Grilled/Meat/Menu/Sous Vide


After a very busy weekend of cooking for family and friends, I’ve decided to go a little more low key this week. This past week we celebrated my birthday, which included me grilling for 15 people. We had 40 – 50 people over on Saturday for my son’s birthday party but fortunately, did not have to cook. And then finally, Easter, which is one of my favorite holidays.

Easter Menu

Orange glazed baked ham with a 3 cheese (Gouda, Cheddar and Gruyere) scalloped potatoes, baked green beans and homemade bread.

My Birthday Dinner
Hamburgers with a mix of sauteed onions, bacon and brats and hotdogs.

This week
Pork Chops in the Sous Vide with a Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, Chardonnay Sea Salt and a meat rub.
Spaghetti with homemade bread.
Left over ham.
Sauteed carrots with a Belgian-style Dubble Ale from Tarboro Brewing Company

Since this weeks menu is a little light, I’ll post photos this over the next few days.


Snow Day!

Happy Snow Day! Well, if you are living in the north east it is a snow day for most.   Woke up to snow covered grills, which is not what I like to see, primarily because it would require me to shove to get to them.

I am several cups of coffee into the morning & started thinking about a few new things to try to cook, as well as planned out my menu for the weekend. One of the things that I did a few months ago was buy the boys, (I have twins) dry erase boards to draw on. Well, that didn’t last long, so they have turned into my menu planning. I really need something larger than 2 8×11 boards, but for today, they work. Normally, I use 1 board for the current weeks menus, as well planning for the next, but last night I used the 2nd board to map out a recipe that I’ve wanted to try, Bananas Foster.

I’ll post the photo later of the boards, as well as more of an overview of the recipes and menu items, but I’m getting to a place where I need to try some things and styles of cooking.  Yes, this blog will still be about grilling (I’m probably getting my 4th grill in a few weeks) and beer, but the two go hand in hand. But I want to try some new recipes out and these are in no particular order or heck even when I’m going to make them:

  • Grilled Chicken Cesar Salad (This is on the upcoming menu).
  • Banana Pudding – Being from the south, this is a must, but I am thinking about some twists for this one.
  • Egg rolls, but maybe using grilled shrimp?
  • Low Country Boil – and yes I would use Crawfish if I can find them locally.
  • I’ve been having issues with my pizza sticking to the stone when making them on the grill. Honestly, a pizza on the grill in the pizza oven is the way to go, but I just need to figure out if my dough is not floured enough or if I need more corn mill on the stone? Point being, I really want to get this recipe right.
  • Cooking more with Beer, especially local craft beer. Where I live, I believe that we have 10 microbreweries, so I would like to make at least 1 dish from each of their selections. I’ve already used 2 already and since one is a national brand, it was easy to get my hands on a special release (see my Peach BBQ Sauce recipe).
  • Pairing more with Beer & Wine for that matter. Learning more about pairings with cheese and more importantly, meals. As I cook more and talk with more chefs, the importance of balancing flavors with both is very important. So as I challenge myself with cooking, this is going to be a important thing that I’m going to be working more on.
  • Plating! This is hard for me. By nature, I’m not a creative person, so this is stretching my thinking and creativity. I’m constantly reading on concepts on this. And since we eat with both our mouth and our eyes, this is something that I need to work on every time that I cook.
  • Patience. Cooking and grilling take patience and practice. How many of us when we first started grilling would flip meat every few minutes? I know that I did. But when I learned more about temperature control and allowing meat to cook longer and flip less.

So as I sip on my 4th cup of coffee and look at the snow covered grills, I get excited for summer. And yes, I do grill year round, but my point is, there are snow days in the summer.


Weekend Cooking

Well, so for starters, this weekend I’ll not be venturing to the grill, not due to weather, but due to minor surgery yesterday.

So all of the weekend cooking will be done inside, which is perfectly fine, as it will give me a chance to rest and try a new recipe of Taco Breakfast Muffins.

Weekend Menu:

Taco Breakfast Muffins
Roasted Vegetables
Homemade Bread

The thing that I like to try to do is when I’m making spaghetti, I like to use additional hamburger meat for other things, like Tacos or Meatloaf or Lasagna and I do that, because I buy so much hamburger at a time. It helps control the menu and also planning out meals. I’ll post the recipe for the Taco Breakfast Muffins later this weekend and photos.



Sometimes, you just have to take a weekend for smoking meat and that is what I’m doing this weekend. It has been a few weeks since I’ve last fired up the smoker, primarily due to schedules, but this weekend it is on.

The current menu, prior to going to the grocery store and butcher is as follows:

  • Pork Butt
  • Several ropes of sausage
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Turkey Breast
  • Ribs

I’ll more than likely space this out of both Saturday and Sunday, as it is going to be sunny, but cold. I’ll use a mixture of both Cherry and Apple wood as well, which has become my go to mix. I normally go roughly 70% apple wood and 30% cherry wood, but maybe I’ll mix that up a little tomorrow?

Photos coming this weekend.

Sous Vide

Tuscan Herb Chicken

I decided to try something new, so I did a Tuscan Herb Chicken with Vodka last week and became  a HUGE family favorite.

Tuscan Herb Chicken
Here is the recipe for all that want to give it a try. Now, I used my Joule from Chef Steps to cook the chicken, which was cooked at 149 degrees for roughly 1 hour and 25 minutes. And once it was done, I pan seared it in my cast  iron skillet.

Next, for the Tuscan Herb sauce.

  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 tsp garlic power
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 1 cup of sun dried tomatoes (i used ones that were in a jar w/ olive oil)
  • and a shot of a good vodka

Warm the sauce until it has a nice thick consistency and adding additional cheese will help if needed. But right before boiling, I slicked the chicken in half and put the chicken in the sauce and serve over pasta.  I will probably add more spinach and a little less Italian seasoning next time and will add more diced sun dried tomatoes. But all in all, this was a great dish and one that everyone really seemed to enjoy.

Grilled/Beer/BBQ Sauce/Menu

Weekend Menu

I’ve been working on the weekend menu and I really wanted to try something new. So, here is the menu for the weekend and I’ll add photos later tomorrow or Monday.

Hamburgers – I’m going to grill hamburgers and use a twist to my normal recipe. I’m going to saute onions in an Imperial Stout and then add them to the hamburger mix. And I’m going to add about a 1/4 of a cup of the same Imperial Stout to the hamburger mixture before making my patties.

BBQ Chicken – Even though tomorrow is going to be really cold, I need a little a time at the grill. I’m going to marinate some chicken breasts with my NC BBQ Sauce and throw those on the grill. The BBQ Sauce has a nice blend of sweet and heat.

Chicken Wings – We have some friends coming over and they have asked for wings, so wings we shall have. I’ll make a sweet and honey bbq wings and a medium heat. The medium heat is my favorite and it is just Frank’s Red Hot, butter and Worcestershire  sauce. And one little trick that I like to do, is boil my wings for 10 minutes and letting them dry before putting them on the grill.

Roasted Potatoes – I love potatoes with my wings and I wanted to do something different and I found this recipe on Serious Eats that looked great.

Roasted Vegetables – This is a standard recipe that I am making on a weekly basis. This is a simple blend of Sweet Potatoes, White Sweet Potatoes and chopped up onions. I coat these with a olive oil and roast for 40 minutes at 425.

Sausage and Egg muffins – So my wife made these last week and it was a combo of eggs, sausage and some bell peppers, which I do not like, baked in a muffin pan. Because I like to put my on twist on certain recipes, I’m going with changing out the bell peppers and adding bacon and diced sauteed onions.

Photos coming soon, but this should be a great weekend for cooking & when I update the post with photos, I’ll also add the pairings that I go with for beer.

Grilled/Beer/Menu/Sous Vide

Weekend Cooking

I’ve been really trying to think through my menus through out the week and plan my weekend cooking. But this has been an interesting week and I’ve just, not really thrown things together as it pertains to planing. So this weekend, I’m going to try some new things and some standards and try to spend as much time as I can at the grill.

Weekend Cooking

Skirt Steak with a Chimichurri Sauce – I’ll start this off at 135 degrees F using my Chef Steps Joule Sous Vide and then finishing i up on the grill. I am thinking 400 – 500 degrees on the grill for about 2 – 3 min on each side, just enough time to sear the grill marks and lock in the juices.

Pork Chops – I wanted to try a quick pork chops recipe using both Sous Vide and the Weber Grill as well. Going to go for 144 degrees F with the Joule and 3 min on each side (might be less) on the grill. But the Pork Chops will be seasoned with Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper and a Butcher Seasoning from the Spice & Tea Store.  I am thinking about doing the Apple Fennel salad again too.
Note: Because my Pork Chops were a little frozen, mine will cook for about 3 hours in the Sous Vide.

I’m debating on making a few burgers for the week or making some BBQ Meatloaf. So I’ll hold off on this one.

Now for vegetables.

Roasted Vegetables – Sweet Potatoes and White Sweet Potatoes with a diced onion, roasted for 45 minutes at 425 degrees F with a lightly coated olive oil and sea salt.

Green Beans – I’m thinking about going back to tweak the green beans with Dijon mustard, bacon and brown sugar.  This has quickly become one of my favorite ways to cook green beans.

Now for pairings

I’m thinking about opening one of my Mother Earth Brewery Silent Night’s to go with the Skirt Steak for this weekend cooking. I’m thinking that it might provide a nice contrast with the Stout with the sweetness of the Pork Chop.  As for the Skirt Steak, I’m actually going to with a different thought process, I was going to with the Stout, but I’m going to go Loose Cannon from Heavy Seas Brewery in Baltimore, MD.

Normally, I lean to the Pale Ales and IPAs as my goto beers, but sometimes I like to change things up and just try it out. I’m not a huge Stout fan, but the Mother Earth Silent Night is a great beer and to me, a versatile beer. Being from North Carolina, there are several beers that I’m looking forward to cooking with, FullSteam’s Rocket Science, Carolina Brewery’s Flagship IPA and because I know the owners, Tarboro Brewing Company Ryed IPA and Town Common Ale. And one day soon, I hope to start home brewing again and cooking with my own beer.

Sous Vide cooking is becoming a convent thing and a constant cooking style for me, but I do love my time at the grill. Granted, we are supposed to get some rain today and tomorrow, so I’ll have to time my cooking at the grill accordingly.


Pork Chops in the Sous Vide

Pork Chops in the Sous Vide

Pork Chops in the Sous Vide

Pork Chops in the Sous Vide


This Weeks Menu

We were out of town this past weekend, so this weeks menu, is a day late, well actually two. So last night, in between watching basketball and taking care of the kids, I was able to get a little cooking done. And because it is a short week, I decided to go with a basic menu.

So, here goes:

Sous-Vide Chicken
Roasted Vegetables
Homemade Bread

I went basic this week for a reason. I was exhausted. A long weekend away was great, gave me some ideas for new recipes and some time to just spend with the family. But all that being said, I needed some time to step away from cooking to do something simple. Go back to the basics. Focus on recipes again that I’ve made for years. Think about modifications. Think about incorporating new and different flavors.

Until next weekend.


Meat/Sous Vide

Crispy Chicken

I needed to try something dinner last night for dinner and decided to pull out the Sous Vide for a little crispy chicken. I had seen a recipe on Facebook earlier and I was inspired from seeing this recipe from Chef Steps and decided to make a small modification with it. I was not only impressed how well the flavors came together, but the simplicity of this recipe was amazing.

Here are my modifications & you can compare them to Chef Steps and see which you liked better.

Crispy Chicken – I went for 2 hours at 148 degrees in the Joule, I believe they went about an hour, give or take.

Apple Fennel Salad – I followed this to the recipe that was provided, that being said, I would add cranberries to mine next time. Not only would it add color, but I think that it would add another layer of complexity and would provide a nice balance.

Puree – Now, I went with a sweet potato puree instead of carrots. I also added about a 1 1/2 tbsp of butter and roughly a 1/4 of a cup, give or take of Maple Syrup.

I normally don’t follow recipes as closely as I did with this one, but I thought that I would give it a shot and it was a HUGE hit! I will definitely be making this again. Because mine did take longer for the chicken, I would probably make this earlier in the night or wait until a weekend, but all in all, the Chicken was cooked perfectly and it really did balance the meal out. So, if you are looking for an easy week night meal to make, give this a try.

Apple Fennel Salad on a sweet potato puree

Apple Fennel Salad on a sweet potato puree

Crispy Chicken

Crispy Chicken plated

Crispy Chicken close up

Crispy Chicken close up



Happy New Years

Happy New Years everyone and thanks for following my blog. Like most, we are still recovering a little bit from New Years, so I’m going to combine the menus from 2 dinners and list them all out below.

New Years Eve is a time to celebrate and a time to have some really good food too. So we went with a little traditional and non traditional menu this year.

Grilled NY Strip Steaks – Grilled to medium and seasoned with just salt and pepper.
North Carolina Shrimped – We had these steamed at the grocery store and served with a little cocktail sauce. Grilled Potatoes – Coated the outside with Olive Oil and Sea Salt & served with butter.
Homemade Bread – Click here for more info on this bread recipe.
And for dinner, we went with a bottle of Apothic Red Blend.

For New Years Day, being from the south, there are a few traditions that I try to blend in with my cooking and family for New Years Day.

Grilled Honey Glazed Pork Loin – Grilled to medium and seasoned with Honey, Soy Sauce, Brown Sugar & Chicago Steak Seasoning. Here is the recipe that I came up with a while back.
Roasted Vegetables – This is becoming a family favorite, but I chopped up some sweet potatoes, white sweet potatoes & onions, lightly coated them with Olive Oil and Sea Salt and baked at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes.
Sauteed Green Beans – I can’t seem to get enough of this recipe lately. Brown sugar, Dijon Mustard, 2 lbs of green beans and 4 pieces of chopped bacon. Bring the green beans to a boil, drain and mix, then saute in the cast iron, holy crap.
Blacked Eyed Peas – If you are from the south, you know about the tradition of eating these on New Years Day for good luck.

I’m not one for traditional resolutions & I’ll only post the 3 that I have that are cooking related here.

  1. Learn how to plate food better – I feel that I often times just plate and it is fine, but then I see what others are doing and even if the quality of the food is there, the visual isn’t as appealing. And let’s be honest, we eat with our eyes, before we eat with our mouths. So I have already found several videos and talked with two friends of mine that are chefs to give me some pointers.
  2. Grill more – Now most of my friends and family that know me, might struggle with this, because I am always at the grill, but I really want to try some new foods on the grill. Come up with a few new recipes and and really push myself. And it looks like I might be picking up yet another Weber Grill in the coming months, which would round out my grills at 4 and 1 smoker, which the smoker needs to really be replaced for something bigger. But that might not happen this year, as what I envision, is something that would need to be on a trailer and custom built.
  3. Food & Wine & Beer Pairings – This one is really something that I want to learn more about and focus on this year. I have already started working on food pairings with sides and main entrees, but I also want to learn more about food pairings with Wine and Craft Beer. And I would also go one step further to learn more about pairing craft beers that I can cook with certain foods. Along with grilling, this is my other true passion right now with cooking.

So from my family to yours, Happy New Years! Take a chance and try some new recipes this year, that is my plan and learn as much as you can in the kitchen.