Bush's Grillin' Beans Giveaway Winner
Congratulations to Julie Crim of Newalla, Oklahoma for being randomly selected as the winner of my giveaway, brought to you by Bush's Grillin' Beans! She won a great grilling gift pack valued at approximately $350.

Here is her comment:
We don't exactly have a grilling masterpiece, we just slow smoke brisket and ribs over hickory. But I like to put the beans on the smoker too. Bourbon and Brown Sugar Bush's grilling beans are great, just drape some bacon on top and put them on the pit until they are cooked as you like them. Add some sweet potato fries and I'm totally happy! Your grilled pound cake looks amazing!
Low-n-slow brisket and ribs with beans from the pit certainly rank as a masterpiece in my book! I hope you enjoy your prize, Julie. Thanks for your readership, your kind comment, and for entering.

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Barbecued Chicken For A Crowd

Today I served 80 barbecued chicken drumsticks for a high school graduation open house. I occasionally cook for crowds, and it requires a somewhat different approach than cooking an average meal. I thought I'd use this opportunity to share my crowd-pleasin' yardbird recipe.

The reason that cooking for a crowd requires a different mindset is because you need a relatively simple, repeatable, and scalable preparation process. You also need an end product with mass appeal. On top of that, there is very often a budgetary aspect that comes into play. In short, it comes down to producing the best product that you can, while keeping things within budget, with a reasonable workload.

Here's how I handled this mess o' yardbird. You'll obviously need to scale this recipe to fit your needs.

80 Chicken drumsticks
1 cup Johnny's Seasoning Salt (I get it at Costco)
1/2 cup Old Bay seasoning
1 Tbsp Ground poultry seasoning (not six months old, please)
2 large (28 oz) bottles KC Masterpiece Original barbecue sauce
2 cups Grape jelly
1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Tiger Sauce (or your favorite hot sauce -- not too hot)

Melt the jelly in a large sauce pan over medium heat, then remove the pan from the heat.

Add the barbecue sauce, vinegar and Tiger Sauce to the pan and whisk well to combine.

Cover the pan and set it aside.

Combine the seasoning salt, Old Bay, and poultry seasoning in a medium mixing bowl, and whisk to combine.

Lay one layer of drumsticks in each of two full-size disposable aluminum steam pans, alternating the thin and thick end of every other piece so that they fit together nicely.

Season the top side of the drumsticks liberally and evenly with the seasoning mixture.

Flip all of the drumsticks over and repeat the seasoning.

Add another layer of chicken to each pan and repeat the seasoning on both sides.

Cover the pans with foil and refrigerate 3-4 hours.

Start your grill and prepare for direct cooking at medium heat (350º). Add your smoke wood of choice just before you start cooking. I used cherry.

Arrange the chicken on your grill in the same interlocking manner that you did in the pans.

Barbecued Chicken For A Crowd

Cook the drumsticks, turning them about every 10 minutes, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the leg reaches 175º (about one hour).

Tip: Because you will have legs of various sizes, and zones on your grill that vary in heat, some of the pieces will cook faster than others. As you see some getting done, just stack them to the cooler side of the grill while you let the other pieces catch up. This also gives you more room to move them around.

Barbecued Chicken For A Crowd

Tip: To reuses the disposable aluminum steam pans for serving, rinse them and put them in a 325º oven for about 15 minutes while the chicken is cooking. This will kill any poultry nasties in the crevices.

Sauce the chicken by working in batches. Pour about two cups of sauce in a very large mixing bowl, then add about 15 legs and gently toss/fold to coat them in sauce.

Repeat the saucing with the remaining legs.

Optional: If you want to set (lightly caramelize) the sauce, return the chicken to the grill for a couple minutes per side.

If you need/want to grill the chicken ahead of time it will hold nicely for an hour or two in a 170-180º oven in the pans covered with foil.

You can even barbecue them the day before. Just make sure you cook them to at least 165º internal and cool them down as rapidly as possible (you have two hours to get them down to 70º, then four hours to get them to 40º or lower). Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Note: Do not sauce the chicken the night before if you're going to keep them in the foil pans. The acid in the sauce will react with the aluminum. Instead, brush the chicken with warm sauce just before serving.

To reheat, put the covered pans in a 350º oven for about two hours, or until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thighs is at least 165º

Serve and enjoy!

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The Bush Brothers Cookout & Giveaway
Lately I've been posting about my summer kick-off cookout, brought to you by Bush's Grillin' Beans, and the accompanying giveaway. Well, my "Pastor's Family Cookout" took place last weekend, and we had a great time.

I truly believe that pastors have one the toughest "jobs" that there is. They deal with things on a daily basis that many of us never even contemplate. What we might call a "job" is really a call to shepherd their flock (congregation) humbly and sacrificially. So, I wanted to use this opportunity to show my appreciation for all that my pastors and their families do, most of which largely goes unrecognized.

Another thing about this cookout that made it even more special is that it was the day before our church "graduation" where we went from a missionary church plant to an independent self-supporting church.

We had such a wonderful time gathering in a local park to enjoy good food and fellowship. I got to cook a bunch, teach a little bit about barbecue and grilling, then stand back and enjoy what I love -- watching people eat and enjoy themselves.

The Bush Brothers Cookout & Giveaway

Our Associate Pastor's sons (below, top center) especially enjoyed the steak. Our eldest daughter said, "Tyler and Trevor ate like eight servings of meat!"

The Bush Brothers Cookout & Giveaway

Here's what was on the menu, and some recipes:

Note: I've scaled the recipes down to approximately four-person servings.

Cola-Marinated Flank Steak

The Bush Brothers Cookout & Giveaway

1 Flank steak (preferably USDA Choice or better)
1 can Cola (leaded, no diet!)
1/4 cup Soy sauce
1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
1 tsp Granulated onion
1/4 tsp Granulated garlic

Dump all of the ingredients, except the steak, in a one gallon zip-top bag, seal and shake well.

Add the steak to the bag, remove the excess air, and seal.

Lay the bag in a lipped pan (to catch any leakage), refrigerate, and marinate 4-6 hours.

Remove the steak from the marinate, pat dry with paper towels, and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.

While the steak is resting, prepare your grill for two-zone cooking (direct and indirect) at high heat (about 500º).

Grill the steak just to medium-rare (no further than medium -- about 4-6 minutes per side, depending on the thickness), then remove it to a platter, tent it loosely with foil and let it rest for five to ten minutes.

Slice across the grain to about 1/4", and serve with Bush's Texas Ranchero Grillin' Beans.

Grilled Salad

The Bush Brothers Cookout & Giveaway

2 heads Romaine lettuce, washed and dried
1 cup Strawberry-balsamic vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Canola oil spray
Kosher salt
Shaved Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)

Split each head of lettuce lengthwise.

Spray the cut side of each half lightly with the canola oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Grill each half, cut-side-down, over a hot direct fire for about 90 seconds.

Remove to a sheet pan, sprinkle evenly with the cheese and let cool.

Drizzle each half with an equal amount of dressing, serve and enjoy!

Strawberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup Strawberries, quartered
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Honey
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Dried oregano
1 tsp Dried thyme
2 tsp Garlic salt
1 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender.

Pulse until all of the strawberries are pureed.

Refrigerate until serving.

Grilled Strawberry Shortcake

The Bush Brothers Cookout & Giveaway

1 lb Pound cake (I used butter pound cake)
1 lb Fresh strawberries, sliced
3/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp Kosher salt (to aid in maceration)
1/8 tsp Ground ginger
1/8 tsp Ground allspice
Canola oil spray
Whipped cream

Combine all of the ingredients, except the cake, in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, stirring occasionally.

If your grill isn't already hot, prepare it for direct cooking at medium heat (about 350º).

Cut the pound cake into 1 1/2" slices, and spray each side lightly with the oil.

Grill the cake slices until they are toasty and have grill marks on each side. You'll know that they're ready to flip when you start to smell a toasty marshmallow aroma and see slight wisps of smoke.

Serve each slice topped with a good amount of the berry mixture and whipped cream.

The Big Giveaway

Bush's Grillin' Beans

Now it's time to launch the giveaway that I detailed last week. The rules are pretty simple.

  • To enter, just leave a comment here telling me about your grilling masterpiece and what Bush's Grillin' Beans flavor would best accompany it. Burgers and dogs are a given, so be creative.
  • This giveaway is open to all entrants residing in the United States only.
  • Since I need a way to contact the winner, your comment must either link to or contain your e-mail address.
  • No entries will be accepted after 12 PM Mountain Time Tuesday, May 31, 2011.
  • The winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries (via random.org).
  • The winner will be announced on this blog on May 31, and will be contacted via e-mail.
  • In the event that the winner cannot be contacted another winner will be chosen at random from all remaining eligible entries (via random.org).
  • The folks at Bush Brothers are covering the shipping.

Important: Again, I must have a way to find your e-mail address. If it's not in the comment text I will look at your profile and/or your blog(s). If you don't see your comment posted within a few hours, it's because I couldn't find your e-mail address.


I would like to thank Bush Brothers for sponsoring this cookout and the giveaway. I've long been a huge fan of Bush's beans, and they have been great to work with.

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Johnsonville® Big Taste Grill
Looky what showed up here at work today. Daddio hit some brats from the Johnsonville® Big Taste Grill. That thing is a monster!

This bad boy houses six independent gas grills that can hold about 100 sausages each. They only used two grills today, but they use them all for large venues like car races.

Johnsonville® Big Taste Grill

After being served my lunch I took a few minutes to talk to the cook just as he was finishing his clean-up. I was really impressed with how clean they keep those grills.

Johnsonville® Big Taste Grill

Oh, and the brats were good! The only topping required is a little mustard, of course.


Bush's Grillin' Beans
Last week I mentioned a great giveaway that I've got coming up, courtesy of Bush Brothers. The gift package is very nice, indeed.

The package includes a French ceramic Dutch oven from Emile Henry, tongs and a multi-purpose basting brush from Rösle, an apron, spatula and can opener from Bush's, and a $50 Visa® gift card.

I'm looking forward to my "Pastor's Family Cookout" this weekend. Here's the menu that I've put together:

  • Steak Sampler - Three different cuts and preparations
  • Bush's Texas Ranchero beans
  • Grilled Salad
  • Grilled Strawberry Shortcake
  • Texas Toast
  • Lemonade
  • Iced Tea
  • Water

I will be posting all of the recipes and some photos of the event early next week when I officially kick-off the giveaway.

Disclaimer: The cookout and giveaway are in partnership with Bush Brothers & Company.

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Grilled Artichokes with Garlic-Chive Aioli

Spring is the peak harvest time for artichokes, and this time of year is also the kick-off of the traditional grilling season. I'm almost embarrassed to say that, although I love artichokes, I've never grilled them. I finally struck them from my to-try list last weekend.

Being flower buds, artichokes require some unique preparation, but it's really not difficult. Once you get the hang of it you can make pretty quick work of them. Like many things, the first one is a learning experience.

I served these with a nice tangy garlic and chive aioli, which complimented the fire-roasted buds nicely.

3-4 Artichokes
Canola oil spray
Kosher salt
1/2 cup Lemon juice (for acidulated water)

Garlic-Chive Aioli
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup Crema Mexicana (or sour cream)
1 Tbsp Chives, chopped to 1/8"
1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp Ground white pepper
1/8 tsp Ground cayenne (or more to taste)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch smoked paprika (optional)

Combine all of the aioli ingredients in a small mixing bowl, whisk well, cover and refrigerate at least one hour to allow the flavors to marry.

Add about a gallon of cold water to a stock pot and stir in the lemon juice.

Rinse the artichokes well under cold water, then shake off the excess water.

Trim about 1/2" from the stem, and 1 1/2" from the top of one artichoke.

Using kitchen shears or scissors, trim about 1/2" from the tip of each petal.

Grilled Artichokes with Garlic-Chive Aioli

Slice the artichoke in half vertically.

Grilled Artichokes with Garlic-Chive Aioli

Using a melon baller or a spoon, scoop out the choke (the hairy looking thing and the purple leaves) from each half of the artichoke.

Put the artichoke in the lemon water. This prevents the cut portions from turning brown.

Repeat the process with the remaining artichokes.

About 45 minutes before you're ready to serve, remove the artichokes from the stock pot, drain the water, add about an inch of fresh water and a steamer basket to the pot.

Steam the artichokes for 20 minutes.

While the artichokes are steaming, start your grill and prepare for indirect cooking at medium-high heat (350-375º).

Remove the artichokes to a sheet pan and season each half liberally with salt and pepper.

Spray both sides of each half with oil.

Grill the artichokes cut-side-up indirect for 15 minutes.

Grilled Artichokes with Garlic-Chive Aioli

Turn the artichokes over and grill indirect for another 10 minutes.

Serve with the aioli and enjoy!

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Grilled Cheese-Steak Quesadilla

What to do with leftover steak is a frequent dilemma for we grillin' folks. We put a lot of love into creating a great steak, but we (at least I) almost always tend to go a little overboard. Here's something that I've recently come up with to make good use of leftover steak. It's quick, easy, hearty and good.

Quesadillas are a great quick and easy way to use leftovers. They are basically a thin crust mini-pizza with a lid, so stuff them with what you like and enjoy. Grilling them adds a great added depth of flavor.

For these I used leftover flat iron steak, onions, green peppers, cremini mushrooms, and a heavy dose of provolone cheese. If you don't have any leftover steak, just use some good deli roast beef.

8 slices Provolone cheese
3 large Flour tortillas (burrito size)
4 medium Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup Grilled steak, chopped medium (or chopped deli roast beef)
1 small Yellow onion, chopped medium (about 1/3 cup)
1/2 Green bell pepper, chopped medium (about 1/2 cup)
2 tsp Olive or canola oil
1 tsp Your favorite hot sauce (optional -- I used Melinda's Habanero XXXtra Hot)
1/4 cup Beer (optional)
1/4 tsp Garlic salt
Canola oil spray

Start your grill and prepare for direct cooking at medium heat (300-350º).

Heat a medium saute pan over medium-high heat, add the olive/canola oil, and let heat for 30 seconds.

Add the peppers to the pan and saute for two minutes, stirring/tossing frequently.

Add the onions to the pan and continue cooking for two minutes, stirring/tossing frequently.

Add the mushrooms to the pan and continue cooking for three minutes, stirring/tossing frequently.

Add the garlic salt, beer, and hot sauce to the pan and continue to cook for two minutes.

Add the meat to the pan, stir, remove from the heat, and set aside.

Lightly oil one side of one tortilla with the spray and lay it oiled-side-down on the backside of a sheet pan.

Arrange half of the cheese slices on the tortilla, leaving about one inch margin near the edges.

Spread half of the meat and veggie mixture over the cheese, maintaining the margin.

Lay another tortilla (un-oiled) on top of the meat and veggie mixture.

Arrange the other half of the cheese slices on the tortilla, leaving about one inch margin near the edges.

Spread the other half of the meat and veggie mixture over the cheese, maintaining the margin.

Lay the third tortilla on top of the meat and veggie mixture, and spray the top lightly with oil.

Gently slide the quesadilla off of the sheet pan and onto your grill.

Grill until the edges of the bottom tortilla just start to brown.

Gently spin the quesadilla one-half turn, and continue cooking for about another minute.

Using a large spatula, gently flip the quesadilla over and repeat the same grilling process as the first side.

Remove the quesadilla from the grill and let it rest for five minutes.

Slice like a pizza, serve and enjoy!

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Bush's Grillin' Beans
I've been invited to join with Bush Brothers to share my idea of a great summer kick-off cookout. I'll be hosting a barbecue that will feature Bush's Grillin' Beans. I've been a great fan of Grillin' Beans, and I look forward to sharing how you can use them to add something special to your summer grilling.

For my part I've chosen to host a "Pastor's Family Cookout". I'm forever grateful for all that my pastors and their families have done, and I want to honor their faithful service and sacrifice. I'm still finalizing the menu, but I'm putting together a meal that I hope will be very special. I do know that steak will be what's for dinner.

But wait, there's more! The folks at Bush Brothers are providing a very nice grilling gift pack for me to give away. You will certainly want to be sure to enter when the time comes. I'll be posting more details about the cookout and the giveaway as it draws near, so stay tuned.

Disclaimer: The cookout and giveaway are in partnership with Bush Brothers & Company.

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