The tang of Dijon mustard, the sweetness of brown sugar, the smokiness of bacon, juicy-tender pork and of course, the kiss of a bourbon glaze.... It's another dose of YUM! And yes, you guessed it, the Triple 'B', is Brown sugar, Bacon and Bourbon.... What's NOT to like, right? This is a crowd pleaser and you'll come off like a real grill master.
Ingredients for the pork loin:
Ingredients for the bourbon glaze:
Directions: Butterfly the pork loin by cutting it almost in half lengthwise through one side, stopping about one inch short of cutting completely through. Open up the roast like a book. Sprinkle the inside of the loin with one tablespoon of the bourbon, perhaps take a shot yourself and let that soak in for about five minutes. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the Cookies Flavor Enhancer or your favorite rub over the inside of the loin.
Using a spatula, spread on the Dijon mustard, then sprinkle on the brown sugar. Sprinkle the remaining bourbon over the brown sugar. Fold the loin back together and sprinkle the remaining rub on the outside of that beautiful pork, set aside on the work surface. Cut four 12-inch pieces of butcher's twine and position the strings roughly two inches apart and parallel to each other, just wide enough to accommodate the thick cut bacon. Place the bacon across the strings, perpendicular to and in the center of them. Set the roast on top of the bacon so the bacon is on the opposite side of the fat cap. Tie the strings together holding the bacon to the loin, hit the bacon with the fresh ground black pepper. Grill the Triple 'B' over indirect heat for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, or until an instant read thermometer reads 160 degrees. While the pork is starting to get happy on the grill, make the glaze by combing all those ingredients in a saucepan until it comes to boil, about 4 to 6 minutes, set aside. Start basting the loin after the
30 minute mark and every 15 minutes until done. Pull the pork from the grill and rest it for five minutes, then remove the strings. Slice the roast for serving and drizzle with the remaining glaze and another squeeze of lime juice. Excellent served with a rice pilaf. Enjoy the Triple 'B'!
Grilling Tip #10: How do you know when your steak is done? Give it the finger. No, not the middle one, well, you can use that one if you want….. Poke the steak with your finger. If the meat is soft to the touch and doesn’t bounce back, it’s still pink inside. If it’s got some give but bounces back a bit, it’s medium. If it’s firm when poking, it’s well done.
BBQ, bacon, meatballs and cheese... What's not to like? Onion bombs make for great appetizers and party time conversation pieces. And of course, everything's better with bacon! These things are great for backyard parties, tailgating, or if you're just simply looking for something a little bit different to do on the grill.
In a large bowl, mix all the meatball ingredients together until well combined and refrigerate for at least one hour. You want the flavors of those ingredients to get all happy and that meat cold to form the meatballs. To assemble the bombs, slice off the stem and root ends off the onions, then slice the onions in half creating 'tops' and 'bottoms'. Peel off the outer skin and separate the onion layers to create matched top and bottom pairs. Stuff the mated top and bottom onion halves with a meatball sized to fit. Wrap each 'bomb' with 2-3 slices of bacon and secure with water soaked toothpicks. You don't want the 'bomb' to fall apart on the grill. Grill over indirect heat, rotating every 15 minutes and until the internal temp of the meatball reaches 155 degrees with an instant read thermometer. Brush the bombs with additional BBQ sauce and let that glaze for another five minutes then sprinkle on a little more shredded cheddar and serve. Enjoy!
Meal planning, especially when grilling, is kind of like a game of checkers or chess - you need to be thinking a couple moves ahead.
There's meal planning for the moment - tonight's dinner - and there's meal planning for future meals.
When you're making dinner, think beyond the meal you're about to enjoy and knowing you need to put chicken on before the steak. When I'm talking meal planning, I'm talking about grilling more than you'll need for dinner, grill up multiple meals! Think about lunch the next day, leftovers for the fridge, future meals in the freezer. You're already prepped and ready to grill tonight's dinner, so take advantage of that charcoal heat, think a couple moves ahead. Doing little things like taking a couple pounds of hamburger out and making some patties to grill up along with that chicken or steak for dinner is meal planning for future lunch and dinner. Had a busy Monday and don't feel like fixing a big meal? No problem, cheese burgers it is!
Another way to meal plan is to prep a bunch of meals for the coming week. I love to grill, so on my days off from work, you'll probably find me lighting the charcoal, not for just one meal, but several. I don't just grill a few things, I grill in big batches, why not, the charcoal is hot! I'll grill up chicken done a couple of ways, some pork chops done in different marinades, a few burgers, perhaps some fish.... Some of that will go in the freezer as a base for future meals, some of that will go in the fridge for the upcoming week.
A good way to meal plan and also keep variety in your lunches and dinners is to just alternate your days with different proteins. What do you feel like, beef, chicken, pork or fish? Start off with what hits you first, then alternate, pairing proteins up with a complimentary veggie. Grilled chicken and broccoli, pork chops and asparagus, steak and mushrooms, fish and green beans.... There, boom, four meals!
This isn't for everyone, but I have a white board in my kitchen, for menus and a grocery list. The point here though, is to jot ideas down.
Look in the freezer, peak in the fridge, check out your pantry and see what you have. Start writing it down in meal planning fashion, if you don't do this kind of thing already, you'll see how really easy it starts to flow - it's easier to craft a shopping list this way too! It's thinking a few moves ahead - checkmate!
Here's a great little fajita seasoning you can quickly put together if you find yourself without an off-the-shelfer in your cabinet....
This will be more than enough to season about two pounds of flank steak or whatever cut of meat you've chose to use for your fajitas. Bottle the rest for later use!
And if you haven't already enjoyed my Flank Steak Fajita recipe, here 'ya go!
It's the second recipe on the page. It's another dose of YUM!
My go to off-the-shelf rub and all-purpose seasoning is Cookies Flavor Enhancer. It’s a great all purpose seasoning, does justice on a variety of meats and heck, it’s even good mixed with a little mayonnaise for a bologna sandwich.
The promo on the bottle is no lie, it's great on pork, beef, chicken, seafood, baked potatoes, spaghetti, chili, eggs, wild game and more! It truly is, I've tried it on all the above and why I always have a bottle of the stuff on hand.
It goes beyond that too, shake some on lettuce salad. Combine Cookies with some olive oil for a marinade. Want to give those french fries a bit of a kick?..... Cookies.....
The flavors in this mix are simple but balanced and when I say simple, simple is a very good thing. Sometimes a person can over-complicate flavors by doing/adding too much. Cookies is very nicely done with a combination of salt, pepper , garlic, chili powder, meat tenderizer and red pepper. The mix literally enhances flavors just like the name implies.
Cookies Flavor Enhancer gets five out of five Bachelor on the Cheap stars, it's priced right at just over $3 for an eight ounce bottle and in my opinion is the best all-purpose seasoning out there.
By Mike Thayer
I love hot wings! There's just something about the flavor of Buffalo sauce, it's a great marriage with chicken and coupled with a bit of Ranch or Blue Cheese, makes for a perfect bite. It's another dose of YUM!
My thing is, I hate bones. I'm not a eat meat on the bone guy, I know, that almost sounds sacrilegious. No worries though, I understand and appreciate the value of flavor and the need to cook meat on the bone, but when it comes to eating, I'd rather go boneless.
So rather than give you a recipe for grilled hot wings, which would be great, don't get me wrong, here's my preference for getting some great hot wing flavor without the bones or near the mess.
Mike's Grilled Buffalo Chicken Tacos
Here's the marinade for two large boneless/skinless chicken breasts or four boneless/skinless chicken thighs:
In a medium size bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients. Place your chicken breasts or thighs in a large Ziplock bag, then pour in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least four hours. Option: You can rough chop the chicken, I prefer to marinade it in whole pieces, then shred after grilling. Besides, if you cube or rough chop, then you'll have to put the pieces on sticks or in a basket. When your grill is ready to receive, grill over indirect heat, about 10 - 12 minutes on each side, then move to direct heat over the coals to finish cooking, getting some char on the chicken. This method is called 'Reverse Sear'. Do NOT throw away the remaining marinade! Warm it up in a small pan along with that 1/2 stick of butter and a couple more squeezes of lime juice if you've got it. A few more splashes of Louisiana Hot Sauce may also be in order (go for it!). After you pull the chicken from the grill and let it rest, shred or rough chop and reintroduce to the warmed marinade. Stir a bit to get good coverage and serve on warm tortillas with a little shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese and blue cheese or Ranch dressing. It's another dose of YUM!
Spring is in the air and I'm taking advantage of the nice weather.
The sun is out, there's just a slight breeze and the temperature is forecast to hit the 80 degree mark. Today is a day for grilling. For dinner tonight I'm having an apple/bourbon marinated pork tenderloin and bacon-wrapped asparagus. Can you say, "Tablecloth restaurant quality food?" Why yes, yes you can....
Both the pork tenderloin and the asparagus were on sale at my local grocery store, hence the impromptu menu. I got the pork tenderloin for $7 (normally priced around $10 for about 18 ounces) and the asparagus was on sale for just 97 cents a bunch! Can you say, "Bargain?" Yes, yes you can....
The beauty of the menu is that it doesn't take long to grill things up at all. I seared the pork tenderloin over direct heat on all sides, making quarter turns and rotating every two to three minutes and then moved the tenderloin over to indirect heat to finish cooking for another 15 minutes, until I got an internal temp of 155 degrees. After I pulled the pork to let it rest before slicing, I wrapped up the asparagus in bacon, four sprigs per applewood smoked bacon slice and cooked those up over the coals until the bacon got nice and crispy, maybe 4 minutes tops. After pulling those off the grill, it was time to plate.
Marinated pork tenderloin and bacon-wrapped asparagus is grilled good eats! And this meal, with plenty of leftovers was Bachelor on the Cheap friendly, costing about $10 to put together and having enough for three meals..... What? Marinated pork tenderloin and bacon-wrapped asparagus for $3 a serving? Yes.
When you are doing your regular grocery shopping, always be on the lookout for that bargain item - there's always something to grab up that's not on your list. And if it means scratching something off my list with a budget in mind, I'll gladly do so for pork tenderloin!
So I'm in need of a new grill. But what kind of grill should I buy? Which is better, gas or charcoal?
Any kind of grill is better than no grill. A grill can be a piece of scrap metal and two cinder blocks standing over a small pile of charcoal, or it can be the latest stainless steel propane gas model with infra-red heat for searing and two side burners. Grills vary greatly in size, shape, fuel source, cost and most importantly, the ability to deliver flavor.
That last reason - flavor - is why I’m a charcoal grill enthusiast and my grill shopping on a budget will be done with that in mind. Don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of useful information from this article if you’re a gas griller, but I’m here to tell you, charcoal grills deliver better flavor every time. Don’t get me wrong, gas grills have their place, but along with the great flavor charcoal delivers, charcoal has other advantages like the flexibility of using it to give big steaks that high heat sear, or using it to cook ribs low and slow. Another advantage charcoal grills have over gas is that you can easily add wood to the fire, putting another layer of flavor on that great looking piece of meat. You can add wood to a gas grill, but you’re pretty much restricted to using wood chips and you have to keep those chips away from the gas burners, almost forcing you to buy one of those gas grill accessories - the wood chip box. In my experience, the gas grill and those little wood chip boxes just don’t measure up to the flavors you can add using a charcoal grill setup. Here are some more advantages to the charcoal grill:
You may have noticed, I left out electric grills in that breakdown. That’s because electric grills suck. Don’t buy one. They don’t deliver the heat they promise, you’re restricted to where you can plug it in and like the gas grill, they don’t deliver any flavor. Durability with electric grills is also an issue. I used to have an electric grill, I converted it over to charcoal after the element burned out.
“What about smokers?” you ask. This article focuses on grilling, smoking is a whole different level of backyard-cooking-meat-with-fire-experience.
So now that I’ve covered the advantages and disadvantages of the two main grill types and you now know that charcoal is the way to go, let’s talk about grills available with a budget of $150.00. I've got enough space on my apartment patio to comfortably fit a decent sized grill, something with enough cooking grate space to prepare a delicious grilled meal for 4 - 6 people.
In shopping around, I found the following grills meeting my criteria:
Weber Original Kettle Premium 22" Grill: $149 at Ace Hardware, Cabela's, Home Depot, Walmart. On sale for $134.10 at Lowe's. This grill has a well-deserved reputation of durability, a 363 square inch cooking surface and an enclosed ash catcher that is easily removed for disposal. The Premium model also comes with a hinged cooking grate that allows you to easily replenish charcoal without removing food.
Char-broil Charcoal Barrel Grill: $140.98, Walmart. With 568 square inches of cooking space, this grill features adjustable fire grates and dampers, as well as a removable ash pan. The grates are cast iron, which are great for searing. It also has a swing-a-way warming rack and a handy side shelf.
Kingsford 32" Charcoal Grill: $129.98, Jet.com, Walmart. It's $185.91 on Amazon. This grill has a 495 square-inch primary cooking area, to include a cast iron cooking grid which is adjustable. There is a pull out charcoal pan and you can keep your space organized with two, fold-able side shelves that include a convenient tool hook and a bottle opener.
Royal Gourmet Barrel Grill: $128.03, Home Depot. With a compact design this grill can fit on most patios, balconies and decks. There is an offset smoker box but just 182 square inches of cooking space.
All grills came with multiple online reviews, but Weber comes out on top with better overall and higher scoring reviews. And while I take caution in putting too much stock into online reviews, they do provide a gauge of sorts in prepping for a purchase and a number of negative reviews on a specific product does raise some red flags. There were a few red flags here, with one manufacturer for example shipping their grill without all the required parts to properly assemble. Another manufacturer shipped defective parts. Those kind of red flags are important, because unless you want to pay extra for an assembled unit, you'll be doing it yourself and you'll want to have all parts available and fitting properly.
So what grill did I end up buying?
I went with the Weber Kettle. There is a reason this is the most popular grill in backyards across the country. And it doesn't hurt that celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Steven Raichlen prefer Weber as well. Taken care of properly, this grill is going to last a very long time, it truly is built for years of service. The Weber Kettle is also probably the most versatile of the grills I listed, I can grill, roast, smoke and I can stand up a whole chicken on a can of beer and still get the lid on! Weber has also done a nice job of making the Kettle easy to accessorize with the Gourmet BBQ System. The array of GBS inserts, such as a pizza stone, wok, and griddle, will turn you into a grill master.
Spend Wisely My Friends.....