Tag Archives: BBQ

To Brine or Not To Brine: ALWAYS BRINE!

Brining is the process of soaking anything in or saturate with salty water. This does not make the meat, vegetables or whatever you brine (I am not really sure what else you would want to brine) salty, it actually allows the water and flavor to flood every cell in the meat. It also takes any cut of meat that may be tough and tenderizes it. This easy technique can be used on ay cut of meat.
The Perfect Grilled Citrus Chicken

For all of the brines, immerse the meat in water and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of an hour, overnight or leave in the freezer labeled (cause it is very hard to tell what it is, duh!) Before you cook the meat, allow it to sit on the counter for 15 minutes out of the brine, pat dry. By patting the meat dry, you are removing the excess liquid which will allow the meat to brown.

You can watch my YouTube video on the topic here.

Thanksgiving/Christmas Brine
1 1/4 cup no-iodine added salt (2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 gallon vegetable stock
4 sprigs rosemary
4 sage leaves
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon allspice berries
1/2 tablespoon candied ginger
1 gallon ice water

Chicken Wings Brine
6 cups cold water
1/3 cup no-iodine added salt (1/2 cup kosher or coarse salt)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons black pepper
2 tablespoons hot sauce of your choice
2-3 pounds chicken wings

Poultry or Pork Apple  Brine
1/2 gallon cold water
2 quarts apple juice
2 cup no-iodine added salt (3 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
10 whole cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg

Spicy Turkey Brine
2 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 cup no-iodine added salt (3/4 cup Kosher or coarse salt)
1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried sage
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 cinnamon stick
2 quarts cold water

Apple Cider Poultry or Pork Brine
2 gallons water
4 cups apple cider
3 oranges, cut into quarters with peels
1 lemon, cut into quarters with peel
2 cups no-iodine added salt (or 3 1/2-cup Kosher salt or coarse salt)
2 cups packed brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
2 tablespoons dried rosemary
5 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons peppercorns
6 whole bay leaves
2 apples, cut into quarters
1 tablespoon whole allspice, coarsely crushed
1 inch of ginger, peeled and sliced

Poultry or Pork Maple Brine
4 quarts water
2 cups dark brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 cup soy sauce
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup no-iodine added salt (1/2 cup kosher or coarse salt)
8-10  cloves garlic, smashed
6-8 whole bay leaves
3 large sprigs of thyme
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

Simple Fish Brine
1 gallon water
2 cups no-iodine added salt (or 3 1/2-cup Kosher salt or coarse salt)
2/3 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
2 lemons, quartered with peel on

Beer Fish Brine
4 cups light ale
1/2 cup sea salt
1/2 cup brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1/4 cup pickling spice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon old bay seasoning

Steak Brine
6 cups water
1/4 cup sea salt
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed

Sweet Poultry/Pork Brine
2 quarts chicken broth
1 cup white vinegar
2 cups no-iodine added table salt (non-iodine)
2 cups honey or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
2 tablespoons whole cloves
8-10  cloves garlic, smashed

Smokey Poultry/Pork/Steak Brine
4 quarts water
2/3 cup sea salt
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
4-6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon liquid smoke

Hawaiian Poultry/Pork Brine
4 quarts pineapple juice
2 oranges, quartered with peel
1 lime, quartered with peel
2 cups brown sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 1/3 cups soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup no-iodine added salt (1 1/2 cups Kosher or coarse salt)
6 cloves garlic, cut into halves
4-6 whole bay leaves
2 tablespoons red pepper, crushed

Cornedbeef/Pastrami Brine
4 quarts water
1 cup kosher salt
10-12 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tablespoons pickling spices
1/4 teaspoons juniper berries
8 bay leaves

Italian Brine for Pork/Beef/Steak
6 cups water
¼ cup kosher salt
¼ cup red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped
6 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute (I love me some stevia)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Fourth of July

I love everything that Independence Day stands for: reaffirming your commitment to freedom, Fourth of Julyliberty and the freedom of choice. What a beautiful concept.

As I celebrate everything else in life, I celebrate this wonderful holiday with the fs: food, friends and family.

I have compiled together all of my favorite recipes to make your Independence Day gathering that much easier. You can find all of my recipes on Pinterest.

What about decorating? I like to keep it very simple when it comes to cookout decorations. Leave out huge bowls filled with raspberries, blueberries and whipped cream. This will run the center of the table and place the desserts and appetizers at the center on top of cake stands of varying sizes. This keeps the gathering communal because it forces everyone towards the food, then they can sit down and make some new friends. Also, this makes cleanup so easy because you don’t have to worry about pulling up the decorations and putting them away. I am a huge fan of simplistic beauty.

Regardless of what you make, who you spend the day with or what you do; please remember one thing. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have so many rights that have been fought for and preserved by countless men and women. Remember to thank a veteran for their service. Happy Independence Day!


Father’s Day Brunch Ideas

Best Dad!Father’s day is right around the corner! Are you excited?? I always say that everyone goes all out for Mother’s Day but what about our dad’s? They deserve as much love and attention, so let’s try to make this Father’s Day the best yet!

Brunch out at a nice restaurant is always nice but I find that on holidays like this, everything is booked, solid. Also, do you really want to fight the crowds (love the traffic) to wait in line for 30-60 minutes for a reservation you made for sub-par food? On crazy days like this, restaurants are trying to push out orders so fast that sometimes the quality of food isn’t as great. Not only that, but you are stuck listening to kids cry, it is so loud you can’t hear yourself think and you feel rushed so the next person can be seated for their reservation. YIKES!

Why not avoid this all together and take dad and mom out the night before and then spend Sunday at home? Plan a great family brunch/bbq and serve dad his favorite foods. Lucky for you, I have compiled together a list of my favorite dishes for dad! Visit my Pinterest Page to see all of the recipes that I have compiled for this special day!

Now that the meal is planned, what about dad’s gift? If you still haven’t found dad the perfect gift, no worries! I done the leg work for you already and compiled together a list of great gift ideas any dad would love.

Spicy Chicken Satay with Homemade Peanut Sauce

Spicy Chicken SatayChicken Satay Ingredients
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar (low-carb substitute would be 1/2 tablespoon equivalent of stevia or sugar substitute)
1 teaspoon minced fresh turmeric OR 1/2 tsp. dried turmeric
2 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon low-sodium dark soy sauce
1-2 fresh red chilies
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
Wooden skewers

Spicy Peanut Sauce Ingredients
6 tablespoons smooth or chunky all-natural peanut butter (low-carbers substitute with almond butter. Use whatever you feel comfortable using, I have used cashews and macadamia nuts before.)
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar (low-carbers substitute with stevia or sugar substitute)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Chicken Satay Directions
Soak the wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes, this will keep them from burning when grilling.

Combine together all of the ingredients but the chicken, cilantro and wooden skewers. Whisk these ingredients together.

Cut chicken into thin, long strips and place in a bowl. Allow it to soak up the marinade for a minimum of an hour or overnight. I love to make this in the morning or the night before for the best flavor.

Thread the meat into the skewers, 1/4 of the skewer should be left empty so it can be handled with ease.

Place some oil on the grill and then grill each piece of chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Broil on a broiler safe dish that has been coated with aluminum foil and oil on high for 5-7 minutes on each side.

Bake in the oven in an oven safe container that has been oiled at 350 degrees F for 10-12 minutes on each side.

Once done, sprinkle with the cilantro.

Spicy Peanut Sauce Directions
Whisk together all of the ingredients and serve with the Chicken Satay.

Baked Potato Wedges

Baked Potato WedgesI love this recipe. It is a two step process but well worth it! The potatoes come out crispy, perfectly cooked and the seasonings are right on!

4 large potatoes
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons corn starch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
pinch cumin
pinch salt
pinch oregano
pinch turmeric

Clean and scrub the potatoes, leaving the skins on.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and add a tablespoon of salt and add the potatoes, let the boil for 10-12 minutes. When your knife slides easily out of the center, it is ready. Remove and allow them to cool on the counter.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each potato in half, length-wise then cut into 4-6 wedges. I prefer my wedges a bit bigger. Each potato should yield 8-12 pieces.

Combine together the remaining ingredients together.

Arrange the potatoes on aluminum foil and cover with the mixture. Ensure everything is evenly coated and the potatoes are in a single line.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.



Hotter Than H-E-Double Hockey Sticks Chicken

Hotter Than H-E-Double Hockey Sticks ChickenYou know the movie “Some Like It Hot” with Marilyn Monroe? That was the inspiration for this recipe. You have to like it really hot because this recipe combines heat, flavor, heat and more heat.

Chicken Ingredients
3 pounds chicken legs, thighs (due to a higher fat content, these stay moist through the cooking process)
3 tablespoons oil
3 cloves garlic,  finely minced
salt and pepper to taste (remember the sauces are already heavily salted, so do not add much salt)

Sauce Ingredients
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup your favorite hot sauce
6 tablespoons Sriracha
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Cayenne pepper to taste

Chicken Directions
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a cookie sheet or any other oven safe pan with foil and place a rack in the pan. This will allow air to circulate around the chicken and give you a crispy result.

Toss the chicken with the oil, salt, pepper and garlic and bake for 20 minutes.

Turn the oven up to 400 degrees and bake for 20 an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown.

Coat the chicken in the sauce and serve.

Sauce Directions
Mix all of the ingredients together.

Korean Bibimbap

Korean BibimbapThis is truly the food of the gods and does wonders for a hangover, not that I have ever drank in excess and required a hangover remedy. Just saying Bibimbap (pronounced pibimp͈ap̚) is so much fun that I made up reasons to use the world the whole day. This dish is served all over Asia as a breakfast item and can be found on the carts of street vendors. There is something so elegantly delicious found in the dish’s simplicity.

1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
1/2 cup bean sprouts,
1/2 cup spinach
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 cups Steamed white rice
2 cups Korean Bulgogi
1 carrot, julienned
4 eggs, cooked over easy
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
Soy sauce (to your taste)
Sriracha or the traditional Gochuchang Sauce (spicy pepper sauce)

Gochuchang Sauce Ingredients
4 tablespoons gochuchang (available at Asian grocery stores)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/2 tablespoon sugar
Gochuchang Sauce Directions
Combine the ingredients together and serve.

Sauté the bean sprouts, spinach and mushrooms separately with a little of the sesame oil and season with salt and pepper.

Add 1/2 cup of rice to each bowl and top with 1/2 cup of Korean Bulgogi, a quarter of the carrot, bean sprouts, spinach and mushrooms. Place each item separately, the beauty of this dish is that the diner gets to mix everything together.

Place an egg on top of each bowl and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and a drizzle of the oil and soy sauce.

Add an egg on top of each bowl. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce. Each diner can add as much or as little of the sriracha sauce as they want. They should mix everything together before dining.