There’s never been a better time to eat together at home. Here at Griller’s Gold, we want to share ways to make great dishes — mains and sides — with a few ingredients you have in your pantry. Stay-at-home dinner never tasted so good.
First, look in the pantry
What have you got there? If you’re like so many of us, you’ll see:
Canned or dry beans
Spices like cumin and hot pepper.
It all adds up to something fantastic:
Recipe: Chili on the grill!
That’s a genius main dish*. And you can basically never have too much of it. For the dedicated griller in you, the great Steve Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible, says it all: “The secret to the world’s BEST chili lies in your backyard. Start with barbecued brisket and pork, not raw meat. Add plenty of beer and a little chocolate. And above all, cook it in a smoker.” Here’s Steve’s Smokehouse Chili recipe in all its glory.
*Yes, Steve and pretty much everyone else who loves chili will acknowledge that maybe your part of the country thinks either tomatoes or beans just don’t belong. Nonetheless, this is your opportunity to make chili with what you’ve got. And you can swap out any smoke-worthy meat for the cuts Steve recommends. Once you’ve smoked the meat, it’s time to fire up the chili pot. This chili can make down time fun.
When it’s time to serve, you can choose to go traditional with the sides and do a cornbread and salad. You mix things up a little by cooking some pasta and making a chili mac. Work with what you already have in your kitchen to keep it easy.
Recipe: Quick BBQ sauce
If you’ve got bone-in chicken pieces plus some tomato sauce and brown sugar from the pantry, that’s pretty much all it takes for this 5-ingredient BBQ chicken recipe. Just mix the sauce and grill. And in the spirit of inspiring your creativity and problem solving, you could dig in the freezer and see if there’s another protein on which you could splash your home-brewed BBQ sauce.
Recipe: Spanish rice is nice
Look in the pantry again, and you’re almost sure to find white rice and chicken stock in addition to those canned tomatoes. Combine with onion and garlic, and you’ll have the makings of a savory Spanish rice recipe that’s the perfect side dish for grilled meats.
So whether you do a project of grilled chili empowered by your pantry, or keep it simple with a homemade BBQ sauce or simple Spanish rice side, you’re grilling like a champion. And we applaud all of you who BBQ with attitude.
Right now, it seems right to talk about enjoying meals together at home. For this blog, it means that we want to share ways to make great grilled meals with a few ingredients you have on hand. Grilling is something we almost always do at our own home — and nowadays, grilled goodies are more of a comfort food than ever.
Count on a minimal number of ingredients
You can look online for all sorts of 5-ingredient recipes. You can even search with a list of what you’ve actually got: like “recipe with beef tomatoes onions bell peppers.” Most recipe writers and cookbooks will say that the ingredient limit doesn’t include things like herbs and spices, salt, pepper, flour, oil, vinegar, mustard, ketchup, water — the bare essentials.
For grillers, that “doesn’t count” list might make you think of something: marinade! Want a refresher on marinating for the grill? This is one of our favorite past posts, including guidelines for making your own marinade from scratch. You’ll read about rubs, too, and they’re just as versatile and easy to get going without a trip to the grocery.
Now, what you’re marinating (or rubbing) matters. But the technique works for so many different meats. Which is perfect if the selection was limited when you went to the store, or if you have only a few choices in the fridge or freezer.
Minimalist main dish on the grill
The National BBQ Association recently shared this one-minute “poor man’s brisket” recipe video that captures the idea: a protein, some seasonings, rub technique, and you’re ready for BBQ with attitude. What’s great about this approach — the method applies to all sorts of proteins you might have in your freezer.
Minimalism on the side
For a hearty yet, simple side for meat (or meatless main dish if you like), these grilled cauliflower steaks define a minimalist recipe. Basically, there’s one ingredient plus good old marinade. The recipe’s instructions call for drizzling and sprinkling tasty marinade made of olive oil, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. If you’re new to cauliflower steaks, review the instructions for cutting the cauliflower heads so the slices stand up to cooking.
Get wood pellet flavor at the game even if you’re using a portable grill. Moments like this were made for smoker tubes. They’re easy, they’re budget-friendly, and they bring the taste of smoke where it needs to go.
Pork chops cook up on the spot at the tailgate. Hall of Famer coach Mike Ditka’s ‘Official Tailgater’s Grilled Pork Chop’ recipe requires a little bit of planning – 24 hours of marinating in orange juice, soy sauce and assorted spices. But once you get to the stadium, it’s salt, pepper, and onto the grill. While the recipe doesn’t ask for wood fuel, pork chops always get even better with some smoke flavor. Guaranteed.
A simple but colorful grilled vegetable platter makes for savory snacking and a side dish for grilled meats. Take your pick of the harvest and marinate on the way to the game with balsamic vinegar, oregano, honey and more, then grill and drizzle the marinade over when you serve.
with charred corn
Bobby Flay definitely takes game-day dip to the next level with this chunky, colorful and tasty charred corn guacamole recipe. Grill the corn and mash it up with the avocado and lime juice and serve it up. It’s a winner.
This chili barbecued chicken recipe suggests wood in the grilling fuel. The on-the-bone bird is brushed during cooking with a clear spicy-sour sauce combining cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and three kinds of pepper – chili powder, paprika and red pepper flakes.
Pass the plate and get grilling with attitude this football
season. Go, team!
On a sunny July afternoon, Jennifer Luckhart talked to Griller’s Gold about her family’s award-winning BBQ team, Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co., and the business that’s sprung from it. (Bradney Luckhart cheerily answered the call but handed the phone to his wife so he could climb down into the pit to fix a smoker problem.)
Jennifer says, “We have been cooking on a competition level
about 10 years. Most teams consist of a group of guys who are friends. We are one
of a few husband-and-wife teams.” Today, the Luckharts cook with their two
daughters, who are aged 10 and 11. “Since they were old enough – 4 or 5 –
they’ve been watching, then helping as they got older. We just dragged them
around with us everywhere!” The Luckhart girls cook competitively with the
family team, and also on their own at the kids’ level. “It’s a lot of family
time together, giving the kids something constructive to do. “
The people on the competition scene matter. “We have found
that the BBQ world
is very friendly. A majority of people are really nice and helpful. As a team
that’s been around for a bit, we pass (knowledge) on to new teams. We all know
it’s an art and it’s nice to talk to someone who understands.”
Nuthatch Hill has opted for a more local competition circuit
in recent years. “We used to travel all over Illinois and surrounding states –
Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Kentucky. Now we do favorite
competitions to keep accolades coming in and see our friends that we’ve made
along the way. Competitions become a little vacation now,” says Jennifer.
Practice, practice, practice
Even when they’re barbecuing for fun, the Luckharts are
thinking about the next competitive event. “At home, we practice for BBQ competition. It’s all down
to timing.” The family uses a checklist to manage four meats – just like in
competition – each of which requires different timing and attention on the smoker.
Jennifer says, “We’re always looking for new flavor profiles and different ways
of turning the meat in. We don’t want to get stale; we tweak a little and add
something new.” Who eats all this bounty? “We like to practice on Sunday and a lot of
visitors stop by to hang out. We live out in the country on a dead-end road, so
they have to have a purpose to come down here. It’s the famous ‘oh I just
popped by!’ ‘Oh you have some chicken for me to try!’“ On a typical Sunday, 10
to 15 friends drop in on the Luckharts. They’re always made welcome.
What they look for in wood pellets
Great BBQ is a big picture, and wood pellets are a vital
element in the process. “It’s really an art,” Jennifer says. “Your art changes
with each smoker you use, your type of wood, the piece of meat.”
In the second post of this 2-part series, learn how the Nuthatch Hill family took their competition experience and built a business in sauces, seasonings and catering.
Griller’s Gold is proud to sponsor the Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co. team.
In the first post of this 2-part series, read more about the Luckharts’ feelings on competing and on enjoying winning BBQ at home. Griller’s Gold is proud to sponsor the Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co. team.
Smoke flavor requires a deft touch. Jennifer Luckhart, of the Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co. team, says, “Balance the meat, what it absorbs, with the wood. Chicken is on for a shorter amount of time since it’s a lighter meat that absorbs faster. Pork has to get a bark built on it” (a crust that results from a combination of caramelization and smoke, not too thin but not too tough and charred, either). “Each meat is different in how it absorbs smoke and how the smoke ring appears.”
In competition, smoke flavor gets judged, as does the look of the smoked meat.
“Smoke rings are very important in competition – judges like the appearance, but not intense smoke flavor that overpowers the meat. You don’t want it to taste like you’re chewing a piece of wood!”
While smoke flavor is unmistakable and irresistible, subtlety counts. ”We kind of became BBQ snobs and didn’t go out to eat for BBQ because we find much of it over-smoked.” (Jennifer notes that excess smoke flavor takes meat to a bitter place.)
Jennifer says that her husband-and-wife team appreciates distinct
flavors from different blends. They like the range of flavors of the Griller’s
Gold Premium BBQ Pellets line, and particularly appreciate the blends of wood types. “Fruitwoods
are mixed and give nice color to the smoke
ring. You don’t have to dedicate your flavoring just one type of wood.”
“Wood pellets make the process easier. We look for a pellet that’s a clean, long-lasting burn,” Jennifer says
Jennifer says, “We’ve had some wins and accolades that helped us open our business. We made our own BBQ sauce and seasonings because we couldn’t find exactly what we wanted. We turned it into a legit business rather than a hobby. We also do catering, and have a food truck, and sell sauces and seasonings at grocery stores.” (The Nuthatch Hill team has a stand at the 2019 Illinois State Fair, running August 8-18.)
As a competitive team, the Luckharts have placed in a number of KCBS-sanctioned competitions. Their product line evolved from their competition experience. “Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co. sauce is our competition sauce. It caramelizes nicely, it’s good for multi-meats, it mixes in well with pulled pork, or on top, it sticks nicely to ribs.“ Just in 2019, Nuthatch Hill products have won recognition in both National BBQ Assoc. (NBBQA) and National BBQ News rankings.
But the biggest win is within the Luckhart family, with two
daughters, aged 10 and 11. Jennifer says, “I’m excited that our girls have
embraced our hobby, and the business side, at a young age. They’ve learned
cooking skills and business skills. They’ve used Nuthatch Hill BBQ Co. in 4H
projects. They’re little entrepreneurs in their own right.”