I’ve been on a cedar-planking cooking theme lately. I rather enjoy the flavor and aroma that grilled cedar produces. Cooking on cedar takes not much longer than cooking directly on the grill grates, and well, it looks cool. To mix things up, I have also been known to cook on maple planks.
I needed some spicy shrimp for a Cobb salad I was going to serve for dinner the other night. Shrimp are so easy and fast to grill. These cedar-planked spicy grilled shrimp came out perfect, with plenty of spice (I added much more cayenne than the recipe states. If you like heat like I do, you should add more too!) and a beautiful color. You can chill these shrimp for salads or shrimp cocktail, or serve them hot off the grill as a great main dish.
I don’t have to have my arm twisted to make and eat crab legs. Ever. I love them. So whenever wild-caught Alaskan king crab is on sale, I grab some legs and claws. Anita’s not such a big fan of crab (well, she is a fan of the crab meat, it’s the sight of the crab appendages that doesn’t appeal to her), so I saved these crab legs made on the Char-Broil Big Easy for my own mid-week lunch. You can’t find something easier and more delicious. The crab legs from the grocery store were pre-cooked, but frozen, so I let them thaw overnight in the fridge. Cook time on the Big Easy was almost nothing. I no time I was enjoying fabulous roasted crab legs. You can use this same approach with snow crab legs, but expect a much quicker cooking time.
If you buy just claws you can use the Big Easy bunk bed basket and really load up with a good amount of crab in a single cook.
I’m finding that stuffed mushrooms are becoming more and more a regular part of my grill outs. They’re incredibly easy to make, and you can stuff them with just about anything, from in-season fresh vegetables to this pork chorizo. The filling has a great spiciness to it, reminiscent of a southwestern Sloppy Joe (I love Mexican chorizo), with a creamy cheese topping and a little hint of cilantro. You can cook these mushrooms directly on the grill, or my favorite, cook them on pre-soaked cedar planks for a great cedar flavor and aroma.
I use large portobellos. Our local grocery store sells them in 2- and 4-packs as ‘grill caps’. They’re the perfect size for 2 or 4 people each, depending on what you use for stuffing. I don’t like to over-char my cedar planks, which increases the aroma and flavor of the cedar. I like just a hint of cedar. Just something different.
I was hankerin’ for some tender, almost-fall-off-the-bone smoked ribs, and lo and behold, spareribs were on sale at our grocery store. So I grabbed a few racks, trimmed them up St. Louis-style and started contemplating how I was going to cook them. Normally, it means an overnight rub down with some Memphis rib rub, then onto my Weber Smokey Mountain smoker using the 3-2-1 cooking method. This time, I decided to try a copycat of Famous Dave’s rib rub (the one they use in the restaurants for making their totally outstanding ribs) and cook the ribs low-and-slow for 6 hours. This rub is outstanding. It has a little heat, a little sweet, and a little saltiness. And celery seeds, which I think are just about required in any rub. And just a hint of cloves, which I don’t think I’ve seen in a rub before. It’s amazingly complex, and oh so good.
Although I sauced my ribs, I easily could’ve eaten them ‘dry’, without sauce. I cannot wait to use this same rub on a pork butt in the very near future. With just one cook it has become my go-to rub.