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Welcome to, official web home of The Annual Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ Cook-Off! Here you'll find a wealth of news and information about this delicious community event.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chris Lilly's Spicy Apricot Wings

As a kid, we had an apricot tree in the rear yard. Relatively speaking it was a small tree with a medium size trunk and rather large canopy. Me and my buddies couldn't wait until them little suckers got ripe - picking and eating them little golden treats and then whipping the stones at one another or over the fence to the neighbors - ahhh...the good ol days. We never left mom much to use and man she used to get po'd.

When I BBQ or grill, I am often inspired by recipes or foods that remind me of my childhood. Kind of a weird connection that way, but soulful nonetheless. Anyways, seeing this recipe in Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Cook-Book for spicy apricot wings reminded me of that time and served as the inspiration for this cook.

Started with these Purdue whole wings.

(Click on photos for a close-up)

Lilly's recipe calls for a marinade of apricot preserve, Worcestershire, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, S&P, garlic powder, sweet paprika, Cayenne and ginger powder.

Here's a whole wing. I don't mind chopn' these things up. Kind of enjoy it.

So, off with the tips. I save them for use in stock.

Next, I find the knuckle to the leg and run the knife down and chop.

Pile of prepped wings....

Through them in a Ziploc, pushed the air out and into the fridge for 4 hours....

Built a two-zone fire. Got the Weber OTG to 425 degrees with a piece of hickory and cooked these suckers for about 35 minutes.

The missus made some yellow rice and a balsamic/honey/maple vinaigrette over some spring mix to boot.  I've been really digging whole charred jalapenos lately, so I threw some of them on too. I washed it all down with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, although a nice Pinot Grigio would have hit the spot as well.

Lilly's recipe is very good. It's sweet, spicy and sticky. The apricot flavor really stands out. I do think it could have used a dusting of some sort of finishing rub though. Maybe a sprinkle of Simply Marvelous Sweet and Spicy or something similar would have been ideal.

And just as I was finishing up this cook, my neighbor delivered unto me some savory mushroom and onion pie.  I'm a lucky guy with awesome neighbors....what a wonderful surprise!  It was extremely good and gone in seconds. After I was done, I walked on over hoping they'd offer me more, I made some small talk, dropped a few hints, but no more pie. The crust was absolutely delicious - flaky, yet crisp and full of flavor.  The mushrooms were perfectly cooked, firm and earthy. Wowser! It was fantastic.

What a  great day! 

Thanks for looking and Happy Friday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Grilled Margherita Pizza

Being Friday during Lent and all, I decided to grill a meatless pizza. Yes, Pig Daddy gives up meat on Friday during Lent ( a real sacrifice I'll tell you). Anyways, I was being kind of lazy today, so rather than make fresh tomato sauce and dough, I stopped by Trader Joe's to procure my ingredients. Fresh Mozzarella, fresh basil, pizza sauce, EVOO....

(Click on photos for a close-up)

...and the dough.  A real simple pie here, nothing fancy. Per the instructions, I let the dough rest in a warm area for 20 minutes, yet this was some of the toughest, most stubborn dough I've ever handled. For the life of me, I could not get it to relax. 

Rolling and knuckling a nice circle was out of the question. Had to settle for an oblong, 3/4 circle, or whatever you'd call this shape.

Got the Weber OTG up to 600 degrees with a pizza stone.

Yeah baby!

This pie finished in less than 5 minutes. The pizza stone really does a nice job getting the crust crispy and bubbly.

And there you have it. Not too bad. Next time, I will make my own dough and tomato sauce though.

It tasted really good. Royal Oak lump with a piece of apple wood gave this pizza a really nice smoky flavor. Grilling a pizza using natural charcoal and fresh ingredients is the way to go. Sure beats the heck out of using an oven.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Smoked Chuckie!

I love Mike's cuz when I walk in I know exactly what to expect - good, consistent quality. Last Saturday, I bought a 7-bone chuckie and decided I'd smoke and pull it for Sunday's feast.

Just look at it. What a hunk of meat! 

Recently, I bought some Kosmo's Beef Injection. I always inject my shoulders, but never have I injected my beef.  Heard some good things about Kosmo's so I thought I'd give it  a try.

Mixed the Kosmo's with unsalted beef stock and heated it the microwave for a few seconds so it'd mix better.

I injected it in a one-inch grid pattern, wrapped it in plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next day I rubbed it with my own beef rub and dialed the Chargriller Outlaw to 325*. Thought I'd try fast and hot vs. the usual low and slow. Sometimes you just gotta try different things.

I love my Chargriller Outlaw and for the money it was a good buy. That being said, it's about time I step it up. I've been eyeball'n Lang and Meadowcreek stick burners.  Next year, I will upgrade.

After about an hour and a half....

Took it off at 190*. Not sure what I was thinking cuz it wasn't pullable. Should have let it ride on up to 195-199*. I guess I was overly anxious...

...and as a result, I had to cut it into slices and man, it was tender nonetheless. Nice smoke ring too.

I chopped the rest and placed it onto some freshly baked kaiser rolls. Served it with Broccoli slaw, seasoned fries, pepper jack abts and an Oldstyle of course.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pork Steak with Pepper Jelly Glaze

Pork steaks can be cut from the loin, leg or in this case the shoulder of a pig. Although I've had lots of shoulder, I've never had shoulder cut as a steak and then grilled. I've never had pepper jelly either. So, I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone by cooking these steaks using a pepper jelly based marinade and glaze.
Picked up these pork steaks at Valli and they were relatively inexpensive.

Made a marinade using 1/2 cup apple juice, 3/4 cup pepper jelly, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and some chopped onion. Before placing in a Ziploc, I dusted each steak with garlic salt. I then mixed all the marinade ingredients together, placed the steaks in the bag, squeezed the air out and marinated overnight.

Next day I made a glaze using 3/4 cup pepper jelly and one and half tbs apple cider vinegar. Quite simply, I heated it on stove until the jelly melted.

Got my Weber OTG fired up to 350*...

...and grilled direct over Royal Oak lump with a few pieces of pecan for about 14 minutes. I glazed these bad boys at about the 8 minute mark.

Final product was absolutely delicious. Tasted like a spicier version of sweet and sour pork.  The pepper jelly was sweet and hot and the vinegar gave it all a really nice twang. Using the pecan along with the lump gave it an added boost of sweet and smoky flavors.  Pork steaks have a lot of fat in them which makes them delicious and the vinegar in the glaze helped to cut some of that richness.

This glaze and marinade would also be excellent on bone in chops. This meal cost me under $10 and that my friends means more money for charcoal and beer!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Poblano Burgers!

Had a taste for burgers today. Typically I like mayo, tomatoes, avocado, onion and bacon on mine. So rather than pile each item on separately, I decided to combine all of those items plus lime, cilantro and grated garlic into a guacamole to be placed onto my burger (I was out of bacon - very, very bad).

(Be sure to click on photos for a larger view)

Here my little helper is scraping the flesh from an avocado into a bowl. He loves cooking and can't get enough of it. And I love the fact he loves cooking. Together we make a great team!

We used one diced avocado, 2 tbs Hellmans, juice of one small lime, one chopped plum tomato (seeds and core removed), 2 tbs grated onion, 1 micro planed garlic clove, a dash of Louisana Hot Sauce, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Mixed and let it set in the fridge for a few hours to meld.

I love grilled poblanos, so I decided to char one up real good to add to our ground chuck.

After the poblano had charred, I let it cool in a plastic bag. Once cooled, I removed the seeds, membrane and stem and chopped it up.  Made these patties about 3/4 inch thick. I also made it rustic by design. In my opinion the best burgers are those that are handled the least. I don't compress the meat. I make the patty as loose as possible. Aside from the poblanos, all I used was S&P and little spray butter.

I'm really lovn' Royal Oak Lump. It's char flavor in next to none.

Built a two-zone fire and cleaned my grates real good. I quit buying those expensive scrapers cuz at the end of the day, they all get gunked up. I rather buy these cheapos at Menards and then just throw em away once caked up..

Man, look at that! I love those charred, crisp edges.

I always oil and season my buns with S&P. I Toast them too (Got those tips from Bobby Flay).  Got these light and airy rolls at Valli. They were really fresh.

Final product: Poblano burger, Cape Cod Kettle Cooked Harvest Gold Chips, a Milwaukee's Dill Pickle and an Old Style - and that my friends is how I roll!

This burger was delish! Although crispy bacon bits added to the guacamole would have taken it to the next level for sure.

Happy Friday and thanks for looking.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Grilln' When She's Gone...

The lil woman was out of town on busniess leaving me and the boys foraging for ourselves. Funny how when she leaves I get a list of a 100 do's and don'ts including when and where they need to be, reminders about showers, baths, brushing teeth and even what to and not to feed them. Well that got circular filed real quick.

Nothing beats red meat and fire when she's gone, so in her absence I decided to cook us up some steak and potatoes using my Weber OTG - a real manly-man's cook. Got these boneless choice inch and a half thick  ribeyes from Costco. Prime was more than double the price, so these did just fine.

(Click on the photos for a close-up)

Had my little helper season them up real good. Used salt and pepper only. I was thinking of doing an espresso rub, but decided against it. Sometimes ya just gotta keep it simple.

During the winter it's not easy finding Royal Oak Lump, but I happened to score some at Menards on North Ave. I've started using lump a whole lot more lately and although it burns more quickly, nothing beats the taste. I built a two-zone fire for these bad boys cuz I knew they'd be dripping grease and flar'n up.

Now, because these were over an inch thick, I figured they'd need to cook a total of about 10-12 minutes for rare.

After they were finsihed and while resting, I decided to make a chimichurri sauce to go with the steaks -Yum!  I processed up about a quarter cup of Flora sun dried tomatoes, 1 cup fresh parsley, 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chili flakes, 3 cloves of garlic, Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste and about 1/4 cup of some good quality EVOO.

Nothing beats a good chimchurri sauce. 

Earlier in the day, I had boiled some small golfball size potatoes til fork tender. I then smashed them under a pot to form little patties.

 Smashing them allows for more of the spuds' surface area to come into contact with the grill, hence more char-grilled flavor. I seasoned them up with EVOO, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I threw these directly over the coals for about 5 minutes to char them up real nice.

Well, here's the entire meal plated. And of course I had to have a brew.

Simple, delicious and satisfying!

All in all I do feel a little guilty about throwing away the wife's list, afterall it did have some useful info on it. But the way I see it, the lil woman should be happy that at least we didn't dirty the kitchen. Being married is all about compromise and I'm the king of compromise!

Thanks for looking and happy Friday!

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