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 20-40 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.

 

 

Pineapple Mango Daikon Salad

Chilled fresh pineapple topped with a mix of sweet (mango and honey) and heat (jalapeno and a little bite from the daikon radish and cilantro). This is an excellent salad for a hot summer day.

Pineapple Mango Daikon SaladCan’t find daikon? You can make this with jicama instead.

Pineapple Mango Daikon Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 semi-ripe mangos, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large daikon radish peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, halved, each half then cut into 3 equal rounds (like little 'boats'). Note: Wait until the above ingredients have chilled 30 minutes before cutting the pineapple.
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the lime juice and zest, vinegar, honey, jalapeno, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.
  2. Add in the chopped mango, daikon and cilantro. Stir and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. To serve, spoon mango mixture into the pineapple boats.
  4. Note: This recipe doesn't hold up well left over, so enjoy it the day you make it!

 

Grilled Corn Disks with Honey Butter

July 4th marks the beginning of corn season here in Indiana. It’s when the best corn starts to become available at our local farmer’s markets. Nothing beats fresh sweet corn… unless you have something even sweeter to put on it.

Grilled Corn Disks with Honey ButterIf you want to kick the honey butter even more, add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper and throw a few jalapeno rings in with the corn disks.

Grilled Corn Disks with Honey Butter
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ears fresh sweet corn, cut into 1" disks
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for indirect cooking.
  2. Place the corn disks in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil and toss to coat.
  3. Place corn on the grill and cook 5-10 minutes per side until the corn is tender.
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the butter, salt and honey.
  5. Brush the cooked corn with some of the honey butter.
  6. Serve corn garnished with parsley along with the remaining honey butter for dipping.

 

Creole Pasta Salad Version 2.0

Our post on a peas and pasta salad has been the most popular post on Life’s A Tomato for a long, long time. We make it often. Well, I was reading through Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue book when I came across this recipe for Creole macaroni salad. I knew it would be a hit. It has everything in it that we love, from crunchy celery, to salty olives, to a great buttermilk dressing. I made a few minor changes to the recipe and made up a big batch, and oh, how it was sooo good. It was even better the next day after the olives got happier in the dressing, giving the entire salad a nice lightly salty olive flavor.

Creole Pasta Salad Version 2.0Paul Kirk’s book is amazing. I can’t recommend it enough. It has recipes for everything from sauces, to meats, to wonderful salads like this one.

If the salad gets a little dry the next day, stir in a little extra buttermilk or mayonnaise.

Creole Macaroni Salad
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
 
Ingredients
For the salad
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni, cooked, drained, rinsed
  • 2 cups seeded diced tomatoes (you can omit these if you want)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, cubed
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup stuffed green olives, sliced
For the dressing
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 T Creole seasoning (optional, more or less, to taste)
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the salad ingredients in a very large bowl.
  2. Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.
  3. Pour dressing over the salad and gently stir to combine.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

 

Grilled Hawaiian Hot Dogs

I love Hawaiian pizza, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch to put some of the same ingredients on top of a grilled hot dog. The result is a combination of sweet and heat, my favorite.

Hawaiian Hot DogsThe grilled vegetables would also be great on a grilled French bread pizza.

Hawaiian Hot Dogs
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into large rings but not separated
  • 4 pineapple rings (canned or fresh)
  • Olive oil
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch (or more) of cayenne
  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 hot dog buns
Instructions
  1. Fire up your grill for direct cooking.
  2. Brush the onion and pineapple rings with a bit of olive oil and grill, flipping once, until nicely charred and starting to soften.
  3. Remove, and let cool just slightly. Chop and place in a medium bowl.
  4. Add sugar, salt and cayenne to the bowl and toss to coast.
  5. Grill dogs and toast buns as desired. Serve topped with the onion and pineapple mixture.

 

Buffalo ABTs (Atomic Buffalo Turds)

I’m not sure when this idea hit me. I was probably sleeping, dreaming away… In my dream I dreamed of buffalo wings. A big batch of tasty, hot buffalo wings. And then, I started dreaming of ABTs (bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapenos)… tasty, cheesy… with just a little heat. Then POW! I woke up and thought Buffalo ABTs!

So I made them.

Buffalo ABTsAnd they were really, really good. So good I made them several times in one week. Jalapenos lose a lot of their heat when slow cooked for an hour or two. They still have a little bite, but are more like a poblano than a hot pepper.

The stuffing for the ABTs is fantastic, and also makes for a great dip for celery or chips.

Buffalo ABTs (Atomic Buffalo Turds)
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2-3 tablespoons Frank's Buffalo Wing Sauce. plus more for brushing
  • 3-4 tablespoons chopped celery
  • 1-2 tablespoons crumbled Blue cheese
  • 8 large jalapeños, halved, seeded
  • 16 slices bacon (about a pound)
Instructions
  1. Preheat your grill to 250 F for indirect cooking.
  2. Combine the cheese, wing sauce, celery and blue cheese. Add more sauce, celery or blue cheese as desired.
  3. Spoon cheese mixture into jalapeno halves.
  4. Wrap each jalapeno half with a piece of bacon.
  5. Brush bacon with more wing sauce.
  6. Cook over indirect heat for 1 1/2 hours - 2 hours until the jalapenos have softened, the bacon is done (but not really crispy), and the cheese is nice and bubbly.

 

Grilled Hot Dogs with Hot Creole Blender Sauce

The sauce for these dogs is the bomb. It’s mustardy and a bit hot. It’d also make for a fantastic dipping sauce for corn dogs now that I think about it.

Hot Dogs with Hot Creole Mustard Blender SauceI used Zatarain’s Creole Mustard, which is my favorite mustard by far, but you can substitute a good grainy mustard too.

You’ll need peppadew peppers to make the sauce. If you can’t find peppadews, you can use hot and sweet cherry peppers from Trader Joe’s, or in a pinch you can substitute roasted red peppers, with a bit of hot sauce added for kick.

Grilled Hot Dogs with Hot Creole Blender Sauce
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
For the hot dogs
  • 4 hot dogs
  • 8 slices thick bacon, cooked and broken into large chunks
  • 4 hot dog buns
For the sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small sweet, diced
  • 2-4 hot peppers (I used jalapenos), minced
  • 1 pickled Peppadew pepper, finely chopped, plus some liquid from the jar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup grainy mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onion and peppers and saute until the onion is soft.
  3. Add garlic and cook another minute.
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Allow to cool.
  5. Place onion mixture into a blender. Add mustard and mayonnaise and pulse until combined. If too thick, add a bit of the liquid from the peppadew jar. You want the sauce to be thick, but still easy to spread.
  6. Grill the hot dogs and toast the buns as desired.
  7. Place dogs on buns and top with blender sauce and bacon chunks.