I cannot tell you all how happy I am to see that spring has finally arrived in New York state! It was the coldest and longest winter I have ever experienced here in 29 years….lol! So, every sunny day, which have not been many, I try to schedule some grilling time. On this day, we grilled a few foods and then we put some dry rubbed chicken thighs on for a low and slow smoke. It was pitch black night time, but there we were doing our thing, ha, ha, ha! This recipe is really a no fuss recipe if you ask me. We enjoyed the chicken as is for a few days and then with the last two pieces, I prepared some tostadas with our grilled and smoked salsa and hot sauce. So here’s to a great grilling season, a warm spring and a hot summer! Ok, maybe not so hot… #girlongrill #chilehead
Smoked Chicken/Pollo Asado
8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs (about 4 1/2 pounds) 4 to 5 tablespoons Weber Brand Carne Asada Seasoning or your favorite spice rub Oil for brushing onto grill grates
1. Generously add carne asada seasoning/spice rub all over chicken, making sure you get some under the skin on top. Use your hands to rub it into the chicken. Place in baking pan with cover or heavy plastic storage back. Marinate overnight.
2. Remove chicken from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking. Set up your grill for indirect grilling at a temperature of 250 degrees F. If you want to add some smoky flavor, add a few applewood chunks near the hot coals 5 minutes before adding chicken. Or if cooking on gas grill add wood chips to a smoker box. Close lid for a few minutes.
3. Brush grates on cool side with oil. Add the chicken, skin side up on cool side of the grill. Close lid and cook for about 2 hours or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees. Pull off the chicken as it reaches the desired temperature. When done, transfer chicken to a dish, cover loosely and let rest for 5 to 7 minutes. Yields 4 servings.
Tips~ Oven method for chicken. In a large oven safe skillet, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium. After a few minutes, add the chicken, skin side down and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Turn skin side up, cover pan and finish roasting in a preheated 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
Smoky Chicken Tostadas
2 smoked chicken thighs, remove meat and shred
1 avocado, mashed Lime juice
Salt to taste
Smoked Pico de Gallo
Grilled Chile hot sauce
Sauteed sweet and hot peppers
After mashing the avocado, add a little lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide the avocado onto 4 tostadas. Add chicken, smoked pico de gallo, sauteed peppers and grilled chile pepper sauce. I would add creamy black beans or pinto beans next time!
Smoked/Grilled Pico de Gallo
8 roma tomatoes 3 large jalapeños 3 serranos
1 whole bulb of garlic
1 small sweet onion
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Cut the top of the garlic bulb off before grilling. Grill ingredients on the idirect heat side of the grill for 45 to 60 minutes at 250 degrees F. I added a couple of applewood chunks so the salsa would have a smoked flavor. Let ingredients cool. Remove stems from peppers and peel garlic or if it’s soft enough, squeeze out into the blender or processor. Roughly chop ingredients and pulse to process or you can chop the ingredients by hand.I do this so I can add exact amounts that I want when mixing the salsa’s or chile sauce. Add lime juice, salt and pepper. Fold in the cilantro.
Grilled Chile Pepper Hot Sauce
3 large jalapeños
3 fresno peppers
1 whole bulb of garlic, top cut off and wrapped in foil
1 small sweet onion, quartered
Juice of 2 key limes
1 3/4 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
salt to taste
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1. Grill the peppers, onion and garlic on indirect heat for 1 hour. let cool. Remove stems from peppers and skins from garlic. Remove skins from fresno peppers as well because the skin may be hard to chew.
2. Roughly chop ingredients and transfer to the blender. Add the lime juice, vinegar and water. Pulse to blend as coarse or as smooth as you like. I like the pieces of peppers, garlic and onions in my hot sauce.
3. Transfer to a saucepan. Heat to medium. Season with salt to taste. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat slightly. Whisk the cornstarch and water together until smooth. Add to hot sauce in saucepan. Stir well to combine and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add cilantro.
This Grilled/Smoked Turkey Breast(Pavo a la Parilla) was the easiest turkey recipe I have ever prepared. The hardest part of this whole recipe was trying to decide what dry spices to use to create a tasty turkey. I was inspired by the flavors of Mexican molé sauce. In some Mexican homes turkey is braised in a dark and rich flavored molé sauce low and slow until it falls off the bone. One thing for sure, is I will be preparing some sauce just so I could enjoy it with this tasty and moist turkey breast next time. If you don’t have a cupboard filled with spices like I do, the stores offer quite a variety of dry rubs to choose from. Start with a mild one. You could always experiment and add a few flavors from your spices and customize it anyway you like. I am not afraid to admit that even with all the cooking I do, my husband is still a big fan of “Stove Top Stuffing”, Lol! So we compromised. I agreed to prepare the store bought stuffing on one condition and that was I would add fresh ingredients like carrots, celery, onion, green apple, almonds and peppers. Those are some of the staple ingredients in my Mom’s stuffing recipe. So, as long as the weather holds out and there is not 6 inches of snow and ice outside, I will try to get a few more grilling sessions in.
3 pound boneless turkey breast
For Dry Rub 1 tablespoon chile ancho powder 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar 2 teaspoons kosher salt 2 teaspoons smoked paprika 2 teaspoons garlic powder 2 teaspoons onion powder 1 teaspoon oregano, crushed 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds 1 teaspoon cumin 1 teaspoon pepper 1/3 teaspoon chile de arbol or cayenne 1/4 teaspoon anise
*For a smoky turkey breast 1 to 1 1/2 cup apple or cherry wood chips
1. Remove mesh from turkey breast. Rinse with cold water and dry off with paper towels.
2. Rub generously with dry rub. Use cooking twine to tie and hols the turkey breast in place. Wrap in plastic wrap and marinate for at least 4 hours or even better overnight. Remove breast from refrigerator 45 minutes before cooking so it comes to room temperature.
3. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking. If adding wood chips, I add them directly near the hot coals once the fire is at the right temperature and close the lid for 5 minutes. If cooking on a gas grill, you would use a smoker box. Add the turkey breast and smoke/grill on indirect heat in at 225 to 250 degrees. Cook/grill for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until internal temp. reads 165 degrees.
4. Remove from grill and wrap tightly in foil paper. Wrap in a kitchen towel and let set inside microwave for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will create a most wonderful and moist turkey breast!
Yields 8 servings
Tips~ Indirect cooking is when you build or light the fire on one side of the grill. You will place the meat on the side with no fire for indirect cooking. Just imagine this as an outdoor oven.
Flank Steak on the Coals or as I like to call it “Cowboy Steak”. All I could think of when I watched Alton Brown’s video for cooking skirt steak directly on the hot coals was that maybe that’s the way they did it back in the “cowboy era”. Curiosity got the best of me, so I had to try it! I asked a few of my griiling friends, but I did not really get much response, lol. I just had to try it and see if it really worked. They always make everything look so easy and delicious on those food videos, this was a good way to test it out. Just a couple of years ago, you would never catch us eating a steak with any trace of pink inside, lol! Now as I have learned and tried the different steaks on the grill as well as in my cast iron pan, pink is not bad at all. All I can say is that is was one one the most perfectly cooked flank steaks I had ever eaten. Alton Brown used skirt steak, but I could only find flank steak. There was a slight flaw to the recipe, but nothing that could not be fixed. These were my results for cooking flank steak directly on the hot coals. I love Alton Brown!!
2 pounds flank or skirt steak
Fresh cracked pepper
Chile ancho powder
*You will also need
Charcoal grill and lump or regular charcoal
Canola or grapeseed oil, more salt, pepper and granulated garlic
1. Season the steak generously with salt, pepper and chile ancho powder on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour. The salt will help to keep it from spoiling.
2. About 30 minutes before you cook the steak, prepare a nice size charcoal fire in you grill. You want it to be big enough to accomodate the size of steak.
3. When an hour has past and the fire is good and hot, lay the steak directly onto the hot coals. Cook for 45 to 50 seconds per side for a medium rare steak. Transfer to a couple sheets of heavy foil paper and wrap tightly. Let sit for 15 minutes.
4. Now according to the original recipe, it said that any coal left on steak would just dissolve and blend in. Nope! LOl! There was a little too much grit left on the steak for my liking. I let it cool completely in the foil and chilled it overnight.
5. The next day, I unwrapped the steak and gently let some cool running water run onto it until I saw all the charcoal fall off. Try not to rub it too much. Slice it thin against the grain.
6. Preheat a couple of tablespoons of canola or grapeseed oil to medium/high heat in a cast iron skillet for 5 to 6 minutes. You want it nice and hot, almost to the point of smoking. Toss in half of the steak and lightly re-season with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. You are literally only stir frying it to heat and sear the meat a little. Remove from pan on to plate and tent with foil paper. Repeat with the remaining steak. Serve right away. The steak was moist and tender, even after the second cook. Yields 6 to 8 servings. I served it with warm tortillas and homemade salsa for taco Tuesday!
Tips~ I added some chile oil while I was stir frying the steak for extra flavor and heat. Here is the link to Alton Brown’s video on Food Network http://www.youtube.com/attribution_link?a=7GQc8p-u2rU&u=/watch%3Fv%3DQ5y2voEWJ6U%26feature%3Dshare
*Grilled Beef and Zucchini Meatballs Stuffed with Hot Peppers August 18, 2014. This recipe for grilled meatballs was to prove to my better half that it was possible to prepare stuffed meatballs without the use of any cheese! Don’t get me wrong, I so badly wanted to stuff them with feta cheese and add more crumbled feta cheese for garnish once they were done. This time I spared him of any cheese and he was very happy….just wait until next time Richard, ha, ha, ha… For the sauce, I knew I wanted a fresh tomato sauce and something that came together quickly. I took the leftover peppers and some of the brine and blended them with the fresh tomatoes. It made for a zesty, delicious sauce. Perfect for these meatballs with a little Greek twist! Next time feta for sure!
2 pounds ground chuck 2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, press the excess liquid out
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1 cup deli sliced peperoncini peppers, drain and reserve the brine (you will need a 16 ounce jar with the brine for the entire recipe)
For the sauce
3 large roma tomatoes
4 ounces peperoncini peppers, reserve the last 4 ounces
6 ounces peperoncini brine
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh Basil for garnish, to taste
1. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients for the meatballs, minus the 1 cup of peperoncini peppers. Line a sheet pan with parchment , wax or foil paper. Divide and make 12 meatballs. Take each meatball and flatten it in the palm of your hand. Ad about 1 tablespoon of peppers to the center and then form the meatball around the peppers until sealed. Transfer to the lined baking sheet. Repeat until all done. Chill for 1 hour.
2. Prepare your your grill for indirect grilling at about 250 degrees F. This means you will have a hot side and and a cool side. Transfer the meatballs to a pan safe for the grill. Place on the cool side of the grill, close the lid and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking time. I added a small amount of soaked apple wood chips during the last half hour of cooking, but that is optional. You are looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Once meatballs are cooked all the way through, move the pan over to the hot side of grill and cook for just another minute or so.
3. While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the sauce. Rough chop the roma tomatoes and transfer to the blender. Add 4 ounces of the peperoncini peppers and 6 ounces of the brine from the peppers. Blend on high until smooth set aside. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil to medium heat in a medium sauce pan. Add the onions, garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes. Add the sauce from the blender, along with the remaining ingredients listed. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and taste for salt and pepper.Cook at a low simmer until sauce reduces slightly and becomes thick. Remove from heat and reheat before serving with meatballs. Garnish with fresh basil. Yields up to 6 servings.
Tips~ If peppers are not your first choice for stuffing the meatballs, you could certainly stuff them with cheese if you like. I like using cubed feta or queso fresco because it won’t melt and leak out of the meatballs while cooking. If you would like more sauce you can double up on the recipe, but I just meant it to be as a garnish for the meatballs.
*Grilled Red Chile Mojo Chicken is a variation of my original mojo grilled chicken recipe as posted on the Hispanic Kitchen site. I thought why not add some bright red smoky chile guajillo to really bump of the flavor.
12 dried New Mexico or guajillo peppers, stems and seeds removed
Juice of 4 oranges
Juice of 4 limes
2 bulbs garlic, peeled and minced
2 to 3 chipotles in adobo
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon pepper
3/4 cup oil
Salt to taste
You will also need
12 chicken thighs (I used bone in, skin on about 4 pounds)
oil for brushing onto grates of grill
1. Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade, minus the dried chiles. Add the dried chiles to a pot of boiling water, reduce heat and continue cooking for 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer peppers to the blender along with 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth, strain out the pulp and add it to the mojo marinade. Taste for salt and pour over the chicken thighs and marinate overnight.
2. Prepare outdoor charcoal or gas grill for indirect heat. Remove chicken from marinade about 40 minutes before you are ready to grill, shaking off excess liquid. Transfer leftover marinade to a sauce pan and heat to a low simmer.
3. Brush the grates of grill with oil. Place the chicken thighs directly above the coals, skin side down, and sear on high heat for a few minutes. Transfer to indirect heat side of grill and continue cooking for about 2 hours or until temp. reaches 165 degrees. Baste with cooked mojo sauce about every 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
Grilled Red Chile Mojo Chicken
Instructions for Cooking Red Chile Mojo in the Oven. I had a few pieces of chicken left in the marinade and I was cooking some ribs low and slow in the oven at the same time, so I added the chicken in a separate baking dish.
Follow directions as posted. Preheat your oven at 250 degrees F. Place the chicken in a large baking pan, skin side up. Cover tightly with foil paper and bake for 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Remove chicken from oven , uncover and baste generously with cooked mojo sauce . Turn oven to broil and return chicken to oven. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes before serving. Sserve with any extra mojo sauce.
Embracing my Mexican heritage and sharing all the wonderful flavors, colors and foods I grew up with. Join me on this journey as I also learn new foods and cooking techniques. Dedicated to my parents Ramiro and Blanca.