Pulled Pork on the Char-Broil Big Easy

I’m a huge fan of pulled pork cooked on a smoker. Of course, the Char-Broil Big Easy Oil-Less Fryer is not a smoker, so I was a bit skeptical when I set out to make pulled pork on it. Well, color me un-skeptical now. Cooking a pork butt on the Big Easy was not only easy and quick (compared to a 10-12 hour cook time on my smoker), but the end product came out super moist and tender. The meat shreds very easily, perfect for BBQ sandwiches or my favorite, BBQ pulled pork baked potatoes.

I started with an 8 pound bone-in pork butt that I trimmed just slightly. I injected the butt with a mix of apple juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and adobo sauce and let it get happy in the fridge overnight. Why adobo sauce? I was wanting a hint of smoky flavor to the meat, and adobo gives you that (you could substitute a few drops liquid smoke instead but I like the flavor of adobo better).

Pulled Pork on the Char-Broil Big EasyThe next morning I patted the butt dry on the outside and then rubbed it with a simple spice mix that had smoked paprika added in for more smoky flavor. Onto the Big Easy for 4ish hours until the meat hit 195 F, mopping the last 15 degrees of cooking.

Pulled Pork on the Char-Broil Big EasyFoiled, rested, and shredded.

For a little extra smoky flavor, mix the meat with a smoky flavored BBQ sauce.

Pulled Pork on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
For the pulled pork
  • 1 8 pound bone-in pork butt, trimmed of any large pieces of fat
  • Pork injection brine (see below)
  • Pork rub (see below)
  • Pork mopping sauce (see below)
For the pork injection
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon (or more) adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles)
For the pork rub
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flake
For the pork mopping sauce
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
Instructions
For the pulled pork
  1. Inject pork with the injection brine every inch or so. Place into a re-sealable container or deep baking dish, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Remove pork from container and pat dry on the outside.
  3. Rub pork on all sides with the pork rub.
  4. Fire up your Big Easy.
  5. Place the pork into the Big Easy basket and lower into the Big Easy.
  6. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 180 F.
  7. Brush or spray the pork with the mopping sauce every 20-30 minutes until the meat reaches 195 F.
  8. Remove meat from the cooker, wrap in foil and let rest for 30 minutes.
  9. Shred or chop meat as desired.
For the pork injection
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small pan over medium heat. Stir until salt is dissolved. Let cool before using.
For the pork rub
  1. Combine all ingredients. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
For the pork mopping sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients.

Chicken Nacho Dip

Truthfully, I was just looking for a way to use up some grilled chicken breast I found in the freezer. I wasn’t thinking I’d found anything too terribly exciting when I ran across this recipe for a chicken nacho dip. Well, I wasn’t just sort of wrong, I was very wrong. This dip is fantastic. Super cheesy, spicy, and creamy.
Chicken Nacho DipIf you don’t have grilled (or smoked) chicken on hand, rotisserie chicken will work just fine too. Oh and don’t forget to warm the tortilla chips. They take just a few minutes in a 350 F degree oven.

Chicken Nacho Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
Ingredients
  • 1 14 ounce can RO*TEL® (I used hot), drained
  • 1 pound Velveeta®, cubed
  • 1 cup cooked chicken, shredded or cubed
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup green onion, diced (plus more for garnish if desired)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning mix
  • 1 large jalapeno, minced
  • 1/2 can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • Tortilla chips, warmed, for serving
Instructions
  1. Place everything except for the beans into a slow cooker and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes too thick thin with a little milk.
  2. Add the beans and cook another 30 minutes.
  3. Stir before serving with warmed tortilla chips.

 

Spicy Grilled Cheese

I work from home, and with all the food I end up cooking through the week, I usually heat up some leftovers for lunch. Sometimes, though, no leftovers are to be found. That’s when I like to throw together a quick meal, like a grilled cheese sandwich. No need for it to be just cheese and bread, though. I throw on a little tomato and jalapeno and all is good in the world again. Done in minutes, and nice and different. With a kick.

Spicy Grilled Cheese

Spicy Grilled Cheese
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 slices Texas toast
  • 4 slices good, thick American cheese
  • 1 roma tomato, seeded, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded, minced
Instructions
  1. Heat large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread.
  3. Lay two slices of bread butter-side down in the skillet. Top each with one slice of cheese. Divide the tomato and jalapeno between the bread slices and top with remaining cheese.
  4. If your skillet is large enough, lay the remaining bread slices butter-side down into the skillet. This prevents you from having to flip the sandwiches to brown them on both sides. Bad things can sometimes happen when you flip a sandwich! But, if you're a good flipper, put the remaining bread on top of the sandwiches, butter-side out.
  5. Cook until bread is nice and browned. Flip when ready and brown on other side if you aren't cooking the top slices separately. Otherwise, top the sandwiches with the cooked top slices.
  6. Serve hot and gooey.

 

Chipotle Turkey Salad

This is one of the most amazing turkey salads I’ve ever made or had. The addition of two simple ingredients, chipotles in adobo and cilantro, to a pretty standard turkey (or chicken) salad recipe really takes it to a new level. This is a fantastic way to use up leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, but I wouldn’t just make this salad when I have leftovers around. It’s worth making any time.

Chipotle Turkey SaladI used roasted turkey from my Char-Broil Big Easy, but any cooked turkey (or chicken) will do just fine.

Chipotle Turkey Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo, diced plus some of the adobo sauce, to taste
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cups chopped, cooked turkey
  • 1/2 cup white onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix together the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and mayonnaise.
  2. Place remaining ingredients except for the salt and pepper into a bowl.
  3. Fold in the mayonnaise mixture and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve on sandwiches, or spoon into seeded avocado halves for a delicious salad.

 

Crazy Cajun Nachos

Goodness, me-oh-my. I think these Crazy Cajun Nachos pretty much sealed the fate of ‘normal’ nachos in this house. These nachos are.. well, crazy good. Andouille on nachos is what nachos have needed since they were invented in the 40s by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya. And how cool would it be to immortalized by having a food named after you? Anyone up for a big ole plate of Mike’s? Nope, doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Crazy Cajun NachosThe cheese sauce on these nachos is simple, but really tasty. It’s great on baked potatoes and hot dogs, too. Trust me. And it’s actually good as a dip by itself.

Crazy Cajun Nachos
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound cooked Andouille sausage, sliced
  • 1 4-ounce can La Victoria Fire-Roasted Diced Green Chiles
  • 3 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4 cup beer (or beef broth. I used beef broth)
  • Tortilla chips, warmed
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Sour cream
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and pepper, season with salt and pepper, and cook 10 minutes.
  3. Increase heat to medium high and add the sausage. Cook 3-5 minutes or until the mixture turns golden in color.
  4. Add the chiles, stir, and reduce heat to low to keep warm.
  5. Combine the cheese, cornstarch and Cajun seasoning in a large bowl.
  6. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a pot over medium heat.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  8. Add the beer (or broth) and bring to a simmer.
  9. Reduce heat to low. Working in batches, add some of the cheese and whisk until melted.
  10. Spread chips out onto a large platter.
  11. Top with the cheese sauce, then the sausage mixture.
  12. Garnish with tomatoes, green onions, and sour cream.

 

Coconut Fried Shrimp with Dipping Sauce

Anita and I stopped by Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen outside of Cincinnati, Ohio, the other day. The food there is always absolutely amazing. We had their Coconut Shrimp with Cajun slaw and a dipping sauce, and it was beyond fantastic. Ever since then I have been jonesin’ for coconut shrimp. Now, this recipe is not meant to be a copycat of the version from Pappadeaux. But, it’s still mighty tasty and comes with a great dipping sauce (don’t be afraid to double the recipe for the dipping sauce).

Coconut Fried Shrimp with Dipping SauceBe careful to not overcook the shrimp. They don’t take long to cook at all, just until they are just starting to turn golden brown.

Coconut Fried Shrimp with Dipping Sauce
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
For the dipping sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 4 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
For the shrimp
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp (I used 18-22 count), peeled and deveined
  • Peanut oil, for frying
Instructions
For the dipping sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small pot over low heat. Stir occasionally while you make the shrimp.
For the shrimp
  1. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk in the water and let set for 20 minutes.
  3. In a shallow bowl or pie plate combine the coconut and bread crumbs.
  4. Heat 2" of oil in a Dutch oven or deep fryer to 325 F.
  5. Add shrimp to the batter mixture and coat well.
  6. Working in batches, shake off excess batter then add shrimp to the coconut mixture, Press lightly on the coating to get it to adhere, covering all sides of the shrimp.
  7. Lower shrimp into the oil and cook 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate.
  8. Serve with warmed dipping sauce on the side.

 

Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Prairie Dust Mix

This is the spice mix the Longhorn Steakhouse uses on many of its dishes. It has a nice complex flavor with a little heat, and is perfect on steaks, chicken, seafood, veggies, and baked potatoes.

The recipe makes a few tablespoons of mix. I usually make a much bigger batch and keep it in the pantry.

Copycat Longhorn Steakhouse Prairie Dust Mix
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients. Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.

 

Pizza Sauce

Sometimes I get home from work and just want to make a quick pizza. No handmade dough. No unusual toppings. Just a heat-and-eat store-bought crust, topped with a fantastic sauce and a few easy ingredients, such as Italian sausage, mushrooms, olives, and cheese. And it comes out great, thanks to the sauce.

Pizza SauceI double this recipe and freeze it in batches, making it easy to defrost in the fridge in time to make a 15 minute dinner.

Pizza Sauce
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, lightly ground
  • Red pepper flake, to taste (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the butter and melt.
  2. Add the onion and celery and saute until starting to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  5. Pour mixture into a blender.
  6. Cover with a towel and hold down on the lid and puree the mixture until smooth.
  7. Pour mixture back into the pot over medium heat.
  8. Stir in the tomato sauce and paste.
  9. Add remaining ingredients, stir.
  10. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and let simmer 20-30 minutes.
  11. If the sauce is too thick (keeping in mind that you do want a thick sauce) add water a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired thickness.
  12. Remove bay leaf before using.

 

Southwestern Turkey Soup

It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s a great way to use up some of that turkey you have sitting in the fridge after Thanksgiving.

Southwestern Turkey SoupFor a little extra zing, skip the Rotel and add a small can of diced tomatoes along with a small can of La Victoria Fire-Roasted Diced Green Chiles.

Southwestern Turkey Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14 1/2 ounce can chicken broth
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 10 ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies (such as Rotel), undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • Tortilla strips, sour cream, cheese, etc for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and saute until tender.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients except the garnishes.
  4. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Serve with desired garnishes.

 

Buffalo Chicken Soup

Wow. I cannot not stop talking about this soup. It is my favorite soup. Perfect for the cool weather. It’s like eating (my favorite) buffalo chicken wings, with celery and onion, and cheesy. Good, gooey, melted cheese.

I used some leftover fire-eater roasted chicken breast in this soup. The chicken has a nice kick to it, so the soup had a nice little kick to it too. If you use a pre-cooked chicken without any spice to it, you might want to add a bit of cayenne or hot sauce to the soup.

Buffalo Chicken SoupEven better the second day, if it lasts that long.

Buffalo Chicken Soup
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half cream
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon
  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (I used some leftover fire-eater roasted chicken)
  • 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Note: I used leftover fire-eater chicken that has a nice kick to it. If you are using rotisserie or other 'tame' chicken you might want to add some hot sauce or cayenne to the soup for a little kick.
  2. Place butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.
  3. Once melted, add the celery and onion and cook until both are tender.
  4. Stir in the flour and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in the half-and-half and water.
  6. Add the bouillon and stir to dissolve.
  7. Add the chicken and wing sauce.
  8. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
  9. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Simmer 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.