Big Ron’s Bistro Food Truck

I was keeping an eye on the Indianapolis food truck schedule over on Indy Food Truck Alliance, when I noticed that Big Ron’s Bistro truck was going to be in the area. Big Ron’s has been on my short list for a while now (I’ve been reading good things about the pulled pork), but our schedules just haven’t matched. Finally, they did.

Big Ron's BistroBig Ron’s was a bit late in getting set up (something that’s isn’t that uncommon among some trucks it appears), but I’m ok with that. I just hung out in the car and enjoyed a nice (warm) morning. When they did open I was greeted by a friendly young man at the window who took my order for 2 fish tacos and 2 pork tacos.

According to Big Ron’s menu board, the pork tacos consist of smoked pulled pork, pineapple salsa, shredded lettuce, Sriracha BBQ sauce, and Mexican cheese blend. All served on a corn tortilla.

Big Ron's BistroThe pork was so tender. Incredibly tender. It might could use a bit more smokey flavor, but the toppings really went well with the juicy pork goodness. I really liked the Sriracha BBQ sauce. You need a bit of heat to offset the sweet from the pineapple salsa. All in all, a great taco. The BBQ sauce alone is worth it (I’d ask for extra).

Now, on to the fish taco. Fresh breaded and fried whitefish, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce, chipotle aioli, and Mexican cheese blend. By far my favorite just because they were beyond great. The pork taco is a great taco. The fish taco is to die for. I could eat them all day long. The fish was breaded perfectly, and was so tender inside with a great crunch outside. The chipotle aioli is fantastic (in fact, I made a copycat of it the next day for use on some sandwiches). The cool pico and lettuce really went well with the heat from the aioli.

Big Ron's BistroI’d like to say I’m looking forward to trying everything on Big Ron’s menu. I wouldn’t be lying, but I guarantee that no matter what else I get, I’m also getting more fish tacos. I gave Big Ron’s high scores on the ‘Mater Rater, with some deduction for the late opening time and food taking a while to get. The window service was very friendly, though.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-4-5-5

Garlic-Stuffed Olive Pasta Salad

I found the original recipe for this amazing pasta salad in the December 2000 edition of Chile Pepper magazine. If you like spicy, good food, then you should subscribe to Chile Pepper. The recipes, articles and photos are great!

Garlic-Stuffed Olive Pasta SaladNow, to make the kicked-up version of this salad, like the one in the magazine, you’ll want to use habanero-stuffed olives. I figured that’d be a little much for Anita, so I substituted garlic-stuffed olives instead. You can also use jalapeno-stuffed olives if you still want a nice kick.

The end result is a fantastic olive salad. The saltiness of the olives is balanced perfectly by the balsamic vinegar and the spices and herbs.

Garlic-Stuffed Olive Pasta Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound medium shell pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brine from the olives
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup stuffed olives (habanero-, jalapeno-, or garlic-stuffed)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (add only if not using garlic-stuffed olives)
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped
  • Pinch each of oregano and thyme
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta and drain well.
  2. Pour the olive oil into a large bowl. Whisk in the olive brine and balsamic vinegar along with a pinch of salt.
  3. Add the pasta and toss to coat.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients.
  5. This salad is best served at room temperature.
  6. If the salad is a little dry the next day, just stir in a bit more olive oil.

 

Fried Poblano Rings

Ok, that’s it. I’m officially giving up fried onion rings. And fried pickles.

Adobo Ribeye with Fried Poblano StripsFrom here on, it’s these fried poblano rings for me and nothing else. They have that nice crunch you get from panko breadcrumbs. And they have that nice little kick from the poblanos and cayenne. Not really hot, just a great warm spiciness.

I served these little treasures on top of a grilled ribeye steak, but of course you could eat them as a side or even an appetizer, served with a cool Ranch dipping sauce.

Fried Poblano Rings
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 3 poblano chiles
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups (or more) panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Roast the poblanos under your broiler or on the grill until well charred, turning to get all sides good and roasted.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool until you can handle them.
  3. Remove the charred skins and seeds. Do not rinse them in water or you'll loose all the great roasted flavor.
  4. Cut the peppers into rings (some of my peppers exploded, so I ended up with pepper bites instead of rings).
  5. Heat oil in a deep fryer or deep pan to 350 F.
  6. Arrange 3 shallow bowls.
  7. In the first place the flour and stir in a few pinches of salt.
  8. In the second bowl, crack the eggs and scramble them with a fork or whisk.
  9. The last bowl is for the panko and cayenne. Just stir them together.
  10. Working in batches, dip the poblano rings into the flour and coat.
  11. Shake off any excess flour, then dip them into the eggs. Coat well.
  12. Shake off any excess egg, and dip into the panko mixture. Coat well.
  13. Slowly add the poblanos to the oil. Fry them until golden and crispy on the one side, 2-4 minutes, then flip and fry on the other side for about the same amount of time.
  14. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

 

Cajun Dip and Salad Dressing

This mix works great over a salad, but also as a dip for everything from veggies to onion rings, to chicken nuggets.

Cajun Salad DressingAdjust the Cajun seasoning, to taste.

Cajun Dip and Salad Dressing
Recipe type: Dressing
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 cup
 
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-3 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all of the ingredients.
  2. Chill until ready to serve.

 

Hot Dogs with Spicy Sauce and Grilled Onions

Simple and delicious. Like a grilled dog should be. Serve these at your next backyard get-together and people will wonder why they’ve just been squeezing mustard onto their dogs for all these years.

Hot Dogs Spicy Sauce and Onions

Hot Dogs with Spicy Sauce and Grilled Onions
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 medium sweet onions, sliced
  • 8 hot dogs
  • 8 hot dog buns
For the sauce
  • 1 cup your favorite BBQ (spicy!) sauce
  • 1/3 cup your favorite hot sauce (I used Louisiana Hot Sauce... yummy!)
  • 1-3 tablespoons fresh jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • Beer
Instructions
  1. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients except the beer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add just enough beer to slightly thin the sauce.
  3. Let sauce simmer while you cook the dogs, stirring occasionally. Add more beer if the sauce is too thick.
  4. Grill the onions until just soft.
  5. Grill the hot dogs and toast the buns.
  6. Serve dogs on buns slathered with the sauce and topped with the onions.

 

Happy National Hot Dog Day!

July 23rd is National Hot Dog Day. Grab yourself a pack of dogs, some buns, some condiments and other toppings, and enjoy! Here are just a few of our favorite dogs. Click on a pic for the recipe.

Check out our From The Grill and Smoker page for a full list of all the great grilled foods we’ve made and enjoyed, from hot dogs to burgers, to appetizers!

Grilled Maple Bacon Donuts

You have the grill fired up. You just finished off a great dinner consisting of burgers, grilled corn-on-the-cob, a wedge salad, and some ice cold watermelon. It’s time for dessert!

Grilled Maple Bacon DonutsI used maple syrup, but you know these treats would be just as great with chocolate or fudge syrup and chopped toasted nuts. Or anything, really.

Grilled Maple Bacon Donuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 4 glazed donuts
  • Maple syrup (the real stuff)
  • 2-3 pieces smoked bacon, cooked (you have the grill going so might as well cook the bacon on the grill!), crumbled
Instructions
  1. Grill the donuts for about 1 minute on each side.
  2. Serve drizzled with syrup and sprinkled with the bacon.

 

Baby Back Ribs on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I’m a smoke-your-ribs kind of guy. My preferred rib is a St. Louis-style sparerib, cooked low-and-slow for up to 6 hours. The result is a tender, lightly smokey flavored, moist rib. That’s why I went into this experiment cooking baby back ribs using my Char-Broil Big Easy with a little skepticism (but an open mind).

These ribs were very tender, very moist and cooked perfect. The only thing they lacked was that smokey flavor and of course, that lovely pink smoke ring you get from hours of low heat over smoke. A smokey BBQ rub and sauce helps make up for this if that’s what you’re hankering for. They’re basically trouble-free since the Big Easy is pretty much a light-it-up, load-it-up, and come-back-when-the-food-is-done cooker. I should add that there are other models of the Big Easy that have smoke boxes for adding wood chips during the cooking process.

I’d make these ribs again. You can fit 2 racks of baby back ribs into the Big Easy (they have to be cut to fit as they have to be around 11″ or so or less in length), and you’ll need a set of rib hooks (though you could fashion your own).

Here’s how the process came along. First, brined ribs are hung on rib hooks and placed into the Big Easy basket.

Big Easy RibsThe brined ribs are cooked “naked” (no sauce, no rub) for 35 minutes.

Big Easy RibsThen, the ribs are rubbed and cooked for another 45 minutes, sauced, and cooked a bit longer.

Big Easy RibsSliced and served!

Big Easy Ribs

Baby Back Ribs on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 racks baby back ribs, cut to 11" in length
  • Brine, below
  • Your favorite BBQ rub
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
For the brine
  • 32 ounces of apple cider or juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup sea salt
  • 1/2 cup loose packed brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Place the ribs into a large resealable container.
  2. Stir together the brine ingredients and add to the ribs. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Start up your Big Easy.
  4. Cut small slits after the first rib in each "rack" and insert the rib hooks.
  5. Place ribs into the cooker and cook for 35 minutes.
  6. Remove ribs and place on large sheets of foil. Sprinkle with your favorite rub. Wrap ribs up in foil and seal well. Add more foil if you need.
  7. Place ribs back onto the cooker and cook another 45 minutes.
  8. Remove ribs and check for doneness. Meat should be pulled back from the bones and should bend easily.
  9. Unfoil the ribs and brush with BBQ sauce.
  10. Place back onto the cooker and cook until the sauce is warmed and the ribs are the desired color.
  11. Let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

 

Cajun Chicken Wings with Dipping Sauce

I love chicken wings. Any flavor, any time, but in particular, I love wings with some kick. Not over-the-top, kick-me-in-the-gut hot, but just spicy enough to wake you up. This version brings the heat thanks to Louisiana hot sauce. And to make sure there’s enough heat to go around, I served them with a dipping sauce that is also kicked up!

Cajun Chicken Wings with Dipping SauceI prefer to cook my wings in my Big Easy oil-less fryer using the Wingin’ator 3000 modification, then finish them off on the grill to get a nice crunchy skin. But, they’re just as great cooked in the oven or on a grill.

Cajun Chicken Wings
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
For the wings
  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken wings, separated into flats and drumettes
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 2/3 cup Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • Cajun seasoning, to taste
For the dipping sauce (if you like a lot of sauce like we do, you'll want to double the ingredients)
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese salad dressing
  • 1/4 cup Louisiana hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese (or Gorgonzola), crumbled
Instructions
For the wings
  1. Place wings in a large resealable container or baggie.
  2. Whisk together the yogurt, hot sauce and garlic powder.
  3. Marinate 2 - 12 hours, flipping occasionally.
  4. If making in the oven, preheat to 450 F and line a large baking sheet with foil. Otherwise, preheat your Big Easy or outdoor grill.
  5. Shake off any excess marinade and sprinkle wings with Cajun seasoning.
  6. Baking: Transfer wings to baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. Flip and bake another 15-20 minutes until crispy.
  7. Big Easy: Cook for 20-35 minutes until done. Transfer wings to a hot grill until browned and crispy, if desired.
  8. Grill: Sear wings over direct heat then move to indirect heat and cook until done. Place wings over direct heat again until browned and crispy.
For the dipping sauce
  1. Place the cream cheese, dressing and hot sauce into medium bowl.
  2. Microwave for 1-2 minutes until melted.
  3. Whisk mixture until creamy smooth.
  4. Fold in the blue cheese.

 

Hot Mess Cheeseburger

These crazy-good burgers remind me a bit of one our favorites, pimento cheeseburgers. This kicked-up version comes from Chris over at Nibble Me This, a fantastic blog to follow. I highly recommend you pay Chris a visit. Hot Mess CheeseburgersWe used a mix of whatever cheeses we had on hand. You don’t have to get picky. No matter what you use these burgers will turn out fantastic. Lots of cheese, and a little heat.

I recently discovered McClure’s pickles, and they are just fantastic. You see some of their pickle spears in the pic. The spicy varieties have a really nice heat to them. They taste fresh, and homemade. Oh, and you have to try their dill pickle relish. It is unlike that mass-produced relish. Once you’ve had it, you’ll never go back, that’s for sure.

Hot Mess Cheeseburger
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
For the burgers
  • 1 pound ground beef, shaped into 4 patties
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Sliced tomato
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Sliced red onion
  • Ketchup, mayo, and mustard
  • Pickle spears
For the cheese topping
  • 1 cup of your favorite shredded cheeses (we used sharp cheddar, Monterrey Jack, Pepper Jack, and Mozzarella)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons minced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) chopped pimento peppers
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce, to taste
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for direct cooking.
  2. Salt and pepper the beef and place the patties onto the grill.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together all of the cheese mix ingredients.
  4. Flip burgers once the first side has pretty grill marks.
  5. When the patties are just about done (about 15 degrees below where you want them), top with the cheese mix. Remove patties once the meat is done and the cheese is all ooey gooey.
  6. Toast buns as desired.
  7. Serve burgers topped with tomato, lettuce, onion, ketchup, mayo and mustard with a cold pickle spear on the side.