Saturday, January 18, 2014

Fabulous Wilton Armetale BBQ Grill Griddle Contest Super Bowl Day 2014


 Win This Great GrillWare Griddle on Super Bowl Sunday 2014

It's been a while since I've done a grilling giveaway contest, but when Kristen asked me about a free Grillware Griddle for a lucky reader of Barbecue Master, I had to jump on that. I have one of the companies woks which I love, so I know the quality on these pieces. Top notch.

I do not get any compensation for the contest. I am on tap to get and review the chili grilling pot from GG and excited about that, but the contest is flat out a gift from the company to the winning reader - no strings. 

I always try to keep my contests simple and non-invasive for readers. In this case, I ask that you visit Grillware Griddle and then tell me in comments. You can visit and like or share at the following:

Facebook Grillware Griddle

Twitter Grillware Griddle

Pinterest Grillware Griddle

Tell me which you did and add the link in my comments. And, yes, you can do all three for three entries. Please do a new comment for each, so it's easier to make the slips for drawing on Super Bowl Sunday. That's the end time of the contest - the end of the game 2014. I wanted to get this one on out there with such a nice piece, but you can enter up until the last second of the game.

Be sure that you include some way to get in touch with your entry. I don't keep and collect your contact data. I just need some way to get in touch if you win. Then, the company will send out the griddle. That's the only direct contact data and only on the winner.

If you're wondering why this griddle is so special, it's a high end metal. It is a lot like cast iron with the great heat retention, but it does not require a lot of special care and does not rust. My wok is slightly darker than when I got it from being on the grill, but it is not real dark. It still looks a lot like the brand new photo.

Do note that you're not supposed to put the griddle in the dishwasher. I don't have one, and I would not do that to high end grilling items.

If you want to expand your grilling, a griddle is a wonderful addition. The Wilton Armetale is top of the line. You will enjoy this grilling accessory for years to come.

Do note that I check my comments. If I don't, I get spam and other bad stuff. My readers do not want to see that. So, you won't see your entry until I click in and check and press post. I wish I did not have to do that, but if I don't check, you would see some really ugly stuff. All real people get clicked in. Thanks.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mr. Grill Gloves - Kind of Like Ove Gloves but for Grilling

Mr Grill Gloves

I'm a cooking and grilling glove freak. My skin is sensitive, and I'm really careful to use good gloves. So, when Rizzi asked if I'd like to check out Mr. Grill outdoor cooking gloves, I read up on them and decided I'd like to give them a try. She sent me a pair for an honest review (which is the only type I'll do).

Kitchen cooks may notice these look a bit like Ove Gloves which I enjoy in the kitchen. My aunt sent me a pair for Christmas several years back. I don't think I've reviewed them, but they are great for indoors.

Mr. Grill went with black instead of the beige of indoor kitchen gloves which is good. Outdoor gloves are going to get dirty. A bonus is that these can go in the washing machine. I love my Lodge Grill gloves, but they are leather and look grungy, but I can't wash them. Add a plus to Mr. Grill gloves for being washable.

The outer part of the Mr. Grill grilling gloves is made to not catch fire. Your kitchen mitts are not. You save money by getting actual grill gloves, because kitchen gloves and mitts will scorch or burn. 

As far as temperatures, Mr. Grill gloves protect up to 622 degrees. That's a pretty random number, and I did not test for temps. The grill gloves work great for grilling. I have not used a Dutch Oven in quite a while and likely would go with the Lodge gloves, since those temps go really high at times. Most people are not doing DO unless in Boy Scouts, so that's not a real issue here. If you're a backyard griller, you seldom get super hot temps. If you do, you likely know to use heavy duty or fireman outdoor gloves for the real hot jobs.

I didn't see a size for the Mr. Grill gloves, so I'm guessing "one size fits all." Here is a photo with my hand against the grill glove.






Since I'm female, I should mention that my fingers are as long as most guys. I'd say 9 of 10 guys - my fingers would be the same length. I got my long fingers from my Dad. My fingers are not thick though (ring size is 7 to 7.5 - about average for females).

You can see that the Mr. Grill gloves would fit virtually any hand when you consider my finger length. Inside I have around 1/4 extra space at the ends. Perhaps a little more if I had to push.

The fingers of the gloves are lined. They slide right on for me, since my fingers are slim. I'd say if you had thicker fingers, you'd have to tug a bit to get in the gloves.

For a glove model, I really love Mr. Grill grilling gloves. If I want to get in and out fast, I like the Oxo mitten style. That's usually in the summer and on a quick grill. In colder weather and with a lot to grill, then I'd go with gloves. And, Mr. Grill gloves work great. They come in a pair (and many of the grill gloves and mittens are sold as singles), so the price is quite good as well.

I don't sell products, but you can get Mr. Grill gloves at Amazon. Just put the name in search. They are very well made, and I was impressed with them. I think you will be too.


Saturday, August 10, 2013

World Peas - Good Snack While You Barbecue


World Peas - Bringing Peas to the World

I know there is a lot of pea hate out there. I attribute that to the big mushy peas served in school cafeterias across the country. Those are dreadful and taste NOTHING like peas picked at the right time. I've grown garden peas and turned several pea haters to pea lovers.

World Peas (Bringing Peas to the World) has set out to bring peas to everyone in a snack bag with a variety of different international flavors like Hungarian Garlic, Sichuan Chili and Bombay Curry as well as classics from the States like Ranch and Bacon.

They peas are healthy all natural snacks and have antioxidants. You don't get any trans fat and no cholesterol. Some of the varieties are gluten free and some Kosher (but not all - so double check).

If you've had Wasabi peas, then you have the general idea here. But, World Peas are not shockingly hot. You get a range of flavors with some pretty strong and others quite mild. I like them all, but I think the Ranch may be my favorite.

For grilling, you can add some crunch and flavor to your meats or vegetables by crunching up any flavor of World Peas. Just put some in a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin or mallet to make them into crumbles.



Of course, you need something to make the World Pea crumbles stick. In this case, I used olive oil, lime juice, and honey. I let the chicken marinate in the zip bag about 30 minutes and then put them on the grill. Note that these are boneless chicken tender pieces so are small. I'd not put the oil and honey on beforehand if doing bigger pieces of chicken, or the outside would burn.

 

We've also enjoyed World Peas topped on salad. They give a nice extra crunch without piling on the calories. Here you see the Ranch flavor on a salad made from our garden.

 
Ranch World Peas on a Home Garden Salad

My son is a Ranch dressing fan from the get go, so he especially liked this flavor. I thought this was a great flavor as well. I also think the Hungarian Garlic is good on salads, and that is what I used on the grilled chicken too.

Although I've used the peas in some dishes, they are great right out of the bag. It takes a long time to smoke large cuts of meats, and the peas make a nice snack. They are easy to carry. They don't spoil. They are not messy. And, they taste great. I've put them out as an appetizer for cook outs, and they are quite popular with friends and family.


Easy, Yummy, and Nutritious Snack

The zip bags (which are actually easy to zip shut unlike most snacks I've found) that the peas come in are nice looking, but I like to put the peas in a pretty snack bowl for guests. If you don't have a nice little snack bowl, then this one came from Good Will and was a quarter. It matches my eyes, and it's one of my favorite bowls for one of my new favorite snacks.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Omaha Steaks - A Company I've Really Liked for About a Decade


 
Beef Strip Loin Steaks on the Grill from Omaha Steaks
 
The first time I ever ordered meat online was from OmahaSteaks. This was in the dinosaur ages of online – maybe 8 to 10 years back. Many companies were offering coupons, and I was shopping up an online storm and starting to find my voice online with some review companies and then my own blog (before many people had even heard the term blog).

Can You Really Get Good Meat Online?

I sent in an Omaha Steak order and crossed my fingers. I live in a town of 800 people (give or take one two now and then), and meat by mail sounded very odd. I was not sure what to expect or if the meat would even arrive way out here. I was also rather nervous about getting food products by way of the internet and snail mail.

Omaha Steaks made me a believer. They sent really good meat and sides (which were on special) right out and in perfect condition when they arrived on my porch. I still use the bonus cutting board they added as an incentive.

A Random Note to a Company I’ve Known for Years

Here recently I left a message on the Omaha Steak Facebook page about some social media issues. That’s what I teach. Basically I just made a suggestion.

There was a message to get back in touch, but I had an eye infection and then was scheduled for vacation. I didn’t have the energy or time to get in touch, but Paul hunted me down. I’m easy to find actually, since I’ve been online for ages. Still, that does take effort on the part of a company employee.

I was impressed that Paul who works social media for Omaha Steaks took the time to find me though and get more details about my quick comment on FaceBook. I was glad to share as I’ve always been. Many of you may know my day job is teaching (including social media), and I always enjoy chatting about my view of how writers/bloggers can work well with small startups to big companies.  No strings. That’s just the teacher in me.

A Surprise for Calling it the Way I See It

Paul did send me a thank you box from Omaha Steaks for taking the time to share from the blogger side and from the years I’ve worked and taught about online.

He sent steak and the potato balls that my younger son think are the best ever (like he can eat the whole pack of twelve if we’d let him). Paul also sent some of the big Omaha Steak burgers and the berry tartlets which I think may be new (as I’d not seen them), but he said they were a favorite at his house.

Party Night Before My Younger Son Goes Off to College

Tonight I decided to celebrate with my younger son headed off to his first apartment at college, and I grilled the Beef Strip steaks Loin from Omaha Steaks and (of course) made the potato balls. He’s the one who could always eat the whole pack if not reined in. He ate all his other food and saved the potato balls for last like dessert.

I nailed the steak even though I got caught in a thunder and hail storm. My older son said he loved the New York Strip and that they were spot on (medium – our family favorite).  The flavor was really spot on, and these steaks had almost no fat. Maybe one to two teaspoons. But, they were still marbled and full of flavor.  Quite impressive. I can’t remember what I ordered prior, but I don’t this was the cut. I would recommend the NY Strip from Omaha Steak.
 
Always Nice To Nail the Grilling on a Very Nice Cut of Steak

Eli, my younger son, had four of the potato balls and was quite the happy camper. I must confess to also loving the potato balls but hold back, since the kid loves them so much.
 
 
Omaha Steak Potato Balls - My Son Adores These (and I do too)
Paul also put in some mixed berry tarts. He said they were a favorite at his house, so I was thinking they must be really good.
I did not cook them on this same night, because we were quite full after the big dinner. Also, I did them in the oven. I'm sure I could do a closed lid grill on the desserts, but I wanted to try them per the directions. 
 
Mixed Berry Tart by Omaha Steaks
The tart was heaven on a plate. I don't make pastry dough that good, and the mix of berries was just perfect. The older son was here the afternoon I made these, and he was very impressed. Although these are specifically grill food, I have to say they are wonderful. I can see why Paul's family love these.
 
Companies That Listen

I gave a thumbs up to Omaha Steaks years ago. We’ve never had any contact until I made a quick comment about how they do social media. It was just a quick tip, and I was surprised Paul took the time to find me and to get more details. That is impressive today when companies often farm out any contact with customers and leave you on hold and then have someone talking who does not even understand Southern English very well.

The only thing I can think of that I’d change at Omaha Steaks is to put the directions on the bags inside the boxes. Not all foodies have big freezers. I have to unbox products to fit them in, and then I have to remember the directions or cut out and save the side section of the boxes with the time and temps. This is really just the side dishes. The meat – no issue. Something like the potato balls, it would help to just print the directions on the bag inside the box. That would be easy to do. (Note: See the comment section - Paul sent directions to where you can find cooking instructions. He said he had the freezer jam problem too.) 
 
 
Not All Foodies/Chefs Have a Ton of Space (maybe some day I will)

Thoughts on Omaha Steaks

Every order I’ve made from Omaha Steaks has been a good experience. They mail fast and pack carefully. The foods are delicious. I’ve never had company contact from Omaha Steaks until now, and that was a very nice experience too. I told Paul that I had been a fan for years, and I don't fudge on that. As always, I call it the way I see it. It's nice when some listens. Thanks.

McCormick Grilled Lemon Pepper Herb Shrimp Party


 
Shrimp with McCormick Lemon Pepper Herb Seasoning

It’s rained here almost all summer, so since we had a sunny day, we decided to have a barbecue party. After looking through the McCormick Grillerhood recipes, the Grilled Lemon Pepper Herb Shrimp Kabobs caught my eye.
Everyone in the family loves shrimp, and we don’t get it very often as we’re not real close the coast. My son went into town and was able to find a couple of pounds.

The boys and I also picked fresh garden vegetables. We had green peppers, squash, and red beans ready. The recipe calls for a mix of vegetables. We enjoyed our combination, but I’m sure there are loads of combos that would be great with the shrimp.

This recipe is super easy. All we had to do was marinate the shrimp and vegetables with some olive oil and McCormick Grill Mates Lemon Pepper with Herbs. We just loaded up a zip lock bag and shook to coat the vegetables and shrimp.  Super simple.
 
Grill Wok is Quicker and Easier for a Party

I used a small gas grill tonight and added some pecan wood chips in an aluminum foil cup. You just make your own little cup to hold the wood chips and add some extra smoke flavor to the grilled food. That was placed under the edge of the grill wok. Using wood chips for flavor is just one of the many great tips from the McCormick Flavor Forecast.
 
 
Flavor Up Your Food with Tips from McCormick - Adding Wood Chips Adds Flavor
This is actually a kabob recipe, but I find it so much easier to use a grill wok for a party that I did my shrimp in my wok. You get the same flavor. It’s just quicker and easier if you’re grilling for several people.

The shrimp and vegetables came out just right. I did stir a few times to make sure everything was grilled evenly. The end result was shrimp and veggies with some tasty crusting from the lemon pepper and herbs.


 
Set Up and Ready for a McCormick Barbecue Party

We set up for the party. In addition to the McCormick shrimp dish, I made a pot of rice as a bed for the shrimp/vegetables and cut up fresh British melon from our garden and peaches from a local stand. Sweet potato rolls rounded out the meal.
 
Main Dish - McCormick Shrimp with Vegetables from My Garden

The shrimp recipe made quite a statement served in a colorful dish, and everyone was hurrying to get the drinks poured so that the McCormick party could start.
 
 
Time to Dig In as We All Enjoy the Grillerhood

As you can see, I did not have to ring a dinner bell to get the crowd out to the picnic table. Everyone was looking forward to digging in.

The shrimp and vegetables were awesome. The McCormick Lemon Pepper with Herbs was perfect with shrimp. It’s hard to beat some lemon flavor with seafood. The pepper gave it a little extra zip, and the subtle herbs just brought it all together.

We pretty well cleaned the table out. There was a little rice left over that a certain puppy was thrilled to get as a treat.

If you’ve not tried out Grill Mates by McCormick, they have some really awesome flavors to spice up your grilling. It’s also helpful to have the McCormick Grill Mates Facebook page which features a ton of delicious recipes and has search functions to find just what you have on your mind when the grilling urge hits you.

 
*Please note that I’m a paid ambassador for McCormick this summer and that I got some seasonings for free (but purchased the McCormick Lemon Pepper Herb out of pocket). As always I do give my honest thoughts and opinions.

 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blaze 21 Grill Grate Cleaning Brush Review - Nice Quality Grill Brush




Ugh! Dirty Grill Grates are No Fun

I love to grill, but cleaning grates is not such a good time. Since I use a lot of marinades and sauces, I end up doing a lot of grill cleaning.

Finding good grill grate brushes has been a challenge. Some don't last more than one of two cleanings, and that gets expensive.

John Fazio, owner of Flameria which is a new barbecue tool company, sent an email and asked if I'd like to try out his grill brush - Blaze 21 now at Amazon. I like working with new companies. They often have some of the very best stuff. I'd told him I'd be glad to give it a try, so he sent me out a free brush.


Blaze 21 Grill Brush

When the package arrived, my O Grill needed cleaned up as you can see. So, I opened up the package and got to work.

I heated the grill first, since we were ready to grill immediately. Sometimes I pull them cold and use Goo Gone grill cleaner. That works well too.

The handle on the Blaze is 21 inches long, so that made it easy to use on a heated grill. It was very sturdy and took the ick right off. With the groves here, I turned the brush sideways and got between the grooves too. That was a good idea to have the bristles up the sides as well.


Much Cleaner Grill Grate

As you can see, the Blaze 21 grill brush worked very well. There are a few spots I could touch up. I only cleaned about three minutes here, so if I wasn't in a hurry to get a meal on, I could have this grate looking brand new with this grill brush.

I can't say how this (or any other grill cleaning brush) will hold up long term. I can say that the Blaze 21 bristles did not mash down like some I've used. And, I was brushing hard to get this grate ready for some grilled chicken. It is definitely better in terms of quality than most I've tried.




Friday, July 26, 2013

Grilled Chicken with Herdez Mexican Cooking Sauce Tomatillo Verde


Dinner - Grilled Chicken with Herdez Tomatillo Verde

Herdez contacted me to see if I'd like to sample their line. I've not seen it, but a couple of my Facebook BBQ buddies said it's the max. My griller friends never steer me wrong, so I got the samples and then thought about what I'd grill up.

The Herdez sauces are Mexican cooking sauces so would more traditionally be used for indoor cooking, but you really can use almost anything I can think of outside on the grill that you can inside. And, it's more fun cooking outdoors.


Tomatillo Verde, Lime, and Cilantro Marinade

Herdez has a range of Mexcian cooking sauces, but my son really loves tomatillos. I thought I'd toss it with chicken strips (fast food grilling) and add a little lime and cilantro.

I let the chicken sit for about 20 minutes on the counter, and boy was it smelling good while I was cooking up a pot of white rice.


 Herdez Chicken Hot Off the Grill

I grilled the chicken strips (here's how to grill chicken strips). They came out really pretty. Though you can't see much as far as the green color, you got the flavor kick was really nice.

We all loved the chicken right off the grill but did add more of the tomatillo verde sauce at the table. It was so yummy, we wanted more flavor than just lightly on the outside although the marinade set the stage for the chicken to taste especially good. The cooking sauce just had such a nice taste - faint heat but not a lot. It's hotter if you add more for dipping.


If you're not familiar with Herdez, here's the jar to look for. I'm going to check here and see if I can find Herdez. The Tomatillo Verde was a thumbs up all round on the grilled chicken, and I already have several other ideas of things I'd like to try out with this yummy cooking sauce.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Grilled Loaded Nachos with El Restaurante Nacho Chips

 
El Restaurante Nacho Chips

Courtney with Tim's Cascade Snacks sent me a free bag of nacho chips to try out. I test out products from time to time, and since the whole family loves Mexican food, this seemed like a good bet.

The idea with these new nacho chips was to have chips like you'd get at an authentic Mexican restaurant. I know they are better out than what we usually get in a bag, so I was hoping . . .


Grilled Loaded Nachos with El Restaurante Nacho Chips

We decided to go with loaded nacho chips on the grill which is a quick and easy dish and very tasty too.

How To Make Grilled Nacho Chips

First I put the chips down and added around a pound of cooked and drained ground hamburger mixed with a pack of taco seasoning.

The guys put on some of their favorite toppings, and then we added cheese. In this case, it's basic cheddar cheese.

The guys again added some toppings. You can kind of see the dividing line between the son who loves hot and spicy peppers and the one who goes for black olives.

I put the pan in the grill and put the lid down. I checked every few minutes, since these get done super fast. It can take less than five minutes if the grill is pretty hot. When the cheese is melted, the nachos are done. Just that easy.


Grilled Nacho Chips Ready to Eat

Our El Restaurante nachos were ready, and we had homemade guacamole, salsa, and sour cream on the side. We also had a few chips left for dipping in our condiments.

 
 Dinner at Our House with Grilled El Restaurante Nachos and a Hand Tossed Salad

The El Restaurante Tortilla Chips were absolutely fabulous. They are the best nacho chips I've had even comparing to ones made at Mexican restaurants. They have a nice full 100% corn flavor, and the sea salt is just perfect on the nacho chips. These chips are all natural with no preservatives, no added colors, and no trans fats, so that's an extra bonus.

We don't have these chips locally yet, but I'll look for them. They are sold in Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas right now. I did look them up and found that they can be purchased soon online in the restaurant style or the rounds at Tim's Cascade Snacks.

If you see a bag of these tortilla chips, be sure to pick up a bag. I'm sure you'll be impressed. They got all thumbs up here, and the guys hate we're out now.