Valentines Day Pressed Cookies

Valentines Day Pressed Cookies

My family loves to eat cookies.  Some of our favorite cookies are pressed cookies.  They are easy to make, equal in size and consistent in quality.  They are basically the easiest cookies in the world to cook the same repeatedly.  In order to make these we had to pick up a cookie press.  After looking at  various reviews online we decided to pick up an Oxo Cookie Press.  Next since it is Valentines day we decided to make some Valentines cookies.  This was easy as a few of the various cookie cutters included with the Oxo cookie press were hearts, flowers and teddy bears.  Perfect for Valentines Day!  The go to dough for these cookies, is Dana’s Mother’s recipe.  Thanks for letting me reprint this Jane.

Read more

Last Minute Gift Ideas and Thermapen Giveaway!

Last Minute Gift Ideas and Thermapen Giveaway!

Every year I compile a list of the best Christmas gifts for the griller in your life.   Granted in a majority of the country it is snowing, but if your friends, spouses or children are anything like me, they grill all year long.  So here is my list of must have grilling wares for 2014.  Remember there is still time to purchase all of these items in time for Christmas!  Make sure that your favorite outdoor cook has all of the wares to make you the best meal possible.  These gifts are not just for your favorite griller, they are for you too! You can never underestimate the power of a perfectly cooked steak.

Read more

Food Processor Pie Crust

Food Processor Pie Crust

Last week I wanted to bake a few pies for Thanksgiving.  However, I did not have any pie crusts and I really dreaded making my own.  Pie crusts are a pain in the butt.  Then I discovered an old food processor that Dana and I had.  Who knew that we owned one.  Anyways, 3o seconds later, I had a fresh pie crust chilling in the refrigerator.  I don’t use food processors much, heck we just found out that we owned one, but they are the ultimate tool for making pie crust.  All you have to do is measure out the ingredients and be able to press the on button.  Food Processor Pie Crusts are the best!

Read more

Texas Brisket Wrapped in Butcher Paper

Texas Brisket Wrapped in Butcher Paper

I have been cooking a lot of brisket lately.  It is my favorite bbq meat.  I guess I am a Texan at heart.  However, I have been cooking a standard competition style brisket in order to perfect my craft.  But sometimes you just want to cook something different.  So I decided I should try a salt and pepper Texas Brisket Wrapped in Butcher Paper.  I developed a basic rub and cooked the Brisket over oak.  The traditional Texas smoking wood.

Texas brisket

Texas Brisket Wrapped in Butcher Paper

Add the rub ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Set aside.  Make sure to weigh the ingredients.  As you want equal parts salt and pepper by weight not volume.

The Rub

Mix 1/2 cup Worcestershire Sauce with 3 cups of water in a spray bottle.  Shake well.  Set aside.

Spritz

Trim the brisket removing most of the thick fat around the point.  Then trim the fat cap so that it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Trim the Brisket

Lightly dust the brisket with the rub.  Trust me a little goes a long ways.  Let the brisket sit out and come up in temperature while you get your smoker to 225 degrees.

Lightly Season

Once your smoker gets to 225 degrees add the brisket.

Add to the smoker

Spritz the brisket with the Worcestershire sauce mixture every 30-45 minutes.

Spritz

Once the brisket develops a nice dark bark it is time to wrap.  I found that this occurs somewhere in the 165-180 degree range.  This occurred about 8 hours into the cook.  It varies each and every time that I do it.  Basically you want a nice bark that has a nice dark color.  Something that screams eat me!

Eat Me

Wrap the brisket in about 6-8 feet of butcher paper.  Make sure that the paper is not coated or waxed.  You want to use clean butcher paper that is not treated in any way, shape or form.  I found a nice roll of butcher paper at Sam’s Club. You can pick this stuff up at most big box stores or restaurant supply stores.

Wrap and place on the smoker

Once the brisket is wrapped, place it back on the smoker until the brisket is probe tender.  Basically you can slide a skewer easily through the brisket without any resistance.  This occurred about 3-4 hours after I wrapped the brisket.

When the brisket is ready, remove it from the smoker.  You will see that the paper absorbed some moisture but most of the moisture is in the brisket.

Butcher paper brisket

Basically the paper absorbed the moisture that would have made the bark soggy.  The bark is amazing when you cook this way.

Texas Brisket sliced

Slice the flat against the grain and then turn to a 45 degree angle and slice the fatty portion.  Remember the fatty portion’s grain runs perpendicular to the flat portion’s grain.

Texas Brisket Fat Sliced

This was by far the best brisket that I have ever cooked.  It was tasty, tender and downright delicious.  Dana agreed and basically called all of my other briskets OK.  Thanks Dana.

best brisket

The salt and pepper created a nice bark, the Worcestershire spritz enhanced the beef flavor and kept the meat moist and the butcher paper kept the bark crisp while keeping in all of the moisture.  If you haven’t cooked a brisket like this you have to.

Texas Brisket Wrapped in Butcher Paper
Author: 
Recipe type: Brisket
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
The best way to cook a brisket. A Salt and Pepper based rub that is simple and produces the best brisket around! The brisket is then wrapped in butcher paper to keep the bark crisp while retaining all of the moisture while the brisket finishes cooking!
Ingredients
Texas Brisket
  • 1 packer brisket
  • ½ to 1 cup Salt and Pepper Brisket Rub (see recipe below)
  • 6-8 ft butcher paper
Salt and Pepper Brisket Rub
  • 50 grams Kosher Salt
  • 50 grams Coarse Black Pepper
  • 12 grams onion powder
  • 12 grams granulated garlic
  • 5 grams cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Add the rub ingredients into a bowl and mix. Set aside. Make sure to weigh the ingredients. As you want equal parts salt and pepper by weight not volume.
  2. Mix ½ cup Worcestershire Sauce with 3 cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake well. Set aside.
  3. Trim the brisket removing most of the thick fat around the point. Then trim the fat cap so that it is about ¼ inch thick.
  4. Lightly dust the brisket with the rub. Trust me a little goes a long ways. Let the brisket sit out and come up in temperature while you get your smoker to 225 degrees.
  5. Once your smoker gets to 225 degrees add the brisket.
  6. Spritz the brisket with the Worcestershire sauce mixture every 30-45 minutes.
  7. Once the brisket develops a nice dark bark it is time to wrap. I found that this occurs somewhere in the 165-180 degree range. This occurred about 8 hours into the cook. It varies each and every time that I do it. Basically you want a nice bark that has a nice dark color. Something that screams eat me!
  8. Wrap the brisket in about 6-8 feet of butcher paper. Make sure that the paper is not coated or waxed. You want to use clean butcher paper that is not treated in any way, shape or form. I found a nice roll of butcher paper at Sam's Club. You can pick this stuff up at most big box stores or restaurant supply stores.
  9. Once the brisket is wrapped, place it back on the smoker until the brisket is probe tender. Basically you can slide a skewer easily through the brisket without any resistance. This occurred about 3-4 hours after I wrapped the brisket.
  10. When the brisket is ready, remove it from the smoker. You will see that the paper absorbed some moisture but most of the moisture is in the brisket.
  11. Basically the paper absorbed the moisture that would have made the bark soggy. The bark is amazing when you cook this way.
  12. Slice the flat against the grain and then turn to a 45 degree angle and slice the fatty portion. Remember the fatty portion's grain runs perpendicular to the flat portion's grain.

 

 

 

Grill Grates – Review

Grill Grates – Review

A couple weeks ago I was given the opportunity to test and review some grill grates. When these arrived I will be honest, I was a bit skeptical.   How could you improve on grill grates?  Metal bars that hold food over an open fire.   Don’t they all do the same thing? Well I was wrong.  Grill grates are interlocking aluminum panels that sit on top of your current grill grates.  The Aluminum panels amplify the grill and convert it to infrared heat.  They also even out the cooking surface, prevent flareups and  give you the ultimate grill marks.  They are a great grill accessory that is quickly becoming the most used tool in my arsenal.

Read more

Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian Pizza

I love pizza!  One of my favorite types of pizza is the thick crust Sicilian Style pizza.  With a crust to topping ratio over 5:1, this pizza is like one giant bread stick.  I have been looking for a good crust recipe for a while.  I finally found one that my family loves. Actually Dana said it was the best pizza that I have ever made.  Now that is a good endorsement.

Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian Pizza

In the bowl of your mixer combine the water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until it starts to foam.

Allow the mixture to foam

Add 3 cups of flour, salt and 1 tbs of olive oil. Mix slowly with a dough hook until a ball starts to form.

Allow the dough to come together

With the dough hook kneading the dough, Slowly add flour 1 tbs at a time until a smooth ball forms. Roughly 1/2 cup more. Once a smooth ball forms continue to knead for 5 minutes.

Nice dough ball

Place the dough ball in a oiled ball and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.

Stretch onto a sheet pan

Oil a 13×18 half sheet pan and roll the dough ball onto it. Stretch the dough until it almost reaches the edges. Don’t worry if it does not reach the edges. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours or until the dough rises above the edge of the pan.

Allow the dough to rise

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the dough has done its second rise, Press the dough out to the edges.

Coat with sauce

Cover with the sauce. Don’t go light on the sauce as the dough is pretty thick.

Cover with your favorite toppings

Then cover with cheese and your favorite toppings.

Nice and browned

Place into the preheated oven and cook 15-20 minutes or until the edges and cheese brown.

Slice and eat

Remove, cut into slices and eat.

Sicilian Pizza

Absolutely delicious!

Sicilian Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Pizza
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
The most delicious thick crust Sicilian Pizza around.
Ingredients
Pizza
  • 1 dough, recipe below
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 8 oz cheese
  • favorite toppings
Dough
  • 1½ c. warm water
  • 1½ tbsp. dry yeast
  • 4 c. bread flour or all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
Instructions
  1. In the bowl of your mixer combine the water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until it starts to foam.
  2. Add 3 cups of flour, salt and 1 tbs of olive oil. Mix slowly with a dough hook until a ball starts to form.
  3. With the dough hook kneading the dough, Slowly add flour 1 tbs at a time until a smooth ball forms. Roughly ½ cup more. Once a smooth ball forms continue to knead for 5 minutes.
  4. Place the dough ball in a oiled ball and let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled.
  5. Oil a 13x18 half sheet pan and roll the dough ball onto it. Stretch the dough until it almost reaches the edges. Don't worry if it does not reach the edges. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise for 1-2 hours or until the dough rises above the edge of the pan.
  6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  7. Once the dough has done its second rise, Press the dough out to the edges.
  8. Cover with the sauce. Don't go light on the sauce as the dough is pretty thick.
  9. Then cover with cheese and your favorite toppings.
  10. Place into the preheated oven and cook 15-20 minutes or until the edges and cheese brown.
  11. Remove and eat.

Adapted from http://pizza.about.com/od/TraditionalPizza/r/Sicilian-Style-Square-Pizza-Recipe.htm

Hamburger Seasoning

Hamburger Seasoning

I love a good old hamburger. Nothing screams “America”, like a burger!  I find that simple is the way to go. Ground beef with a good seasoning.  I have been working on my seasoning for a couple of years.  I have finally come up with the perfect go to seasoning.  It is simple, but hits all of the right notes. This upcoming labor day, you have to try this seasoning on your burgers.

Burger Seasoning

Hamburger Seasoning

I have tried a ton of different combinations but have found that this combination of simple ingredients enhances the flavor of the beef the best.

In a bowl combine the ingredients.  Stir or mix until well blended.

Burger Seasoning

To use, form your favorite ground beef into 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 pound patties.  Sprinkle both sides of the patties liberally with the seasoning.

Season

Grill over direct heat until you see the juices start to pool on the top side of the burger.  I used a set of grill grates to get a perfect sear.  I must say that I have never gotten such perfect grill lines so easily.  I will have a full review of the grill grates next week.

Place on the grill

Flip and continue to grill until your burger reaches your desired doneness.

Flip

Medium Rare 130-135°Fahrenheit
Medium 135-145°Fahrenheit
Medium Well 145-155°Fahrenheit
Well done more than 155°Fahrenheit

Remove and eat with your favorite toppings.

Hamburger Seasoning
Author: 
Recipe type: Burger Seasoning
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
The best way to bring out the All American Beef flavor from your burgers!
Ingredients
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl. Mix until fully combined.

This seasoning complements the beef perfectly.   It enhances the meat without overpowering it.  It is a must try!

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread

My family loves bananas.  The unfortunate thing with bananas, is that no matter how fast we eat them, we always end up with a couple overripe ones.  Luckily, we love banana bread.  So much so, that we make it about once a week.  We have a go to recipe, but it did not have the depth of flavor that I want.  So I decided to come up with a new recipe.  This one uses dark brown sugar, lots of bananas and a handful of walnuts to give the perfect texture.  Nothing beats dark brown sugar banana bread.

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread

Grease a 9×5 pan with vegetable spray.  Also preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cream together the dark brown sugar and butter

In the bowl of your mixer cream together the butter and dark brown sugar.

Sift the flour

While the butter is creaming sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.  I like to sift the ingredients onto a piece of parchment or foil.  That way you can easily funnel the ingredients into the mixing bowl.  Once you have the dry ingredients sifted, mash the four bananas into a small bowl.

Once the butter and dark brown sugar are creamed together, turn the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time.  Make sure to fully incorporate the first egg before adding the second.

Add the naners

Then add the bananas to the mixture.

Add the flour slowly

Once the bananas are fully incorporated, slowly add the dry ingredients.  If you sift the ingredients onto a piece of parchment or foil your job will be a lot easier.

Place in the oven

Once everything is incorporated, remove the mixing paddle and add the walnuts.  Mix them in by hand.  Once incorporated, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.

Fully Cooked

Place the loaf pan in the center of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, or until fully cooked.  To check for doneness, insert a skewer into the center of the bread.  When the skewer comes out cleanly, the loaf is fully cooked.

Let cool

Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes.  After the bread has slightly cooled, remove it from the pan and let it fully cool on a wire rack.

Awesome Banana Bread

Slice and enjoy!

Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Dark Brown Sugar Banana Bread - As good as it gets!
Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 super ripe bananas, mashed
  • ¾ cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup walnuts (rough chop)
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9x5 pan with vegetable spray. Also preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer cream together the butter and dark brown sugar.
  3. While the butter is creaming sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. I like to sift the ingredients onto a piece of parchment or foil. That way you can easily funnel the ingredients into the mixing bowl. Once you have the dry ingredients sifted, mash the four bananas into a small bowl.
  4. Once the butter and dark brown sugar are creamed together, turn the mixer to low and add the eggs one at a time. Make sure to fully incorporate the first egg before adding the second.
  5. Then add the bananas to the mixture.
  6. Once the bananas are fully incorporated, slowly add the dry ingredients. If you sift the ingredients onto a piece of parchment or foil your job will be a lot easier.
  7. Once everything is incorporated, remove the mixing paddle and add the walnuts. Mix them in by hand. Once incorporated, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan.
  8. Place the loaf pan in the center of a preheated oven and bake for 1 hour, or until fully cooked. To check for doneness, insert a skewer into the center of the bread. When the skewer comes out cleanly, the loaf is fully cooked.
  9. Remove the loaf from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least 5 minutes. After the bread has slightly cooled, remove it from the pan and let it fully cool on a wire rack.

This bread was perfect.  Not too sweet, not too salty and just the right amount of banana goodness.  A must try.

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day Gift Guide

I get a lot of questions regarding the best grilling tools and gift suggestions.  Coming up this weekend is Father’s Day!  Nothing says Dad like the grill.  So I have compiled a list of my favorite bbq tools and accessories.

Father’s Day Gift Guide 2014 Edition

10. Oxo Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs – $12.95

  • Never underestimate a good set of tongs.  These puppies are 16 inches long.  The perfect size for grilling.  No more singeing your knuckle hair trying to flip that steak on the back part of the grill.  Oxo makes a sturdy and lockable set of tongs.

9.  Cedar Barbecue Planks – $24.99

  • Go gourmet this season with grilled cedar plank salmon.  Yeah, you see that.  Requires cedar planks.  Hmm, maybe you should get some cedar planks so that you can make cedar plank salmon.  What a great idea.  I will take 2.

8. Wide Skewers – $13.49

  • Nothing sucks more than turning skewers and having the food rotate so that even though you turned the skewer, the food never flipped.  Quick solution, wide skewers.  Great for veggies, chicken, tomatoes, scallops, etc…  Pretty much anything.  This set of 4 is 5/8ths inch wide.  Yep, almost a sword for you to skewer your meal.

7. Chimney Starter – $14.99

  • There are a ton of cheap chimney starters out there.  I have found the best deal on a Weber Chimney starter.  You may say, “Hey Rex they have chimney starters over at my big box retailer for $7.99”  Go get that one, but you will be sorry.  They are cheap and flimsy and when you have 1000 degree hot coals in your hands the last thing you want is cheap and flimsy.  Trust me.  Spend the extra $5 and get a nice sturdy one.  BTW – this exact starter retails for $19-29 at the big box stores.

6. Kettle Pizza – $145.04

  • Finally we all can make wood fired pizzas at home.  This attachment for the weber kettle turns your ordinary charcoal grill into an extraordinary wood pizza oven.  I have been using my for a couple of years now.  It is great and a ton of fun at parties.

5. Stainless Steel Seasoning Injector w/2 Stainless Needles – $16.07

  • This injector solves all of life’s mysteries.  Ok, maybe not, but it includes two needles.  One for liquid injecting and one for herb injecting.  I ran into this problem on Thanksgiving, where we wanted to inject the deep fried turkey with a mixture of herbs and spices, and then the injector holes kept clogging up.  We then had to switch to an all liquid marinade.  You wouldn’t want to be on an all liquid diet, neither would a turkey for its last meal.  Pick up this injector and surprise the turkey with a meal full of herbs and spices,  you will enjoy it too.

4. Grill Daddy Grate Brush – $23.45

  • A clean grill is a happy grill.  Brush off the big particles but leave some of the grease.  Using grill cleaners is a no-no, but so is trying to grill over the crust of barbecued chicken.  Using a heavy duty brush like this grill daddy grate brush you will clean the grates of solid material, but leave the flavor that you have so hardly worked for behind.  Added bonus, this brush has replaceable heads so that when you wear it down, you only have to buy a replacement brush head instead of buying a whole brush.  Yep, its green and it saves money.  Secondly, the two hand grips on the brush handle give you optimal force to clean the grill.

3. A super fast Thermapen– $96

  • When you are cooking a pork butt, beer can chicken or any sort of bbq it is best to know when it is done.  The best way to do that is to use a thermometer.  The Thermapen is a super fast and super accurate meat thermometer.  Getting this will take the guessing game out of barbecuing.  On a side note – it works great for roasting meats too.  Try it next year when you are cooking your turkey.

2. Custom Grill Grates – $29.95 and Up

  • Thanks to Chris over at NibbleMeThis for showing me these awesome custom grill grates.  Make grates that have the family crest or last name.  Have grates made that support your favorite team or even your favorite sport.  This could be the perfect gift of the season.  Customizable and full of character.  You could win best gift this year with this one.  Not that it is a competition, but we all know it is.

1. Weber One-Touch Gold Charcoal Kettle, Black – $149

  • You can not put a price on a great grill.  However, this charcoal grill from Weber is only $149.  It can grill, bake and smoke anything.  The gold edition has a thermometer in the lid, upgraded grates and the all important enclosed ash catcher.  You do not need to spend any more to get the best tasting grilled meats around.

Side Note – Most of the items above are available for Amazon Prime.  There is a free trial right now, basically during the trial period, all items eligible ship 2-day air for free or you can pay $3.99 for overnight shipping.

Hope this helps find the perfect gift for any Dad in your life.

-Rex

Big Game Buffalo Wings

Big Game Buffalo Wings

Nothing says football like buffalo wings.  I have compiled a list of the best buffalo wing recipes on Savoryreviews.com.  Each of the wing recipes below use a different sauce and each uses a different method for cooking.  Feel free to browse and then mix and match the sauces with the various methods of cooking.  My favorite is the grilled method.  It produces a crispy skin with a light smokey flavor.  A winner every time.

Boneless Buffalo Wings

Boneless Buffalo Wings
Boneless Buffalo Wings

Simple and delicious, nothing beats a boneless wing.  These take minimal effort to make and even less effort to eat.  If you are looking for a simple big game treat that is easy to eat.  This is you wing.

Grilled Hot Wings

Grilled Hot Wings
Grilled Hot Wings

Grilled wings are the best way to clear out the kitchen.  Move the cooking outside and keep the house calm and cool.

Chipotle Peach Hot Wings

Peach Hot wings
Chipotle Peach Hot Wings

A sweet heat is the way to go.  You can use this sauce on boneless, grilled or traditional wings.  It is a winner each and every time I make it.

Buffalo Wing Pizza

Layer on the chicken and cheese
Buffalo Chicken Wing Pizza

Sick of having chicken bones all over your house after a party.  This is the easiest solution.  Throw the chicken on a pizza and you will score a touchdown in no time.

Award Winning Hot Wing Recipe

The wings taste great with bleu cheese dressing.
Award Winning Hot Wing Recipe.  The wings taste great with bleu cheese dressing.

The sauce that made me famous.  Well famous in my own mind.  This sauce won me the cup and will definitely win you fans at your big game party.  Takes a little prep, but is well worth it. You can use this sauce on boneless, grilled or traditional wings.

Hope these recipes will help you out on this super Sunday.  If you have any questions regarding your game day wings feel free to email me using the Ask Rex link in the menu above.  I will be available all day to help you through your game day prep.

 

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp

Chipotle Lime Grilled Shrimp

I love shrimp so much that I purchase it whenever it is on sale.  I don’t mind buying frozen shrimp as all of the shrimp sold in supermarkets/fish markets where I live sell previously frozen shrimp.  Therefore, I like to thaw the shrimp under my own conditions. I usually thaw it in a strainer that is covered in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before I want to cook them.  This recipe is simple, but it packs a ton of flavor.

Read more