Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jucy Lucy

The Jucy Lucy, or Juicy Lucy, originated in Minneapolis. In it's pristine form, it's two hamburger patties with cheese stuffed inside. When cooked the cheese is molten and oozes out when you bite in. Variants use other ingredients, such as jalapenos or onions, instead of or with the cheese. So the The Jucy Lucy is a stuffed hamburger.

Left: Ready for the top patty. Right: Ready for the grill.
Today we decided to make our own Jucy Lucies (Lucys? Lucy's? Whatever). We started off with ground beef and added Worcestershire sauce, Cajun seasoning, and onion powder to make the patties.  Then we stacked some New York extra sharp cheese on the bottom patty and sealed the deal with another one on top.

After cooking on the grill with some pecan chips smoking for added flavor we built the hamburgers on toasted buns smeared with spicy brown mustard. I prefer onion rolls and put the lettuce, onion, and tomato on the bottom. A healthy squirt of ketchup on top added the finishing touch.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Grilled Lobster Tail Po' Boy

So I had a couple of lobster tails laying around this weekend and wondered what to do with them. Obviously the grill would be in play, but I've grilled lobster tails before. I wanted to mix it up a bit.

So I looked around the spice cabinet and saw some Cajun spice shake begging to be used (really, it called to me). So, Cajun seasoning, shellfish... Po' Boy!

The po' boy is New Orleans' unique take on the hoagie. According to Wikipedia, it's usually made with roast beef or fried seafood. The seafood variant typically has a remoulade sauce. Well, I wasn't planning on cranking up the fryer this weekend, so I opted to grill the lobster tails. Tradition be damned.

I made a tangy remoulade (except I used roasted garlic instead of raw) and mixed some more of the roasted garlic with melted butter to baste the lobster tails. I recommend using Zatarain's Creole Mustard in the remoulade. It has a great spicy flavor and the whole mustard seeds give it great texture.

So I brushed the lobster tails with the melted garlic butter, tossed on some Cajun seasoning, and grilled them for about five minutes per side (until the flesh was opaque). Since I was planning to cut them up for a sandwich I didn't care about keeping the shells intact for plating. Which was a good thing since the shells did not cooperate with me when I was getting the tails ready for the grill.

While the tails were cooking I tossed half an lemon on the grill to cook also. A little canola oil helps the lemon get those nice grill marks. Cooking a lemon this way really releases the juice and adds a little smokiness. Grill your lemons whenever you can.

Finally the lobster was done, the lemon was just charred enough, and the remoulade had rested long enough in the fridge. Time to assemble the po' boy. I used an Italian style roll (I know, not traditional). I spread a healthy portion of the remoulade on both halves, added shredded lettuce and red cabbage, then piled on the lobster. I finished the po' boy with a couple of tomato slices and a quick squeeze from the grilled lemon.

End result? A great sandwich you'd be proud to serve your guests. But you'd prefer to keep it all for yourself.

What's that? Lobster's too expensive? Use grilled shrimp instead. It's great both ways.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garbage Pizza

Garbage Pizza fresh from the oven.
So I was trying to think of something to do with the really thick cut bacon I got on Father's Day. Then it hit me: Garbage pizza!

Garbage pizza is everything but the kitchen sink. Basically you throw anything and everything you want on the pizza, cover it in cheese, then bake it.

For this, I used a store bought boboli crust as the base. I covered it with a thick layer of tomato sauce with sausage, onion, and peppers. Then a layer of thick cut pepperoni, sliced smoked ham, and then the bacon.
Now that's some thick bacon!

The bacon was almost a quarter inch thick and each slice was over twelve inches long. I sliced three strips of bacon into chunks then cooked them until they were almost crispy.

I may have tasted a few pieces along the way. Quality control.

After these went on the pizza I added the veggies: Sliced onions, green bell peppers, and mushrooms.

Finally, a heapin' helpin' of shredded mozzarella topped it off.

After thirteen minutes in the oven at 450° the garbage pizza was ready. The first slice was excellent.
Ready to eat.
Waiting for the cheese.

And before you say it, yes I know this wasn't cooked on a grill or a smoker. I promise the next time I make pizza I'll use the grill.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day 2012

My people know what to get me for Father's Day.

That's an Oregon Scientific Remote Meat Thermometer on the left and really thick cut bacon from the Eastern Market butcher in Washington, DC on the right.

Actually I got the remote thermometer a week early so I could use it with the incredibly good brisket I made that weekend. I used it again this weekend when I made pulled pork to die for (more on that later). The only complaint I have about the thermometer is one that the Amazon reviewers have made: You have to reset both the transmitter and receiver every time you turn them on to get them to link up. And the instructions aren't clear on that. Other than that, works great.

Now, the bacon. I am thinking about what I can do with it. I have many recipes that call for thick cut bacon so this will be a challenge. But you know it will be good. And I'm open to suggestions.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Brisket! In the Smoker!

Go to Texas and ask for BBQ, you'll get brisket. This chest muscle from the cow is cooked low and slow for hours. Done right it practically melts in your mouth. This is my version.

I started with a seven pound flat cut. I cut off a small piece to cook separately so it could go in the baked beans later. Along with bacon. But that's another post.

The morning after.
The night before, I trimmed most of the fat off and applied my rub. This was based on Amazing Ribs' Big Bad Beef Rub, but I add freshly toasted and ground coriander. And maybe one or two other things. Then several injections of low sodium beef stock and the brisket was ready to be wrapped and refrigerated for the night. I also put some hickory, mesquite, and pecan wood chunks in water to soak for the next day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Restaurant Review: TC's Bar-B-Que

Awhile back I wrote about my favorite BBQ restaurant, Cotten's in Jacksonville, FL. At the time I noted that the owners had changed and some of the long-time staff (Ms. Lucille!) had moved on to their own place. I finally got a chance to visit TC's Bar-B-Que a week or so ago. It was worth the wait.

I like hole-in-the wall BBQ joints, and TC's fits the bill perfectly. It's basically a long counter with four tables in front. Ragged cafeteria chairs provide the only seating. At the time, the unisex restroom was out of order, but they opened it when one of my lunchmates asked.

But the real test is how does the food taste? Ms. Lucille has the recipe for Cotten's classic mustard-based sauce and it's just as good here as there. The ribs I had on the rib sandwich plate were St. Louis cut, but I'm told they have full size spareribs also. I can say the the rib plate was exactly what I was expecting: Three juicy ribs between two slices of white bread, with a salad and fries on the side. The salad had their homemade dressing and it was excellent.

While we were eating several people came in to pick up take out. And TC's is the place all the city officials and police left Cotten's to eat lunch at. You can't get much higher recommendations than that.

Ms. Lucille doesn't run the day to day business anymore but her presence is felt. TC's is definitely the place to go for BBQ in Jacksonville.

I may have a new favorite BBQ joint.

TC's Bar-B-Que
1269 Edgewood Ave W
Jacksonville, FL 32208
(904) 765-9945

TC's on Yelp. TC's on Google+.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Saltines

A while back I mentioned Larry Gaian's (of the BBQ Grail) experiment in wrapping bacon around saltine crackers. This is what happened when I did it.

Prep is easy. Wrap each cracker with half a strip of bacon. I used center cut but you can use whatever kind you like. The bacon won't go completely around the cracker so just be sure the ends are tucked in underneath. They'll stay in place when everything's cooked.

Then I sprinkled some of my favorite pork rub on top. I use Meathead's Memphis Dust Rub recipe. Here's a handy tip. I usually have a problem with brown sugar clumping when I try to mix the spices together. I put it all in a blender and give it a few pulses. This mixes it well and you end up with a finer rub. The better to get into the meat, I say. If you use coarse salt (kosher or sea salt -- and you should) just add it after you blend the other spices.

Then the crackers went on the hot grill, set up for indirect cooking. Larry Gaian cooked his for about 20 minutes. I kept an eye on mine and after about 12 minutes they were starting to get done. So I put some Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce on them and let them go for a few more minutes. After a total cook time of 15 minutes the bacon wrapped saltines were done.

How did they turn out? Just look at the pictures. These make great appetizers and don't take much effort to make.

Do try this at home.