Do you ever dream of a world in which one steak is actually two steaks? Or have you found yourself wanting a more tender cut of beef AND one that is a little more firm? Well that dream has come true (been a reality for about 200 years now, actually) with both the porterhouse steak and t-bone steak! Both of these cuts have the the tenderloin filet and the New York strip, but what makes the porterhouse and t-bone different? Let’s dive into the details!
Where do these steaks come from?
Both the porterhouse and the t-bone steaks come from the same section of the cow: the short loin. As seen in the diagram above, the short loin comes from towards the back of the cow, just past the ribs. This section has the internal abdomen of the cow. The tenderloin runs through this section, which provides the filet side of these steaks. The other side of the lumbar vertebrae (the t-shaped bone that makes the porterhouse and t-bone) we find the more firm strip steak.
What is the difference?
So if both steaks come from the same section, then aren’t they the same? The short answer is no. While they both come from the short loin (with tenderloin running through), the t-bone comes from the section closer to the front of the cow while the porterhouse comes from further back on the short loin where the tenderloin is bigger. And that, my friends, is what makes the difference between the porterhouse and t-bone: the size of the filet.
According to the USDA’s standards, the size of the filet on a porterhouse steak has to be at least 1.25 inches wide, measured from the bone in the middle out to the widest part of the filet itself. Meanwhile, the t-bone steak is a filet between 1.25″ and half and inch in width.
How to cook a porterhouse or T-bone steak
The tricky thing with the porterhouse and the t-bone is that they have two different cuts of beef on them that ideally cook at different speeds. The filet will finish faster than the strip, so keep in mind when gauging heat levels on your grill. I like doing a pan sear to get an even crust, but that means my filet will be a little more done than my strip but depending on the day, I don’t mind. I’d say the best thing to do to get a more even cook throughout would be to get one side of your grill hotter than the other and cook the strip side on the hotter section, flipping over top to bottom (instead of left to right) so the strip stays on the hotter side.
If you’re looking for medium rare, then finish between 135-145 degrees. Let rest about 10-15 minutes before slicing for maximum flavor to get those juices built up inside. And slice against the grain for a better bite.
Personally, I’m more of a filet guy so I love the porterhouse. But I sure wouldn’t turn down a t-bone! Which do you prefer?
In the movie Nacho Libre, Esqueleto (Nacho Libre’s sidekick) can be seen throughout the film eating corn on a cob on a stick, known as elotes. There’s a particular scene where Jack Black’s character is offered some elotes and Jack Black swats it away and says, “Get that corn outta my face!” to much laughter to those of us watching. But if you knew how good these were, you probably would’ve cried instead!
Corn on the cob (elotes in Spanish) is a classic American side dish that the good folks of Mexico have taken to the next level by putting things such as spices, mayo, and lime on them. Elotes go great with practically any meal you cook on the grill. It’s a fast, simple recipe and will make your friends and family think you’re a grilling wizard!
What ingredients do I need for elotes?
The ingredients for the elotes are simple and go as follows:
corn on the cob
chili lime seasoning (or your favorite spicy rub)
fresh lime juice
grated cotija cheese
How do I get going?
First off, fire up your grill and get it to around 400 degrees. While you’re waiting for it to heat up, shuck the corn (if you purchased it in the husk). Pull back the husks and leave them on if you want to have a makeshift handle for your elotes. This is one of the traditional ways to serve it. Another way is to poke a wooden skewer into it to act as a handle. Or you can go without a handle and eat it however you want.
Place the corn on the grill over direct heat and rotate a quarter turn every 4-5 minutes. Bonus points if you can get some of the corn kernels a little charred. Keep rotating until you get the desired look for your corn on all sides. Remove from grill and place on cutting board for the finishing touches.
The final steps for elotes
Now that the corn on the cob is grilled and on the board, it’s ready for the next steps! Take mayo and rub it all over the corn (mayo in a squeeze bottle would be helpful here). Next, squeeze some lime over the elotes. Then take a chili lime seasoning (such as Tajin or even Fire rub from Sasquatch BBQ and Spiceology) and sprinkle on as desired.
For your cotija cheese, get a cheese grater and grate over the elotes. You can either rotate the cob and cover completely or just on the tops. If you are unfamiliar with cotija cheese, it’s like a salty parmasean. Since your chili lime seasoning may have a decent amount of salt flavoring to it, grate at your own discretion. Then finally, dice up some fresh cilantro and sprinkle on top of the elotes.
If you’re wondering how many to make for your group, I usually suggest to take the number of people in your group and add a few extra in case some folks want seconds…or if someone pulls a Jack Black and swats your elotes out of your hands.
Yield: 6 servings
Elotes (Mexican Steet Corn)
Corn on the cob (elotes in Spanish) is a classic American side dish that the good folks of Mexico have taken to the next level by putting things such as spices, mayo, and lime on them. Elotes go great with practically any meal you cook on the grill. It's a fast, simple recipe and will make your friends and family think you're a grilling wizard!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
6 corn on the cob
1/2 Cup mayonnaise
2 Tablespoons chili lime seasoning
1/2 lime, squeezed
4 Tablespoons cotija cheese, grated
1 Tablespoon cilantro, diced
1. Preheat grill to 400 degrees over direct heat. Place shucked ears of corn on grill and rotate a quarter turn every 4-5 minutes, getting some or most of corn kernels with a light to medium char. Remove when fully cooked.
2. In order, apply mayo, chili lime seasoning, lime juice, cotija cheese, and cilantro. Treat yo self!
1. One option for serving is to keep the husks on the corn, peeled back when they hit the grill. The husks can be used as a handle. Or you can take a food skewer and poke in one end and serve on a stick (like a corn dog).
2. Some of the ingredients can be applied before hitting the grill, such as mayo, seasoning, and lime. Make sure the cotija cheese and cilantro go on at the end.
1 corn on cob Amount Per Serving:Calories: 200Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 25mgSodium: 300mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2.5gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g
NOTE: Nutrition information isn't always accurate.
Another year, another list of must-haves when working the grill. I’ve compiled another list of some of my favorite things I personally love using.
CAMP CHEF WOODWIND WiFi GRILL
I was fortunate to get my hands on one of these Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi grills and I have loved using it! Most pellet grills are using WiFi capabilities now and Camp Chef has joined the ranks. The WiFi controller has a nice color display and even a protective cover to keep it from getting scratched, rained on, breathed on wrong, etc. Not only can you control temps, but also the level of smoke flavor you impart, too. The ash can below the grill where the auger is makes for very quick cleaning without having to remove all the parts from inside the grill to get to it like you do with other pellet grills. The Camp Chef app is simple, yet very well done. Easy to control and monitor temps while away from the grill.
Ever since I jumped headfirst into the world of barbecue, I learned quickly that a quick, accurate digital thermometer is a must. With super fast readings in only 2-3 seconds, I use the Thermapen Mk4 for EVERYTHING that I cook. Every. Single. Time. I swear by it and even though I’ve had my first one for over three years now, it still works like a charm. Haven’t even needed to change the batteries in it yet. I’ve become a fan boy of the Thermapen Mk4. I’ve been collecting other colors in the rainbow. Find your favorite color on the Thermoworks website!
GRILL TORCH by JJGEORGE
When I’m cooking with coals, my favorite way to get them lit is by using this grill torch from JJGeorge. Using it is simple: attach the torch to a small can of propane, turn the knob on the torch to crank up the gas, then press the ignite button and now you have fire! Coals light up quicker and who doesn’t love holding a stick that blows fire? Check it out on Amazon.
DALSTRONG 10″ KNIFE
Whenever I use this knife in my pictures and videos on social media, it grabs people’s attention. I think some lose focus on the meat and are mesmerized by the look of this Japanese super steel blade with 66 layers of folded steel, the rock-hollow divots, and curved blade near the tip. This sharp knife is technically known as the Shogun Series 10″ Butcher’s Breaking Cimitar Knife, but I call it my little machete. I love using it for larger cuts, such as brisket, ham, turkey, or even for showing off while cutting steaks. Strong enough for cutting through cartilage and precise enough for trimming fat. Oh, and the handle forms to my hand so well. Wow your friends and family with one of your own!
I have featured nitrile gloves in other BBQ Essentials lists before, but I’m constantly asked what type of gloves I’m using that it bears repeating. Nitrile gloves are great for handling food to prevent the spread of bacteria and you don’t have to wash your hands 12,000 times while prepping and cooking food (I may have exaggerated a little on the handwashing, but still). I prefer to use the nitrile gloves from Gloveworks HD.
LARGE CUTTING BOARD
When prepping and slicing larger cuts of meat such as turkey or brisket, having a larger surface to prep and finish on is super convenient. Having grooves in the board to catch juices is important, too. There are many good cutting boards out there, but I have chosen this Camp Chef Professional Bamboo Cutting Board because of how deep the grooves are and the little pocket in one of the corners to hold even more excess juices. This board is HUGE, measuring at dimensions of 26.5 x 17.25 x 1.33. I have used this one for over a year and it has held up very well. This board is actually a perfect fit for this patio cart, too.
LOOKING FOR MORE BBQ ESSENTIALS?
Well, you’re in luck! Check these other posts for more of my favorite tools in BBQ:
In the world of grilling, pork chops don’t get enough love as they should. They tend to be upstaged by beef cuts such as ribeye, New York strip, and filets. But pork chops do have some things going for them: they’re leaner cuts, they’re usually cheaper, and when cooked right, pack some incredible flavor. This smoked and seared honey garlic pork chop recipe will have you grilling pork more often.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
To prep these smoked and seared honey garlic pork chops, you will need 2 lbs. of pork chops, a tablespoon of kosher salt, two teaspoons of black pepper and garlic powder, and one teaspoon of paprika. I like to apply kosher salt first and then mix the other ingredients and put on after. Make sure to apply on all sides, especially if you’re using king cut pork chops from Omaha Steaks like I did. These things are about two inches thick and weigh 16 oz. each! You’ll also need some garlic herb butter and honey near the end.
HOW TO COOK PORK CHOPS RIGHT
One of the problems some folks have with pork chops is that they turn out too dry and are tough to chew. This is because the pork chops are cooked too long. Some consider pork to be done at the same temps as chicken, meaning that at 165 degrees the meat is fully cooked and safe to eat.
According to the National Pork Board, pork can be cooked to 145 degrees, which is good for medium rare. This is very important when cooking pork chops, especially. This leaner cut will be more juicy and tender to the bite when cooked to 145 degrees.
SMOKING AND SEARING THE HONEY GARLIC PORK CHOPS
Before you prep the pork chops with the seasonings, make sure to get your grill up to 275 degrees on indirect heat. When it comes to pork, I like to use either hickory or pecan wood/pellets. Prepping the pork chops should be fairly quick, so make good use of the time while you wait for the grill to get up to the desired temp.
Once the grill is at 275 degrees, put the pork chops on and keep there until internal meat temps reach 135. The length of time the pork chops are on there will depend on their thickness. Since the pork chops I cooked with are two inches thick, it took me about an hour to reach that temp. But I find it is more important to measure according to temp rather than time. Make sure to get yourself a reliable digital thermometer, like the Thermapen from Thermoworks.
As the pork chops are getting close to the 135 degree temp, get a skillet on separate grill or burner up to searing temps, which start after 500 degrees. That way, the skillet will be hot and ready when it’s time to put the pork chops on. But right before you put the pork chops on, get your garlic herb butter and mix it around the skillet first.
Then put the pork chops on there, flipping after a minute. Depending on the thickness of the pork chops, get some of that sear on the sides, too. Pull off the skillet and place on a cutting board to rest. You should have reached the desired 145 temp at this point. While it is resting, drizzle honey on the pork chops and let it rest in while the meat is resting/carryover cooking. Give it about 15 minutes before slicing. Now your smoked and seared honey garlic pork chops are ready!
Smoked & Seared Honey Garlic Pork Chops
With a kiss of smoke flavor and the sizzle of a cast iron sear, pork chops become the main event for your dish. Season and sear with a little garlic flavor, then drizzle some honey on top, and you've got yourself some epic pork chops!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Additional Time10 minutes
Total Time1 hour15 minutes
2 lbs pork chops
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
3 Tablespoons garlic butter
1 Tablespoon honey
Preheat grill to 275 degrees on indirect heat. Season pork chops by applying kosher salt, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika on all sides.
Place pork chops on grill and cook for an hour or until internal meat temps reach 135 degrees (meat will cook more when searing). When meat approaches this temp, get a cast iron skillet up to searing temps.
Put garlic butter into cast iron skillet right before placing in the pork chops. Sear on each side for about a minute. Remove when pork reaches internal temp of 145 degrees. Drizzle honey on each side while meat rests for 10-15 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
Pork chops are done when meat reaches 145 degrees, which is good enough for medium doneness.
8 oz Amount Per Serving:Calories: 350Total Fat: 165gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 95mgCarbohydrates: 0gSugar: 4gProtein: 40g
NOTE: Nutrition information isn't always accurate.
If you’ve ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse (aka- churrascaria or rodizio-style), chances are you’ve had picanha. The servers that come by your table will bring this beef on the skewer that is shaped like a “C” and slice it off the front and onto your plate. Picanha is my favorite meat at the restaurant! And with your own rotisserie attachment for your grill (or a long metal skewer that you are willing to manually rotate over an open flame), as well as a few simple ingredients, I will show you how to make this Brazilian garlic delicacy in your own backyard!
WHAT TYPE OF MEAT IS PICANHA?
If you live in North America and ask your butcher for meat to make picanha, they may not know what you are talking about. To help you get this cut, tell him/her you want a top sirloin cap, coulotte, or rump cap. This cut of beef will be roughly four pounds. Butchers like to cut this up and sell sirloin steaks, so you may need to convince your butcher to either get a sirloin cap from the back or special order you one for later.
PREPARING THE GARLIC PICANHA
Once you have this sirloin cap, take the fat cap on top and score the fat by slicing criss-cross cuts into it. Do you best to not cut into the meat. Take some kosher salt and sprinkle all over the fat cap and meat-exposed sides.
Once that is done, slice the meat into thirds, from the widest side down to the smallest (as seen in the picture above). Apply some more kosher salt to the freshly sliced sides that didn’t get covered earlier. Now apply some black pepper and then some minced garlic, both over all sides of the pieces of meat.
TIME FOR THE SPIN CYCLE
The traditional way to cook picanha is to form the meat into a c-shape form and pierce it onto a big, metal skewer. A rotisserie attachment for your grill is highly recommended, although you could use a large metal skewer to put over the hot coals and rotate ever so often. But seriously, look into getting a rotisserie. The folks at Kamado Joe make a Joetisserie attachement that fits most 18″ ceramic grills.
Cooking it this way means the meat is basting in its own juices, enhancing the flavor even more. Cook it this way for 20-25 minutes until the meat reaches the desired temp you are looking for. I like to cook my Brazilian garlic picanha to medium rare. Using a digital thermometer, like the Thermoworks Thermapen Mk4, is a fast and accurate way to gauge meat temps.
REST, SLICE, SERVE
Once that is done, put on some heat resistant gloves and place onto a cutting board to rest for a little bit before slicing. I do this to help the meat build up juices and maximize the flavor in every bite. Leave the meat on the skewer for the Brazilian steakhouse effect. Slice the meat by cutting the tops of the cuts of picanha parallel with the skewer. I prefer to cut in thinner slices. After slicing a couple of times, feel free to put the skewer back over the coals for another spin on the rotisserie to cook the fresh surfaces and develop some more crust for future slices.
Yield: 20 servings
Brazilian Garlic Picanha Recipe
Brazilian steakhouses (or churrascarias) are known for their sirloin on skewers cooked rotisserie style, known as picanha. Combining this sirloin cap with kosher salt, black pepper, and minced garlic, this recipe will replicate that same flavor in your very own backyard!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time35 minutes
1 top sirloin cap (about four pounds)
1 Tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Preheat grill. Set up rotisserie attachment.
Score the fat on top of the sirloin cap by cutting into the fat (but not the meat) in a criss-cross pattern, with cuts being an inch apart. Sprinkle kosher salt on top of the scores fat.
Sliced meat into thirds, applying rest of kosher salt, black pepper, and minced garlic on all sides. Skewer meat by forming cuts into a c-shape form and poking skewer through as seen on the recipe card photo.
Cook meat on rotisserie, make sure it is spinning. Cool this way for 20-25 minutes until internal meat temp reaches 130-135F. Remove, rest for 10 minutes and slice off tops of meat, parallel with the skewer.
after slicing, put remaining picanha (still on skewer) back on grill to cook if you want to get more crust
Picanha also goes by top sirloin cap, rump cap, or coulotte. Your butcher should know one of those terms.
Tomahawk ribeye steak is becoming more popular thanks to an increase in folks who like to grill and BBQ influencers (such as myself) on social media promoting these magnificent cuts of beef. These steaks are a bit pricey at the butcher and that alone can make it intimidating for a newbie who is afraid he/she will screw it up. Don’t worry about screwing it up. I’m here to make sure you won’t screw it up.
What’s the difference between a regular ribeye and a tomahawk ribeye?
The main thing that makes the tomahawk ribeye steak different than a regular ribeye is the giant rib bone attached, measuring about 18-22 inches long. It definitely brings a “wow factor” to the meal. It drops jaws, turns heads, and makes some grown men cry (don’t judge me).
Another element that makes the tomahawk ribeye different is the thickness. Since the rib bone is attached, the ribeye will be around 2 to 2.5 inches thick. Some butchers can cut a regular ribeye this thick for you if you special order them that way, but right off the shelf you end up with an inch of thickness or less so they can sell more steak to more people. Expect a tomahawk ribeye to be around three pounds: two pounds of beef, about a pound of bone.
Prepping the Tomahawk Ribeye
Getting the tomahawk ribeye steak ready for the grill is just like prepping any other steak. I prefer mine with a simple salt and pepper-based rub. The main ingredients I use are equal parts kosher salt and ground black pepper, then a little less of garlic powder (feel free to mix in a couple more ingredients such as onion powder or paprika). Sprinkle the blend of spices over all sides of the meat portion of the tomahawk ribeye steak. Feel free to let it sit for a little while at room temperature to let your seasoning sink in a little. It is okay for beef to sit out a little while, not so much for poultry or pork.
Reverse Sear = Smoke then Sear
You may be familiar with searing: the process of grilling the meat at a high temp (usually 550F and above) to start off and then moving to the oven at a lower temp until done. Reverse searing is the opposite of that (hence the name) because you start off by cooking at a low temperature and then finish it off with the high heat on a direct surface.
Why reverse sear instead of traditional sear? Because you can infuse smoke flavor into the tomahawk ribeye steak first and then sear to lock in that flavor AND those juices from the meat! I like to use smoking woods such as hickory, oak, or pecan for beef. Smoke it between the 225-250F range until internal temp reaches about 125F. This can take about an hour.
While the tomahawk ribeye steak is smoking, make sure to get another grill surface as hot as you can for searing. As you gauge temps inside the meat, like I do with my Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks, you will have a better feel for when to get the sear going on the other grill.
NOTE: don’t feel ashamed if you sear on a skillet on the stove burner in your house. As long as you have a hot surface to cook on you’ll be fine. But there’s a chance you may set off the smoke alarm in your home.
Searing with a Cast Iron Skillet
While some folks like to sear on the grill grates, I prefer on a cast iron skillet. Reason for being is that the hot cast iron will cover the entire surface of the steak so you get more of that savory crust as compared to the lines where the grates are. Also, you can throw ingredients such as butter, garlic, and rosemary onto the cast iron to add flavors to that crust.
Are you ready to hear a cooking hack? Turn the cast iron skillet upside down! Do this so you can get the entire surface of the tomahawk ribeye steak seared. You’ll notice if you try to lay the steak in the skillet, the bone keeps the bottom portion of the steak from hitting the surface. Turning the cast iron upside down gives you a perfectly even sear on each side. Sear for 1-2 minutes on each side or until internal temp reaches 135F, which is good for medium rare.
Rest, then Slice
Once the tomahawk ribeye steak has reached your desired finishing temp, remove from the heat and let it rest for a good 20 minutes before slicing. This way, you let the juices build up and the meat will stop cooking inside. Slice against the grain and feel free to devour right off the cutting board!
Tomahawk ribeye steaks can be intimidating to cook in large part due to the size and price. You want to make sure you cook it right and don't waste your money. Following this recipe will make you look like an expert right away!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour15 minutes
Additional Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour40 minutes
1 tomahawk ribeye steak (about 36 oz of meat)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic
2 sprigs rosemary
Preheat grill to 225F on indirect heat with either hickory or oak wood
Combine kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder and apply on all sides of tomahawk ribeye steak. Place steak on grill for about an hour or until internal meat temp reaches 125F.
On a separate grill (or stovetop) get cast iron skillet up to searing temps (starts at 550F) Place butter, garlic and rosemary in skillet right before moving tomahawk ribeye steak to the surface for searing. Sear steak for 1-2 minutes on each side, with internal temps reaching 135F. Remove and rest for 20 minutes before slicing.
1. To sear entire surface of tomahawk steaks, turn the cast iron skillet upside down. This way, the bone doesn't keep the lower portion of the steak from touching the surface.
2. Feel free to sear in a cast iron on your stove top if you don't have another grill accessible.
6 oz Amount Per Serving:Calories: 460Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 132mgSodium: 108mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 42g
My introduction to Southern corn pudding came when I went up to the From the Ashes BBQ festival up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Anthony DiBernardo, of Swig & Swine in South Carolina, had this side dish he was cooking in a large cauldron and immediately caught my interest.
Combining ingredients such as cream cheese, jalapeño, and, believe it or not, corn, this side dish became one of my favorite things I’ve ever eaten! And with permission from Anthony himself, I now share with you this side dish that will rival your main course at your next cookout!
How do I get started?
First things first, make sure to get an 8 oz block of cream cheese and let it sit out long enough to soften. Now to get started on your corn pudding, take four ears of corn and use a knife to cut the kernels off. You can either set them aside or put them right into a skillet. Next, slice about half and onion and cut it julienne, meaning long thin strips. Then dice a small jalapeño (whether or not the seeds are left in is up to you). Put these ingredients in a large skillet on medium heat for sauté-ing. You’re gonna want that little bit of char on there because the flavor and the crisp of it will stand out. Once you have sautéed the corn, onion, and jalapeño, set aside.
The rest of the ingredients
For the next steps of this Southern corn pudding, you’ll need a hand mixer and a medium or large sized bowl. Mix the softened cream cheese and three eggs together until smooth. It may take a little while to mix until smooth depending on how soft you got the cream cheese.
Once the cream cheese and eggs are blended together in smooth harmony, pour in a cup of heavy cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of self rising cornmeal, two teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of pepper. Oh, and the shredded cheddar cheese. You’ll want at least two cups of that. Mix all of these ingredients together, folding in the corn, onion, and jalapeño from earlier.
Time for the dutch oven!
Pour your mixed concoction of Southern corn pudding from the bowl into a greased dutch oven. Since I’m putting this on the grill over indirect heat (or hung about a foot above a fire as seen in this picture), I’m doing this in the cast iron dutch oven. Cook uncovered at 325F for 30-40 minutes. You can tell when it’s done by digging a spoon in and it comes out mostly clean. Pull off the grill and let it sit out for a few minutes before serving. This will serve about 8-10. Feel free to double the recipe for a bigger group. In fact, you may want to double it anyway so you can have seconds…or leftovers!
Yield: 8-10 servings
Corn pudding is the comfort food you never knew you needed. It is the perfect compliment for any BBQ main dish. Combining ingredients such as corn, cream cheese, and jalapeño, you may just want to make a batch to eat by itself!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
4 ears of corn
1/2 onion, julienne
1- 8oz cream cheese, softened
1 Cup heavy cream
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup self-rising cornmeal
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 Cups shredded cheddar cheese
Shave ears of corn, dice jalapeño, and slice half an onion julienne. Put these ingredients in a skillet and sauté. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, use a mixer to combine softened cream cheese and eggs until smooth. Add heavy cream, sugar, cornmeal, salt, pepper, shredded cheddar cheese. Mix until incorporated. Fold in sautéed corn, jalapeño, and onion.
Pour mixture into greased cast iron dutch oven and cook on grill over indirect heat at 325F uncovered for 30-40 minutes.
1. If you can't find self-rising cornmeal, combine almost a 1/2 Cup of cornmeal with a teaspoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Makes the ideal substitute.
2. You can make this in your oven and not even use a dutch oven.
6 oz Amount Per Serving:Calories: 260Total Fat: 170gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 178mgSodium: 477mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 9g
Do you love tacos? Do you consider yourself a grillmaster (or aspire to)? Then this Backyard Barbacoa Tacos recipe is a must try! Using your braising skills on the grill, you’ll look like an expert and wow your friends over on your next taco night (which should be every night, am I right?)!
WHAT IS BARBACOA?
Barbacoa is a form of cooking meat that has its origins in the Caribbean, but the style we are most familiar with is the one from Mexico, which originates with meats steam cooked underground. Some recipes call for beef from the head of the cow (such as beef cheeks), others call for goat meat (aka- cabrito). Since this backyard barbacoa tacos recipe comes from a gringo and his grill, I’ll be using a chuck roast because this cut of meat is much easier to find in the US.
A PLETHORA OF INGREDIENTS
While I tend to post recipes that involve less than 10 ingredients, this one is worth the exception and you’ll taste why. For starters, I dice onion, jalapeño, and mince garlic then sauté in a cast iron skillet on the grill (you can also do this in a frying pan on your stove). Once those are done, I put them in a blender with apple cider vinegar, lime juice, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt, and cloves. Blend until smooth, which shouldn’t take long since we are using a lot of liquid. This mix you just made is called an adobo, which is a special marinade that consists of peppers, vinegar, and spices.
NOTE: if you’re keeping track at home, that’s 11 ingredients so far.
…AND THEN THERE’S THE MEAT
Now that the above ingredients have formed your adobo, it’s time to take your chuck roast and cut it into sections. We are using a 3 lbs. cut of chuck roast for this recipe, so you’ll either want to cut it into six or eight pieces. I like to put a simple rub of salt and pepper on these pieces to add additional flavor to the meat.
Once you have divided the roast into chunks, place them in a heated cast iron skillet and sear each side for a minute or two. If you have seen other recipes on my website regarding steaks such as tri-tip or New York Strip, you’ll know how much I value the reverse sear. It does feel a little weird to sear first and then slow cook after, but with this recipe it is worth the exception. Make sure all pieces are browned on each side.
Now that the searing of the chunks of chuck roast has been done, place them in a foil pan. I recommend using an 8×8 pan or something a little bigger, depending on how big of a cut of chuck roast you have. Pour the adobo in the pan. I like to add a couple of bay leaves for flavor.
SMOKE AND BRAISE ON THE GRILL
With the meat and the adobo together in the foil pan, place on the grill at 275 degrees over indirect heat. I used my ceramic grill which came with deflector plates to put over the lit coals to create this indirect heat. I put a couple of chunks of hickory wood in there with the coals for some extra smokey flavored goodness. Cook like this for four to five hours or until the meat is shreddable with a fork. The wait for these backyard barbacoa tacos will be well worth it!
Since every animal lives a different life and some cows use their muscles more than others, each cut of beef may cook differently. If the meat is still not shreddable after four to five hours, then cover the top of the pan with aluminum foil to help expedite the process.
It’s also worth noting that you may want to flip the chunks of beef over during the cook so the chunks of beef are easier to shred since they have been braising in the adobo.
SHRED IT UP!
Once the beef has been removed from the grill and sat out for a moment, start shredding the chunks of beef. I used a couple of forks, but you can shred with your hands (wearing some insulated gloves) or even a hand mixer if you wish (but that can get messy, so beware). Let the shredded beef sit in that juicy goodness of the adobo for a little while before serving.
Speaking of serving, I recommend offering up this backyard barbacoa on some warm corn tortillas and topped with diced onion, cilantro, and some green tomatillo salsa. Even give a freshly cut lime a gentle squeeze over the top and you’ve got yourself some amazing backyard barbacoa tacos you cooked up on the grill!
Backyard Barbacoa Tacos
Tired of having ground beef tacos? This barbacoa recipe will transform your taco night from average to extraordinary! And it can all be made on your grill (or oven/stove if you prefer).
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Total Time5 hours25 minutes
1 chuck roast (3lbs.)
1 jalapeno, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 C apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp lime juice
3/4 C chicken broth
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 bay leaves
25-30 corn tortillas, warmed
1/2 onion, diced
2 Tbsp cilantro, diced
1 jar green tomatillo salsa
Saute onion, jalapeno, and garlic in cast iron skillet. Set aside.
Create adobo (marinade) by combining apple cider vinegar, lime juice, chicken broth, cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt, and cloves in a blender. Add sauteed onion, jalapeno, and garlic. Blend until smooth.
Divide chuck roast into 6-8 pieces, season, and sear pieces in cast iron skillet for 1-2 minutes on each side
Place meat in 8x8 foil pan and pour adobo in. Add bay leaves. Place on grill at 275 degrees over indirect heat for 4-5 hours, turn chunks of beef halfway through the cook. Done when beef at or above 200 degrees internal temp or when beef can be shredded with a fork.
Shred beef and let rest in adobo before serving. Serve on corn tortillas warmed on a skillet, top with diced onion, cilantro, and green tomatilla salsa.
Chuck roast was used for this recipe. To go more authentic, substitute beef cheek.
To make more spicy, either add more jalapeno or substitute serrano pepper.
2 street tacos Amount Per Serving:Calories: 251Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 5.9gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 282mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2.3gSugar: 2gProtein: 22g
While the BBQ meat is the main event on the plate, you can’t overlook the supporting cast: the side dishes. I’d like to think the sides you make should be good enough to eat on your own after the BBQ is all gone. This smoked jalapeño pepper jack mac and cheese has been a hit with my friends and I think it’s worthy to share.
MAKING THE MAC
You may be wondering if you cook the smoked jalapeño pepper jack mac and cheese all on the smoker. While there may be some recipes out there that call for it, this one does not. You can cook this indoors either on the stove or in the Instant Pot. For the Instant Pot, take a 16 oz bag of elbow macaroni (I prefer the large elbows), four cups of water, three tablespoons of butter, and two teaspoons of salt. Set the Instant Pot for four minutes and when you are done with the venting afterward, remove the lid and switch to sauté. Then add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups of medium cheddar cheese, 1 1/2 cups of pepper jack cheese, and a diced up jalapeño. Mix until cheese is melted.
SMOKING THAT JALAPEÑO PEPPER JACK MAC AND CHEESE
Now that the mac and cheese is done cooking, it’s time to add that smoked flavor! Pour your jalapeño pepper jack mac and cheese into a foil pan, preferably a little larger than 8×8 (I’ve tried that and not all of it fits. But if you want something to snack on while the rest of it smokes…). Feel free to top with something like bread crumbs to give it a little more texture. I used some jalapeño cheddar pork rinds and crumbled them up and poured over the mac and cheese in the foil pan.
Put the soon-to-be smoked jalapeño pepper jack mac and cheese on the grill at 225 degrees over indirect heat. We keep it that low because the mac and cheese is already cooked and you don’t want to dry out the noodles. For the smoke flavor, I prefer to go with hickory wood on this one. Let it cook for 30 minutes. Remove from grill and dig in!
Smoked Jalapeño Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese
Kick your basic mac and cheese up a notch by adding some jalapeño and pepper jack cheese. Top with jalapeño cheddar pork rinds and give it a kiss of hickory smoke to complete the side dish!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
16 oz large elbow macaroni noodles
4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
1 jalapeño, diced
OPTIONAL: handful of crushed pork rinds for topping
Place water, macaroni noodles, butter, and salt together in Instant Pot. Seal vent and set on Manual for 4 minutes. Preheat grill/smoker to 225 degrees on indirect heat with hickory wood.
Once the Instant Pot beeps when the 4 minutes is up, turn the top knob from sealing to venting. Once venting is completed, remove lid and set to sauté. Pour in heavy whipping cream, both cheeses, and diced jalapeño. Stir until cheese is fully melted.
Pour mac and cheese into a foil pan (preferably something a little bigger than 8x8), top with crumbled pork rinds (optional) and put on grill for 30 minutes. Remove and serve.
The pork rinds (or chicharrones if you prefer) are optional, but do add to the flavor and provide some texture. Substitute bread crumbs if you prefer.
Check noodles after 15-20 minutes to make sure they don't dry out.
If you want to kick up the heat, you can do one of the following: include the seeds from your diced jalapeño; substitute pickled jalapeño; or substitute for a serrano pepper.
1 Cup Amount Per Serving:Calories: 425Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 675mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 3gSugar: 8gProtein: 10g
I enjoy BBQing up a variety of proteins and chicken is one that gets much love in my household (even though it may not on my social media accounts). I love cooking chicken spatchcocked and this Spatchcocked Lemon Garlic Chicken is a simple recipe that packs great flavor. I have partnered with the folks at Twist’d Q to come up with this Spatchcocked Lemon Garlic Chicken recipe using their Crazy Chick Lemon Garlic seasoning.
CHOOSING A CHICKEN
You can find a whole chicken at pretty much any grocery store. They sometimes are labeled as “fryer”, “broiler”, or “roaster”. What’s the difference? Mainly, the size. Fryer and broiler-labeled chickens are smaller, usually around 2-4 lbs while roaster chickens are 5-7 lbs.
You may see birds that are labeled as “natural”, but that is a very loose term because the USDA does not regulate it. In other words, every chicken can be labeled as natural. The organic ones are naturally raised (no antibiotics, hormones, etc.) in a free-range environment and fed organically. This also means the organic ones will cost about three times as much, too. Choose how fancy (and healthy) you want the bird to be.
WHAT DOES ‘SPATCHCOCKED” MEAN?
If you could filet a whole chicken, spatchcocking it would be the closest way to do it. Spatchcocking is fairly easy, you turn the bird onto it’s front and cut out the backbone. This can be done using some sharp kitchen scissors (and a tight sqeeze of the hand). Don’t have kitchen scissors? Using a chef’s knife and cutting along the sides of the spine should do the trick. For more about how to spatchcock a bird, check out my blog post about…well, spatchcocking a bird.
PREPPING A SPATCHCOCKED CHICKEN
Now that you have the chicken flattened by spatchcocking it, get some olive oil and rub enough on the chicken to lightly coat it. This will help the seasoning to stick to the bird and also help give it a little crispier-looking skin while it cooks. Once that is done, take your Crazy Chick Lemon Garlic seasoning packet and use most of the packet to coat the skin.
The remainder of the seasoning I like to put under the skin where the breast section is. To get under the skin, you will want to take your fingers (preferably with a nitrile glove on) where the cavity of the head is and start separating the skin from the meat by wiggling your fingers around until you get an initial break in the fascia that keeps the skin and muscle together. Once you get through that, you can move your hand down most of the white meat. I like to take an icing spatula and put a tablespoon of butter on it and spread it around on one side of the chicken breast. Then I take another tablespoon and spread it on the other side of chicken breast (left side or right side). Then I take the rest of the seasoning packet and pour the remainder in between the skin and the meat. Massage it in there if you need.
FIRE UP THE GRILL!
Before prepping the spatchcocked lemon garlic chicken, it would be best to get your grill up to temp. For this bird, I’m using my pellet grill and getting it up to 375F with pecan smoke. Once the grill is up to temp, take your flattened bird and lay it on the grill with the front of it facing up. Cooking times can vary on the size of the bird: if the bird is 2-4 lbs, it should take about 45 minutes to an hour; if 5-7 lbs., try 90 minutes.
Ultimately, using a digital thermometer to check the middle of the thickest portionof the white meat is the best way to determine doneness. The USDA recommends internal temps for poultry to be 165F, but there are chefs out there that usually pull off the grill a little under that because thicker meat tends to cook internally a few degrees after it is removed from the cooking chamber (in this case, our grill).
REST, THEN SLICE
With most meats, it’s important to let it rest before digging in. A couple of reasons why is 1) the meat will most likely continue to cook a little more internally and 2) as the meat cools down the juices build up. In the case of this spatchcocked lemon garlic chicken, let it rest about 20 minutes before slicing into it. If you want to add a little more lemon-y flavor, squeeze a quarter of a lemon on top while resting.
Hope you enjoy this recipe and feel free to either comment (which I will likely not see because I’m bombarded with spam) or send me a message on either Instagram or Facebook!
Spatchcocked Lemon Garlic Chicken
Looking to cook up a whole chicken on the grill? This simple recipe only takes five ingredients and pleases the family! This recipe is sponsored by Twist'd Q.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Additional Time20 minutes
Total Time1 hour30 minutes
- 1 whole chicken, 2-4 lbs.
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 packet Crazy Chick Lemon Garlic by Twist'd Q
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 lemon, squeezed
Remove whole chicken from packaging. If not brining, rinse bird. If you want to brine, check notes for a simple brine recipe.
Preheat grill to 375F on indirect heat. Back to the chicken, cut backbone out of chicken by placing bird front side down on the cutting board and using either kitchen scissors or a chef's knife, cut along one side of the backbone all of the way down Repeat on other side. Remove backbone and pull the two sides apart. Turn chicken around and push down to help flatten the bird a little.
Pour olive oil on the chicken and spread around with either your hand or a food brush. Open packet of Twist'd Q Crazy Chick Lemon Garlic and use 3/4 of packet to spread across the outside of the bird.
Using hand, start to dig your fingers under the skin of the bird on top the cavity where the head used to be. Wiggle fingers to separate skin from the chicken breast meat and slide down on left side of the chicken breast. Repeat on the right side. Once done, use an icing spatula with a tablespoon of butter and slide in between skin and breast meat, massaging in from the outside of the skin. Repeat process on other side. Pour remainer of packet under skin.
With grill up to temp, lay chicken on grill front side up and cook for an hour or until internal temp on thickest part of white meat reaches 161F. Remove from grill and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Squeeze 1/4 lemon on turkey to taste (optional).
Brining the bird is recommended, but not mandatory. You can create a simple brine by using one cup of kosher salt and one cup of sugar per one gallon of water. Brining in a five gallon bucket is ideal.
To keep tips of wings and bottoms of legs from burning, wrap them in foil
Spritz with apple juice and/or apple cider vinegar once during the cook to help keep meat from drying out.