In my world there’s nothing better than a burger cooked on a super hot flat top griddle. Boy do I love that nice little char you get on the patties. These pepper crusted bacon cheeseburgers amp up that great flat top (though you can certainly grill them!) flavor even more.
The patties are loaded with sweet onion and lots of black pepper. Lots of black pepper. Crispy bacon, lettuce, smoky cheese and a fantastically garlicky aioli top it all off Every bite is loaded with flavor. Do not be shy with the black pepper when you roll the burger patties in it. You really want a good strong pepper flavor. I used smoked pepper but any good freshly cracked pepper will do. For extra smoky flavor used smoked garlic instead of regular raw garlic.
My fast food dining days are pretty much behind me. Oh I might stop and grab something every once-in-a-while, specially if I’m traveling. I still crave some of my fast food favorites, but now I’m more a make-it-at-home kinda guy. So that’s how we ended up here, with a copycat of my favorite chain burger, the Burger King Whopper (although truth be told, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder and BigMac are close behind on the list!).
I like to cook my copycat Burger King Whoppers on a flat top griddle on my grill. I get the griddle hot, screaming hot, first. That gives me that little char, that little crunch around the edges. And of course cooking on the grill gives you that char-grilled flavor just like at the restaurant!
If you don’t have a grill cook the burgers in a hot skillet!
I’ve been a subscriber to Louisiana Cookin’ magazine for years. This tropical shrimp salad is a great example of why I’ve been a loyal reader for so long. This salad was incredible. A wonderful combination of fruits and shrimp, with a light creamy dressing that has a hint of vanilla. It was the perfect dish on a hot summer’s day. I made this tropical shrimp salad a main dish by using large shrimp and large melon balls. You can also serve this as a side or a great pitch-in dish by using smaller shrimp and melon balls. This salad is also absolutely fantastic without the shrimp.
I used a Greek vanilla yogurt but regular ole yogurt works just fine too. There’s no way you can go wrong with this salad.
Even if you’re a die-hard I-only-put-ketchup-on-my-fries person, you have to try this easy easy fry dipping sauce. Fear not since it does contain (some) ketchup! And mayonnaise (a worthy fry dipping sauce on it’s own!). A few other ingredients and a little spiciness and you’ve got something different for your next batch of fries.
I have quickly learned that one of the most valuable things in my fridge is a jar of pickle brine. It’s the liquid left after you’ve taken out the last pickle. Don’t ever toss it out. You can use it in so many recipes, from this easy fry dipping sauce to fried chicken.
The beauty of the Vortex BBQ insert is that you can take pretty much any deep-fryer recipe and use it on a charcoal grill. It doesn’t have to be for chicken either. This Hidden Valley Ranch fried chicken using the Vortex is a perfect example of just how amazing it is. The meat is crazy tender, unbelievable moist. And the skin? Well, let’s just say I leave it for last because it’s almost like dessert. A true treat.
Hidden Valley Ranch fried chicken using the Vortex is incredibly easy to make. And there’s no mess or clean up like if you’d fried the chicken on the stovetop or in a deep fryer. It’s why I love all my Vortexes. I have some for my big charcoal grills and some for my smaller charcoal grills. Which one I use depends on how much I’m cooking, but no matter what, everything comes out fantastic.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Double this recipe. And if you have a lot of leftover smoked pulled pork (or brisket) laying around, quadruple the recipe. Because these smoked BBQ baked beans are fantastic you’ll want to make as much as will fit on your smoker at one time. I got this fantastic (and easy) recipe and many others from Brother Jimmy’s BBQ: More than 100 Recipes. If you’re a fan of smoking and grilling, you need Brother Jimmy’s now.
Just about any smoked meat will work just fine in these smoked BBQ baked beans. I prefer brisket or pulled pork, but chicken and turkey are good too. This is an excellent way to use up leftover (or not leftover) meats.
This is the first time in a long, long time that I didn’t take a picture of a dish after I plated. Why? Well, because my okra hush puppies were only on a plate for about 30 seconds. Yeah, sure, my hush puppy shaping skills are lacking, but it so didn’t matter. They were incredible. I mean just flat-out absolutely the best hush puppies ever. The perfect batter. And my favorite, fresh okra. I loved it!
You pretty much gotta go with fresh when it comes to the okra for these hush puppies. You might bet away with frozen when fresh is out of season, but the color, the crunch, won’t be quite the same. It’ll still taste delicious though.
Note: Yeah, I might have eaten several of these before they even cooled off. And yeah, they were pretty darned hot but I could not control myself. You won’t be able to either.
You want pasta salad. She wants potato salad. Now you both can get what you want, in one bowl! And with a little tropical twist, to boot. This Hawaiian-style potato macaroni salad is a wonderful side dish, perfect for a family get-together (it does make a pretty big batch!). It really is the combination of two favorites. What’s Hawaiian about this Hawaiian style potato macaroni salad? Well, you’re supposed to use sweet Hawaiian onions when you make it. I couldn’t find them, so I used good-ole Vidalia’s, my favorite onions. I don’t think it matters, because this salad turned out to be fantastic!
Note: You can cook the potatoes and pasta together, but I prefer to steam my potatoes. A hard boil tends to beat up the potatoes, whereas steaming keeps that nice cube shape. To do so, place the potatoes in a steam basket over the boiling pasta and steam until tender. The potatoes will likely take longer to steam than the pasta will take to cook.
Oh let me at it! Delicious, tender, juicy chicken, packed with peppery goodness and a hint of sweetness. Sweet black pepper chicken on the Char-Broil Big Easy proves what I’ve said time and time again. Nothing cooks chicken like the Big Easy. Add a little marinade like this sweet black pepper anytime sauce from Stubb’s and you’ve got tremendously flavorful chicken. Nine times out of ten I use split chicken breasts when cooking chicken on the Big Easy. They don’t ever dry out, a problem you can run into with boneless chicken breasts. So any time I see them on sale I pick up a few family packs and get to cooking. I love to have them on hand. They make for an easy dinner salad: just chop up the roasted chicken and top some greens with it. Dinner. Done!
I went on a deep-fried shrimp kick the other day. It happens. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen often enough, because deep-fried shrimp are definitely one of my favorite things. To make the shrimp even better I always make a dipping sauce or two along the side. Usually that means some sort of variation on a cocktail sauce, but this time I went with a mayonnaise-based sauce often found in Japanese Hibachi restaurants, Yum-Yum sauce. Nice and creamy with a slight vinegar twist, this sauce was perfect with the crispy shrimp. As I note in the ingredients, you’ll want to use full-strength (not light) mayonnaise. Light mayonnaise is too thin, you want something that’ll stand up to the shrimp.
I wouldn’t be afraid to add a few shakes of hot sauce, either. Or maybe a few good-sized pinches of dried pepper flake.