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Bring in Spring on your Traeger with Fresh Herbs!

Posted by Susie B. on February 26, 2013

The groundhog predicted an early spring, and ever since then we can't wait for warmer weather. Sadly, the sun did not get the memo and has not been cooperating. We decided it was time to bring in a little bit of freshness and flavor to lift our spirits. Nothing says spring like fresh, bright herbs. They liven any dish and give a pop of flavor that you just can't get with the dehydrated alternative. Since our herb garden isn't up and running yet, we gathered up all of the herbs we could get our hands on at the supermarket and brought them home with sunshine on the brain.

Now what?

If you read our recent post about Pistu, Pesto, and Chimichurri, then you probably already have a few good ideas. We won't stop there, though. We wanted to take our love of all things herbacious to another level and prep them for a rainy (or snowy) day in our future.

Preparing fresh herbs can be time consuming, sometimes it might seem easier to just scoop a teaspoon full from the jar. We found a pretty awesome kitchen gadget that takes the time out of fresh herb prep, and a technique that allows you to reap the benefits of fresh herbs all year long. Behold, the RSVP Herb Scissors. These monster scissors are just what you need to get a lot of herb chopping done quickly and efficiently.

 

These scissors are no joke. Five stainless blades get the work done five times faster. Literally. I lined up my favorite herbs on the cutting board and I got through a pretty intimidating line-up of high maintenance vegetation in minutes.

 

 

Voila! Herbs prepped. Now what? Let me direct you to a few of my favorite Traeger Recipes that greatly benefit from the addition of fresh herbs opposed to dehydrated:

Traeger's Homemade Focaccia: The fresh herbs pump this dish up from delicious to better than restaurant quality. There is a step by step tutorial coming for this specific recipe soon!

Beef Tenderloin with Tomato Vinaigrette: Fresh Thyme stars as a delicious addition to the bright vinaigrette added at the last minute.

Herb Roasted Turkey: Bright herbs really punch up the flavor in this traditional turkey. Don't save it just for holidays, Traeger'ed turkey breasts make an amazing weeknight meal and even better sandwiches.

 

After you have used some of your herbs in these awesome recipes, take whatever you have leftover and save them for future use. With just a few simple steps, you can have that great flavor of fresh herbs any time you want!

Take your chopped herbs and put them directly into an ice cube tray. You can create whatever combinations you like. I did an italian combination of oregano, rosemary, and thyme; a chive and butter combination; and some that were dill only. I recommend only using herbs you plan on cooking with and don't mind having coated in oil or butter. My italian herb cubes will be great as the base for a hearty marinara sauce or under the skin of a Traeger'ed chicken or turkey. My dill cubes will melt beautifully over some Traeger'ed salmon. My chive and butter cubes are going to go directly on some Traeger'ed baked potatoes.

 

Once your cubes are full of herby goodness, fill them with Olive Oil or melted butter.

 

 

Once your cubes are all filled, send them off to the freezer.

After your herb cubes have had some time to chill, pop them out of the tray and into labeled freezer baggies. To make it easier to get your cubes out, run hot water along the back of the tray for a few seconds and they should slide right out.

Now you have the sweet taste of spring and summer available any time you want. Let us know what recipes you love to use fresh herbs for!

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Easy To Cut, Easy To Serve With The Magisso Cake Server

Posted by Mary M. on February 20, 2013

Some look at an easy task and say, "Why make it easier?". Others look at it and say, "Why not?". Magisso rose to the call and made serving cake literally a piece of cake! (Sorry, couldn't resist the pun.) You may not kept abreast of all the coolest and quirkiest kitchen gadgets out there, but don't worry! That's why we're here, to open your eyes to the latest and greatest, like this stealthy Cake Server.

In case you haven't heard of Magisso, it is a Finnish brand that is constantly coming up with unique and innovative gadgets for the home and kitchen and accordingly have won several awards. It seems like the Scandinavians are always on the cutting edge!

Designer, Maria Kivijärvi, created a tool that skillfully marries style and function. With the Cake Server you don't just cut a piece of cake, you cut it with panache and flair. It's easy to use, combining the cutting and serving of the cake into one swift step. Simply push the server down into the cake, then squeeze and gently lift the piece of cake onto your plate. Presto! Perfectly-portioned cake ready to be devoured. For you visual folks, this video shows the easy steps in 30 seconds.

We all want to be that perfect hostess and effortlessly amaze our guests like some Food Network chef. If you pull out this sleek tool along with, perhaps, Traeger's Carrot Cake, you just might hear an audible gasp. Everyone will know that you mean bake-ness! The Cake Server gives you a pretty darn good reason to slice your cake and eat it too.

You can find the Cake Server on Amazon.com.

To see some of Magisso's other incredible gadgets and gizmos, check out their website.

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Traeger Grilling Basket

Posted by Mary M. on February 18, 2013

Whenever that perfectly charred piece of asparagus slips from your tongs, through the grill grate and into the murky abyss below you have one of those dramatic movie moments where you feel like the helpless person that was dangling from your grasp just fell to their doom. Enter Traeger's Grilling Basket. Your nightmares will be end. Okay, so maybe it's not quite so dramatic but why not save every tender morsel you can and make Traegering even easier than it already is?

The Grill Basket is just the perfect depth and size for grilling those tricky little bites that can easily get sacrificed to the Traeger's grease tray. It's stainless steel and cooks evenly. Basically, it's worry-free and allows you to focus your concern on getting the perfect crust on that hunk of pork.

It would be perfect for some Traeger favs like Grilled Asparagus, Smoky Stuffed Jalapenos (yum!), or even some finger-lickin' Sake Shrimp. All of those veggie and seafood lovers will gather 'round the Traeger.

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The Perfect Pulled Pork with Bear Paws

Posted by Susie B. on February 18, 2013

A while ago, we asked our Traeger Facebook Nation about your favorite methods for pulling pork. We got some awesome responses! We had purists who only pull by hand, and some folks who like to rely on handy gadgets to help get the job done. One of the most recommended items was a set of Bear Paws. After reading your comments, we figured they must be worth a try and Bear Paws was nice enough to send us a set to try out. To put this new tool to the test, we fired up the Traeger and followed this recipe for the perfect Pulled Pork.

Juicy and tender, this pulled pork has the perfect texture and salty-sweet bark. This pork will have you wondering what you ever liked about pulled pork from a restaurant. Cook time is around 10-12 hours depending on the size of your roast, so plan your day accordingly (don't worry, it is definitely worth it!) 

Traeger's Perfect Pulled Pork

 

INGREDIENTS: 

1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), 5 to 7 pounds
Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub, or your favorite barbecue rub
2 cups apple juice in a food-safe spray bottle 
Traeger Regular Barbecue Sauce
10 hamburger buns
Coleslaw for serving

PREPARATION:

Generously season all sides of the pork roast with the rub.



When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 225 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. Put the roast on the grill grate, fat-side up, and smoke for 3 hours, spraying with apple juice every hour after the first hour.

Transfer to a disposable aluminum foil pan large enough to hold the roast. Increase the temperature to 250 degrees F, and roast for 6 to 8 additional hours, or until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part, but not touching bone, registers 190 degrees F. 

If the pork starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.

Carefully transfer the pork roast to a cutting board and let it rest for 20 minutes. Pour the juices from the bottom of the pan into a gravy separator.

 

With your hands (this is where the Bear Paws really showed their worth), pull the pork into chunks. Discard the bone and any lumps of fat, including the cap. Pull each chunk into shreds, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Season with additional rub and moisten with the reserved pork juice. (Discard any fat that has floated to the top.) Add barbecue sauce, if desired, and mix well. Or serve the barbecue sauce on the side.

Pile the pork mixture on the hamburger buns, serve with coleslaw, and enjoy.

Traditionally, hot pork is pulled by hand because it is easier to separate the fat and gristle from the pork. It is also the best way to get those long, beautiful strands of pork without turning your super tender meat into mush. The problem with hand pulling is that it is hot. Really, really hot. Here is where the Bear Paws really show how useful they can be. Made out of tough, durable nylon and heat resistant up to 400 Degrees, the Bear Paws are like an extension of your hands. I used mine to lift, move, and carry my pork before I ever got to the shredding. The slight curve on the "claws" is perfect for getting under a heavy piece of meat and the grips are thick and easy to hold so you don't worry about them slipping. All of these features are useful, for sure, but the real moment of glory was when I first tore into my finished pork shoulder. The meat was like butter in my paws, and the sharp claws made crazy fast work of shredding. I was in control the whole time, so I was able to pull those long strands, just like I would have done with my hands. I also had a front row seat for the action, so I was able to catch all of the gristle and fat while I pulled.

The final verdict? Awesome. Seriously awesome. The Bear Paws offered the benefits of hand pulling (plus the added benefit of being a great meat carrier) without any discomfort from the heat.

If you are interested in owning some Bear Paws of your own, the easiest way to get them is from Amazon. They will cost you around $15-$17. 

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Silpoura - Easy, Mess-Free Pouring & Straining

Posted by Mary M. on February 15, 2013

While making a mess in the kitchen can be quite the party, cleaning it up, on the other hand, not so fun. Now, Silpoura isn't a tiny pocket maid or futuristic robot servant but it is a product that goes a long way in helping prevent those nasty messes.

"What is Silpoura?", you ask? The packaging sums it up in five simple and appropriate words: Easy, Mess-Free Pouring and Straining. It's a small silicone attachable spout that will revolutionize how you pour everything from paint to pancake batter. True, it may appear cute and adorable but this gadget is small but mighty.

In 3 simple steps it clips onto almost any bowl, pan or bucket and makes pouring almost easier than grilling on your Traeger.

  1. Simply squeeze the top of the Silpoura and slide the plastic clip over the outside edge of your bowl, pan, etc., leaving the silicone "wings" inside.
  2. Slide the Silpoura all the way down over the "bump" so that the base of the spout touches the bowl. The bump will tip the spout forward and help the bottom edge create a moisture locking seal.
  3. Make sure that the ends of the wings are positioned just below the top edge of the bowl to prevent any leaks from the outer edges.

The many applications and the versatility of the Silpoura is really quite impressive. Here are a few to get those cogs and wheels in your head turning:

  • Strain rice, canned vegetables and fruit
  • Pour gravy and sauces
  • Pour various cake/pancake batters
  • Drain hot grease from hamburger meat
  • Pour paint (um, awesome!)
  • Sift/pour dry ingredients and spice
  • It functions as a spoon rest.
  • And it even fits on slow cookers!

But wait, there's more! Seriously, here are some bonuses as food-for-thought:

  • Silpoura can withstand cooking temperatures up to 350 degrees F.
  • It's made from food-grade silicone. So no worries about leaching any toxic chemicals.
  • Cleaning is easy because it's dishwasher safe!
  • No more worries about clogging your pipes with leftover pan grease.
  • The strainer is removable so you can choose whether to just pour or strain.
  • Silpoura's design has two hooks that help it to fit on a wide variety of pan designs.

And of course, we had to put Silpoura through some tests of our own. And I must say that it passed with flying colors! It was incredibly easy to attach, was completely leak-free and got the job done! It worked like a perfectionist's dream!

 

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