Category Archives: Recipes

Hamburger Sliders

Hamburger sliders are so fun and so easy to make…once you have the right buns!

First stop is the bread aisle at the supermarket. If you can find slider buns like Sara Lee Mini Buns, that’s perfect. If not, King’s Hawaiian or a similar small, soft dinner roll is a good alternative.

Once you’ve got the buns, it’s time for the beef! Buy a good quality ground beef, but not too lean so you get a nice, juicy slider. 80/20 or 85/15 lean to fat ratio is a good choice. I used Prather Ranch ground beef, something a friend turned me onto at the local Farmer’s Market. Too expensive for regular use, but a nice occasional treat and very good quality meat!

Divide one pound of ground beef into 6 portions. If you have a kitchen scale (and you should) that’s about 2.75 ounces per slider. Form into patties of even thickness and season with kosher salt.

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For me, melty, gooey American cheese is a guilty pleasure on burgers. Use whatever cheese you like best, but since a slider is smaller than a regular burger, you’ll want to scale down the cheese portion, also. I tore American cheese slices into quarters and used three pieces per slider. Even that was a bit much, you can probably get away with just half a slice of cheese per slider.

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Preheat your Weber gas grill on HIGH, making sure the grates are clean. Once preheated, turn the burners down to MEDIUM and arrange the sliders on the grill. They cook quickly due to their small size, so watch them carefully.

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When the first side is done, flip and cook for just a minute or so before adding the cheese. Quickly toast the buns and you’re ready for some slider deliciousness!

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Grilled Peaches

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It’s summer time and that means it’s time for grilled peaches!

Peach lover Jo Torez recently posted this photo on The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board which inspires this blog post!

TVWBB member dean offers these preparation tips: “Make sure the peaches are ripe but still firm–no mushy ones. Cut neatly in half and give a gentle twist to separate the halves. Take out the pit. Grill with the flat side down for a couple of minutes to get some nice grill marks, then flip over and put brown sugar and cinnamon in the hole left from the pit and on top. Put the lid back on and let them go for a few minutes depending on the heat (of the grill) and how you like them. These are delicious!”

Torez likes to drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon on her peaches. That’s what she did in the photo above. TVWBB member Greg Powers brushes his peaches with simple syrup before grilling, then fills the hole left from the pit with a mixture of cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon. Yum!

Fresh peaches won’t last forever…so get out there and grill some today!

Salted Ribeye Steaks

For TVWBB GrillFest 2 on August 2, I grilled some USDA Prime ribeye steaks over lump charcoal in my Weber 26.75″ kettle. I used a salting technique that I read about in Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Salting seasons the meat deep inside and alters the protein structure to make any steak even more tender. It works great whether grilling over charcoal or gas.

USDA Prime ribeye steaks
USDA Prime ribeye steaks

Two hours before grilling, pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides generously with kosher salt. Kosher salt is preferred because it’s easier to sprinkle evenly over the meat than table salt. Cook’s recommends 1.5 teaspoons per pound of meat, but I just eyeballed it.

Put the steaks in the refrigerator uncovered for two hours.

Steaks sprinkled with kosher salt ready for the refrigerator
Steaks sprinkled with kosher salt ready for the refrigerator

About 20 minutes before grilling, remove steaks from the fridge and pat dry again with paper towels. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Press the pepper into the surface to help it stick to the meat.

Searing the first side of the steak
Searing the first side of the steak
Steaks flipped and searing on the second side
Steaks flipped and searing on the second side

Grill to your preferred doneness. Remove from the grill, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for just a few minutes before serving.

Finished steaks resting before serving
Finished steaks resting before serving
Salted ribeye steak grilled medium rare
Salted ribeye steak grilled medium rare

Grilled Eggplant

Eggplant grilled with SYD All-Purpose Rub
Eggplant grilled with SYD All-Purpose Rub

My wife Julie likes to make grilled eggplant. Grilling makes this bland veggie taste great and the process couldn’t be easier.

Pre-heat the grill on HIGH for 10 minutes, then brush the grates clean and reduce the temp to MEDIUM.

Cut the eggplant into 3/4″ slices. Brush with olive oil and season with salt & pepper or SYD All-Purpose Rub. Grill 2-3 minutes per side until you get some browning and nice grill marks.

Enjoy grilled eggplant by itself, as a side to grilled meats, or as an ingredient in other dishes like an orzo with grilled vegetable salad.

Skirt Steak: Part 1

Two Types Of Skirt Steak

Skirt steak comes in two varieties: outside and inside.

Outside skirt steak is the more desirable skirt steak cut. It’s the cut you should buy if you can find it. Outside skirt steak comes from the diaphragm. It’s said to be the cut of beef that started the fajita craze years ago. It’s got good flavor and tenderness, but can be hard to find because much of it is shipped overseas to consumers willing to pay top dollar for it.

Inside skirt steak comes from the transverse abdominal muscle. It is wider, thinner, and tougher than outside skirt steak.

How To Identify Outside Skirt Steak

Outside skirt steak tends to be longer and narrower than inside skirt steak…sometimes much longer. Here’s an example of a single piece of outside skirt steak. In the meat counter it’s folded neatly into a compact shape but unrolls into something like this:

Very long piece of inside skirt steak

The problem is that skirt steak is not always identified as “outside” or “inside” at the supermarket. Even the high-end market where I buy skirt steak doesn’t label theirs, as shown here:

Is this outside or inside skirt steak? There's no way to tell from the label.

So I asked the butcher what they were selling and he said it was outside skirt steak. I asked if I could see the case box label and he produced this:

Outside skirt steak case box label

So not only did I learn that this high-end market is selling real outside skirt steak, but it’s also USDA Choice or higher which makes this a very nice cut of meat.

Don’t be afraid to ask your butcher what he’s selling. If he’s on the up and up, he’ll be happy to produce the case box label.

Preparing Inside Skirt Steak

On this occasion I found a piece of inside skirt steak at a good quality supermarket. Inside skirt steak comes as a single, long piece of meat, though not as long as the outside version shown above.

I cut this skirt into three pieces so it was easier to work with and marinated it in Korean barbecue sauce. If you were making this for fajitas, you’d substitute an appropriate fajita or carne asada marinade.

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I grilled the meat at high temp on my Weber Summit 450 gas grill. All skirt steaks benefit from very intense heat, either on the grill or on cast iron. You want a good crust on the exterior and medium doneness. Any more or less done than medium and the meat is tough and chewy.

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After cooking, cover loosely with foil and let rest for just a couple of minutes before slicing the meat thin across the grain and on the bias.

Give Skirt Steak A Try!

If you ever see outside skirt steak at the supermarket, give it a try. It’s a real treat! Otherwise, inside skirt steak will do and it makes for a great meal, too!

The HotBurger

The HotBurger
The HotBurger

What do you do when you want to grill hamburgers and you don’t have any hamburger buns or sliced bread, but you do have leftover hot dog buns?

You make The HotBurger. An elongated hamburger patty that fits perfectly on a toasted hot dog bun. Season with salt and pepper, top with ketchup and mustard and one of those Stacker pickle slices and you’re good to go. Cheese is optional.

That’s The HotBurger™. Ask for it by name at participating Weber gas grills near you!

SYD Tri-Tip

Here’s a tri-tip I grilled on the Weber Summit 450 using Harry Soo’s tri-tip method from his Backyard Pitmaster class.

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Season the tri-tip with granulated garlic, white pepper, and then some Slap Yo’ Daddy All-Purpose Rub. Refrigerate for 8 hours.

Grill to 125-135*F internal temperature. Remove from grill, tent with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Brush with Slap Yo’ Daddy All-Purpose Easy Sauce, slice, and serve.

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You get layers of spice from the white pepper and the SYD rub, and from the cayenne & hot sauce in the SYD sauce. Really delicious!

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Loco Moco

When I visit Hawaii, one of my favorite indulgences is a dish called loco moco. It’s a gut-bomb that usually consists of two thin hamburger patties topped with over-easy eggs and brown gravy on a bed of white rice, with a scoop of mac salad on the side. Variations include different meat options, having the eggs cooked differently, or sometimes finding onions mixed into the hamburger or into the gravy. What doesn’t change is the basic concept of meat topped with eggs and brown gravy over rice..and the nap you’ll need afterwards.

A sometimes like to make loco moco at home. I made this one a while back using Guava Smoked pork patties. You can only get Guava Smoked products in Honolulu…these were sent to me by a friend…but you could mix-up something similar using ground pork from the supermarket. They’re ground pork butt that’s seasoned, formed into patties, and cold-smoked. They’re sold frozen and you grill them at home.

Guava Smoked pork patties
Guava Smoked pork patties

Start by making a batch of sticky white rice, if you have it, otherwise long grain white rice will do. Make two cups of brown gravy using those little dry packet mixes from the supermarket. Nothing fancy here, I guarantee you they’re using the same packaged mixes in Hawaii.

Grilling the pork patties
Grilling the pork patties

Grill the pork patties or substitute hamburger patties. Cook two eggs to your liking…I prefer scrambled.

Two plates of loco moco
Two plates of loco moco

I built these loco mocos in the wrong order so you could see the grilled meat on top. OK, that’s a lie. I just wasn’t paying attention when I did it. The right way is to lay down a bed of white rice, then place the meat on the rice, put the eggs on top of the meat, and smother the whole thing with gravy.

Close-up of loco moco with pork patty
Close-up of loco moco with pork patty

Make sure to reserve a spot on the sofa after dinner, ‘cuz you’re gonna need it.

Aloha!

Pork Loin vs Pork Tenderloin

Do you sometimes yell at your television?

I yell at my TV every time I watch a cooking show where someone uses the terms “pork loin” and “pork tenderloin” interchangeably. They are not the same cut of meat!

I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, because both cuts come from the whole pork loin, but they are two distinctly different pieces of meat. And the confusion between the two cuts runs deep with tradition. Throughout the Midwest, they make something called a pork tenderloin sandwich which is really a slice of pork loin that’s pounded thin, breaded, fried until golden brown and delicious, and served on a bun. It looks amazing, but it’s pork loin, folks, not tenderloin!

Pork loin is located next to the pig’s spine, with the meat sitting right on top of the baby back ribs. If a pig asked you to scratch his back, you’d be scratching pork loin. Pork loin is sold bone-in or boneless, usually with a fat cap. You can cook it whole as a roast, or you can cut it into chops.

Pork tenderloin is a thin cylindrical muscle that’s attached to the inside of the ribcage. You couldn’t scratch a pig’s back and touch tenderloin. Pork tenderloin is sold boneless and is very lean, with no fat cap. In fact, pork tenderloin is just as lean as skinless chicken breast…very heart healthy! You can cook it whole or slice it into medallions for pan searing.

What pork loin and pork tenderloin both have in common is a mild taste. Both need something to amp-up the flavor. Think dry rubs, marinades, brining, salting, or serving with flavorful sauces over the meat or on the side.

Pork Loin Pork Tenderloin
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So now you know the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin.  We now return you to our regularly scheduled program already in progress. And feel free to yell at your television as much as you like.

Photos: National Pork Board