Copycat Red Robin’s Haystack Tavern Burger

What’s better than onions on a burger? Why, onion straws of course! And what’s better than ketchup on a burger? Why, Campfire sauce of course! Put the two on a hot-off-the-grill patty with good ole American cheese and you don’t have to call me twice for dinner. This copycat of Red Robin’s Haystack Tavern burger is mighty good stuff. Now, when you order it at the restaurant you usually get a double. I made mine a single. In hindsight I’m not sure why because one patty was great, but two would’ve been better!

Copycat Red Robin's Haystack Tavern Burger

You might have a bit of the Campfire left after you make your copycat Red Robin Haystack Tavern burgers. That’s a good thing. Slather it on sandwiches. Dip some fries in it. Put it on hot dogs.

I recommend making a few extra onion straws. Half of them won’t last long enough to make it to the burgers. Oh, and they’re great dipped in the Campfire sauce too!

Also try my copycat of Red Robin’s Royal Red Robin burger.

Copycat Red Robin’s Haystack Tavern Burger

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the burgers

  • 8 hamburger patties or 4 if making singles
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 slices American cheese or 4 if making singles
  • 4 sesame seed hamburger buns
  • Campfire sauce from below, to taste
  • onion straws from below

For the Campfire sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Hickory BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

For the onion straws

  • 1 large sweet onion skinned, halved, sliced thin
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning or substitute Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

For the burgers

  • Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook as desired. Top with cheese.
  • Toast the buns if desired.
  • Slather the insides of the buns with the Campfire sauce.
  • Add onion straws to bun bottoms. Add patties and top buns and serve.

For the Campfire sauce

  • Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the onion straws

  • Place onion rings in a bowl. Add buttermilk to cover.
  • Heat oil to 350 F.
  • In a resealable container or bag add the flour, seasoning and salt. Shake to combine.
  • Working in very small batches so as to not have the onion straws stick together, take a few onions out of the buttermilk and shake off the excess.
  • Add to the flour mixture, seal and shake to coat.
  • Transfer to the hot oil and deep fry until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack to drain.

Cedar-Planked Bloomin’ Onions

Yowsa. Cedar-planked bloomin’ onions where have you been? Why weren’t you in my life years and years ago? Because this right here… this? This is good stuff. Mighty good stuff. The perfect side dish for the perfect grilled burger dinner. The onions are grilled until just tender, but still with a bit of crunch. They’re seasoned, and seasoned good. And they have just a hint of the smoky cedar plank used to grill them. All this and a delicious roasted red pepper dipping sauce.

Cedar-Planked Bloomin' Onions

There’s not any deep-frying going on here. Nope. Just clean, fantastic flavors. You’ll find yourself making cedar-planked bloomin’ onions again and again.Try different sauces. Try different woods, too. You can’t go wrong. Just grab a few big ole sweet onions and get to it!

Also try my cedar-planked Camembert cheese.

Cedar-Planked Bloomin’ Onions

Course Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6

Equipment

  • You'll need a large cedar plank. Submerge the plank in water for 2 hours before making the onions.

Ingredients

For the onions

  • 2 large sweet onions
  • 1 large grilling plank cedar or any other untreated wood will work
  • Italian seasoning to taste
  • Parmesan cheese grated, to taste
  • granulated garlic to taste
  • paprika to taste
  • olive oil to taste
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley chopped, for garnish

For the aioli

  • 1 cup roasted red peppers
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

For the onions

  • Fire up your grill for indirect cooking 350-400 F.
  • Prepare your onions by cutting 1/2 inch off the stem end, then peel all the skin off. Place the onion on a cutting board cut side down.
  • Make cuts vertically thru the onion starting 1/2" from the root part that is sticking up. You'll make 16 evenly-spaced cuts around the onion, all the way to the cutting board. Make sure you go all the way through.
  • Carefully transfer the onion to your plank and turn over so the root is down. Carefully separate the pedals as if you were opening a flower.
  • Drizzle the onions with olive oil.
  • Sprinkle the onions liberally with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and Parmesan.
  • Place plank on grill away from heat and cook for 1 hour or until pedals have started to soften. If you prefer move plank over direct heat last 10-15 minutes to get more smoky flavor from the plank. Watch out for fires, though, and be prepared to move the plank back to indirect heat to put them out.
  • Garnish with parsley and serve.

For the aioli

  • Place all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well blended.

Grilled Ranch Potatoes

There are very few things as good as grilled potatoes. Creamy and buttery inside, with a crunchy skin, they’re a favorite of mine for sure. These grilled Ranch potatoes take the standard awesome lovelies to a new place. I’m a Ranch-aholic, so I was all over these as soon as they came off the grill. There’s no such thing as too much Ranch flavor in my book and these potatoes bring it!
Grilled Ranch Potatoes

Whenever I fire up a grill I like to cook my entire meal, main and sides and even desserts while the grill is nice and hot. No need to run and back and forth to the kitchen minding pots on the stove, keep everything right there on the grill. These grilled Ranch potatoes have quickly become a normal sight on our grill.

Also try my grilled potatoes with mustard-garlic dressing.

Grilled Ranch Potatoes

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds baby potatoes halved
  • 1/4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 packet Ranch dressing seasoning
  • kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Ranch dressing for drizzling, to taste
  • green onions sliced, for garnish

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill for medium-high heat. You want something in-between direct and indirect grilling.
  • Place potatoes in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Boil for 4-5 minutes until just starting to get tender. Remove from heat, rinse with cold water, and drain.
  • Transfer potatoes to a large bowl. Add the oil, lemon juice and Ranch seasoning. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to coat.
  • Transfer potatoes to a grill basket. Alternatively, you can thread the potatoes onto skewers. Place on the grill and grill until the potatoes are lightly charred, about 15 minutes. Turn the potatoes a few times to get them charred evenly.
  • Drizzle with Ranch and garnish with chives.

Easy Grilled Chimichurri Bread

When I fire up my grill for lunch or dinner I like to cook the entire meal outdoors. Not just the main dish, but also the side dishes. One of my favorite things to make is this easy grilled chimichurri bread. Lightly crunchy and packed with flavor, this bread makes for the perfect side. It’d also be great to use for making sandwiches!
Easy Grilled Chimichurri Bread

The parsley, garlic, oregano and oil in the chimichurri is an absolute favorite of mine. If you like garlic bread you’ll love this easy grilled chimichurri bread. It is packed with flavor and is crazy easy to make.

If you don’t have a disposable pan, you can melt the butter on your stove top or grill in a medium saute pan. Stir in the chimichurri then brush onto the crispy bread.

Also try my grilled garlic parsley cheese bread.

Easy Grilled Chimichurri Bread

Lightly crunchy and packed with flavor, this easy grilled chimichurri bread makes for the perfect side. It'd also be great to use for making sandwiches!
Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 201kcal
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf French bread split horizontally, cut in half
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Chimichurri to taste

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill for direct and indirect cooking.
  • Place the butter in a large disposable pan over indirect heat to melt. Add chimichurri to taste and stir. Keep warm.
  • Place the bread halves over direct heat and grill until lightly charred.
  • Transfer the halves to the pan with the chimichurri, cut-side down. Let the bread soak up some of the mixture then transfer to a platter and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 201kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 15mg | Sodium: 257mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 175IU | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1.8mg

Grilled Creamy Shrimp and Mushroom Pasta

It was one of those almost-stormy evenings. I was in the mood for grilling, but as a backup, I needed to pick something I could cook inside in case the skies opened up. Well, they didn’t, so i was able to grill the fantastic shrimp for this grilled creamy shrimp and mushroom pasta. If it had stormed, I would’ve roasted the shrimp in the oven and still enjoyed a great dinner. But grilled shrimp, well, that’s just better.

The cream sauce and mushrooms are fantastic. The entire dish is incredibly easy to put together. If you don’t want to fret with the shrimp just used pre-cooked frozen shrimp from your grocery store. Just defrost them ahead and of time and you’ll be good-to-go.
Creamy Grilled Shrimp and Mushroom PastaDon’t be surprised when you start making the sauce that the cream cheese doesn’t melt and get creamy. Once you add the hot water from making the pasta the cream cheese will dissolve and make a fantastic sauce.

When grilling the shrimp, the butter and oil in the marinade may cause flare-ups on your grill. Be prepared to move the skewered shrimp to another place on the grill until the fire dies down. And by all means, don’t burn yourself!

Also try my creamy Cajun sausage ravioli.

Grilled Creamy Shrimp and Mushroom Pasta

Note: I throw the shrimp onto the grill while the mushrooms are sauteeing.
Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the grilled shrimp

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound large shrimp 20-24 count, peeled and deveined

For the mushrooms and pasta

  • 8 ounces pasta fettuccine, linguine or angel hair
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 ounces cream cheese cubed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped, plus a bit more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup water from the cooked pasta you may not need the entire cup

Instructions

For the grilled shrimp

  • Combine all but the shrimp in a medium bowl.
  • Add the shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Remove from fridge and let set at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Fire up your grill.
  • Thread shrimp onto skewers and place on grill.
  • Brush with remaining marinade (caution: flare-ups can occur) and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Flip, brush with more marinade and cook another 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp are done.
  • Remove from grill.

For the mushrooms and pasta

  • Cook the pasta per package instructions, reserving 1 cup of the water from the pot.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet.
  • Add the mushrooms and saute for 10 minutes or until golden brown and soft. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove the mushrooms and reserve.
  • Add remaining butter to the skillet and melt.
  • Add the garlic, cream cheese cubes, parsley and basil. Whisk to combine. Note: The sauce will not be creamy.
  • Add 2/3 cup of the reserved pasta water and whisk. The sauce will come together and get creamy.
  • Add the mushrooms, grilled shrimp, and pasta. Stir to combine. If too thick add a bit more of the pasta water and stir.
  • Serve garnished with freshly chopped parsley.

Smoked Cheetos

Well, yep, smoked Cheetos are different. And boy, you gotta be careful smoking them too. It doesn’t take much smoke to get these little crunchy morsels mighty smoky. I admit, my first time making them I got distracted and smoked them longer than I should have. I was able to rescue them (the longer they rest after smoking, the more mellow the smoke flavor gets) but I suggest you start with less smoke time, try them, and go from there. They come out totally new, something people won’t expect! Nice and crunchy and smoky cheesy!

To smoke Cheetos you use a cold smoking technique. You do not want high heat. You can get by with temperatures up to 180 F, but I suggest cold smoking, which is generally below 90 F.

Smoked Cheetos

I use an A-Maze-N smoke tube when cold smoking. It gives me perfect control over the temperature and produces consistent smoke. I buy wood pellets and stuff the tube completely, then light one end. The tube stays lit for a few hours, perfect for smoking Cheetos. I highly recommend it. It’s also great for adding smoke flavor to dishes being cooked on a gas grill.

Since you have your cold smoke set-up going, throw on some potato chips or Chex mix too!

Smoked Cheetos

Course Appetizer
Author Mike

Ingredients

For cold smoking (using charcoal)

  • 4 lit charcoal briquettes
  • 1 small chunk apple wood

For cold smoking (using the A-MAZE-N tube)

  • wood pellets

For the smoked Cheetos

Instructions

For cold smoking (using charcoal)

  • Place the 4 lit briquettes in the bottom of your smoker.
  • Add the wood chunk.
  • Once the wood is smoking, you can add the Cheetos.

For cold smoking (using the A-MAZE-N tube)

  • Fill the tube with the wood pellets. Place into the bottom of your smoker and light one end. Once the pellets produce smoke, you can add the Cheetos.

For the smoked Cheetos

  • Place the Cheetos in an aluminum pan over your cold smoke setup that is already producing smoke (from above).
  • Smoke 20-30 minutes, gently tossing once or twice, until the desired smoke taste is achieved.
  • It's best to let the smoked snacks sit out for a while before serving. The smoke flavor can be a little strong at first. A little rest time will mellow it.

Rotisserie Chicken Wings

I have cooked my share of wings and then some. On my Char-Broil Big Easy. And on a smoker. Sometimes, on a charcoal grill using the Vortex BBQ. Deep fried. Slow cooked. Any way, any time, I do love wings. Heck, I even put together a free eCookbook full of wings, using homemade and store-bought sauces. But until now I had never cooked wings using a rotisserie basket on my grill. One thing is for sure, this is not the last time I’ll be doing it, either. Perfectly crispy wings cooked up in no time, using a gas or charcoal grill. Nothing but yumminess here!
Rotisserie Chicken WingsI coated the wings in a just a bit of oil first. Then I tossed them with my favorite wing seasoning. That’s it. For the rotisserie all you need is a super hot indirect fire. You don’t want flame directly beneath the wings as they will drip, and that’ll cause flare-ups and burning. So keep the fire around the wings, but not below and your wings will come out as great as mine did.

Resist the temptation to open the lid to your grill while the wings cook. But I have to admit, I peaked once or twice because hey, it’s cool to see wings toss around in a basket. It’s the ultimate in food porn.

Also try my super-easy rotisserie whole chicken.

I absolutely love chicken wings, cooked any way, with any sauce (or without). I love them so much that I created a free eCookbook that is full of my favorite wing recipes.

Rotisserie Chicken Wings

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds  chicken wings flats and drumettes separated, tips discarded
  • 2 tablespoons 
    vegetable oil
  • Your favorite wing seasoning I used my Fire-Eater rub
  • Your favorite Buffalo wing sauce

Instructions

  • Place wings in a large resealable baggie or container. Add the oil and seasoning. Seal and toss to coat. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Fire up your grill with a rotisserie attachment. You do not want any direct fire beneath the basket. I put a disposable pan under the basket to catch and drippings. On a charcoal grill you'll want to keep the lit coals in front of and behind the rotisserie. For a gas grill you want any burner(s) to the left and right of the basket to be lit if your burners run from-to-back. If your burners run from left-to-right you want to have the burner(s) in front of and behind the basket to be lit. If you have an infrared burner above your basket, light it also and turn it to medium-high. All other burners should be on high.
  • Transfer the wings to the basket and place on your grill. Turn on the rotisserie and close the lid. You want high heat, so no peaking. Let the wings cook for 20 minutes before checking them. They should start to crisp and the meat will start to pull back from the bones. Mine ended up taking 25-30 minutes until they got how I liked them.
  • Carefully remove the wings from the basket and sauce and serve.

Smoked Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

I recently smoked a big block of Velveeta. When I first mentioned the idea you could actually hear the gasps. Half were in amazement, half were not impressed. Well, for those not on the smoked Velveeta train, time to admit you were wrong because it’s crazy, crazy good! My first recipe for it? Yep, smoked Velveeta macaroni and cheese!
Smoked Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

You could make this recipe with ‘regular’ Velveeta instead. But I have to say, smoked Velveeta macaroni and cheese is something special. The flavor is just right. The creaminess is what you’d expect.

This recipe is also fantastic using smoked cheddar cheese, something I’ve made a few times also. You can also find smoked cheddar in most stores. Sadly, you cannot find smoked Velveeta in stores. Yet.

Smoked Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese

Course Side
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried elbow macaroni
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 3/4 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1 pound smoked Velveeta chopped (you can substitute smoked shredded cheddar)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups Panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente, 7 minutes. Rinse and drain well.
  • Drain water from pot and add 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat.
  • Add the onion and cook until just soft.
  • Add the cubed Velveeta, milk and mustard. Stir and let cook until the cheese has melted and is smooth, stirring often. You want the sauce to thicken until it sticks to a spoon, 10-15 minutes.
  • Stir in the cooked macaroni. Pour into a lightly greased 9" x 13" baking dish.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and hot.
  • Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a small saute pan.
  • Add the Panko and stir until golden brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the mac-and-cheese. Slice and serve.

Smokehouse Beans

Steven Raichlen’s The Barbecue! Bible is always a go-to book for me on all things barbecued. It is crammed full of so many fantastic recipes that I make time and time again. Like these smokehouse beans. They are so easy to make (with items I always have in my pantry or fridge) but come out just divine. Don’t waste your money on the canned version when you can make delicious BBQ beans on your smoker in less than 4 hours.
Smokehouse Beans

If you’re not a fan of liquid smoke, feel free to leave it out. But you’ll want to make up for it by making sure that your smoker is producing a good bit of smoke, so add a few extra chunks of wood if you do. Using double-smoked bacon will also add more fantastic smoke flavor.

You can also make smokehouse beans on a grill. Just use indirect heat. If you’re using a gas grill you might want to add a few chunks of wood to a wood box. If you don’t have one, that’s ok. The liquid smoke will still give you that smokehouse flavor.

Also try my peach BBQ beans.

Smokehouse Beans

These smokehouse beans are so easy to make but come out just divine. Don't waste your money on canned barbecue beans. These are so much better.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 slices thin-cut bacon cut into 1/4" pieces
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 30 ounces canned kidney beans rinsed, drained
  • 15 ounces canned black beans rinsed, drained
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup bottled barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup beer plus more, if needed
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Fire up your smoker for cooking at 225 F. I used plenty of hickory wood because I wanted a good amount of smoke flavor.
  • Cook the bacon pieces in a large pot or Dutch oven. Drain all but 2 tablespoons of the fat (optional).
  • Add the onion and garlic. Stir and cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a disposable pan and onto the smoker.
  • Smoke 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. If the beans get too thick, stir in a bit more beer.

Plank-Smoked Camembert

Disappeared. Like that. Plank-smoked Camembert is creamy, lightly smoky, and just incredibly delicious. Oh, and it has just a little kick. Don’t be afraid of it. That little heat offsets the sweetness perfectly. You won’t be able to get enough. I couldn’t.
Plank-Smoked Camembert

I could easily see making several variations on this plank-smoked Camembert for a party. You have to make this recipe as-is, for sure. Then maybe try a few different jellies. Try a few without jalapenos. Mix it up. They’re super easy to make, look amazing, and taste fantastic.

You’ll also love plank-smoked Twinkies and my cedar-planked Bloomin’ Onions.

Plank-Smoked Camembert

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 cedar plank
  • 8 ounces Camembert cheese
  • 3 tablespoons jalapeno pepper jelly
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper sliced thin
  • Crackers for serving

Instructions

  • Fire up your grill for direct and indrect cooking.
  • Place the cedar plank over direct heat and grill until it is singed. Flip and singe the other side. Remove and let cool slightly.
  • Unwrap the cheese and place in the center of the plank. Top with the jelly, spreading it out over the top. Add the jalapeno slices.
  • Return the plank to the grill, this time over indirect heat. Grill until the cheese is starting to melt, 8-10 minutes.
  • Remove the plank from the grill. Serve with crackers.