Apple-Onion Pork Tenderloin, Porchetta-style (via

Porchetta is a beautiful and glorious thing. If you're not familiar, please check out my recipe. It's not completely traditional, but I think that it captures the true essence in a relatively easy fashion. With this recipe I go a little further off-the-rails by using the basic porchetta style to explore new flavors.

2 Whole Pork tenderloins, about 2.5-3 lbs total
1 cup Diced Fuji apples
3/4 cup Diced yellow onion
6 Tbsp Unsalted butter, divided
2 1/4 tsp Kosher salt, divided
1 tsp Ground black pepper, divided
1/4 tsp Pumpkin pie spice
4 cup Apple cider, divided
1/4 cup Apple butter
10 rashers Center cut bacon
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Unwrap the pork tenderloins. Make a 1-inch deep cut down the length of each being careful not to cut all the way through. Put the meat in a gallon-size zip-top bag and add 3 cups of the cider and 2 teaspoons salt. Seal the bag, squeezing out the excess air. Massage the bag to evenly distribute the brine and refrigerate 45 minutes.

In a medium sauce pan melt 3 tablespoons of the butter then add the apple, onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, cider and pumpkin pie spice to the pan. Bring to a slight boil then reduce to a simmer and cook until the mixture is the consistency of thick pie filling, about 15 minutes. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

After the tenderloins have brined 45 minutes remove them from the bag, drain well and pat each dry with paper towels.

Start your grill and prepare for indirect cooking at medium heat (about 300º).

Prepare to wrap the tenderloins by laying the rashers of bacon side-by-side vertically on a rimmed baking sheet. Lie the tenderloins on top of the bacon and open them so that each lies flat with the cut side facing up. Arrange them so that the thick end of one adjacent to the thin end of the other.

Dust the inside of each with the bread crumbs then spoon an equal amount of the stuffing mixture onto each tenderloin. Using the back of the spoon to spread it evenly across the surface of each.

Turn one of the tenderloins over so that half of the stuffed side of one overlays half of the stuffed side of the other. Gently roll the meat into a cylinder so that the two tenderloins are interlocked, then center it on top of the bacon.

Starting in the center of the tenderloins, fold each end of a bacon slice over the top of the stuffed tenderloins, pulling each end gently. Working from the center outward, repeat the wrapping process with the remaining bacon slices.

Carefully move the porchetta to your grill grate and cook indirect one hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 145º. I used my Pit Barrel Cooker with the optional hinged grill grate.

Apple-Onion Pork Tenderloin, Porchetta-style (via

While the porchetta is cooking, make the sauce. Combine 3 tablespoons butter, apple butter, the remaining cup of cider in a medium sauce pan, bring to a slight boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook until reduced by half.

When the porchetta has reached an internal temperature of 145º remove it from the grill on to a cutting board and let rest five minutes.

Apple-Onion Pork Tenderloin, Porchetta-style (via

Cut the porchetta across the grain into 1/2" medallions, plate and spoon on some of the sauce.

Apple-Onion Pork Tenderloin, Porchetta-style (via

Serve and enjoy!

Last month I asked for your support of my rib entry in the semi-finals of the Smithfield Hog Wild Throwdown. Well, I have some bad news and some good news, and I'm a bad-news-first kinda guy, so... My ribs didn't make the finals, but the good news is that my Steakhouse Chops with Apple-Shallot Compound Butter entry in the final "Grill Pork Like a Steak" category has made the semi-finals in the Pitmaster Pro division.

If I could bother you again, your support is greatly appreciated. You can vote once per day until August 25 here.

Thanks again,

Yours truly has made the semi-finals in the pro division of the Smithfield Hog Wild Throwdown with my recipe for Lacquered Asian Ribs. If you are so inclined, I'd really appreciate your support by voting for my entry.

Note: You can vote once per day until 7/19.

Thanks in advance,

Asian Salmon Salad (via

It is indeed a beautiful time of year. The trees have burst back to life, flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and Copper River salmon are readily available (at least here in the Northwest). It just so happens that salmon can be easy to cook and it's great on a salad for a light meal.

Those of you who have been following this culinary adventure from the early days may remember my Slammin' Salmon recipe. Well, as I alluded to, it's that time of year when the glorious Copper River salmon are waiting for we salmon lovers to have our way with them.

Rather than an exhaustive recipe, this is just intended to be a source of inspiration. Tonight I plank-grilled a beautiful fresh Copper River salmon filet according to the previously mentioned recipe. I then let it cool, and laid a portion of it atop a significant bed of Spring greens and baby spinach with a little sliced cucumber and red onion. For the dressing I whisked some of the leftover salmon glaze into a basic balsamic vinaigrette to make an Asian-influenced cherry balsamic. The salty sweetness of the cherry and hoisin with the tangy balsamic make an outstanding dressing for this salad.

Give this a try and let me know what you think.

Beef Ribs On The Pit Barrel Cooker (via

This weekend I found some great beef back ribs at my local grocery store that weren't carved to near-meatlessness, as they typically are. Given that it was Memorial Day weekend, which demands grilling and/or barbecue, I loaded up the basket.

My process for these was really simple. I hit them with a liberal coating of Kosmo's Q Texas Beef rub, followed by a good amount of freshly ground black pepper.

For cooking I simply hung them in the Pit Barrel Cooker over a full basket of standard Kingsford Original (blue bag) briquets. In the past I've cooked them for about 90 minutes and then wrapped them in foil to cruise to tenderness. However, this time out I cooked them straight-up hanging the entire time with no wrapping. The total cook time was right at four hours, and I glazed them lightly with Stubb's Sweet Heat during the final 10 minutes.

I must say that these were some seriously simple and incredibly satisfying ribs. You gotta love prime rib on a stick!

Mini Bahn Mi Sandwiches (via

If you're having people over to watch the big game you certainly need a lot of grub. Sure, you can lean on the traditional crowd-friendly eats like chicken wings, barbecue, burgers, dogs, etc., but why not color a little outside the lines? That's exactly what I've done here. These mini open-face versions of classic sandwiches will set your spread apart and get you some serious MVP points with your crowd.

First up is a mini Vietnamese Bahn Mi (pictured above). To keep things simple I used a simple grilled hoisin-glazed pork tenderloin that is sliced thin, but you could use any roasted pork. For the veggies I made a simple salad of the classic ingredients: julienne cucumber, daikon radish, carrot, jalapeno, and chopped cilantro. To keep the prep simple and consistent I used a julienne grater to slice the first three ingredients. The salad is dressed with a pinch of kosher salt, a few drops of sesame oil and a splash each of mirin (Japanese sweet cooking wine) and rice wine vinegar. Dress the salad and refrigerate at least an hour to allow the vegetables to soften and for the flavors to marry. I topped mine with a little pickled red onion.

To make the sandwiches, lightly toast buttered baguette slices under your broiler, then brush the top of each with hoisin sauce, add a thin slice of pork, some of the salad, and finish with the pickled onion.

Mini Cubano Sandwiches (via

Next up is a mini Cubano made with sliced mojo-marinated grilled pork tenderloin, Swiss cheese, ham, dill pickle, and mustard. Start with lightly toasted buttered baguette slices then brush plain yellow mustard on the top of each and add a slice of cheese. Put the bread under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese. Top each bread slice with a slice of pork, sliced ham, and pickle.

Mini Reuben Sandwiches (via

Lastly, we round out this sandwich spread with a mini version of what is arguably the best sandwich on topside of this earth: a Reuben! I prefer pastrami to corned beef on my Reuben, but use what you like. Lightly toast the bread slices, top each with a slice of Swiss cheese and put under the broiler for a minute or two to melt the cheese. Smear a dollop of Russian or thousand island dressing on top of the melted cheese. Finish each with folded sliced pastrami and sauerkraut.

I hope that this sandwich round-up inspires you to try something new for the big game.

Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas Barbecued Sweet Potato Pie Grilled & Glazed Carrots The Ultimate Thanksgiving Turkey Brine Barbecued Sweet Potatoes Thanksgiving Stuffing Balls Simple Barbecued Turkey

Well, Thanksgiving is upon us so I thought I'd share a round-up of my recipes in a sort of one-stop-shopping way. Here I think you'll find something that will add a unique twist to your Thanksgiving feast. If you try one of these recipes, please drop me a line in a comment and give me your thoughts.

Just click any of the images to get to the recipe.

Brat Fest! (via

We recently moved into a brand new La Casa Daddio, and my partners at Johnsonville were very kind to provide all of the fixins for our housewarming party. How can you go wrong with good friends and brats from the grill on a hot summer afternoon?

One problem of having a bunch of folks over for brats is that you have to keep them hot and moist as your guests show up. Nobody wants to stand around with that deer-in-the-headlights stare as they wait for you to grill them a brat, and the grill guy (me) doesn't want to deal with that pressure. What's a bratmeister to do? Well, this is where the "brat tub" is your friend. What's a brat tub, you ask? In short, you bring a pan full of beer and onions to a simmer with some butter right on the grill, and you drop your perfectly grilled sausages in the tub to stay hot, juicy, delicious and at the ready whenever your guest is in need of some brat-ness.

Brat Fest! (via

The key to properly grilling a brat is to use medium heat. If you grill them too hot the casings will burst and much of that pork goodness will vaporize on the grill. You want to grill them gently so that they get just enough char. As with any raw pork you want to ensure that you cook them to an internal temperature of 165º. If you're using the brat tub you can cook them to just under finished temperature and let them cruise to a beautiful finish in the beer bath.

Brat Fest! (via

One of the relatively new products that Johnsonville has introduced are their Grillers brat patties. They give you that same great Johnsonville brat taste in burger form. To make things even better they offer Grillers with some great flavor combinations like mushroom and Swiss, and bacon and cheddar.

Brat Fest! (via

Brat Fest! (via

The party was great fun. There's a reason why "move" is a four-letter word, so it was nice to just chill and hang-out with good friends in our new home. Here are some shots of the festivities.

Brat Fest! (via

Brat Fest! (via

Brat Fest! (via

Brat Fest! (via

Disclaimer: I am a proud partner of Johnsonville and they provided the food for our party and this post, but the thoughts and feelings expressed here are completely my own.

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Porchetta! (via

Porchetta is a beautiful and glorious thing. How can you possibly go wrong with 7 lbs of herb-stuffed, jelly-rolled and fire-roasted heritage pork belly? That's right, you simply can't. Make one of these the next time you have guests over for a barbecue or to watch a game, then sit back and watch the looks of porcine bliss on their faces.

The traditional Italian porchetta (pronounced por-KET-a) is made of a deboned whole hog that is stuffed with garlic and herbs then rolled and roasted on a spit over wood coals. An American adaptation was to wrap pork belly around the pork loin. This was easier in years past because one could simply have their butcher leave the loin attached to the belly. That would be a tall order nowadays, so this new adaptation is made by simply using only the belly. It's far less laborious to prepare, but the results are still incredible.

If you want to try one of these at home leave a comment below for a chance to win a Snake River Farms gourmet Kurobuta pork belly. We will select a winner at random. Since I obviously need a way to contact the winner, your comment must either link to or contain your e-mail address. The deadline for entries is 12:00 AM MDT Tuesday, July 22, 2014.

Note: Ideally you want to use a skin-on belly in order to get that lovely cracklin crust, but it's not required. The belly I used for this recipe did not have the skin on and the crust was still excellent, it just wasn't crispy and crunchy.

1 6-7 lb Snake River Farms pork belly (approximately 10" wide, 16" long, and 1 1/2" thick)
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp Kosher salt, divided
1/4 cup Finely chopped fresh fennel fronds (the leafs and tender stems)
2 Tbsp Finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbsp Finely chopped fresh thyme
2 Tbsp Finely chopped fresh sage
8 cloves garlic, minced (about 4-5 teaspoons)
Zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp Crushed red chile
2 tsp Olive oil
2 tsp Black pepper, ground medium

Unwrap the pork belly, rinse well with cold water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Porchetta! (via
Combine all ingredients except the belly, two tablespoons of the salt, the oil, and the pepper in a small mixing bowl and mix well to combine.

Porchetta! (via

With the pork belly skin/fat-side-up on a cutting board, cut slits 1/3" deep and 3/4" apart in a crosshatched pattern. Rub two tablespoons of the salt thoroughly into the skin/fat, then flip over.

Porchetta! (via
Using a filet or paring knife pierce all the way through the meat side of the belly about every square inch. Spread the herb mixture evenly over the belly.

Wrap the belly very well in plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.

About 3 1/2 hours before you plan to serve, remove the belly from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the belly is sitting, preheat your grill for indirect heat at medium heat (about 300º).

Cut 12 pieces of butcher's twine 18" long. Unwrap the belly and roll in a jelly roll fashion and tie about every inch with the twine.

Porchetta! (via

Cut the porchetta into two equal pieces, coat all sides of each piece with oil and season evenly with the ground black pepper. Grill both pieces indirect until the internal temperature reaches 160º, about 2 1/2 hours. There is no need to flip or turn the porchetta during the cooking.

Porchetta! (via

Remove the porchetta to a platter, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 15-20 minutes.

Cut the porchetta into slices about 1/2" thick, serve and enjoy! I served mine on a toasted ciabatta roll, topped with arugula and pickled red onion.

Porchetta! (via

Disclaimer: I am a partner of Snake River Farms and I was compensated for this post, but the thoughts and feelings expressed here are completely my own.

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Cowboy Chop au Poivre (via

Father's Day is fast approaching so it's time to plan a meal that's fit for a Dad. The folks at Double R Ranch sent me one of their Cowboy Chops to try and I wanted to find a way to do something special while not compromising the natural beauty of this fine cut of beef. After a little thought I decided that a simplified and more manly version of my Steak au Poivre would do nicely.

Some of you may be asking yourself (as I did), "Self, what exactly is a cowboy chop?" Well, the short answer is, it's incredibly delicious, but the longer answer is that it's a USDA Prime bone-in ribeye with a Frenched bone (handle). The ribeye is hands-down my favorite cut of beef, and I must say that this steak was easily one of the best steaks that I've ever eaten. While this is one steak, at just over two pounds it's plenty for two people, or for one big Dad. Head over to the Double R Ranch Facebook page and enter for a chance to win one of these incredible steaks and two limited-edition stainless steel flasks.

Before we dive into the recipe let me describe my approach to grilling this beauty. You may have heard of the concept of a "reverse-sear". If not, you can read all about it (with some commentary from yours truly) at my friend Meathead Goldwyn's incredibly popular BBQ and grilling site In short, the idea is that you cook large cuts indirectly to just below your desired doneness and then blast it for the final few minutes over direct heat to sear the outside. This gives you that beautifully mahogany crust on the outside and perfect edge-to-edge doneness on the inside. When done properly this method yields perfect steaks every time, as it did in this case.

Note: I know that the recipe calls for what appears to be an insane amount of black pepper, but just go with it, sit back and be amazed.

1 2-2 1/2 lb Double R Ranch Cowboy Chop, or a bone-in ribeye cut about 2 inches thick
3 tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1/4 cup Black peppercorns, cracked to a medium consistency
1/3 cup Honey bourbon
1 cup Heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp Beef base (I used Better Than Bouillon)

Season all sides of the steak with about two teaspoons of salt.

Lightly oil all sides of the steak and coat each side and the edges with as much of the pepper as will adhere.

Let the steak sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

While the steak is sitting, preheat your grill for indirect heat at medium heat (about 300º)

Grill the steak indirect until the internal temperature is about 15º below your desired final doneness (about 30 minutes for a final medium-rare), flipping once at the halfway point.

Remove the steak to a platter and stoke/increase your fire for direct grilling at high heat (preferably 500+º)

Once grill has reached high heat add the steaks. Sear each side of the steak until it is browned nicely. Stay close to the grill and flip the steak every minute or two to ensure even searing.

When the steak has reached five degrees below your desired finished temperature, remove it from the grill onto a platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest.

While the steak is resting, make the sauce. Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add the bourbon and very carefully set it alight to burn off the alcohol.

Warning: The blue alcohol flames can rise up to 18 or more inches from the top of the pan, so ensure that you have adequate clearance above the pan.

When the blue flames have subsided, add the cream, Worcestershire sauce and beef base to the pan, bring to a simmer while whisking well, then reduce to low and cook two minutes, whisking occasionally.

Remove the steak from the platter, add the released juices to the sauce and whisk well and remove from the heat.

Pour the sauce into the platter, slice the steak on a bias (diagonal) at about 1/4", place the slices in the sauce on the platter. Or, you can do what I did and serve it whole.

Serve and enjoy! I dusted mine with a little more freshly ground pepper.

Cowboy Chop au Poivre (via

Disclaimer: I am a partner of Double R Ranch and I was compensated for this post, but the thoughts and feelings expressed here are completely my own.

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