This is the easiest way to cook a big batch of great shrimp quick. Perfectly garlicky, with a little red pepper kick. I made extra shrimp and had them the next day as shrimp cocktail. Fantastic! I could’ve eaten them all day long. And if you’re looking for a kicked-up cocktail sauce, we recommend the Bayou Cocktail Cajun Sauce from Frog Bone. It’s crazy good and spicy.
The perfect bread for sopping up the delicious yum-yum juice that pools at the bottom of the foil packet is our favorite gotta-have-it garlic bread.
I love the week around St. Patrick’s Day. Not because I’m Irish or love the color green. No, it’s because corned beef briskets go on sale. And every year, I buy a big load of them and make cheater pastrami on my smoker. The end result is tender and very flavorful. Perfect for sandwiches. Almost beyond perfect. So why is this approach called ‘cheating’? Well, real pastrami takes a long time to make. You don’t start with a corned beef brisket out of the grocer’s fridge. I’ve had the most amazing pastrami in New York City. Here in Indianapolis, the closest I’ve found is at Shapiro’s Delicatessen (though I’ve heard that Fat Dan’s Deli is also great). This cheater version isn’t as good, of course, but it’s actually quite fantastic. All my neighbors will back me up on that.
I start out by rubbing corned beef in a mix of mustard, all spice, coriander and a lot of cracked pepper.
The meat gets wrapped and goes into the fridge overnight to get ‘happy’.
Then onto the smoker at 225 F for about 8 hours or until the internal temperatures reach 195-205 F. Let them rest then slice then and enjoy!
1 corned beef brisket (try to get a flat, one that is consistent in thickness)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon coarse-ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground allspice
3-4 tablespoons freshly coarse-ground pepper
Note: I buy coriander seeds and whole peppercorns from the local GFS store and grind them using an old blade-style coffee grinder. Make sure you keep the grind a little coarse. You can also use a mortar and pestle.
Rinse and dry the corned beef.
Whisk together the mustard, brown sugar, coriander and allspice. Rub the mixture all over the brisket, then cover completely with the ground pepper. Place in a large resealable bag or wrap tightly in foil and keep in the fridge overnight.
The next day, fire up your smoker for 225-250 F. Place a chunk or two of light fruit wood in the smoker (I used cherry). Cook the brisket for at least 8 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 195 - 205 F.
Remove, wrap in foil, and let rest for 30 minutes.
Thinly slice the brisket against the grain using a meat slicer or sharp knife. Serve.
I consider these Cajun grilled baby veggies to be the perfect side dish. They take absolutely no time to throw together and they taste fantastic. Just about any vegetable can be used, just make sure that all of them are roughly the same size so they cook evenly. Weber makes a great vegetable basket for the grill. It heats up fast and evenly and is the perfect basket for making these grilled vegetables.
I’m borderline addicted to food trucks. Which also means I love watching Eat Street, the show about food trucks that airs on the Cooking Channel. Host James Cunningham travels around North America visiting all of the great trucks. What a dream job that would be. An episode aired the other day on Dougie Doug, a truck in Vancouver. Every hot dog on the menu looked absolutely scrumptious, so I decided to make a few of them here at home. I started with the delicious Derby Dog. Topped with Swiss, grilled mushrooms, onion, jalapeno and BBQ sauce, this is one mighty fine dog.
A great dog needs a great bun, so I’ve ditched the grocery store offerings and have been ordering fresh buns from our local bakery, Taylor’s Bakery. The buns are so fantastic. Soft, tasty, with a wonderful bread aroma. They barely cost more than the ones in the store that just can’t even compare at all in quality or flavor.
Making bacon has been on my to-do list for a while now. I was able to find some nice pork belly in the butcher case, so I grabbed a few pounds and set off on making this homemade applewood-smoked maple bacon.
The end result was absolutely great. This is easily the best bacon I’ve ever had. There’s a hint of maple, a hint of smoke, and great texture and flavor. Outstandingly good and so easy that I will always make bacon from here on any time that I have my smoker going. Price-wise, this bacon is also cheaper than store bought (well, depending on the maple syrup that you use), and you can slice it any way that you like, from super thick to wafer thin. I think I paid about $1.99/pound for the pork. I did have to remove the skin (which I saved for making cracklins at a later time). That took a little effort. If you get your pork belly from a butcher you might want to ask to have the skin removed for you.
Grilling salmon on cedar planks is a pretty common thing. I’m not sure why I never thought about cooking burgers on them too, though. Bobby Flay thought about it. That means I had to make them too.
The cedar adds just a bit of a twist to the burgers. They smell absolutely fantastic when cooking. The cedar flavor in the meat isn’t overwhelming. It’s there, though. It’s definitely something different and it adds a bit of a ‘wow’ factor to your cookout. I also browned my slider buns over the cedar for a little extra cedar flavor. I served these burgers with oven-baked fries and Crispers that were tossed in garlic oil and fresh choppy parsley.
Oh sure, I love spicy, hot chicken wings. But I’m also a big fan of more savory wings. In fact, the teriyaki wings at Buffalo Wild Wings are Anita and my favorite. We always order them (though Anita often opts for the boneless wings while I go for the bone-in versions). Buffalo Wild Wings (of course) sells their sauces in their stores. They’re quite reasonably priced, and when you order 3 (or in my case, a lot more than 3) you can get them in this fancy carrying box. I think all of their flavors are available to go, except the current ‘special’ sauce, which is unfortunate because the flavor-of-the-month not too long ago was a crazy good chipotle cherry sting sauce. I’d drink that stuff with a straw.
These wings came out perfectly crunchy and covered in just enough teriyaki sauce. They disappeared very quickly.
I’m a big fan of vinegar-based vegetable salads. They’re easy to make and great tasting. I like mine to have a little crunch in them.
Of course, fresh produce is a bit pricey in the off-season and I try to avoid buying much of it. That’s why I like this version which uses a few frozen vegetables. You can leave out the red bell pepper, or substitute jarred roasted red bell pepper. And frozen (but then thawed) pearl onions could be substituted for the sweet onion.
Yes, I used to make macaroni and cheese from a box. That was long ago. Now I usually make a totally different take on mac-and-cheese, like my favorite, fire eater chicken macaroni and cheese. But sometimes I just don’t have the time (or ingredients). That’s when this 20-minute version comes in real handy. Like the name says, it doesn’t take long to make and it comes out just as ooey and gooey as you’d expect (and want).
Add a couple pinches of cayenne if you want a little kick in your mac.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 9 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat cream in a large skillet.
Add cream cheese and salt and stir until cheese is melted.
Add cheddar and American cheeses and stir until melted.
Add cooked pasta and stir to coat well.
Note: Add a pinch of cayenne for extra kick.
Note: If you want a little crunch, sprinkle the top of the mac with panko breadcrumbs and place under the broiler for a few minutes until golden brown. Make sure you use a skillet that can stand the heat, such as a cast iron skillet.
I just added a new free eCookbook for the Char-Broil Big Easy. Check it out on our free eCookbook page. I’ll be adding more and more recipes to it as the year goes on, so check back on occasion to see what’s new!