Caribbean Smoked Chicken & Spicy Smoked Lamb (Big Green Eggs in the “Ham” Fest)

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in a smoking competition – and I’ve never even used a smoker before.
Thank goodness I had fantastic help.

The competition was called Big Green Eggs in the ‘Ham, a 5th year charity fundraiser for Easter Seals of Birmingham. It was a fun event featuring food, beer, and live music. They also had kids’ activities including bouncy houses and face painting.

The premise of the competition was basically to smoke pretty much whatever we wanted on a Big Green Egg smoker, give out samples to event goers, and turn in our submissions at allotted times.
We decided on two categories; Chicken and “Everything Else”. We made smoked chicken and leg of lamb boneless roast, and both were phenomenal.
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I do think that the chicken was the best.
It was so off the charts tender. I rubbed it with a Caribbean spice blend and it was perfectly seasoned.
So pretty…all perched on a beer can. The small amount of beer left in the can infuses into the chicken as it smokes, helping to keep it moist.
Smoked Chicken

We also smoked a leg of lamb rubbed with a ras el hanout spice blend recipe – both the Caribbean and ras el hanout recipes are found in Ally’s Kitchen- A Passport for Adventurous Palates. Ally is a good friend of mine; blogger, food sport competitor and food lover that is a consistent source of inspiration.
I changed the ras en hanout a little; I omitted the curries, safron, cloves and added more Hungarian paprika and cayenne. It was definitely spicy, but tender.
We definitely did those right.

One thing we didn’t do right, however, was keeping the damn lid from falling over and busting into about 50 pieces.
It wasn’t our fault…

Apparently, if the new “eggs” heat up too quickly the ceramic expands and can cause the hinge on the back of the grill to disengage. At least that’s what I got from the explanation given to us.
Big Green Egg It wasn’t a problem; they immediately brought us a new one and we were able to wrap everything up on time.

Go here to find out more about Easter Seals of Birmingham and how to donate.

Here’s your printable –

Caribbean Smoked Chicken & Spicy Smoked Lamb

Caribbean Smoked Chicken & Spicy Smoked Lamb

Ingredients

  • 2 whole chickens, approximately 5 lbs each
  • 1 boneless leg of lamb, approximately 5 lbs
  • 2 beer cans, approximately half empty
  • Brine For Chicken and Lamb:
  • 1 gallon water
  • 3 lemons, quartered (I had Meyer lemons on hand, but regular will work)
  • 2 oranges, quartered
  • 1 cup peppercorns
  • 3 tbsp jarred minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Rub for Chicken:
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tried dried onion flakes
  • 1 tbsp tumeric
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp allspice
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 tbsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • Rub for Lamb:
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp Old Bay
  • 1 tsp chili pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar

Instructions

  • Combine brine ingredients and place into large plastic containers or large freezer bags that seal very well.
  • Place in fridge and allow to brine for 48 hours.
  • Combine rubs in separate containers and store in fridge.
  • Drain meats and discard brine; pat dry.
  • Split vinegar in half and combine with each rub to make a "wet rub".
  • Rub chickens (place a beer can into each cavity of the chickens and stabilize on grill) and lamb with rub and smoke over indirect heat at 275-350 for 3-4 hours. <---Use your judgment here; I'm no smoking expert.

Notes

Play around with the rub ingredients depending on your tolerance for heat level; the rub I used on the lamb is considerably more spicy than the Caribbean rub on the chicken.

You don't have to brine the full 48 hours; but I find that this length of time yields the most tender meat.

http://www.dixiechikcooks.com/smoked-chicken/

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Salty Tostones with Basil Avocado Chimichurri

I had no idea I would love these as much as I do.
Tostones with Avocado Chimichurri But they have me smitten.

Tostones are plantains that are sliced and fried. Plantains are very firm bananas – a staple in Latin American countries and the Caribbean. This was my first time messing around with them.

I tasted a recipe similar to this while I was working in the Cooking Light studios a few weeks ago, and I was blown away.
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I absolutely despise bananas; I had to put the fact that they’re a member of the banana family completely out of my mind.

Here’s a little story about me and bananas (if you’re curious as to why I hate them). My ex-husband is a long time DJ for large events, and for about five years in a row he worked for Bruce Willis in the Turks and Caicos Islands for his New Years Eve party. The first year I went, I made the mistake of ordering a fruit platter for breakfast the morning of the big party, which included sliced banana. I hadn’t eaten a banana in years, and didn’t think much about it. Over the course of the day, my belly became so bloated I looked about 6 months pregnant.

So, I planned on wearing a very form fitting black dress (yes, I wore it).

That’s a just-my-luck type situation. Needless to say, I haven’t had a banana since.

Bananas are basically assholes.

Anyway, that’s why I don’t eat them. For whatever reason, these plantains didn’t affect me at all.
Tostones The chimichurri is outstanding.

The avocado makes the chimichurri ultra velvety, adds a depth and richness only an avocado can give, and the red pepper flakes gives it just enough of a little kick.
Here’s your printable-

Salty Tostones with Avocado Chimichurri

Salty Tostones with Avocado Chimichurri

Ingredients

    For the Tostones:
  • 2 plantains, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 3 cups sunflower oil
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • For the Chimichurri:
  • 2 tsp fresh minced garlic, (about 2 cloves)
  • 2 packed cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 packed cup fresh parsley leaves (can substitute fresh mint)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Instructions

    For the Tostones:
  • Bring the oil over medium high heat and fry plantains about 1-2 minutes on each side; drain on paper towels.
  • Sprinkle with salt.
  • For the Chimichurri:
  • Combine everything in a food processor, cover and refrigerate until tostones are ready.
http://www.dixiechikcooks.com/salty-tostones-with-basil-avocado-chimichurri/
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Steakhouse Burger

I didn’t know what else to name it.
Steakhouse Burger It just felt…right.

Here’s the rundown of this beautiful thing –

Medium rare ground sirloin burger adorned with melted white sharp cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, sauteed mushrooms, beer battered onion rings and a tangy ass steak sauce nestled in between two homemade garlic butter buns.
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Now, what would you call it?
Steakhouse Burger It’s meaty, cheesy, bacony, and messy as all hell.
Welcome to #burgermonth – the brainchild of Kita Roberts, who so brilliantly started the blog Girl Carnivore “Because boys aren’t the only ones who like to play with their meat. I mean…she and I have to be kindred spirits. The girl definitely knows what the hell she’s doing.

If you know me, you know I welcome a good burger challenge. I ADORE making burgers.

Here’s your printable-

Steakhouse Burger

Steakhouse Burger

Ingredients

  • This dough
  • 1/2 stick salted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thick
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cold beer
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • Sunflower oil, for frying
  • 4 strips bacon, cooked
  • Cabot Seriously Sharp White Cheddar
  • A1 steak sauce (or your favorite steak sauce)
  • 1lb mushrooms
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 2 tbsp Moore's original marinade

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Make the dough; form into 4 bun halves.
  • Combine melted butter, garlic, Parmesan and parsley; brush on dough. Bake for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Combine flour through pepper in a mixing bowl; dip each onion slice in mixture and bring oil over 350 heat. Fry each onion slice and drain on paper towels; set aside.
  • In a saute pan over medium heat, add mushrooms through red wine; when bubbling reduce heat to medium low and let simmer until most moisture has reduced. Remove from heat and cover.
  • Combine ground sirloin and Moore's, form into two burgers and fry or grill until desired doneness (I like mine medium rare to medium); add cheese and cover until melted.
  • Assemble by adding burger on bottom half bun, bacon, mushrooms and onion rings. Drizzle with steak sauce.
  • Serve.
http://www.dixiechikcooks.com/steakhouse-burger/

This post is part of a month long burger celebration. You can search #burgermonth on social media to get many more fantastic burgers from other bloggers, chefs and foodies. A special thanks to GirlCarnivore.com for hosting this event.
And, there’s an awesome giveaway that you can enter at BurgerMonth.com.

PRIZES:
●       American Lamb Board – (ALB prize boxes 5 lbs of ground lamb, an apron and a meat thermometer
●       Anolon – 10″x 18″ Double Burner Griddle and Grill Pan
●       Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner – prize packs of beefy grilling-themed goodies
●       Char-Broil – Char-Broil Kettleman Grill
●       Curly’s BBQ – Curly’s BBQ Pork Pack
●       Cuttingboard.com – Olive Wood Carver Bo
●       Melissa’s Produce – Baby vegetable box
●       Primal Stone – XL Primal Stone
●       Spiceologist –  4 Rub Grilling Spice Set
●       Thermoworks –  Thermapen Mk4
●       Veal Made Easy – 5 lbs Veal and grilling gear

WHERE THIS EPIC BURGER CREATION IS MY OWN FOR #BURGERMONTH 2017, I WOULD LOVE TO THANK American Lamb Board, Anolon.  Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner, Char-Broil, Curly’s BBQ, Cuttingboard.com, Melissa’s Produce, Primal Stone, Spiceologist , Thermoworks , & Veal Made Easy FOR THE KICK BUTT GRILL PRIZE PACKAGES!
 
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Spicy Puttanesca Meat Lover’s Pizza

Oh.My.Word
This is one of the best pizzas I’ve ever made.

I did it with the help of these three gems sent to me by OXO
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Their Non Stick Pro Pizza Pan (15″)
Complete Grate & Slice Set

and 4″ Pizza Wheel for Nonstick Pans (I’m SO in love with this thing)

The pizza wheel may not look very sharp because it’s made of durable plastic, but it’s actually the best pizza wheel I own now. It’s surprisingly sharp with its tapered edge. The Grate & Slice set is phenomenal. I’ve used it so many times I can’t keep it out of the dishwasher. I easily sliced through two big jalapeno peppers in mere seconds with this thing. It has both coarse and medium grating options, can be placed over a bowl or on top of the lid that doubles as a container for storing and measuring. I’m in love.

The pizza pan is definitely nonstick, and very easy to clean.

Now, onto the pizza. Spicy Puttanesca Meat Lover's Pizza I added “Puttanesca” to the name because I included two different olives in the toppings, although Puttanesca typically refers to a tomato sauce made with olives, capers and anchovies. I used three cheeses – ricotta, Muenster and sharp cheddar.

Keep in mind that I used a little less than half of the dough recipe, and pushed it out pretty thin. Feel free to use as much of the dough and make it as thick as you like.
Spicy Puttanesca Pizza Three meats adorn this beauty – grilled chopped, ground beef and pastrami. Fresh jalapenos round this out to make one beautiful pizza.

Here’s your printable-

Spicy Puttanesca Meat Lover’s Pizza

Spicy Puttanesca Meat Lover’s Pizza

Ingredients

  • This pizza dough
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • Pastrami, chopped
  • Ground beef, browned and drained
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Spanich olives, sliced
  • 2 jalapenos, washed and sliced
  • 2 cups Muenster cheese, shredded
  • 2 cups Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, shredded
  • Dried oregano

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
  • Make pizza dough, and using half, spread on nonstick pizza pan. Cover remaining half of dough and refrigerate for use later.
  • Combine ricotta, garlic, salt and pepper in a bowl; spread on pizza dough.
  • Spread tomato sauce on top of ricotta mixture.
  • Layer the rest of ingredients, sprinkle with oregano and bake for 7-10 minutes, until edges are beginning to brown and cheese is melty and bubbly.
  • Remove and serve.
http://www.dixiechikcooks.com/spicy-puttanesca-meat-lovers-pizza/

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Reuben Burger

It is officially Burger Month, so you’ll be getting some pretty things from me over the next four weeks.

Are you a Reuben fan? Surely you are; I mean – you like ME so you must. This is one of the best burgers I’ve EVER made.

I know I say that every time but I really, really mean it this time.
Reuben Burger It’s the best of both worlds – a juicy burger and the world’s best sandwich ever. Corned beef, sirloin beef, homemade Thousand Island dressing, sauerkraut and white cheddar.
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Damn.
Reuben Burger LOOK.AT.THAT.

Those are carraway seeds, by the way, nestled all snuggly on top.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I love making burgers in ways you typically wouldn’t think of. Like this Shrimp Scampi Burger, or this crazy ass Nacho Burger. That kinda thing makes me so happy.

Make this for your friends. They’ll love you.

Here’s your printable-

Reuben Burger

Reuben Burger

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground sirloin
  • 2 tbsp Moore's Original Marinade
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 lb. corned beef, chopped
  • 8 slices Cabot Seriously Sharp White Cheddar
  • Sauerkraut
  • Thousand Island Dressing
  • Carraway seeds
  • 4 burger buns (I threw an extra layer of bread in mine, so add 2 more if you want to do that)
  • 2 tbsp salted butter

Instructions

  • Combine ground sirloin, Moore's marinade and parsley; form into 4 burgers; grill or cook on stovetop until done, add cheese until melted and remove from pan.
  • Drain all but 2 tbsp of grease from pan.
  • Heat butter to grease over medium heat and add buns, browning the insides; remove.
  • Assemble burger by adding sirloin burger on bottom, corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and carraway seeds.
http://www.dixiechikcooks.com/reuben-burger/

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