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Webmaster of, and organic food nut, runner and dog lover, grandmother to Malicha and Grey. .

What’s the Best Grade of Steak for Grilling?

What’s the Best Grade of Steak for Grilling? It seems that meat prices, such as steaks, are always on the rise and that’s even truer due to processing plants shuttering temporarily due to COVID-19 concerns. So it’s a good time to have a better understanding of the different ratings for beef. Just in case you were wondering, there are eight different beef quality grades! Who knew? This explains why a ribeye in one section of the meat counter is one price and a similar-sized cut a few steaks away is more expensive. Of course, you can factor in the weight and the thickness of each steak when pricing. But there’s a good chance that one row of those ribeyes in the meat counter is one grade while the ones a few rows over are a different grade. The lower grade, the lower quality of the cut. What Determines a Grade? So, the basic question is what determines the grade of steak or beef in general? The USDA has eight beef quality grades. Surprisingly, the grades are based on only two main things. The first is the degree of marbling (aka intramuscular fat) in the beef. The second is the maturity, estimated age, of the animal at the time of slaughter and processing. Most Common Grocery Store Grades Don’t worry, you don’t have to remember all eight grades of beef. When it comes to grilling steaks or slow baking a roast, then the number of grades is only around three. That’s unless your buying steaks from a sketchy van with a built-in freezer parked in some parking lot… then you may need to know the lower grades! Here’s how those three grades three break down according to the Cattleman’s Beef Association. PRIME – Most Expensive Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed cattle. It has abundant marbling, is produced in smaller quantities than other grades, and is often sold in hotels and restaurants. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for roasting, grilling, or broiling. CHOICE Choice beef is high quality and produced in highest quantity, but has less marbling than Prime. Choice roasts and steaks, especially from the rib and loin, will be very tender, juicy, and flavorful. They are suited for roasting, grilling, and broiling. Less tender cuts are perfect for slow-cooking. SELECT Select beef is slightly leaner than Prime and Choice because it has less marbling. It can lack some tenderness, flavor, and juiciness as compared to the higher grades. Select grade beef often benefits from [...]

By |2020-05-24T21:29:35+00:00May 24th, 2020|Meat, Steak|0 Comments

Valentine’s Cooking Tips with Quick and Easy Recipe for Chocolate Lovers

 Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Many people opt for a private home cooked meal on Valentine’s Day instead of spending too much on dinner out with possibly inflated prices. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a big dinner out with your Valentine if the budget and schedule allows it. However, many may find a romantic dinner at home more affordable and equally desired. The trick is to make sure the romantic event is different from a normal meal Here are some suggestions followed by a quick and easy recipe for Chocolate lovers! Simple is the ticket during the month for lovers. You want to impress your dinner partner. But that does not mean picking a dish that requires you spending all your time in the kitchen. Nothing says love like waiting for hours while food is cooking. Keep it quick and simple… but new. Keep it fresh. This applies on two levels, fresh foods and a fresh recipe. Avoid bland frozen items and choose a dish that is not something the two of you would eat on a regular basis. Comfort But try to stay in both of your comfort zones. This is not the time to try an exotic recipe for the first time. One, make sure you can cook the dish. Don’t pick something that takes more skill than you can muster, or time than you can dedicate to it. Two, don’t go crazy on something that neither one of you would really enjoy. Portions Size. Dishes are smaller, everything is easier, cooking time is reduced and both of you are more likely to enjoy each other’s company more if you don’t feel the need for a nap after dinner. Clean Up! Are you kidding me? Save the dishes for later. In short, make it simple, realistic and something you know you can cook but don’t all the time then try to add a twist. And even if you just whip up a regular favorite for dinner, which is fine, add something special and fun. Quick [...]

By |2020-01-25T21:20:13+00:00January 25th, 2020|Fruits, Valentine Day|0 Comments

Three Hacks for Safe Cookouts for Backyard, Tailgate or Campsite!

So you’re camping out and getting your cooking gear together! Or, maybe you’re just going to fire up the grill in the backyard and cook for family and friends. Maybe you’re gathering your tailgate supplies for the College and Pro football season. Whichever version of outdoor cooking you’re leaning towards it’s always a great idea to keep a few food safety tips in mind. Hopefully, there won’t be any problems! But here are three safety hacks that are perfect for the back yard, tailgate or the campsite. ONE – Cold and Hot - Safe Temperatures – Digital Thermometers The general rule of thumb that I mention during my chef demos is this; Keep the cold food cold and keep the hot food hot. Use ice to keep cold foods chilled while serving. Such as a bowl of pasta salad resting in a tray of ice. Never mix ice used for consumption with ice used to store food – especially any meat that could drip raw fluids. Also, cook/grill meats to their proper internal temperature. The only way to do this is with a thermometer. Personally, I use Digital Thermometers for a variety of things. I have a Digital Instant Read Thermometer that’s pocket-sized and perfect for camping and tailgating. And I have a Bluetooth Thermometer which sends the chamber temperature of my barbecue smoker to my cell phone. Plus I have a couple of older plain cooking thermometers for backups in case a battery dies. Use your thermometer to check the internal temps so you properly cook items to the USDA recommendation. This takes care of harmful bacteria that may cause illness. Temps differ from meat to meat so I’ve added the USDA Temperature Chart below. Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb Steaks, chops, roasts 145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes Ground meats 160 °F (71.1 °C) Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked) 145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes Fully Cooked Ham (to reheat) Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C). All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, and wings, ground poultry, and stuffing) 165 °F (73.9 °C) Fish & Shellfish 145 °F (62.8 °C) Source If the food you are serving was stored in the fridge then that food needs to be kept chilled during serving. Hot food from the grill, oven, grill or stove should be kept warm. Think [...]

By |2019-09-14T01:27:45+00:00August 18th, 2019|Cooking, Ham, Meat|0 Comments

Easy Grilled Foil Fish Boat

About the Author: Kent Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He is the winner of the Emeril Live BBQ contest and winner of an American Authors Association Gold medal. Kent’s books are in bookstores nationwide and are available online. Kent lives in Chattanooga. Visit him online at Sometimes you want something other than a hot dog or burger on the grill and that’s where seafood comes in to play. Seafood, from simple cod fillets to shrimp, clams, oysters, shark steaks, and more are all perfect for cooking over hot coals or open gas flames. The trick is to understand one important thing… grilling seafood is incredibly simple! And that’s where using something as simple as a foil fish boat comes in handy. Unless you grill all of the time and have a wide variety of non-stick grilling baskets you may be hesitant about grilling more delicate white fish fillets directly on the hot grate. The obvious fear that that the fillet will break apart… which it will naturally flake when it’s done. Flakes can turn into large chunks of your meal falling into to fire.   Why a Boat and not just a sheet of Foil? What’s a foil fish boat? – all you are really doing is providing a nice surface that you can grill thin and delicate filets on worry-free. A splash of butter or non-stick spray is all you really need. I love foil and this is a recipe and technique that I use to cook seafood and shrimp on the grill. T also works with vegetable burgers and turkey burgers. The point is, you have the smooth surface of a skillet with the smoky flavor from your grill! Here’s where a “boat” comes in handy! By forming a boat or bowl type of shape with your foil you can add additional items in without having to worry about things sliding off. Plus, depending on how thin your fillet is, you may not even need to turn it. Just let the heat from the bottom coals and the refracted heat from a closed cover grill, smoke and bake your fish at the same time. And, if the sides of the foil are long enough you can add the ingredients, fold lightly to seal, and then grill. You’ve just eliminated the worry of serving dried out fillets. Serving shrimp? Toss in the shrimp, sprinkle with seasoning, a few dashes of water and some butter, fold slightly, grill and you [...]

By |2019-08-18T21:51:08+00:00July 2nd, 2019|BBQ|0 Comments

Human Cannonball

Shawn is a 34 year dad and a human Cannonball , who does approximately 400 shows a year. He has two boys m one nine and one five who are following in his footsteps - and a wife who does a high wire act. They have done a lot of circus events and a lot of county and state fairs. Shawn also has a full recording studio which has the capability to write, record, and produce music for your next event. SO he is a man of many talents! Listen to "HumanCannonball-Shawn_Marren" on Spreaker.

By |2019-06-27T21:46:13+00:00June 27th, 2019|Human Cannonball, Podcast|0 Comments

The Unicorn Festival 2019

This is an interview with Dana Cain, producer of the Unicorn Festival in Littleton, Colorado (at Clement Park) - which is in its third year. Its a great event for children and their parents. This year the festival is June 22nd-23rd, 2019 - Check out their website. Come see the unicorns! Craft Vendors and food! - They also have stage entertainment too.  Listen to the podcast to get the details -  

By |2019-06-13T22:50:20+00:00June 10th, 2019|Littleton, Unicorn Festival|0 Comments

NASCAR in Europe? – Yes, and They Even Have Cheerleaders

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kent Whitaker, often called 'the Deck Chef,' is a sportswriter, culinary writer, and cookbook author with fourteen titles. He covers NASCAR, racing in general, Football, barbecue, grilling, and tailgating. You can visit him on " " or on Facebook at "Kent Whitaker" In case you’re not a die-hard Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series fan you may not know that NASCAR races in Europe! Yep, you read that correctly. NASCAR races across the pond and they’ve been doing so since 2012 with the formation of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. The ball started rolling several years before 2012 with the formation of the Racecar Euro-Series which raced under the banner of FJ Group – a race team out of France. Essentially, a race team wanted to try their hand at racing American style stock cars and invited their friends to come along for the ride. Participation grew as new teams started showing up for events. Then, the number of teams grew and competition increased, the fans followed. The series grew to the point that the young American style racing series gained the approved of FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile). FIA is a legendary name in motorsports sanctioning and this partnership set the stage for NASCAR to join in on the fun. Joining other NASCAR Countries and Cheerleaders The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series joined Canada and Mexico as countries outside of the United States that had officially NASCAR sanction series in 2012 and things started with a bang… actually with a cheer. One of the trademark looks of the Euro Series is that they love to combine other American themes into their race weekends. You’ll see cheerleaders, NFL style football demonstrations, barbecue, beer tents, driver events, and live concerts. It’s easy to imagine that you’re walking around your local County Fair! Or, you may be reminded of the infield of Daytona or the Parking lots at Bristol Motor Speedway because of all of the NASCAR clothing and flags. As for the cheerleaders, think of them as the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series having their own version of Victory Lane ladies or NASCAR Monster Energy Girls. The connections to the Euro Series and NASCAR in North America even goes further. Now, NASCAR drivers are showing up in Europe to climb behind the wheel of a NASCAR Euro Series car. NASCAR Champion and Other Drivers Crossing the Pond When Team FJ and FIA finalized an agreement with NASCAR because the series had grown in popularity with [...]

By |2019-06-09T17:03:37+00:00June 9th, 2019|Europe, NASCAR|0 Comments

Lillipop Stiltwalkers

This is an interview with Lilli Erickson - owner of Lillipop.met and lots of lots of stiltwalkers. - We talk about how she got started with the stiltwalking business and her background and some of te other things she has done.  Stiltwalkers are just plain fun. She tells about some of the experiences she has had and some of the experiences her employee stiltwalkers have had. They are out of the Dallas area. ****************************************************************************

By |2019-06-03T00:05:58+00:00June 3rd, 2019|Dallas, Lillipop, Podcast|0 Comments