Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Big Green Egg Pizza

Had a craving for some pizza this week and had recently read some tips on achieving the ultimate thin crust.  We are huge fans of thin crust pizzas so naturally we had to give this one a go.  MBH did the shopping and found some wheat pizza dough at Publix. We got some fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, prosciutto, basil, and oregano for toppings.  We made the same sauce we have used in the past minus the sugar (I wasn't a huge fan of the sweet sauce).

I let the dough rest for a while on some lightly floured parchment paper.  Using the tips I had recently read, I placed Saran wrap on top and rolled the dough out.  This worked perfectly and I was able to get the dough as thin as I desired.  I think I could make 3 thin crust pizzas out of one dough ball.  I cut this one in two and one of the pizzas was huge.

I cooked the pizzas at 500º for about 12-15 minutes each with the larger taking just a bit longer.  I cooked them on the parchment paper on the stone until they were close to being done and then removed the parchment to finish off the crust directly on the stone. The setup was the same as I have used in the past.

Best pizzas I have made to date.  Not much else to be said.

Bonus:Here is a picture of some chicken and veggies we did using some newly acquired flexible skewers.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Grilled Fish, Oscar Style

A delayed post due to being overly busy the last couple weeks but we did the normal dining in for Valentine's Day and decided to go with some egged fish oscar style with grilled asparagus.

I cleaned the salmon and mahi and dusted with some DP Ragin River rub.  I placed them on the soaked alder plank that I had also coated with a bit of olive oil.

I placed the surprisingly huge asparagus on a soaked cedar plank and sprinkled with olive oil salt and pepper.

Meanwhile MBH made the oscar style sauce using Bearnaise mix, a Pound of crab meat, and some onions and garlic.


I preheated the egg to 400º and put the asparagus on for 20 minutes to get them started.  After the initial 20 minutes I added the raised grid and place the fish on top for an additional 20 minutes until it flaked apart when I pulled it with a fork.

The fish was perfect.  The mahi was suspiciously fishy smelling but tasted fine.  The sauce added great flavor to the whole meal (I put it on everything on my plate it was so good). It was a great Valentine's meal.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Venison Backstrap Medallions

A few months back I received a very nice gift from a friend.  He had recently killed a deer and had the meat butchered.  He gave me some spicy deer sausage, a roast, and the backstrap.  I froze all of them with intentions of egging each at some point.  I was most excited about the backstrap as it is the filet mignon of the deer.  I knew MBH and I would have no chance conquering this thing on our own so we had a few friends over to enjoy it with us.  Not surprisingly, the guys dove right in and loved it while all of the girls had their reservations.

I cut the venison backstrap into 2" thick medallions size pieces and placed them in a container with Italian dressing to marinade overnight in the fridge.  About an hour before I was ready to cook them, I pulled them out of the fridge and wrapped them in thin cut bacon using toothpicks to secure it.  I let the medallions rest for a while to come up to around room temperature before taking them to the BGE.
Italian dressing bath.
Bacon-wrapped and resting.

I had just cooked some cheesy bread at high temps so I closed the vents and allowed the egg to return to about 400º.  I put the medallions on direct for about 10 minutes per side until the internal temperature had reached 130º.  I pulled them off and gave them a couple minutes to rest before serving.

These were very good.  Venison is a typically dry meat that is very difficult to cook correctly.  Cooking them to 130º internal left them moist and tender.  I was very surprised with how they came out.  If I ever get my hands on more venison backstrap I will be sure to try this again.

Look at those grill marks!

I egged a lot of food this same night including the cheesy bread concoction shown below.  I rested and stretched the dough brushing on some melted butter.  I added Italian and cheddar cheeses as well as some dried basil and garlic salt. I cooked it as I normally cook pizzas and it went quickly.  It was a very simple and tasty appetizer.

You can never have enough cheese. 
Forgot to take an after pic in all the fun and excitement.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tiger Butt

A few weeks ago us Tech fans got our wish and we finally had a game kickoff later than 12:30pm against the Clemson Tigers coming in at #5 in the country.  For this momentous occasion I decided to cook a pork butt for the 12 hour tailgate (8am-8pm game time).  I had recently purchased a two-pack-o-butts from Sam's and froze it.  I pulled it out a few days in advance to defrost. I planned to cook the butt overnight on Friday and finish it in a cooler on the way to the tailgate Saturday morning.

I rubbed the butt generously with DP Swamp Venom (I was looking for a bit of bite with the bark of this butt) and wrapped it tightly and placed it back in the fridge overnight until it was time to cook.

After a rub-n-sit, this bad boy is ready for some heat.

I set the egg up for indirect and preheated it to 225º until it was stable.  I added hickory wood chucks and Jack Daniels barrel chips for smoke.  I monitored the grate temperature and butt temperature using my remote thermometer.  I let the butt cook through the evening with plans of taking it off at about 5am to wrap it and finish it by 8am.  However, I awoke at 2:30am to the alarm on my remote thermometer showing that the grill temp had dropped below 175º.  I went outside and noticed the outside temp had dropped into the 30s and opened the vents to heat the grill up and went back to sleep until 5am.  I again awoke and notice the grill was still hovering around 180º with an internal temp around 145º and decided that desperate times called for desperate measures and if this thing was to get done before noon I needed to finish it in the oven.  I preheated the oven to 300 and gave the egg one last chance to heat up. I left the lid open for a few minutes to try and get the coals going but to no avail.  I wrapped the butt in foil and finished it in the over for about 3.5 hours until the internal temp reached 195º.

Just getting going.

Chuggin away.

Despite my troubles the butt was very good.  It lasted all of 10 minutes and I wished I would have made the second one.  I came up with several excuses for why the egg would not increase in temperature and plan to avoid these in the future.  The sudden decrease in outside temperature probably initially reduced the egg temp and since only a few coals were lit at a low temp it would take forever for the other coals to catch.  In the future I will start a little higher in temp for overnight cooks during witch the outside temperature is expected to drop.  I also was using the end of a bag of Royal Oak Charcoal that had gotten damp. I thought I could power through with this but with 3 more bags in the shed I should have just opened a new bag.  I am planning a butt cook for the Titans/Falcons game this Sunday and will have a shot at redemption. Stay tuned.

The tailgate spread with the butt in the foreground getting devoured.
I need to get better about taking pictures of the pork after it has been pulled.

Storming the field after Tech won later that night.

Monday, October 24, 2011

More Pizza

The other night, MBH said the magic words that are music to my ears "Can you cook tonight?"  Of course the answer to this question is always yes and then she said the second greatest words I had heard all day. "I'm craving pizza."  I love making pizza and actually just got a new rolling pin especially for pizza cooking.  I have been trying to get my pizzas thinner recently so I was excited for my first rolling experience.  I got a dough ball and some other ingredients from Publix and headed home to prep.

A problem I have had in the past with Publix's dough is getting it to stretch thin without bouncing back to a thicker, ball-shape (this could just be because I am using cheap dough from Publix but I have been too lazy to make my own recently).  One possible solution I have read is letting the dough get to room temperature before stretching.  As soon as I got home from Publix I cut the dough in half and left it out to rise and warm.  However, I was only able to wait an hour and a half before I was too hungry to wait any longer and the dough was still cool.  My room temperature experiment will have to wait til next time.  I stretched the dough as well as I could, rolled it out, and added the toppings.  On one I spread wing sauce, cheddar cheese, and cubed chicken.  On the other was store-bought pizza sauce, mozzarella, oregano, and basil.

These were the best looking pies I have stretched but I know I can do better.
Lookin good.

I used my standard pizza setup and got the egg up to 600º.  I threw one pizza on at a time for about 12 minutes each.  I started the za's on parchment paper and moved them directly to pizza stone to crisp the crust.  I kept an eye on the pizzas through the top of the egg.

Keeping an eye on the buffalo chicken pizza.

The pizzas were good as normal but these had their issues.  In the process of rolling these pizzas out, I used all purpose flour to avoid sticking.  However when I went to cook these they did not brown as expected due to the flour on the crust.  Also the crust had a flour taste when eating.  I also got a bit excited and did not let the crust get as crisp as I usually do.  My timing was consistent with past cooks but I think the extra flour contributed to this issue. Besides for this, the pizza was good, not my best, but good. 

I drizzled some ranch on the buffalo pizza. mmmmmmmm
Not the best crust.
I am going to have to up my game for the next pizza cook.

Bonus picture of where I spent the weekend, be jealous.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fish Tacos

I have an odd obsession with fish tacos.  I am always intrigued about how such a simple concept could lead to such a tasty meal.  I had never made my own fish tacos and came up with a very simple recipe I wanted to try out.  My goal setting out was to make my tacos as simple as possible.  I picked up some huge talapia fillets (each was a half pound) and set off to make some magic.

I used a purchased blackening season to liberally cover both sides of the fillets.  MBH prepped some Asian slaw and I made a chipotle mayo by combining peppercorn olive oil based mayo with some chipotle garlic hot sauce and set it all off to the side.

My plan was to cook the fish on the pan to avoid losing any part of the fillets in the grill.

I set the egg up for direct cooking at 400º with the grill extender to raise the cooking level away from the lump and threw on a halved onion and red pepper lightly sprayed with olive oil.  I let them cook for about 20 minutes before adding the fish to the mix.

I love grilled onions and peppers.

I let the fish get in on the action too.
I let the fish cook 7 minutes before flipping it and doing the same for the other side.  I left the onion and pepper on during this time as well. After the fish was done, I warmed up some tortillas on the egg.

The tacos consisted of the blackened fish, Asian slaw, grilled onions and peppers, and a little of the chiptole mayo.  The tacos were very good.  They we quite spicy which is preffered by MBH and me.  The cook was very quick and simple.  The tacos were excellent.  The thing I liked most about this cook were the endless possibilities for toppings with the fish tacos.  I will have to come up with something creative for the next attempt.  All in all a very good weeknight meal.

The finished fish had quite the kick and melted in your mouth.
I love me some tacos!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunday Funday

Had a few friends that happened to be in town last weekend and wanted to do a little eggin' for the Falcons away game.  Sadly the Falcons lost but we did not.  I planned on making some wings and sausage and a friend brought some fresh corn to throw on the grill as a side.  I got a pack of wings and drumsticks from Publix and set off to watch some football.

I covered the drumsticks and wings in DP Swamp Venom and set them up using 2 wing racks. 

I placed the wing racks on the grate for direct cooking at 350º.  I let them cook for about an hour before brushing on some Louisiana Wing Sauce.  I let them cook for another 10 minutes before pulling them off and serving.

After pulling the wings off I threw on the shucked corn, chicken breasts, and kielbasa sausage.  The sausage took about 15 minutes until it was done and the corn took about 30 minutes. I cooked the chicken until it reached 160º internal which took about 40 minutes.

I have only done wings a couple times but these were the best I have made.  They had the perfect amount of heat and nice crisp skin.  I will definitely do wings like this in the future.  Everything else was delicious but the wings were the star of the show in my opinion.

One little guy got a little more done than the others per MBH's request.

The corn was  fresh and tasty.

The chicken was reserved mostly for lunches and the chicken
tortilla soup we planned on making later. (more on that to come)