Archive | July, 2013

Coconut Ice Cream with Grilled Pineapple and Sweet Chili Glaze

31 Jul
Coconut ice cream on top of some grilled pineapple with a dab of sweet chili glaze.

Coconut ice cream on top of some grilled pineapple with a dab of sweet chili glaze.


Fresh sliced pineapple

Coconut ice cream

Sweet chili glaze recipe

Cayenne pepper



Slice and core your pineapple.  Put it on your grill that has been preheated to medium.  Sprinkle on a little cayenne pepper.  The heat from your grates will draw out and brown up some natural sugars from the pineapple.  Cook it just long enough to get some nice grill marks on both sides.  Take it off and top with some coconut ice cream.  Add just a small dab of sweet chili glaze.  Enjoy!


If you love fresh pineapple and eat it a lot like we do, you’ll want to get a coring/slicing tool.  They’re cheap and make it much easier.



Grilled Macaroni and Cheese

31 Jul
Grilled Macaroni and Cheese

Grilled Macaroni and Cheese


1/2 lb bacon

1 pound macaroni

1/2 stick salted butter

3 TBS flour

2 cups whole milk

1 cup grated Asiago cheese

1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (I prefer one of the flavored varieties, garlic jack works real good)

1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

2 cups Cheddar cheese (I use smoked cheddar if I have it)

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 jalapeno finely chopped

1/4 cup bread crumbs


Slice your bacon up into 1/4 inch pieces, fry it up crispy and drain off the grease.  Boil your macaroni in some salted water for about 12 minutes.  Melt your butter in a saucepan then wisk in the flour to thicken, about a minute.  Add one of the cups of milk and wisk it in.  Start stirring in your cheeses.  Gradually mix in the cheese until it is all nicely melted.  You need to play with the heat a little and get it hot enough to get the cheese melted without scorching it.  Add the second cup of milk as needed if your cheese sauce is getting too thick.  Once the cheese is all melted add the jalapeno, black pepper, cayenne pepper, salt, and bacon.  Your macaroni should have been cooked and drained at this point.  Add your cheese sauce to the macaroni and mix well.  Take a pan that is safe to cook with on the grill (I like to use a dutch oven), and wipe down the inside with some melted butter.  This helps to make some nice browned crunchy bits around the sides that are my favorite part.  Pour in your macaroni and cheese, sprinkle the bread crumbs, and optionally a little more cayenne pepper, on the top.  Place uncovered on the grill with whatever meat you’re cooking and close the grill. 10-15 minutes if the grill is on high, longer if it’s lower.  Once the top is a little crusty and you can see some nice browned stuff on the edge you’re done.  Take it off the grill and let set a few minutes before serving.  If you’ve never had real homemade mac and cheese you won’t believe how good this stuff is.

Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Chili Glaze

31 Jul
Tenderloins ready to come off the grill.

Tenderloins ready to come off the grill.


A couple pork tenderloins

1 quart water

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup kosher salt

1 recipe sweet chili glaze

Take your tenderloins out of the package, rinse them, pat them dry, trim off any silverskin or excess fat.  Make a brine by combining the water, salt, and sugar.  Brine your tenderloins for about 45 minutes.  Remove the tenderloins from the brine and pat them dry again.  Smear your chili sauce all over the tenderloins.  Preheat your grill on high for about 10 minutes.   Once the grill is good and hot cook your tenderloins using a 7-6-5 method.  Put the tenderloins on the grill, close the lid and wait 7 minutes.  Flip the tenderloins, close the lid and wait another 6 minutes.  Turn off the grill and without doing anything to the meat just let it set in the cooling grill for another 5 minutes.  Check your tenderloins with an internal meat thermometer.  They should be 145-150.  If they are not quite there yet just close the grill and let them set for another 5 minutes.  After you remove the tenderloins let them set for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving.  When I first saw this method of cooking I was pretty skeptical because until then I had always cooked loins low and slow, but I was surprised by how well it works.

Sweet Chili Glaze

31 Jul

A quick and easy glaze that is sweet and spicy.  Great for pork, but even better dabbed on the top of some ice cream.


4 tsp oil

4 tsp chili powder

1/2 cup frozen pineapple juice concentrate, thawed

Heat the oil in a saucepan, mix in the chili powder and keep stirring until it is well mixed and starts to sizzle.  Add the pineapple concentrate.  Cook it down until it is nice and thick.  It should yield about 4 tbs.  You can let it cool slightly but will want to smear it on your meat before it cools completely as it gets really thick when it cools and is harder to spread.  The original recipe I started with called for a tsp of cumin as well.  The chili powder I use has plenty of cumin in it already so I just leave that out.  It’s not as good on the ice cream with an overpowering cumin flavor.

Spicy Tri-Tip and some grilled onions

31 Jul

We grill tri-tip pretty regular so I am always looking for new recipes to keep it interesting.  Luckily that’s pretty easy these days with all the recipes to be found on the web.  Last night I found a couple good ones.  In order to give credit where it is due, and because I’m lazy and it’s easier than typing out the recipes, here are the links.

Spicy Tri-tip

Grilled Onions

I rarely use a recipe without changing it a little to suit my taste.  In this case in spite of being called “spicy” the tri-tip looked pretty tame to me so I doubled the red pepper and it came out pretty good.  For the onion, I used beef bullion instead of chicken and it was great.  The next time I make it I’ll add some cheese to the stuffing and drop it on a piece of Texas toast to serve.

Firecracker Salmon

31 Jul

Monday evening, Allen came home with 5 pounds of fresh caught wild pacific salmon.  His boss just returned from two weeks at Shelter Cove, where the fish were biting and everyone was catching their limit each day.  The salmon was some of the prettiest Chinook salmon fillets I had ever seen – dark red and rich.  If I didn’t know better, I would have guessed it was sockeye.  We plan to smoke half of it later this week – it should turn out great!

We decided to grill the other half of it for dinner.  Usually, Allen grills salmon on cedar planks and tops it with a creamy dill-mustard sauce.  Its really good that way!  But this time he decided to try something new and did a little internet sleuthing to find a new recipe.  I had asked for a spicy soy based glaze, and he found the perfect recipe to meet my request: Firecracker Salmon.

Firecracker Salmon and asparagus.

Firecracker Salmon and asparagus.

The sauce was easy to throw together because its comprised mostly of items everyone has in their pantry.  The only fresh item you may need to run out and get (beside the fish) is the green onions.

We grilled the salmon on alder planks, which was new for us, because we usually use cedar.  I really liked the alder flavor as it is a bit milder than cedar and really let the flavor of the sauce take center stage.  If you’ve never cooked on planks before, I encourage you to give it a try – especially for fish.  Fish can be messy on the grill as it can start to fall apart on the grate.  But with the plank you get the effect of indirect heat and cook things a little slower without worrying about your fillet falling apart and through the grate.  Even I can manage to grill fish with a plank (but I still leave it for Allen to do, because hes so much better at it)!

Lunch at Sierra Grill Smokehouse

30 Jul
Sierra Grill

Sierra Grill

Jake and I were kicking around Auburn today and decided to grab lunch at the Sierra Grill Smokehouse at 2515 Grass Valley Highway.  Allen and I had eaten here years ago when it was under a different owner and hadn’t been impressed enough to return.  But over the past few weeks I had heard some good things about the food and decided it was time to give the Sierra Grill a second chance.

It was “Taco Tuesday” with a special of 4 tacos for $5, your choice of pork, beef or chicken.  The dinning room was pretty full for 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, and most folks around us were eating the taco special – so they must be pretty good. I’m assuming they are made with the smoked pork, brisket or chicken that is available for their other lunch items.

The menu had lots of options with their smoked meats: sandwiches, salads, stuffed potatoes, and platters.  They also offer burgers, steaks, and ribs as well as lots of appetizer choices.  Jake and I decided to pass on the tacos and go for more traditional BBQ house menu items.  I purchased the Sierra Salad and Jake got one of the stuffed potatoes.


Sierra Salad with brisket

The Sierra Salad is a chopped salad topped with your your choice of smoked brisket, chicken, or pulled pork. It also has corn, black beans, crunchy tortillas, tomatoes, and avocado. It comes with an ample portion of homemade ranch dressing that is made using their barbecue sauce. It was yummy and paired great with the smokiness of the brisket.


Baked potato stuffed with pulled pork

Jake got a giant baked potato with pulled pork. It was huge! It was stuffed with a full serving of pork with bbq sauce, smothered with gooey cheddar cheese, and topped with chives.  Just eating the insides was enough for a meal, but the skin may have been the best part. The skin had been brushed with butter and spices, making it a little crispy and very tasty.

Overall, this was a great lunch and much better than my first experience. My only complaint is I wished the smoke was a little heavier. They use a pellet fed smoker with a mix apple and oak. The subtle taste probably works well for most of their customers, but I would have liked a bit more.  I will go back though.  The salad was killer and a great treat for a workday lunch.

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