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!!!

This is part of a weekly series featured on during the football season. Be sure to check it out for the latest on Michigan Wolverines sports.

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

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.

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!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Spatchcock Chicken w/ Compound Butter

So far, our Wolverines are struggling to get going and it's kinda leaving a bad taste in my mouth. We were able to pull out a win against Penn State, so things are looking up. I want to get some of that bad taste outta my mouth from a 3-4 start and I can't think of a better way than with a super juicy "Spatchcock" smoked chicken. This is my "GO TO" chicken recipe when I need to feed a group of hungry tailgating Wolverines and feed em rather quickly.  While I love a good Beer Can Chicken or a bird thats been brined overnight, this butterflied clucker could be the juiciest yet. The compound butter adds great flavor and keeps things extremely moist. I decided to try Juniors Rub Grub on this bird and it is delish! Give it a try. I will be doing a review on this rub shortly. It's a WINNER!

  • 3-4 LB Whole Chicken Fryer
  • BBQ rub of your choice. I went with Juniors Rub Grub
Compound Butter: Mix Together and set aside. 
  • 1 stick of butter (Room Temperature)
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ Rub


Preheat grill or smoker to 275-300 degrees and add some pecan wood chunks.  If you are using a gas or charcoal grill, set it up for indirect heat. While the smoker is heating up, its time to butterfly the yardbird.  Start by removing the backbone with a sharp knife or set of kitchen shears.  Once the backbone is removed, turn it over (Bone side down) and press down with 2 hands. HARD. We want it to flatten out a little. 

Once the bird is laying flat (breast side up), loosen the skin by sticking your fingers or a small spatula in between the skin and meat. Make sure you do not rip the skin. Once the skin is loosened, we can mix up our compound butter. I know a full stick of butter seems like a lot, but we will loose a lot of it during the cooking process.  Spoon in the butter and spread evenly with your fingers.

Once this is done, sprinkle to entire outside of the bird with your favorite BBQ rub. Don't be shy, sprinkle liberally. Place on a hot smoker and kick back for an hour. 

I let the bird smoke for about an hour before checking the internal temp with my instant read thermometer. We are looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees and some crispy skin on the exterior. The higher grill temp of 275 - 300 degrees will help crisp things up. After about an hour, your bird will start to darken. This is a beautiful thing. 

Once we have reached 165 internally, it's time to pull the bird from the smoker and let it rest. If you would like to add some of your favorite BBQ sauce before removing from the grill, go ahead.  You will lose some crispiness in the skin, but add some great gooey goodness with the sauce. Once the bird has rested for about 15 minutes, DIG IN!

The legs can be removed with a butter knife at this point. They are super moist and will be dripping tasty bird juice. Use a sharp knife to cut right down the middle of the bird and separate the breast meat from the bone. Or leave it on the bone. Either way is ridiculously tasty. You will be shocked at how juicy and flavorful this bird is due to the compound butter mixture. The skin is also super crispy and will crunch when you take a bite.  

This is part of a weekly series of tailgate recipes for Great site for your Wolverine football news. Check em out.