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The Best Grilled Romaine Salad with Homemade Bleu Cheese and Bacon Dressing

Posted by Mike C. on July 19, 2014

The Best Grilled Romaine Salad with Bleu Cheese and Bacon

This is going to be your new summer side! I've heard many people say they didn't like grilled lettuce because it get's soggy and wilted. Well I'm here to help you ensure that it doesn't happen to you. Many people who have tried to grill lettuce tend to over cook it, which will make it wilted and kind of soggy. Follow these quick and easy steps and be elevated in summer side dish glory!

Grilled Romaine Salad

PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 2 minutes
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Any
MAKES: 2 wedge salads

INGREDIENTS

1 Romaine lettuce heart
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Optional Bleu cheese dressing:

2 tsp bleu cheese
2 tsp mayonaise
1/4 c milk

Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

PREPARATION

Begin by starting your grill with the lid open, making sure the grill is on the "Smoke" setting. Allow it to heat up for 3-5 minutes. We can take this time to prepare the lettuce and dressing.


Cut your romaine in half, then either brush or drizzle olive oil over both faces of the romaine. Once the oil is on, season the lettuce with salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Now we can kick the grill up to "High" and get it good and hot. Once your grill is ready we can throw the romaine on, face down.

 

Now this is the important part, you want to stay close to your lettuce. As soon as you walk away, you'll come back and it will be a wilted mess. Depending on your grill and the weather conditions, your grill could be anywhere from 400-500 degrees so the cooking time will vary here. I was around 450 degrees so it literally only took around 2 minutes to grill. You won't have really dark marks on the lettuce, but you will have some nice color because of the oil and cheese.

 

Now we can take our lettuce in and get it inside and prepare our dressing. You can prepare your dressing by mixing your bleu cheese, mayonaise and milk in a bowl. Mix it will, although you will want a few bleu cheese chunks as well. Season to taste with a little salt, pepper and garlic powder. Keep in mind the garlic powder will get a little more intense in flavor as it has a chance to rehydrate.

 

As you start to dress your salad, if you're like me you want more bleu cheese, so feel free to throw a few more crumbles all over the top.

 

The Best Grilled Romaine Salad with Homemade Bleu Cheese and Bacon Dressing

If maybe you're feeling like there's just a little something missing from this salad, I wouldn't hold it against you if you threw a little bit of cooked bacon on top to garnish. Why bacon? Because, bacon.

 

The Best Grilled Romaine Salad with Bleu Cheese and Bacon

If your mouth isn't watering already you might want to check your pulse. I promise this salad tastes as good as it looks. If you haven't already, go ahead and dig in. That beautiful grill flavor, the saltiness of the bleu with the smokiness of the bacon. Talk about flavor perfection.

 

The Best Grilled Romaine Salad with Bleu Cheese and Bacon

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The King of BBQ: Traeger's Burnt Ends

Posted by Mike C. on July 3, 2014

The King of BBQ: Traeger's Burnt Ends

I hope you all can agree with me here for a moment and say that when it comes to BBQ there is nothing better than Burnt Ends. If you're a pro around the BBQ circuit you've probably had this more times than you'd care to admit, and if you've never been blessed enough to try these burnt ends then quite frankly, you haven't lived. This is the ultimate flavor. It has the beautiful smoke, the tender beef, the crispy exterior and the flavorful juices. My mouth is watering right now just thinking about this dish all over again. Now, it is hard to find just a "point" of a brisket. If you're not familiar with the portions of the brisket, its all one big cut of meat but essentially there are two parts, or muscles. One is the flat, the other is the point. Just as you'd assume the flat is the long, more narrow portion of the meat and the point is the "hill" of the brisket. If you can't tell that much of a difference there's a good chance you've bought a pre-trimmed brisket and they've removed a good portion of the point. It happens. Aim for "packer" briskets, you'll have to cut off excess fat, but it's totally worth having the cut of meat you want. If you can't find one, no big deal. We'll work with what we have!

 

King of BBQ: Burnt Ends

 

Prep Time: 20 minutes 
Cook Time: 9 and 1/2 hours (it's worth it...)
Serves: An Army
Recommended Pellets: Hickory, Apple, Cherry

INGREDIENTS:

8 lb brisket trimmed

8 beef bouillon cubes

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 bottle Traeger Rub

1/2 c of your favorite Traeger sauce

PREPARATION:

Ok, here's the start of this epic journey. I've done brisket two ways, one by mixing beef brother with worcestershire and injecting the meat, the other was crushing beef bouillon cubes and mixing it with worcestershire sauce. Both work great, for this preparation I chose to go with the later. Start by getting your brisket set out and in a vessel that will make this as mess free as possible.

 


 

 

Ok, now we can go ahead and make the wet portion of our rub. Start crushing up 8 beef bouillon cubes in whatever you'd like, then add your tablespoon of worcestershire sauce and mix it well. Once you have it all incorporated start rubbing all of that goodness all over your brisket.

 

After your wet rub is set go ahead and throw your favorite Traeger rub all over your brisket. Make sure you're pretty liberal with the seasoning. You're not going to over season this thing, actually the rub is going to give you a nice "bark", don't you dare call it burned. There's a difference. So, this next part is totally up to you. You can go ahead and take your brisket to the Traeger, or you can do like I did and let it sit over night in the fridge. I felt it would help the flavors marry and the salt would break down into the meat a little bit. Anyways, to the next step!

When you're ready to cook, go ahead and start your Traeger by turning it on and setting your thermostat to "Smoke" with the grill door open. Once you've given it around 5 minutes set your heat to 250 degrees and shut the door. Once your temperature is ready to go you can go ahead and get your brisket on the grill.

 

Here's the best part about owning a Traeger, once your meat is set in and the lid is shut, we're going to cook it for 4 hours. No tedious stocking of wood. No manning a fire. No guess work at all. Set your lawn chair out, pour yourself a nice lemonade (thats as hard of a drink I'll take), and watch the grass grow while letting these wonderful aromas carry you away. If you haven't recently added pellets you might have to check it after a little while but if you're all topped off and ready to go you're ready to relax. Once 4 hours is up we're faced with another situation. It seems at this point in time a lot of briskets kind of hit a stall point. People feel that it takes a while to reach the perfect internal temperature and if you just let the meat sit and finish cooking it will dry out, on the other hand, some people say its best to wrap your brisket in foil (known as the Texas Crutch) and let the meat steam and come to heat. This ensures a nice, moist brisket, but could kill your bark. What a dilemma. I opted for the texas crutch, and odds are I always will. Here's why. When you're making burnt ends, you're going to take the point muscle off of the brisket anyway, re-season, then place back on the smoker. If you've already got your moisture down, another coat of seasoning will just add to your bark and create even more texture. So for me, it's always going to be wrapped in foil. So next step, wrap in foil, on the grill at 250 for another 4 hours. Once your 4 hours is up make sure you're gentle with your package. It has all kinds of delicious juices in there so feel free to open over a bowl to savor all that flavor.

 

Now if you look at the above picture it's more clear where your point is apart from your flat. You can almost see a dividing line to guide you on your way. Next step, remove the point from the flat and get ready for phase two.

 

Take your cooked point and cover it all over again in your favorite Traeger rub then set it BACK on the grill at 250 for another 1 and 1/2 hours. With this time feel free to take the 1/2 c of your favorite Traeger sauce and 1/4 c of your saved brisket juices and combine the two. Talk about some amazing flavor. Now you're set to go ahead and slice your flat against the grain so you have a nice, tender texture. Once you have it all sliced go ahead and slather some of your BBQ sauce mixture on it. This will help you make it through until those burnt ends are ready!

 

The King of BBQ: Traeger's Burnt Ends

Now after patiently waiting for an hour and a half, this is going to be one glorious site. This point has picked up even more smoke and caramelization making this the perfect burnt end.

 

The King of BBQ: Traeger's Burnt Ends

If you're not familiar with this style of BBQ you're going to say, "Oh no its burned". No. No it's not. We don't do that here at Traeger. Once you taste this delicious bit of perfection, you will quickly realize there is no burned taste to it. Sure its "burnt" but that's just the look, not the flavor. I like to cube this stuff up and pour the sauce over the top. I had the priviedge of serving this to an amazing crew of physical therapists that I have been working with to recover from a small series of surgeries that I've accumulated as a soldier. They've put in so many hours trying to make me better, this was just a small way to show my appreciation. Plus it's fun to give the Captain BBQ tips, he's a member of the Traeger family too! Hope you all enjoy this king of bbq, the burnt end! I know we all did.

 

The King of BBQ: Traeger's Burnt Ends

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Red, White and Bleu: 3 Sauces of Summer

Posted by Mike C. on June 26, 2014

Red, White and Bleu: 3 Sauces of Summer

There's no doubt that the American spirit pulses through our veins here at Traeger. What's more patriotic and American that BBQ? Not much. I swear I can smell freedom every time I open the door of my grill and can hear lady liberty herself singing any time I pull a finished product off the smoker. For the 4th of July, nothing like an American tribute for your next BBQ from an American soldier himself. I'm proud to say I'm a soldier in the US Army and have the amazing opportunity to write beautiful recipes for you all to enjoy. Talk about living the American Dream! So let's break this down. While you're firing up your grill for the 4th, you're going to need some A game material. I've composed 3 sauces here to take your BBQ to the next level. First, the all American red, perfect for your ribs or pork. Second, the Alabama white, this is amazing on grilled chicken. Last but not least, the Bleu. This bleu cheese sauce is so incredible with steak, you're likely to shed a tear for not having it sooner.

 

Red, White and Bleu: 3 Sauces of Summer

 

The Red:


PREP TIME: 5 min.
COOK TIME: About 15 minutes
SERVES: 2 cups

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup Ketchup

1 6 oz can Tomato paste

1/3 cup Brown sugar

1/3 cup Vinegar

1/3 cup Corn syrup

1/2 cup Water

1/4 cup Maple syrup

2 tbsp Honey

1 tbsp Molasses

2 tsp Salt

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 tsp Soy sauce

1 tsp Liquid smoke

1/2 tsp Onion powder

1/2 tsp Cornstarch

1/2 tsp Mustard powder

1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp Black pepper

1/2 tsp White pepper

1/8 tsp Garlic powder

1/8 tsp Celery salt

1/8 tsp Ground cumin

1/8 tsp Ground corriander

 

PREPARATION:

This is the good stuff right here. Basically there are 3 steps, "Assemble the gear, The Mix and the Cook". So, let's assemble.

 

Next, let's mix! BUT, when you go to start mixing, make sure you're following the measurements AND MAKE SURE you start this sauce COLD. Since there is cornstarch in the mix, if you tried adding it hot, there would be a clumpy mess on your hands. Of course you can feel free to deviate from the recipe to make it your own, the measurements are basically just a guide to help you along your culinary journey.

 

As everything is now incorporated, over medium heat bring the mix to a boil. Once you've hit a boil, reduce the temperature to a simmer and let it cook around 15 minutes so all of those amazing flavors meld together. 

 

And just that easy you are left with a gorgeous red sauce that is good on, well, anything at all. I personally took this beautiful red to a slab of ribs, you will not be disappointed. You can find many great rib recipes here on the Traeger blog site to get you started!

 

 

The Alabama White:

 

PREP TIME: 5 min.
COOK TIME: Absolutely Zero
SERVES: 2 cups

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Mayonnaise

1/2 cup Vinegar

1/4 cup Apple juice

1/2 tsp Salt

Juice of 1/2 lemon (Watch for seeds)

1 tsp Coarse black pepper

1 tsp Jar horseradish

Dash of Cayenne

 

PREPARATION:

You've got to love a recipe like this! Once again, we start with the assembly!

 

Next step, mix! Carefully measure out your ingredients and throw them into a bowl

 

Last, stir. That's it, really. Just stir. There is no need at all to cook any of this down. It all mixes together with no need for heat and the consistency is amazing. 

I suggest finding your favorite Traeger chicken recipe, then in the last 5 minutes or so slather on some of this creamy goodness all over your chicken of choice. We would also suggest just dipping the piece of chicken in the sauce, then serve. Everyone who tries this sauce loves it and wants the recipe.


Once it's had around 10 minutes to cook, that beautiful sauce coats all over the chicken and just seems to permeate through the essence of the chicken, leaving you with big, bold, juicy bites of goodness.

 

Feel free once the chicken is done to slap on some more sauce if that's your thing. This stuff is so good you might be looking around your kitchen for the nearest straw, but please don't.

 

The Bleu:

 

One of my personal favorites! If you're a fan of bleu cheese, and you should be, you're going to fall head over heels for this sauce. My wife personally can't stand the stuff, but loves this sauce. So don't turn your nose up at it just yet. Maybe just hold it for a few minutes...

 

PREP TIME: 10 min.
COOK TIME: 7-10 minutes
SERVES: 2 cups

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 stick of butter, salted

1 Vidalia onion

3/4 cup Heavy cream ( I didn't say this was fat free)

1/3 cup Bleu cheese

 

PREPARATION:

FIRST AND FOREMOST: For this recipe I decided to use a cast iron skillet, I set it on the grill while it's cranked to High all through the warm up stage to make sure it is good and hot in order to give me a strong sear on my steak. Of course the Traeger can sear a steak just fine on it's own, I'm also doing this to create delicious little bits in the bottom of my pan to contribute to my sauce! So this is how I prepared this meal / sauce, of course take any variation you need to accommodate to your suited cooking style.

 

You know the drill, let's get everything assembled and ready. This will make your life so much easier.

 

Well, that was quick. Don't mind the chunk taken out of my wedge of bleu, quality control... Anyway... Take your onion and cut it in half, then start slicing it in the thickness you'd like, I prefer to cut the onion a little thick in order to really taste it when you take a bite. 

 

Yeah, that looks great. Now go ahead and take your butter and put it into a pan over medium high heat until the butter fully melts.

Great, after the butter is completely melted, throw your onion in, salt and pepper it, then saute for a good 5 minutes or so until the onion gets soft and gains some beautiful color. Color = Flavor you know.


Now that our onions are soft we're almost done! I can almost taste it all over again! Next step is to add your 3/4 cup of cream, once the cream heats up, around 1 minute or so, then you can start to add that beautiful bleu to the party. 

Red, White and Bleu: 3 Sauces of Summer

After another minute or 2 of cooking, cut the heat and just stir. All of those delicious flavors are melding together and you're ready to top off your amazing steak.


4th of july BBQ sauces

Now at this point I'm not opposed to someone throwing on another small mountain of bleu on top of this, but that's totally your preference. Or if you're doing it for the 4th of July add a little blue food coloring to make it a little more patriotic. Do it) I can say from personal experience that all of these sauces / meals are a hit. I had a few friends over to be my taste testers and everyone went home happy. Just don't forget the reason for the 4th of July. I serve with some of the greatest men and women on the planet, and that's not just Army, it's also my brothers and sisters in the Marines, Air Force and Navy, and the guard and reserve units in those branches as well.

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Ginger Soy Chicken Thighs

Posted by Mike C. on June 13, 2014

Ginger Soy Chicken Thighs

 

I'm going to be honest with you right now and tell you that this recipe was a last minute dinner idea. The night before I had made some ginger soy dressing for a basic salad and fell in love with the flavor. After sitting around and asking the wife, "What sounds good tonight" around 36,000 times, I decided I'd marinate some chicken thighs I had in my dressing from the night before and see how it turned out. I took one bite and was instantly hooked. This stuff is packed with so much flavor its kind of ridiculous. It was so easy to make, I even steamed some brown rice for a side. Come on, I barely had to cook. I grilled some limes and cut up some green onion and that's it. Tell me you don't need this on a busy weekday!

 

Ginger-Soy Chicken Thighs

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes; 4 hours for the chicken to marinate
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4
Recommended Pellets: Apple

INGREDIENTS:

4-6 chicken thighs

1 cup prepared ginger-soy sauce

3 green onion stalks

2 limes

Sauce:

1/2 cup grated onion
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
tablespoons water
tablespoons grated fresh ginger
tablespoons ketchup
teaspoons soy sauce
teaspoons sugar
teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic


PREPARATION:

When you go to make your dressing, you can do it how I did, or you can opt for a blender or food processor. This sauce may have a decent amount of ingredients but it is incredibly easy and packed full of flavor. I used my cheese grater and used the small holes to grate down 1/2 c of yellow onion and 2 tbsp of fresh ginger. Once that's in the bowl all you have to do is measure the rest of the ingredients and incorporate it all into the bowl. I wanted to grate the onion and ginger in so this dressing would have a nice texture to it as well. Once your sauce is all mixed up, take your chicken thighs and put it into a zip lock bag and use around 3/4 of the dressing to cover. I let my chicken thigh sit for around 4 hrs, turning the bag every hour. Once you reach your final hour take the chicken out of the fridge and set it on the counter to increase its internal temperature. When your 4 hours is almost up, go ahead and turn your Traeger on and make sure the grill is set to "Smoke" with the lid open. Give that around 4-5 minutes for your grill to prepare. 

While your grill is preparing, now would be a good time to cut your limes and green onion to be used later.

 

 

Now that your garnish is set up, turn your grill up to "High" and let it get good and hot, around 10 mins. Once your grill is hot, go ahead and throw your marinated chicken thighs on, skin side down. 

 

 

As soon as the chicken hits the grill you will immediately be slapped in the face with this delicious, aromatic dream. Something that will have you thinking about this meal for the next week. Cook the chicken for around 10 mins then flip it over. Make sure you monitor your chicken well. This dressing has sugar in it that will caramelize quickly if you let it, so to prevent burn, keep your eyes open! After you flip the chicken over, grill it another 10 minutes then add your limes and finish the chicken off with another 5 minutes.

 

Ginger Soy Chicken Thighs

Perfect. The way I threw this all together, I steamed some rice, threw that on my cutting board, topped it with my chicken, then finished it with a squeeze of my lime juice and a nice sprinkling of my sliced green onion. Just to reinforce the flavor, take the remaining 1/4 c of dressing we reserved and drizzle it all over everything. Let those delicious juices flow throughout your rice and make this meal one for the record books.

 

Ginger Soy Chicken Thighs

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Citrus Rosemary Whole Roasted Chicken

Posted by Mike C. on June 13, 2014

Citrus Rosemary Whole Roasted Chicken

 

I have always been a big fan of smoked chicken. My dad is the one who taught me all about smoking food and many of those memories involve injecting a bird then patiently waiting for it to turn golden brown and delicious. When injected and cooked properly these chickens are so incredibly moist with unbeatable flavor. This time I decided to make my own citrus-rosemary butter to inject it with, also, stuffing the cavity with more lemon and rosemary to really reinforce the flavors. The best part, the lemon will steam inside the chicken giving it great flavor on the inside and aiding in keeping the chicken moist. Pair these delicious delicate flavors with Traeger's famous "Chicken Rub" and you're in flavor heaven.

Citrus Rosemary Chicken

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 1/2 hours
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory
SERVES: 4-6

INGREDIENTS

1 5 lb roasting chicken
1/2 stick butter
2 lemons
2 sprigs rosemary
2 cloves garlic
Traeger Chicken Rub

PREPARATION


Start off by throwing a stick of butter into a sauce pan with the zest of one lemon, 2 garlic cloves crushed and 1 sprig rosemary taken off of the stem. Heat on medium until all of the butter is melted, the kitchen should be very fragrant with lemon and garlic. Once it is all melted and incorporated, add 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and stir in until dissolved. Take your butter mixture and strain it so you're only left with butter that can be loaded into an injector without plugging it up.

 

Now that your injector is ready, let's get the chicken prepared. I always take my chickens out and rinse them off, discarding any bits that might be inside. Pat it dry with a towel and prepare to inject. You want to make sure to inject the bird all over, using all of the butter injection. I always use quite a bit in the breast being as that white meat tends to need a bit of extra help with moisture. Once you're all injected we can take this time to cut our remaining 1 lemon in half and taking out our last sprig of rosemary to stuff the cavity. 

 

Now would be a great time to warm up your Traeger. Open your grill's lid and turn the grill to the smoke setting. Leave the lid open for 4-5 minutes until the grill heats up then turn it to high. Now, back to the bird. So far we're cleaned and injected. Now take the remaining rosemary and throw the whole sprig into the cavity of the bird, as well as the lemon halves, both should fit. Ok, cleaned, injected, stuffed. All we have to do now is season it well with our Traeger Chicken Rub and we're all set. Don't be shy with this stuff, this rub will make this dish! 

 

Now all there is to do is turn your Traeger to high, then throw this beauty on the grill and let it cook for an hour and a half. Or until the internal temp. reaches 170 degrees. 

 

Citrus Rosemary Whole Roasted Chicken

I wish I could see the look on your face when you open the lid and see this finished product. This chicken will be a beautiful brown and when you go to slice this chicken it will be so incredibly tender you could almost use a spoon to cut it. This will be one of the most tasty and moist chickens you may ever eat.

 

Citrus Rosemary Whole Roasted Chicken

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Traeger's Big "Mexican" Fatty

Posted by Mike C. on June 6, 2014

Big

 

When I first heard of the "Big Fatty" I fell in love. What could be more perfect than a weave of bacon caressing mild sausage with whatever herbs, spices or ingredients I could  throw at it? Not only did it look cool, it tasted amazing. This is definitely a meal fit for a king. If you're looking to impress your friends at your next BBQ, I suggest you throw our Mexican twist on the "Big Fatty" and watch everyone's face light up!

 

Big "Mexican" Fatty

 

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Serves: 6-8 people
Recommended Pellets: Hickory, Apple

INGREDIENTS

1 small chub of your favorite mild sausage

1 pack of bacon

2 pablano chiles

1 c quesadilla queso

 

PREPARATION:

Start out by prepping your Traeger like always, lid open, on "Smoke" for 4-5 minutes so the grill can heat up. While that's going we can go ahead and get things prepared in the kitchen. First off I took my peppers and washed them off. You don't need to do anything special to them, we're just going to place them on the grill to blister up first. You can take this time now to go ahead and lay out two sheets of plastic long enough for you to make a bacon weave and one to spread out your pork sausage on. The plastic will make it easier to roll and transfer, plus it's less mess! Go ahead and make your pork sausage into a square shape and start to layer your bacon on the plastic while weaving each piece in carefully. This is kind of a tedious process but once you get in the swing of it, it really isn't that bad! One on top, one under, one on top, you get the picture... Once that's done, go ahead and kick your Traeger up to "High".


Big

 

Great. Now that we have that taken care of we're ready to add the cheese. Add around 1 c of quesadilla queso (more or less if you'd like).

 

 

Big

 

After you get your pork covered with cheese we can get to work on blistering the peppers. All you have to do is set the peppers on the hot grill, that's it. Check on them every 5 minutes and give them a turn. Once all the sides are good and blistered up, take the off your grill and transfer them to a plastic sack. This will cause steam and make the blistered skin much easier to remove! Once you rest your peppers around 5 minutes you can handle them with ease. Take the peppers, peel the skin off and seed the peppers as well. You can cut them open right down the middle and lay them out flat.

 

 


 

Ok, meat is ready, cheese is on, peppers are on top, now lets roll! All you have to do is take the plastic that's closest to you and use that to help you roll. As you're rolling the sausage on to the rest of your ingredients start sliding your plastic out and keep rolling. Once you have a nice meat log built, wrap your plastic around it once again. Grab at both ends of the meat roll and start to twist making sure the plastic casing gets tight around the log, helping to shape it.

 

 

 

Ok, we're shaped, sausage is ready, bacon weave is ready, now it's time to assemble! Carry your plastic wrapped meat log and as you start to take the plastic off you can set the log down in the middle of your bacon weave.

 

 

 

Already looking beautiful isn't it! Now that you're looking good, all that's left to do is roll! Totally encase your sausage roll in the bacon. It's a glorious sight, isn't it?!

 

 

 

Let's get this big fatty on the grill!

 

 

 

Let this cook on high heat for 10 minutes, then go ahead and flip it and let it sit for another 15. When you come back to it, prepare for a beautiful GBD, golden brown and delicious. I'd give it around 5 minutes before slicing into it, let it have a little time to cool that way the cheese doesn't go everywhere, but seeing the melty goodness run is pretty exciting.

 

 

 

 

Big

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Bacon Onion Rings

Posted by Mike C. on June 5, 2014

 

Bacon Onion Rings

 

It isn't much of a secret but I have to admit it. I'm in love with the stereotypical man foods. I love bacon, burgers, onion rings, nachos etc... So when I first saw bacon onion rings I knew I had to take my shot at them. Just the thought of delicious, crunchy, smoky bacon wrapped around soft, sweet videlia onion rings, my mouth was watering. I knew this would be very savory and could come off as strong so I decided to make a delicious sauce to go along with it and cut down on the richness of the dish. Definitely give these a shot, it's so easy and so very rewarding. 

Bacon Onion Rings

PELLETS: Cherry 
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 90 minutes
SERVES: 4 to 6

WHAT YOU’LL NEED


• 1 pkg bacon
• 2 large vidalia onions
• 4 skewers
• 1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (found in most super market or asian stores)
• 1 tbsp regular yellow mustard
• 1 tsp honey

 

Let's get this started! This is one of the easiest appetizers I've ever made but it is so incredibly delicious! First off to start just get your ingredients out, ready and organized. It'll help when everything is in it's place and ready to start.

 


 

Go ahead and get your bacon opened up then you're free to start slicing your onion rings up. You want a decent thickness with these onion rings. If you cut them too thin it'll definitely be over powered by the saltiness and smoke of the bacon so make sure you cut them good and thick.

 

 

Well, the hardest part is over. That's a pretty good feeling isn't it? Next, all you have to do is start wrapping a piece of bacon around an individual onion ring and continue on until you've either made your ideal amount or until you run out of bacon. Some rings may be large and may take 2 pieces of bacon to complete a ring. Once you have all of the onion rings covered in bacon, shove a skewer through it so that the bacon can't unravel and open up while cooking.

 

 

Now that you're all skewered up and ready to go, this would be a great time to warm up your Traeger and prepare your sauce. Turn your Traeger to the "smoke" setting and leave your lid open for 4-5 minutes. While the grill is heating up, take 1 tbsp of both chili garlic sauce and yellow mustard and mix it into a small bowl, once it's incorporated add 1 tsp of honey. Once your grill is nice and smokey, set your Traeger to "high" and let it get hot. Once you're up around 400 degrees, set your skewers on. These things will need to cook for around 90 minutes, so around 45 minutes into it, I went outside and gave them a flip.

 

Bacon Onion Rings

 

After 90 minutes these thing will be GBD, Golden Brown and Delicious that is. Keep in mind, these don't have to be the same all the time. You can make all kinds of amazing variations. Try taking some of your favorite Traeger BBQ sauce and slather some on with 10 minutes left to cook and let it caramelize on the onion rings, maybe dust them with some brown sugar on both sides with 10 minutes left and "candy" them. Add a little black pepper and you have a whole different flavor profile. That's the best thing about cooking, whatever you feel would fit your needs give it a shot, if it doesn't work, try something new next time! Never be afraid to fail or you'll definitely miss out on a lot that you could have created! 

 

Bacon Onion Rings

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Melt in your mouth Pernil

Posted by Mike C. on May 7, 2014

Melt in your mouth Pernil

 

I'm a hispanic man that enjoys food. Especially Latin food. I love the bold spices, the heat, the acidity, the color and the mix of flavors! I'm always searching for something new to completely blow my mind and this is it. This dish has it all. Its marinated in citrus and finished with some amazing herbs. This will be a go to recipe for you. Its so incredibly easy and the flavor is huge. 

Melt in your mouth Pernil

PREP TIME: 10 minutes, 4 minutes for Traeger to prepare
COOK TIME: 3 hours
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Apple
SERVES: 8-10 for full pork shoulder

INGREDIENTS

7 lb pork shoulder

2 oranges

3 limes

1 bunch cilantro

1 tsp dried oregano

4 cloves garlic

2 tbsp kosher salt

1 tsp cumin

1/2 c olive oil

1 tsp Traeger prime seasoning

 

PREPARATION

Let's start off with this beautiful piece of pork shoulder. The first thing you want to do, take a sharp knife and start to make shallow cuts along the meat all over. Make vertical and horizontal cuts, making a little meat checkerboard. Make sure you don't cut too deep. You're not really looking to take big chunks out, what we're doing is allowing the from the marinade we're going to make to really get in there and draw some water out as well as water soluble proteins. That will ensure a nice crust when its finished.

 

 

 

Alright, now that our meat is cut and ready let's go ahead and assemble our ingredients. 

 

 

When I first made this recipe it turned out pretty amazing. I was so happy with the turn out. Although, I have made a few alterations. Get yourself a large bowl and cut your oranges in half and squeeze as much juice as you can get out of them. Next, use a small grater and zest 2 of the limes before you cut them and juice them into the bowl as well, while saving 1 lime for later. Then tear around 3/4 of the head of cilantro and place that into the bowl as well. Next you can add your 2 tbsp kosher salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano and 1 tsp of Traeger's Prime rub. Yes, I know that's a good steak rub, this rub has a great, bold flavor and that adds nicely to the dish! Finally I add the 4 cloves of garlic and 1/2 c of olive oil and set to blend it all together with my stick mixer. Of course, you can use a blender or whatever you have available. I just feel this is the easiest. Once your marinade is mixed well, go ahead and coat every bit of your pork and let it sit at room temperature for one hour. I know, I know. Raw pork sitting out for an hour? Yes, with only an hour you shouldnt have to worry about any bacteria, also due to the fact the citrus will help to hinder any kind of activity of that sort. This time at room temperature will help raise the internal temperature of the meat and make it easier to cook thoroughly, rather than have to raise it from 30 degrees, or whatever your refridgerator is set at.

Melt in your mouth Pernil

 

 

Now that the hour is almost up, start the Traeger on "Smoke" with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes) Once you're preheated and ready, set your temperature to 300 degrees and you're ready to place your pork on your grill. Cook your pork at 300 degrees for 3 hrs. It will be well worth it! After 3 hours is up your pork will be crispy and beautiful! 

 

If you're anything like me, you're about ready to dive into this beautiful piece of meat. But, you must wait at least 10 minutes. This will help to hold in the juices, although you will see a nice amount of juice coming out, this stuff is moist! After the resting period slice your meat thinly, I suggest service with some nice rice! Finish off the pork with cilantro and the juice of the remaining lime. Enjoy!

 

Melt in your mouth Pernil

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Roast Pork Cheater Pho

Posted by Mike C. on April 21, 2014

Roast pork cheater Pho

Traeger family, this is one of the quickest and easiest pho recipes you'll ever have. Not only is it easy, it's so incredibly delicious. If you're not familiar with this Vietnamese soup, you've been missing out your whole life. This soup has depth. Its savory, it can be spicy, its a little sweet. It's perfect. Traditionally, its served with bean sprouts, jalapenos, and basil or cilantro. My recipe just calls for a few items, one being your favorite pack of ramen noodles. After you've experimented with this recipe, you can add your own additions and make it a soup all of your own. I've done many different variations, each one as good as the last!

 

Roast Pork Cheater Pho

 

Prep Time: 5 Minutes, 8 hours of brining
Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
Serves: 2 people 
Recommended Pellets: Cherry


Ingredients:

For brine:

3 cups of water

2/3 c kosher salt

2/3 c brown sugar

1 tbsp black pepper

1tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp dried tyme

5 c of ice

For the Pho:

1 pork tenderloin (any size)

2 pks of your favorite brand Ramen noodles

3 cups of water

1 ramen flavor pack

favorite Traeger rub

1 lime for juice

2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp fish sauce

pinch of pepper flakes

couple handfuls of bean sprouts (optional)

basil or cilantro (optional)

 

Preparation:

The morning before you make your soup, in a large pot add your 3 cups of water, 2/3 c kosher salt, 2/3 c brown sugar, 1 tbsp black pepper, 1tsp garlic powder and 1/2 tsp dried tyme. Turn your heat to high and watch your brine. As the mixture starts to heat up enough that it will dilute all of the salt and sugar turn off the stove and take the mixture off the heat. You don't need this mixture to boil, only to incorporate. You can boil it, it will just take longer to cool it off. Now that you have your brine, add 5 cups of ice. This should be enough to completely cool off your brine. When your brine feels at least room temperature, take out your pork tenderloin and put it into the brine. Secure this on the bottom shelf of your fridge. Keep in the brine for 6-8 hours. I'd suggest no more than 8 hours. 

After your pork has set at least 6 hrs in your brine, take it out and rinse it off. Once it has been rinsed well, dry it off with a paper towel then season it with your favorite Traeger rub.

After you have your pork ready to go, heat up your Traeger grill according to the recommended instructions. Turn your Traeger to the "smoke" setting with the grill door open for 3-4 minutes. While your grill is heating up you can get all of your supplies ready for the pho. I like to hand tear the cilantro into a bunch then set out my fish sauce and lime (or lime juice).

Roast pork cheater Pho

 

Once your grill is ready to go, set it to the "High" setting and allow it to at least reach 400 degrees with the lid closed. Once it hits 400, place your pork on the grill. Set your timer for 15 minutes to come out and check on your meat. After 15 minutes is up, rotate your pork loin so the back side can get some char marks as well. Set your timer for another 10 minutes, that should be plenty of time. As you're letting your pork loin cook for the additional 10 minutes, now is a great time to start your soup. In order to start, take a large pot and start boiling 3 cups of water. As your water comes to a boil, add your two packs of Ramen and turn off the heat. The boiling water should cook your noodles within around 3 minutes. When the 3 minutes are up add your 1 pk of seasoning from the ramen pack. You only need one pack of seasoning for 2 packs of noodles because you'll be adding other things. When you get your seasoning pack stired in, then you can add 2 tbsp of white sugar, 2 tsp fish sauce and a pinch of pepper flakes.

Now you should be reay to take your meat off of the grill.

 

 

After you check your pork to make sure its cooked all the way through, you're ready to slice it. Traditionally, the meat in Pho is usually cooked in the hot broth as its served, but being as this is cheater pho we're doing it a little different. Take your pork and slice it very thin. 

 

Now that the meat and pho is ready to go, all we have to do is assemble! This is when you take a nice, big bowl and load up your noodles and broth. Then top it off with some of your sliced pork, cilantro (or basil) and fresh lime juice. If you're wanting it to be a bit more traditional you can add some bean sprouts and slices of jalapeno. Also, a nice touch you could add would be a touch of Hoisin sauce and Sriracha for a nice little kick! This really is a great, quick soup that will have you coming back for more! You can thank me later.

 

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Kansas Lollipops (bacon pork pinwheels)

Posted by Mike C. on April 19, 2014

Kansas Lollipops (bacon pork pinwheels)

If you're looking for a new week day favorite, look no further! These delicious pork loin and bacon roll ups are sure to be a hit in your house! Taking minimal time and effort you can have this tasty dish any night of the week. 

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-30 minutes

Serves: 4-6 people

Recommended Pellets:  Hickory and Cherry mix

INGREDIENTS:

1 pork loin (whole)

4 pieces of bacon

Traeger Honey Bourbon sauce

Salt

Pepper

Cavenders Greek Seasoning

Skewers for pork rolls


PREPARATION:

Start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open for 4-5 minutes to establish the fire. Close the lid, turn the temperature up to High and allow the grill to preheat for 10-15 minutes.

Start off by trimming your pork loin of any unwanted silver skin or fat. Then using a sharp knife start cutting your pork loin length wise until you have 4 nice, long strips of pork. Lay your pork out flat then season with salt, pepper and Cavender's greek seasoning. Once you have the seasoning applied flip the pork strips over and layer your bacon on the unseasoned side. Once your bacon is set and ready start tightly rolling the pork strips where the bacon is being rolled up on the inside.

 

Kansas Lollipops (bacon pork pinwheels)

After you have a nice and tight roll, shove a skewer all the way through your pork roll to secure it in place.

Kansas Lollipops (bacon pork pinwheels)

After securing each pork roll you're ready to take it to the grill. Set the pork down then leave it undisturbed for 15 minutes. This will allow for some beautiful caramelization. 

When 15 minutes are up brush your Traeger honey bourbon sauce all over the pork, turn each skewer over, then coat the other side. Let your pork sit for another 5-10 minutes depending on thickness of your pork. 

I suggest serving your Kansas Lollipops (pork rolls) with white cheddar mashed potatoes, crispy onion strings and a nice vinaigrette salad!

Kansas Lollipops (bacon pork pinwheels)

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