ABT’s with hot chorizo and vegetable filling

ABT’s are great as an appetizer or side dish if you’re cooking something low & slow and have some extra space on your grill. Why they’re called atomic bomb turds, I do not know. It’s kind of a weird name for a food item, but there ya go. That’s what it means. You can use all kinds of stuff to put into the chillies, but in this recipe I went for a simple filling with some vegetables, cream cheese and hot chorizo sausage. I also used some good pancetta instead of the traditional bacon to wrap them, but you can use either, and it will be fantastically good. The union of hot chillies, bacon and tons of apple smoke is a tasty one indeed. Just make sure you make enough of them, I’d say 3-4 per person as a minimum for a starter.

Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Time on the grill: 90-120 minutes
Grilling method: Indirect, with smoke
Grilling temperature: 130 Centigrade lid temp (266F)

What you need:
5 Largish peppers of your choosing. I found some large chillies at my local market
10 strips of good bacon or pancetta
Some cream cheese, I used Philadelphia with much success
A little bit of hot chorizo sausage
A little yellow onion
One green pepper
Two mushrooms
Some toothpicks (not the ones with mint flavor…)

How you do it:

  • Slice your chillies lengthwise, and deseed them
  • Mix cream cheese with some finely chopped mushroom, green pepper and onion. You can use almost anything in here, I’m sure shrimp or crab meat would be good, different cheeses, have fun with it and experiment
  • Spread a thick layer of the cheese mix in each chilli half
  • Wrap each chilli half in bacon or pancetta, use toothpicks to secure the bacon if it doesn’t work out without them
  • Put them on the indirect side of your grill and smoke them using apple or cherry wood for 90-120 minutes
  • Enjoy, and watch out for any heart attack symptoms

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Ember-roasted yams

Yams that have been roasted directly on the embers. Tasty!

This is maybe my all-time favorite side dish. It goes well with all meats, it’s healthier than potatoes, and it tastes fantastic. It really couldn’t be easier than putting something right on the coals and leaving it there. The burning of the outside gives the inside a lovely smokey flavor. Best trick ever!
Time: 45-60 minutes total
Skill level: Easy
Grilling method: On the embers
Grill temperature: Doesn’t really matter as long as the coals are white-hot

You’ll need to get hold of:
Yams
(Optional) Butter, garlic, herbs for a herb butter

Yams that have been roasted directly on the embers. Yes I have moved them to the grate for the photo. Don’t do that before they’re finished.

How you do it:

  • No washing or prep needed, because you’re burning the outside to a crisp anyway
  • Just chuck your yams directly on the white-hot coals, turn them every 10-15 minutes until they have a nice, ashy, burnt finish on all sides
  • Prick them with a knife to check they’re nice and soft all the way through
  • Slice in two with a sharp knife, make a garlic or herb butter, mash it up a bit with a fork, and eat!

Grilled Peppers

A pretty essential classic. Italian inspired, goes great with all meats as a side, but can also be used in salads and such. Can be made ahead and kept in the fridge, which I think is key for a BBQ side dish, as that means I can focus 100% on the BBQ when that’s what I’m doing. This is how I normally do it:

Grilling peppers over direct heat

Time: 45-60 minutes total
Skill level: Easy
Grilling method: Direct
Grill temperature: About 200-250 degrees centigrade  (390-480F)You’ll need to get hold of:
Peppers (I like to mix up the colors for visual appeal)
A lemon
Some good olive oil of the expensive kind
Salt/pepper

How you do it:

  • Have a hot grill waiting (don’t you always?)
  • This step is optional: Cut the top and bottom parts off the peppers. Slice the peppers lengthwise. I usually slice them in three or four slices, depends on the shape of the peppers, but the goal is to make it easy to get even grilling. Sometimes I also grill them whole, but that requires more tong-work
  • Put them on the grill, skin side down, and let them roast until the skin is black and starts peeling. Burning the (pepper’s) flesh a little is not a bad thing
  • When they’re done roasting, put them all in a bowl that you cover with some clingfilm. Let them rest for 30 minutes. This will make the skin loosen much easier due to the moisture being trapped in, and as an added bonus they will be cooler so you don’t burn your fingers in the next step
  • One rested, use your fingers to peel off all (or most of) the skin
  • Cut the pepper pieces into thin strips lengthwise, chuck them in a bowl, drizzle with some lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste