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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 www.thedeckchef.com 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 |2019-07-02T21:30:00+00:00July 2nd, 2019|BBQ|0 Comments

Gilled Pizza

Are you looking for something to cook on the grill over the Memorial Day weekend but want something besides burgers, dogs, or any of the other common dishes? Not that there’s anything wrong with traditional Memorial Day eats… but why not grill some pizza? Yep, you can grill pizza! Think of it this way – why buy an expensive outdoor pizza oven if you already have a covered grill? You can use charcoal or gas along with some wood chips of your choice. I’m not knocking outdoor pizza ovens, I think they are cool and make for great pizza. But, if you’re only going to cook a pizza outdoors a couple of times a year… then save some money and fire up the grill and do something different! No Dough Tossing Skills Needed Don’t worry. You won’t have to learn to toss dough over your head like those cool guys in high-end pizza eateries. But I do think that would be fun to learn, or at least give it a try. Here’s how to get your grilled pizza adventure started. First, you need a covered grill. Then you need some store-bought pizza crusts and your favorite toppings. I suggest using smaller crusts as opposed to the large size simply because they fit on grill racks better and are easy to handle. Plus, each person can custom make their own pizza. If you only can find the large crusts then you may need to cut them in half depending on your grill. If you go with a softer crust such as raw dough, then use a cookie sheet, foil, or a grilling mat to pre-cook it before adding your toppings, sauce, and cheese. Toppings from BBQ to Traditional You can use all of the traditional items like Ham, beef, sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon, veggies and more. Plus you need some cheese and some sauce. All of this really boils down to your favorite toppings. I suggest that all of the meat toppings be fully cooked. Then, all you are doing is warming things up and melting cheese! Add sauce to your crust along with the toppings, place it on the grill with low to medium heat, close the lid until everything is golden and the cheese is melted. Remember, the crust is done, chances are you used pre-cooked meat toppings so all you have to do is warm everything up and melt the cheese. Your grill determines on if you cook on the top rack or the grill [...]

By |2019-05-25T01:41:11+00:00May 24th, 2019|Pizza, Recipe|0 Comments

Grilled Apricot Easter Ham Steaks

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 thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram @thekentwhitaker, and Twitter @thekentwhitaker. Easter is the holiday that kicks off Spring and opens the door for Summer grilling. When it comes to Easter one of the most traditional menu items for many family dinners is ham. So, it makes perfect sense, at least to backyard grilling gurus, that it’s a perfect time to grill some ham. However, grilling a huge ham meant to serve several people may be too much for an Easter dinner for two. That’s the situation we found ourselves in last year. Allyson and I had visited with our out-of-town family the week prior to Easter so on the day of the actual holiday we only had two people to cook for. The solution, switch from a 12-pound ham to a couple of nice center-cut ham steaks! Why do We Eat Ham for Easter? Easter meals traditionally include ham. But why is that? Besides the fact that ham is a tasty dish to serve at a family meal, ham has been an Easter favorite for centuries. A long time ago in Europe and Asian countries, pigs were slaughtered in the fall and early winter, then cured/smoked, and ready to eat when Spring came. What timing! Easter is in the spring holiday and ham is ready to be eaten! That combination which was based on everyday life has carried on as a tradition. What’s a Ham Steak? In case you’re wondering, steak is a term that is used in many countries to describe a nice thick cut of meat or seafood. I guess the beef industry is just better at marketing the term than other producers. A ham steak is a center-cut slice of bone-in ham roast ranging from 1/4 inch to 1 inch thick. The thinner slices are often called breakfast ham steaks. The great thing is that these cuts are most often fully cooked if bought pre-packaged. Just check the label and it will let you know. And, they come brine d with a salt solution or smoke cured [...]

By |2019-04-11T21:58:45+00:00April 11th, 2019|Easter, Food|0 Comments

Winter Survival Tip for Summer Grill Masters – Beer Mustard!

Winter temps are dropping across the land and this probably causes outdoor cooking angst for those who consider themselves grill masters! Yes, some will trek to the grill or smoker no matter how deep the snow is or how cold the temperature may drop. This is especially true for die-hard tailgate fans watching NFL playoff football. But, for many others… it’s just to dang cold to fire up the charcoal or gas in order to grill a couple of burgers or steaks when you can cook inside or dine-out. So, what’s a grilling junkie to do? You can either go for it and invest in a heavier coat… or, try some new things in the kitchen that can be moved outside when the temperature rises! Even if it’s just one warm day in the middle of January or February. Here’s my suggestion for surviving the winter season – turn your attention to a dish you’ve always wanted to try but were afraid to do for a crowd. Chances are your outdoor cooking parties are limited so a first shot a new dish can be cooked, taste tested and perfected before you next official cookout party with guests. Take on a few quick and easy recipes that can be easily tweaked for both indoor and outdoor use. I like trying to perfect new sauces or rubs during the winter, so I can serve them up in the Spring and Summer months. Here’s a suggestion to get you started starting with a tasty mustard that would be perfect for hot dogs and brats broiled in the oven for the Big “Super” Game! Homemade Beer Mustard Making your own mustard is easier than you may think. It’s a simple four step process that requires added time for the finished mustard to rest. You need some mustard seeds and liquid. Most people use a combination of vinegar and water. Here's where you can begin to play with things. Beer can replace the water! Here's the four basic steps: They are the same if you are using water, beer, wine, etc. as your liquids. Step 1 – SOAK your mustard seeds with enough liquid to cover the in a covered, non-reactive bowl. Soak for 2-4 days in the fridge. Check every day or so and stir slightly. Step 2 – BLEND the soaked seeds in a blender or food processor. Short bursts produce a chunkier mustard. Longer makes a creamier mustard. Step 3 – FLAVOR your mustard using additional ingredients. How about [...]

By |2019-03-13T21:51:37+00:00January 15th, 2019|BBQ, Beer|0 Comments

Three Alternatives to Tailgate Hotdogs!

By Kent Whitaker Football season is here! Highschool, College and the National Football League are kicking off. And, when you ask a cookbook writer what the most important part of the game is – you’re probably not going to hear “Defense” or “Offense” when I make my picks. What you may hear me talk about its tailgating! In case you’re not familiar with the term – tailgating is when fans of a sport come early, set up grills, cook some great food, play games, probably consume adult beverages, and then make their way into the event. But, the fun is not only relegated to football, NASCAR and other sporting events. Musician Jimmy Buffet is known for his style of tropical inspired music as well as the daylong parties that take place in the parking lots of his concerts. One of the most popular items to grill are hotdogs when it comes to tailgating. The reason being is that hot dogs are cheap, easy to cook, require only small grills, and can feed a crowd. But, if you get bored with hotdogs there are some alternatives. The bratwurst is a given, tasty and becoming as common as dogs! – so I’m including those meaty links in with hotdogs just for this article. Here’ three great hotdog/bratwurst alternatives for your tailgate this football season. These are great for if you’re grilling at the game or just enjoying it on TV in your back yard. KNOCKWURST Ok, I admit that I tried to throw you off with the bratwurst comments above. But this sausage cousin to the Bratwurst is worth tossing on the grill! The knockwurst combines spices, garlic, veal and pork for a very easy to find sausage selection. The major generic difference between the two is the the knockwurst is often not as spicy as a bratwurst. That makes it amazing for a wide variety of toppings. And, of course bring on the sauerkraut, the grilled onions, and some serious mustard. If you're bold - make up a batch of horseradish infused beer cheese for a drizzle! CHORIZO A crowd favorite with Argentine and Spanish roots! This wonderful link is making serious inroads into the tailgate world. Bold flavor, meaty texture, a wide variety of cooking options make the Chorizo a winner with your grilling guests! You can choose from a slightly spicy version to an "GOOD HEAVENS HAND ME A BEER" version – and everything in between! Grill slowly and allow some of the excess grease [...]

By |2019-03-13T22:57:58+00:00August 30th, 2018|BBQ, Chorizo, Knockwurst, Loukaniko|0 Comments

Hot Diggity Dog! Hot Dogs, Bratwursts and Sausages

By Kent Whitaker The Great American Grilled hotdog is all grown up! In fact, the classic weenie is not really all that American! Hot dogs, and other sausage style items eaten on a fluffy bun, have international roots! And, hot dogs vary as you travel across the country! Consumers have demanded specialized “dogs” for regional tastes. There’s the famous Chicago Dog, the Fenway Frank and even versions for West Virginia, Tennessee and more. Granted, a good amount of the difference is what toppings you put on your dog but don’t forget… you can have bratwursts, sausages, Chorizo’s and many other varieties. The options are endless as differences in consumer tastes change as you travel from the East coast to the South, the Midwest, Southwest on out to California. Even professional sports venues, such as tracks in NASCAR, baseball and football stadiums cater to their local cliental. Chefs and menu planners at these venues are always looking for ways to impress their customers with new takes on hot dogs, bratwursts, and sausages. Martinsville Speedway caused a stir in the world of NASCAR when news spread about a change in suppliers for their famous “Martinsville Hot Dog.” Fenway Park, a baseball stadium in Major League Baseball, has long been known for their “Fenway Frank.” Don’t forget the menu options when you start including food trucks, specialized restaurants, and of course on back yard grills. Some Dog Gone History! Before I start naming regional versions of links served up on a bun I think some information about the history of the hot dog is in order. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDASC) the history of the term “hot dog” is not clear. Legends about the name are far ranging. Here’s the official explanation from the pros! The name “hot dog” is often attributed to cartoonist who observed the carts selling “red hot dachshund dogs” on the New York Polo grounds and was unable to spell dachshund, so he printed “hot dogs” instead. However, this cartoon has not been found, prompting many historians to question the legend’s accuracy. The immigrant vendors of the time also brought their dachshund dogs, prompting their carts to be called dog wagons. Possessing good humor, these vendors were known to tease that their sausages were made from their dachshunds. Certainly, this was nothing more than a friendly joke, but this may be where the term “hot dog” was coined.  – Source: National Hot Dog and Sausage Council That’s fine for figuring out [...]

By |2019-03-13T23:03:06+00:00July 14th, 2018|BBQ, Bratwursts|2 Comments

Three Spring & Summer Grilled Fruit Hacks!

By Kent Whitaker Nothing seems to beat the wide variety of fruit that comes into markets during Spring. Everything from fresh picked strawberries to apricots and even Kiwi! Then, the flavors keep coming as peaches, oranges and even bananas at their peak flood into grocery stores and produce stands. So, it stands to reason that grilling gurus across the land should add some of these tasty fruit flavors to our recipe collection! It could be a simple as a quick-and-easy fruit flavored infused sauce to grilling a couple of slices of your favorite fruit. Here’s three spring & summer grilled fruit hacks~   Grilled Coconut Rum Bananas I have a buddy that’s a rum expert!  He knows classic rums, white, dark, brands, history and even enjoys the new fruit flavored rums that are gaining in popularity. He suggested using some coconut flavored rum for a Caribbean inspired recipe! This recipe hack is inspired from Cuban and Caribbean style grilled plantains. Slice the banana lengthwise and keep them in their peals, brush with melted butter or use butter flavored non-stick spray. In a small bowl, combine some coconut rum, melted butter and little bit of honey. Grill the sliced banana – in their peels – over medium high heat. Fee free to use foil or a grilling griddle. The banana will start to cook and pull away from the peel around the edges. Baste evenly with your rum mixture. Remove from the peel and serve with your favorite ice cream topped with toasted coconut shavings.   Grilled Fruit Cobbler Chances are that you probably have a favorite cobbler recipe. Don’t worry if it’s a quick-and-easy recipe or one that requires more than just dumping a few ingredients in a baking dish. Both will work on a covered grill. Basically, all you’re doing is using your covered grill like an oven. You can use foil pans, cake pans or even cast iron – but, I would avoid using glass baking dishes! Make your recipe, cover with foil, cook on an upper rack in a covered grill, and rotate the pan as needed to ensure even cooking. The last few minutes you can uncover, baste the crust with butter and sprinkle with sugar and allow the edges to become golden brown.   Grilled Peaches and Cream I live in East Tennessee just a few feet away from Georgia, Alabama and a day drive through the mountains to South Carolina. Why am I telling you this? Because every summer regional fresh [...]

By |2019-01-31T20:37:38+00:00March 11th, 2018|Fruit, Fruits, Grilling|0 Comments

Bratwursts – Just in Time for Football Tailgates!

By Kent Whitaker Fall is coming which means more tailgates centered around football tailgates! And that means more and more people are going to toss bratwursts on the grill! And, at the same time – some people shy away from grilling brats because of the perceived mystique of the stuffed link! Have no fear – grilling Brats – aka Bratwursts – is as easy as grilling a batch of hotdogs. Here’s a couple of tips that you can use for serving up some perfect brats every you toss some on the grill. Beer Bath or Veggie Boil Yes, you can use a beer bath to add some bonus flavor to your brats. However, most brats are sealed in a casing which limits the transfer of juices. So, that beer bath may not add as much flavor as you think to your finished bratwursts. On the other hand, most people toss a whole bunch of veggies in with the beer. The veggies, most often onions and pepper slices, cook in the beer mixture, along with drippings from the bratwursts, and whatever added spices you toss in. Before serving up the bratwurst simply toss some of the bath boiled veggies onto the hot grates to add some grill marks. Serve those tasty slices of flavor on the finished bratwurst. Some people use a beer bath, some use a fruit juice bath, some use a light marinade bath, and some just toss the things on the grill and go for it. All the above are fine. Method for Bath Grilling a Bratwurst My personal preference for grilling bratwurst with a beer, or fruit juice, bath is to rotate the bratwurst from bath to grill grate and back. Then, finish off with a quick roll across the hot grates. I start the bath first in a foil pan. This gives a chance for the liquid to heat up. Then, place the bratwurst on the grill grates to add some marks before moving them to the bath. Toss your sliced veggies, if using any, into the bath as well. Let the bratwursts simmer a bit and then move them back to the grill, then back to the bath. Keep them warm in the hot bath until someone walks up with a plate and bun. Roll the bratwurst across the grates to let any excess bath burn off before placing on the bun. What’s up with the No Fork Rule? I’ve had several people question me over the years about why people say [...]

By |2019-03-15T00:03:58+00:00August 12th, 2017|BBQ, Beer, Bratwursts|0 Comments

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