Meat & Potatoes

One of the many advantages of living in Savannah – you can grill (comfortably) in every month of the year. And grilling is by far, in my opinion, the best way to go about cooking meat. Tonight it was a peppered New York strip, topped with garlic herb butter – and it was tender and juicy on the inside, with a little char on the edges. Or as I would call it – perfect ;)

peppered steaks

When it comes to seasoning a good steak, I think simple is best. If you enjoy steak like I do, then you want the seasonings to enhance the flavor of the meat – not mask them. Before these steaks go on the grill, the only thing I put on them is pepper – a nice even sprinkling on both sides. Once they come off the grill, I like to hit them with a little coarse salt and a nice scoop of garlic herb butter. As the steak rests, the butter melts, and the flavors all mingle nicely.

garlic herb butter

Every juicy steak needs a good potato at it’s side. Whether it’s baked, mashed, scalloped or fried – meat and potatoes go hand in hand. Although I think that the baked potato is a worthy side dish, they are hard to enjoy after you’ve indulged in a twice baked potato. With the addition of butter, bacon, seasonings, etc., the baked potato transforms into loaded mashed potatoes in a salted potato skin. And that is real hard to turn back from.

Start your potatoes by lightly brushing the skin with olive oil, and sprinkling both sides with a little coarse grain salt. I like to bake mine for at least an hour – to make sure they are good and fluffy. Once the potatoes are done, take them out and let them cool. This is the hardest part for me….I am ALWAYS juggling a hot potato thinking damn, I should’ve just waited longer! 

baked potatoes

Once your potato has cooled (or you are ready to play hot potato) you’ll want to use a sharp knife to open the top. I cut a V-shaped canal from end to end, and pop the top off. Next, you use a spoon to scoop out the filling. You want to get most of the potato out, but you don’t want to scrape the walls too thin. Leave about 1/8″ wall – this will keep the skin from tearing and the potato from losing it’s shape. Put all the insides in a small bowl, and get ready for some toppings.

Potatoes, Twice Baked

What you put (or don’t put) in your potato is completely up to you. My preference in butter, sour cream, cream cheese (don’t worry, it’s just a little of each), bacon, green onion and Cajun seasoning. Other awesome toppings would be sauteed onions, mushrooms, steamed broccoli, or ranch dressing. I start with the butter and cream cheese so that the hot potato melts them down. Use a fork, and try not to mash too much. To keep a nice fluffy texture, you don’t want to overwork or over-mash. Next you fold in your choice ingredients until it’s thoroughly mixed. At this point, I like to add milk. Only a Tablespoon or so – to give the filling the consistency of thick mashed potatoes.

Finally, you spoon the filling back into the potatoes, top it off with a little cheese, and back in the oven they go. Uh oh – did you end up with too much filling for your potatoes? Not to worry – get out a fork, and eat it up. You might want to eat the top parts you removed from the potatoes earlier too – because they are good!

Twice Baked Potatoes, NY Strip, Asparagus

To finish off this meat and potato meal, we need to add something green. We hadn’t has asparagus in awhile, and I love the way is tastes grilled. Tossed with a little olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, and grilled for a few minutes – asparagus makes a quick and healthy side.

Grilled Peppered Steak

  • New York strip (about 1 inch thick)
  • pepper
  • coarse salt
  • Garlic Herb Butter

Season steak liberally with pepper on both sides.

Heat up your grill on high. Place steaks on the grill, and turn the heat down to medium-high. After 4 minutes, rotate steaks 45 degrees, in order to get nice grill marks. Cook for another 4 minutes, then flip them over. For medium temperature, cook the steaks for an additional 4 – 5 minutes. (Cooking times vary depending on thickness of steak.)

Remove from heat and allow to rest on a plate or cutting board. Season with coarse salt. Place a rounded teaspoon of garlic herb butter in the center. Steaks should rest for about 10 minutes.

Garlic Herb Butter

  • 4 T. Butter, softened
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp. parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp. thyme, minces

Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Set aside until needed. Refrigerate any unused butter for a week. Or freeze for months.

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 2 medium baking potatoes
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 generous T. sour cream
  • 1 generous T. cream cheese
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 T. milk
  • 1/4 C. shredded cheese, divided (cheddar, or Mexican blend)

Brush potatoes with olive oil, season with coarse salt, and place in a baking dish. Bake at 375 for an hour and fifteen minutes, or until cooked through. Allow to cool.

Use a sharp knife to cut a v-shaped canal in the top of each potato. Remove top and scoop out filling, leaving 1/8″ wall. Scoop the filling into a small bowl, and melt in butter and cream cheese. Gently fold in sour cream, bacon, green onion, and seasonings. Once combined, add milk to get the consistency of thick mashed potatoes.

Spoon filling back into each potato. Top with 2 T. of cheese. Bake at 375 for 15 – 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and filling is warmed through.

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Chipotle Burger

Chipotle Burger

Just a quick Monday night post….

I love a great burger. And I think the best burgers are the ones you make at home. Tonight we had Chipotle Burgers – and man, were they good! A spicy twist on a classic.

For 4 burgers

  • 1 1/4 Lb. ground beef (80/20 fat ratio)
  • 3 oz. chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (half a small can)
  • 1/4 tsp. each salt, pepper, cumin

Combine all ingredients, and form into 4 patties. Grill to desired temperature.

Garlic Mayo

  • 1/4 C. mayonnaise
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • chives, thinly sliced
  • salt, pepper, cumin to taste

Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Assembly

  • 4 Italian style hamburger buns (I use Arnold brand)
  • 4 burgers, cooked
  • garlic mayo
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 4 Oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • onion, thinly sliced
  • cilantro leaves (4 – 5 per burger)

Top each burger with 1 oz. of cheese, leave in grill for 1 minute to melt. Toast hamburger buns on the grill, 2 – 3 minutes. Spread garlic mayo onto bottom buns. Top with burger, followed by bacon, onion, then cilantro. Cover with top bun.

Beer Can Chicken

twins

Beer Can Chicken is great football-watching, sweat-pant lounging, lazy Sunday fare. The cooking method is slow, but it takes little to no messing with. After 2 hours of indirect heat on the grill, the bones fall out and the meat is melt in your mouth tender. It goes great with any side, and you can season to your liking. Nothing better to kick off the playoffs!

Two important factors to this dish are small chickens and cheap beer. Get 3 to 3 1/2 pound birds – anything bigger will dry out. They also won’t fit in my grill….and that is kind of important. As for the beer – don’t go buying some highfalutin craft beer (it will not increase the flavor of the chicken), and don’t spent much money. You want full flavor (not light beer) – we tend to go with Bud. You will be required to drink (or dump out, if that’s the way you feel about it…) 1/4 – 1/3 of the beer before you put the chicken on it. So make sure it’s a beer you don’t mind drinking.

Choose your dry rub. We like a little spice around here (that’s a joke – we like ALOT of spice around here) so I go with a house blend Cajun seasoning. Feel free to make your own blend, or use your favorite store-bought. You can’t go wrong here – lemon pepper, Cajun, Italian herbs, or just a simple salt and pepper – any and all will be great. The key to the seasoning is making sure you get plenty under the skin, as well as on top. Run your finger under the skin on the breast and thighs, and rub in a spoonfull of spice onto each piece. Then use another couple spoonfulls on the outside (including in the cavity). I like to do this in the morning, to give the flavor time to set in.

prepped

Next is the beer. Remove (use your chosen method) about 1/4 to 1/3 of the beer from the can. The beer will boil/steam  and fill your bird with moisture. If the can is too full, you may end up with boiling beer touching the meat – which isn’t good. Some people like to put some of their chosen spices, or aromatics (carrots, garlic, onion, etc) in the can. I don’t do this….but feel free to! Now to get the chicken on the can….spread it’s legs apart and just slide it on. Sounds kind of gross, putting a beer can up a chicken’s butt. But I promise, she won’t feel a thing. Once the bird is comfortable on the can, pull the leg bones around to the front. This will help stabilize the set-up (read : do this so your chicken and beer don’t fall over half-way through cooking).

seasoned

Every grill is different, and I can’t give you detailed instructions on how to use your grill. So use what you already know about your grill (temperatures, number of burners, hot spots, etc) and take what I have to say with a grain of salt. I start my Weber (with 2 burners) on high. After if has fully heated up (about 10 minutes), it is ready for the chicken. I turn the front burner completely off, and turn the back burner down to medium (or just under or over medium, depending on the temp outside). The chicken will go over the off burner (indirect heat). Put the breast side facing away from the heat source. Get her on, and close the lid. Open the lid just slightly and give it a peek – make sure the bird has clearance (isn’t touching the lid) and hasn’t fallen over. Now close the lid and walk away! Go watch the game, drink a beer, and hang out with your family.

grilling

The chicken will take 2 – 2 1/2 hours to cook. I like to give mine a peek after an hour, then every 20 minutes or so, until it’s done. You will know it’s done by checking the leg bone. Give it a wiggle – if you think “oh crap, it’s about to fall off!” then you are good to go! Use tongs (maybe 2 sets) to pull the bird (and beer) off, and place it upright on a cutting board. Wrap it loosely in aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes before you cut it up. Be careful when handling the set-up – the beer can is HOT. And the beer inside is boiling and full of chicken drippings – so please refrain from drinking it (yes, I’m talking to you Dad!)

hot beer

For our sides tonight, we are having Jalapeno Cornbread and Broccoli Cheese & Rice Casserole. Other good accompaniments would be hashbrown casserole, baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, baked beans, or macaroni and cheese.

BC Chicken