Learning to grill and smoke on my charcoal grill! I had watched enough food t.v. and I think I am ready! 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. Today’s post is a mix of grilled chicken thighs in a fire red garlic mojo sauce and oversized stuffed smoked meatballs! Meatballs on the grill! I love it!
Red Chile Garlic Mojo
8 dried New Mexico or guajillo peppers, stems and seeds removed
Juice of 4 oranges
Juice of 4 limes
2 heads of 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 -175 degrees. Baste with cooked mojo sauce about every 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest. Yields 6 to 8 servings.
Instructions for Cooking Red Chile Mojo in the Oven. .
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. Serve with any extra mojo sauce.
Grilled ans Smoked Zucchini Jalapeño Stuffed Meatballs. 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 cheese and add more 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 Pickled jalapeño 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 Mexican twist! Next time cheese 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 pickled jalapeño 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 pickled jalapeño peppers, reserve the last 4 ounces
6 ounces jalapeño brine
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon oregano, crushed
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup pimento olives, chopped fine
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro and green onions for garnish
1. In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients for the meatballs, minus the 1 cup of jalapeño 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 jalapeño 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 green onion and. 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 manchego 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.