Easter & Passover Feast on the grill!

Easter & Passover Feast on the grill!

Ahh, spring is springing!

The days are longer. The sun is higher in the sky, the grass is greening up, and the crocus, daffodils, and tulips are starting to pop out of the ground—time for renewal and rebirth. 

Spring also features the twin religious holidays of Easter and Passover. We won’t get into the religious meaning, but it’s a time when families get together to celebrate and EAT! So here are some fun things you can cook outdoors, fueled with Griller’s Gold Premium 100% Hardwood barbecue pellets!

Easter

Easter – every family has its own traditions, but we’re sure they include lots of great eats! Here are some fun ideas for you.

Smoked Deviled Eggs:

What’s traditional with Easter? Coloring Easter Eggs. And doing colored Easter Eggs with the kids means you’re making lots of hard-boiled eggs.  Rather than having to eat egg salad for lunch the next two weeks, this is a great appetizer to use up those eggs for your family’s Easter dinner party after the kids finish hunting for them.

deviled eggs with bacon and chives - grillers gold easter feast blog

Most people we tell about this recipe go “huh?” with a healthy bit of skepticism, but we gotta say, this one is “don’t knock it till ya try it!”

Here we go:

Make in advance:  

  • 1 dozen or more hard-boiled eggs (again, use up those colored eggs!)
  • 4 slices of bacon, cooked, crisp, and crumbled
  1. Preheat your pellet grill using your favorite flavor of Griller’s Gold pellets at 180 degrees to make the smoked deviled eggs.  While the grill preheats, peel your hard-boiled eggs, and when the grill is at temp, put the peeled eggs on the grill and smoke for 30 minutes.
  2. After 30 mins, take the eggs off and cool them in the fridge for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes in the fridge, cut the eggs in half the long way and pop out the yolks into a mixing bowl. Return the egg white “shells” to the fridge to continue to cool.
  3. For a recipe using 1 dozen hard-boiled eggs, add a half cup of mayonnaise, 2 ½ tsp of dijon mustard, ½ tsp of Worcestershire sauce, ½ tsp of hot pepper sauce, ¼ tsp of cayenne pepper, and ½ tsp of salt to the eggs in the bowl and mix – making sure to mash up the yolks well.
  4. Arrange the egg whites on a serving platter. Scoop the egg yolk mixture into a zipper bag, squeeze the contents into one corner, press out the air and seal the bag. Cut ¼” off the corner of the bag where the eggs are and “pipe” the eggs into the cavities of the shells, distributing evenly.  You can also scoop the egg yolks in with a spoon, but the bag method is easier. 
  5. Dust the tops of the eggs with a shake of paprika for color, then top each with a little crumbled bacon and perhaps some snipped chives or green onion tops.  
  6. Serve. Take a bow to the thunderous applause.

These can be made up to a couple of days in advance, just keep them sealed from the air in a container.

The Main Dishes

Easter dinners are often known for a couple of traditional dishes – ham and lamb.  Here are two great recipes that will make your family say “Ahhh!” as they push back from the table.

Double Smoked Spiral Cut Ham

Hams are the upper part hind leg of a pig and come in a variety of ways – boneless, bone-in, cured, smoked, etc.  One of our favorites is the spiral cut ham – these beauties are typically cured, then smoked, then placed on a machine that cuts the meat on a spiral making it easy to serve.

They come fully cooked, so getting them ready to serve is just a matter of heat and eat.  They recommend heating over a gentle heat, so what could be more perfect than the thermostatically controlled heat of a pellet grill set up for low and slow cooking.

Christmas or Easter spiral sliced ham with oranges and cranberries

Buy:

A spiral cut ham – “half” hams are most popular. They run between 6 and 9 lbs and are distinguished by the one end that is flat.  A whole ham weighs anywhere from 10 to 20 lbs and is twice the size and somewhat oval-shaped.  Either works for this recipe – just vary the cook time!

Setup: 

Fire up your pellet grill to 250 degrees with your favorite Griller’s Gold Premium Wood BBQ Pellets.  For this recipe, we love the fruity tastes of either Griller’s Gold Fruitwood Blend or Cherry BBQ Pellets.

Cook:

Remove the packaging from the ham and place the ham in a large disposable roasting pan. The ham will give up quite a bit of liquid as it heats, and you won’t want that in your grill. The cook time will vary by size, but you’re seeking an internal temperature of about 150 degrees near the bone for your ham – that will typically take 2-3 hours at 250 for a half ham.  The packaging should have heating instructions that you can interpret.

Glaze:

Most hams come with a glaze mix packet. (We like to make our own!) But feel free to use theirs – just follow the directions on the package. After your ham hits the heating temp, move it inside and fire your oven up to 500 degrees (if yours only goes to 450, that’s fine). 

In a medium saucepan, heat up 1 cup of brown sugar, ¼ cup of apple juice, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard, ½ cup of honey, ½ tsp ground cloves, and ½ tsp ground ginger. 

Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for a minute or two.  Brush this all over the outside of your ham, then slide the ham into the oven. Heat at 500 for 3 or 4 minutes, then brush with more sauce and give it 3 or 4 minutes more.  If it starts to burn at all, remove it quickly – you just want to caramelize the sugar on it.


Serve: 

Have a long, narrow knife and a meat fork handy for guests to free up the slices of their ham.  If you have any glaze leftover, mix it with a few tablespoons of the liquid from your roasting pan and serve it on the side as a sweet gravy.

Super easy grilled Rack of Lamb

rack of lamb - grillers gold easter blog

Lamb is so traditional for Easter dinner, but legs of lamb can be a bit intimidating and, frankly, tough! But a rack of lamb on a pellet grill is easy to do, usually super tender, and is done quickly.

Here’s our favorite recipe:

Buy: 

We buy pre-frenched, ready-to-go lamb racks from the warehouse stores. Costco almost always has these for a pretty good price. We always buy at least one on every trip to have them in the freezer ready to go.  One rack will usually feed 2-3 people. For a hungry crew, have one rack for every 2 people.

Marinate: 

For two lamb racks, mix up ½ cup extra virgin olive oil (canola works too) with the juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons of dijon mustard, ½ tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbs fresh), and 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed or 2 tbs fresh, finely chopped, plus about 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp freshly ground pepper.  Spread the marinade on the lamb on the meaty side and the ends, and marinate for about an hour. 

Cook: 

Preheat your pellet grill using your favorite Griller’s Gold pellet flavor (we like Competition Blend or Smokehouse Blend for this recipe) to 250 degrees F. If you have one, put a probe thermometer in the lamb racks and set the alarm for 125 degrees.

We like our lamb bright pink, medium, so adjust accordingly.  It will take the lamb racks about 30-45 minutes to get to that temperature. When they do, remove and cover with foil and a towel to retain the heat and boost the grill temperature to 400 degrees.

Return the lamb racks to the grill (and stay by the grill for this – lamb fat is notoriously flammable! If a ton of smoke starts coming from the grill, check for fire!) put them fat side down and sear for 2 minutes. Keep turning every 2 minutes until the internal temperature is between 135 and 140 degrees.

Bring them in, cut them into individual “lamb lollipops,” and serve!

Passover

Passover is the holiday that celebrates the Jews escaping the slavery of the Pharoah in Egypt. Jewish people have a standing joke about Jewish holidays that goes “They were persecuting us. We prevailed! Let’s eat!” and Passover is no exception! Here’s one of our favorite recipes:

Smoked Passover Brisket:

A traditional Passover dinner dish is a braised beef brisket. These are usually slowly braised with a savory liquid, often smothered with onions, and cooked until the meat is pull-apart tender. This recipe takes that traditional preparation and kicks it up a notch by starting the cooking out on the pellet smoker to kiss it with some tasty smoke flavor prior to finishing in the oven. This is super easy and fun to make.

A Kosher note: You can decide whether you use kosher ingredients for your family based on your own traditions and observance. This recipe is kosher-style which is to say it follows basic kosher rules but does not specify kosher products.

Buy and Trim: 

We like to use a brisket flat for this recipe – which is also known as a “first cut” brisket. It’s the flatter lower muscle.  We like to trim the fat cap of these to about ¼” thick and trim back the thin edges to the point where the meat is at least ¾ thick – save that trim.  It makes amazing burgers!

Seasoning:

For this style of brisket, rather than our usual BBQ rub, we first like to wet the meat with some Worcestershire sauce, then season it liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic salt – that’s it!

Smoke: 

Fire up your pellet smoker for very low and slow – 180 degrees. For this one, our favorite pellet is Griller’s Gold Premium Wood BBQ Pellets SmokeShack Blend, but really, all of them are suitable. Put the brisket on, and set a timer for 2 ½ hours. If your grill has a “max smoke” or “super smoke” setting, use it. This is about the ONLY recipe you’ll see from us where we cook using time versus temp! All you’re doing is infusing the meat with smoke flavor.

Roast:

Take your brisket off the grill and put it in a big roasting pan.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. 

Mix up a braising liquid consisting of 2 1/2 cups of beef broth, 1 cup of red wine, 1 cup of prepared Chili sauce (see Kosher note above), and ½ cup of dark brown sugar.  Pour over the beef, then slice up at least two large, sweet onions into thin slices and bury the meat in the onion slices. This is one of those “more the merrier” things!

Cover the meat tightly with foil (or if your roaster has a lid). Put the meat in the oven and cook it for between 2 and 3 hours – the meat is done when it is at least 200F degrees internal and pulls apart easily at the edges. Remove from heat to a large platter, cover with foil and a towel to retain the heat, and rest at least 20 minutes – that will firm the meat up for slicing.  Slice crossways to the grain in nice thin slices and serve with the onions and the liquid in the pan as gravy.

By the way … you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this delicious brisket!


So there ya go! Three amazing main dishes and one killer appetizer. From our families at Griller’s Gold to yours, wishing you happy springtime wishes and warm memories of these holidays!

Until next time!

March Madness grilling!

March Madness grilling!


Ah, “March Madness” – ostensibly that, of course, refers to the big college basketball championship series and its exciting “gotta win to advance” format. But when we think of March Madness, we think of the weather getting more springlike and our MAD desire to get out there and GRILL SOME STUFF! Right?

So, this post is about how we combine those two – here’s some March Madness-worthy bites you can make right on your grill using Griller’s Gold Premium 100% Hardwood pellets to give everything that tasty wood-grilled flavor!

If you’re like us, you’re camped out in front of the big screen watching sports, you need to have some good snacks, and some good beverages handy – good friends also make it more fun. We’ll revisit some of the snack items we’ve written about before AND give you three great  recipes for classic “watching sports munchies.”

smoked Chicken Wings Three Ways

Seriously, is there a more perfect food than a chicken wing?  There are three or four good bites of tasty meat, usually either fried, grilled, or baked, and tossed with some yummy sauces. So we’re going to take you through how to get great wing results on your pellet grill and some outstanding sauce ideas to go with them. 

Griller's Gold Smoked Wings Recipe - crispy wings with golden color

Expert Wing Tips

Buy: We like to buy our wings at Costco or Sam’s Club in the big bags of frozen raw wings. Be sure to purchase raw – you want end-to-end control of the product.  If buying fresh wings at the grocery store or butcher shop, by all means, go for that – we like the flats and drumettes separated, and no tips, but whole wings can be cooked this way as well.

Prep and Season:  Thaw your wings and drain them, then spread them on a rack over a sheet baking pan and let them dry at room temp for about 30 minutes – this step helps the skin get crispier.  For 4 lbs of wings (about 30 pieces in total, split between drumettes and flats), mix:

  • 1 ½ Tablespoons of baking powder (yes, this helps the wings crisp up as they cook)
  • 1 ½  Tablespoons of a seasoning mix of your choice – we like Lawry’s Seasoned Salt, but Morton’s Season-All, or just about any other seasoning mix works.  If you want to go old school, mix up 1 tsp each of salt, pepper, and sugar and ½ tsp each of garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. 

Toss the wings in this seasoning mixture in a large bowl to evenly coat the wings. Spread them back out on your rack and let rest another 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat your pellet grill to 425F degrees.  Yup, we’re comin’ in hot!

Griller's Gold Smoked Wings - chicken wings on the grill spaced evenly

Cook:  Put the wings on the pellet grill, spreading out evenly, so there’s a touch of air space between them – it’s the convection air that makes these crisp up.  Cook for about 30-40 minutes at 425F degrees, turning every 10-15 minutes – you’re looking for 180 degrees at the bone of one of the thicker drummettes.  

A note for non- pellet grill owners: 
This recipe works great on a charcoal or gas grill as well – just cook the wings over indirect heat (so shut off a burner, or bank your coals to one side). And if you want great wood-grilled flavor, prepare a “cigar” of Griller’s Gold pellets by taking a cup or so of the pellets and rolling them in a sheet of aluminum foil.  Twist off the ends and poke several holes in the foil with a skewer.  Place directly on the coals or your “flavor bars” over the lit burners on your gas grill.  Use the same heat – 425F degrees.

wing Sauces X3!

We promised three sauces, and these are easy, so here you go:

Classic Buffalo 

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • 1 T of Brown Sugar
  • 1 T Minced Garlic

Melt 1 stick of butter and whisk up with 1 cup of Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Place back on low heat until it bubbles a bit, then whisk in 1T brown sugar and 1T minced garlic (Ok yeah, technically this is garlic Buffalo, but don’t bust us. It’s fantastic!). Toss with the wings hot off the grill and serve.  Don’t forget the ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping!

Korean Sticky Heat 

This one is so yummy – hot/sweet umami bomb! 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 T Canola Oil
  • 1 T Goshujang or Sambal Oleek
  • 2 cloves of garlic mashed (or 1 tsp minced garlic)
  • 1 1/2 tsps of ginger paster puree
  • 1/2 tsp Asian Fish Sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Asian sesame oil


In a saucepan over medium heat, mix ½ cup soy sauce (we like the low sodium variety), ¼ cup honey, ¼ cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 tablespoon Gochujang or Sambal Oleek – both of these are Asian chili pastes that add heat and flavor, 2 cloves of garlic mashed (or 1 tsp minced garlic), 1 ½ teaspoons of ginger paste/puree, ½ teaspoon Asian fish sauce, ½ teaspoon Asian sesame oil. 

Let simmer for a few minutes to blend flavors, then toss with the wings.
Extra napkins and maybe some wet wipes for the sticky hands on this one!

Garlic Parm

This recipe is so simple but so good.

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt
  • 3-4 T of grated parmesan cheese

Melt one stick of butter to bubbling, add 2 tsp minced garlic and simmer for a minute or two to “bloom” the garlic.  Add 1 tsp seasoning salt, then remove from heat.  Toss the wings in the butter and garlic mixture, add 3-4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese, and toss well.  Serve!

By the way, if you decide to make the wings in the oven or deep fryer, of course, these sauces will work well there, too!

smoked BBQ Baloney!

Yeah, we said that. You may know this recipe by a few other names like “Redneck Ribeye” and “Poor Man’s Prime Rib,” but what it is, is simply delicious!  And ridiculously easy to do.

Griller's Gold Smoked Bologna - three images, one cooked and cut into cubes, one raw and one half done on the grill

BUY:  Go to your local grocery’s deli counter and ask for a 4 to 6-inch piece of their slicing bologna (or baloney if you prefer) whole – people call this a baloney “chub.” You don’t want it sliced!  They might look at you funny but roll with it! We have found that the Eckrich brand works really well but just buy whatever you like.

PREP:  Fire up your pellet grill with Griller’s Gold pellets of any kind and preheat to 250 degrees F.  Take your “chub” and split it in half so that you have two “half-moon” shaped pieces, then using a sharp knife, cut a ¼” or so deep crosshatch pattern into the round surfaces of it. Slather it with yellow mustard (just good ol’ hot dog mustard is fine) to give your rub something to stick to, then cover it well with your favorite barbecue rub.

COOK:  Onto the pellet grill it goes – we like to smoke it for 3-4 hours at 250.  There really is no “done” point on this – it’s ready when you decide to pull it off and eat it!

SERVE:  Cut the BBQ Baloney into bite-sized cubes, making sure that each cube has a bite of bark on the outside. It’s a bit of a geometry puzzle, but we’re sure you’ll figure it out!

Lay them out on a platter with some toothpicks.  We also like to offer a few dipping sauces – BBQ sauce, some spicy, grainy mustard, maybe a hot sauce! And this is way good with the leftover Korean Sticky wing sauce above.

NEXT LEVEL:  These are fantastic when made into sticky burnt ends – just mix ¾ of a cup of your favorite barbecue sauce with ¼ cup of honey.  Toss together with the cubed-up baloney and then put in a foil pan (if using the grill) or baking dish (if indoors) and bake at 325~350F degrees for 20 minutes to caramelize the sauce.

Beef Jerky, smoked the easy way!

Beef Jerky is SO easy when you have a thermostatically controlled pellet grill – and you get that fantastic wood flavor from those Griller’s Gold 100% Hardwood pellets. Usually, when we make this recipe, we make it from scratch, but this is a faster recipe that uses some commercial products to get the job done. Now that said, this does require an overnight step and a relatively lengthy cook but, well worth the reward!

Griller's Gold Blog - Smoked Jerky Snacks on the pellet grill

BUY:  2-3 lbs of beef flank steak

PREP:  Remove the beef from the package and lay it out in a single layer on a platter, plate, or baking sheet. Next, put the pan into the freezer for about 20 minutes to make it easier to cut the meat up. 

After the freezer rest, cut the steak into serving-sized strips with the grain of the meat. Marinate overnight in a good-quality Asian teriyaki-style sauce. Our favorite is Soy-Vey Very Teriyaki, but feel free to use your favorite.

COOK: Preheat your pellet grill to 180 degrees for 15 minutes. Place the strips of meat on the grill crossways to the grid bars (don’t want them to fall through!), close the lid, and go away for 2 ½ hours. At 2 ½ hours, go check them – you’re looking for well-dried strips of beef that still have a bit of tenderness on the bite. They will be a bit sticky. This cook usually takes us between 3 and 4 hours.

Remove from the grill, cool to room temp and serve. Don’t be surprised if your friends snarf them all up!  Save any leftovers (IF there are any!) in a zip lock bag in the fridge for up to a week.

Smokey Snacks Revisited:

Check out some delicious game-day munchies from an earlier Griller’s Gold blog post.

Smoked Goldfish(™) crackers or cheese crackers  

This is a super easy smoker recipe! Toss one bag of Goldfish crackers or a regular-sized box of cheese crackers with a ¼ cup of cooking oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. If you want heat, add ¼ t of cayenne pepper. 

Spread in a foil pan and put in the smoker for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Temperatures are ok from 180 to 250 on these as well.  Absolutely delicious!

Smoked Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips  

These are even easier! Spread a bag of nacho cheese flavored tortilla chips out on a sheet pan and slide them into your pellet smoker at 180 degrees – let them go 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.  

You’ll never eat another “straight from the bag” nacho cheese tortilla chip again. It also works great with potato chips, especially cheese flavored.

Smoked Queso Dip  

This kind of dip has been quite the rage of late in the BBQ social media forums and it’s quick and easy to prepare, too.

There are a thousand different recipes for this online. 

Here’s the one we’ve found to be the best combo of easy and tasty:

Taco Meat or Chorizo smoked Queso Dip 

Using a prepared taco seasoning and ground beef, prepare 1 lb. of taco meat to the instructions on the package. You can also substitute crumbled chorizo sausage, browned and drained. For this recipe, use a ½ pound of the taco meat or browned chorizo.

  • 1 can Rotel tomato/chile pepper mixture
  • 1 cup diced raw onion
  • 1/2 cup diced pickled jalapenos (can be omitted if desired)
  • 20 ounces of Velveeta cheese cut in 1” cubes (note – regular cheese like cheddar will not melt evenly enough for this, you need the pasteurized process cheese to work right)
  • ⅔ cup of sour cream

Mix together the prepared taco meat, the Rotel, onion, and jalapenos or chiles and spread out in a foil pan, then scatter the cubed cheese over the top.  Smoke for 45 minutes at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes, then stir in the sour cream and smoke 15 minutes more.  Serve hot with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Smoked Queso Dip

(Photo Credit:  4sonrus.com)

Happy March Madness, everyone! Until next time!

smoky snacks!

smoky snacks!

Most people when they think of using their wood pellet grill smoker only think in terms of classic barbecue fare – smoked meats, typical sides, etc. But that hot chamber with its wafting and tasty smoke can also be used to make some delicious snacks.  Like anything done in the smoker – all it takes is time, some tasty seasonings and the heat and smoke from your smoker, fueled of course, by Griller’s Gold natural hardwood pellets.

Dry Smoke is Key for Smoky Snacks

One thing to keep in mind on these recipes – these are all designed for DRY smoke – if your smoker has a water pan in it, don’t fill it.  That may make heat control more difficult, but thankfully these recipes are not very temperature sensitive.  Additionally, these are great “extra space” recipes in your smoker – if you’re doing a long smoke of something and you have some room, put one of these in and make some extra treats – again, provided that you’re doing a dry smoke like on a pellet grill fired with Griller’s Gold pellets. 

Also, note the recipes below don’t have a recommended type of Griller’s Gold pellet – that’s because all the flavors will be good with these – just use what you have on hand or what you’re using already in your smoker.

Here’s a few ideas that will be a hit at your next party – all of them are very easy and completely delicious! 

Smoked Nuts

Rather than paying extra for a fake smoke flavor on mixed nuts, how about the real thing?

This is one of those “it’s so easy why didn’t I think of it before?” recipes and using a wood pellet grill makes these especially easy. 

Here’s the ingredients:  1 container of your favorite nuts – mixed, single variety, whatever works for you.  Here’s the method:  Dump them into a foil pan and put them into the smoker at between 180 degrees and 250 degrees for an hour or so, stirring every 15 minutes or so – more time if you want more smoke flavor, less time for a more subtle flavor. 

We quote a temperature range there because these can go on with other food, but if doing them by themselves on a wood pellet grill, go to the low end – 180 degrees as pellet grills tend to kick out more smoke at lower temps.

Now, to kick them up a notch, do this – for every 3 cups of nuts, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and whisk in 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, 1 t each of garlic powder and onion powder and if a spicy kick is wanted, a few shakes of your favorite hot sauce.  Toss this with the nuts prior to smoking. You’ll see this same mixture below. 

Smoked Goldfish™ crackers or cheese crackers 

Again, super easy – for one bag of Goldfish crackers or a regular sized box of cheese crackers, simply toss them with a ¼ cup of cooking oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, onion powder and paprika, and if you want heat, ¼ t of cayenne pepper.

Spread in a foil pan and put in the smoker for an hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Temperatures are ok from 180 to 250 on these as well. Absolutely delicious and we double dog dare ya to not eat a huge handful hot from the smoker. Amazing!

Smoked Nacho Cheese Tortilla Chips 

Yeah we said that. These are even easier – it’s literally dump, smoke, eat like it’s your job.

Spread a bag of nacho-cheese flavored tortilla chips out on a sheet pan and slide them into your pellet smoker at 180 degrees – let them go 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 

You’ll never eat another “straight from the bag” nacho cheese tortilla chip again. Also works great with potato chips, especially cheese flavored.

Smoked Queso Dip 

This has been quite the rage of late in the BBQ social media forums and it couldn’t be easier.

There are a thousand different recipes for this online.

Here’s the one we’ve found to be the best combo of easy and tasty:

Taco Meat or Chorizo:  Using a prepared taco seasoning and ground beef, prepare 1 lb of taco meat to the instructions on the package. Can also substitute crumbled chorizo sausage, browned and drained. For this recipe, use a ½ pound of the taco meat or browned chorizo

1 can Rotel tomato/chile pepper mixture

1 cup diced raw onion

1/2 cup diced pickled jalapenos (can be omitted if desired)

20 ounces of Velveeta cheese cut in 1” cubes (note – regular cheese like cheddar will not melt evenly enough for this, you need the pasteurized process cheese to work right)

⅔ cup of sour cream

Mix together the prepared taco meat, the Rotel, onion and jalapenos or chiles and spread out in a foil pan, then scatter the cubed cheese over the top. Smoke for 45 minutes at 250 degrees, stirring every 15 minutes, then stir in the sour cream and smoke 15 minutes more.  Serve hot with tortilla chips and enjoy!

Smoked Chex Mix

Who doesn’t love a big batch of homemade Chex mix? Everyone that makes it puts different custom touches in their mix.

Here’s a link to a great oven-toasted Chex party mix recipe that we’ve used a lot and it’s always a winner.  And here’s how you kick it to the next level – instead of toasting this in your oven at 250 degrees, smoke it in your wood pellet smoker with Griller’s Gold pellets for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. 

Also, the linked recipe calls for using sheet pans – this also works fine in a foil roasting pan – just make sure you’re stirring it well to expose as much of the crunchy stuff to the smoke. It’s great with a mug of cold beer!

Try Your Own!

Do you have a favorite snack recipe that requires some oven baking? One of the beautiful things about wood pellet grills fueled with Griller’s Gold pellets is that they offer great temperature control and will give your food a subtle “baked in a wood burning oven” flavor. Any oven-baked canapé or appetizer will be extra tasty when baked in your pellet grill. Experiment a little – we have yet to find something that wasn’t just a bit tastier after a ride in our pellet smoker.  Pick the perfect wood pellet for your next meal, and, happy smoking!

Holiday Weekend Menu – Monday

Holiday Weekend Menu – Monday

Ah, Monday of a three-day weekend.  You’ve gone hard all weekend, time to chill a bit, maybe do a few chores around the house or vacation home, and get ready to dive back into the workweek.  You’ve got a few guests around still, so let’s feed them right – but let’s make it a bit more fun and interactive.  One of our favorite ways to do that is a burger and sausage bar!

Burgers and sausages on a pellet grill, especially one fueled with Griller’s Gold 100% Hardwood Pellets, are especially good. The “kiss” of smoke you get when you cook hot and fast on a pellet grill gives these old faves an extra “something” you just can’t get from plain old charcoal or from a gas grill.

Burger Bar: 

A fun way to do this is to let everyone season and create their own burgers.  Offer a burger bar with a selection of meat, a variety of seasonings and sauces, shredded/crumbled cheeses,  and chopped onions, mushrooms, and peppers as mix-in items.  For seasonings, consider ingredients such as garlic and onion powder and herbs like thyme, as well as rubs and commercial blends.  Check out this great recipe, Smokehouse Burger.

For sauces … hot sauce, barbecue, steak sauce, soy, etc..  Then let your guests have at it. If you’d like to control portions to make sure your meat supply covers everyone, just make pre-weighed balls of ground meat.  In terms of meat, for ground beef, let’s face it – fat is flavor – consider 80 or 85% lean ground beef.  To make things interesting, you can offer up additional ground meats like chicken breasts, veggie burgers, lamb, bison, turkey, even game like venison if you have it. 

For sanitary purposes and to keep things straight, provide vinyl or nitrile food service gloves as well as sheets of foil for each person to put their burger on.  Offer up squares of paper that your guest can put their names on to help keep straight whose burger is whose.  

Holiday Weekend Menu – Sunday

Holiday Weekend Menu – Sunday

After a full day of eating “high on the hog” yesterday, we’re thinking we need some lighter things for Sunday dinner.  Chicken and salmon on a pellet grill are about as easy as it gets, and the great news is that they don’t take a lot of time.

Chicken: 

One of our favorite ways to do chicken on a pellet grill is to just do whole chickens.  Prep could not be easier – take them out of the package, make sure the giblets and anything else is cleared out of the cavity, season them up, and put them on the grill.  

Our favorite seasoning rub for poultry is yet another Meathead Goldwyn fave, “Simon and Garfunkel Rub”.  At the risk of dating ourselves, think of their famous song … “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme …”  The recipe has a few more things in it, but it’s one of those things that we make in bulk and keep in our pantry all the time. 

Give the chickens a good rub down with a tablespoon or two of olive or other vegetable oil, then sprinkle well with salt, and add the S&G rub generously over the skin. Then all you need to do is put them on a pre-heated 350-degree pellet grill, and grill for about an hour to 90 minutes, depending on size.  

We like to buy smaller chickens as they cook more evenly. Chicken is done when it hits 155 degrees in the thickest part of the breast.  Don’t go much beyond that as the breast will dry out very quickly.  We like to serve one chicken per two people as wood-roasted chicken makes amazing leftovers.  For extra fun – serve it “caveman style” – put a chicken on a plate between two people, no utensils, and let them have at it!  

Salmon: 

The pellet grill fueled with Griller’s Gold pellets is also a great way to cook salmon.  Buy a large whole salmon filet – again, the warehouse clubs are great for this – either farm-raised or wild-caught – your choice.  There are a myriad of rubs and preparations but one we find that’s an easy go-to is 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper.  Mix well and spread over a large salmon filet – you don’t need to use it all. 

There are two ways to do this – hot and fast and low and slow – they get different results. 

If serving the salmon hot off the grill, we prefer the hot and fast method – with this, heat the pellet grill to 400 degrees. For fish, a light to medium smoke is good – Griller’s Gold Competition Blend is great for this or for a nice sweet touch, Griller’s Gold Cherry.  Drizzle some olive oil over your filet and rub it over the fish evenly, then spread the rub on your filet.  Put directly on the grill, cook for about 8 minutes, then turn the filet.  You may find it easier to cut the filet into 2 or 3 pieces, but if you can manage it with a couple of large spatulas, or maybe a metal pizza peel, it looks very impressive for your guests to serve the whole filet.  Cook the filet until it separates in layers and the layers are just past opaque.  Internal temperature is about 135F.

For low and slow, you’re making a much smokier product, and it’s great served cold on a salad, on crackers, on bagels like lox, etc.  Same techniques as above with rub and all, but instead of a 400-degree grill, you want 225 degrees.  

It will take an hour to get to perfect doneness with the low and slow method and it will be more done than the ideal stop point for hot and fast.  Now, this all said, you can definitely eat this hot off the grill, but cooling it overnight and serving as a cold appetizer or main course will have your guests holding a coronation as the king of the BBQ.

Holiday Weekend Menu – Saturday

Holiday Weekend Menu – Saturday

It’s a beautiful Saturday – ever have one of those weekend days where you fire up the grill or smoker early in the morning and go all day with it?  

The beauty of using a pellet grill is that it’s so easy to do – just like your home oven – dial in the temp you need and off you go.  And your results are even better with Griller’s Gold 100% natural hardwood pellets. So, how about an entire breakfast cooked on the pellet grill to get things started?  Sound good?  Let’s go!

BREAKFAST

For your grilled, wood-roasted breakfast, fire up your pellet grill with a mild sweet wood, like Griller’s Gold Fruitwood blend – that will serve us well for use all day. Set it on full high – you’re cooking hot and fast first this morning.

Start by cooking some bacon – because what day doesn’t start better with bacon?  

Simple – use a rimmed sheet pan that fits your grill, and put on one layer of your favorite brand of bacon.  It will be crisp and amazing with an additional kiss of smoke – takes about 15 minutes in total. While the grill is preheating, make some good old-fashioned buttermilk biscuits to bake on the pellet grill.  They will come out tasting like they were baked in an old-fashioned wood-fired oven.  

Our favorite is Alton Brown’s biscuit recipe, but even baking mix biscuits or “tube” biscuits will taste better baked on your pellet grill. Note – biscuits love high heat so if doing them, crank your pellet grill up to get as close to 450 as you can. You can cook the bacon alongside it.  

Finally, how about eggs to go with all that?  A delicious frittata cooked on the pellet grill will work great.  Start by sauteing some onion and anything else you like in there – perhaps red peppers chopped, sliced mushrooms, etc.  Just put your oven-proof skillet right on the grill (we like our well-seasoned cast iron for this) and use plenty of butter.  If you’d like some spinach in your frittata, don’t sautee that, it will go in with the eggs.  

Whisk up your eggs – for a frittata in a 10” skillet, figure about 8 eggs.  You can season your eggs with some salt, pepper, perhaps some paprika, and a shake or two of Worcestershire.  If you’re adding spinach, give it a rough chop, and then mix in with the eggs.  No frittata is good without some cheese, so mix in a half cup or so of a good sharp cheddar, shredded.  

When the vegetables have softened, stir in the eggs/cheese/spinach mixture into the pan, then sprinkle some more shredded cheddar over the top and put on the grill.  At this point, drop the heat to about 350F and close up the pellet grill.  Let the heat and smoke do it’s thing – the frittata is done when it is clearly cooked across the top, the cheese topping is melted and perhaps browned a bit.  Serve with the biscuits and bacon and you’ve got a breakfast that will carry you well into the afternoon!

DINNER

So the pellet grill is hot and that Griller’s Gold Fruitwood Blend aroma is filling the air – this is a great time to get the “all-day low and slow” going – and perfect for that, is pork shoulder, aka “Boston Butt”.  

The pork shoulder is what all good pulled pork comes from – and whether you have it pulled, chopped, sauced, or otherwise, it benefits from a long, slow cook.  Drop the temperature setting of your pellet grill to 225F, season your pork shoulder well with your favorite rub and put it on, close it up, and leave it alone!  

Check every couple of hours to make sure you have enough Griller’s Gold pellets to keep the cook going.  The Fruitwood Blend is perfect for pork – sweet, smokey heaven!  Pork shoulders are done when they hit 203 degrees internal temperature – that’s the “butter zone” where the fats and collagens in the meat all melt like butter and make it all marvelously tender and juicy!  

Expert’s hint #1:  Use the “Texas Crutch”  

Keep checking the temperature of your meat every hour and when it “stalls” – stops changing by more than a few degrees for more than an hour, wrap the meat in foil or butcher paper.  This is called the “Texas Crutch” and is used by competition BBQers to be able to deliver a properly smoked roast of meat in only 6 or so hours. It also makes it supremely juicy!  

Your meat will likely stall around 160 degrees for several hours unless you wrap it. The stall is caused by a neat bit of physics where the evaporation rate of the moisture in the meat (which cools things) equals the incoming heat from the grill. After wrapping, and staying on your pellet grill (or you can move it to the oven at the same temperature), your meat will finish cooking and hit 203F in about 2 hours or so.

Expert’s hint #2: Rest it!  

If you use the Texas Crutch, your meat will be done well before dinner time.  You can of course eat it right away (who can resist?), but for extra juicy results, just take your wrapped meat, put an additional layer of wrapping on it, then line a small cooler with a folded bath towel, gently nestle it in there and cover it with another towel, then close up the cooler. Rest it until you’re ready to shred or chop it.  This nap will help it be really super moist and tender!

Now it’s mid-afternoon – the pulled pork is done and resting and you still have a hot pellet grill emitting marvelous fruitwood smoke. Chances are some additional friends have appeared, so let’s get some ribs and wings on the grill!  

Baby Back Ribs will be an amazing addition to your meal and they take about 2 ½ hours on your pellet grill using a “hot and fast” method. If you’re serving them as the primary item of a meal, figure a half-slab per person and if you’re having them as part of a BBQ platter like this, 1 slab per 4 people will be fine. Increase the pellet grill heat to 350 degrees, and rub your ribs with your favorite rub. We like Meathead Goldwyn’s Memphis Dust – sweet, spicy, peppery. Be sure to salt your ribs well as there is no salt in the rub. Get the ribs on and go.

Now, how about some wings for an afternoon snack?  

You’ve got a hot grill – take some fully thawed wings or wing sections, toss them in some olive oil and then rub – since you have the Memphis Dust mixed up, just use that.  Throw them on – they take about an hour to cook fully through, turning once or twice.  You can eat them right off the grill, or sauce them with Buffalo Sauce, BBQ sauce or, one of our favorites – Japanese BBQ sauce, which is a sweet/salty/umami bomb of a sauce. The best we’ve found is Bachan’s Japanese BBQ sauce.  If you sauce them with BBQ sauce or the Japanese sauce, give them a good coating of sauce 10 minutes before taking them off the grill just to caramelize the sauce a bit, then give them another hit of sauce 2 minutes before taking them off.

So you’ve got this amazing meal – don’t forget the sides!  Sides are great to make in your pellet grill.  Here are some ideas for you:

  • Baked Beans: Baked beans on the pellet grill are really easy to get some great results – and while making Baked Beans from scratch gives amazing results, just “doctoring” your favorite brand of canned beans works great too!  “Ramp up” your favorite brand of canned baked beans with some extra ketchup, onions, mustard, barbecue sauce, molasses, etc., and then bake them in an open pan on the pellet grill for about an hour. Smokey, tasty, fantastic!
  • Roasted Vegetables: Chop up some broccoli, cauliflower, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, and mushrooms, then toss with olive oil and salt and pepper and roast them for about a half-hour in a 350-degree pellet grill with whatever pellets you have in there (as long as they are Griller’s Gold of course!).  For an extra treat, finish with some smoked salt.
  • Mac and Cheese: Make your favorite baked Mac & Cheese recipe and just bake it in your pellet grill!   The extra smoke will give it that wood-oven roasted flavor and beautiful coloring to the top.
  • Roasted Potatoes: Buy “B” size creamer potatoes, cut them in half, and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried thyme.  Then spread in one layer on a sheet pan or foil roasting pan and bake in the pellet grill at 350 for about 45 minutes. 
  • Smoked/Roasted Potato Salad: Yeah, you heard that right!  Take the above-roasted potato recipe and once they are done, smash about half of them, then toss all of them with your favorite potato salad recipe.
  • Smoked Salsa: This one is amazing!  Take Roma tomatoes halved, red and yellow bell pepper, anaheim and jalapeno chilies, whole peeled garlic cloves, halved onions and spread them out on a sheet pan.  Roast in the pellet grill at 350 until the tomatoes are shriveled and lightly browned, the peppers are browned and blistered and the onions are tender.  Take it all and run it in the blender until smooth seasoning with salt and fresh lime juice.  To make it less hot, slice the jalapenos lengthwise and remove the seeds and ribs.  There are lots of recipes online for this – just Google!

But we’re not done!  Yup, you can make dessert on your pellet grill! Cobblers and Brown Betty’s – anything with a crumb or biscuit top, will get a wonderful wood-oven baked flavor when made on your pellet grill with Griller’s Gold pellets. For a dessert, use something sweet like Cherry or Fruitwood blend.  Here’s a great recipe for Apple Cobbler.

Whew!  That was quite a day of grilling. Be sure to use your grill’s shut down mode at the end of the day so that it is ready to go for the next day’s grilling fun!

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