Grilled Pork Chops

Another Big Green Egg cook. Center cut pork chops. This is a crowd pleaser around the house. I cook pork chops with and without the bones. These just happen to be boneless this time. We served these with mixed vegetables for lunch.

Ingredients:
Bone-in or boneless pork chops (thick cut)
1/4 cup soy based marinade. We use Pilleteri’s Marinade. But Dale’s would be comparable.
Montreal Steak Seasoning
Marinate chops:
1. Put the marinade in a Zip Loc bag big enough to hold all your pork chops.
2. Refrigerate, in the marinade, for at least an hour.
Apply seasoning rub:
1. Remove the chops from the marinade. Discard the remaining marinade.
2. Lightly dry chops with a paper towel.
3. Shake Montreal Steak Seasoning on both sides of the chops. There’s salt in the rub already, so you don’t need to add additional salt, unless you just like it.
4. Cover, but do not return to refrigerator. Let them warm up to room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour.
While you wait on the chops to reach room temperature, go ahead and prepare the Big Green Egg:
1. Setup the Egg for direct heat.
2. Start fire and preheat grill to a dome temperature of about 375 degrees.
Once the grill is ready, it’s time to add the chops:
1. Close the lid.
2. Cook to desired doneness. About 15 to 20 minutes total time for Medium (140 to 145). 25 to 30 minutes total time for Well Done (160). Flip the pork chops halfway through cooking.

Firewire Grilling Skewers

Allow me to start by telling you that, by 2012, the technology in skewers should be top notch and beyond improvement. These Firewire Grilling Skewers represent that penultimate achievement. With that said, I’ll try and give these a fair review.

I’m going to make a handful of assumptions. At least one of these probably applies to you.
Assumptions:

1. You like to grill out and have a pretty good foundation regarding how to put grill marks on meat and vegetables.
2. You like kabobs.
3. You have have or have had a problem with one or more of the following:

a. burned yourself on old metal skewers
b. burned up cheap wooden skewers
c. freezer burned a kabob because the skewer broke through the freezer bag
d. can’t close your grill because your skewers are too long, etc.

If these describe you, please continue reading.

Pros:

1. It holds a LOT of food. A single skewer holds two full, marinated kabobs from Whole Foods with room to spare. I could probably cook 10 to 12 kabobs worth of food on a set of 4.
2. The tip of the skewer is rigid, but not sharp. Which means, you can use it to poke through the food, but it won’t poke through the freezer bag. No leaks. No freezer burn.

3. They’re flexible. So you’re not limited to having your grilled items in a straight line. In practice, this means lots more food over the same fire.
4. You can leave the ends outside of the grill. Leaving the ends cool enough to handle.

5. The parts of the wire inside the grill don’t burn up.
6. They’re dishwasher safe. C’mon, half the reason you’re cooking outside is because you don’t want to clean the kitchen.

Cons:

1. Amazon.com Prime Shipping took two days.
2. I didn’t find them sooner.

These are amazing. If you don’t own them, you should. =)

Chicken Pignoli Pasta

As it turns out, I can also cook inside the house. This is a go-to recipe at home when we’re looking for some lighter Italian fare. The flavor profile is a little like piccata. The original recipe came from a former employer and was made with shrimp. But since the wife is not really a fan of shrimp, it got updated at home to include chicken. This recipe is quick (since most of the ingredients are ready to use) and usually leaves leftovers for lunch the next day. With this recipe, I tend to throw ingredients into the pan by handful, rather than measure.

Ingredients:
Extra virgin olive oil
1 lb box pasta (we tend to use whole wheat penne or rotini, but have been known to use Angel Hair or Spaghetti in a pinch)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 small jar of capers
Pine nuts
Italian seasoning
Parmesan reggiano cheese (there is no such thing as anything else)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (substitute shrimp if you prefer)
Salt
Getting setup:
1. Set a pot of water to boil. Cook pasta according to directions.
2. Go once around the pan with the Olive oil. Turn the range to medium heat
3. Rub olive oil on the chicken, sprinkle with salt, shake on Italian seasoning.
4. Cook chicken over medium heat.
5. When chicken is cooked, remove from heat and move to cutting board.
Shredding the chicken:
Take two forks, rounded ends back to back. Hold the chicken with one fork and pull with the other. This feels a little odd at first and you probably won’t feel like you’re making any progress at first. You’ll develop a feel for this. And it will make its way into other chicken recipes. I do admit I have to give Giada credit for this technique.
   
Prepare sauce:
1. Go once around the pan with more olive oil.
2. Add minced garlic, stir for 30 seconds
3. Add all the artichoke hearts (you can separate them with a wooden spatula) and about 2/3 of the capers (and all of the caper juice). Add chicken back to mixture.
4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer
3. For the last couple minutes, add pine nuts and stir. Add a little salt to bring out the other flavors.
Putting it all together:
1. Drain the pasta, return the pasta back to the pot.
2. Add the sauce, chicken and pine nuts to the pot.
3. Mix thoroughly.
4. Serve. Grate fresh parmesan reggiano cheese

Sometimes I’ll toss in some sun dried tomatoes or a drained can of diced tomatoes to add color. You can also use some lemon juice or zest to make it even more piccata like. This pairs especially well with a sweet Italian white wine. We like Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, because it’s one of the wines we drank while we were in Rome.

Ginger Honey Glazed Salmon

My first foodblog recipe is a seafood recipe on the Big Green Egg. I was able to locate some wild caught Pacific salmon. We served the fish with garlic green beans and brown rice pilaf.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh ginger (I used a zester to grate the ginger)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 green onion, chopped
1 pound salmon fillets (skin on, especially if you can do wild caught)
Alder or cedar plank (I use alder exclusively because I have a cedar allergy)
Olive oil (pure or extra virgin)
Prepare plank:
Submerge grilling plank for at least one hour. You’re looking to impart smoke and flavor, not set the wood on fire.
Prepare marinade and marinate salmon:
1. Mix orange juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic powder and green onion in small bowl.
2. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade. Place salmon in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add remaining marinade; turn to coat well.
3. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove salmon from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade.
While your salmon is marinating, go ahead and prepare the Big Green Egg:
1. Setup the Egg for direct heat. The plank will make your heat indirect, but just won’t smoke if it isn’t exposed to the fire.
2. Start fire and preheat grill to a dome temperature of about 350 degrees.
3. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on the grilling plank
4. Place marinated fish, skin side down on the olive oil. Grilling on a plank won’t require you to flip the fish.
Once the grill is ready, it’s time to add the plank and fish:
1. Close the lid.
2. The temperature will drop (possibly by 50 degrees or so) and you may need to adjust your lower vent to get it to return to 350.
3. You’ll need to open the lid twice during cooking to brush on the reserved glaze. Once about halfway through and again about 3/4 of the way through.
4. Cook to desired doneness. About 15 to 20 minutes total time for Medium. 25 to 30 minutes total time for Well Done.