July 3, 2022

Dave Tappan

Dave Tappan 10p-3p Mon-Fri

Email: Dave@q97country.com
Email: Dave@q97country.com

I’m Dave Tappan. I’ve been on the radio for 40+ years starting right out of high school. I’m currently the midday guy on Today’s Country, Q97. I play really good music and talk about the passions in my life, like fishing, golf, working and puttering around the house and food. I love boating and fishing on Lake Shasta (trolling for trout is my favorite), teeing it up at Gold Hills and preparing and cooking great food at home for my wife, two boys and friends. Barbecue, Italian and Mexican food are my favorites. I never met a taco, pizza or a rack of ribs I didn’t love! I am in constant search of the perfect cheeseburger and chicken wings too. I often post my recipes on my blog.  I also love watching Giants baseball and the Food Network on one of my 7 tv’s in my house. A game on in the garage is my favorite. My happy place! I enjoy my monthly Friday night poker games and occasional Reno trips with the guys. There I am in a nutshell. Oh, I love peanuts too! I always have a big bucket of them sitting on my desk. Tune in some day. Would it kill ya?

Make A Wish Auction high bidders Bill and Pam their Bill and Cindy enjoyed a special night with Pam from La Cucina and Dave Tappan at Sizzles in downtown Redding. They learned how to create, and then got to enjoy a fantastic meal. Thanks for supporting Make A Wish Bill! 

Dave's Blog

Char Grilled Oysters with Cheese Topping and Garlic Butter

Here’s another barbecue idea for the holiday weekend:
Char Grilled Oysters with Cheese Topping and
Garlic Butter
Cheese Topping:
2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped
Garlic Finishing Butter:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup hot sauce, such as the Louisiana brand
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup chopped garlic
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
24 oysters, shucked on the half shell
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced and charred on the grill
For the cheese topping: Mix the Parmesan, mozzarella, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley in a bowl and reserve for later use.
For the finishing butter: Place the butter, lemon juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire, chopped garlic, granulated garlic and 1/2 cup water into a small pot on the stove. Slowly melt and whisk ingredients until incorporated.
For the oysters: Preheat the grill until it is very hot, about 400 degrees.
Top each oyster with a liberal amount of the cheese mixture.
Carefully place the oysters on the grill and close. Cook until the cheese is melted and the oysters are starting to get some color, about 10 minutes.
Remove the oysters from the grill with tongs and place them onto a cookie sheet or a heat-proof surface.
Arrange 6 oysters per plate or leave on the large platter. Ladle some melted garlic butter over the oysters.
Serve with grilled bread to soak up the juices and butter!

Santa Maria Tri-Tip with Pinquito Bean Relish

can hear the crackling fire of oak and chunk charcoal right now as we get set for the 4th of July weekend BBQ’s! Santa Maria Tri-Tip is the staple of Northern California barbecue. Happy 4th of July to you and yours!
Santa Maria Tri-Tip with Pinquito Bean Relish
Santa Maria Rub: (enough for a 4-pound roast)
1 Tbsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp finely ground black pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 teaspoon dry rosemary
1/2 teaspoon dry sage
Mix the rub ingredients together in a bowl.
Place the roast in a roasting pan or a baking pan with edges (this will help keep the rub from getting all over the floor).
Sprinkle the rub on the meat on all sides, and massage the rub into the meat.
Cover the roast with foil or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temp for an hour to take the chill off and allow the rub to work its magic on the roast.
Prepare your grill for hot direct heat on one side, and indirect heat on the other. If you are working with a wood-fired grill, Santa Maria BBQ traditionally uses red oak wood. If you are using a smoker, use oak or red oak chips or pellets.
Sear the roast on all sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Carefully watch the roast as it can easily flare up and burn. Don’t walk away from it during searing and move it away from flame as needed.
Once the tri-tip is seared on all sides, move it away from direct heat and place it fat-side up on the grill rack.
If you are using a gas grill with a top rack, I recommend placing the roast on that rack, with an aluminum tray on the bottom rack underneath to catch the fat drippings.
If you are grilling on charcoal or wood, you may want to turn the roast over every few minutes, for more even heating. Try to maintain a grill temperature of 250°F to 300°F.
If you are using a smoker, keep the temperature at 250 and smoke for 2-3 hours or until the temperature of the roast reaches your desired doneness. See temps below. Use a digital, probe thermometer for reading the temps.
Cover the grill and cook until the temperature of the tri-tip reaches 120°F for a rare roast, 130°F for medium-rare and 140°F for medium.
At this point the meat will take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes to cook, depending on how hot your grill is, how well done you want it, and the size of the cut. Remember, the interior temperature will continue to rise at least 5°F after you take the roast off the heat.
Once the roast reaches temperature, remove it from the grill and let it rest, loosely tented with foil, for 10-15 minutes. Slice across the grain to serve. Serve with the bean relish and garlic bread.
Santa Maria Pinquito Bean Relish:
8 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 poblano chile, finely diced
1 medium red onion, finely diced
2 cans pinquito or pinto beans, drained and rinsed twice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, for garnishing
Heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until golden brown and the fat has rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Add the poblano and onions to the bacon fat in the pan and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the beans and bacon and cook until warmed through. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put into a serving bowl and top with cilantro leaves.

Italian Sausage Sandwich

I think I’m in the mood for a big, messy, cheesy sausage sandwich. Yes, I am.
Italian Sausage Sandwich
4 mild or hot Italian sausages
2 medium onions (sliced into half-moons)
1 green bell pepper (cored, seeded & sliced)
1 red bell pepper (cored, seeded & sliced)
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded provolone cheese
4 hoagie rolls
1 cup marinara sauce
1.Poach sausages in 1/2 cup water in a covered skillet, simmering until almost done. This takes about 8 to 10 minutes.
2.Sautè onions and peppers with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano about 4 minutes on medium-high heat.
3.Add the wine, cover and cook 4 minutes more.
4.Uncover and cook until the liquid is reduced.
5.On either a grill or in a skillet with a little extra-virgin olive oil, cook the poached sausages over medium-high heat 7 to 10 minutes, turning often to ensure even browning.
6.In a large baking dish or pan, place the opened rolls and fill the rolls with 1 sausage in each roll and evenly distribute the onions and peppers.
7.Mix the 3 shredded cheeses and evenly sprinkle that on top.
8.Place in oven, uncovered, on 400°F or until the cheese is melted.
9.Remove from oven, top with some Marinara sauce, close the sandwiches and serve.
sausage sandwich

Slow Grilled Beef Ribs

Happy Friday! Here’s a couple of recipes to jump start your weekend. Have a Portulaca weekend!
Slow Grilled Beef Ribs
4 pounds beef ribs
For the Marinade:
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
In a medium plastic or glass bowl, combine marinade ingredients. Mix well.
Place the ribs in a shallow, non-metal baking dish and pour the marinade over them. Make sure the ribs are evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a 2 to 6 hours.
Preheat grill and prepare for indirect grilling. When the grill is hot, remove ribs from marinade and place on grill to cook indirectly.
Discard marinade. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, turning every 15 minutes.
Once ribs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees (make sure to check several), remove from heat and serve.
You can apply barbecue sauce during the last 15 minutes of cook time. Make sure to keep a close eye on the ribs, so they don’t burn.
Shrimp Louie Pasta Salad
3 cups spiral shaped pasta
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup ranch dressing
1/3 cup seafood cocktail sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 lb medium cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
Rinse with cold water to cool quickly; drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, ranch dressing, seafood cocktail sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper.
Stir in cooled pasta and remaining ingredients.
Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.

Honey-Siracha Chicken Thighs

Today is the first, full day of summer. What’s more summery than barbecued chicken? I am the “Thigh-Master”
Honey-Siracha Chicken Thighs
3-4 lbs. Bone in, skin on chicken thighs
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
Dried red pepper flakes, to taste
4-6 Tablespoons honey
6-8 Tablespoons Sriracha
Fresh lime juice from one lime.
Sesame seeds, for garnish
Green onions, sliced on the bias, for garnish
Heat grill to about 400 ºF.
In a small saucepan, add butter. Once melted add in fresh ginger and garlic. Stir until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Next add in smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, honey, Sriracha and lime juice. Stir to combine and let simmer for 4-5 minutes.
Pat chicken thighs dry. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper on both sides.
Oil the grill grates with a wad of oil-soaked paper towels held with tongs.
Place chicken thighs on grill, skin side down first. Grill for 4-5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and grill on the other side for 4-5 minutes.
Continue to cook chicken, flipping frequently so it doesn’t burn until the internal temperature is 165ºF. (About 25-30 minutes) Don’t walk away from it. It’ll catch on fire and burn.
During the last 5 minutes of grilling brush the glaze on both sides of the chicken.
Remove from grill and garnish with the sesame seeds and green onions.
honey-siracha chicken thighs

Caprese Steak with Basil Pesto

Summer arrived at 2:14 this morning and it’s gonna feel like it, with triple digits temperatures all week in Redding. Here’s a steak recipe that’s perfect for the hot weather:
Caprese Steak with Basil Pesto
3/4 c. balsamic vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. dried oregano
4 filet mignons or sirloins
2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
Kosher salt
4 slices mozzarella
Fresh basil leaves, for serving
Ingredients for pesto
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese
In a small bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, honey, olive oil, dried thyme, and dried oregano.
Pour over steak and let marinate 20-30 minutes. (20 minutes for filet mignon, 30 minutes for sirloin)
Season tomatoes with salt and pepper.
Heat grill to high. Grill steak to your liking, then top with mozzarella and tomatoes and cover grill until cheese is melty, 2 minutes.
Top with basil pesto and fresh basil before serving.
Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

Blackened Shrimp Nachos

As a father of two grown boys (who are both gainfully employed and living on their own, thank God) it is the most challenging, sometimes heart-wrenching, worrisome and yet, most prideful and wonderful thing in the world…being a father. Happy Father’s Day! Now, make dad something good to eat.
Blackened Shrimp Nachos
Blackened seasoning
garlic powder
onion powder
Old Bay or Cajun seasoning
dried thyme
fresh ground black pepper
cayenne pepper
dried oregano
Pico De Gallo:
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small white onion, finely chopped
2–3 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice from one lime
Kosher salt, to taste
For the nachos:
1lb raw medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off
Vegetable oil
1 bag tortilla chips
Mexican cheese blend
Iceberg lettuce
Mexican crema
3 green onions, sliced
Lime wedges, for squeezing
In a small bowl combine all of the ingredients for the blackened seasoning. Mix well and set aside.
In a bowl combine tomato, onion, peppers, and cilantro. Add lime juice and salt. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
Heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss the shrimp in a bowl with the blackened seasoning. Add the shrimp and sauté for 3-5 minutes, turning occasionally, until fully cooked.
Layout of the tortilla chips on a large baking sheet or 9X13 baking dish. Top the tortilla chips evenly with the shredded cheese. Place into the oven and bake at 350 degrees until the cheese has melted.
Top with pico del gallo, crema, lettuce, shrimp and green onion. Serve with lime wedges, for squeezing.
blackened shrimp nachos 1
blackened shrimp nachos 2

Beer Braised & Teriyaki Ribs

Here’s a couple of my favorite ribs in the oven recipes. Make these for Dad on Sunday and he just might up your allowance!
Beer Braised Spare Ribs
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup fajita seasoning
2 tablespoons Hungarian sweet paprika
2 racks pork spareribs, fat trimmed
1 cup beer
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon prepared brown mustard
Mix the brown sugar, fajita seasoning, and paprika in a bowl. Rub both sides of the pork spareribs with the brown sugar mixture. Place the spareribs in a 9×13-inch baking pan; cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat an oven to 250 degrees. Whisk together the beer, garlic, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard in a bowl. Set aside.
Tear off 2 large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil and lay them shiny-side down. Place a rack of spareribs on each sheet, meaty-side up. Tear off 2 more sheets of foil and place them on top of the ribs, shiny-side up. Begin tightly folding the edges of the foil together to create a sealed packet. Just before sealing completely, divide the beer mixture evenly into each packet. Complete the seal. Place the packets side-by-side on an 11×14-inch baking sheet.
Bake in the preheated oven until the ribs are very tender, 3 hours and 30 minutes to 4 hours. Carefully open each packet, and drain the drippings into a saucepan. You may only need the drippings from one packet. Set ribs aside. Simmer the drippings over medium-high heat until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Brush the thickened sauce over the ribs.
Preheat the oven’s broiler and set the oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.
Place the ribs back into the oven and broil until the sauce is lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes.
Teriyaki-Glazed Spare Ribs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Chinese five-spice powder
1 rack pork spareribs, trimmed of excess fat, cut in 1/2 through the bone so you have 2-inch length riblets
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, for garnish
Cilantro leaves, chopped, for garnish
Green onion, thinly sliced, for garnish
For the Teriyaki Glaze:
1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup fresh grapefruit juice
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 fresh red chile, split
2 garlic cloves, smashed
2 -inch piece fresh ginger, cut into 1-inch coins
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Mix the salt and pepper in a small bowl with the five-spice powder. Rub some of the mixture all over the ribs, and then store remaining rub in an airtight container for another use. Arrange the ribs in a single layer in a roasting pan and slow-roast for 2 hours.
To make Teriyaki Glaze: In a pot, combine the soy sauce, grapefruit juice, hoisin sauce, ketchup, rice wine vinegar, chile, garlic, and ginger over medium heat. Bring to a slow simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of Teriyaki Glaze in a small bowl and set aside.
In the last 30 minutes of cooking, baste the ribs with the Teriyaki Glaze. When they are done, the meat will start to pull away from the bone. Just before you’re ready to eat, baste the ribs with the Teriyaki Glaze again and stick them under the broiler for 5 to 8 minutes to make the spareribs a nice crusty brown. Separate the ribs with a cleaver or sharp knife, cutting at every second rib so there are 2 bones per piece. Pile them on a platter, and pour on the reserved Glaze. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped cilantro.
beer braised ribs
teriyaki ribs

Bacon Blue Cheese Burger with Carmelized Onions

Father’s Day is this Sunday and it wouldn’t kill ya to make dad a great burger. Here’s my interpretation of a great one!
Bacon Blue Cheese Burger with Carmelized Onions
For the burgers
2 pounds freshly ground chuck, (80% lean, 20% fat)
1 tablespoon onion powder
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
8 ounces blue cheese, sliced
12 slices thick-cut bacon, cooked and drained on paper towels
6 large Hamburger buns
For the caramelized onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large yellow onions, halved and sliced into half moons
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium heat. Add the onions, stir briefly to coat with oil and cook without stirring for 10-12 minutes.
Flip so that the onions on the bottom of the pot are now on top, and cook for another 10-12 minutes. Flip one more time, lower heat and allow onions to caramelized until completely brown — about 15 minutes — gently stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside. These can be reheated before you put the burgers together.
In a large bowl, mix ground beef, onion powder, worcestershire and salt and pepper until just combined. Do not overmix, or your patties will be tough.
Divide into six portions and form patties, without pressing too hard. They should be uniform in thickness. Smooth out any cracks using your fingers. Make these right before you grill them, so they stay at room temperature.
Preheat your grill, grill pan or cast-iron skillet to high heat and add burger patties. If using a grill, cover with the lid.
Cook until the crust that forms on the bottom of the burger releases it from the pan or grate — about 2 minutes. Gently test, but don’t flip it until it gets to this point. When burgers lift up easily, flip, add enough blue cheese to cover completely, close lid if using a grill, and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes for medium to medium rare.
Remove patties carefully using a metal spatula and transfer to buns. Top with caramelized onions and bacon and serve immediately.

Grilled Lobster with Melted Herb Butter

Father’s Day is this Sunday, so whip out the plastic and buy him lobster. Pair it with a nice steak and he might put you back in his will!
Grilled Lobster with Melted Herb Butter
1 stick melted butter
Juice from 1 lemon, no seeds
Zest from 1 lemon, no pith
2 tbsp. freshly chopped chives, plus more for garnish
2 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt, to taste
4 (8-oz.) lobster tails
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat a grill or bbq to medium heat.
In a small bowl, whisk together melted butter, lemon juice, zest, chives, parsley, garlic, and salt.
Using kitchen shears, cut top of lobster shell from meaty portion of tail. Using a knife, cut halfway through meat down the center, without cutting all the way through. Insert a skewer lengthwise through the lobster to keep lobster from curling up when cooked.
Brush all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill flesh side down until lightly charred, about 6 minutes. Flip lobster and spoon butter mixture on flesh side. Grill until just cooked through, about 5 minutes more.
Remove lobster from grill and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Serve with lemon wedges.

Slow Cooker Short Rib Tacos

Happy Friday! Happy Weekend! I just now un-packed one of the last boxes from the move and found my crock pot! So, I’m gonna put it to good use this weekend. You have a good weekend too, or as I like to say…”Have a Portulaca weekend!”
Slow Cooker Short Rib Tacos
4 dried ancho chiles, stemmed, seeded, and ribs discarded
1 medium onion, quartered
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
6 pounds beef short ribs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Warm corn tortillas
Mexican crema or sour cream
Fresh cilantro
Yellow or white onion, chopped
Lime wedges, for squeezing
Make the cooking sauce: Soak the ancho chiles in boiling water until softened, about 15 minutes. Drain and discard the liquid. Transfer the softened chiles to a blender. Add the onion, garlic, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, beef broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Puree until smooth.
Pat ribs dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the ribs in 3 batches, turning occasionally, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer the browned ribs to a slow cooker.
Pour the sauce over the ribs
cover and cook for 7 hours on high until very tender. Allow the ribs to cool slightly in the sauce.
Remove the ribs from the sauce. Discard the bones and shred the meat into a large bowl. Skim the fat from the surface and discard. Mix the sauce into the meat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Spoon the meat and sauce into warm corn tortillas and serve with Mexican crema, chopped onion, lime wedges and chopped cilantro.
Dave’s Note: The ribs improve in flavor if cooked 2 days ahead. Cool completely, uncovered, then chill, cover and refrigerate. Remove any solidified fat before reheating.
These ribs can also be cooked in a 350 degree F oven for 3 1/2 hours.

Pasta Al Limone

Hot weather is coming here in Redding, so think about some lighter dishes and we’ll save the good stuff for fall and winter.
Pasta Al Limone
12 oz pasta (use a dry, long pasta)
2 lemons
Fresh mint or basil leaves
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups Pecorino-Romano
Start by boiling water in a large pot.
Once the water boils, add a handful of rock salt and let it dissolve.
Next, add the dry spaghetti for your pasta al limone into the pot and let it cook.
Add 2cups freshly grated pecorino cheese to a mixing bowl along with the zest of one large lemon.
Add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to your pan, along with the zest of one lemon – do this before putting the pan on the hot stove.
Break a few pieces of fresh mint or basil leaves (using your hands) into the pan.
Now for your pasta al limone, you need lemon juice! Cut a lemon in half, and squeeze the juice from half of the lemon into the bowl and the other half in your pan.
Place your pan onto the stove at a low temperature and add the pasta (once cooked al dente), then mix slightly.
Next up, add 4 tablespons of pasta water into the bowl with the pecorino cheese, and whisk this using a fork.
Now mix this through your pasta, helping it infuse using a set of tongs.
To make the pasta al limone nice and creamy, grate a generous amount of pecorino cheese on top of the pasta and mix it through until it melts.
Toss the pan if you can, otherwise just make sure there is enough cheese to create the creaminess you desire.
Remove the pan from the stove, continue stirring, then serve.
lemon pasta

Brined & Grilled Chicken with Melvin’s Sauce

My wife’s grandfather, Robert Foster was the U.S. founder and President of the John Morrell Meat Company. They had a beautiful estate on Lake Okoboji in Iowa. Their butler, Melvin, came up with a grilling sauce that we call Melvin’s Sauce.
Brined & Grilled Chicken with Melvin’s Sauce
For the brine:
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups cold water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Two 12-ounce bottles or cans of cold beer
1 head garlic, split crosswise
2 fresh bay leaves
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
8 chicken legs
Melvin’s Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Italian dressing
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons sugar
A few dashes of Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
A few dashes of hot sauce
For the brine: In a pot large enough to hold the chicken, combine the sugar, 1/4 cup salt and 2 cups cold water. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolves. Pour in the beer and add the garlic, bay leaves and peppercorns. Submerge the chicken in the brine. Cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours, or overnight.
For the Melvin’s sauce: Whisk together the mayonnaise, dressing, horseradish, sugar and Worcestershire in a medium bowl until smooth. Season with 1 teaspoon salt, hot sauce to taste and a liberal grinding of black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook the chicken. (Can be made a day ahead, along with the chicken brine.)
Prepare a grill for medium indirect grilling. Drain and rinse the chicken and pat very dry. Season the chicken lightly with salt and more liberally with black pepper. Brush lightly with vegetable oil.
Brush the grill grates with vegetable oil and lay the chicken, bone-side down, on the indirect heat side of the grill. Cover and cook until the skin is golden and the chicken is about three-quarters cooked (130 to 135 degrees on a meat thermometer), 20 to 25 minutes. Flip the chicken so they are skin-side down and continue indirect grilling until the chicken is cooked through and reads 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 15 minutes more.
Brush the chicken all over with some of Melvin’s sauce and move the chicken, skin-side down, to the direct heat side of the grill. Grill just until the skin crisps, about 3 minutes, moving as necessary to keep it from burning. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve the remaining Melvin’s sauce on the side for dipping.

Smoked, Sweet & Sticky Riblets

With the rising cost of meat prices, go to Winco, buy a cheap bag of riblets and create something really special.
Smoked, Sweet and Sticky Riblets
4lbs pork riblets (I buy them in the bag at Winco)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons of your favorite BBQ rub
½ cup light brown sugar
1 stick cold, salted butter cut into thin pats
6 ounces vinegar sauce
¼ cup honey
Heat your smoker to 275. If you have a pellet smoker, I like to use something sweet like pecan, apple or cherry, or a combination of two of the three. If you are using a BBQ, start with lump charcoal and add some pellets or chuncks of wood to the fire.
Season the riblets with salt and pepper and your BBQ rub. Let the riblets set at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Arrange the riblets on the cooking grate and smoke for 90 minutes.
Place the smoked riblets in an aluminum pan and add the brown sugar, pats of butter, vinegar sauce and drizzle them with honey.
Cover the pan with foil and place back on the smoker for one hour.
After an hour, remove the foil and dredge the riblets in the pan juice and place directly on the cooking grate of your BBQ or smoker. Leave the lid open so the fire flares up and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Remove the charred riblets, place on a cutting board and cut them into 2 bone portions. Pile them high on your cutting board and serve with your favorite BBQ sauce for dipping.

Brats and Sauerkraut

My friend, Rodney has the idea of a German themed poker night this Friday. Food wise, this sounds great, but if I walk in the Man Room and he’s sitting at the poker table wearing lederhosen and a Troll hat, I will kill him!
Brats and Sauerkraut
2 tablespoons oil
2 pounds fresh bratwurst links
2 onions, halved and sliced into half moons
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chicken stock
1 can or bottle beer
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon caraway seed
4 cups sauerkraut, drained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1 baguette, toasted
Good quality brown mustard
In a large pan, heat oil over high heat. Brown bratwurst in oil and reduce heat to medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until lightly caramelized. Add stock, beer, paprika, caraway seeds, and sauerkraut and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fresh dill. Serve with mustard and baguette.

Grilled Honey-Balsamic Chicken Thighs

I’m gonna fire the Weber charcoal grill tonight, but I do miss not having a gas grill. What’s your favorite gas grill?
Grilled Honey-Balsamic Chicken Thighs
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, skin removed (optional)
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons Paprika
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Celery Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/3 c. honey
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
Oil, for greasing the grill grates
Chopped chives, for garnish
Lemon wedges, for squeezing
Place the chicken thighs on a large plate and sprinkle with the spices on both sides. Work the seasoning into the chicken. Let sit, in the refrigerator, for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Add the vinegar, honey, and garlic and stir until the honey has dissolved. Season with salt and pepper. Set near the grill.
Preheat grill to medium high and clean and grease the grates with oil. Add chicken skin side down and grill, flipping often and basting with sauce, until cooked through, 8-10 minutes per side. Garnish the thighs with chives while on the grill, then remove. Serve with lemon wedges.

Big Breasted Beer Can Chicken

Bust out the smoker, grill or bbq for Memorial Day Weekend and get your meat on! What’s not good about stickin’ a can of beer up a chicken’s rear end? Nothing!
Big Breasted Beer Can Chicken
2 3-4 lbs whole chickens
2 cups your favorite barbecue sauce
1/3cup olive oil
2 Beer Can Chicken racks
2 aluminum pie tins
Ingredients for rub
4 tablespoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
Double or triple the recipe and use it all summer
1. Preheat the smoker or grill to between 225-275 degrees and prepare to cook the chicken on indirect heat.
2. Mix up all of the ingredients for the spice mix and store in an airtight jar like a Mason jar.
3. Remove the neck and giblets and pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Tuck the wings back under the chicken if you prefer.
4. Brush chickens with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with Spice Mix.
5. If you are using an upright rack, insert the beer can in the rack and the rack into the chicken. If you are not using a rack insert the can into the chicken with the legs forward in front of the can to balance the chicken. The can should have extra holes punched in the top with a bottle opener and only be 3/4 full of beer. So have a little snort for yourself!
6. Place the chicken on the grill on an aluminum pie tin and close the grill cover while cooking. You will cook until the chicken reaches 165 degrees in the thigh area. Depending on the size of your chicken and the temp of your grill, that will take about 2-3 hours. The juices will run clear when the chicken is done.
7. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving. Be careful when removing the can from the chicken because it will be hot and full of hot beer!

Ribs for Dummies

Memorial Day Weekend is coming up and that means BBQ! If you’ve ruined more ribs than you care to recall, here’s a recipe and method called “Ribs for Dummies” I got this out of a barbecue cook book years ago and it works well. It’s an oven to grill method.
5 pounds pork ribs (baby back or St. Louis) membranes removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Barbecue Sauce (Makes 1 1/2 quarts)
1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves minced garlic
1 10 ounce can tomato paste
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup honey
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a sheet-pan with aluminum foil.
Place the ribs on the sheet pan meat-side up and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Pour the barbecue sauce generously on each rack and cover the ribs loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hours for baby backs and 1 3/4 hours for St. Louis ribs, until the meat is very tender when tested with a fork. As soon as the ribs are out of the oven, spread them generously with additional barbecue sauce. Grill right away or refrigerate to grill later.
Heat a charcoal grill with a layer of hot coals or heat a gas grill to medium-high heat. After the charcoal turns gray, brush the cooking grate with oil to keep the ribs from sticking. Place the ribs on the grill ribs-side down, close the lid and grill for 5 minutes. Turn the ribs meat-side down, put the lid back on and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Place on a cutting board and cover tightly with aluminum foil and allow the ribs to rest for 10 minutes. Cut into ribs and serve hot with extra barbecue sauce on the side.
Barbecue Sauce (Makes 1 1/2 quarts)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add the onions and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin and pepper flakes.
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Use immediately or pour into a container and refrigerate. It’ll keep for a good, long time.

Pasta Pomodoro

Italian cooking is a lot of fun and very simple. In fact, the less you screw with it, the better it is. And if you’re one of those weirdos who don’t eat meat, it’s Vegetarian! Who’s in the mood for pasta?
Pasta Pomodoro
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
28 ounce can San Marzano Whole Tomatoes, lightly pureed in a
blender or food processor, or crushed by hand.
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup parmesan Reggiano or pecorino Romano cheese, divided
3 sprigs fresh basil plus more basil leaves for garnish.
12 ounces spaghetti
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 4-5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Stir in the red pepper flakes (optional), then add the pureed tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until sauce has just started to thicken. Stir in the sprigs of basil, then remove the sauce from the heat.
While the sauce is simmering, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water according to package directions.
Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
Discard the basil sprigs. Add the pasta to the pan with the tomato sauce, toss to coat. Place the pan of pasta over medium heat.
Add the pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until pasta sauce is at your desired consistency.
Stir in the butter and half of the parmesan cheese. Toss the pasta until the cheese and butter are melted.
Remove the pasta from the heat. Top with remaining parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves, then serve immediately.

Grilled Tri-Tip Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce

Happy Taco Tuesday! Keep this one handy for Thursday, Cinco de Mayo. It’s a dandy.
Grilled Tri-Tip Tacos with Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce
Tri-Tip Marinade:
3-4 lb. Tri-Tip
1 onion, chopped
Juice of1orange
Juice of 2 limes
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup olive oil
4 smashed, chopped garlic cloves
Torn handful chopped cilantro (stems ok)
1 teaspoon Ground cumin
1 teaspoon Ground coriander
1 teaspoon Chile powder
Cilantro Chimichurri Sauce:
1bunch Cilantro (stems OK)
1bunch Italian Parsley- about 1 cup packed (thin stems OK)
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 jalapeno, chopped
Pico De Gallo:
4 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
½ medium red onion, chopped
2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
1 Serrano chile, finely minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Torn handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice from 1 or 2 limes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Quick Pickles:
1 cup sliced radishes
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 Serrano chile, finely minced
1 cup vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns or whole coriander seed
A few sprigs cilantro
Tortillas, slightly charred over a gas flame or on the grill
Garnish Ideas:
Lime wedges, avocado slices, cabbage slaw, crumbed queso fresco or cotija cheese, Tapatio hot sauce, Siracha, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro.
For the Tri-Tip Marinade: In a bowl, mix together ingredients for marinade. Place meat and onions in a gallon size Ziploc bag and pour marinade over, sealing and turning several times to coat well.
Refrigerate 1-3 hours, then bring to room temp before grilling.
Pre-heat grill and grill meat. Grill on med high heat to desired doneness. I usulally pull the meat at about 135-140 degrees. A little char is good. Let rest 10 minutes, then thinly slice the across the grain.
For the Chimichurri: In a food processor, place jalapeno, garlic, onion, and pulse several times until chopped. Add cilantro (stems are fine) and Italian parsley (stems are fine), pulse again. Add oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, and salt. Pulse until combined. Set aside in small serving bowl.
For the Pico: Finely dice tomato, onion, jalapeño, cumin and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper and lime. I like to add a dash or two of Tapatio. Place all in a bowl, mix and let sit in the fridge for 15 min to 1 hour