Chapter 11 - Specialty Section

Chapter 11 - Specialty Section, Pizza, Desserts and more

Grilling Good Eats

By Mike Thayer

Leftover Brisket
Leftover brisket served on a potato cake, cheese sauce, BBQ sauce, a dollop of sour cream, green onion...

Grilling isn't just about meat for lunch or dinner anymore.  You can cook anything on a grill.  There's so much you can do over the fire and for any meal, heck, even a snack!  We're talking pizza, breakfast dishes, grilled fruits, desserts, you name it.  If you can cook it on a stove top or an oven, you can do it on a grill.

And now to the recipes.....

 

Mike's Sloppy Joe Wraps

I love to do these in a couple cast iron skillets on the grill, cooking with the grill lid on over indirect heat gives the meat mixture a nice little hint of smoky flavor, much better than stove top!   And here's a serving option, when you are plating these on the lightly grilled tortillas, top them with a little shredded cheddar cheese.  And if you like American cheese on your Sloppy Joe, after you flip the tortilla, that's when you put on a slice of American, let it melt a bit before pulling the tortillas off the grill.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • A few shakes of Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Brown the meat in a large pan over medium heat. Drain off the fat. In a separate pan, saute the green peppers and onions in olive oil. When the veggies start to caramelize a bit, add the garlic and saute for another minute.  Combine the sauteed veggies with the meat mixture, then add 1/2 cup chicken stock, ketchup and remaining ingredients. Mix well, then cover and let all those flavors marry, simmering over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Serve with lightly grilled tortillas.

Download Mike's Sloppy Joe Wraps

 

Rice on the grillYes, You Can Cook Rice on a Grill

Rice can be truly exceptional on the grill, all you need is a cast iron skillet.

Put your cast iron skillet (one with a lid) over direct flame to heat it up.  No need for the lid yet.  Melt two tabs of butter in the skillet, add one cup rice, one tablespoon minced onion, one tablespoon garlic powder, stir just enough to mix and let it saute for a minute.  Add two cups chicken stock, a pinch of salt (IF your chicken stock is low sodium, otherwise, not salt needed). Bring to a boil,  then move to indirect heat, cover and smell those great aromas for 20 minutes.  Take off the grill and serve immediately.  If you did your coals right, you'll get a really nice, crispy, golden brown rice edge on the sides of the skillet.

 

Grilled Pizza

If you are a big time pizza fan like me, then you will truly appreciate how a grill brings additional flavor to an already fantastic dish.  I dare you to compare what you can do on a grill, to a wood fired brick oven pizza.  The key to doing pizza on a grill, is not unlike stir fry, you need to have all your ingredients lined up and ready to go, 'grillside'.   Get your dough, olive oil, all your toppings and grill tools at the ready.  I like to use pre-made dough bought from a pizza place, yes, most joints will sell you pizza dough balls.   Store bought stuff is fine too and of course, making your own is an option if you have a good pizza dough recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza dough, personal pan sized, thin crust, as many or as few as you like
  • Olive oil for brushing the dough
  • Pizza sauce, home made is great, but jar/canned sauce is fine too
  • Your favorite meat (pre-cooked) and/or veggie toppings
  • Cheese, lots of cheese....

Tools:

  • A brush
  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Cookie sheets, to use in sauce/topping prep

Directions:

Remember, the key here is to have everything at the ready to craft your pizzas and space to prep them, you can't walk away from the grill to go get something from the kitchen.  In your grill set up, you want to have a hot spot and an indirect heat spot and make sure to oil the cooking grate.  Brush olive oil on both sides of your dough - shaped into personal pizza pan sized crusts - place them over direct heat.  It's only going to take about a minute or two to give you those great grill marks and pick up some of that great charcoal flavor, so don't walk away!  Peek at the underside with tongs and flip with a spatula after that first minute or two, or until good grill marks are achieved.  Get some good grill marks on the second side and remove from the grill and place on the cookie sheets.  Put on the sauce, your favorite pizza toppings, a load of cheese and return those crusts to the cooking grate, on the indirect heat part of the grill.   Put the lid on, just long enough to melt that cheese until it's golden brown and delicious and that crust picks up some more of that great charcoal flavor, about 5-7 minutes.  Enjoy!

 

Cast Iron Chili

The definition of chili is pretty broad, that's what makes it so great and one of my top, cold weather, go-to, comfort food meals.  It's easy to prepare and quite versatile.   Fix a small batch for two, or fix a boatload for a crowd.  It's easy!

You can make it hot and spicy, you can make it not-so-much spicy.  You can make it with beans, without beans, one kind of bean or three beans.  You can make a batch of chili with just about any cut of beef.  Make it with ground beef, or cubed sirloin, heck rough chop those two leftover rib-eye steaks in the fridge and put them in the pot.....  My latest venture has been making chili with smoked brisket - YUM!   And don't restrict yourself.  Beef-based chili is great, but so is chicken chili, pork chili and any combination of those.  I haven't tried lamb yet, but it is on the agenda.  You can serve chili over rice (my favorite way to enjoy chili, served over a bed of white sticky rice), have it Cincinnati style over a bed of spaghetti, or dish it up classic style in a bowl topped with saltine crackers.  Have it with crusty bread, corn bread (with honey), top it with diced red onion, or chopped green onion, or shredded cheddar cheese, or sour cream or "Loaded" (Fritos, onion/shredded cheddar/sour cream).  I don't know anyone who doesn't like chili.  Everybody likes at least some kind of chili.

Then there's all the leftover classics....  Chili dogs, chili burritos, chili-mac, chili nachos, chicken chili enchiladas.  Use your imagination, chili salad, chili shepherd's pie, chili tacos and yes, even chili pizza.  That's how versatile and crowd pleasing chili is!  It's easy to prepare, easy to make leftovers with, and most definitely, EASY TO EAT!  If I was a betting man, I would argue that you can do more with leftover chili than you can a Thanksgiving dinner.

Here's my standard chili recipe, not too spicy, but not too bland either.  It's kid AND adult friendly!

Ingredients

  • Two pounds of ground beef (I like to go lean ground beef here, using a 90/10.  There's a lot less fat to drain off and you don't have to worry about the meat drying out - we're making chili after all. 
  • One large onion, diced
  • Three stalks of celery, chopped
  • Three - four cloves of garlic, minced
  • Two tablespoons chili powder
  • Two teaspoons cumin
  • One teaspoon dried oregano
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
  • One Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • Two cans of diced tomato, undrained
  • One 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • Three cans of beans, undrained (I like to use one each of red kidney, chili beans in sauce, and black beans - three beans = more flavor.  Pintos are good too.  Use any three you like.)
  • One cup beef stock
  • One Tablespoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • The juice from half a lime
  • And here's the secret ingredient - never make a batch of chili without it - one small can of diced green chilies.  Kids won't even know it's in there.

Directions

In a cast iron Dutch Oven, brown the ground beef over direct heat, drain and set the meat aside.  Saute the onion, celery and chili powder in the dutch oven until the onion starts to appear translucent.  Add the drained ground beef, garlic, cumin, green chilies, beef stock and tomato paste and let that mixture simmer  for about 10 minutes, keep an eye on the pot, you may need to slide it a bit more towards the indirect heat side of the grill.  This is going to give you a nice, deep base flavor.  Add in the remaining ingredients, stir to incorporate and let that come up to a slow rolling boil, then if you haven't moved the pot over to the indirect heat side of the grill already, do so now.  Keep the lid off to tease people in the neighborhood with that great aroma for about 20 minutes, or until you reach desired thickness.  Option:  Serve the chili with another squeeze of lime from the remaining half.

THE tip for a truly great chili:  Chili is ALWAYS better the next day.  Sure, chili is really good the day you make it, but letting all those flavors marry over the next 24 hours makes it even more delicious!  Once you get your chili to your desired thickness, refrigerate it.   Reheat it the next day on the stove and serve with any of the suggested styles mentioned above.

Enjoy!

Serves six, with plenty leftover.  I like to add a little extra Louisiana hot sauce along with the lime juice to my bowl...... 

 

Cast Iron Brisket Chili

Brisket ChiliThis is pretty much the same as my standard chili recipe, but using leftover brisket instead of the ground beef and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the tomato paste.  Burnt ends are GREAT for this!  Brisket brings a whole different flavor to a chili.   It's another dose of YUM!

Ingredients

  • Two pounds of leftover bbq brisket, chopped into one inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • One large onion, diced
  • Three stalks of celery, chopped
  • Three - four cloves of garlic, minced
  • Two tablespoons chili powder
  • Two teaspoons cumin
  • One teaspoon dried oregano
  • One teaspoon salt
  • One teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cardamom
  • One Tablespoon light brown sugar
  • Two cans of diced tomato, undrained
  • 1/2 can (12 ounce) of chipotle peppers (diced) and adobo sauce
  • Three cans of beans, undrained (I like to use one each of red kidney, chili beans in sauce, and black beans - three beans = more flavor.  Pintos are good too.  Use any three you like.)
  • One cup beef stock
  • One Tablespoon Louisiana Hot Sauce
  • The juice from half a lime
  • And here's the secret ingredient - never make a batch of chili without it - one small can of diced green chilies.  Kids won't even know it's in there.

Directions

In a cast iron Dutch Oven, heat up the olive oil and saute the onion, celery and chili powder until the onion starts to appear translucent.  Add the cubed brisket, garlic, cumin, green chilies, beef stock and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and let that mixture simmer  for about 10 minutes, keep an eye on the pot, you may need to slide it a bit more towards the indirect heat side of the grill.  This is going to give you a nice, deep smoky flavor with that adobo sauce and rub from the brisket getting all married in the pot.  Add in the remaining ingredients, stir to incorporate and let that come up to a slow rolling boil, then if you haven't moved the pot over to the indirect heat side of the grill already, do so now.  Keep the lid off to tease people in the neighborhood with that great aroma for about 20 minutes, or until you reach desired thickness.  Option:  Serve the chili with another squeeze of lime from the remaining half.

 

Drunken Pineapple

Fresh, grilled pineapple is a great way top off the evening meal.  It's appealing to the eyes with those great grill marks on the fruit and more importantly, it's appealing to the taste buds.  

Ingredients

  • One fresh pineapple
  • 6 - 8 ounces of your favorite whiskey
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Peel and slice the pineapple, then core the slices.  Place the slices into a large Ziplock bag.  In a medium size bowl, mix the whiskey, sugar and cinnamon.  Pour the marinade over the pineapple slices and refrigerate for about two hours.  Grill over direct heat, about 2 - 3 minutes per side, or until those great grill marks are achieved, flip just one time.  These pineapple slices are great served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

 

Fresh Fruit Cobbler

This is a great dessert for the grill, it's SUPER easy to make, you can use just about any kind of fresh fruit and it can be getting all hot, bubbly and delicious while you're eating the main course.  

Ingredients

  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced (or 4 peaches, or 3 cups of berries, you get the idea)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions

Put apple slices in the bottom of a cast iron skillet.  Mix flour, sugar, cinnamon and egg until it looks like coarse cornmeal.  Sprinkle topping over the fruit.  Pour melted butter over the entire dish.  Grill over indirect heat for about 30 minutes.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

 

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