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!
Yield: 11 servings
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 jalapeño, 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, jalapeño, 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, jalapeño, 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.
When I first got into barbecue, my very first smoker was an Oklahoma Joe’s Higlander. It’s considered a “stick burner” because you can feed it smoking wood logs for your heat source (I would use a mix of charcoal and wood chunks). Fast forward to 2019 when I was approached with the opportunity to use the Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco drum smoker and write an honest product review, gotta say I was pretty excited! Kinda comes full circle. Here’s my breakdown:
Unique airflow control system and sealed lid allows for precise temperature management
Cooking grate and meat hangers enable a custom smoking setup
Oversized, eight-pound charcoal basket holds enough fuel for over 10 hours of smoking time
Removable ash pan and porcelain-coated components make clean-up easy
Heavy-gauge steel construction ensures durability you can trust
Rubber handle grip is easy to grab and stays cool to the touch
Professional temperature gauge with glow-in-the-dark accents
Large, wagon-style wheels for easy mobility
Easily converts to a charcoal grill for added versatility
(FYI- I totally did a copy and paste here. But I saved you from going back and forth between their website and mine. Yep.)
What I love about the Bronco
I’ve used some barrel cookers in the past and liked them, but I gotta say this Bronco blows those other drums away! First off, I love the heavy-gauge steel construction of this thing. Helps with the insulation and makes it a durable smoke to use for years to come.
Second, I love the quality of the cooks that I get on this drum smoker. The flavor it imparts to the meat lets the smoking wood shine. If you follow me on social media, you know I love to smoke tri tip. If you don’t know, it is a triangular cut of beef from the lower sirloin of the cow and packs so much flavor and is fairly tender. Anyways, the first cook I did on the Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco drum smoker was hanging tri-tip. I smoked it using charcoal briquettes and hickory wood chunks. Smoked it at about 250F for an hour before reverse searing in a cast iron skillet. I’ve done this method many times before and folks love it. But this time cooking it on the Bronco it tasted so good that my wife told me it was one of, if not THE best tri-tip I’ve done to date! The meat had that hint of hard wood smoke smell and it added to the effect. This is a smell and a flavor that I don’t get on my pellet grills or ceramic grills.
Third, the versatility of being able to hang meats is awesome! You can hang meat such as steaks, roasts, and ribs in this thing and let the juices roll down the length of the meat and baste in it’s goodness during the cooking process.
Finally, the price point. At a retail price of $299.99 (US dollar), the Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco drum smoker makes for a great first smoker or even an excellent addition for those who want to try something different that the pellet grill or kettle they’ve been using.
If I had a magic wand…
That’s basically my way of saying, “what I would change” or even “cons”. To be honest, the two things I wish I could change aren’t too big of a deal. If this drum smoker had was easier access to adding more coals/wood during a longer cook. I did a couple of pork shoulders on it and was able to use the handles on the grill grate to remove the pork, then remove the deflector plate, and add more fuel to the fire. It can kind of be a hassle, but it’s worth it for the flavor.
The other thing is the temperature gauge on the outside isn’t completely accurate, especially if you are hanging steaks or roasts in there. I used my digital thermometer probe for ambient temp and placed it at the same level of the gauge. I had a discrepancy of about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. However, if you are cooking things on the grill surface, which sits above that gauge, then the temp is pretty close to accurate because the heat lessens the further you get from the coals/wood at the bottom of the drum.
The final verdict…
Truth be told, I love this thing! It is my favorite drum I have used to date and I love doing short to mid-range cooks on them. The flavor I get on the food I cook in the Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco drum smoker is outstanding and produces that authentic barbecue taste you find in the better BBQ joints out there. With the price point of only $299, the Oklahoma Joe’s Bronco drum smoker is definitely one to add to your collection!
For those of you that follow me on Instagram (@learningtosmoke), you may have seen my IG story back in late April/early May when I made the trip to Wooster, Ohio for the BBQ Summit at Certified Angus Beef® headquarters. To be honest, initially I was indifferent on going to this event. I’m traveling to Ohio in April? I’m going to tour facilities? Yay.
But then I spoke with my friend Christie Vanover at www.girlscangrill.com and she filled me in on some of the details I was missing: 1) we get to go in their lab and get hands-on with butchering a quarter cow, and 2) the lineup of folks coming to this event. I thought it was just a few social media folks, but that was the tip of the iceberg. Big names in barbecue such as Kent and Barrett Black from Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart, TX, Chris Lilly (Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q), Amy Mills (17th Street BBQ), Anthony DiBernardo (Swig & Swine BBQ), Ray Lampe (Dr. BBQ), and John Lewis (Lewis Barbecue, previously from La Barbecue in Austin) were gonna be there. So, I GET to travel to Ohio in April? YAY!
The event was a blast! Not only do I get to hang out among these legendary pit masters and fellow BBQ bloggers such as Christie, Mikey May (www.manmeatbbq.com), and Malcolm Reed (www.howtobbqright.com), but we get to eat some of the tastiest meals served up by some chefs who are passionate about their craft. Tomahawk ribeye? Check. Prime rib? Check. Cowboy fondue (sirloin steaks cooked on pitchforks) with doughnuts for breakfast? Check. Braised beef with bone marrow and Asian-infused split shank on steamed bao buns? Check. They had salad too, but whatever.
Another highlight was going to the meat lab and being instructed by meat scientist Diana Clark on how to cut up a quarter cow. We were divided into groups and each of our groups were given a quarter cow (front quarter), some boning knives, and a saw (as well as lab coats and gloves to stay sanitary) and taken to school. Doing this helped me better understand where certain cuts come from, why they get their tenderness (or toughness in some cases), and which cuts I should definitely try out when I get home (such as the chuck eye steak).
I feel I should also note that we went back to the meat lab the next day and learned about some cuts in the hind quarters of the cow. Some I am familiar with (such as the tri-tip), and some I need to try (such as hanger steak and ball tip steak).
Another thing we did in the meat lab was make beef sausage. I teamed up with the likes of Greg and Kristina Gaardbo from Chicago Culinary Kitchen and Kent and Barrett Black (Black’s Barbecue) to make a “hamburger sausage” using a blend of ground brisket, ribeye, and chuck. We also had cheese, pickles, and onions in there to make it taste like a classic cheeseburger. It. Was. Awesome!
On the last day we headed out to a Certified Angus Beef® farm and got to meet the farming family, see their Angus cows, and hear about how their practices to help the cows grow and live healthy lives. This is also where we were treated to the Cowboy Fondue and doughnuts all cooked in their cauldrons on site. Hot and fresh and oh so delicious!
I can’t believe I was able to be in attendance to learn so much about the many cuts of beef and rub elbows with some of the best in the world of barbecue. Many thanks to the folks at Certified Angus Beef® for inviting me!
Ah, brisket. The cut of beef I was so intimidated by when I first started BBQing. Gotta admit, I was working the smoker weekly when I started and it took me months to work up the courage to attempt it. After an experienced friend of mine smoked BBQ brisket with me for the first time, it didn’t seem so scary after all. If you are planning your first attempt at this beast of a cut, you’ve come to the right place. If you’ve smoked your share and are researching different methods, I applaud you for staying sharp in the craft.
I’ve cooked many of these smoked BBQ briskets over the last four years and done a variety of methods. I love brisket and it may be my favorite cut of beef to do on the smoker. The process will involve some work, patience, and attention to detail. But don’t be intimidated. It’s fun!
THE SUPER-CONDENSED VERSION
I’m about to dive into the specifics of each step of the brisket cooking process, but if you want to simply read the summary now and skip down to the recipe at the bottom, well you’re in luck because here it is!
I trim off the silver skin on the non fat side, trim some of the fat off of the skinny sides, especially where the point and flat overlap. I trim down to about a 1/2 inch on the fat side, which is a little more left on than others but I Smoke it fat side down because on the grills I use the indirect heat source comes from the bottom. That fat layer on the bottom helps protect the meat from burning. It’s like the fat is sacrificing itself for the meat. I rub with a S&P based rub, something simple for beef. I don’t go too generous, but cover it enough. I spritz a few times during the cook with Dr Pepper, which I think helps with the color more than the flavor. I measure temps where the point and flat overlap, pulling off when it hits 195-199F. I let it rest for 90 minutes to 2 hours before slicing. (NOTE: don’t forget you can make brisket burnt ends too!) If you want to read the breakdown, keep going!
TRIMMING THE BRISKET
I have another blog post in which I review this in more detail and you are free to go check it out. For the sake of keeping this post from being a novel, I’ll go over the important points for you to know.
You trim a brisket for multiple reasons: to enhance the smoke penetrating the meat, creating some tasty bark, and removing some thick portions of fat that don’t render. There is one side of the brisket that has a bunch of fat on it, this is called the fat cap. The other side will have some light sections of fat on it, but likely a bunch of silver skin.
If cooking the brisket fat side down (recommended if your indirect heat source comes from the bottom: pellet grills, ceramic grills, drum smokers), then I recommend trimming down to about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch. I’ve burned the bottom of many a brisket going fat side up because the indirect heat source came from underneath. The heat cooks hotter when its closer to the source. Having the fat on the bottom will act as a protective layer to keep the meat from possibly getting a thin, burnt layer.
If going fat side up, I recommend trimming down to 1/4 inch. The hard fats don’t render, but can add a little flavor to your slices.
a boning knife is preferred for the trimming due to the skinny point and curve
trim fat side down 1/4 inch for cooking fat side up, 1/4 to 1/2 for fat side down
trim off the light fat and silver skin on other side of brisket. Silver skin will make for a tougher chew and keep smoke from penetrating meat as well.
don’t cut into the fat that separates the point and the flat
cut off any little flaps of meat on the brisket. These portions will burn to a crisp due to smoking for many hours
best to trim brisket straight out of the fridge. Fat will be harder thus easier to trim
RUB AND REST
Now that the trimming is out of the way, we can get to the applying the seasonings, or the rub as us BBQers call it. If using a bottle of rub, it is recommended to go with one that is more savory as compared to the sweet rubs which are great for pork. As for me, I like to go simple with brisket: 2 Tbsp kosher salt, 2 Tbsp ground pepper, and 1 Tbsp garlic powder.
While you may go generous on the rub when doing another meat such as pork shoulder, I like to go modest to medium on brisket to let the natural meat flavor stand out. Make sure to apply rub on all sides of the brisket, even the narrow thin ones. The crust will have good flavor and compliment the real star of the show, the beef.
You can let the beef sit at room temperature for a little while without the risk of contamination (unlike poultry and pork), so feel free to let the meat sit for about 20-30 minutes to let the rub soak in a little before hitting the grill. NOTE: before applying rub and letting meat rest would be a good time to get grill/smoker going.
TIME FOR THE LONG SMOKE SESSION
Get your heat source for your grill/smoker up to 250F using indirect heat. As far as smoking wood goes, I have a few that I like, such as hickory, pecan, and oak. To stick with traditional Texas-style brisket, let’s go with oak (post oak to be more specific).
Place the brisket on the grill either fat side up or fat side down (I prefer fat side down due to the types of grills I own: ceramic, pellet, and drum smoker. I explained this earlier in the trimming section). I like to put a water pan in the main chamber to help keep the meat from drying out (then again, I do live in a dry, desert climate).
I do like to spritz with Dr Pepper two or three times during the cook. To help the Dr Pepper spray better, open the can hours before spritzing. This helps the soda to go flat and spray better. I love the color it helps impart and the subtle flavor it gives the bark.
THE EFFIN’ STALL
During the first few hours of the cook, the meat temps will climb quick. Even at the 250F smoking temp, I’ve had briskets go from 50F to 130F internal in three hours. You would think with that type of start that you’re on pace to finish in two more hours. But the brisket will eventually hit a point that it’s internal temperature will stop climbing and level out. This is called “the stall”.
The stall usually happens around 160F. To get a deeper dive in the science of it, the folks over at Amazing Ribs have a great article on it. To summarize, the meat starts sweating and the moisture evaporates and cools the meat. With that said, this is about the time I stop spritzing. The internal meat temp will stay leveled out in this zone for hours.
There is a common method to push through this and it’s known as the “Texas crutch”. The Texas crutch is when you wrap the meat in either foil or pink butcher paper to accelerate the temperature the meat is cooking at and giving it no choice but to cook faster.
If going with this method, I prefer the pink (or peach) butcher paper as it allows air flow to go through while still retaining heat. Foil traps the heat and creates moisture inside the cocoon you’ve created and can cause the outside of the meat (aka-the bark) to get soggy and feel like roast beef. If you do go the foil route, I recommend unwrapping during the last hour or so of the cook to help the bark develop.
WHEN IS THE SMOKED BBQ BRISKET DONE?
There’s some debate on how to tell when the brisket is done. Some go by time, others by temp, and those who prefer by feel. I don’t like going by time because every cut of brisket is different and cooks different. I recommend temp because it is easier to monitor throughout the process.
On a whole (or packer) brisket, make sure to put the meat probe in the section where the point and the flap overlap. Go halfway in. When the temps reach between 197-201F, pull off the grill and let the smoked BBQ brisket rest. At first, the temp will rise a few degrees while resting but then start to cool off. Let rest about 90 minutes to two hours before slicing. Speaking of…
SLICING IT UP
Whole briskets have two different sections of meat and the grains go different ways. I like to slice down the middle to separate where the point and the flat are, against the grain. Slicing against the grain makes for a more tender bite. Find the directions the grains go and slice the opposite way for the best meat experience.
Some say a good measure of a great brisket is the smoke ring and the color of the bark. While these features are aesthetically pleasing and quite photogenic, they don’t necessarily mean the brisket automatically tastes good. I’ve overcooked briskets that passed the eye test more than once. Also, I’ve had briskets with very little smoke ring and not as dark of bark but still tasted pretty good. Bottom line is, go off of flavor. If it tastes good to you, then you did it right!
Brisket is the king of all barbecued meats. It can be intimidating to cook due to the time and cost, but this recipe will guide you and make you look like a natural to your friends and family!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time12 hours
Additional Time1 hour30 minutes
Total Time14 hours
1 whole (or packer) brisket (11-14 lbs.)
2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 Tablespoons ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
3 oz. Dr Pepper (for spritzing)
Preheat grill/smoker to 250F using indirect heat and oak wood
Remove brisket from packaging. Trim fat side of brisket down to 1/4 inch (boning knife preferred). Flip brisket over and trim off silver skin. Also trim off any random flaps of meat as they will burn during cooking.
Mix kosher salt, pepper, and garlic powder together and apply on brisket. Apply more on the exposed meat and less on the fat.
Place brisket on grill fat side down. Spritz with Dr Pepper a few times during cook. Wrap in pink butcher paper when meat reaches internal temp in the 160s to accelerate cooking process. Let cook for 12 hours or until internal meat temps reach between 197-201F.
Remove brisket from grill, unwrap and let rest for 90 minutes before slicing. When slicing, pencil thin is the ideal width.
It's best to trim the brisket straight out of the refrigerator while it's cold due to the fat being more solid and easier to cut off.
After seasoning brisket, one option is to let the brisket rest for about 30 minutes before putting on grill. Some do this to let the meat sweat a little and let the seasonings blend in.
If you don't have oak wood, other woods such as hickory or mesquite will work too (I like pecan with beef, as well)
Measure internal meat temps by placing digital thermometer into the spot where the point and flap overlap. Push thermometer halfway in.
If cutting sugar from your diet, spritz with beef stock or beef broth instead of Dr Pepper
4 oz Amount Per Serving:Calories: 330Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 120mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 32g