Cedar-Planked Spicy Grilled Shrimp

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.
Cedar-Planked Spicy Grilled ShrimpYou can chill these shrimp for salads or shrimp cocktail, or serve them hot off the grill as a great main dish.

Cedar-Planked Spicy Grilled Shrimp
Recipe type: Main or Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 pound shrimp (I used 21-24 count), peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Couple dashes freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon (or more) cayenne pepper
  • 1 cedar plank
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  1. Place the shrimp in a resealable container.
  2. Drizzle with the oil and toss to coat.
  3. Add the salt, pepper, paprika and cayenne pepper and toss to coat.
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Soak the cedar plank in water for 30 minutes.
  6. Fire up your grill for medium-high cooking.
  7. Add the cedar plank and leave it on the grill until it starts to smoke.
  8. Add the shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  9. Flip the shrimp and cook until done, another 3-4 minutes.
  10. Serve drizzled with the lime juice and garnished with chopped cilantro.


Crab Legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy

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.
Crab Legs on the Char-Broil Big EasyYou 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.

Crab Legs on the Char-Broil Big Easy
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • Crab legs and claws, cooked (if frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge first). I used Alaskan King Crab. You can use snow crab too, but you might want to shorten the cooking time.
  • Olive oil
  • Lemons, some juiced, some halved
  • Clarified butter, for serving
  1. Note: If your legs are too long to fit in the Big Easy basket, just take a sharp knife and split them.
  2. Fire up your Big Easy.
  3. Squeeze a little lemon juice into some olive oil and brush the legs and claws.
  4. Place legs and claws in the Big Easy basket along with the remaining lemons (halved first).
  5. Place basket in the Big Easy and cook for 6 minutes. Larger legs or more legs might take longer. I pulled a small leg out after 6 minutes for a quick test and found it to be perfect.
  6. Serve hot with the roasted lemons and clarified butter for dipping.

Cedar-Planked Chorizo Portobellos

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.
Cedar Planked Chorizo PortobellosI 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.

Cedar Planked Chorizo Portobellos
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
  • 1 cedar plank
  • 2 portobello mushroom caps, gills gently scooped out with a spoon
  • Olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) our pork chorizo stuffing (or substitute cooked crumbled chorizo)
  • 4 tablespoons (or more) shredded queso quesadilla cheese
  • Cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  1. Soak the cedar plank in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Fire up your grill for direct and indirect cooking.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly brush the mushrooms on both sides with oil.
  4. Place on grill, gill-side up, over direct heat for 3 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly while the plank continues to soak.
  5. Transfer portobellos to the plank.
  6. Spoon pork chorizo stuffing into mushroom tops.
  7. Place on grill over indirect heat and cook for 15 minutes. Check often to make sure the plank doesn't catch fire. If it does, just blow on it or spritz it with a little water to extinguish.
  8. Add the cheese and cook another 5 minutes or until melted.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve.

Copycat Famous Dave’s Rib Rub

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.
Copycat Famous Dave's Rib RubThis 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.

Copycat Famous Dave's Rib Rub
Recipe type: Spice Mixture
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 cups
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup garlic powder
  • 1/4 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 cup lemon pepper
  • 1/4 cup onion salt (or powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 teaspoon crushed or ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash Original
  1. Note: The version of this rub stated above uses less salt than the version you'll find on the internet. Add more (or use less) salt as you desire.
  2. Combine all ingredients.
  3. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  4. To use, spread liberally on ribs (or pork shoulder or butt), wrap in foil, and let refrigerate 12 hours before smoking or grilling.