Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Grilling is For Fun in the U.S. but Outdoor Cooking Can Be Critical in Other Countries.

My son, Eli, in the Peace Corps in Panama
Thanks to everyone. They made the full amount and are starting on the outdoor stoves. Bless those who help others. 

When my youngest son graduated in Environmental, he decided he wanted to start off with service to the Peace Corps which helps people in other nations. While we may think we are disadvantaged in the United States, that often means that we can't pay for HBO and such. In other places, getting enough food becomes critical.

Coming from a barbecue family, he wanted to try out some cooking and grilling. His options were a camp stove with a gas can if someone carried in the gas and an open fire which is hard on resources in the Rain Forest.

Villagers got together and voted on a project they'd support. Each family will need to donate $30 themselves, and that is HUGE there. The rest of the money will come from generous people who want to help out to make these ovens for the village . . .

Here is a Panamanian Outdoor Stove in Progress

This project will open up the door to so many more food options and also help save Rain Forest resources. I know it will make a huge difference, because I visited. The food was fabulous but only made on top of gas burners. I can only imagine how much they could do with these outdoor cooking ovens.

My son got Dengay ("broken bone" disease caused by a mosquito biting) and a few other things, and he's over half through his tour of two years and three months. This is his big project. Since he's lost 40 pounds, I'm sure he will loved to have some foods baked as well. The villagers live this life every day.

I would not that my son's village was very hospitable, friendly, and happy. Things were a lot more relaxed. Still, food is food, and we all need that. Help out by clicking below if you can. You do not have to give the amounts listed. There is a click to just give a few bucks to help out. Every little bit help. Thanks - The Barbecue Master and her Peace Corps Son

Help Build Some Outdoor Stoves So the Village Has More Nutritional Options and Has Less of an Impact on the Rain Forest

Every Dollar Makes a Huge Difference in a Rural Village of Around 100 People.

Cave Tools Wing Rack & Drip Pan for Barbecue Grilling Wings and Other Parts

Wing Rack with Drip Pan by Cave Tools Company

I had never thought about getting a chicken wing rack. I grill some wings and the chicken drumettes, but I've also been old school, turning and turning. Cave Tools got in touch and asked if I'd test and write about a product if they sent one out. I am pretty over my rain forest fall and leg injury, so I thought I check it out.

The chicken wing rack which will also work for really everything but the breasts which you might cut down and still try turned out to be quite sturdy. The rack part does fold flat, but it is solid and has a connection that holds it in place really nicely.

 Chicken Wings from the IGA - Still Scratching my Head

I ran down to IGA (the only store closer than say 1/2 hour) and grabbed a bag of chicken wings. Some pieces did look like the dumette part of the wing. Other parts . . . I just don't know. The flavor was fine, and the price was good. I do like to do pretty displays. My boys don't care on the displays, so we'll coin toss that next time.

I just slipped the small pieces and parts of chicken into the Cave Tools rack. The rack was rock solid. It was easy to load it up and cook on the rack. I also used a glove and tongs to turn the pan rack around a couple of times for more even cooking.

Saucing Up the Chicken on the PK Grill

When the chicken was down to about 5 to 6 minutes left to grill I  sauced them up, since we wanted hot wings. You can see that sugar based sauce will burn in the pan which is normal. If you want drippings for gravy, for example, do not sauce or pour off your drippings and be ready to use them later as you finish up the saucing.

Yum. Those Were Some Yummy Chicken Wings!

Using the rack which will hold up to twelve pieces was really handy. I enjoyed not having to watch close and turn the small pieces of chicken. For a group, I'd suggest a couple of racks. We ate 8 of 10 here - and the other 2 for a snack.

I'm not used to saving drippings, but this pan will make that super easy. Even if I don't want gravy or drippings on a grilling night, I can free and use those tasty bits and fat for later. I'm trying to do better about no waste grilling and no waste living.

Wing racks were an item I was ho-hum on. I knew I could do it fine without them, but it was so much easier. The juice dripped down through the wings, keeping them very moist. Clean up of the pan was easy, and I'm not ready to getting me some drippings.

Cave Tools has a lot of nice looking tools. I can say for sure that the wing rack is well made and works great. Those were the easiest wings I've made. Add in drippings, and this one is certainly thumbs up.

If you shop at Amazon, then you can pick up the chicken rack there. It would make a great gift for a home griller who does not own one yet. 

And . . . a deal for you! Use code WING15 for 15% off on your very own easy chicken wing rack.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

San Francisco Smoked Whiskey Salt Makes my Steak Spot On

San Francisco Company Whiskey Smoked Salt

I had considered getting some salt and smoking it and then grinding it down, but the San Francisco Salt Co. got in touch, and I discovered the wheel had already been invented. SFSC has smoked salt, and it is not the fake "smoke in a bottle" stuff which I do not like at all. This is naturally smoked salt, and it tastes great.

San Francisco Whiskey Smoked Salt is especially good on steak, particularly high-end, grass-fed cuts like rib steak. I don't want to drown the taste out on a good steak, but it helps to have good quality simple seasonings for the best results.

Below is a rib steak with San Francisco salt and some freshly ground pepper. The only other addition are the two little pieces of butter that are melting on top of the almost done steak. Grass fed beef is leaner, so a very small amount of real butter adds to the taste too.

 Grass Fed Beef with San Francisco Salt, Pepper, and Butter

Some people think salt is salt. That is not the case. As with most things, you get what you pay for. You also can get natural salt San Francisco salt which is healthier as well as being tastier.

This is the first time I've tried smoked salt, and SFSC did send me a bottle to check out. I'm more a pepper girl than salt (just how I roll), but I really loved this salt. I've also heard the pink Himalayan salt from San Fran Salt is fabulous. I'll have to try that out some time. The black truffle also sounds interesting.

I give thumbs up to the San Francisco Smoked Whiskey Salt. It has a delicate flavor and does not overpower my meat which is important with the cost of cuts these days. The whiskey salt just takes the steak up a few notches and will give you a bit of smoke taste even if you don't use charcoal as I typically do.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Barbecue "Fails" from the Experts Including the Barbecue Master

Oops! Fire Gets Out of Hand Due to Full Drip Pan

We all have those huge BBQ fails now and then or even little errors that make the grill-out less than stellar.

Someone forgot to empty the grease holder in the back of the grill before a simple hot dog and hamburger grill out (above), and it took some quick moving to save the day. I jerked the grill door open and cut the gas which worked like a charm. And, I cleaned out the drip box for the owners (who may not have even been aware that it was hidden in the back of the grill).

If you grill much at all, I'm guessing that you have your own barbecue blooper in mind. Or, maybe you are just starting out and want to avoid the most common mistakes.

My friend, Robert Mazarella, put together an excellent guide to the bad and ugly of barbecue by checking in with the experts (including me). Check out his barbecue guide which includes many of the top names in barbecue grilling sharing their tips and hints for outdoor grilling success every time (or most of the time). I know you'll enjoy his barbecue site and his guide for the best barbeques. 

Friday, February 05, 2016

Pendleton Barbecue Sauce - Yes That is Pendleton Whiskey BBQ Sauce

Pendleton Barbecue Sauce - Original and Hot/Spicy

I try not to read much about a barbecue sauce before I do a grill test. I like to see if I can catch the flavor layers without having read them.

It was cold outside, but I wanted to try out Pendleton's BBQ Sauce. I went with boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, because they grill fast. Good thing. If you look close, you will see it started snowing after I put the chicken on the O Grill.

Chicken Tenders with Pendleton Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

I popped the lid on the barbecue sauce, and the smell was fabulous. That does not always mean it's great grilled, but I had high hopes.

Since the chicken would grill quick, I lathered it in Pendleton's and put it right on a small gas grill. It only took a few minutes on each side.

Grilled Chicken with Oregon Growers and Pendelton sauce

Yes. The chicken looked yummy. And, YES, it was delicious. The original is great, but I lean to hot and spicy, so that was my favorite.  There are a number of other flavors too like Brown Sugar and Molasses from Pendleton.

There was one flavor I could not pinpoint, and it was a key flavor. I then went back to the information, and it was the Pendleton whiskey. Bam. I should have guessed that, but I've never had that brand whiskey which is aged in oak barrels using glacier-fed, spring water from Mt. Hood in Oregon. I'll have to see if they carry the whiskey around here, because it sure was a nice mix with barbecue sauce. I'm sure the whiskey would be very good based on the flavor it added to the sauce.

The Oregon Growers & Shippers sent me the barbecue sauce to see what I thought in exchange for an honest review (the only kind I do). They specialize in farm-direct products and have an award winning product line. Hood River Distillers produces the Pendleton Whiskey. They have a number of products in their line too.

I would recommend both sauces for almost anyone. The hot and spicy does have a kick, but I don't think it's too much for most people. If you really can't handle heat, then go for the original.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Bertolli Sauce and Smoked Meatballs on the BBQ Grill - Happy 150th Birthday

 Happy 150th Birthday Bertolli

We have a Italian sauce issue at my house. I love homemade, but my boys think the jarred is better. Go figure. This meant that I was a little worried about trying out Bertolli (which I've not had before), but I thought it would be worth a try. They would send out the beautiful box of their 150th birthday gourmet sauces, and I might or might not find a sauce from a jar that I enjoyed serving and eating.

The box came in, and I was impressed with the packaging. Of course, presentation doesn't matter if the taste/flavor is not there. The new celebration sauces did sound yummy. They include:
 Marinara with Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar with Caramelized Onions
              Asiago Cheese with Artichokes
                            Porcini Mushroom with White Truffle Oil

I decided to go Italian on the Weber Grill with the sauce heated and meatballs smoked. It was hard to select the first sauce to try, but I liked the sound of Porcini Mushroom with White Truffle Oil.

 Bertolli Riserva Porcini Mushroom and White Truffle Oil Sauce

It is possible to do the noodles on the grill. You have to hit a boil and then maintain the heat. It's easier on a gas sideburner though many of those do not put out enough heat. Over charcoal can hit the needed temperatures, but it's hard to keep heat even. A good thick, pot is good for holding the heat.

Since I was not out in the great outdoors, I did my pasta on the stove. It's much easier, so I'd say do that on the stove, unless you are out camping or something.

I did heat the marinara sauce over charcoal to add a little smoke flavor and also grilled meatballs with mushrooms.

 Grilled Meatballs with Bertolli Marinara 

Yum. I was very pleasantly surprised at how good the sauce tasted. The smoke added a nice note, but the basic sauce was excellent. My boys can tell you that I've never said that about any sauce in a jar. I might eat it to humor them, but I don't have to like it. This sauce, I did like as much or more than my own.

I'm glad Bertolli got in touch about their new celebration sauces. I wasn't really sure that I could ever eat sauce from a jar and love it, but that is how I feel about this red sauce. I will be buying Bertolli, and I'm thankful to have found a sauce that I really enjoy.

Friday, October 16, 2015

AC Lens Team Sunglasses Just in Time for Tailgating Season

Eli Sporting Michigan AC Lens Sunglasses

AC Lens asked me about trying out their sunglasses for tailgate season. They have a variety of teams (team names are on the sides of the glass), and there is a sporty version sunglasses you see above and a preppy version sunglasses which you can see below with the Ohio Buckeyes.

The sunglasses come in the $15-$20 range, so I was surprised at how nice they are. They look great in the photos but even better when they come in. 

The clarity on the lenses is excellent. My son commented that things looked better through the glasses than without the glasses. I guess the tinting gives things that extra umph. 

The glasses come with a study carrying case like prescription glasses, and there is a lint free cloth for cleaning the sunglasses.  

I thought the glasses were great and offered great protection, but I wear prescription lenses. That meant that I wanted another opinion looking through the lenses. I'm going to see blurry due to overuse of my eyes I think (all the blogging - haha).

Now I think I've lost my sunglasses. His grandfather lost his nice pair on a trip. Now, where they went, who knows? Anyway, Eli was impressed with the AC sunglasses Michigan, and he looks cooler than I do in them. 

If you want a great pair of football team themed sunglasses for tailgating or just to hang out, I give a thumbs up. Eli gives and even bigger thumbs up, and he's in that college aged crowd (can be hard to please). The company has a great selection, so no matter what kind of sunglasses you are looking for, this would be a good place to check out.

So, you can see this tailgating sunglasses review has a happy ending all 'round.

 New Sunglasses for Me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Johnsonville Heat and Eat Breakfast Sausage Links on the BBQ Grill

Johnsonville Sausage Links - Heat/Brown and Eat

We use Johnsonville brats around here when we tailgate or want a hearty, yummy dinner on the grill, so I thought Johnsonville sausages sounded like a good bet when they offered me a couple of sample packages to try out the new lines.

The Johnsonville sausage links are like the ones you get at restaurants or at the grocery store and generally brown in the frying pan for breakfast. The links would be great for a camp breakfast right on the grill as I did them or on a flat top or grill wok over the coals or gas flames.

Here I went for Johnsonville sausage link appetizers. I shook the sausages up in a zip lock bag with Dizzy Pig barbecue rub. You could use any favorite barbecue rub. I do love Dizzy Pig. Then, I put the sausages on the grill to brown them and set the rub.  This took literally a couple of minutes. My Weber grill fire was hot and ready.

The smoky flavor from the charcoal and the Dizzy Pig rub gave the Johnsonville links a really nice flavor. My son (who prefers mild flavors) loved these as appetizers with lightly spicy mustard. I enjoyed them too but kept wishing I had some scrambled eggs. I guess I'm old and set in some of my flavor ways. I'll make my eggs too next time.

Whether you want good tasting sausage links (and I've had some that were not so tasty) or want to flavor these up with rub and serve them with mustard, the Johnsonville sausage links grill up beatifically and the actual sausage flavor is very nice. I'd like a spicy option, but I can always spice things up.

Johnsonville also has sausage patties out along with the links. I'll have to give those a try too. We love breakfast around here and especially biscuits and sausage gravy.

Johnsonville Sausage Links Grilled with Barbecue Rub

You may also want to try our Johnsonville beer brats recipe. That is one of the family all-time favorite grilling recipes.