Thursday, February 28, 2013

Chops and Cheeks!

I hope everybody had a good week. Things are slowly starting to get busier again. Spring will be here soon! I had a really good pulled pork sandwich last week. We had  engine rep up helping us with an issue on one of our planes engines. He took me out to lunch a couple times. One of those times we went to Twister Creek Restaurant in Talkeetna. I work in Talkeetna for those who are new to my blog. I had the pulled pork sandwich with sweet potato fries. It was a really good sandwich with coleslaw on it. They make their own sauce using one of the beers that they brew there. I had never had a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw on it before. The slaw added a nice crunch to everything. I don't think they smoke their pork, but it still was super flavorful. Their sweet potato fries are big, crispy, and delicious. I forgot to take a picture of it though.
     I grilled dinner Saturday night. I made pork chops, grilled potato slices, and veggies. For the pork chops, I rubbed them with smokey applewood rub, salt, and pepper. I grilled the pork chops over medium high heat and turned them 90 degrees after about five minutes. I flipped them about 3 minutes later and basted them with BBQ sauce. After they had grilled for a few minutes, I turned them 90 degrees again and grilled them for about 6 minutes total on that side. I then flipped them over and brushed sauce on the other side. I then grilled them for about a minute on each side to caramelize the sauce a little.  We let them rest for about 5 minutes before eating.
   To make the potatoes, I cut several potatoes into slices lengthwise. Next the slices were tossed with olive oil, a garlic herb rub, salt, and pepper. I arranged the slices on the grill at a slightly lower temp than the pork. I rotated and turned the potatoes multiple times to prevent burning. I grilled them till the outside was golden brown and they had nice grill marks. The pork came out good. We ate it with a bit more sauce for dipping. We like anything paired with sauce. The potatoes were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Everything turned out well.

BBQ sauced chops, grilled potatoes and veggies.

Potatoes. Look at those grill marks.

    For Sunday dinner, I was going to grill some halibut cheeks, but Stacy suggested that I just pan fry them. I  rinsed and dried the cheeks. Then sprinkled both sides with lemon pepper, Old Bay, and salt. Each cheek was rolled in corn meal before being added to the pan. I had just a small amount of oil in the pan. The cheeks were cooked until they turned white and were flaky. I also steamed some carrots in the microwave with butter, salt, and pepper. The fish was tasty. Next time, I need to do it outside or use my cast iron skillet.  The house was a little too smokey afterwards. I also forgot to get a picture of them. I hope everybody has a good week. Happy grillin'.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Steak, Chops, and Fillets!

I hope everybody had a good week. I ended up having an extra day off and grilled 3 times in 4 days, so I had a good weekend. I came home from work on Thursday to celebrate Valentine's day. I picked up a couple thin New York steaks and a frozen veggie mix on my way home from work. When I got home, we exchanged cards and I gave Stacy some roses I had picked up. I got a homemade card that Stacy had helped Isabella make. After Isabella went to bed, I grilled the steaks.
     To prepare the steaks, I gave each one a light coating of olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I wanted to keep it simple because we wanted to enjoy the beef. Isabella is allergic to beef so we don't get to eat it very often. I put the steaks on a clean medium hot grill. Stacy's steak went over the hottest part since she likes hers well done. My steak went on a little cooler part. I grilled my steak for about 6 minutes flipping halfway through. I was aiming for about medium with mine. Stacy's grilled for about 15 minutes. Stacy made roasted heart shaped potatoes, and we heated up the veggies. I also grilled myself a piece of bread. We had a nice quiet dinner with sparkling apple cider. The steak was great by itself and with a little steak sauce. It had a nice beefy flavor. The potatoes were great too. For dessert we had a heart shaped strawberry cake that Stacy had made.
Grilled New York steak with roasted heart potatoes!

   Friday, I was supposed to go to a conference on aircraft maintenance issues, but got stuck in the driveway. I had to go out a few hours later and finish digging myself out. I ended up having a nice day at home with the family.
   Saturday, I grilled some boneless pork chops.  I rubbed the chops with some of the "Pig Pollen" rub that I got from Big Butz BBQ and let them sit in the fridge for about 3 hours. I then grilled them over a medium heat until they reached an internal temp of 155. We let them rest before eating them with noodles mixed with butter and Parmesan cheese. The rub was good. We ate the pork by itself and with a little BBQ sauce. It was tasty both ways. We liked that the flavors weren't super spicy and they didn't overpower the meat.

Grilled pork chops.

Up close with yummy goodness.
      Sunday, I grilled frozen breaded fish fillets and grilled fries. The fish went on the grill straight out of the box and I grilled it on each side till it was browned and crisp. This took about 15 minutes at a medium heat.  The fish was previously fried so be careful no to burn them as a little oil will cook out of them and drip on the burners. For the fries, I took the cuttings from the heart potatoes and added 3 more small potatoes cut into fries. I tossed the potatoes with  olive oil, smoky red pepper rub, salt, and pepper. Then they went on the bbq roasting pan on the grill. I grilled them for about 25 minutes mixing frequently to prevent them from burning. Stacy made a simple tarter sauce with mayo and dill relish mixed together. We don't buy tarter sauce anymore and always make our own. I add lemon pepper and or Old Bay when I make it, but you can vary it however you want. The fish was good grilled. I think it was crispier than cooking it in the oven and more of the oil cooked out. The fries were tasty and had a slight spiciness that went well with the tarter sauce.
Grilled fish tenders and fries.


        I added a Pinterest button to the bottom of each post. It is now easier to share my blog on Pinterest. Feel free to post it there or on Facebook to help me expand my readership. Also just as an FYI, the bacon cheddar apple waffles froze well and I enjoyed the leftovers this week heated up in the toaster. We freeze a lot of waffles at out house and reheat them in the toaster. I hope everybody has a good week an happy grillin'.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Char-grilled Meatball Sandwiches!

       Sorry this blog didn't go out sooner this week, but things have been getting busier. Work is picking up a bit as we get closer to the start of the season in May. Last weekend I grilled pork sausage meatballs and we had meatball sandwiches on Saturday. For Sunday, we made apple cheddar bacon waffles and biscuits and gravy. I also got my mini prize pack that I won from Big Butz BBQ. It contained a pork rub called "Pig Pollen," a jar of their original sauce and a jar of their cranberry sauce. I will be trying these soon. In fact I used the pork rub on some pork chops this weekend for dinner.

Free Stuff!
      For Saturday dinner, I made meatball sandwiches. Earlier in the day, I prepped the meatballs. I took course ground mild Italian pork sausage and added grated Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, olive oil and pepper. After mixing everything together, I formed it into balls. I then covered them and put them in the freezer. I have found that if I put meatballs or other types of patties in the freezer for a short time, they stay together better when you put them on the grill.
    When it was time to grill the balls, I put them in my flexible basket and put them on the grill at a high heat. While the meat balls were cooking, I started the sauce. First, I sauteed some onions and garlic then added a can of sauce to the pan. As I was stirring the sauce I looked out the kitchen window and noticed a lot of smoke coming out of the grill. I went out and opened the lid to flames. The meatballs had flared up! I turned off the burners and took the meatballs off. I closed the lid to try to let the flames burn out. After a minute they were still going so I sprinkled some baking soda on the grill and the flames were out. The meat balls were charred, but they were also done inside. I added them to the sauce with some more grated Parmesan and let the whole thing simmer for a bit.

Charred meatballs. (Sorry about the glare.)
 For the buns of the sandwiches we used the left over buns we made for "Aloha Turkey Burgers" the previous weekend. We put them in the fridge to thaw over night and then heated them in the microwave when it was time to assemble. We cut the buns in half and lightly buttered them before ladling some meatballs and sauce on the buns. Then each sandwich was topped with grated mozzarella cheese. The meatball sandwiches were good even though the meatballs were a little too charred. I didn't mind the char though. The buns were a good complement  to the meatballs and sauce.
Meatball Sandwich!

Close-up of Sandwich.
 Sunday for dinner we decided to make homemade gravy to go with some biscuits Stacy had made earlier in the week. We also had a recipe for bacon cheddar apple waffles that we wanted to try, so we made a batch of those too. The bacon cheddar apple waffle recipe came from a local Alaskan chef. We modified it slightly to fit the ingredients that we had. Our cheese was medium instead of sharp and our apple was not a granny smith. The waffles turned out good. It was surprising how the three flavors of the apple bacon and cheese worked together. The cheese got a little lost in the mix, sharp cheddar might have been better. Overall we liked the waffles. They were good with just butter on them. I put some sausage gravy on one of mine and that was really tasty also. We will defiantly be making these waffles again.

Bacon cheddar apple waffles with homemade sausage gravy.
I hope everybody has a good week. I will be trying to get this sent out sooner next week. Happy grillin'.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Aloha Turkey Burgers and Potato Skins!

This is part two of last weekend's grilling adventures. Since it was Super Bowl day, I made a game type menu. I made Aloha turkey burgers with homemade buns and grilled potato skins. The meal took a lot of prep but in the end it was totally worth it. First off we have the buns.
  Stacy found the bun recipe on Pinterest. It turned out to be a super easy recipe. We ended up with 11 buns instead of the 12 it was supposed to make. I could have made a couple smaller and got 12, but it was ok. Before baking, they have you brush the buns with an egg wash. After the egg wash, we sprinkled the buns with chopped dried onions. This made them taste like an onion bun.

Hamburger buns!

    When Isabella took her nap, I did a lot of prep. I lit the grill and added my cast iron griddle to it grill pan side up as the grill was heating up. When the pan was hot, I cooked bacon over medium heat on the griddle. The pan caught the bacon grease and I didn't have any flare ups . After the bacon was done, I took drained canned pineapple rings and put them on the griddle. I grilled them in the bacon grease a few minutes per side. I then put them in the fridge for later. I also put potatoes on the grill, but the skins were browning too fast.I didn't want to wrap them in foil, so I put them in the oven while we baked the buns and some bread. I cooked the potatoes till they were fork tender.

Pineapple on the griddle!

Another shot of the pineapple!

  For the burgers, I mixed ground turkey, grated mozzarella, BBQ sauce, olive oil, smokey apple wood rub, salt, and pepper. I formed it into patties and froze till it was time to grill them. When it was time, I grilled them over medium heat. When they were almost done, I topped them each with a slice of white cheddar cheese and a slice of the pineapple.

Burgers about to come off grill!

     When the time came, I cut the potatoes in half and scooped out most of the insides. I saved the insides for Stacy to eat later in the week. I then put chopped sweet onion in each skin. Next, I took some of the bacon from earlier that I had crumbled up and put some in each skin. Each one was then sprinkled with a mixture of shredded cheddar, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Finally, I sprinkled some smokey  red pepper rub, pepper, and a little green onion for color. I grilled the skins till the cheese was melted and the skin was crisp.

Potato Skins!

   To assemble the burgers we cut the buns in half and put mayo on them. Along with the meat, I put lettuce on my burger and Stacy put ketchup on hers. To go with the burgers and potato skins, Stacy made deviled eggs and we heated up some baked beans. The burgers came out awesome. The bbq sauce and rub flavors came though really good. The buns were super good. I noticed when I ate a bun a day later that the onion flavor came though even with just a few onions on top. They would also make good rolls. The potato skins have a good bacon flavor. Overall it was a good meal.

Burgers fully assembled!

More burger goodness!

  Our DVR screwed up and didn't record the game which was fine since we only wanted the commercials. I found a website that had all the commercials and we watched them there later. Somebody posted this funny video on Facebook the other day. Check out BBQ song on You Tube. I enjoyed it. I hope everybody has a good week. Happy grillin'!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Pork Chops and Grilled Bananas!

I hope everybody had a good week. I had a fairly busy weekend. I grilled dinner Saturday and Sunday. Sunday was the Super Bowl so I made a fairly involved dinner. Because Sunday was a lot of work and prep, I will be doing that menu on a separate post. Look forward to that one coming in a few days. Last week, I won a contest on Facebook! I posted a couple pics on a page and was chosen randomly as the winner. I will be receiving a mini gift pack from Big Butz BBQ Sauce soon. When I get my prize I will tell you all about it. Thanks Big Butz for hosting the contest! Now on with the show!
   Saturday was Worldwide Hardcore Winter Grilling Day. It was an event on Facebook. I participated by grilling pork chops and bananas. I thawed some pork chops just enough that I could separate them from each other. Then, I seasoned them with salt, pepper and I think a smokey red pepper rub or smokey apple wood rub. I usually can remember what rub I use, but so much went on last weekend that I can't remember. I need to start keeping a log of that I am grilling as I do it even if it is just a note on my phone. I threw them on the grill at medium high heat. I grilled the pork chops for about 15 minutes.I should have checked their internal temp when I took them off. The inside was a little pink in a couple spots when we cut into one after resting. We cooked them a couple more minutes and they were fine. As a dipping sauce for the pork, I mixed Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce and lite mayo together with a little of the rub I used on the pork.
Pork chops and yes those are bananas!

 I also put some whole unpeeled bananas on the grill at medium meat. The bananas got rotated after a few minutes and cooked for about 5 minutes total. They were done when the peel had grill marks and they felt mushy. I then cut them open and scooped the insides into a bowl. I mixed cinnamon and a handful of brown sugar with the bananas and froze it for about 20 minutes.
Grilled bananas after grilling!

     Even for almost under cooking the pork, it came out really good. The dipping sauce was a nice compliment to the pork. The sauce was also good mixed with our buttered noodles that we had with the pork. Isabella ate her meat and even wanted more. She doesn't eat meat well so it must be good if she wants more. We ate the bananas for dessert and thought they were awesome.
Pork, sauce and noodles!

Up close and personal!
I hope everybody has a good week. Look for part two of last weekend's grilling coming soon. Happy grillin'.