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 – 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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 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!
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!
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.
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!