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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sizzle Goulash (a.k.a. Red Stew of Courage)

More from the Indoor Cooking installments.  This deep red, paprika-infused Hungarian-style stew will keep you warm for the impending onslaught of winter.  If only we remembered to take photos of it when we cooked it.  Oops.  Well, we want you to have the recipe anyway.


One beef round roast, approx 4 lbs (leave on a small bit of fat)
Two average red onions
Approx 2 cups chopped red cabbage
One diced red bell pepper
One minced small red chili (optional)
4 cloves sliced garlic
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway seeds
1.5 tsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil


1. Bring a dutch-oven style pot slightly above medium, and add olive oil and onions, plus a pinch of salt.  Add sliced garlic, and simmer until onions just start to become translucent.

2. Take pot off the heat, THEN add sweet and smoked paprika to the onions.  Stir it all up, then add cabbage, bell pepper, and chili pepper.  (removing from heat this way will prevent paprika from burning)

3. Add caraway seeds, pepper, red wine vinegar, and salt.  Stir up.

4. Place beef roast in center, tossing around to allow some of the spices and veggies to coat it for a few minutes.

5. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover with a lid, and let it stew away for about 4 hours.  The juices from the beef and veggies will exhude, so there should be no need to add extra liquid.  Every once in a while, flip the beef roast over.

6. Once the beef becomes tender enough that you can tear it into pieces with just a fork and a butterknife... do that.  Mix it all up.  If you DO wish to add more liquid, you can put a splash of chicken stock or a splash of beer in there (avoid porter stout, stick with lighter malt beer).

Serve over German-style spaetzle noodles, or couscous, or macaroni.  If you like, you can top it with a bit of sour cream and chopped chives too.  Enjoy with a Belgian dubbel or equally decadent beer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stupid Weather

I suppose most of our readers won't be able to make smoked turkey this Thursday with the impending rain.  Hopefully next year!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Spicy, Hearty Chili with Ground Turkey

Our second installment for indoor recipes, perfect for cold weather.  Remember, if you've got a bunch of meat leftover from a recent barbecue, you can always use that instead of the ground turkey.  Adding smoked paprika to the recipe can also help you mimic a barbecue-ish flavor.


1 batch Rocket Fuel Chili Sauce
3 lbs. ground turkey
3 14 oz. cans small red beans, rinsed (or beans of your preference)
3 bell peppers, diced
1 onion, diced
A whole head of garlic cloves, sliced (seriously, it's awesome)
Olive oil
Lightly toasting dried chilis may help them blend more easily
12 oz. bottle of hoppy beer
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce


1. Brown up the ground turkey, adding salt and fennel seeds to the meat.  Remove from heat, discard any fat/liquid, and set aside.

2. In a LARGE pot, set heat to medium, drizzle in olive oil, and add onions.

3. Once onions start to become translucent, add garlic, and allow to brown lightly.

4. Add bell peppers, stir for a minute or two.

5.  Add ground meat, beer, Worcestershire sauce, and Rocket Fuel Chili Sauce.  Put heat down for a low simmer, cover with lid, and open yourself up a beer.  Stir occasionallhy.

6. After 1.5 hours, add rinsed beans.  Cook covered for one hour.

7. Check chili for flavor and consistency, adding more salt/pepper/seasoning if needed.  If it's nice and thick, continue cooking another half hour with the cover on.  If it's liquidy, leave it uncovered for the remaining half hour.

Top chili with cheddar cheese and/or sour cream.  Enjoy over rice or with herbed garlic toast.  Goes great with American-style brown ales, which are darker, hoppier, and almost more stout-like than their English counterparts.

Basic Chimichurri

Need a good sauce to top your grilled steaks with?  Want to add a garlicky kick to pasta?  Try using a favorite sauce of Argentinians called chimichurri, which is basically like a parsley pesto with a jolt of garlic.  Variations may include the use of cilantro or oregano in addition to parsley, or use of spices such as cumin, red pepper flakes, or paparika.  This one is bare minimum, so experiment at your own will.

1 large bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
2 cloves fresh garlic, quick chopped
Olive oil (approx 1/2 cup, keep the bottle on hand)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper


1. Place parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and red wine vinegar into a food processor and begin to pulse.

2. With top removed, slowly begin to drizzle in olive oil.

3. Gradually move the speed up to puree while adding more oil.  Stop before it actually becomes a legit puree.  It should be similar to a pesto, but more "texturey."

4. You're done.  How easy is that?

Enjoy Gaucho-style grilled steaks or smoked roast beef with chimichurri and a crisp, bright pilsner.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

INDOOR COOKING: Perfect Red Pasta Sauce

Welcome to our first installment of Indoor Cooking. Unless you count all the side dish recipes and salsa recipes and hot sauce recipes... alright, I guess we're not doing anything too strange.

Does the thought of making your own homemade tomato sauce conjure up an image of an elderly Italian grandmother, simmering a big pot of homegrown pureed tomatoes on the back of the stove for hours in her rustic Italian countryside kitchen, with a sparkle in her eye as she prepares a dozen dishes to make for all her hungry family members while the sauce bubbles away?  Well, look elsewhere, because in real life, most people, including Italians, don't quite have the time to stew and puree their own tomatoes.


That's because there are great commercially available canned tomatoes all over the place in this day and age.  They're available whole, pureed, crushed, or chopped.  If you have 20 minutes or so, you can make a zesty sauce way tastier than anything in a jar.  Yeah, 20 minutes or so.

Note: for best results, buy tomatoes labeled "San Marzano" as long as they're on sale.  They can get pretty pricey, so if that fails, the ones labeled "organic" are always great.

One 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
One 28 oz. can tomato puree
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
Dash red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp white sugar
1 cup chopped parsley (a significant amount indeed)


1. In a medium saucepan, bring heat to medium.

2. Pour in olive oil, chopped garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Allow to cook a minute or two, until garlic lightly browns and releases a slightly toasty aroma.

3. Add tomatoes and stir to keep bubbling to a minimum, or your shirt will have dinner on it.  You'll notice the olive oil won't seem to want to incorporate into the tomatoes at first, but after a couple minutes, it will.

4. Add all other ingredients: salt, pepper, sugar, parsley.  Bring heat down to a medium simmer, and let it go for 10-15 minutes.  The redness of the sauce will deepen when it's ready.

5. Do a taste test if you want, but you almost won't need to.  It will be good.

6. Turn off heat.  Put sauce on stuff.  Eat that stuff.  That was really easy.

If you want to add an extra layer of flavor, add a handful of grated pecorino romano right at the end when you're turning off the heat.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Epic Grilled Eggplant

I suppose now that many of you have been patiently waiting months for Sizzle Grove to post a vegetarian entree recipe, maybe we'll post a vegetarian entree recipe.

This eggplant dish is inspired by several phenomena.  It's partially inspired by eggplant parmesan, a favorite dish of mine and also a favorite of my family and my girlfriend.  The eggplant toppings are artially inspired by insalata caprese, with the heavy mix of tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil.  Then, the dish is plated with a flourish that winks at the cooking style of one of my favorite chefs, Jamie Oliver, as it is finished with a lightly dressed watercress topping akin to many of his dishes.
Note the lack of measurements: The amounts of ingredients are a bit subjective, as you'll be lightly seasoning each individual slice of eggplant.  Measuring will simply impede your speed.  Season reasonably.

One large eggplant, sliced about 1/2 cm thick
One batch smoked tomato bruschetta
Shaker of dried basil (yeah, the dried stuff sticks better)
Black pepper
Olive oil
About 1 cup grated pecorino romano
About 3 cups shredded smoked mozzarella

8 ounces or so rinsed watercress
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp olive oil
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of black pepper


1. Lightly score eggplant slices (in other words, make very shallow cuts on each side)

2. Liberally sprinkle each side with salt, pepper, and basil.

3. Lightly drizzle olive oil on each slice, and QUICKLY rub it around with your fingers.  You'll get a bit messy, but if you wait, the olive oil will quickly seep into each slice without being evenly spread.

4. Put eggplant slices of a charcoal grill, fairly close to the coals.  You'll want to cook hot, near 400 F.

5. When each slice is browned on one side (which will probably take less than ten minutes), flip each piece over and top with shredded smoked mozzarella.  Cover the grill until cheese is well melted and other side of eggplants are browned.

6. Once inside, top eggplants with tomato bruschetta, sprinkle with grated pecorino romano.

7. Plate eggplant slices with dressed watercress ontop, or put it all on a grinder roll!

Recommended with a super hoppy India pale ale, such as New England Brewery's Gandhi-Bot!

Smoked Tomato Bruschetta

Broo-sketta?  Broo-shetta?  I say the first one.
Tomatoes being smoked on right

Four medium tomatoes
Handful chopped basil (about 1/2 cup)
Dash of black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
Dash of balsamic vinegar

1. Remove the tops of tomatoes and sprinkle with salt.
2. Put tomatoes on smoker at a medium heat, around 300 F or so.
3. Allow to smoke until skin begins to peel, but tomatoes are still slightly firm in the middle.  Remove and let cool.
4. Grate or press a clove of garlic in a small container.  Drizzle on a dash of balsamic vinegar.
5. Mix in chopped basil, another light sprinkling of salt, olive oil, and a few twists of black pepper.
6. Chop up tomatoes, mix into the container, and enjoy with some grilled eggplant.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November Cider Brine

We recently tried a fun, autumnal experiment down at the Sizzle Grove headquarters (a.k.a. at Nick's house): brining meat in a mixture of apple cider, cider vinegar, water, salt, and spices.  The result came out... not too cidery tasting actually, but incredibly delicious and pastrami-like from the peppercorns and fresh garlic thrown in there.  Our meat of choice, as usual, was spare ribs, though this would be great with pork shoulder, pork loin, or even beef brisket.

Here's how we recommend you judge how much liquid you need, as that greatly depends on the container you're using and the meat you're using:

1. Wrap meat in saran wrap.
2. Place wrapped meat into container.  Make sure there's a decent amount of room above the meat to the top of the container.
3. Fill container will cool water, until meat is just covered.
4. Drain water into a large measuring cup.
5. Note the volume, and divide by half.  The brine requires equal parts water to cider, plus splashes of other stuff.

Now here are the INGREDIENTS:
Slightly less than half water (ice will be added later)
Half apple cider
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Lots of salt (1 cup salt to each gallon of liquid)
Brown sugar (half as much as the salt)
2-3 cloves garlic, quick smashed
A few slices of onion
1-2 tsp whole peppercorns
1-2 tsp red pepper flakes
A few sprigs of rosemary

1. Mix all ingredients except rosemary together in a large saucepan.  Bring to a light boil.
2. Slowly add ice until mixture becomes room temperature.
3. Place meat into container, weaving rosemary around it.
4. Pour brine over meat, making sure it's well covered.
5. Place a lid on the container, and store it in the fridge for 24 hours.
6. Lightly rinse meat to get off excess salt.  Barbecue until awesome.

**We cooked our ribs completely naked after brining.  Before we foiled them for the last 1.5 hours of cooking, we drizzled them with honey and spices.  It was awesome.**

Monday, November 8, 2010

Poll Results/Indoor Recipes

We didn't have too many takers on the poll about Sizzle Grove's possible expansion to indoor recipes, but for those who cared enough to take time to vote, your opinion will count. 

Sizzle Grove will soon be posting indoor recipes in addition to barbecue recipes.  This will be a strictly seasonal occurrence, as both my readers and I will not have as strong a desire to fire up the smoker for several hours at a time when it's 12 degrees outside.  You can anticipate all indoor recipes to be appropriately woven into the bold, hearty theme that this blog has maintained over the past several months since its creation.


Buffaloed Jerky

Making jerky is a lot of work.  It's a long process, as barbecuing always tends to be, but even more involved as tiny batches of coals need to be replenished every hour and a half or so.  However, our Chinatown Streets Beef Jerky recipe was such a hit among friends, we decided we'd give you guys another recipe, inspired by the flavor of buffalo wings.

If you're like us, the hard work will pay off when you're able to enjoy snack-sized portions of barbecuey food whenever you like.  Besides, is it really that terrible to sit outside for a while with the aroma of wood smoke wafting around you?


4 lb. low-fat beef roast
5 tbsp regular red hot sauce
2 tbsp hotter sauce (perhaps Thai Chili Hot Sauce?)
4 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp agave nectar (or light honey)


1. Remove as much excess fat from beef roast as possible.

2. Slice beef super thin, put into a deep container.

3. Mix all marinade ingredients in with beef, coating it well.  Marinade 24-48 hours.

4. Soak wood, preferably fruit wood such as apple, and set up smoker with a tiny batch of coals to obtain temp close to 160 F.  You'll literally want to end up with about two handfuls of coals.  Don't actually put them in your hand, though.

5. Cover grill grate with aluminum foil, and poke several holes throughout.  Place on beef slices.  Smoke for about 5 hours or until well dried, flipping frequently and adding tiny batches of coals as needed to maintain temperature (about every 1.5 hours).

6. Once beef appears visibly fully dry, place on a baking sheet and let cool and dry more inside for a few hours.  Test to make sure it's fully dry.  If so, you can keep it in bags or containers in the house.  If it's not fully dry, keep it in the fridge and consume within a few days.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Video: Wood-Grilled Elk, California-Style Barbecue

For Sizzle Grove's 100th post... a great video!

Check out this ten minute video from barbecue guru Steve Raichlen, in which he grills elk tenderloin and beef tenderloin.  He explains the importance of adding an extra fat component for slow cooking lean meat, such as game meats.

The video shows him using a wood-fire grill, with grates that can be moved up and down with a rotating lever.  This is one of the defining aspects of Santa Maria-style barbecue.  In California, though, the preferred meat is usually beef tri-tip.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Aluminum Foil

Though it's been mentioned in several recipes, I feel that aluminum foil is so useful for barbecuers that it deserves its own post.

I don't like using water pans.  The water pan serves the purpose of steaming meat while it smokes.  This may work best for large, slow-cooking meat cuts, though the steam could impede the formation of a good bark for quicker cooking meat like ribs.  For whole turkeys, the long cooking time will take care of this problem.  For those who do use water pans, more power to ya, keep on doing what you do.  But for those of us who prefer to nix them, aluminum foil is your best friend.

Foil works to create a steamy environment once the meat has absorbed all the smoke it's going to absorb.  This actually works particularly well for those of you who have a smoker which tends to run a little hotter than the usual "low 'n slow" temperature.  Once a quality bark has been created, wrapping the meat in foil will lock in the remaining moisture, steaming your ribs or pork shoulder until they become tender.  Additionally, I've found that it does not ruin that awesome, spicy bark.

For spare ribs, I allow the smoke to work its magic for about 3 hours before wrapping in foil.  For pork shoulder, depending on the size, you can let it go for 4 or 5 hours before wrapping it for the duration of cooking time.  For a big ol' packer brisket, 5 or 6 hours (which is about halfway done!).

You're welcome.


Chinatown Streets Beef Jerky

Some people don't know this, but beef jerky is actually a very low-fat food.  As long as you don't have a high blood pressure issue and don't have to watch your sodium (in which case, a barbecue blog might not necessarily be at the top of your reading list), it's actually a healthful, protein-packed snack, which is great for hikers and people who exercise outdoors.  And people who like eating jerky.

If you want an alternative to the terrible teriyaki flavored jerky you buy at the store, I highly recommend making your own beef jerky with an Asian-flavored marinade that actually tastes awesome!  The aroma of soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, and chili is truly intoxicating.  

 Of course, being a barbecue blog, Sizzle Grove does jerky on the smoker for a kick-ass flavor, but you can even do this in the oven.

There are a few important things you HAVE to keep in mind when barbecuing jerky:
1.  Keep the temperature REALLY low: About 150 F or 160 F.  Using several very small batches of coals is good.
2.  Allow moisture to escape: We cover the grill grate with aluminum foil, both as a heat buffer and to prevent jerky from falling through, but poking several holes in the foil allows moisture to drain out.
3.  It ain't done til it's done: All moisture needs to escape and extra fat needs to melt out.  Only then will it be done and be safe to store unrefrigerated.

Four pound beef roast (less fat = better)
4 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp Sriracha hot sauce
1/2 tsp fish sauce (if available)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, smashed and rough chopped
2-3 hot chilis, chopped

On the smoker, halfway done

 1. Trim away as much fat as possible from the beef roast.  The less fat/moisture you end up with, the safer it is to keep your cooked jerky unrefrigerated.

2. Slice jerky into thin strips.  Two millimeters thick at the most.  Pounding it thin may be helpful, but if you use a small smoker like we do, that might make for some space issues.

3. Mix all ingredients together in a container with beef.  Allow ingredients to cover beef well.  Let marinade 24 to 48 hours.

4. When ready to smoke-cook the jerky, lay it on aluminum foil to keep from falling between the bars of the grill grate.  Poke several holes in the foil to allow juices to drain.  Keep the heat at about 150 F or 160 F.  Be prepared to add very small batches of coals every hour or two.

5. Smoke for 5 hours or so, until all moisture has been removed from jerky.  Let cool inside, and store in an airtight bag.

 **REMEMBER: If jerky is not fully dried, it can't be safely left unrefrigerated.  If you're at all unsure, just keep it in the fridge!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Russ's Jerk Chicken Recipe

Finally more fan recipes!  Though we don't have photos to include for this one, here is another jerk chicken recipe from Sizzle Grove friend Russ.  This guy knows his smoked meatses.

1 tbsp Ground allspice
1 tbsp Dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp Ground sage
3/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp Garlic powder or fresh
1 tbsp Sugar
1/4 cup Olive oil
1/4 cup Soy sauce
3/4 cup White Vinegar
1/2 cup Orange juice
1 Lime juice
1 Scotch bonnet pepper (habanero)
3 Green onions -- finely chopped
1 cup Onion -- finely chopped
4 to 6 chicken breasts

1. Seed and finely chop Scotch Bonnet pepper.
2. Trim chicken of fat.
3. In a large bowl, combine the allspice, thyme, cayenne pepper, black pepper, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder and sugar. With a wire whisk, slowly add the olive oil, say sauce, vinegar, orange juice, and lime juice.
4. Add the Scotch Bonnet pepper, onion, and mix well.
5. Add the chicken breasts, cover and marinate for at least 1 hour, longer if possible.
6. Preheat an outdoor grill.
7. Remove the breasts from the marinade and grill for 6 minutes on each side or until fully cooked. While grilling, baste with the marinade. Bring the leftover marinade to a boil and serve on the side for dipping.

Note: Scotch Bonnet chilis are some of the hottest of the capsicum peppers; they're truly incendiary. Substitute serranos or Thai Bird chilis if you can't find them.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Keeping Updated

Hi fans, just want to keep you all updated since we haven't posted over the weekend.  We're still waiting to get more results in from the poll on the right, as to whether or not we should expand to indoor recipes seasonally.  This week might be a light week for posts, but expect an awesome homemade, hickory smoked beef jerky recipe, with a fun twist...