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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Wine and Honey Marinated Lamb on: October 19, 2011 01:24:30 PM
I loves me some lamb.  Love it, love it, love it.  Just writing this up has me craving it again.  This recipe in particular. It was outstanding.

Here are the step by step instructions and here is just one pic because it's that good:

HEre's the instructions sans pics:

My love of lamb is well documented on this site. I absolutely love lamb.  Im not exactly sure why.  As a red meat its pretty bland and begs for a marinade, which is why I may love it so much as it takes on the flavors of a marinade more than just about any other meat. Normally I will slather it with basil pesto or maybe a red wine, honey mustard, rosemary sauce for a few hours and throw it on the grill, which are both outstanding, but this time I went a little more complex and was quite pleased with the results


2 lamb racks, approximately 1.25 pounds each
1 cup dry white wine (not pictured)
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 of a small onion, chopped
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tsp lemon or lime juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper

I had planned on putting rosemary in with this recipe, but I was out of it and found that it didnt really need it, but of course Ill have to test it again soon with the rosemary just to be sure. I also used no salt.  The soy sauce was enough.

I mixed all the ingredients but the meat in a plastic bag and churned them together to get the honey to dissolve, and then added the meat:

Soak in the marinade for a minimum of 2 hours, the longer the better. These soaked overnight.

The next day when I opened the bag, the aroma was intoxicating.  Next time I do this, Im making a reduction sauce out of the marinade. The smell of the marinade alone made my mouth water.

Heres the two racks ready to go on the grill:

Dont bother wiping or washing all that delicious marinade off.

I set up the grill for two zone grilling with coals on the right and nothing on the left.  I put the racks bone side down right over the coals:

After about four minutes I flipped them to give the meat side a good sear:

Dont be afraid if you get some blackening.  The marinade has honey in it, remember?  The sugars will blacken a lot faster than the meat will burn. Even if it looks like this, its still good to go:

Another four minutes and the meat side looks like this:

As Im going for maximum flavor crust here, I didnt stop searing there.  What about the bottom?  By using those bones to balance the racks, I can stand them up and get more sear action:

If I wanted to, I could stand them up on their sides as well, to get the ends, but after four minutes on the bottoms, I pulled them to the side with no coals to bake until done and close the lid:

Heres where I got into a little trouble.  I had way too much ash in the bottom of the grill and I could only get the chamber up to about 200:

Normally, I would bake these at about 275-300 for 10-12 minutes to get a perfect rare-medium rare, but with the temps so low in the chamber, I had to slide them almost on top of the coals and bake for 20 minutes to get an internal temp of 135:

After 20 minutes, I pulled them from the grill and put them inside to rest for five minutes to let the excited juices come to a rest and redistribute throughout the meat before slicing. Heres a second money shot from the one above just because I love lamb that much:
2  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Crusted, Smoked, Frenched, Bone In Pork Loin on: October 11, 2011 10:03:05 AM
I know that's a mouthful, but so was the finished product.  My cousin, the third grillin fool, came up with this one and has made the claim that it is the best thing he's ever grilled. He made mention of a five star restaurant recipe. The guy is an amazing pitman, so for him to make this claim it tells me to put the recipe at the top of the list for me to try.

Here is the step by step, picture by picture instructions and here are the pictures I shouldn't post so close to lunchtime but I will anyway:


And the rest of the content sans pics:

Brine Ingredients:

8 pound pork loin center rib, frenched
2 cups apple juice
1/2 cup minced garlic
3 tbsp kosher salt

If you arent sure what a pork loin center rib, frenched looks like, this is what you want your meat cutter to prepare for you:

Combine apple juice, garlic, salt and pork loin into a pan and cover, or place into a ziplock bag.  Refrigerate at least four hours to overnight:

Crust Ingredients:

One onion
1 small red bell pepper
1 small yellow bell pepper
6 cloves garlic
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp thyme
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
salt and pepper

Place onion, bell peppers, and garlic into food processor and pulse until everything is very finely minced.  Its okay if this is a little watery, it will cook out.

Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a saute pan and cook vegetables until soft:

Remove from heat and add thyme, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and more olive oil if needed. The texture will be a very thick paste.

Rub olive oil, salt and pepper over entire pork loin.  Place fat side up and cover fat cap with Dijon mustard. Dont worry.  For those of you who dont like mustard, you wont taste it in the finished product:

Then press the vegetable mixture into the Dijon mustard:

Set up grill for indirect grilling with a drip pan.  In this case, since were using a Big Green Egg, that means putting the drip pan on top of the place setter. For conventional grills, place coals on one side, the drip pan on the other and put the meat over the pan. Pour about 1/2 cup apple juice into the drip pan:

The target temperature for the grill is between 275-300 degrees with an approximate cook time of 2 hours for this 8 pound roast.

We smoked the pork loin with grape vine which pairs really with pork.

Place pork loin over drip pan fat side up and cook until internal temperature reaches 140.  Do not turn the meat over, cook fat up the entire time:

Let rest 10 minutes and cut into steaks:

The highlight of this recipe are all the flavors from the crust soaking into the fat along the back of the cut along with that wonderful grapevine smoke.

3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Baby Back Ribs with an Asian Twist on: August 18, 2011 08:46:22 AM
Ever since I made that orange soda and hot sauce glaze for the chicken wings, and used Chinese Five Spice in it, I wanted to play with it in other recipes.  I decided to make it one of the main ingredients in a rib rub and to add to the asian theme, went with plum wood.  I'd never used plum before.  I really liked it.  Very similar to peach in my opinion and peach is one of my faves.

Here is the step by step, picture by picture, instructions, and here are the pictures that I probably shouldn't put up before lunch.  Sorry:

And the rest of the write up, sans pics, for the link averse:

We used the Chinese Five Spice in a recent post where we made a glaze of orange soda and hot sauce and slathered it on some chicken wings.  Since then Ive wanted to use it again in a recipe so I decided to incorporate it into a rub.  I made this a couple of times and tested it out on some coworkers and got some really good reviews so I decided to post it since Mike and Andy liked it so much

Rub Ingredients:

Chinese five spice (found in most grocery stores)
Brown sugar
Granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
Salt and pepper (both black and white)

No amounts.  Ill explain that in a minute.

The rub is as simple as it is good because the Chinese Five Spice has such great ingredients.  It contains cinnamon, anise, cloves, fennel and pepper:

Combine equal parts brown sugar, granulated garlic and the Five Spice plus a half part of the paprika.  About two teaspoons of the first three ingredients (and one of the paprika) is all you need for one slab of ribs:

I coated each side of the ribs with coarse salt and freshly ground black and white pepper before I liberally applied the rub.  Why two kinds of pepper?  Because each hits different parts of the tongue so it adds a little depth of flavor.  Adding white pepper is completely optional.  Also, apply the salt, pepper and rub bone side first so that when you flip the ribs over to do the other side, the rub stays on the meat rather than the cutting board thanks to the arc of the bones that elevate the meat off the cutting surface.  Do the meat side first and when you flip them over, a lot of the rub will stick to the cutting board.

I set the Grill Manufacturer That Shall Not Be Named up for two zone grilling which means coals and smoke wood on the left and nothing but the meat on the right:

What type of wood is that?  The wood that I felt completed the Asian theme Plum:

Seemed appropriate to me when I saw the plum at the local fireplace/grill store.

The coals are on the left so my ribs go on the right, bone side down to make sure the rub stays on the ribs rather than stick to the grill grate:

I know it doesnt look like much of a fire, but the flash washes out the red coals so heres a pic without the flash so you can see that the left side is indeed red hot:

Youll also notice that the end of the ribs closest to me in the picture is a little closer to the fire than the upper end:

Thats because that end much thicker than the other end so I want it closest to the heat, but not too close to lose the indirect effect Im going for.  Youll also notice that the grill grate is lifted up over the coals and the wood.  Thats so I can add more charcoal and smoke wood easily should either run low.  Now its time to put the lid on.  Make sure to position the top vent right over the meat so the smoke has to travel over the meat to get out of the cooking chamber:

Ill be using the high heat method here which is between 300-325 degrees.  I realize that doesnt sound very high.  Sounds more like medium, but so many people go with 200-225 for 4-5 hours that this is high by comparison.  They call it the High Heat method because medium heat method doesnt sound as good. This method gives me a great smoke ring and gets the ribs done to perfection in two hours.  Now for me, perfection is not fall off the bone ribs.  They will be tender and juicy but not fall off the bone.

If you want fall off the bone, at the 90 minute mark wrap the ribs in foil with a little liquid inside (beer, wine, soda, syrup will all work) and put back on the grill and indirect them for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes, remove from the foil and indirect for another 15 minutes to firm up the rub and the ribs will be fall off the bone every time.

Here are the ribs at the 1 hour mark:

Since I dont want the bottom left of the slab of the ribs to burn, I rotated them so the bottom right was closest and added some stuffed tomatoes in tin foil nests to the grill (more on those in a future post):

Here are the ribs at the two hour mark:

How do I know their done?  A couple of ways.  For one, Ive done this method hundreds of times.  The other way I know is the ribs told me.  They told me when the bones started showing themselves:

But how do they look on the inside:

Whats the verdict?

Good flavor in the rub? Check.

Nice smoke ring? Check.

Juicy and tender? Check.

Would I do them again? Absolutely check.

Now comes the question about the plum wood.  How was it? Its a mild wood but not as mild as apple but doesnt quite have the bite like cherry.  I would place it pretty close to peach which is one of my favorites.
4  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Smoked Spring Ham on: August 11, 2011 11:05:20 AM
That looks really good and the addition of jalapenos is an interesting twist.

It's the whole sweet/savory or in this case, sweet and spicy balance....
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Smoked Spring Ham on: August 10, 2011 09:45:56 AM
I realize it's the heart of summer, but this is too good to wait to share till it's actually spring again.  If you enjoy a good ham, I must warn you to grab a napkin now because you will need it to wipe off your keyboard in a second:

And of course, here are the step by step, picture by picture as well as a very juicy video of this being sliced, of how to make this yourself, which is the whole point of what we do.

And here is the rest of the write up, sans pics for the link averse:

Arthur Aguirre is back to show off his mad grillin skills with something I have always wanted to do: smoke a spring ham.  My cousin does this every year for Thanksgiving and usually Easter, but Ive never done it personally.  Ill hand it off to Arthur for the rest of the write up

***Editors Note ~ Arthur has started his own blog and Im more than happy to promote his on mine.  His new site is called MajorLeagueGrilling.com***

I found a great deal on a ham at the grocery store the other day, $1.19/lb for a 8lb-butt portion:

Its deals like this that let me try new things on the grill and not feel guilty about screwing up. Nonetheless, I wanted to smoke this cured ham with a sweet, salty and spicy sauce. So, I opened up my pantry and picked out ingredients that fit this craving I hadhere is what I came up with:

Basting Sauce Ingredients:

1 cup apple juice
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup honey
2 tbsp soy sauce
tsp apple pie spice
tsp white pepper
tsp jalapeno powder
1 cinnamon stick

This basting sauce sounds too good to screw up.


    Preheat stove for medium-low heat.
    Mix all ingredients in sauce pan and place on stove.
    Take off the stove once all the ingredients are blended.

After the basting sauce is ready, I prepare my Smokenator with apple wood and peach wood. However, I dont fill the water pan because Im trying to attain a higher temperature (325-350 degree range), so water is not needed to keep the temps down. The kettle vents are enough to maintain the desired temperature. Therefore, the bottom vents on the kettle are open halfway and the lid vents are wide open. In addition, the lid vents are always placed on the opposite side of the heat source so the smoke can travel over the meat and out the vents.

If I was doing this without a Smokenator, I would set up indirect heat. Make sure to rotate the ham often to get an even distribution of heat.

One important note to mentionmake sure to either place a foil pan underneath the grate directly below the ham or put the ham in a foil pan. Basting can make a large mess in your grill, use a foil pan to make clean up easy:

When the grill reaches the desired temp, I placed the ham flat side down. I even place the sauce on the grill to absorb some smoke while reducing it at the same time:

The plan is to baste the ham every 30 minutes until its done. This way, I will add smoke and the sauce will add flavor and a dark crusty texture. Im smoking the ham until it reaches 145 degrees. Although, the ham is already cooked because it has been cured, Im basically just warming it up and rendering off the fat which will make the ham melt in my mouth.

Here is the ham after the first 30 minutes:

At the one hour mark I baste the ham again and add more briquettes. The ham is showing some excellent color:

After one and a half hours:

I add the last batch of briquettes to the fire while the ham is looking delicious at two hours:

Finally, at two and a half hours, the internal temp reaches 147 degrees. I give it one more basting before removing it from the grill:

I let the ham rest for 15 minutes with a foil tent.

At last, I slice the ham in this money shot I recorded. The juices just ooze out!

This ham was outstanding and so easy to do. The apple flavors are such a good complement to the ham, not much I would change there. Ill have leftovers, which is great because I wanted some to slice in my new meat slicer:

To do this, however, it is best to chill the meat before I slice it. Cant wait!
6  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Smoked Stuffed Yellow Peppers on: June 22, 2011 10:21:56 AM
These were a big hit a couple weeks ago at a family BBQ.  It's a fairly simple recipe.  Peppers, cream cheese, quartered cherry or grape tomatoes, pepperoni, and slices of cheese.  The end result was out of this world.

Here's the directions, step by step, picture by picture.  And here's the pictures that will make you really hungry:

And the whole recipe for the link averse:

Ive done stuffed veggies a few times in the past and am determined to get them documented here.  I will be doing stuffed onions, tomatoes, following these peppers, in the near future

I know what youre thinking, I dont like peppers.  I wasnt a fan until just recently.  First, skip past the greens and go with yellow or at least orange ones.  They cost a little more but they arent nearly as harsh as the green pepper.  Also, with this recipe, if you dont like peppers at all, scoop the gooey goodness out of the pepper and discard the rest.


3 yellow peppers
30 pepperoni slices
6 tbsp of cream cheese
9 slices of monterey jack cheese
1 package of cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered

Serves six

First, chop off the stem and slice them in half:

Remove the seeds and any white flesh (thats my wife helping out with the deseeding):

Now put one tablespoon of cream cheese inside each pepper half and spread around with the back of a spoon:

Then fill each half with quartered cherry or grape tomatoes:

Then layer five slices of pepperoni on top of each pepper half:

You can also do a couple slices of sweet coppa rather than pepperoni:

And then place them on the grill.  Obviously I made more than three peppers worth, but I wanted to cut it down to a more manageable size for the recipe:

The grill was set up for two zone grilling, with coals on one side and the peppers went opposite of that.  I threw a couple chunks of sassafras wood on the coals and shut the lid. The internal temp of the grill was between 275-300.

At about 15 minutes I checked on the peppers and saw that the coals were pretty ashed over so I wanted to shake the ash loose and I lifted up the leg of the grill an inch or two and let it slam back down to shake the cooking chamber.  This is a good way to jostle the coals, but it also jostled the peppers.  My 10 halves on the grill became 9 on the grill, and one under it:


At the 25 minute mark I checked the progress:

I rotated the peppers around at this point.  The ones closest in this shot were cooking faster than the far ones so I switched them and moved each one 180 degrees so the side farthest from the coals was now the closest.

Heres a closeup to show a little blackening from the pepperoni at the 25 minute mark.  Dont sweat that, just rotate it away from the fire like I did with these:

At 50 minutes they looked like this:

At this point I applied the cheese, a slice and a half per pepper half.  I used monterey jack and muenster, both were delicious, although you could just as easily use mozzarella or havarti:

I closed the lid for 10 more minutes to melt the cheese and here are the peppers ready to plate:

Now picking these things up is a little tricky as the peppers are really soft at this point.  Instead of trying to grab the pepper on two sides with my tongs, I had to scoop them up from underneath:

Heres a closeup of the tongs.  Notice I dont clamp them down on top, or the cheese will stick to the tongs and probably push the contents out the side:

Looking back, I would probably put the cheese on earlier.  I was worried that it would all run over the sides, but with all the open space around the quartered tomatoes, it all sunk down into the middle.  Adding it earlier would add a nice smokiness to the cheese as well.   This recipe can be either a side or an appetizer.
7  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Anyone ever had Jerk Steak? on: June 16, 2011 09:17:47 AM

Everyone's at least heard of jerk chicken or pork, but I'd never heard of jerk steak.  I love jerk flavors.  Fiery hot, but not so much so that the flavor of the food is completely obliterated.  It's the perfect combination of heat and flavor in my opinion.  I love jerk seasoning and I love steak.  Seems like a match made in heaven, and well, it is.  

There's not much to this, but I did take a lot of pics of the process as I'm so obsessed with this that I've had it four times in the last six weeks, including last night right after I got done with the editing the pictures and doing the write up for this post.  I went ahead and took pics of the prime sirloin I jerked last night and added them to the end of the original write up.  

If you love steak and weren't hungry before, you will be if you click this link or scroll down even a hair.  



And the rest of the instructions sans pics for the link averse:

OK, Im going to have to come clean with something here.  Im a little obsessed with jerk steak lately.  I think Ive made it three out of the last five weekends.  I love jerk flavor in general.  I love fiery food, but not so much so that it masks all the other flavors.  Jerk ingredients stand up to each other so well, that even when its hot enough to make the back of your neck sweat, you will still taste all that glorious flavor.  Ive jerked chicken and pork before, but never beef.  I did it once and now I cant get enough.  There isnt much to this recipe as it is simply grilling a steak and brushing on some jerk marinade paste, but its worth documenting just to get everyone else to try what has me salivating just writing about it.

Before I even got this post up, I had a craving and made this again, hence the bonus material above and below, so be sure to scroll all the way down

I know what youre thinking.  Jerk chicken and jerk pork are mainstays, but youve never heard of jerk beef or jerk steak.  Trust me, if you love jerked food, you will love jerk steak.

The first time I did this I did it on a ridiculously large bone in rib eye from Kenricks, and oh how I love being less than 10 minutes from this place:

When I say the steak was big, I mean big (forgive these next three pics, they were taken with my phone):

Thats right, it was a 2.6 pound bone in rib eye, my old razor phone my son plays with is for perspective:

My plan was to eat some of it for dinner and some for breakfast or lunch (or both), but it was so good I wound up eating the whole thing.  Bone in rib eye is my favorite steak. I had no sides, just a big plate of meat:

Im a big believer in marinating, particularly in jerk, but for this I bought the steak right before Kenricks closed and cooked it a couple hours later so I didnt bother.  I decided instead to merely brush it on after the sear.  It was so good I had it the next weekend, and then a couple weeks after that.  The last time I had it, I decided to go ahead and document the process and use a much more modest steak, a New York strip or strip loin, and balance out the meal with a side dish, in this case some grilled romaine:

Thats about a 12 ouncer that I had left over when a guy didnt show up for guy night.  Freezing and thawing it took away the rich red Im used to, but it was still great.

All I used for the jerk was Walkerswood Jerk Seasoning which is a thick paste.  They also have a jerk marinade and a jerk BBQ sauce now, but I have not tried either.  The marinade is in my cabinet, but I havent used it. If you want to make your own jerk seasoning you can use these ingredients for an excellent marinade or brushing sauce

1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 Scotch Bonnet Pepper (if you cant find this at your grocery use a fresh jalapeo)**
1 Tbs allspice
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup dark rum
juice from one fresh lime
juice from one fresh orange

Combine all of the above ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

For this steak, I applied salt, black and white pepper to both sides of the steak and got the grill ready for two zone grilling.  Coals on one side and none on the other so I can sear over the coals to put on that flavor crust, and then pull to the side with no coals to bake to the desired doneness without burning the steak.  Generally, when I cook a steak for myself, I dont need to pull it to the side to let it bake to the desired doneness, seared on each side is all I need for it to be done enough in my book.

Here is the grill with the coals stoked up on one side, I have a couple bricks that had broken into chunks over time, dividing up the grill to keep the coals on one side:

And here we have a pic with no flash as it washes out the flames just to show how hot the fire is:

I always grill steaks over ripping hot coals:

After between 90 and 120 seconds I rotate the steak to get the cross hatch grill marks:

After 1.5-2 minutes after I rotate, I flip and do the same thing on the other side and brush some of the jerk seasoning on:

After that side is seared, I pull it over to the side with no coals, flip it over and apply more jerk, but I dont close the lid and bake it.  I let it rest while I cook the lettuce:

If youve never had grilled lettuce, I cant recommend it highly enough.  You can get the full write up here with picture by picture instructions.  Heres my lettuce fully cooked on one side and charring on the other:

I pulled both off when the lettuce was nicely charred on both sides and sprinkled some asiago over the romaine and plated the steak:

Since the steak sat on the side of the grill with no heat while the lettuce cooked I didnt really need to let it rest.  The juices have already calmed down inside.  Why do I need to let it rest in the first place?  Because searing in the juices is not key to a juicy steak.  In fact, its not even accurate.  Searing a steak releases more of its juices than simply baking it to the desired doneness.  Searing creates a flavor crust by browning and thus caramelizing the proteins.  Keeping the juices in the steak is performed by letting it rest after coming off the heat.  When it leaves the cook surface, the juices are in an excited state.  Theyre moving at a million miles an hour.  If you slice open the steak right then, the cut will act as an escape valve and the juices will run all over the plate.  If you let the steak rest, they juices will slow down, redistribute throughout the entire piece of meat, and most importantly stay in that meat for every moist bite.

Check out the pic after I slice it:

And heres a close up. No pool of juice, just the residuals from the wet paste that was slathered on during the cooking process:

If you dont like spicy food, I would recommend diluting Walkerswood with some oil before brushing it on.  In its pure form, its really potent and it seems to get hotter once you open the jar.  I dont know if it has to do with the oxygen getting in there or it fermenting once it opens or what (Im not a chemist or food scientist), but it definitely increases in heat after the jars been open.

If you love spicy food, this is a great way to add some heat but not to overpower the taste of the beef.  I really enjoyed jerk steak and will likely have it many more times.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.

If you would like other beef recipes, click here.

Also, you can follow the Grillin Fools on their Facebook page where you can post your grillin own pictures or join the general grillin conversation.  Or, you can follow them on Twitter @GrillinFool

***Bonus Steak***

The night I worked on these pictures and wrote up this post I got a craving for, what else, but jerk steak.  I ran by Kenricks and picked up a prime sirloin and after a little salt, black, and white pepper on each side I slapped it on the grill:

After a couple minutes over a roaring fire I rotated it:

After a couple more minutes I flipped:

I didnt let the cast iron grates warm up before I put the meat on.  It was 9:15 pm and I was hungry, so I didnt get my usual level of cross-hatchness.

Then I brushed on the fiery deliciousness:

After two minutes I rotated:

After two more minutes I flipped and brushed the other side:

I pulled it off to the side with no coals, shut the lid and went to grab a plate.  Total baking time after resting was about 60 seconds:

And after I took a few pics while it rested I sliced:

And a closeup of that pink awesomeness:

Yeah, I could do this again tonight.  Although I dont recommend eating one as late as I did.  A jerk steak at 9:30 doesnt lend itself to a good nights sleep.

8  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Prosciutto Wrapped Pear and Cheese Skewers on: June 14, 2011 12:41:50 PM
My mouth is watering!!! I will have to try this although I'm not usually into the "highbrow" cooking lol Smiley

I'm not either and had I not had the inspiration dish the day before, there's no way I would've made these.  But I was at a wine bar and got adventerous. 
9  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Prosciutto Wrapped Pear and Cheese Skewers on: June 14, 2011 10:12:03 AM
This may be the most high brow thing I've done on the site.  I was at a local wine bar and had their prosciutto and pear flatbread and was amazed by it that I wanted to recreate it on the grill.

Here's the full write up with all the methodology I used to come up with the perfect combination of ingredients and cooking methods and here are the pics:

And the rest of the recipe sans pics for the link averse:

This very well may be the most upscale thing I have done on the grill but it was absolutely delicious.  After having a pear and prosciutto flatbread at a local wine bar over the weekend, I was determined to recreate that incredible flavor on the grill.  This recipe involved quite a bit of experimentation to determine the best combination of flavors and cooking methods.  I will go over all the options and then list which were deemed the best by the tasters I had sampling this appetizer


1 pear, ripe
12 slices of prosciutto
12 slices or teaspoons of cheese (more on this in a moment)
24 walnuts or pecans (optional)
12 skewers

Makes 12 appetizers

The cheeses I used for this are feta, asiago, smoked gouda and blue.  Use whatever you like here like a goat cheese or even a brie.

I cored the pear and lopped off the thin end of the slices, as they wouldnt fit inside the prosciutto but you could let them stick out if you wish:

I prepared the Grill Manufacturer That Shall Not Be Named for two zone grilling as I wanted to try these both direct and indirect.  I then grilled the pears quickly over the hot coals for only a minute or two to soften them up and caramelize the outside a bit:

Thats right, I cross hatched my pears!?!  I couldnt resist.  I made these both with un seared pears and with these.  You could go either way.  If the pear isnt quite ripe, I recommend going this route to soften them up.

After I put some nice grill marks on the pears it was time to roll up some apps.  This is with a slice of smoked gouda:

And finally insert the skewer.  These are optional, but they help to keep everything together as the prosciutto is usually really then and can come apart easily:

I also made up a few with some pecans.  This one was with feta and with pears I did not sear first:

Before you put anything on the grill other than the pears, I recommend giving it a good cleaning.  Im not talking about running the wire brush over it, thats a given every time you spark up the grill.  Im talking really cleaning those grates as the prosciutto has very little fat and will easily stick to a dirty grill grate (pretty much negates my father from every making these on any of his grills).

Whats the next level up of cleaning the grill?  Take about 5-6 paper towels and fold down to the size of a cocktail napkin and then pour vegetable oil liberally in the middle:

Then fold in half so the oil is on the outside and rub it over the grill grates with your tongs:

Isnt this yummy?  Now hit it with the wire brush and that pad on the other side of most grill brushes:

Now for the cooking method, there are two options here.  Direct and indirect.  Well go with indirect first.  Place them on the side with no coals in a hot grill of around 325-350 and close the lid for 10-12 minutes, depending on the heat of the grill:

And heres what they look when ready to serve, all I was looking for was the cheese to melt and the prosciutto to be good and warm:

See how the ham darkened?  Look for that and take a peak in the end of the skewer to see if the cheese has melted and then plate them:

The other option is direct grilling; putting them right over the coals for no more than 2-3 minutes on each side:


No cross hatch here, they dont need to be on that long.

So what was the verdict?  Which was the best?  The ones done direct got a little rubbery on the outside and the prosciutto tended to tear and fall apart because there was no fat left in the meat.  The indirect ones sort of melted in the mouth.

The pecans, a suggestion of my Mother in Law after we made a couple batches, really added something to the recipe which was a great combination of sweet from the pear, salty from the prosciutto, savory from the cheese and crunchy texture from the pecan.

The best cheese was the smoked gouda with the asiago being the worst.  The harder asiago didnt melt well inside the wrap and didnt have that wonderful gooey feel the other cheeses had.

We also preferred the grilled pears to the ungrilled, but that could be because I grilled the thicker slices.  Ill get into that next.

Dont overdo the cheese and dont underdo the pear.  I was worried that the pear would overpower the appetizer so I sliced some really thin.  The thinner slices were overpowered easily by the cheese.  My corer divides the fruit into 8 wedges and I divided those four times with my knife that was way too thin.  They wouldve been fine if I had only sliced them in half or thirds at the most if you need to make the last pear go farther than the others you use in the recipe.

So if youre scoring at home:

Thicker, grilled pear slices
Add the nuts
Go with the gouda and skip the asiago
Do indirect for 10-12 minutes rather than direct for 4-6
10  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: This Grillin Fool Went Hog Wild Over the Holiday Weekend on: June 01, 2011 11:38:38 AM
Good for you! I am from the Phillippines and we roast a whole pig for most celebratory occasions. It's alot of work, but well worth it! If you ever decide to try it again, try basting the skin of the pig with coca cola. It sounds completely crazy, but it's amazing! It makes the skin very crispy and delicious. The kids always line up when the pig is being served to get bits of the skin. (when I read this back, eating skin sounds gross, but I promise, it's awesome!)

I will definitely do that next time we do it...
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