Tastes great with some grilled corn salsa, coleslaw and homemade bourbon-pickled jalapenos!
The last year I have had a personal focus on eating healthier and working out. Does that have to mean less BBQ? No, of course not. It means more BBQ. And one of the most protein-rich, low-fat foods you can put on your smoker is the chicken breast. However, due to the low fat content and the temperature levels you have to cook them to, they can easily end up being dry and bland. Some months ago I saw a (stupid) comment from someone about how you “had to” employ sous vide techniques to make a good chicken breast. Of course you don’t, as we all know EVERYTHING tastes better smoked or grilled (don’t get me started on the whole sous vide first and then smoke it debacle, it doesn’t even come close to real BBQ, and you know it). So I have experimented for a while, and believe now that I have found a very good (perfect?) way to make chicken breast! We will combine low and slow BBQ with the method known as the reverse sear, and some glazing in the end to achieve perfection while cooking outdoors. Let’s go!
What you will need for 6 filets:
6 large chicken breast filets
6 strips of quality dry smoked bacon
Some BBQ sauce for glazing (I like to use this one, but you can buy a good one too of course)
I like to serve with some good coleslaw, maybe some grilled corn salsa (recipe to come later…) and some good homemade bourbon-pickled jalapenos. Some bratwurst is never a bad idea either!
Preparations (15 min):
Set up your grill or smoker for indirect cooking and try to stabilize grate temp at around 100C/212F
I like to rinse the filets under cold water and then pat them dry with kitchen towel. You can brine them too if you like that, but I don’t find it necessary using the method we will use
Season the filets. I use salt and pepper only for this, but you can use your favorite rub for more spiciness too if you like.
Once rinsed and dry, roll/fold the filets lengthwise into a ball that is uniform as possible. This together with low temperature smoking will aid in even cooking throughout, plus it looks cool. Wrap a strip of bacon (or two, cross-wise if you’re feeling like partying) around the filet, and use a small wood skewer to hold it all in place.
Chicken is now ready to go!
How to cook it (120-150 min):
Place your chicken balls safely on the cold side of your grill smoker. Throw some (cherry/apple) wood chips on if you like, I don’t find it necessary on my lovely Primo Oval XL, I get enough smokiness just from the lump charcoal I use. Either way go easy on the smoke, poultry is easily oversmoked.
Stick a thermometer probe in the largest one and keep an eye on the temperature throughout cooking. On around 100C/212F grate temp it usually takes a bout 90 minutes to get to the desires temp, which should be about 65C/149F (not safe for eating, but we are not done yet!)
Once the chicken has reached 65C/149F, take them off the grill, and get the temp up a bit. Heat up a grate over the coal side of the grill, because we will do some searing next
When the grate is nice and hot, get the chicken balls nicely seared on all sides. This should bring them up to around 70C/158F.
Once searing is done move them over to the cold side of the grill again, and brush them with the BBQ sauce selected earlier. I normally have a grate temp of around 150C/300F at this point, try and keep it at that or lower, or the sugar in your BBQ sauce will burn and create bad flavors
Let the filets glaze for 5-10 minutes. At this point I check each one with my ThermaPen, to see if I have reached the safe temp for chicken (USDA says 165F/74C, and I agree)
Once they reach the correct temp, take them off the grill and let them rest 5-10 minutes. Serve it up and enjoy the juiciest, most delicious smoky chicken filets you have ever eaten. Perfection!
Smaker fortreffelig med grillet maissalsa, coleslaw, hjemmelagde bourbon-pickled jalapenos og en iskald IPA
Det siste året har jeg hatt en personlig fokus på å spise sunnere og trene masse. Betyr det mindre BBQ? Nei, selvsagt ikke, det betyr mer BBQ. En av de mest proteinrike, magre tingene du kan slenge på grillen er kyllingfilet. Men, pga det lave fettinnholdet og den forholdsvis høye kjernetemperaturen vi må tilberede filetene til for å unngå sykdommer, ender kyllingfileter ofte opp som tørre, smakløse greier. For noen måneder siden så jeg en (idiotisk) kommentar om at man “måtte” bruke sous vide teknikker for å få til ett godt kyllingbryst. Det må man selvsagt ikke, og som vi alle vet smaker ALT bedre når det er røykt og grillet (og ikke nevn disse sous vide først og så røyking teknikkene, det er ikke engang i nærheten av ekte BBQ, og det vet dere!). Så, nå har jeg eksperimentert noen måneder og mener å ha funnet en metode for å lage veldig god (kanskje til og med perfekt) kyllingfilet på grillen. I denne oppskriften kombinerer vi “low and slow” BBQ (varmrøyking) med teknikken kjent som “reverse sear” (dvs at vi brunner kjøttet til slutt istedetfor først), før vi avslutter med å glasere filetene.
Hva trenger du for 6 fileter:
6 store kylling brystfileter
6 remser med tynn, røykt kvalitetsbacon
BBQ saus for glasering. Jeg liker å lage og bruke denne, men du kan kjøpe en også selvsagt.
Jeg liker å servere disse med litt god coleslaw, litt grillet maissalsa (oppskrift kommer senere), og noen gode hjemmelagde bourbon-pickled jalapenos. Litt bratwurst er aldri en dårlig idé heller!
Forberedelser (15 min):
Sett opp grillen eller røykeren din for indirekte grilling og prøv å stabilisere en temperatur (målt på risten) på ca. 100 grader celsius.
Jeg liker å skylle filetene i kaldt vann og så tørke dem med kjøkkenpapir. Du kan legge dem i saltlake noen timer også, men jeg synes ikke det er nødvendig med den metoden vi skal bruke for tilberedning her.
Krydre filetene. Jeg bruker kun salt og pepper på disse, men du kan bruke din favoritt-rub også for litt mer krydret smak.
Når filetene er klare, rull eller brett dem på langs og form dem til en ball som er så uniform/rund som mulig. Dette sammen med den lave temperaturen i røykefasen vil hjelpe oss til å dem jevnest mulig ferdig, og dermed få ett ekstremt saftig sluttresultat. Legg en stripe bacon rundt “kyllingballen” (eller to striper på kryss om du er i festhumør), og bruk en cocktailpinne til å holde alt sammen.
Kyllingen er nå klar til å tilberedes, og bør legges i kjølen om ikke alt er klart til røyking enda.
Hvordan du griller dette (120-150 min):
Sett kyllingballene pent på en ren rist på den kalde siden av grillen/røykeren din. Hiv inn litt eple- eller kirsebær-flis om du ønsker det, på min nye Primo Oval XL har jeg ikke behov for dette, fordi jeg får nok røyksmak fra selve grillkullet. På en vanlig kulrgrill er litt flis å anbefale. Vær uansett forsiktig med mengden røykflis, det er lett å overrøyke fjærkre, og det smaker ikke noe særlig godt..
Putt en termometer-sensor i den største kyllingballen, og hold ett øye med temperaturen mens du røyker filetene. Med en temperatur på 100C på grillristen, pleier det å ta cirka 90 minutter å komme til ønsket temperatur, som er rundt 65C (ikke trygg temperatur for konsumering, men husk, vi er ikke ferdige enda!)
Når filetene har nådd 65C, ta dem av grillen, og få temperaturen opp litt i grillkammeret. Varm en rist på kullsiden av grillen, for nå skal vi brune filetene litt.
Når risten er passe varm, bruner du kyllingballene pent på alle sider. Dette bringer vanligvis temperaturen i filetene opp til rundt 70C.
Når bruningen er ferdig, flytter du filetene til den kalde siden av grillen igjen, som nå bør holde rundt 150C. Pensle dem med ett strøk BBQ saus eller to. Pass på at du ikke går over 160C her, for da kan du svi sukkeret i BBQ sausen, noe som lager dårlig smak.
La filetene glaseres for 5-10 minutter. På dette tidspunktet pleier jeg å sjekke hver av filetene med ett termometer (jeg bruker ThermaPen), for å se om de har nådd sikker temperatur for å spises, som bør være minimum 70 grader. Jeg pleier å gå ett par grader over, for sikkerhets skyld.
Når filetene har nådd korrekt temperatur, ta dem av grillen og la dem hvile 5-10 minutter. Server og nyt den søte, røykfylte smaken av den saftigste, deiligste kyllingfileten du noengang har spist!
Duck breast is my wife’s favorite dinner. I can only agree, it’s got that light gamy flavor, and the duck fat is widely known to be bacon’s only challenger in the world of fats. All the fat on a duck breast also makes it perfect for grilling – because fat takes up a lot of smoky flavors. This is a nice and quick weeknight or weekend dinner, nothing fancy – but man it tastes good!
This time I served it straight up like this, just the duck and the vegetables, but adding a little red onion compote probably won’t get you a lot of complaints either – it goes perfect with duck meat. If you want a sauce a simple balsamic reduction works really well too.
Total time: 60 minutes Skill level: Beginner/Intermediate Grilling method/setup:50/50 Grill temperature: About 170-200 degrees centigrade (340-400F)
You’re going to need:
Duck breast – one per person might be a bit too much, usually two filets is enough for 3 people
Some sweet potatoes and some parsnips
Lemon infused olive oil (or just mix up some lemon juice and olive oil)
Some lump charcoal or charcoal briquettes (make sure you get good ones with no chemicals and food starch as a binder)
1 cup of wood smoking chips (I used cherry wood and it worked well. Pretty sure apple or hickory would work too, go read more about smoke wood here.)
An instant-read thermometer like a Thermapen, or a leave-in probe style thermometer
How you do it:
Fire up your chimney starter full of briquettes or lumps of charcoal (this is basedon my 22.5″ Weber kettle, and your mileage and/or method may vary on other grills and smokers)
While the charcoal gets ready, score the fatty side of the duck breasts with a sharp knife. The goal is to increase the surface area of the fat to ensure crispy fat and ease rendering, so a fairly tight diamond/cube pattern is best. Make sure you don’t cut all the way through the fat and into the meat.
Peel and dice parsnips and sweet potatoes, and put them in a perforated grill pan (like this one for instance),on a griddle or even some foil. I highly recommend getting a perforated grill pan of sorts, it is a useful tool.
Once the charcoal is ready, fill up one half of the grill with the charcoal, and leave the other half to be the “cold/indirect” zone. Throw some cherry wood chips on the coals at once, because you want smoke going for real when you put the cold duck breasts on for the first time.
Here is a neat trick: Put the duck breasts on instantly when the coal is in place, on a cold grate. Starting the duck breasts carefully/slowly, renders a lot more of the fat off than going direct to high heat, and rendering is necessary for that crisp finish you want on the fat side. It also means fewer flame-ups later on. I usually leave them like this for 7-8 minutes, to let a bit of the fat melt off. If you put a drip pan underneath, you might even be able to catch some fat for use on the vegetables.
After rendering some fat off, put the duck on a plate off the grill while you grill vegetables, let it rest a while.
Using the vegetable grill pan, fry up the vegetables directly over the coalswith duck fat and/or olive oil, turning over often with a spatula so nothing gets burnt. Gloves are nice to have.Once the vegetable are nicely browned, move them to the indirect side and cook with lid on for 20-30 minutes, turning them over every 5-6 minutes to get even cooking. When they’re done I usually stash them in the kitchen oven on low to keep warm while I focus on the meat.
Now it’s time for the fun part, sear the duck breast properly on both sides over direct heat. Be aware, there will be flame-ups, especially when searing fat side down. Just move them around, burnt food is never tasty.
Once seared check the internal temp using a Thermapen or other instant read thermometer. I like my duck at 55C (131F) which is sort of medium rare. If you want medium go to 60C (140F). If the duck isn’t finished after searing, put it on the cold side, lid on, and let it have another short round before checking again.
Let the duck breasts rest for at least 7-@8 minutes before cutting them in thin slices and serving.
Grilled, Bacon Wrapped Tenderloin with Zucchini and Tomatoes
There’s some real nice South American tenderloin to be had at my local store here in Oslo this year, thanks to the Rema 1000 chain of food stores. This meat is of much better quality than what you normally can get here in Oslo for a decent price. So I plan to take advantage of that this summer. So, I went and bought myself a piece of tenderloin, cut it into some nice large steaks and gave it a quick sear on the grill. This is what chef/author Steven Raichlen likes to refer to as “millionaire grilling”. You’re really buying yourself success, because you have to be an idiot not to get tenderloin right on the grill, all it takes is quick sear, to serve this meat done anywhere over medium rare would be a crime to bovines everywhere.
Time: 60 minutes total Skill level: Easy Grilling method: Direct Grill temperature: About 250 degrees centigrade, or more (480F) Equipment: Hickory wood chips for smoke
You’ll need to get hold of:
A piece of tenderloin, two pounds should easily serve 4
4-6 Vine tomatoes
Some strips of quality bacon
Some hickory wood chips for a quick smoke
Some yams, 1 for each person eating
Weber’s thin, double-pronged skewers, or some wooden skewers
Beans are real good eats. They’re also a side that work well with almost any BBQ meal. Great on burgers, hot dogs, with steak, pork, chicken… Yup, definitely an essential BBQ side dish. Now, you can make your beans from the ground up, using dried beans and making your own chilli or BBQ sauce from the ground up, that’s phenomenal. But sometimes there’s just not enough time for doing it that way. That’s when I turn to my turbocharged canned beans recipe. It’s basically about going to the store and buying some quality canned beans, and then doctoring them with some fresh chillies and some other stuff, to get to a great side dish with little time and effort. This should recipe is for 4-8 people, depending on what else is being served. Here’s how I do it.
Time: 45-60 minutes + some baking time (optional) Skill level:Easy
You’re going to need:
3 cans of quality beans (I use S&W’s Texas Ranch Recipe Barbecue beans)
4-8 Fresh chillies of your choosing
4 Scallions, spring onions or even some leeks
A good chunk of quality bacon (about 250 grams or 0.5 pounds)
A couple tbsp of your favorite BBQ rub (optional)
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (optional)
How you do it:
Usually I will do this a day ahead, to let the flavours really combine in the fridge overnight. Also, that makes for less side dish focus on BBQ day, and more time to focus on heating meat and drinking beer. Important.
Dice your bacon chunk, and heat in your pot on low, so you render as much fat as possible
When the bacon is starting to crisp up, finely slice your chillies and scallions, removing chilli seeds and stems if you like less heat
Chuck them in the pot and continue frying until everything’s nicely golden, making
S&W Barbecue Beans cans
sure not to burn the chillies and scallions
Open up and pour in your three cans of beans. Add 0.5 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Let it cool and store in fridge overnight, or optionally if you’re short on time, serve as is
Next day, I put the beans in a grill-proof vessel, or just leave in the cast iron pan if I have enough space on the grill, and bake the beans with whatever I’m cooking. Before I put it on the grill, I sprinkle with my favourite BBQ rub, which helps form a nice crust on top. Put some wood chips on the coals and you’ll have fabulous baked beans with great flavour in about an hour.
Coleslaw is my go-to side for a lot of BBQ and grilling meals. It’s a must for me with any BBQ sandwich, like pulled pork, hamburgers, sliders, steak sandwiches, brisket… It also works great with hot dog, as a side for BBQ chicken, fish…. Coleslaw – what can’t it do! So here’s my standard recipe, and I will get back to you with some more exciting varieties once you’ve got this nailed. Not into the creamy coleslaw? Lactose intolerent? Check out my spicy slaw instead! Time: 20-30 minutes Skill level:Easy
You’re going to need:
1/2 head of a large cabbage (or 1 whole medium cabbage)
1 cup of mayo (I suggest the homemade one found here, without the Chipotle)
1/2 cup of sour cream
4-6 tbsp vinegar (I use clear, no-taste vinegar for this)
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 clove of minced garlic (optional)
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
How you do it:
Put the mayo, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, optional garlic and cayenne pepper in a container large enough to hold all your slaw. Whisk it all together, season with salt pepper, and adjust vinegar vs sugar levels to your tastes
Peel the carrots and grate them into the dressing
Thinly slice the cabbage (leave out the middle white stem part, it can be quite bitter)
Put on some vinyl gloves (indispensable), and mix it all well together
I like to make this some hours in advance, I think it tastes better when it sits a little bit. It will also keep well in the fridge for some days if you have leftovers.
Sliders, homemade chipotle mayo, shakey taters and caramelized onions
These sliders are tasty, juicy (even when you have to cook them through), and are real popular with the kids. They’re easy to make too, and require only a quick sear on the grill. You could always buy some slider buns, but I really suggets making your own, see my recipe for buns here. I realize some of you are going to find it extremely controversial that I put bread in my sliders. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. I mean it. If you grind your own beef, and have a hot enough grill to get a sear on these while they’re still pink in the middle, you can skip the bread. But I often have to use storebought ground beef, and that means it has to be cooked all the way through. That’s where the bread comes in, by soaking up the juices and fat, it makes these sliders a real, juicy treat.
Time: 60 minutes total Skill level: Easy Grilling method: Direct Grill temperature: About 250 degrees centigrade (480F) Equipment: Hickory wood chips for smoke
You’ll need to get hold of:
Ground beef, about 500 grams makes about 15 sliders
2 slices of bread
4 tbsp of your favorite, preferrable homemade, BBQ sauce. I used Rocket Fuelled Bull BBQ Sauce
Some meltable cheese (I prefer orange cheddar)
2 large yellow onions
2 tbsp butter
How you do it:
Have a hot grill waiting, for this I just cover the whole grill grate in white hot coals
Slice your onions the way you want them, and caramelize them in a frying pan with the butter, some salt and pepper, and about a tbsp of sugar, on low heat for 30-45 minutes. You can do this the night before, store in the fridge and just reheat.
Cut away the crust from your two slices of bread, and let it soak in cold water for ten minutes. After soaking, squeeze all the water out of it
Mix the ground beef carefully with the BBQ sauce, the bread and liberal amounts of salt and pepper
Form the slider patties. Remember to make them flatter and larger-diameter than you want to be finished product to be, because they will change size when they’re being grilled. Each patty should be about 33 grams
Get a good hickory smoke going on the grill before starting grilling, I use water-soaked chips for this to maximize smoke, since they’re only on there a couple of minutes.
Put them on the grill. About 2-3 minutes should be enough, flip them, put the cheese on the finished side, and give them another 2-3 minutes. Serve!
Mackerel is one of my favorite fish to eat. It brings back memories of summers spent fishing in my little dingy outside Bergen on the west coast of Norway. A feisty fish that was fun to fish for as a kid growing up. It’s nice and juicy thanks to very high-fat content, and that also makes it very healthy, full of omega-3 and other good stuff. I think mackerel tastes fantastic, and I like to keep it really simple. Salt and pepper for seasoning, new potatoes on the side, with a sour cream sauce and some good butter. One thing that makes mackerel perfect for the grill, is the fact that it can smell quite strong. Fun when you’re making it and eating it, not so fun three days later in your kitchen. So, let’s take the mackerel outside!
In this recipe I combine smoking with high temperature grilling. Mackerel being a fatty fish, it takes up smoke flavour quite readily, so you don’t need a lot of time to get the right amount of smoke flavour into the meat.
Time: 45 minutes total Skill level: Easy Grilling method: Direct Grill temperature: About 200-250 degrees centigrade (390-480F) Equipment: Fish basket, cherry wood chips for smoke
You’ll need to get hold of:
Fresh, raw mackerel (1 large per person)
How you do it:
Have a hot grill waiting, with the 50/50 setup (coals on one side)
If you’re baking the new potatoes, prick them with a fork all around so smoke can get in, throw some wood chips on the coals and leave these on the indirect side of the grill. They will need 45-60 minutes depending on size
Prep and clean the mackerel unless you had the fish shop do it for you, remove all guts and blood, rinse and dry off with paper towels. I like to leave the tails and heads on, but you can remove these if you’re wimpy about it or if your kids have watched Finding Nemo too many times…
Liberally season the fish inside and outside with Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper (I use Tellicherry)
Put the mackerel in your fish basket (oil it if it’s not a non-stick one). A fish basket is really necessary here, because mackerel will stick to your grill grate like crazy and it will be extremely difficult to flip the fish without it falling apart
Make a very simple sour cream sauce. I mix sour cream with some lemon juice, salt and pepper, and some freshly chopped dill
Grill the mackerel over direct heat, until the skin is nicely crispy and the meat falls of the bone easily (use a fork to test). If you’re using a thermometer, mackerel is a cold water fish and as such it should be ready when the meat is about 55 degrees centigrade (131F), but it’s so fatty it will stay nice and juicy way above that temperature too.
Serve with the baked new potatoes, sour cream sauce and some butter for those who want it. Easy living!
Whole chickens are one of my favorite things to grill. They’re tasty, juicy, and here in Norway, cheap. A lot of people grill chicken breasts only, which I think is REAL boring. They don’t taste much unless you do a lot to them, and they dry out easily unless you brine them and do other secret tricks. A whole chicken is much more forgiving in terms of temperature, and much tastier too. Also, I am a leg man (I prefer the thighs with their juicy, darker meat). This recipe makes use of the butterflying technique which essentially lets you flatten the whole bird, making it easier to cook it evenly and shortening cooking time for those weeknight BBQs. I get my chicken thighs and legs, and there’s two nice chicken breasts for my wife and the kids. Everybody wins with whole chicken!
Time: 60-90 minutes total
Skill level: Easy Grilling method: Direct/indirect Grill temperature: About 200-250 degrees centigrade (390-480F) Equipment: Fish basket (optional), mesquite wood chips or chunks for smoke
You’ll need to get hold of:
A whole, raw chicken
Your favorite home-made BBQ rub (or a store-bought one)
Some hot chili sauce
How you do it:
Have a hot grill waiting (don’t you always?)
Prep the chicken; trim off unneccesary fat, cut out the backbone and remove wishbone (Great TVWB instruction video here). Finally rinse under cold water and dry with paper towels. I tend to use disposable vinyl gloves for this whole process. Always take extra care with hygiene and cleanliness when working with raw poultry!
Make yourself a simple wet rub/sauce mixture. I mix up my home-made rub-a-dub with some rapeseed oil and some hot asian chili sauce I buy from the local Turkish convenience store. Use what you have access to, but the goal is to end up with a nice sticky sauce that can be brushed on the chicken, and has the heat level you prefer
Once the sauce is ready, brush the chicken with it, make sure to get good coverage everywhere
(Optional) If you have time, cover the chicken in clingfilm and let it marinate in the fridge for some hours or even overnight
(Optional) When the grill is nice and hot and ready, you can put the chicken in a fish basket like on the above pic. It’s not necessary by any means, but it’s kind of a neat look, and i makes it a lot easier to flip the chicken during grilling. It also makes it stay nice and flat throughout the process, easing even cooking.
Grill it! I like to have a lot of mesquite smoke flavor on my chicken, so before I put it on the grill, I like to throw in some soaked mesquite chips on the coals. Once the smoke gets started, I grill the chicken over direct heat, 3-4 minutes on each side, to get a nice brown, crispy texture on it. If you get flame-ups (you will), then keep the lid on and it should be fine
Once the chicken is nicely browned, move it over to the indirect side of the grill and leave it there until it’s done, flipping and basting it with your wet rub every ten minutes.
How do you know when it’s done? There are tons of methods for this. Wiggling the thigh joint is one, you’ll find many others. I use a Thermapen (www.thermapen.com) and I recommend you also use that or some other thermometer. The good thing about a Thermapen style thermometer is that it’s fast and has a thinner probe. This means I can check the temperature in several places. It’s the only real way for an amateur chef to know when the temperature is just right.
I usually cook my chicken to 75 degrees centigrade (167F). Salmonella is not a big problem here in Norway, but I know it is in many countries, so follow your local recommendations here for safety
Always let the chicken rest, at least 10-15 minutes before cutting into it. It will be worth the wait.
Spring onions or scallions are one of my favorite sides. They go well with almost anything. However, I had a lot of problems with them rolling of the grate and into the coals, or rolling off the grill completely sometimes when grilling in parks or at the beach. I picked up this nifty little trick from author and chef Steven Raichlen ( www.barbecuebible.com ). It made me feel like an idiot not to have though of this myself, but sometimes the simplest solution is the hardest to find.
Use bamboo skewers or any other skewer and do them like you see in the below pic. Also makes turning them much quicker and easier. This also works great with asparagus and other long, skinny things you put on the grill. For spring onions, while we’re at it, I do this, brush them with olive oil, and sprinkle with Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!