope everybody has a Happy Thanksgiving! Stay safe. Happy grillin!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shrimp and Chops!

This is my second installment of what happened while I was on vacation. Last time I shared what I did before and during my trip to Oregon. This one is about what happened after. I grilled twice in a few days. The first time was shrimp and the second time was pork chops.
      While shopping I found a good deal on shrimp. It was in the shells but had been devaned already and was 30 percent off. I threw the package in a freezer when we go home to make sure it didn't go bad before we used it. The next afternoon I took it out and thawed them in the fridge for a couple hours. Then I put them in a bowl and seasoned them with Old Bay, salt, pepper, lemon zest, and lemon juice. I let them marinate for about 15 minutes while the grill was heating up. I heated the grill screaming hot, then turned it down to medium as I added the shrimp. I let the shrimp grill a few minutes per side till they were pink and tender to the touch. I had about three casualties fall between the grates. Next time I will use a grill basket to keep them contained. This was my first time grilling shrimp and I wanted the satisfaction of turning each one. They came out really good. We all really liked them. They were super flavorful. I forgot to get pictures.
       About 2 days later I grilled pork chops. I seasoned them with salt, pepper, and Pampered Chef Smokey Applewood Rub. Next I sprinkled some apple wood chips in the bottom of my Char Broil Grill Top Infuser. Then I put the grate in the bottom and the pork chops on the grate. The lid went on and the whole thing went on a hot grill. I turned the heat down to medium hot. They grilled for about 30 minutes. I threw them on the grill for a couple more minutes. We enjoyed the chops with some mashed potatoes. Stacy was amazed that she could actually taste the rub and smoke. Usually she isn't able to taste that as well. Stacy made a really good cheesy bruschetta dip.

Chops in the infuser ready to go on the grill.

Finished chops and mashed potatoes.

Cheesy bruschetta dips (yes those are pumpkins on top).
Well, that about catches you all up till now. I am not sure what this weekend will bring. The weather is getting colder here in Alaska. I tend to do more low and slow grilling and smoking when it is colder. I found I can keep my temps lower. I am waiting on some good deals on pork roasts to make pulled pork. Hopefully soon. Have a great week and happy grillin!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I'm back!

I am sorry I was gone for so long. I had almost the whole month of October off from work. I spent it with my family and took my 21 month old daughter to Oregon for 12 days. I am back to work now. I am going to try to get you all caught up with my grilling adventures over at least a couple posts. This post will be what happened before and during Oregon.
 I wanted pineapple upside down cake one day and we had most of the ingredients. My wife Stacy and I made the cake. I cut a whole pineapple into rings and rolled the rings in sugar. I then caramelized the pineapple in my cast iron skillet. I arranged the caramelized pineapple on the butter and brown sugar mixture like the directions on the cake mix said. Stacy mixed up a pineapple cake according to the box and poured it on the pineapple. We baked it then inverted it. I usually put cherries on top with the pineapple, but we didn't have any.
mmmm cake!

The cake came out super good. The pineapple was like candied pineapple. 
    For dinner one night, I made cod pieces in the Char broil grill top infuser. I put orange juice in the bottom of the infuser. Then I seasoned the fish with salt, lemon pepper and a little old bay. I grilled it in the infuser till the fish was nice and flaky. The fish had a good flavor to it. We all enjoyed it. 

Here fishy fishy!

Isabella and I had a great time visiting people in Oregon. She went to a pumpkin patch, rode a carousel, went to the zoo, and went swimming for the first time just to name some of what we did. We even went over to my brother's place and I grilled dinner one night. I didn't get any pictures of grilling there. Isabella was freaking out for various reasons. Also my Dad fell while we were there at my brother's and broke 2 bones in his ankle and one in his foot. I grilled thin pork sirloin and heated up frozen veggies and sweet potato fries. I screwed up and way over peppered the meat. I had my sister pour bbq sauce on the meat when it was done and I quickly caramelized it on the meat. The fries were a little mushy because I had them wrapped in foil. Even with all the drama and my screw ups it was a good meal.
It is good to be blogging again. I have one more installment to go to get you all caught up to now. I hope to have that one posted in a few days. Happy grilling.