Friday, September 13, 2013

DRAFT Orange and Bourbon Brined Turkey on the Grill

Since our daughter, her husband, and the grand baby are visiting from Florida, we decided to have Thanksgiving on Labor Day.   Brett and his girlfriend came over and we had the whole family back home at the same time for the first time in several years.  

For the turkey, I used an orange and bourbon brine to add flavor and moisture.  The brine worked because the turkey tasted great and my daughter said it was the juiciest turkey she's ever had.   The smoky flavor of the bourbon and the citrus tang is subtle but there, just the way I like it.

Two notes on brining.  First, if you can, get a bird that has not been pre-brined "packaged in a solution" but if you don't have a choice, cut the amount of salt in this brine in half.   Second, thaw the bird before brining.  I know it seems like a good idea to use the brining time as thaw time too, but the brine won't penetrate frozen meat particularly well.

I also spatchcocked the bird which means butterflying it in reverse, cutting out the backbone.   This technique helps the bird cook faster, more evenly, and I prefer the presentation of a laid out turkey.   I used the cooking times, temps, and technique that Pitmaster, Chris Lilly, used for his Charcoal-Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herb Butter at the Kingsford Invitational last year.  That bird was also spatchcocked. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Kingsford Invitational: One Bite Challenge

Just another reminder that the Kingsford Invitational BBQ contest will be on television March 17 on Destination America at 10PM (Eastern).  That's this Sunday if you don't have a calendar handy.

That contest took the winners of 2012's biggest BBQ events (Memphis in May, Jack Daniels, American Royal, etc) and pitted them against each other for a winner take all $50,000 best of barbecue championship.  One of curve balls about this competition was a "One Bite Challenge" on the opening night.  Not only was this challenge worth a $5,000 bonus but it also gave them a massively important 1 point lead in the overall judging. 
The rules, from what I recall, were that the recipe had to pack in the most flavor
  1. In one bite
  2. with just 5 ingredients 
  3. cooked over a glowing bed of Kingsford coal fired grill in one hour. 
Here is what my attempt would have been in that event.   These are a spin on the "Turtle Eggs" that I normally do with pork sausage and bbq seasonings.  

Greek Turtle Eggs
yield:  12 appetizer portions

  • 1  lb ground chuck
  • 1.5 tsp Greek seasoning
  • 3 oz Neufchatel cheese 
  • 3 oz Feta cheese with tomato and basil
  • 3 oz Non-fat Greek yogurt
  1. Preheat a charcoal grill to 400f.
  2. Mix together 1 oz feta cheese and 3 oz of Greek yogurt together in a food processor until thin and set aside.
  3. Make a quick beef sausage by mixing the ground chuck and 1.5 tsp of Greek seasoning.  
  4. Mix the cheese stuffing by mixing 4 oz of the neufchatel cheese and 2 oz of seasoned Feta.
  5. Divide the meat mixture into 12 equal ping pong ball sized portions (about 1.5 oz each) and press into  disks.   Top each disk with half teaspoon bit of the cheese mixture.  Bring up the edges and seal the seams.
  6. Grill over direct heat for 10 minutes in a grill pan, turning frequently after the first minute.
  7. Serve with the yogurt sauce.
The competitors played a little loose with Rule # 2 by counting things like "BBQ rub" or "Sweet Chile Sauce" as a single ingredient.  So I won't say that I was cheating here.  Let's just say that I "leveraged any ambiguity in the established guidelines in advantage of my favor" by using the Feta cheese that was already loaded with seasonings.

The patty should be the size of a thin small hamburger bun.

One method for cooking meatballs on the grill is a specialized basket.

Another method is using a basic grill pan.

To find out what the competitors did for their one bite challenge, tune in this coming weekend and watch.