Friday, April 3, 2015

Spiral Cut Honey Ham with Bacon Stuffing Balls

Smoked honey ham

As long as I can remember, we've enjoyed ham on Easter Sunday. Not only is it great hot off the grill or smoker, but makes for great leftovers the following week. How can you beat that?  This is my version of the spiral cut honey ham that you wait all day in line for. This one will cost you 1/4 of those expensive hams and save you 8 hours of waiting in line. The stuffing balls are great on any holiday. Your guests will love them.


Spiral Sliced Smoked Ham (Bone In - Shank Portion)

Honey Glaze: 
  • 1 cup Packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Honey
  • 2 TBS Dijon Mustard
  • 3 - 4 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar (add more if needed to make wetter glaze)
  • 1 TSP Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 TBS Fresh ground pepper
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

Bacon wrapped Stuffing Balls:

  • Stuffing (use your favorite stuffing recipe)
  • Bacon slices


Set your grill up for indirect heat or fire up your favorite smoker and shoot for 325 degrees. As always, I used a good fruit wood for this as it pairs well with ham. I went with pecan wood, but cherry would also be a great choice. Once you have reached 325 degrees, place your spiral cut ham on a thin baking sheet and place on the grill. Now we can turn our attention to the glaze. The ham will smoke for about 30 minutes before we apply or first coat. This type of ham has already been cooked and only needs to be warmed thru. We will let it go for about 2 hours or until we hit 140 degrees internally.

Making your glaze could not be any easier. Combine all of your GLAZE ingredients and mix well. We want a wet consistency that can be slathered on the exterior of the ham.

Once this is all mixed, it should look like this. If it's a little thick, add some more apple cider vinegar.

Once this is combined and the ham has been on the smoker for 20-30 minutes, it's time to have some fun.  Start slathering! We will use about 1/4 of the glaze each time. Don't use it all on the first glaze and don't eat it all with a spoon.  It's that tasty. If it starts to get a little thick, use the juices in the pan to thin it out. We will repeat this step every 20 -  30 minutes.

After about 2 hours, you will be out of glaze and your ham will be nearing the 140 degree mark.  It should look like this. That sugary glaze has started to set up and darken. 

Once it hits 140 degrees, you can remove from the smoker and rest for a few minutes under a foil tent. Or, you can have some real fun. The exterior is coated with a semi crunchy sugary goodness, but needs a little help getting to the next level. We can get it there by placing it under a broiler (BORING ZZZZZzzzzzzzz) or using a TORCH. Ya, let's grab the torch and crisp it up. The sugar will start to bubble and you will notice the exterior getting super crispy. This was my favorite part of the cook. SO TASTY!!!!

torched ham

Once you have torched the exterior to your liking, cover loosely with some foil and relax.  Keep the juices in the bottom of the pan and save for later. It makes a great gravy or dipping sauce for the stuffing balls.

Bacon wrapped Stuffing Balls:

For the stuffing balls, it's best to prepare your stuffing ahead of time and roll into balls.  Mine were the size of golf balls. 

bacon wrapped stuffing balls

Cut a piece of bacon in half and wrap. You can secure with a toothpick if you'd like or place the edges of the bacon on the bottom.


We will smoke these for about 60 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. Cook them along side your ham if you have room and at 325 degrees. Use the ham juices as a great basting sauce. It adds some great flavor to the balls.

Grilled stuffing balls

After an hour, these were done and driving my neighbor nuts. The sweet smell was ridiculous. These are a winner for sure. Give them a shot.

Smoked stuffing balls with bacon

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a HAPPY EASTER. Let me know what you think. GO BLUE!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Smoked Corned Beef and Cabbage (Pastrami)

When you think of St Patrick’s day, I am pretty sure the first thing on your mind is not the grill or smoker on the back “PADDY-O” (See what I did there…. J )  Maybe I think a little differently than most, but I immediately head out back and fire up my smoker and grab an ice cold green beer.  Nothing goes together better than a hunk of salty smoked beef and a green “Barley Pop”. Throw in some smoky cabbage oozing with Stubbs butter and you are all set for the St. Paddy’s day parade.


Corned Beef:

Remove the corned beef from its package and run under cold water to remove any excess brine. Pat dry with a paper towel.  Season with enough to Stubbs Steak Spice Rub to coat entire brisket. I used approximately 6 TBS on a 5 LB corned beef brisket. Once the seasoning is applied, it’s time to fire up the smoker. Set your grill/smoker up for indirect heat and 275 degrees. Throw in a few pecan wood chunks once you reach 275 and you are ready to go.

Smoke your corned beef for 3 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Place in deep foil pan and add enough water to cover 1/3 of your corned beef. This water will help remove any excess salt from the brisket as well as tenderize the meat. 

Cover tightly with foil and place back on the grill. Continue cooking for another hour. Add potatoes, carrots and chunked onions and return to grill. Cook until internal temp reaches 195 degrees. The potatoes, carrots and onions should be fork tender at this point. Let your corned beef rest in the foiled pan for 30 minutes before removing and slicing. Always slice against the grain to ensure ultimate tenderness. Voila, we have pastrami.

Smoked Cabbage w/ Stubbs Butter

Core your cabbage with a sharp knife. Be careful with the cabbage as it can be difficult to cut and has a tendency to roll around while cutting.  Remove 3/4 of the core, leaving the bottom 1/4  intact. 

Combine softened butter with 3 tbs of Stubbs Bar-B-Q Seasoning and fill the empty cavity in the cabbage. Add a few splashes of worcestershire sauce or hot sauce and place the top of the core back on the cabbage. 

Wrap the bottom half of the cabbage in foil and place on the smoker. This will cook for approximately 3-4 hours, depending on the size of the cabbage. 

You can cook it along-side your corned beef brisket at 275 degrees. After 2 hours in the smoke, the outer leaves will start to darken. Wrap entire head of cabbage in foil and allow to cook for another 1-2 hours. This will steam the cabbage and ensure tenderness. After 3-4 hours, remove cabbage from the smoker and remove foil. Remove the core top and outer layer of leaves. Chop and  enjoy.

LEFTOVERS could be the best part of this dish. This is even better the next day when you thinly slice (against the grain) the corned beef and add to some rye bread and spicy mustard. Toss on a few pieces of Swiss cheese and we are in heaven. Or, we could chop it up and add to some potatoes, herbs and top with a few eggs and we have the perfect hash. We could also add it to your favorite crockpot along with some sauerkraut, thousand island dressing and a hunk of cream cheese. You now have a great Reuben dip for GAMEDAY.  The options are endless for smoked corned beef. Now get out on your PADDI-O and get cookin’.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Pull Apart Bacon Bread

This is one of my favorite GAME DAY recipes and your guests will love you for it. What is better than cheesy garlic bread topped with bacon? I can’t think of anything, can you? Feel free to add some leftover BBQ that you have collecting frost in the freezer like a pulled pork or brisket. Both work well. Shrimp would be phenomenal here. Go crazy with your toppings and let me know how it turns out.


• Loaf of crusty bread (French or Sourdough)
• 1 Stick unsalted Butter – melted
• 1 clove garlic – finely chopped
• 1 Tbsp dry Ranch seasoning
• 8 slices of crispy bacon – chopped into bacon bits
• 8-oz sharp cheddar cheese
• 8-oz mozzarella cheese
• 4-oz cream cheese, softened


Preheat Grill or Oven to 350 Degrees.

While the grill is preheating, mix all three cheeses and half of your bacon in mixing bowl. Set aside. Lay your bread loaf on a flat surface. Using a bread knife, slice diagonally into the bread loaf, repeating every inch or so. Make sure you do not cut all the way down. Stop about three-fourths of the way down. Leave the bottom crust intact. Turn your loaf 90 degrees and repeat. This should leave a cross hatched look with one-inch cubes.

With your hands, spread the cheese and bacon mixture into the cuts of the bread loaf. Be careful not to tear apart the bread.  Mix garlic and dry ranch seasoning into melted butter. Pour the melted butter mixture over the bread and make sure it gets down into the deep cracks in the bread loaf. Add remaining bacon to the top of your bread loaf.

Wrap the entire loaf in aluminum foil and place on your grill or in the oven. Cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and cook uncovered for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat source, sprinkle on green onions, and serve immediately.

This is a tasty appetizer that travels well. It can be assembled early and cooked once you arrive at your GAME DAY PARTY. Feel free to use leftover BBQ Pork, brisket or shrimp along with crispy bacon for the perfect BBQ Cheesy Bread. GO BLUE!!!

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Monday, March 2, 2015

Bacon Jam

I can officially utter the words “This is my JAM” and not get laughed at by my friends. This is my new addiction and I’ll gladly attend meetings if needed. This jam is that good. It has a little bit of everything that I like. Bacon…CHECK.  Beer…CHECK. Onions and Garlic…CHECK.  What else do we really need? Perhaps the best thing about this jam is how versatile it is. You can put it on a biscuit, eggs, waffle as well as burgers, bratwurst and chicken sandwiches. This would be fantastic on a grilled cheese. Imagine some gooey Havarti Cheese mingling with warm bacon jam.  My mouth is watering already. When you add some Stubbs BBQ seasoning along with a few sprinkles of cayenne pepper, you have the perfect combination and all is right in the BBQ world.  This can be made in a cast iron pot or on the grill. You can make things even easier and prepare the bacon in the oven. I like to make large batches and give them away to friends around the holidays. Bacon Jam under the tree? Yes please!  Bacon Jam for Valentines Day? Of course! Bacon Jam Turkey sandwich in late November? Sign me up.

  • 1.5 lbs Bacon 
  • 2 medium yellow onions (Diced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (Minced)
  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider vinegar
  • 3 TBS Maple Syrup (Use the good stuff)
  • 1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
  • 8 oz Dark Ale Style Beer
  • 2 TBS Stubbs BBQ Seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)


Sprinkle bacon pieces with Stubbs BBQ Seasoning. Cook in cast iron pan over medium heat until brown and nearly crisp. Remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels. Drain all but 1 TBS of bacon grease from pan and cook diced onions and minced garlic until onions are translucent. This takes approx 6-8 mins over medium low heat. While the onions are heating, chop your bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.

After 6-8 minutes, add the apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, beer, maple syrup and bring to a boil. This takes about 2 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get any brown bits off the bottom. Add bacon pieces and stir. Cook over medium high heat until glaze thickens. (10-15 minutes)

Once the bacon jam reduces and becomes thick, remove from heat. You can pulse in a food processor (2-3 pulses) to make the jam easily spreadable or leave as is. I like mine a bit chunky, so no processor for me. Either way, you will love this on biscuits, toast, bratwurst, hamburgers, chicken, grilled cheese sandwiches or on a shoe. It's that good. 

This has sweetness, some salty goodness and a little heat that all works great together. You can store this in an airtight container (in the fridge) for up to 4 weeks. I think mine made it almost 4 hours, so a larger batch may be needed to test out that timeframe. Welcome to my BACON addiction. We will get thru this together.

Thanks again for stopping by. Feel free to pass this one along to your friends. Go Blue!!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Shrimp Avocado Boats

Grilled Avocado with bacon

This is one of my favorite appetizers and always gets requested on Super Bowl Sunday. For those doing the low carb thing, this is the app for you. It's also extremely versatile as any good BBQ meat can be substituted if you don't like shrimp. Pulled pork, brisket, and even spam bites have made into the avocado boats and all have been winners. Go crazy! 


·      8 Whole Avocados (Will make 16 Boats)
·      Olive Oil
·      Spice Rub (Your favorite)
·      1 lb Shrimp (Peeled and Deveined) or leftover pulled pork / brisket
·      16 oz Colby Jack Cheese
·      8 pieces of bacon. (Cooked crispy and chopped into bacon bits)


Set up grill for medium, direct heat. 

Slice avocados in half and remove the pit. Make a few deep cuts inside the avocado, but not thru the skin. Create a cross hatch in the meat of the avocado. Lightly coat the inside of the avocado with olive oil and sprinkle with rub.

Sprinkle a little rub on your shrimp and toss on the grill for 2 minutes a side. If you are using leftover meats, no need to heat them up. Remove shrimp from grill and chop into pieces. Set aside. I forgot to take pics of the shrimp. It may have been because I hate half of them before they made it to the cutting board. Chef's privilege, right?

Grill avocado’s on medium heat, flat side down. Grill for about 5 minutes or until you have a nice char on the inside of the avocado.

Tasty grilled avocado

In 5 minutes, you have these beauties.

Great cutting board from

Once the avocado is charred, flip over and fill with shrimp/pork/brisket and cheese. Cook covered for approximately 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Add crispy bacon to melted cheese. The melted cheese helps hold the bacon in place. Remove from grill and serve HOT.
Let me know if you give them a try and what you think. These go great with the Bacon Onion Rings and a few cold barley pops. Thanks to my buddy Scott at for the idea. Check out his site when you get a chance.  Go Blue!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Grilled Venison W/ Horseradish Cream Sauce

 I'll be the first to admit that I am no hunter. While I would spend every waking minute on the water in search of that 10 pound walleye or 40 inch northern, I leave hunting to my old college roomies. They shoot it and I cook it is our agreement. After a few failed attempts with venison in recent years (and I do mean FAILED with a capital F), I decided to take a cooking class put on by the parks and wildlife association. Money well spent!!! I can now hold my head high and say that venison backstrap no longer intimidate me. Thanks to my buddy Doug for providing the venison.

  • Venison backstrap (Trimmed of silver skin)
  • Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper or Stubbs Steak Rub
  • 3 TBS chopped herbs. (Rosermary, Thyme & Oregano combo)
  • 3 TBS Olive Oil

Horseradish Cream Sauce (prepare day prior for best flavor)
  • 1/2 cup Creme Fraiche (or Mexican Crema)
  • 2 TBS Freshly grated prepared Horseradish 
  • 2 TBS Freshly chopped Chives
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon


Mix your chopped herbs and olive oil and rub on your venison straps. Refrigerate for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight if time allows. This is also a good time to mix your horseradish sauce ingredients and chill. The cream sauce flavors need some time to blend. When it's time to grill, set up for direct heat. We want a high heat on these to create some nice grill marks. I also added some wood chunks to the coals to add some smokey flavor.

I let these sit out for about 40 minutes to get near room temp. I am not sure if this is necessary, but I did it anyways. This is also what I do when cooking a nice steak, so I figured it couldn't hurt. Just before throwing on the grill, I sprinkled with some salt and pepper. These are going to cook quick, so don't go far. Make sure you have a cold one handy along with a good cigar.

I was looking for a good medium rare, so went to 130 degrees internally. This only took about 4 - 5 minutes per side with the high heat. The back strap and tenderloins are very lean will dry out very quickly if they are overcooked, so keep an eye on them. Just like a good steak, there are only 3 ways to cook these. Rare...Medium Rare...Ruined. Once they reach the 125 - 130 degree range, remove from the heat, tent with foil and let rest for 5 - 10 minutes. This is a very important step. This lets the juices redistribute and keeps things tender. If you cut into things now, you will have an entire cutting board covered with tasty back strap juices. 

Now it's time to slice. Make sure you go against the grain to keep the tenderness. Cut into 1/2 inch medallions and enjoy as is or cover with some of the horsey cream sauce. It's fantastic either way. 

These didn't last long. They were super tender and had a great flavor. I will definitely be doing these again if my old roomies decide the can spare more meat. I'm very interested to hear how you cook your venison and would love some new ideas. Send them to me at  GO BLUE!