I love making jerky on my Nesco Snackmaster Pro. I’ve been using ground top round for my ground beef jerky, but any lean ground meat will work. I tend to prefer jerky with a lot of flavor. I’m not really into mellow jerky. Which is why I enjoyed the heck out of this Cracked Pepper N’ Garlic jerky made using a seasoning from Hi Mountain that I picked up at our nearby Cabela’s. The jerky is definitely peppery (I used more seasoning than the package calls for because hey, like I said, I like my jerky to be packed with flavor!) with a nice hint of garlic that isn’t overwhelming. It’s a really, really tasty jerky that you’ll enjoy more than you may want (so make a double batch!). I grind my meat using my own grinder, but if you’re friends with your butcher (and you should be), you can get him to trim and grind it for you. Or if you prefer sliced jerky, your butcher can do that for you too. That’s why they’re there. Getting to know your butcher is a really good idea, so take the time to say ‘hi’ even if you don’t need anything from him or her the next time you see them.
2 teaspoons curing salt (comes with the seasoning) (optional if you're going to refrigerate the finished product)
1/4 cup water
NOTE: I personally feel that the flavor is too mellow when mixing per the package instructions, 2 1/2 teaspoons per pound. I use a heaping tablespoon. You may want to first make a pound per the package instructions and see if you want a stronger flavor.
Place beef in a resealable bag or container.
Place meat, seasoning, curing salt and water into a mixer and mix for 5 minutes.
Transfer meat to a resealable container or bag and refrigerate for up to 8 hours, massaging every hour or so to get the marinade distributed and absorbed evenly.
Remove meat from the marinade. Add to a jerky gun and squeeze out onto Nesco trays.
Add the dehydrator top, set to maximum temperature setting and dehydrate for 5 hours, rotating the trays (bottom to top) every 2 hours or so.
To test for doneness remove a piece and let cool slightly. Try to bend the meat. If it gives and starts to tear at the bend it is done. If it bends without tearing return to the dehydrator and let it run another 15 minutes and test again. If the meat is crunchy it is overdone but still good. It's really personal preference as to how you like your jerky. Soft, chewy, crunchy. There's no wrong here.
Chuck roast goes on sale here every so often and since I’m huge fan of smoked chuck, I always rummage through the meat case and find some that has a nice marbling and is the same thickness throughout and rush home to toss it on the smoker. I’ve smoked Cajun chuck roast, Barbacoa-style, and just ‘plain’ ole chuck roast and all were fantastic. This time I decided to go the spicy route and marinate the roast overnight in Goya’s chipotle marinade. The beef took on a wonderful flavor that wasn’t overly spicy but still had a really nice kick. Perfect on a sandwich, and much cheaper than brisket. Smoked chuck roast looks and ‘acts’ pretty much like smoked brisket. It slices well if you prefer yours sliced. It chops well if you’re into that. And it pulls great too. I like mine pulled just like pulled pork BBQ. Mounded high on a bun I’m a very happy guy. Fiery smoked chuck roast makes me happy.
It’s not uncommon for me to dream of a meal the night after I’ve had it. What isn’t common is when I dream about a meal BEFORE I’ve even had it. I knew going in that this slow cooker jalapeno pot roast was going to be great. Of course, after a day in the slow cooker the meat was tender and easy to shred. And it has just the right amount of spicy kick to it. It’s definitely not a bland pot roast by any stretch of the imagination. I set out making slow cooker jalapeno pot roast for po boy sandwiches and that’s it. As soon as I came across the recipe I knew that that’s what I was going to do. And the sandwiches came out absolutely perfect. I could’ve served the pot roast over mashed potatoes or made an open-faced sandwich or even better, used it in tacos, but I wanted a sandwich with some cool toppings like tomato and onion and lettuce to contrast the spicy beef. Perfect!
Cold weather can sometimes make me ‘cooking lazy’. That’s when I just want to toss a few out-of-the-pantry and out-of-the-fridge ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on, and come back half a day later to a done dish. Doesn’t mean it has to be all out of a can, but it isn’t all from scratch either. And it’s still good. And spicy. Gotta have spicy and these bold ranch pork chops deliver on that. I served these pork chops with warmed leftover mashed potatoes. The gravy from the slow cooker is great over mashed potatoes, but I think it’d be even better over grits, so I’ll give that a whirl next time. They’ll be instant grits, though, to keep with my ‘cooking lazy’ mood.
Whew, oh boy! This isn’t some boring, barely-seasoned, overly-tame, put-you-to-sleep white chicken chili, no sir! You pretty much open your pantry and grab everything in it that is spicy and throw it in a pot with some chicken, some beans, some roasted peppers, and some broth. Done! I really enjoyed the smokiness of this spicy white chicken chili. There are so many different flavors coming together in every spoonful. I’m thinking you could easily make this a beef chili by substituting cooked crumbled ground beef (or small pieces of chuck) along with beef broth. Or you can easily go the turkey route, using crumbled cooked ground turkey.
I’m a big fan of po boy sandwiches. Sometimes fancy, sometimes not so fancy. Last weekend I made two ‘cheater’ fried clam and fried shrimp po boys. I call them ‘cheater’ because I used frozen already-fried seafood. But just because I’m cheating doesn’t mean I’m not going to step up my game a bit by adding a fantastic chipotle tartar sauce. A bit spicy and a bit tangy, this is the perfect tartar sauce to kick up any seafood. You want to use a mayonnaise that isn’t too thin or your tartar sauce will, of course, be thin. Not that that’s a bad thing, but most people like a nice, thick tartar sauce. You could call it a remoulade or comeback sauce if yours turns out a bit on the thin side!
One of the best things I love about chicken wings is that there isn’t just one perfect combination of rub and sauce. There are an infinite number of great wings, and these Anchonero Hot BBQ wings are just another example of a perfect combination of a spicy southwestern rub and sauce. A little heat and a little sweet, you’d think I hadn’t eaten in a month when I devoured these wings. ‘Anchonero’ is a combination of ancho (a wonderful mild pepper, a dried poblano) and habenero (a pretty darned spicy pepper!) chiles. You get great chile pepper flavor in every bite, that’s for sure. I found the spice level to be great, not too hot but definitely not mild either. The Anchonero rub and BBQ sauce i used on these wings comes from AlbuKirky Seasonings, in yep, you guessed it, Albuquerque, New Mexico. They have lots of southwestern-flavored rubs and sauces and jellies. Check them out, you’ll love them all!
It just occurred to me the other day. I have never cooked chicken legs by themselves on my Char-Broil Big Easy. I’ve done plenty of whole chickens, and tons of wings and breasts, but never legs. What the heck was I thinking? I immediately set out to remedy that situation. These Kick’N chicken legs came out fantastic, just like all the other poultry I’ve ever cooked on the Big Easy. Super moist and tender, and thanks to Weber’s Kick’N seasoning, nice and spicy! You won’t end up with crispy skin when you make these Kick’N chicken legs, but you will end up with delicious meat bite after bite. I’d say I used the right amount of the seasoning because I do prefer a little kick to my chicken, but not so much that I’m balled up on the floor crying. These legs were fantastic and spiced perfectly.