Category Archives: BBQ

Easy Over The Top Smoked Chili !

There’s not much more manly than chili, and smoked food. Smoked chili may be the manliest chili ever! You’;ll need a 5 quart Dutch oven and a smoker for this. Youtube video of this being made at:

Concept is simple: Smoke our chili base and meat in a smoker then mix it all up at the end: Here’s the two basic part recipe:

Chili base:
2 large onions, diced
3-4 cloves minced garlic or 3 tbsp pre-minced garlic
3 large bell peppers de-seeded and diced.
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 can (15.5 oz) red kidney beans( rinse and drained)
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes
1 can (28 oz) petite diced tomatoes

For the “meatloaf”
2 -3 pounds 80/20 ground beef. (your preference on fat %)
1 tbsp Wash your sister (Worcestershire) sauce
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 tsp Montreal steak seasoning

Heat up some olive oil and get the onions, peppers and garlic going until the onions are transparent, then add the rest of the chili base ingredients. Mix it all up and set aside.

Mix up the meatloaf ingredients and make a flat round meatloaf no wider than your Dutch Oven.

Get your smoker going to about 225-250 with some mesquite chips and place the loaf over the chili in the smoker.

Should take about 4  hours to smoke until the ground beef is 165 internal.

Take the loaf out and mince it up to the size you want for your chili. I chop mine into about 3/4 inch chunks. You should have an awesome smoke ring from that meat soaking up all that smoke and the chili should be sucking up that smoke the whole time too.  Mix it all up and enjoy!


One Skillet Smoky Spicy Chicken Florentine

This smoky and spicy dish was a wonderful twist on an old classic. I have been smoking lots of random dishes that normally just cook on the stovetop, and this one turned out great!

Recipe serves 4-6

  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, pieces or tenderloins. I used tenderloins.
  • 3-4 tbsp olive oil
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Grappa Spice Blend -OR- one tablespoon each garlic powder & Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 Chipotles in Adobe sauce, chopped fine.
  • 1.5 cups chopped spinach ( plus 5-6 whole leaves for (garnish)

Using a 12″ cast iron skillet, brown the chicken in the olive oil a couple of minutes to get them started.

Once the chicken is browned, set aside and mix all of the other ingredients in the skillet. Now’s a good time to insert a BBQ sensor if you use one. I use the ChefAlarm  Set alarm  for 165.

Whisk until the cheese melts then place the chicken back in. Roll the chicken around in the sauce to get them all covered.

For my smoker, I used one chimney of coals over a half as many unlit coals and threw 3 hickory chips on top.

Using the Vision Kamodo (yours may vary) I opened the intake and chimney all on 2. On my smoker that’s the low side of medium open on all dampers. YMMV.

The smoker temp started at 125, and ended at 325 2 hours later, just as the chicken hit 165.  Add some fresh spinach leaves as a garnish, let them smoke a bil til they wilt, should only take a few minutes. Remove from the smoker, let set a bit for the sauce to thicken and enjoy!

First run for my new ThermoWorks ChefAlarm!

The fine folks at ThermoWorks were kind enough to invite some local bloggers to tour their facility last month. I did not know their HQ was right up the road. They were kind enough to treat some local bloggers to a tour, educate us on the different types of thermometry devices were on the market and of course: served up some FINE pulled pork. The bottom line though, is that ThermoWorks takes thermometry seriously. Really seriously. Their onsite calibration and support lab is something I could not imagine made-in-china or bargain thermometer manufacturers have available.

I have been blogging and cooking all sorts of things, mostly using the least expensive thermometers and monitoring devices I can find. (I’m broke as a joke.) Results have been hit and miss. Things often come out overcooked even though I followed directions to the letter. I’ve found better results with meats once I learned about letting them rest after cooking, but still coming out overcooked in many cases.

I picked up a  ThermoPop and ChefAlarm while at ThermoWorks.  I gathered up the cheaper thermometers I had in the BBQ drawer from thermpro, Sharper image, Weber and a couple of those silver dial thermometers and checked them all in a ice bath and boiling water to check their accuracy.  They were all within 2 degrees of 32F for the ice bath but the boiling water showed a range varying 26 degrees between them. The ThermoPop and ChefAlarm were both dead on at 32 degrees in the ice bath, and read 204.3 and 204.4 respectively in boiling water. (I’m at ~4250 feet altitude). This is where the largest variance between the different thermometers was found. The silver mechanical dial thermometers were the farthest off, and the other digital thermometers ranged up to 19 degrees off of 204 degrees. With that kind of variance it’s easy to see how BBQ’d meats can go from decent to overcooked. Plus the ThermoWorks products read the temperatures far faster than any of them. This means you have your BBQ open for a shorter amount of time and the BBQ temperature recovers faster when you are done reading.

I did my first cook with the ChefAlarm on a couple of pork roasts, and set them for 140 with the BBQ temp ranging around 260-280. I used Tonguespank Applewood Chipotle rub on one, and Honey Habanero  rub on the other.

The audible alarm on the ChefAlarm can be adjusted pretty high, I could hear it across the street when it was done! I pulled the meats and had them rest in a glass pan and they continue to heat in the middle, up to 150, at which point we served it up. Delicious, tender and not overcooked. I’ll be cooking lots of meats that often wound up overcooked and see how much better accurate temperature readings change the results. The ThermoTorks thermometers will offset their cost by saving ruined BBQs.

Basic Bourbon Marinated Brisket

I have never done a brisket before so I wanted to start small.. I was able to find a little 6 lb brisket to do the first run on my new Kamado grill.

A Basic Bourbon Marinade is easy. These flavors are all basics that work well with beef.

Mix this up and score the fat on the brisket criss-cross style to let the marinade soak in then marinade the brisket overnight in a big ziplock bag.
Double the recipe for a full size 10 pound brisket:

1/2 cup  Sugarhouse Distillery Bourbon ( I guess any bourbon will do if you cannot get this…)
1/2 cup  brown sugar
1/2 cup  mustard
1/2 cup  oil
1/2 cup  Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon HOT sea salt (unless you brine first)

Once ready, I also rubbed some Tonguespank Garlic Grappa into the cuts and on the brisket for a little more spicy garlic zing.

I lit the coals and brought y fancy new kamado grill up to temp and placed the little guy on the top rack with some drip pans beneath. Figure about 1-1.5 hours per pound of brisket at 225-240 degrees.

Cook until internal temp is 190, then take it out to rest. It will continue to cook a bit, and the temp will get to 200. Once rested, slice across the brisket and enjoy!

Couldnt’ resist: Vision Kamodo Grill !

OK Home depot, you got me…a hot yellow clearance tag and 20% off for opening a card….this is now mine.

I have always wanted  big fat kamado grill but the Big Green Eggs are just too expensive. My little clay pot smoker did its best but just could not handle a brisket or multiple racks of ribs. Plus the Vision has a nifty pull-out ash pan, electric start and easy to top and bottom vents.

First up: Brisket.

A mess of spicy smoked and sweet glazed chicken legs!

When I make a mess of chicken legs I try to do at least two recipes at a time to make sure I get something really hot, but the family doesn’t burn their face.  The Weber setup with the vortex charcoal device lets you smoke and cook without direct heat drying out and burning your little bird legs. Here’s my Weber setup.

Spicy Smoked Chicken legs ( or wings):
Taking a page from Steven Raichlen’s BBQ Bible, I turn up the heat a bit and make these great little legs for me ( also good for wings, just triple the number of wings)

  • 4-6 chicken legs
  • 1 bundle of cilantro, chopped.
  • 2 Tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 4 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1/4 cup Sriracha ( Or your favorite hot sauce) for 4 legs, 1/2 cup for 6.

Mix all ingredients together and set aside 1/2 cup or so for glazing later. Marinade the legs with the rest in a ziplock bag for 1-2  hours. When ready to cook, place the bone ends toward the heat and arrange on the grill as shown.  Smoke at 250 for an hour or two until the internal temp is 155-160, then use the rest of the remaining sauce mixture to glaze the chicken, and finish off the cook until their internal temp is 165.

Sweet Soy glazed smoked chicken legs:

Marinade: Marinade the chicken in a ziplock bag  at least 2 hours, 12-15 is better.

      • 1/4 cup brown sugar
      • 1/4 cup soy sauce
      • 2 tablespoons Sugarhouse Distillery Bourbon (or any bourbon I guess).
      • 4 tbsp minced garlic
      • 6-8 chicken legs


  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup Sugarhouse Distillery Bourbon ( or any bourbon I guess).
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

Bring everything but the cornstarch and water to boil over medium heat in a saucepan, then simmer until reduced to about 1 1/4 cups. Save half a cup for serving with the chicken.
When ready to cook, place the bone ends toward the heat and arrange on the grill as shown.  Smoke at 250 for an hour or two until the internal temp is 155-160, then use the rest of the remaining sauce mixture to glaze the chicken, and finish off the cook until their internal temp is 165.

Basic awesome Weber BBQ Grill setup

There’s a lot of fancy-ass BBQs and grills out there, but you can’t spend your way into good BBQ.  With a basic big Weber, you can do a lot of great BBQ. This little article will go over the basic Weber, and the basic tools you can use to elevate your backyard BBQ and Smoking to new heights.

Here it is. This is the champ. This is what your dad used, this is what your granpappy used. There’s a reason: It works great.


I got mine for free off the local classifieds. Free, that’s FREE.99. You can find these all over the place for free every fall when it starts getting cold. Or they usually appear all year pretty cheap around $25.

Now the little rickety grates are usually shot to hell or nasty with old bbq schmeg. Since you got the best BBQ for free, you can afford to get this awesome set of cast-iron grates to replace them:


You can get all sorts of little sections with a flat griddle, veggie basket, etc..  These will add a wide variety of capability to your Weber.


The next thing you will need is a charcoal Chimney. You can light your briquettes with a few scraps of paper, no fluid needed. Just pile in your charcoal, light the paper in the bottom of the chimney, 5-10 minutes later: perfectly started charcoal. You can add some olive oil to the paper to make it burn hotter and longer if needed to get your charcoal lit.

Now this is where it gets fancy. The hardest thing to do when BBQing or smoking is keeping the temperature monitored or stable. This is the tool you need to keep an eye on your temps without hovering over the BBQ all day. I smoke a lot on my Weber so I need a steady temperature for 3 or more hours. With this sweet little WIRELESS temperature gauge, you can keep an eye on the temperature of the BBQ AND the internal temperature of the meat so you know exactly when it is done! It has alarms to let you know if the BBQ gets too hot, cold, and you can set the alarm for the meat temp too. Put one probe in the grill area, one into the meat. Adjust your BBQ vents to get the heat where it needs to be, and just let it go. These easliy work a couple hundred feet or more, so you can shuffle around with an ice cold drink while you BBQ or smoke.

The last thing I’m going to recommend is the vortex! this is a thick metal cone that you use to position your briquettes in the BBQ. You can put the coals in the middle, meat on the outside, vice versa, put them both in the middle for a fast sear, or put them off to the side, it makes controlling the heat application to your food very easy! They come in a few sizes, so be sure to order the proper size for your particular Weber. (S, M, L, XL). Check their website out here:

Here’s how I do my chicken legs …. Vortex, charcoal and mesquite chunks for smoke in the middle, legs all around the outside so they don’t get direct heat and dry out, Wireless monitor to let me know when they are done, and they are always perfect.


With these tools and your free Weber, you should only be about $250 in the hole but don’t let the wife beat you up over it. When she sinks her teeth into the perfect Q you are putting out, all will be forgiven.

Smoky bourbon habanero pork loin !

The kind folks at Sugar House Distillery make a fine bourbon, which works great in a pork loin marinade.

To be honest I bet it would be awesome for beef and chicken too. This pork turned out tender as a filet so I’m going to work it into my next cheap and tough piece of beef and see how she does.

Wisk this all together:

4 tablespoons Sea Salt
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil ( I use olive…)
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup water.
This will marinade 5 pounds of pork loins. Those Costco packs come with two in each pouch, about 5 lbs total.


Smoke at 200 for about 4 hours, until they hit 160, then take out to rest wrapped in foil about 15 minutes.


These loins sucked up smoke and came out super-smoky & VERY tender with a nice sweet and tangy bourbon & habanero kick!

Smoky Bourbon Habanero pork loin