Smoked Ribs



I try to find any occasion to give an excuse for cooking on the grill. Well, we had my parents over and I found that excuse! I love to smoke ribs, and the flavor that comes from them. Here is what I did for them:

1/2 tbsp black pepper
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
3 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp Chipotle seasoning
1 tsp dried yellow mustard
Spareribs

You may be thinking, there was no salt added! I did something professionals and bloggers have told me not to do with ribs: I brined them! That's right, I did a wet brine. I took about one gallon of water, 2 cups of apple cider vinegar, one cup of kosher salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup white sugar.  I brined the ribs overnight.

When I removed the ribs I noticed the meat turned to a different grayish tint. This is normal. I rinsed them off, then I dried them off very well and added all the dry ingredients.

On a prepared smoker using a mixture of charcoal and hickory, have your temp between 185-225 degrees. This actually was achieved with little effort once you get the fire right. Smoke the ribs for 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours.

While they are cooking I had a mixture of apple cider vinegar and honey and mopped it every hour or so.

What you get are very flavorful ribs, very tender, but not fall off the bone. I like ribs tender, but not so cooked that they turn to mush when you eat them.

These were great ribs. Try them and host a party. Or maybe two.

Chicken Tacos



This recipe is a easy, yet delicious dish. It as simple as using your crock-pot to cook the chicken and the oven cooking the taco shells. There is nothing like great, tasty slow-cooked chicken inside a crispy hard shell you cooked. Now there are two methods for cooking the shells. You can use the "Quick Taco Shell Maker" as seen on TV (all of that stuff works, right?) or you can simply use the racks in your oven. This recipe will account for 2  tacos, even though I made more. The measurements are approximate,so if you want to add more spices you can! Here is what I did:

2 boneless chicken thighs
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 corn tortillas

Take chicken thighs and remove skin. Place in crock-pot and add spices. Add water to bottom of crock-pot to add moisture, just enough to cover the bottom. Cover and cook on high for about 2 hours.

When chicken is ready, take the corn tortillas and spray both sides with cooking spray and cook in a 400 degree oven on your taco maker or simply hanging on your rack face down for 8-10 minutes or until it is brown and crispy.

Shred chicken and place in shells, add toppings if desired. You can put cheddar cheese, cilantro, onions, etc. Whatever floats your taco boat.

These were really good!

Homemade Bacon



Every now and then I make a discovery that brightens my day.  My wife and I had went to Sams and bought some pork butts that were relatively cheap. We decided due to the size, we would cut the butts in quarters and make 2 small roasts, and two batches of pork steaks.

As I was trimming the meat, I noticed a nice fat cap on one side. I usually remove this and discard it, but I noticed something. As I cut the cap off I actually cook a layer of the meat with it. So I ask myself the question, I wonder if I could slice it thin and make bacon? The result? You bet your bacon you can! This is what I did.

1 Boston butt
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp brown sugar
grill, used for smoking and hickory

Take the fat caps from the Boston butt and remove them, but leave some meat on it. Then slice long -way down the cap and slice into about 1/8 of an inch pieces.Take your kosher salt and put generously on your caps and do the same with the brown sugar. Place it in the fridge, covered, over night.

After you have seasoned it, take the bacon out and rinse it off. You can store it in the freezer for later or you can go ahead and get it ready to cook.

On a smoker grill with hickory smoke,try to regulate your grill temp to about 200 degrees. Smoke bacon for about  1 1/2 hours.

Take back and place in a oven on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

No joke, this bacon was better than store bought! This should yield you about 10-12 pieces. Try it sometime!

Turkey Burgers with Sweet Potato and Vinegar Slaw



This is similar to a previous recipe I made, but decided to do a twist on the presentation. I promise you, I will never go back to beef since I have been cooking turkey burgers. The burgers are moist and delicious. The recipe will make three patties.

1 lb ground turkey
1 large sweet potato, cut in thin discs
1 cup coleslaw mix
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
2 tsp Worcestershire
2 tsp smoke paprika
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder

Take salt,  pepper, garlic powder paprika, and Worcestershire and add to ground turkey. Mix well until all is incorporated. Shape into 3 large patties.

Place sweet potato discs on a cooking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Salt and pepper for flavor, about 1 tsp for each. Cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

Cook your turkey burgers in a large skillet on medium heat, turning every 3-4 minutes. They should be cooked in about 15 minutes, depending on the size of your burger. In the last 4 minutes place mozzarella on the top to melt.

For the slaw, I added 2 tsp of mayo, 3 tsp of white vinegar, salt, pepper to taste, and about 1/2 tsp of sugar.

Plate and eat. This is one of my favorites! Printable recipe here.