Friday, July 29, 2011

How Noah Greenberg Picked His Perfect Grill with Grill Comparison

How do you decide which grill is your best buy? That’s a question that many consumers ask. Today, Noah shares his story about picking out a grill that works best for him and for his grilling needs.

Noah Greenberg Loves His New Napoleon Grill Found with Grill Comparison

How I Selected my Gas Grill
By Noah Greenberg

When recently on a mission to find a new grill to buy, I had a striking revelation; getting a new barbeque is an amazingly exciting, yet daunting process. Although I was sad to see the old one part (too many memories, too many steaks), all I could think about was what the new one would look like, what features it would have (who wouldn’t want a grease managing system?), and of course, what would be the first thing I cooked on it.

Gas Barbeque Grill Comparison Tool

The truth is, there are hundreds of gas grills out there, and not all grills are created equal. Fortunately, I used this great new Grill Comparison released by FindTheBest to compare my options. FindTheBest compares just about everything, and their new Gas Grill Comparison really provides a great way to compare your options. With over 140 grills to compare, they’ve got all the top manufacturers, and then some.

There are plenty of different things to think about when researching new grills, and fortunately the tool covers them all. Sift through your options by Fuel Type, MSRP, Features, number of burners and more. You can even filter by the cheapest grills, then click a few features that you’re looking for and see what grills show up in the search results.

Finally, with a unique BTU’s per square inch feature, you can even ensure that you’re not getting a grill with a huge cooking area but no burner power.

Next time you’re in the market for a barbeque, make sure to check out this grill comparison tool to see what’s out there that fits exactly what you’re looking for.

Not Exactly Sure What Grill Is Right For You?

There’s even a fantastic Guide Me feature that lets you pick how much you value certain features, and FindTheBest will suggest six grills that fit your preferences. That’s how I picked my grill, and these six grills were suggested, and I ended up with the Napoleon Ultra Chef. Napoleon isn’t paying me, but I’ll just say that I may have found the best…

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Country Chef Grilling Sauce Original Recipe - BBQ Sauce Review

Grilled Chicken with Country Chef Original Sauce

We enjoyed some delicious Country Chef original barbecue sauced chicken before we headed out to the beach (what fun - that). It was a quick and easy meal that is much faster than fast food, since we live out in the country and have to drive into town to get carry out.

Mike sent me his set of sauces to check out, and I grilled pork chops with his Country Chef Chipotle for our first grill out with the sauce collection. I'm a sucker for heat, and I didn't find the sauce to be very hot but was quite impressed with how it was so fresh and like home canned.

The original flavor has the same small batch look and feel, and it is a little milder in terms of heat than the first one I tried. I don't see this as a heat freak line, and since it's available at some grocery stores now like Ingles, then it would be pretty crazy to go scorching the mainstream population. I find few people who really go wild for flavors that make them break a sweat, but there are a few of us . . . On the flip side, I adore good and balanced flavor in general, and Country Chef nails that.

Chicken Off the Grill with Country Chef BBQ Sauce

Our quick grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts with Country Chef original sauce hit the spot before we left and ended up eating a lot of road food and sandwiches on vacation. The chicken really doesn't have a whole lot of flavor plain, but it's healthy. When you add a nice sauce like Country Chef's, then the grilled meal then pops.

What I love about Country Chef sauces is that they do taste like they were made out in the country by someone who cares and knows how to make canned foods. The grilling sauces are excellent, but I think I like them even more as condiments on the table. So, you can consider these great table dips as well. We just did a combo - grilled with the sauce and then added more at the table.

Country Chef Grilling Sauce

It's dark outside, so I can't get a nice shot of the original Country Chef Grilling Sauce. Here is what the jar looks like (for the chipolte), so you can eyeball it know what to look for when you go shopping for tasty barbecue sauce.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Meatballs with Fischer & Wieser Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

Fischer & Wiser Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce

I have been looking forward to trying out Fischer & Weiser's Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce. Toni sent me out a sample bottle right before I went to the beach. The packaging is really nice, and the sauce looks beautiful through the glass.

Raspberry Barbecue Sauce

It's easier to see what the Fischer & Weiser looks like when I have it poured in the bowl to sauce up some MOINK grilled meatballs. The color is just great, and you can see that the sauce looks home canned with the chunks of raspberry clearly visible.

The smell was great, so I had a quick taste before I started grilling. Wow. This sauce tastes like candy. Honestly, I could have kept eating right out of the jar. But, that would not be a very balanced dinner, so I put on the MOINKs.

MOINKs Ready to Go on the Grill to Slow Smoke

Larry at Barbecue Grail came up with MOINKs which are Moo (hamburger) and OINK (bacon) - hence the name. They are really simple to make. Just buy or make meatballs and wrap a half slice of bacon around. Secure with a toothpick (soak those in water for 20 minutes so they don't burn). Grill or smoke slowly until the meat is close done. Sauce. Finish grilling until the sauce caramelizes.

Sauced Up Barbecue Meatballs with Bacon

I was talking on the phone and ran late getting our meatballs on the grill, but they smoke pretty quickly. They can go right on the grates, but I find it easiest to use my grill wok. With the lid down on the grill at medium heat, the meatballs barbecue even and don't even need turned. On the grates, I usually have to turn them.

Here you can see that I added the Roasted Raspberry Barbecue Sauce to the MOINKs. I used a brush, but I sometimes use tongs and lift and dip each one and then put them back in. Either method works fine.

Grilled Meatballs with Raspberry BBQ Sauce

My son was starving, so he dove right in. I was close behind. We both thought the Fischer & Wieser Roasted Raspberry Chipotle Sauce was great on the MOINKs. The very sweet flavor with only a slight hint of heat went just right with the meats. They were some of the best MOINKs we've had.

This barbecue sauce would be good where you want a nice sweet kick. The MOINKs are excellent, and I'd say the sauce would go very well with chicken and pork too. Frankly, I think it would be good on hot homemade biscuits just out of the oven as well or even ice cream.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Durn Good Ann's Marinade Review - A Very Different Grilling Marinade

Durn Good Ann's Marinade by D.J. Hoch's of North Carolina

If you are looking for a different flavored grilling marinade, then Durn Good Ann's Marinade definately fits the bill.

This is one of the products that I got with a birthday gift certificate my son gave me for A Southern Season which is a really great gourmet food and cooking store in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. My son took me over when I was there to visit, and I had a blast getting products that I certainly can't find here in a small town.

It's hard to find good marinades and especially hard to find any that really are unique. We often use Kraft Zesty Italian dressing which works quite well, but I like to have different flavors so that our foods don't end up all tasting the same time after time.

The Durn Good Ann's Marinade says "A Cumin Spiced Taste Bud Treat" on the bottle. I think that's what caught my eye when I was at the store and browsing the marinade and barbecue sauce isle.

The Durn Good marinade was developed by the owner of the company and was initially mixed up for wild game. It's listed as a marinade for chicken, dove, pork, and quail. The directions call for marinating overnight, but if you're doing boneless, skinless chicken like I did, then you don't need that much marinating time. I just marinated the chicken around an hour.

Grilled Chicken on a Weber Kettle with Durn Good Marinade

When I opened the bottle of Ann's Durn Good Marinade, it definately smelled different from other marinades I'd used. I've never had marinade with cumin as a keynote, and I doubt I would have guessed the scent even though I use cumin in chili and other hearty dishes.

I grilled the boneless chicken breasts as usual sans barbecue saucing, since I wanted to taste the flavor of the marinade.

The chicken smelled really good grilling, and the marinade which also includes soy sauce really browned up nice as the chicken was grilling.

Grilled Chicken with NC Durn Good Marinade

I never say much about the products I'm using when I grill before serving and letting everyone try out the food. I don't want to slant the reactions.

When I took my first bite of the chicken, I thought, "Hum. Yes. This is different."

The guys all noted the same.

It took a few bites to really adjust and get a feel and taste for this marinade, since it's unlike anything else I've put on grilled chicken before.

We continued with our dinner and were just chatting like usual. The plate of chicken was disappearing pretty fast. By the end of the meal, I'd decided that Durn Good marinade was a keeper. I asked the guys what they thought after the meal. Thumbs up all 'round.

If you don't like to branch out much when you're grilling, then you may not want to go with Durn Good Ann's Marinade. It certainly is unique. It took my family a few bites to really appeciate the flavors and react.

It would be interesting to try this on wild game as was the original intent. I don't have any, but I would think the bold flavors would go well with wild meat. I don't see deer specifically listed, but I could see this marinade mixed with my venison mini meatloafs on the grill.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

1001 Best Grilling Recipes by Rick Browne - BBQ Grilling Book Review

1,001 Best Grilling Recipes by Rick Browne

Rick Browne, from the PBS grilling TV series "Barbecue America," has put together the biggest collection of grilling recipes I've seen to date. His book is around an inch and half thick and packed full of page after page of recipes for the barbecue grill.

Jali asked if I'd like to try out Rick's new book (this is his 8th). I'm always looking for new grilling ideas and recipes, and I figured there would have to be many things I'd not tried with 1001 grilling recipes.

I was correct. I play around with my grills all the time, but I found loads of new ideas in this grill cookbook. Rockport Lobster and Shrimp Burgers - yum! Then, there's a whole chapter on game birds, goosse, and duck. That's an area where I've not really ventured, but I'm looking forward to trying some of those recipes but probably when the weather gets a little cooler.

The sections in 1,001 Best Grilling Recipes include:

Fish and Shellfish
Game Birds, Goose, and Duck
Hot Dogs and Sausages
Rubs and Seasonings
Side Dishes
Wild Game

The book is also indexed well which makes it much easier to use than some grilling cookbooks I've checked out.

Inside 1001 Best Grilling Recipes

Do note that this is not an "eye candy" cookbook. You do not get the coffee table effect with big, slick pages and full color photos.

This is an actual grilling cookbook packed with recipes - page after page of recipes. For those who know the basics of grilling, then this is an ideal way to get new ideas and recipes. For beginning grillers, then perhaps a more basic grilling book would be the best starting point and then this cookbook offers many ways to branch out and step it up once the basics are mastered.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Barbecue Base by Shirley J - Mix and Make Your Own BBQ Sauce or Great for RV or Camping

BBQ Sauce Mix by Shirley J

When Amanda contacted me about Shirley J's just-add-water (or whatever you like) BBQ Sauce Mix, I was curious. I could see the ideas for making custom barbecue sauce mixes or for traveling, camping, or RVing with barbecue sauce mix (without the weight and glass bottles). Amanda asked if I'd like to try it out and share my thoughts with Barbecue Master blog readers, and I thought this would be a really good product to check out.

The container of BBQ Sauce Mix came in, and it's a generous container of sauce mix. The container you see above is about 8 inches high and around 4 inches all around. With the standard mix of one part Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix to three parts water, that's a lot of barbecue sauce in the cabinet and ready to make fresh whenever I want.

Grilled Chicken with Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix

I often test out barbecue sauces with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or grilled chicken tenders. They are easy to grill, quick, and I can really taste the flavors of barbecue sauces, since the chicken is mild as far as flavor grilled this way.

It was super simple to put 1/4 cup of the Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix in a mixing cup and then top it off with water to the one cup measure and stir well. The result was a nice basic barbecue sauce close to a mop sauce in terms of texture. In other words, the sauce was fairly thin (like traditional NC barbecue sauces) at one part powder to three parts water. But, you can use more powder for a thicker sauce or use other ingredients to make variations.

The flavor of the Shirley J BBQ Sauce Mix was nice. This is one that would be fine for all family and friends. It's mild but does have flavor.

On the second grill, I used Shirley J BBQ Mix but mixed it with butter and beer on burgers. I heated my custom mixture in a sauce pan and then let the burgers sit in the homemade mix marinade. Again, the sauce was good.

Ideas for Using Shirley J Just-Add-Water BBQ Sauce Mix

I checked out the Shirley J web site and also the sales brochure (which you see above). The company provides good ideas and recipes for using the mixes. That's always nice.

The thing I like best about the barbcue sauce mix is that it keeps on the shelf and travels really well. That's great for people who camp or RV and also if you don't go through a whole lot of barbecue sauce quick (like I do).

The second big plus I see is that this is a base barbecue sauce, and you can add your own signature to the sauce. Be creative with the liquids and with seasonings and such. You can have a new experience for every cook out or can keep track and keep adjusting until you hit on the perfect barbecue sauce for your own personal tastes.

Potato Grill Pack with Shirley J Onion Seasoning

Amanda also included some Onion Seasoning by Shirley J. I generally have fresh onions, but I didn't last week. I was making an aluminum foil pack of potatoes to go on the grill, and I wanted some flavor. I sprinkled on the Shirley J Onion Seasoning, and that worked out really well on our potato grill packs. Again, this is a nice shelf or travel option over fresh vegetables. And, it saved me a trip to the grocery store.

Shirley J has been around since 1978 (oh - the memories from that year), but they are just now offering the mixes to home cooks and grillers. They had been focusing on restaurants, so you may well have had some of these products when you've been eating out. Now, you can get the mixes at home and for travel.

Shirley J has loads of mixes including ones for breads and also sauces. One that caught my eye was the Universal Sauce. That one can be used to make white sauces or to make gravy with biscuits. I make homemade biscuits and gravy, but it's a lot of work especially for a big group. One of the ladies at church who is a great cook told me that making white gravy for a group works out better if you "get a mix" and keep it warming in a crock pot. I suspect she has discovered Shirley J. I'll have to ask next time I see her.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Special Preview - Guy Fieri's Cuban-Style Grilled Spare Ribs with Mojo Sauce

Just in time for the weekend, here's a special preview of the not-yet-released grill recipe from Guy Fieri provided by the National Pork Board.

As you may know, I enjoy grilling pork from boneless pork chops to loins with bacon weaves, and I'm looking forward to trying out Fieri's spare ribs as well as his new barbecue sauces just out in 2011.

Cuban-Style Grilled Spare Ribs with Mojo Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Guy Fieri on behalf of the National Pork Board

Cuban-Style Grilled Spare Ribs with Mojo Sauce

* 8 pounds pork spare ribs, trimmed of excess surface fat, silverskin removed, cut into 5 or 6 slabs

* 2 tablespoons granulated garlic

* 1 tablespoon kosher salt

* 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Mojo Sauce

* 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

* 1/3 cup fresh orange juice

* 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

* 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

* 3 garlic cloves, minced

* 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

* 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

* 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

* 1 tablespoon honey

* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

* Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

How to Make and Grill Fieri's Cuban-Style Spare Ribs

Preheat an outdoor grill for indirect medium heat. For a gas grill, remove cooking grates. Preheat grill on high. Turn one burner off. Place disposable aluminum foil pan over off burner and add 2 cups water. Replace grates. Adjust heat to medium (350°F). For a charcoal grill, place disposable aluminum foil pan on one side of charcoal grate; add 2 cups water. Build fire on opposite side, and let burn until coals are coated with white ash. Spread coals in grill opposite pan and let burn 15-20 minutes. Position cooking grate in grill.

Mix granulated garlic, salt, and pepper a together in a small bowl to make a basic seasoning mix (the bright, bold flavor will come later from the mojo sauce). Season ribs all over, rubbing seasoning into the ribs well. Arrange ribs over foil pan (a rib rack works great) and cover the grill. Grill, turning occasionally, until the ribs are nicely browned and the meat is beginning to pull away from the bones, about 1 1/2 hours. (For a charcoal grill, add 12 briquettes to coals after 45 minutes.) This gets the ribs nice and smoky for a great base flavor.

Carefully transfer ribs to a platter. Wrap each slab in a double thickness of aluminum foil. Crimp foil edges to seal packet. Return the ribs to indirect medium heat. (For charcoal grill, add 12 more briquettes to coals.) Cover and grill ribs until very tender (caused by steam in foil), about 1 hours.

Meanwhile, make mojo sauce. Process ingredients in blender into smooth sauce, and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate to blend flavors, at least 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning once more just before serving. Makes about 1 1/3 cups.

Return ribs to platter. Carefully unwrap ribs--the ribs will be very steamy and hot, so take care--and discard foil. (Ribs can be prepared up to 1 hour ahead at this point. Or cool, cover, and refrigerate for up to 4 hours.)

Prepare a hot fire in grill. (For a charcoal grill, build a fresh fire, let burn until coals are covered with ash.) Return unwrapped ribs to grill and cover. Grill, flipping occasionally, until sizzling, 6 to 8 minutes.

Transfer ribs to a carving board and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into individual ribs and place on a clean platter. Serve ribs with mojo sauce, allowing each guest to spoon sauce over ribs to taste.

Prep: 30 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
Serves: 6

Nutritional Information per Serving:

Calories: 670 Fat: 34g Saturated Fat: 9g
Cholesterol: 275mg Sodium: 1210mg Carbohydrates: 7g
Protein: 78g Fiber: 0g

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Summer Fun BBQ Giveaway - Gear and GC - Enter by 7/10/2011

The 4th of July has come and gone, but the good times still roll with my Barbecue Master Summer Fun BBQ giveaway. I'm really excited about this contest and all the great prizes.

Prize Bundle List - WOW! - Great Stuff You Can Win

* Guy’s new cookbook- Guy Fieri Food: Cookin’ It, Livin’ It, Lovin’ It

* Four (4) big, bold BBQ sauces featured in Guy's BBQ Sampler Set

* The ultimate grilling tool set

* Digital thermometer

* $25 American Express gift card to purchase pork or what you want at a local retailer

Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It by Guy Fieri

You'll find lots of inspiration in Guy Fieri's new cookbook. This is a big hardback cookbook packed full of yummy recipes and great photos.

Inside Guy Fieri's New Cookbook

Doesn't this Red Rocker Margarite Chicken look delicious? It's just one of many recipes in the cookbook ranging from poultry and seafood to pizza/pasta and dishes especially for kids.

Guy Fieri's New Line of Barbecue Sauces

In addition to the Fieri cookbook, you'll also get the sampler of his barbecue sauces. Readers may recall that I reviewed his North Carolina #6 which is a really nice sauce reflective of my area of the country.

Get Your Grill on with a Nice Barbecue Tool Set

When you're out at the grill saucing up some pork chops or chicken, you need tools. The gift bundle also includes this heavy duty BBQ tool collection.

Add a Digital Thermometer to that Prize Pack

To make sure that all your grilled foods come out perfect, you also get a ditial grill thermometer.

Hungry Yet?

Now, I'll bet you're hungry. You're in luck again, because this prize pack also includes a $25 gift card, so you can pick up some pork to fire up on the grill.

Holy cow (or perhaps I should say pig), that are some great prizes. And one lucky reader will get the whole package.

How to Enter the Barbecue Master Summer Fun Barbecue Giveaway

I'm a hobby barbecue blogger and like to keep these contests simple and low tech.

To enter, all you need to do is go to comments and give other readers a tip for grilling pork or if you don't have any tips, then just tell me why you'd like to win this giveaway prize pack. I do moderate the comments, so you don't get stuck reading spam or seeing naughty links. So, you won't see your comment immediatly. I have to get on and approve each one, but I do that often.

Yes. Simple as that. Just leave a comment, and you are entered. Be sure to leave some way to get in touch though, because I'll need to get a mailing address from the winner. That's the only data I gather or give out - just the winner and just so the prize can be mailed.

I know some readers like extra entry options, so if you Tweet, Facebook, or blog about the contest, you get extra slips in the hat. Just leave a comment letting me know that you added an extra entry. And, yes, you can do all three if you like.

The contest will run through July 10, 2011 EST 11:59 pm. The winner will be pulled on the 11th to start the week off really nice for a lucky Barbecue Master winner.

Winners will need to be from the U.S. due to shipping. I do appreciate my wonderful international readers and wish it were easier to ship out.

Note: The National Pork Board will be providing the gifts; however, I serve as the sponsor for the contest. I'm not connected with the Pork Council or any of the prize companies. I did get the same prize as being offered to a reader (those photos you see that I put up).

THANKS to everyone who entered and for the great pork grilling tips. My son drew the name, and Tom won this gift package. Congratulations Tom.

I don't keep contact lists, but there is an automatic email update over to the right side. Keep an eye out. I host giveaways now and then and enjoy having the chance to see someone win a nice gift like this package provided by the National Pork Board.

Friday, July 01, 2011

How to Grill Boneless Pork Chops

Pork Chops Marinating in Allegro Marinade

Boneless pork chops are one of our favorite meats to grill out, because they are quick and easy. They can be expensive, but I just keep an eye out for sales and stock up.

Since boneless pork chops don't have a bone and almost no fat, they can dry out. You need to grill them quick and watch close, and it also helps to marinate the boneless pork chops. Marinade tenderizes, adds flavor, helps prevent sticking, and keeps the meat moist.

You can make your own marinade or use bottled Kraft Zesty Italian dressing or a specific marinade product. I've been disappointed in many of the products marketed as grilling marinades, because some of them overpower the meat and don't have great flavors either. My favorite marinades are by Allegro and particularly the spicy, teriyaki, and soy/lime. Above you see the raspberry chipolte, but that one was sweeter and fruitier than I like.

Boneless Pork Chops on the PK grill (Porable Kitchen Outdoor Cooker)

Last night I grilled our pork chops over charcoal on the PK grill, but they can be done over gas or electric. Actually, it's easier to go with gas or electric when grilling something that needs to be done quick. You can more easily regulate the heat and can get prettier grill lines. On the other hand, you get the fabulous smoked flavor if you use charcoal.

With my charcoal, I offset. This means that I put the charcoal on one end but not on the other end. This means that I have a good hot area and then a cooler area. Offset makes grilling so much easier. You can do the same basic thing with gas if you have more than one burner area. Just have part of the grill turned on. The cool side will still get hot but not hot like over direct grill flames.

Boneless Pork Chops Grilling

After the pork chops brown on one side and you see some white cooked color coming up the side over high heat, then flip the pork chops and sear off the other side. Then slide them off the really hot heat where they will quickly finish off.

The FDA has now officially stated that pork at 145 degrees F is safe, so you can grill to what would be considered a medium rare or a bit longer for all white but still moist pork chops. I like pork cooked medium rare or just at well done, but the boys prefer well done (but still juicy).

A thermometer can help as you learn to grill boneless pork chops, but I just give it the eyeball test. Once the side begin to turn white and I flip the chops, then they are within a couple of minutes of being done. This is on pork chops around 1/2 inch thin. You'd need a grill a bit longer with thick cut boneless pork chops. Still, the time is not long. I'd say I had these pork chops on and off in about 15 minutes with some extra time offset while I was juggling some tin foil grilled potatoes.

Moist and Delicious Boneless Pork Chops Right Off the Grill

Here are our grilled boneless pork chops. You can see that they still have plenty of juice even grilled at well done.

We also like to add barbecue sauce to boneless pork chops. Barbecue sauce can be brushed on right as the pork chops go on the grill, since they are thin and don't take long to grill. Sauces give you many flavor options, and you can eat boneless pork chops often and still feel like you're having different meals when you use different barbecue sauces and/or marinades.