4 Tips for Water Pan Grilling


One thing that most of us grillers struggle with, at one time or another, is trying to get our food to cook through to the center, without turning the outside into a charred mess.

There are so many factors involved that effect how much heat reaches the food—type of fuel, outdoor temperature, humidity, wind, type of meat, surface temperature of the meat—suddenly I need an engineering degree to grill some flippin’ chicken, you know?

One way that I’ve found to not only control the char, but retain the tenderness and natural moisture in the foods I’m grilling, is to create multiple grilling “zones” and position water pans under my food. The most common set up is a Two-Zone fire. You can sear the exterior of a thick steak, chop, or chicken breast over high heat (the direct zone) to get great caramelization and flavor, and then flip food to the water-pan side (the indirect zone) to keep it from burning, and finish cooking the interior to perfection.

Read the rest of this article, and get my 4 Tips for Water Pan Grilling, here!

Perry P. Perkins is a Grilling is Happiness sponsored writer.

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under On The Grill

5 Ways to Make Your BBQ a Memorable Family Event


Ever since the first whole hog got trussed up over a fire, barbecue and grilling have been a staple of North American living.

For many of us, grilling is a routine mealtime activity, while for the most devoted grillers, summer is ruled by massive barbecue parties.  But you don’t have to choose between boring repetition and crazy get-togethers: every barbecue can and should be an exciting family event.

Here are 5 ways to make your routine evening barbecue a more unique experience:

1) Who said you have to stick to meat? There’s tons of great stuff to be done with veggies, breads, and fruits over an open flame. To make t a fun “grilled pizza” activity with your kids, use cookie cutters to make the bread and fruit into shapes. You can decide on themes like “animals” and “letters” or ask that each shape be different from the others! Then, let your kids decide which toppings they would like to put on. Add cheese, onion and various spices to bread and cinnamon and honey to fruit.

Grill to perfection and serve WITH the meat!

2) Try foil-wrapped surprise meals. Place different combinations of chicken, fish and vegetables with sauces and spices in foil packets. These cook in less than 20 minutes and lead to no-mess, lip-smacking results. Kids will love the surprise element and can easily switch packets. You can even ask your family for combo suggestions before the barbecue, or draw ingredient names out of a hat to create new meal ideas.

3) A little variety goes a long way. If you tend to stick to the same old burgers and tube-steaks, why not try grilled pizza or salmon steaks? Similarly, try to mix it up with condiments and seasoning. Sick of ketchup? Try salsa or Thai fish sauce instead. Look online where you’ll find hundreds of easy recipes for barbecue rubs. These give your food that extra pizzazz and prevent the mess and drip that comes with barbecue sauces.

4) Barbecues don’t have to be rushed. In fact, many will tell you that today’s quick broiling is an insult to the term, which should represent a process of slow cooking on low heat. You can find many low-and slow recipes online (as well as in our cookbook, MEAT FIRE GOOD), and the wait is a great opportunity to pass some quality time with your family and friends.

5) Mom said not to play with your food, but there’s always an exception! Barbecue games are great fun and tasty at the same time. In the game EAT IT!, each player gets a certain amount of mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese or any other side dish. Various kitchen utensils (spatulas, whisks, etc) are put in a box and the players blindly pick a few. On the go, they begin to eat their dish with the items that they took out. The first to finish his or her food wins the prize!

Finally…you’re not Bobby Flay, and no one’s tracking your Nielson Ratings…chill out! Far too many people get lost in the details of planning the perfect barbecue party and forget to enjoy the social atmosphere and delicious food.

So…what do YOU do to make a family BBQ fun? Any special treats, games or traditions that you can share?

Whatever you do, don’t forget to kick back, bask in the sun and just enjoy an unforgettable barbecue!

-Perry

3 Comments

Filed under Ponderings

Low and Slow Barbecue on a Gas Grill


When BBQ enthusiasts read “low and slow” our minds usually drift to images of deep smoke-blackened pits, seeping lazy tendrils of white smoke, as whole oak and hickory logs smolder beneath.

I mean, grills are made for searing burgers and dogs, or maybe getting some nice marks on a chicken breast or a thick steak…but they don’t do “barbecue”…right?

Well, I’m here to tell ya, you can get some amazing, mouth-watering, fall-off-the-bone tender, low and slow barbecue from your gas grill, too. You just have to change up your technique a little bit.

Why “Low & Slow”

High heat causes rapid moisture loss. Proteins in meat and seafood naturally contain a great deal of liquid, but as heat forces these protein strands to rapidly constrict, much of that moisture, is squeezed out, and meat becomes tough and leathery. Succulent, buttery pulled-pork becomes tender when the naturally tough collagen in the meat is converted into gelatin, with a minimum loss of moisture. This transformation occurs when the pork is cooked at temperatures between 225-250 (I get better results at 225) for 10-12 hours, hence the term, “low and slow.”

Personally, I would recommend using a smoking box to hold wood chips for the first several hours of cooking time, as well. There are many commercial varieties, but a clean tuna can, filled with non-resinous wood chips and wrapped in foil (with a few holes punched through the top) works just fine too.

Read the rest of this article, and get our recipes for my favoritelow-and-slow pork shoulder, bbq dry rub, and “dirty secret” sauce, here!

Perry P. Perkins is a Grilling is Happiness sponsored writer.

Leave a comment

Filed under On The Grill

La Caja China on Bizzarre Foods


La Caja China on Bizarre Foods America with Andrew Zimmern Episode: Miami

Leave a comment

Filed under In The Box, Videos

A little foodie humor…


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Big Island Dogs


Sometimes you just need meat in tube form. Here’s a recipe I came up with (and I’m pretty proud of) that incorporates some of my favorite island flavors with a classic tube-steak. The spiral slicing really takes this recipe to the next level!

Some chopped fresh pineapple and red pepper flake would be an awesome sweet/hot topping for this. Next time!

Big Island Dogs

4 Johnsonville stadium bratwurst
1/2 cup Yoshida’s Original Sauce
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds
4 hoagie rolls
1 cup Asian slaw*

Spiral cut bratwurst (see below) and marinate in Yoshida’s sauce for 2-3 hours, turning ocassionally.

Grill brats over medium heat, re-dunking in sauce with each turn, until heated through and crispy.

Toast white sesame seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until golden and aromatic.

Toast hoagies over coals until golden brown. If you like soft rolls, wrap the hoagies in foil and grill a few minutes, flip and repeat until warmed through.

Add 1/4 cup of slaw to each roll, top with a brat, brush with additional sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Serve immediately.

*Asian Slaw
3/4 cup green cabbage, diced
1/4 cup daikon radish, grated
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp minced ginger
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. mirin
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp.rice wine vinegar

Combine all, and chill 1 hour.

How to Spiral-Cut Your Wiener

Leave a comment

Filed under On The Grill

La Caja China on Bizarre Foods America, tonight!


Hey everyone,

As you may or may not know, my all-time favorite outdoor cooker, La Caja China, is being featured tonight on my all-time favorite TV show, Bizarre Foods America!

In light of this momentous occasion, I’m going to offer each of my La Caja China Cookbooks, directly from my e-store, at 20% off the cover price! (Be sure to use the links and coupon code, below). These are the ONLY cookbooks on the market for the Cuban roasting boxes, and feature dozens of delicious recipes that I’ve personally created and tested, from across the country and around the world.

Nothing roasts a pig faster, or easier, than La Caja China…but there’s a LOT more to explore that just the whole hog. Here’s a little about the cookbooks and a favorite recipe of mine, from each…

Oh, and join me on Twitter tonight to chat during the episode, just search for #BizarreCaja, and join the conversation!

Enjoy the show!

-Perry

La Caja China Cooking

The secret to perfect roasting
Authored by Perry P Perkins
20% Coupon Code: MUFRQDBX

Recipes and tips for using La Caja China to prepare fabulous dishes from around the world!

La Caja China, for all the pig-related press, is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment I’ve used in a lifetime of cooking and barbecue.

I can prepare everything from holiday dinners like St. Patrick’s Day corned beef and Thanksgiving turkey; ethnic delights like Malaysian Satays and Italian porchetta sandwiches, to Kalua pig and Moroccan lamb. I can grill steaks, braise chickens, and roast prime-rib that rivals any restaurant, and do it all in my own backyard!

And, of course, I can roast melt-in-your-mouth whole pigs that send my guests into fits of gastronomical joy.

Even more importantly, I can prepare these dishes for crowds that would normally require a smoke house, a four-foot deep pit dug in my yard, multiple gas grills, and several full-size ovens. Not only that, but I can do it anywhere, anytime!

La Caja China isn’t just about great barbecue and roasting, it’s about friends and family, it’s about creating memories, and… let’s be honest… it’s about being “that guy” (or gal) who can make the dinner, holiday, or party, a memorable event.

Featured recipe: Luau Pork Shoulders

La Caja China World

Roasting Box Recipes from Around the Globe
Authored by Perry P Perkins
20% Coupon Code: MUFRQDBX

La Caja China, the Cuban roasting box, has become the toast of food writers and celebrity gourmets, including Food Network’s THROWDOWN Chef, Bobby Flay.

In La Caja China Cooking: The Secret to Perfect Roasting, we took a gastronomic tour of America.

With this new collection of recipes, your La Caja China becomes a magic carpet, allowing you to take your friends and family to the far corners of the world, and experience the delicious wonders waiting for you there!

In every culture and country that we researched in gathering this collection, we found people who enjoyed gathering together with loved ones, lighting a fire, cooking meat over it (or under it), and eating together.

Not coincidentally, we think, these folks shared a common passion for life and laughter, as well.

In La Caja China World, we invite your taste buds to join us on a globe-trotting adventure with dishes like:

  • Grilled Tri-Tip & Chimichurri in Argentina
  • Whole Roast Pig & Coconut Rice in Bali
  • Roast lamb & Potatoes in Greece
  • Beef Short Ribs & Scallion Salad in Korea
  • Christmas Goose in Sweden

If you’re looking to roast, grill, bake, braise, smoke, or barbecue; whether you’re cooking for a hungry crowd, or creating memories with your family – look no further than La Caja China World!

Featured Recipe: Roast Leg Of Lamb With Moroccan Chermoula Sauce

About the author:
Chef, cookbook author and food blogger, Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional chefs. As a third generation gourmand, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.

Perry has written for hundreds of magazines, everything from Writer’s Digest and Guideposts, to American Hunter and Bassmaster Magazine. His inspirational stories have been included in twelve Chicken Soup anthologies, as well.

He is also a featured blogger for Sear’s “Grilling is Happiness” website, and is the owner & executive chef at hautemealz.com, an online menu planning service for busy people who love cooking great food.

Perry blogs at  www.burninloveblog.com, www.hautemealz.com, and you can read more of his work at www.perryperkinsbooks.com.

Leave a comment

Filed under In The Box, Press Releases

Independence Day Pig Roast 2012


Had a great time throwin’ some luau on our La Caja China for the winners of our bbq package at the Sparks of Hope Charity Auction!

Beautiful day, awesome people, and a wonderful cause. It really doesn’t get any better than this!

Here’s the highlights:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Many of these recipes are available in our cookbooks, MEAT FIRE GOOD and La Caja China Cooking

1 Comment

Filed under Customers

Grilling is Happiness at Ribfest 2012


Wow.

It’s been a week since I left for Naperville, Il to attend Ribfest 2012 with Sears, Ty Pennington, and my fellow bloggers from Sear’s Grilling is Happiness blog, Robyn Lindars (Grill Grrrl) and Grill Master George Hirsch.

What an amazing time, and what a great group of people!

Luckily, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, ’cause I got about 11 million words I could share on how cool Ribfest was!

Me & Ty!

Here’s a visual  rundown of the weekend, starting on Friday with the interview shoot at Kenmore Studios, then lunch at the Weber Grill Restaurant, and the VIP reception that evening with Ty Pennington (who’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet!)

Saturday was all about Ribfest…a long, hot, awesome, amazing day with a bunch of great new friends, next-level BBQ, and a chance to play with some of the best grills on the market. My 5-burner Kenmore with the side burner was the bomb!

Robyn, George, and I.

Saturday night, wilted, limp and still grinning, we returned to the hotel for one last dinner at the Sugar Toad restaurant (so good!) and to say our goodbyes. As George put it, it was like the last day at outdoor school (except for the martinis).

I can’t wait for the next opportunity to grill with these guys!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Be sure to check out George Hirsch’s Ginger Shrimp and Pork with Chinese Vermicelli, (that shrimp was the best I’ve ever had!) and Robyn Lindar’s BBQ sauce lovers Grilled BBQ Chicken pizza which was a party in your mouth!

Oh, and I threw together some Dragon Claw appetizers for the crowd, which seemed to go over well. (They’re wrapped in bacon…go figure!)

So, I had a LOT of people ask me about Grilling is Happiness, and the blog, this weekend, and I guess, for me, what makes it so amazing is this…there are tons of places you can go online and get recipes, advice and grilling tips from “one guy’s or gal’s” perspective…but not many that bring together the level of experience, passion, and expertise from such a wide range of outdoor cooking experts as you’ll find at Grilling is Happiness.

That’s what makes it unique, you can be a trophy-winnin’ pit-master, or a have never picked up a pair of tongs…because there’s something there for anyone and everyone who loves to grill, or wants to learn!

Oh, and don’t forget, you can still enter to win a grill and other fabulous prizes!

So, get on over to Grilling is Happiness, find out what we’re grillin’ up for ya,  and join the fun…you’ll be happy you did!

-Perry

2 Comments

Filed under On The Grill, Ponderings

Grilled Flank Steak with Bell Pepper Pico de Gallo


This is a recipe will be included in our Lighter Side menu over at hautemealz.com, soon, and I thought it would be a good one to share here, as well.

Did you know that new research indicates that eating red meat every other day (instead of daily) can significantly reduce your heart disease risk, too…that sounds pretty good, huh? So, unless you’re eating it every single day (which is doubtful), you can stop stressing about an occasional red meat meal–especially when it’s a lean cut, like the one below.

Flank Steak Salad with Fresh Pepper Pico

4-6 slices freshly grilled flank steak*
1 cup mixes greens
1 Tbs balsamic vinaigrette
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/2 small avocado
1/4 cup Fresh Pepper Pico*

*Recipes follow

Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under On The Grill