I could’ve fired up my gas grill to cook a batch of hot dogs. Or lit some charcoal. That’s when I had a ‘duh’ moment. The Big Easy! It cooks everything great, so why not use it! So that’s what I did and wow, I have to say it cooks up hot dogs about as quick and as easy as you could possibly get. Just fire it up, load it up and wait. Read a book, watch some TV, play a game, because there’s no turning, no worrying, no burning. Done in no time and roasted perfectly! Say hello to the new way to cook up hot dogs! For something totally different, try marinating your hot dogs first.
I use a Vortex insert on several of my charcoal grills, usually for making chicken of some variation or another. This time I thought I’d try something new and see if I could make steak fries just as easily and just as tasty. I could not have been happier with the results. Tasty, creamy, seasoned perfectly, with a slight crunch. Perfect fries to go with my ‘fried’ chicken. Steak fries cooked in the Vortex are as easy to make as fries out of a bag from the freezer, really. The only thing you have to watch for is letting the fries slip thru your grill grates. On my smaller grills that’s not a problem since the grates are pretty narrow. The grate on my Weber Performer is a bit bigger, though, so I keep the fries at an angle to the grates so they don’t slip on through.
This chicken shawarma recipe from Chef Richard Blais has quickly become a favorite lunch-time dish for us. It takes absolutely no time to make and uses ingredients I often have on hand. The chicken is fantastic, thanks to a Mediterranean-inspired rub, and it’s very tender (chicken thighs are another favorite in our house). And the yogurt sauce is fantastic, cooling and slightly sour. All wrapped in a warm pita. This chicken shawarma gives our local gyro joint a run for it’s money! You could substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts when making chicken shawarma, but I guarantee that the end result won’t be as good. Thighs have more fat and more flavorful. And they’re super tender. If you do use breasts do not overcook them or they’ll quickly become tough.
In a bowl, whisk together the oil, cumin, paprika, allspice, turmeric, garlic powder and cinnamon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the chicken thighs, turning to coat. Set aside.
Fire up grill for direct and indirect cooking.
Shake off any excess marinade from the chicken and place the thighs onto the grill over direct heat. Note that the marinade contains oil which might cause flare-ups. If you do encounter a flare-up simply move the chicken to indirect heat until it stops.
Cook chicken until lightly charred and the internal temperature reaches 175 F.
Transfer chicken to platter. Cover and let rest 5 minutes.
For the yogurt sauce
Whisk together the yogurt, lime and garlic. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the pitas
Slice chicken into strips and divide between the pitas.
Add chopped mint and cilantro and the yogurt sauce.
I like making little treats for Anita to take to work and share with her co-workers. This time I decided to skip the sweets and send along some great savory baked seasoned Ritz crackers. Nothing fancy, but wonderfully tasty. Great on their own or with a creamy smooth dip or even better, slathered with goat’s cheese! You could substitute something other than Ritz crackers for this snack, but I’d lean towards something buttery if you do. You want to keep that savory creamy theme going. And make sure you keep an eye on them as they bake. They can quickly turn from golden brown to … very very golden brown!
I made a nice big ole batch of slow cooker shredded Buffalo chicken the other day. Then I made some awesome Buffalo chicken panini sandwiches, which came out so fantastic that I just had to keep going with the theme. So… I made Buffalo chicken subs! Spicy Buffalo chicken, cold, creamy, crunchy slaw, tangy blue cheese, and cool Ranch dressing, all on a lightly toasted sub roll. Every bite is packed full of flavor.
Nothing could be easier to make than these Buffalo chicken subs. I also make extra Buffalo chicken and keep some in the freezer for a quick lunch sandwich.
Don’t like the tang of blue cheese? Gorgonzola is a bit more mellow, but if that’s too strong for you just use Monterrey Jack.
I absolutely loved these bacon cheese-stuffed peppers. Every bite was full of my favorite things, like cheese and bacon. And a bit of sharp onion and sweet roasted bell pepper. I left the onions fairly crunchy because I was looking for a great crunch (along with the crunch of the bacon) to contrast the soft pepper and gooey cheese. You can cook yours further if you want but don’t go overboard. Crunch here is a good thing. For a spicier version, substitute habanero jack cheese for the cheeses, and use poblano peppers instead of red bell peppers. A sprinkle or two of red pepper flake on top isn’t going to hurt anything either. You can’t go wrong with bacon cheese-stuffed peppers no matter how you change them up (if you do).
I absolutely love making ‘fried’ chicken on my charcoal grill using the Vortex insert. Yeah, I know it’s not really fried, but that’s the point. You get that same crunchy exterior and moist tender interior, all without the oil. I use this southern fried chicken recipe the most, sometimes adding a sauce at the end, but often not,. It’s got that perfect crunch, whether you use skin-on or skinless chicken. I usually cook chicken using the Vortex on my 22″ charcoal grill, the Weber Performer or my Weber Kettle. You can buy a smaller Vortex for smaller grills, which works absolutely fantastic for chicken wings, but for bigger pieces like the split chicken breasts I used for southern fried chicken, I use a bigger grill so that the meat isn’t so close to the fire.
There aren’t a lot of grilled sides that I prefer just as much as the grilled main dish at a meal. The mustard-garlic dressing on these grilled potatoes really hit a tone for me. Tender, buttery potatoes contrasted with tangy mustard and vinegar. I found the combination to be perfect, and easy to make to boot. Anita and I recently ran across The Mustard Man at an event at the Jungle Jim’s market in Fairfield, OH. After sampling each of the mustards I instantly picked up a bottle of each one. They are truly fantastic. Instead of whole grain mustard, I used The Mustard Man’s Simply Peppered mustard in the dressing for these grilled potatoes. The light peppery flavor brought a nice little bite.